The Bodhisatta was once a fish. He and two companions swam downstream from the wilderness and came to a place where humans lived. The Bodhisatta knew it was dangerous for them to be there and said they should return, but the other two fish were lazy and chose to stick around. After three months had passed, these two fish got caught in a net. The Bodhisatta splashed the river’s surface in front of the net and then behind it, making the fishermen think the two fish he’d just snared had broken out. So they lifted one corner of the net to repair it, and the two fish were able to swim out to safety.
In the Lifetime of the Buddha
The two lazy fish were earlier births of two elderly disciples of the Buddha who spent a rainy season in a forest. When it was time to return to the monastery, they packed provisions for the journey, but kept delaying their departure. It was three months before they finally took off. When they arrived, they admitted to being lazy, and the Buddha told this story so everyone knew this was not the first time they had been reluctant to leave their temporary dwelling.