The River, the Alligator, and the Fisher.
There was once a guy that owned the entire world, or at least the portion of it that mattered, the portion that was wild and terrible, and beautiful, beside the river Theosis, where the alligators’ swim with slow languid flaps of their tails. Every day he completed his work, then as the sun started to approach the horizon, he set out with a small stick he had cut from the branch of an olive tree, which he had sharpened to a firm point, and walked slowly and quietly to a place on the bank where he had built a small platform.
He sat on the platform as still as ice, watching the fishes swimming past him, and clutching the stick with one hand. Occasionally, in a smooth move that would surprise anyone watching, he plunged the stick into the water. Sometimes the stick pierced a shimmering silver fish, which was then pulled out of the water into a little burlap bag.
The man had never wanted a child. He was happy with his simple life.
All the women folk of the village shook their heads at this. Sometimes, one of the older ladies would try to persuade him to go out with her daughter, but he was resolute in only wanting to fish. He stood there almost all night, every night, and soon enough the village folk came to the conclusion he was strange and harmless, and left him alone.
The king, a man named David, walked past the river one morning and saw him. He asked his advisor about the man who sat on the platform, but the advisor knew little, and soon the king had forgotten him. The King was a man of great plans. His nation, although small, was set astride the great trade routes. His advisors warned him that the surrounding empires would try to attack him, but each empire would fight the others if they wanted to take over the kingdom. So, the kingdom was peaceful and the man could fish.
As the King grew older, though, and catastrophe failed to materialise he became prouder and declared that a great pyramid should be built as a memorial for all time.
The news travelled far and wide, across deserts, and the luscious arable land. Each man was supposed to offer his services for a month every year to the great glory of the king. The pyramid would be a temple so high that it would be a memorial for all time.
And the Man fished.
Then one day, as he sat on his tall platform, a group of soldiers walked by. They were sent to find people who had not done their duty at the pyramid. One of them pointed him out. “Hey, you,” they shouted, trying to attract his attention. But all he would do was sit there on the platform, watching the water below. Finally, one of the soldiers got fed up and waded into the water to fetch him, until the soldier was chest deep. An alligator was swimming past, everything except its snout below the water, and it took its chance.
The soldier had not expected an animal to attack, and before he could do anything the alligator had closed its’ great teeth around him with the force of a dozen men. He shouted and screamed, but the soldiers could do nothing.
With a huge yell the fisherman jumped into the water.
His strokes were so powerful, so smooth, that he soon caught up to the alligator. And then he did something that no one who was watching could believe. He plunged the spear into the alligators’ eyes.
The shock and the pain made it open its’ mouth, and the Soldier swam away, towards the bank. Now, the alligator was angry, it tried to find its’ attacker using its’ one good eye. As it swivelled in the water the man realised he had only one chance. He clutched the jaw open and hanged on for dear life. The alligator, realising it had its’ attacker in a trap plunged deep into the water. It turned its’ body like a screw, over and over again in the water, and the man realised that he would soon have to let go. The spear was still embedded in the Alligators eye.
As he struggled in the water, the man could feel his chest expanding, an urgent desire for air. He let go, suddenly, and for a brief moment the alligator continued rolling just far enough that the Man had a moment to grab the spear. He pulled it loose, and got ready for the inevitable attack. The alligator turned towards the man, opened his giant jaws, and swam as fast as it could. It knew victory was inevitable now.
The man pushed the spear in through its’ mouth, his entire body forcing it deeper until it was in the animals’ brain. The alligator continued thrashing, snapping, its’ brain dead but its’ instincts still alive. The man swam away from it, and threw himself on the shore. He took a moment to breath and tries to catch his breath, but through his bleary eyes he could see the soldiers surrounding him on the bank.
“Thank you,” said the soldier, his arm hanging down limply by his side. A patch of red blood was spreading slowly down his side, “You saved my life. Is there anything I can do to repay you?”
“Let me fish,” the man said.
The soldier nodded slowly. He had the Kings orders which told him he must recruit any slackers. But he owed this man his life. He shrugged, “I don’t see anyone here, do you?” he asked the other soldiers. Several of them looked confused, but soon they were nodding. A few moments later they were marching to the next town.
It took an hour before the fisherman had made a new spear.
Then he went back to fishing.
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