Here in our last 24 hours in Toronto, I am living out the mashal of the fish and the diamonds.
Maybe you've heard this mashal (parable)? For sure, my kids have: many, many times.
In the story, a man leaves his home, somewhere normal in Europe, and sets sail to seek his fortune in some exotic island, perhaps near Africa, where it is rumoured that the streets are paved with diamonds.
He arrives at the island, and discovers that the rumours are TRUE. Diamonds are everywhere! He scoops them up to fill his pockets and rushes into a restaurant to order a lunch fit for a king.
Of course, he discovers when he goes to pay with the diamonds at the end of the meal, that they are utterly worthless on the island. What the restaurant wants in payment is... fish. Bleakly, he wanders from store to store, discovering that the only currency anyone will accept is fish.
(Don't ask why; this is not the most realistic story, okay?)
So, okay. The guy stashes the diamonds in his pocket and forgets about them. He sets to work accumulating fish to pay for his expensive passage back home. It takes years of backbreaking work, shlepping to the harbour every day over roads paved in diamonds. Eventually, he's got enough fish saved up to buy a ship and outfit it for the journey.
Then, he waves goodbye to his new friends on the island, hops on board the ship and sets sail for home.
When he arrives back at his village, he is greeted as a hero. "I have returned a wealthy man!" he announces.
He then opens the hold beneath the ship and out splashes a stinking, sloshing load of... fish. His perplexed family and friends stare at the mess on the dock and then recoil in horror. "What have you brought us?"