Once, when the sun was shining brightly upon the Earth, a young girl went to the beach with her family. She played amongst the waves that ran their fingers along the sand, again and again. And soon, she went exploring and found a rock pool. In that rock pool, she found a starfish.
The starfish was not afraid when the young girl took it out of the water because it could sense the overwhelming love and wonder in her. This was innocent curiosity personified.
The young girl, wanting to take a part of the ocean home with her, put the starfish into a jar with some sand and some water.
At home that night, the starfish sat alone in the jar. A fly flew overhead.
“You are dieing beautiful starfish. A jar is not the ocean. Soon you will leave this place and go to the ocean that sits above the clouds. Soon your five legs will be still. Soon you will be no more.” Said the fly.
“You are correct, fly. I am dieing. I have lived a good life though and I am happy that at the end of it, I could satisfy the curiosity of a child. I do however, have one regret.” Replied the starfish.
“What is your regret starfish? For though you and I are both very different, I am a good fly and do my best not to bother the animals around me, even the humans. I wish to help you.” Said the fly, buzzing over the jar.
The starfish laughed (as only a starfish can).
“You cannot help me, well-meaning fly. My regret is that I cannot dance one more time. Because to live in the ocean is to dance, constantly, to sway back and fourth with the waves and the currents. To dance is to live. And the only other animal a starfish can dance with, is another starfish. And I am alone in this jar, where I will die.”
The fly stopped buzzing, thoughtfully, and settled on the lip of the jar.
“I will do what I can beautiful starfish.” He said. And he flew away.
There was a corner in the house that no one ever looked. And though the fly knew that all his sisters and his brothers had always told him to stay away from that corner, he knew it was only in that corner that he could find help.
“Hello spider.” Said the fly.
“Hello fly. Have you come here to die?” Asked the spider.
“It is not my time to die. It is another’s. And they require your help to die.” Replied the fly.
“Why should I help another?” Laughed the spider. “I have all I need here in my web, I owe no one and nothing any favours.”
“Yes.” Said the fly. “But you are lonely in your web. You have everything you need here, except company.”
“I eat my company.” Said the spider.
“Yes you do. That is why you are lonely.” Said the fly.
“Fine. I am, indeed, lonely. But how will helping another keep me from being lonely?” Asked the spider.
“Because helping others is to help yourself. There is a dieing starfish that requires a last dance before it passes on. You are the only animal here that can dance with it. I know you have never danced or met a starfish before. This will ease your loneliness, if only for a while.” Replied the fly.
The spider scowled as it was not used to having conversations with food.
“Enough of your lies. Either join me in my web or leave. I am weary now and wish to be alone.” Said the spider, skittering back to the center of the web.
Sad, the fly flew away and left the spider to its loneliness.
Alone in its web, the spider thought and thought and thought about something it had never thought of before: being alone. Slowly and cautiously, it left the web.
If you were lucky enough to be in the house that night, you would’ve seen a spider crawl across the ceiling and slowly, delicately lower itself into a jar with a starfish in it.
And if you were lucky enough to be in the house that night, you would’ve seen how a starfish and a spider can dance (the two extra legs on the spider’s part allow for some truly spectacular moves).
And if you were lucky enough to be in the house that night, you would’ve seen them dance until there was no more night to dance in.
And if you were lucky enough to be in the house the next morning, you would’ve seen a young girl crying, holding a jar. A jar with a dead starfish in it. And a drowned spider. Both smiling in the way that only a dead starfish, or a dead spider, can.