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The Pond and the River

There was a quarrel between a pond and a river. The pond addressed the river:

'O river, you are very foolish to give all your water and wealth to the ocean; do not squander it thus. The ocean is ungrateful and does not need it. If you go on pouring into the ocean your accumulated treasures, it will remain as salty and bitter as it is today . . . Keep all your treasures with you.

This was worldly wisdom. But the river was wise. After hearing this it replied, 'No'.

The river went on working, pouring into the ocean millions of gallons of water. The miserly pond became dry in three or four months; it became putrid, stagnant and full of festering filth. But the river remained fresh and pure, its perennial springs did not dry up. Silently and slowly water was taken from the surface of the ocean to replenish the fountainheads of the river; monsoons and trade winds invisibly, silently and slowly carried water from the ocean and kept the river source ever fresh.

(The Scientist and the Mahatma p.80)

(Tales of Hasidim by Martin Buber)

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