herring once decided to swim right around the world. “I’m tired of the North Sea,” he said. “I want to find out what else there is in the world.” So he swam off south into the deep Atlantic. He swam and swam far, far away from the seas he knew, through the warm waters of the equator and on down into the south Atlantic. And all the time he saw many strange and wonderful fish that he had never seen before. Once he was nearly eaten by a shark. And once he was nearly electrocuted by an electriceel. And once he was nearly 6)stung by a stingray.

But he swam on and on. Round the tip of Africa and into the Indian Ocean, and he passed by devilfish and sailfish and sawfish and swordfish and bluefish and blackfish and mudfish and some fish, and he was amazed by the different shapes and sizes and colors. On he swam into the Java Sea. And he saw fish that leapt out of the water and fish that lived on the bottom of the sea and fish that could walk on their fins. And on he swam through the Coral Sea where the shells of millions and millions of tiny creatures had turned to rock and stood as big as mountains.

But still he swam on into the wide Pacific. He swam over the deepest parts of the ocean where the water is so deep that it is inky black at the bottom and the fish carried lanterns over their heads and some have lights on their tails. And through the Pacific he swam and then he turned north and headed up to the cold Siberian Sea where huge white icebergs sailed past him like mighty ships, and still he swam on and on and into the frozen Arctic Ocean where the sea is forever covered in ice. And on he went past Greenland and Iceland and finally he swam home into his own North Sea.

All his friends and relations gathered around and made a great fuss of him. They had a big feast and offered him the very best food they could find, but the herring just yawned and said, “I’ve swum around the entire world. I've seen everything there is to see and I have eaten more exotic and wonderful dishes than you could possibly imagine.” And he refused to eat anything. Then his friends and relations begged him to come home and live with them. But he refused. “I’ve been everywhere there is and that old rock is too dull and small for me.” And he went off and lived on his own.

And when the breeding season came, he refused to join in the spawning, saying, “I’ve swum around the entire world. And now I know how many fish there are in the world. I can’t be interested in herrings anymore.”

Eventually, one of the oldest of the herrings swam up to him and said, “Listen, if you don’t spawn with us, some herrings eggs will go unfertilized and will not turn into healthy young herrings. If you don’t live with your family, you’ll make them sad and if you don’t eat, you’ll die.”

But the herring said, “I don’t mind. I've been everywhere there is to go, I've seen everything there is to see, and now I know everything there is to know.”

The old fish shook his head. “No one has ever seen everything there is to see,” he said. “Nor known everything there is to know.”

“Look,” said the herring, “I’ve swum through the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Java Sea, the Coral Sea, the Great Pacific Ocean, the Siberian Sea, and the frozen Arctic. Tell me, what else is there for me to see or know?”

“I don’t know,” said the old herring. “But there may be something.”

Well just then, a fishing boat came by, and all the herrings were caught in a net and taken to market that very day. And a man bought the herring and ate it for his supper, and he never knew that it had swum right around the world and had seen everything there was to see, and knew everything there was to know.