The Fisherman’s Sons

A

fisherman had two sons named Armin and Merlin, and when they came of age he brought them out into the sea to fish with him.

He showed the two how to build a basket out of reeds and told them “Now build your own baskets. Gather up as many clams as you can find on the coast and fill your baskets for me. The first to bring me a full basket will stand by the helm with me as we sail.”

Merlin leaped with joy and rushed to the reeds and began getting to work, for he always wished to sail the unknown seas. He fashioned his basket together and ran across the coast, quickly finding many clams and dropping them into his basket. Yet when he went to check on his basket, it was only a quarter full.

“No matter, I’ll add more” said Merlin and he waded into deeper waters to find others. He found even bigger clams and filled his arms with them, then brought them back to his basket. Yet, his basket was still not halfway full.

“No matter, I’ll add more” said Merlin and he waded even farther out. He filled his arms once more with clams and said “Surely with this my basket will be full” and he quickly poured them into the basket and rushed back to his father.

Armin was standing with his father next to a full basket of clams he had collected.

“How did you finish before me?” he asked his brother.

“I walked across the coast and collected clams” said Armin.

“Well done Armin” said the father “Now, Merlin let me see your basket.”

Merlin raised up his basket and it was still only halfway full! For there was a hole at the bottom of the basket and the clams would drop out as soon as he gathered them.

“A basket like that can never be filled” said the father. And so they sailed together into the sea, and Armin stood by the helm while Merlin managed the stern.