Just for Kids / Fishing with Father


by Margo Fallis




Kahlan loved to go fishing with his father. They would find a place along the banks of the river and sit down. Father always brought a basket of food for them to eat while waiting for the fish to bite.


One morning, Kahlans father woke him up very early in the morning. The sun hadnt even begun to rise yet. "Come, son. It is time to go."


Kahlan jumped out of bed, suddenly wide awake. "Good, Father. I cant wait."


While his father gathered the fishing tackle, Kahlan brushed his dark brown hair, put on his clothes and his socks and shoes. He met his father outside. Together they headed for the river.


"See those stars up there?" his father asked, pointing to a cluster of bright, twinkling stars. "That is Orion. See his belt and his sword?"


Kahlan looked. He thought he saw it. He did see some beautiful stars. "Why are there so many stars, Father?" he asked. "Are there as many fish in the Nile River as there are stars in the sky?"


"Oh no, son. Not near as many. The stars in the sky are more than the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. Arent they beautiful?" he asked. "When I was a boy, I lived in the desert, in a tent made of goat and camel hair. There were no lights like there are here, in the city. It was black as coal and the stars were thick in the heavens. I would lie awake for hours, gazing at them, wondering why they were all there?"


"There are a lot of them, Father. I hope there are a lot of fish for us to catch," Kahlan smiled.


They walked silently the rest of the way. Already they could hear the morning rush hour traffic off in the distance. Lights from houses were turning on, one at a time, as their occupants rose. Dogs began to bark and roosters crowed. By the time they reached the riverbank, the sun was coming over the horizon. "It looks like strands of shimmering gold, doesnt it, Kahlan?" his father asked.


Kahlan stood and watched it. Finally he had to cover his eyes, as it was so bright. He knew that soon it would be blazing and hed get very hot. He was glad he was at the river. He could swim if he got too hot.


Father handed Kahlan his fishing pole. They tossed them into the river and sat down on the muddy bank. Father had brought an old blanket to sit on as the mud was very black and stained their clothing. They sat there, watching as the river came to life. Several barges sailed by. Some were carrying fruit, others stones, and still others carried beautiful, colorful flowers.


Birds started flying about, some landing in the water, bobbing up and down on the small waves. Their heads went underwater now and then, searching for a breakfast of fish, perhaps Nile perch. "Look, Kahlan," Father said, pointing across the river. "Theres a crocodile. Its after that bird."


Kahlan watched the crocodile slink into the water and swim towards the bathing heron. Its tail swished back and forth as it moved silently. Just as it got near the bird, the heron flew off into the air. The crocodile sat there, still, for several moments, then went under water and out of their sight. "I hope that crocodile doesnt feel like eating us for breakfast," Kahlan said, rather afraid.


"Dont worry, son. Hed much rather eat some fish or perhaps some rats crawling along the bank."


Just then Kahlans pole began to jiggle. "Ive got a fish, Father. Ive got a fish!" He was so excited. He pulled and started winding in his fishing line. "It must be a big one," he cried out.


Soon a large, silvery fish was floundering on the blanket next to father. "Ive got it," he said, grabbing the wriggling fish in his hands. "Kahlan, open the basket and Ill throw it in," Father said.


Kahlan lifted the lid and his father tossed the fish inside. After a few hours there were a dozen fish in the basket. Kahlan and his father sat munching away on ripe, sticky dates, some pita bread that had been made fresh the night before, some goat cheese, and some grapes. "Well, son, I think we should get these fish home and into the refrigerator before they spoil," Father said.


"I cant wait to eat one for dinner tonight," Kahlan said, his mouth drooling with anticipation.


That night Kahlans mother fried the fish. She boiled some rice and couscous. She chopped up some eggplant and cucumber and added them to the couscous. For dessert she mixed pistachio nuts with honey and butter and let it harden.


"This is the best fish Ive ever tasted," Kahlan said, "and thats because I caught it myself!" Hed never been prouder and never had a nicer day today, fishing with his father.


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