To See the Sea
A long time or maybe not such a long time ago,
There was an old man who lived at the base of a mountain.† He was a very rich and influential man, he could have and do almost anything he wanted to.
The mountain he lived by rose up high and majestic into the sky. Its peaks played hide and seek with the sun and the clouds, and on the other side of the mountain was sea. The sea went on as far as the eye could see.
On occasion he would like to go to his window to just sit in his chair and watch the eagles soaring among the lofty peaks of his mountain. Every once in a while he would see a bear wander down into his garden sniffing and snorting amongst his corn and potatoes looking for sweet grubs to munch upon.† He knew that if he were quiet and listened long and hard enough, he could just make out the exuberant mating calls of some mountain goats high upon the mountainside.
One day as the man sat in his chair by the window, he said to himself, "I would really love to see the sea that is on the other side of my mountain."†
But the old man never went to see the sea though, because he was comfortable where he was, and the old man was afraid that if he did go to the sea he would become uncomfortable and would wish he had never gone.
A couple days later his brother, a poor and struggling engineer, came to visit him from out of town.† They sat and talked, and in due course he looked over and said to his brother, "Brother O mine, Have you ever seen the sea?"
His brother looked back and replied with a smile, "Why yes, yes I have. It's one of the most wonderful things in the world to see.† You should go and see it for yourself, nothing is like it in the whole world."†
The old man then said, "I would love to go to see the sea, but I am comfortable here. I am afraid that if I do leave to go and see it, I would not be as happy there as I am here in my chair by my window. If only I could see beyond my mountain to the sea with out having leave my nice comfortable home."†
His brother thought for a while in silence and said, "You know brother, I can hire people for you to remove your mountain, to let you see the sea with out leaving the chair you sit in now. I know people who have the means and the equipment to do this for you, for the right price."†
After thinking a bit more, and calculating some figures in his head, the old manís brother said to him, "It would cost you roughly half your fortune, but I can do this for you if you wish it."
The old man smiled at his brother and said, "You would do this for me?"†
The brother smiled back and replied, "Yes, yes I would, but only for you my dear brother."
The old man smiled again and said, "If you would do this for me I would gladly give you half my fortune. I think to be able to see the sea from here would be such a wonderful thing."
The very next day, a thousand men came and began tearing down the old manís mountain, tree by tree and stone by stone.† They came with picks and shovels, and cranes and trucks, and everything that they needed to take down the mountain.†
After a while, and with much noise that made the old man very uncomfortable, the mountain was gone and there was only just five miles of open land left. The old man could finally see the sea, and he was thought that he was happy.
He sat by his window in his chair watching the birds diving into the water to catch fish, and the fish jumping out of the water to avoid the birds. If he used his binoculars, he could see the crabs on the white sandy shores, scuttling among the reeds hiding from the birds.
One day a great desire to go to the sea overcame him. He wanted to touch the water and to walk upon its white sandy shores. He wanted to play with the crabs and to hear the birds and the fish that he saw from afar every day.
He thought to himself, "What if I go there and I am not as comfortable as I am here sitting in my chair?"
Not knowing what to do he invited his brother for another visit and asked, "Brother O mine, I would love to go to the sea and touch the water and to walk upon the white sandy shores, but if I do, what if I am not as comfortable as I am now sitting in my chair by the window?"
His brother thought for a while and then answered back, "My dearest brother, I can solve this problem for you as well. I can have my men dig a large hole in the ground for the sea to fill in with its water. I will make you a bay that will be right beside your house, and you would never have to leave the comfort of your own home."
With not even a second thought, the old man immediately replied, "I would like for you to do this for me. What must I do to make it happen?"
His brother then, after a few moments of calculating some figures in his head, said, "This would probably cost you the rest of your fortune, are you willing to do this, just to touch the sea and walk along its sandy shores with out ever leaving the comfort of your own home?"
The old man replied, "Yes, I would do anything to touch the water and to walk upon the sandy shores of the sea. The other half of my fortune is yours if you would do this for me."
The very next day a crew of a thousand men came with picks and shovels, and cranes and trucks.† They came and began to dig a gigantic hole where the mountain used to be.
After a while, and with much noise that made the old man very uncomfortable, a hole as deep as the mountain had been tall and as big around and as the mountain had been wide was dug into the ground right beside the old man's house. Once they were done they opened the dam they had built and let the waters of the bay rush in with a great racket.
They had created a man made bay so that the old man could touch the water and walk upon the sandy shores without ever having to leave the comfort of his own home.
As time passed the old man became irritable and grumpy, yet he could find no reason why.† Till one day, when he went to his chair by the window and looked out at what he paid his brother to create for him.†
He frowned when he realized that he missed the eagles, and the bears. He heaved a great sigh when he knew he would no longer hear the exuberant mating calls of the mountain goats no matter how long or hard he sat and listened.†
The old man missed his mountain very much now, and then he looked at his bay that his brother had made for him.† There were no fish swimming in its black waters, and there were no reeds growing in the bay, or around the shore for the crabs to scuttle amongst. No birds would come because there were neither fish to eat nor trees to nest in, and the sand was oily and dark, not white like he had seen through his binoculars.
The men his brother had hired had polluted the ground with their machines that they had used. Nothing would grow around the bay, and even his garden had withered and died due to the toxic fuel and oils that the machinery had leaked when they had been used to dig the hole.
When the water had been let in, it had mixed with the fuel and oils that the machines had left behind. This made it uninhabitable for the fish and other creatures of the sea that lived there, so they made sure to stay away as far as they could.
The only thing around him now that was alive and growing was just him, and now he was poor and uncomfortable.†† He had given his brother all of his money in exchange for making his life miserable.
When he looked out of his window and saw all of this, he began to realize all that had happened and how foolish he had been.
He then closed his eyes, sighed, and began to cry for his mountain, and the eagles, and the bears, and for everything else that had been lost, but he had not been realized it until now.
Author: Tim OíConnor
Date: Oct 31, 2005