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Observations placeholder

Moitessier, Bernard – The Long Way - The Rainbow Fish



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Moitessier, Bernard – The Long Way

This is the first time that I feel such peace, a peace that has become a certainty, something that cannot be explained, like faith. I know I will succeed, and it strikes me as perfectly normal: that is the marvellous thing, that absolute certainty where there is neither pride nor fear nor surprise. The entire sea is simply singing in a way I had never known before, and it fills me with what is at once question and answer.

At one point, though, I am tempted to steer for the reefs, to see what my porpoises would say. Something holds me back.

When I was a little boy, my mother told me fairy tales.

Once upon a time a very poor fisherman caught a big fish that had all the colours of the rainbow. And the beautiful fish begged him to spare his life. So the fisherman let him go, and the magic fish told him to make a wish any time he needed something. The fisherman asked the fish to make his thatched roof stop leaking, and could he possibly have something to eat a little less seldom. And when he went back to his hut, the roof was new, the table was set, and the soup bowl was full of lentil soup with croutons. And the poor fisherman had never been so happy, as he ate his nice hot lentil soup with croutons floating on top, in his hut with the roof that didn't leak any more. Not only that, but the bed was made, with a nice dry pallet and a brand new blanket as thick as that.

But the fisherman kept asking for things, and more things, and still more things. And the more he had, the more he wanted. Yet even when he owned a palace with lots of servants and a whole bunch of carriages in the courtyard, he was much less happy than when he used to eat his lentil soup with plenty of croutons on top, in his hut with the roof that didn't leak any more, and then used to go to sleep on his nice dry pallet, in the very first days of his friendship with the magic fish that had all the colours of the rainbow.

So he asked to be the King.

And at that the magic fish really got angry: he took away his friendship, and gave him back his hut with the leaky roof and the damp pallet and nothing in the soup bowl.


The source of the experience

Moitessier, Bernard

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Reducing desires
Squash the big I am