In a cool mountain lake in the Austrian alps, many different kinds of fish lived in peace. The lake, known as Weissensee, provided all that was needed for each species to survive. They lived as neighbors. One noticeable friendship was between the large carp and the small bass. The other species of fish also respected each other. This went on for many years.

Then one day a newcomer arrived, the pike. He was different from the other fish. He isolated himself choosing to not interact with the other fish. Sometimes he even acted in an aggressive manner. The other fish noticed and did their best to be friendly with the pike in spite of his behavior.

Sometime later, and without warning the pike slowly swam up to a small bass fish and suddenly opened his mouth and closed it quickly around the small body of the bass. The bass tried to get free but was firmly in the grip of the pike’s mouth.  The friend of the bass, the large carp, heard the commotion and went to investigate. As the scene came into view he new he needed to help his friend. The carp threw his body into the pike to distract him so he would loosen his grip and the bass could swim free. The first bump had no effect. The carp again strongly threw himself into the pike. Again the force was not enough to get his friend free. The carp did not want to hurt the pike, he only wanted to free his friend. Once more and with more determination, the carp threw himself at the pike. This time it worked and the bass was able to swim to safety. The bass was grateful for the strength and loyalty of his friend the carp.

This would be an interesting story in itself as an illustration of being a good neighbor, coming to the aid of your friends and a deep commitment to respect all living things, even those who seem to want to do you harm. But what makes this story especially interesting is the fact it is true. The fish is this lake did get along peacefully. The pike found its way into the lake’s ecosystem. And on this one special day, the events were witnessed as written in this story. The pike attacked the bass. The carp came and distracted the pike so the bass could escape.

This could be the end of the story, but it does not need to be. Each reader can use this as a reminder to respect all life, to strive to live in harmony and to help our smaller and weaker neighbors when there is a need. Imagine what kind of world this would be if we all followed these simple ideas. Could this be true?

Note: Story told to me by a devout and loyal fisherman of lake Weissensee in June 2015.

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