# Thursday, 02 February 2006

Hello Wilbur... Goodbye Wilbur

Last Thursday evening, I noticed funny noises coming from the fish tank filter. I decided that it was about time it was cleaned, so I unplugged it and carried it over to the sink to empty out the water. As I tipped it over, I noticed something small that looked like it was moving in the sink.
 
Looking closer, I could see a small baby fish!! I guess it must have been sucked into the filter and not been able to get out. Knowning the way fish have babies, I presume that its borthers and sisters must have been someone else's breakfast, and this little fella survived by being out of reach inside the filter.
 
I scooped him up, and put him in a jug of water so I could have a closer look (and to save him from dying in the sink of course). He was about one inch long and pink. I had just read Charlotte's Web, a very pleasant, if weird, children's book about a spider (Charlotte) who saves a runt pig (Wilbur) from certain death. As this fish was small and pink, and I had saved him from certain death, I called him Wilbur.
 
Not knowing quite what to do with Wilbur, I put him in a small plastic box of water and floated it in the main tank. That way, he was safe from the jaws of Biffer (our tank bully, who would consider Wilbur a tasty snack), but he would have warmth from the heated water around him. I gave him some food and went to bed.
 
The children were highly excited the following morning, and I must admit that I was too. My thoughts drifted to Wilbur during most of the day. He seemed quite active, swimming around his plastic tub. I decided that I would have to do something better for him on Sunday. I thought of rigging up a small container of netting, so that there would be a free flow of water in and out, to save me having to swap the water in his tub so often. Happy, I went of for my pre-Shabbos bath.
 
I came downstairs an hour or so later to find Wilbur dead!! He was belly-up in the bottom of his tub. I have no idea why, but I was really upset.
 
Funny how something so small, and only here for a short time can make such a deep impression. I guess there's a profound message in that. I leave it to you to consider.
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