Fred's Quest

Edited by Vacilando. Last updated 30. April, 2019.

Once upon a time there was a charming country house with a beautiful garden. The garden was full of trees, bushes and flowers.

In the midst of the garden was a pond with clear, cool water. In the pond lived a fish. His name was Fred and he was a very bored fish.

Fred had long explored every litre of his pond; he would be able to give you a detailed guided tour with his eyes closed.

He was also aware of the beauty outside. The colours, the ever-changing light, the sounds were marvellous, but they were making Fred a little sad, for he knew he could never reach out of his pond. Having learned about the limits of his world Fred concluded there was nowhere to go.

People from the house saw there was something amiss with Fred. They observed that he spent whole days motionless, right in the middle of the pond. It was the nave of his world, the farthest he could get from anything.

Fred knew there was nothing left to discover. It was the sweet spot. It was nirvana. Just one step from nothingness.

The people of the house worried about Fred more and more every day. Why does Fred not swim around? The pond is spacious enough indeed. Is he lacking some vitamins, or is he sick? They called for a test of the water quality and temperature, they consulted with garden fish experts on improvements to Fred's feed, and they trimmed the bush of roses that showered its petals on the water just in case that was bothering him.

But nothing helped. Fred was hardly eating, just hanged there, motionless in the middle of his pond.

The people of the house could see that Fred was diminishing. They felt Fred might die soon.

In the house lived big people and a little girl. One Sunday, at breakfast, the girl said: "Fred is sad because he sits in the middle of the pond!" The big people laughed and continued eating. When it came to coffee, one of them realized there might actually be something to it. If the pond had no middle, Fred could not sulk there.

The big people of the house consulted a gardening firm and a week later Fred noticed a huge shadow right above his head. There was something big there in the outer space, and it was coming ever closer. With a jerk of his fins Fred escaped from the nave and hid in the water plants. Then there was booming noise and a lot of waves.

The people of the house thanked the workers and they saw them off as well as their little crane. The pond had no middle any more. The water was punctured by a sizeable rock where the nave used to be.

After a while, long after the last ripple died down, Fred hesitantly came out of hiding and decided to go back to the middle of the pond. Only this time he could not find it. He swam and swam, along endless shores. When he got tired, he ate some, and then he swam further.

People of the house were happy to see Fred swimming a lot again. He looked healthy and he ate a lot.

Fred is still there, on a journey to that most fulfilling place, the nave of his world, the sweet spot, the nirvana.

Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Belgium

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