A certain little fish had always wanted to fly. It was kept in a very small, clear bowl, and swam round endlessly in circles during the day, and slept a bit at night, at the bottom of its bowl. The fish liked the clear water of his bowl, and he liked the flakes of the fish food which drifted down like tiny, dead leaves.
And he liked looking out through his bowl to see the dim outlines of trees and houses, and green fields. The little fish had seen birds, big ones and little ones, though the glass of the bowl and would watch them as they perched on a branch, or as they planed down to land on the grass, then flutter up in flight again. The birds endlessly fascinated the little fish. As it swam in his circle, the little fish believed one day he would be able to fly like the birds. Of course, its life was content enough, but still the little fish wanted to fly. It believed that circling his small bowl was not the climax of its life.
As time passed, the fish still held fast to his dream as it swam endlessly round and round in his bowl. It would move in little spurts of speed, tail fins wiggling. But as time passed, its little bowl appeared to grow smaller and smaller, and as it swam, its disappointment grew.
Years dragged past.
The fish began to wonder that, if it had been a different kind of fish, a stronger fish, a more intelligent fish, would he fly then? Was there some knowledge it could grasp that would enable him to fly? With all its might it desired to fly, hoping that, hoping that one day it would turn into a mighty fish with wings.
More years passed. The little fish grew increasingly sad. What had happened to it in its life? Nothing. It always saw the same shapes occupying the exact same places, as they floated past it as the clear water. And the little fish began to feel that it was a failure.
Finally, one day the little fish fell sick. It stayed on the bottom of its bowl, feebly flickering its fins. It would try and swim, but the little fish was too weak. Now it felt that the days when he had been able to swim endlessly around its bowl had been great and wonderful days compared to these. How it yearned to have them back again.
The little fish grew weaker. And weaker. Slowly, the little fins of the flickered more and more feebly, and then one day, it died.
The little fish had died quietly, lying on the sand at the bottom of the bowl. Its fins were entirely still. Then, after a time, very. very slowly, its body began to lift from the sand at the bottom of its bowl. Slowly, very slowly, it floated up, belly first, rising, rising through the water, until his dead white belly broke the surface of his bowl.
It was its way of flying.