Ta-in and Ta-na
Once upon a time there were two men who
lived in the same coastal village in Thailand. One was named
Ta-in and the other was named Ta-na. They became good friends
and liked to do things together. Ta-in and Ta-na were very good
fishermen so they decided to fish together in the bay. They built
a small boat and caught lots of fish in the following days. They
shared their catches and cooked them for their evening meal.
After many months, their luck changed, and they caught fewer
and fewer fish.
One day the two men had tried every place
they knew to find fish but had no luck. Finally, Ta-in caught
one fish, which they brought home. Since Ta-na had not caught
a fish, Ta-in said that he would take the head and middle part
of the fish and Ta-na could have the tail part. Ta-na did not
like this: he also wanted the head and middle of the fish. But
Ta-in shouted that it was not fair as he was the real owner of
the fish since he caught it. He deserved the head and middle,
and Ta-na should be happy to take the tail. They could not agree.
In fact, they became angrier and angrier and finally started
to fight with each other. Their swinging blows at one another
and their loud shouts brought the villagers running.
A village elder called Ta-yoo came by
and also heard them fighting. He pulled the men apart saying,
`Stop fighting!' Ta-in and Ta-na calmed down and agreed to let
the elder solve their problem. They were afraid that otherwise
they might hurt each other seriously. Ta-yoo thought about the
problem for a long time. The villagers waited in silence for
his decision. Finally he spoke.
`Ta-in, you caught the fish so you take
the head. Ta-na, you did not catch any fish so you take the tail
part. Because I have had to solve the problem for you, I will
take the middle part of the fish.'
The two men were stunned but could not
think of any other solution, so they agreed. Ta-in then took
the head, Ta-na took the tail part and Ta-yoo took the biggest
and best part of the fish. The villagers thought that it was
a fair solution and walked away.
Both Ta-in and Ta-na were very sad. `How
foolish we were', said Ta-in. `I caught the fish, and Ta-yoo
got the best part. I should not have been so selfish.' `No, I
was the selfish one', said Ta-na. `I didn't catch a fish, so
I should have been happy to take the tail part.' The two men
looked at each other. They finally realised that they had both
been greedy. Because of this, they were both losers that day,
but they had learned a valuable lesson.
From that day on, they worked together
and helped one another. They shared their catches, no matter
who had caught the most fish. In time the fish returned again
in great numbers, and Ta-in and Ta-na caught so many fish that
they could sell most of them. They even hired other men to help
them with their fishing. They not only had become good friends
again, they had also become wealthy.