Now somewhere along the coast there was a great storm, and the storm was very violent with exceedingly high waves. The waves caught up with them the starfish that feed on the ocean bottom and all night heaped them upon the beach, where they were sure to die the next day.
The following morning a certain man was walking along the beach, and saw that a great multitude of starfish had been exiled there. The dying starfish were all along the beach to the north and to the south, as far as one could see. Their number was so great the sand of the beach could scarcely be seen.
As he walked, he saw a young boy who was also walking across the beach. The boy was carefully picking up the starfish and throwing them back into the life-giving ocean one by one. The man marveled at this.
“Boy, what are you doing?” said the man.
“I am saving the starfish.” said the boy with enthusiasm.
“Boy, do you not see the great number of starfish? Even if you worked all day and night, you would not make a difference.” said the man.
The boy stooped down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the ocean.
“I made a difference for that one.” he said quietly.