The parable of the fish and the penguin

There was once a fish and a penguin swimming close to one another in the Antarctic waters. The fish said to the penguin, “Everything we move in is water. It’s all around us; it’s what we breathe and is the medium which sustains us.”

The penguin replies, “It may be all around you all the time but I only come down here from time to time. I am mostly surrounded by air.”

“Nonsense!” replied the fish. “What you call air is just a type of water. Ask any fish around here and they’ll tell you that we spend our whole lives immersed in it.”

“I am not a fish,” replies the penguin. The fish eyes the penguin suspiciously.

“Maybe you’re not, but this is fish territory,”

“Fish do live here, but so do others. The sea is a diverse and rich place,” said the penguin.

“Yes. It’s a pity all you penguins are the same,” said the fish, rather tartly.

“Oh no. To the non-penguin, there may be a strong family resemblance, but there’s a fair variety amongst us too. An emperor is quite different from a rock-hopper. I’m sure if you left the water occasionally and came to live among us, you would see,” explained the penguin.

“I couldn’t possibly leave the water. It is what we live in. Why are you so opposed to water?” asked the fish.

“I’m not against water, per se,” says the penguin. “I just couldn’t stand the idea of being in it all the time. I like to dip in occasionally, get some sustenance from it and then go and live in my own environment.”

And with that, they go they separate ways. The fish dives down into the murky depths, while the penguin hops and takes a gulp of air.

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