Not that long ago, there was a clear blue ocean that glittered golden every day when the sun touched its waves. In that sea there was a golden fish whose scales shone bright and beautiful. In the morning yellow and golden like dawn and in the evening red and purple like the setting sun.
Its home was a colourful coral reef and the golden fish was admired by all creatures of the sea. The crabs in the sand clicked with their claws in admiration when it swam by. Every sea plant stretched out and tried to taste some of the shining energy the fish radiated. And the corals grew strong in the presence of the golden one.
The other fish were not jealous of his beautiful scales because they felt more alive than anywhere else when they were close to him. Small and large fish, colourful and silver scaled fish, they all loved the king of fish. Sometimes they would even dance and swirl around him creating bubbles filled with joy and excitement.
The dolphins loved him as well and danced around him, sang to him and admired his beauty. They could feel how powerful he was and wherever they would go on their journeys from the coral reef into the open sea, they would carry his brightness within their hearts.
The old sea turtles told each other stories about the fish. Where he came from, they did not know. Where he might be going, they wondered. And why he always came back, they thought most about. The wise ones did not have one answer but many. They could not decide and did not know why he was the way he was. But they all agreed that they were very happy that he was there. Because if he wouldn’t be with them, they feared the coral reef was in danger.
Even the starfish, the sea creatures who were thinking the most, could not create one clear thought on the fish. On the bottom of the ocean they were the supreme scholars. Shells and muscles were smart too, but the starfish had the sharpest of minds. The sand grains on the ground where like books to them, filled with knowledge. Each and every one of them, billions of sand grains treasured the histories of the ocean they lived in and the earth they lived on. Because every one of those sand grains was there since the beginning of time and the starfish absorbed everything, they whispered beneath them.
From time to time, even whales would swim above the coral reef and sing the most beautiful songs in honour of this golden fish. Like the others, they felt energised by the presence of the golden one and his strength made it possible for them to go on their great journeys from North to South and back again.
The reef sharks did not dare plunge their teeth into his scales. They knew that he was greater than they were. They ate the other fish, but they were certain that he must be kept alive, not harmed, otherwise maybe all the other fish would disappear. And because of the sharks’ behaviour, the sea turtles and the starfish wondered, if maybe the golden fish was the soul and essence of all fish. But maybe he was not, maybe he was even more than that.
His existence grasped the beauty and the richness of the coral reef. But in the sea, there were far more dangerous hunters than reef sharks, with far more dangerous teeth, who were not as wise and careful as they were. The fish, the crabs the sea plants, the corals, the whales, the dolphins, the starfish, the sea turtles and the reef sharks knew that something strange, something dangerous had entered their waters, their habitat, but they could not see it. They could only sense it. It was everywhere and nowhere at all. And the golden fish could sense it too. One morning he would shine bright and yellow, the next day some of his scales had faded, turned grey and so everything around him started to turn colourless as well. First slowly then quicker and quicker.
The corals lost their colour and turned deathly white, the fish disappeared, they either died or fled the dying reef. They were replaced by jellyfish, ghostly figures, alive, but they had no admiration for the golden one. The sharks grew hungry and left to hunt their prey elsewhere. The whales fell silent and did not return from their great journeys. The dolphins lost their joy and swam away, never returned, the starfish grew dump, madness consumed them. The sea turtles grew sad and left. The plants faded away. Finally, the entire coral reef was no more than a graveyard under water.
One evening in this transformed place, this white landscape in a grey ocean, the golden fish glittered red and purple in the setting sun. Only some scales glowed with life and one by one went out like stars fading in the morning light. Only no more mornings would come for the golden fish. That night he faded away into nothing, never to return. But no one cared anyway for there was no one left to remember. Time as well as change swallowed the coral reef and the golden fish had vanished.
The sand grains had ended their whispering, no more eyes could look upon the beauty of anything. It all did not matter any longer. The colourful days of life had ended, and it would take another billion days for colour to replace grey and white again.