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Catch of a Lifetime 一生的收获

 He was 11 and went fishing every chance he got from the dock at his family's cabin.
On the day before the bass season opened, he and his father were fishing early in the evening. Then he tied on a small silver lure and practiced casting. When his peapole doubled over, he knew something huge was on the other end. His father watched with admiration as the boy skillfully worked the fish alongside the dock.
Finally, he lifted the exhausted fish from the water. It was the largest one he had ever seen, but is was a bass.
The father lit a match and looked at his watch. It was 10 P.M.----two hours before the season opened. He looked at the fish, then at the boy.
"You'll have to put it back, son." he said.
"Dad!" cried the boy.
"There will be other fish," said his father.
"Not as big as this one," cried the boy.
He looked around the lake. No others were anywhere around in the moonlight. He looked again at his father. Even though no one had seen them, nor could anyone ever know what time he caught the fish, the boy could tell by the clarity of his father's voice that the decision was not negotiable. He slowly worked the hook out of the lip of the huge bass and lowered it into the black water. The boy suspected that he would never again see such a great fish.
That was 34 years ago. Today, the boy is a successful architect in New York City. He takes his own son and daughters fishing from the same dock.
And he was right. He has never again caught such a magnificent fish as the one he landed that night long ago. But he does see that same fish---again and again---every time he comes up against a question of ethics.
For, as his father taught him, ethics are simple matters of right and wrong. It is only the practice of ethics that is difficult. Do we do right when no one is looking? Do we refuse to cut corners to get the design in on time? Or refuse to trade stocks based on information that we know we aren't supposed to have?
We would if we were taught to put the fish back when we were young. For we would have learned the truth. The decision to do right lives fresh and fragrant in our memory.

  他11岁那年,只要一有机会,就会到他家小屋的码头上钓鱼。
鲈鱼季节开放的前一天晚上,他和父亲早早开始垂钓。他系上鱼饵,练习如何抛线。当鱼杆向下弯的时候,他知道线的另一端一定钓到了一条大鱼。父亲看着他技巧纯熟地在码头边沿和鱼周旋,眼神充满赞赏。
最后他将筋疲力尽的鱼提出水面。这是他所见过的最大的一条,还是一条鲈鱼。
父亲檫着一根火柴,看了看表。十点了---离开禁还有两个小时。他看了看鱼,又看了看男孩。
“你得把它放回去,孩子。”父亲说道。
“爸爸!”男孩叫道。
“还有其他的鱼嘛。”父亲说道。
“但没这么大。”男孩叫道。
男孩环视了一遍湖。月光下附近没有其他人。他又看了看他父亲。从父亲不可动摇的语气中,他知道这个决定没有商量余地,即使没有人看到他们,更无从得知他们何时钓到了鱼。他慢慢地将鱼钩从大鲈鱼的唇上取下,然后蹲下将鱼放回水中。男孩想,他可能再也看不到这么大的鱼了。
那是34年前的事了。现在,男孩是纽约的一个成功的建筑师,他带着自己的儿女仍然在同一个码头上钓鱼。
他猜得没错。自那次以后,他再也没有钓上过那么大的鱼了。但每次他面临道德难题而举棋不定的时候,他的眼前再三浮现出那条鱼。
他父亲曾告诉他,道德即是简单的对和错的问题,但要付诸行动却很难。在没人瞧见的时候,我们是否仍遵循道德准则?为了将图纸按时完成,我们是不是也会走捷径?或者在明知道不可以的情况下,仍将公司股份卖掉?
在我们还小的时候,如果有人教导我们把鱼放回去,我们会这样做,因为我们还在学习真理。正确的决定在我们的记忆里变得深刻而清晰。

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