A hardworking fisherman had bad luck one day on the water and caught only a single, small fish. "You're barely big enough for a mouthful!" he exclaimed. "But at least you'll be something to bring home to my family for dinner."
The little fish gasped. "Have mercy and spare my life! You can see what a pitiful meal I'd make. If you throw me back, I promise I'll grow into a fish that would truly be worth your while to catch!"
But the fisherman put the fish in his basket, and began rowing for home. "You may be small," he said, "but if I throw you back now, I may never catch you again."
A small gain today is better than a large promise for tomorrow.
When I read this story for the first time, I never really got the point of the moral. If you could catch that same fish years later and it would be huge, then why not do it? This story always gave me something to think about as I fell asleep. But now I understand what it means. It means that what you get, no matter how worthless or small, is better than something that you may get tomorrow. It is like that other saying: A bird in hand is better than two in the bush. In fact, I even had to explain it to my friends the other day. They could not get it even though they are usually pretty good with these kinds of things. I guess this is just one of those morals that is really hard to get.
In the real world, if your parents say that either you can have a few cookies right now, or you can have a lot of cookies later, you'll more likely to pick the choice where your craving is immediately satisfied. I know that is the one that I would pick. A small thing that you are absolutely going to get is better than a bigger promise for later.
This moral, as you can see, occurs in real life as well as in fiction. I think that this moral really teaches people to take what you can get now and leave the bigger risks for when you really need to. What I mean by bigger risks are life or death situations, not cookie craving cases. So if you ever end up with the short end of the stick, take what you can and "live to fight another day".