When Gilad Shalit was 11, he wrote a short story called “When the Shark and the Fish First Met.” Though it seems this was originally published and spread around in 2008, I only came across it now via Facebook shares.
It resonates with me because I did a lot of short story writing when I was a kid… from the time I could draw doodles, to when I could write my alphabet, and then string sentences together, and then to the time I could consider word choice and sophisticate the effort.
His story is a good thought to keep in mind as we go into Pesach (Passover) this year, over five years since Gilad Shalit’s capture by Hamas. The story breaks my heart because it contains the same simple message in such a complex scenario, which so many of us familiar with conflict wrote, drew and dreamed as kids.
And here we are as adults, and the stories haven’t come true. Not many know that better than Gilad Shalit, than the Fogel survivors from Itamar.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t truth to them.
So, amidst the pain and violence of the Passover story, let’s keep in mind all the story dreams our children will have. Maybe, next year, they’ll come true.
“When the Shark and the Fish First Met”
(by 11-year-old Gilad Shalit)
A small and gentle fish was swimming in the middle of a peaceful ocean. All of a sudden, the fish saw a shark that wanted to devour him.
He then began to swim very quickly, but so did the shark.
Suddenly the fish stopped and called to the shark:
“Why do you want to devour me? We can play together!”
The shark thought and thought and said:
“Okay- fine: Let’s play hide and seek.”
The shark and fish played all day long, until the sun went down.
In the evening, the shark returned to his home.
His mother asked:
“How was your day, my dear shark? How many animals did you devour today?”
The shark answered: “Today I didn’t devour any animals, but I played with an animal called FISH”.
“That fish is an animal we eat. Don’t play with it!” said the shark’s mother.
At the home of the fish, the same thing happened. “How are you, little fish? How was it today in the sea?” asked the fish’s mother.
The fish answered: “Today I played with an animal called SHARK.”
“That shark is the animal that devoured your father and your brother. Don’t play with that animal,” answered the mother.
The next day in the middle of the ocean, neither the shark nor the fish were there.
They didn’t meet for many days, weeks and even months.
Then, one day they met. Each one immediately ran back to his mother and once again they didn’t meet for days, weeks and months.
After a whole year passed, the shark went out for a nice swim and so did the fish. For a third time, they met and then the shark said: “You are my enemy, but maybe we can make peace?”
The little fish said: “Okay.”
They played secretly for days, weeks and months, until one day the shark and fish went to the fish’s mother and spoke together with her. Then they did the same thing with the shark’s mother; and from that same day the sharks and the fish live in peace.