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Chapter 112 - The superstitious fishing master at the Euphrates.
112,1. We went to the stream, namely at the same place were the wooden raft was caught, which was still lying there in its unbundled large entireness, and where the fishermen of Jored were just busy to throw out their nets for a large catch of fish. We watched them how they made one throw after the other in vain.
112,2. Then Jored said to the fishing master: “Yes, what is this today? Are there no fish left in this our otherwise quite fish-rich stream?”
112,3. Said the old fishing master: “Lord, this is also a riddle to me! The time is otherwise quite favourable and on the surface a lot of small bubbles appear which is otherwise one of the best signs to catch fish. We also have no wind and the sun is at the right angle; in addition, the moon is increasing and has entered the zodiac sign of the fish, which again is very favourable for catching fish. At such favourable conditions I normally would have made a rich catch with little troubles, but today everything is like bewitched. We already have made five throws and this nearly over the full width of the stream and I have called on Neptune and Triton and all the nymphs of this stream, but all in vain! Not one fish gets into our good nets! It drives us to despair!
112,4. It is said that yesterday the fishermen down at Malaves have caught an immense number of fish; they must have had a magician among them. But also I understand all kinds of fishing-magic-things and have already applied everything; but today everything is useless! All auspices are good and still no success! Now somebody should tell me what in the name of all gods might be the problem! In the end all gods became angry with us because the foreign magician has destroyed all statues, which we honored, with one cue, - what I heard but of which I did not have convinced myself as yet. If the matter would be true, my lord, then things will look quite bad for us; because once the gods have been made angry they cannot be calmed down that easily again. It would cost us large sacrifices! But I still will try another few throws; if they also turn out to be empty, I will do nothing for the rest of the day!”
112,5. Said Jored: “Do this, perhaps something will still materialize!”
112,6. Thereupon the fishing master arranged another throw. Everything went perfectly well and when the net was brought to shore, it was empty like before, which annoyed the fishing master a great deal and whereupon he said: “I say it again: today is a bewitched day and then every work and effort is in vain! If I arrange another throw it will most likely end just like this one and I believe one should end this work for today. If you need fish for today we can get them from Malaves; for I hear that the fishermen there have caught a huge supply. It is also said that a magician have repaired their dwellings trough a secret magic stroke to such an extend that the citizens there could have a good laugh about our dwellings here! What else will still appear in this dear world, - yes, no ordinary man knows what is going on anymore! What do you think, lord, should we try another effort in vain, or should we rather cancel the work for today?”
112,7. Said now I: “Listen, you My old, very superstitious fisherman, for as long the certain little bubbles rise in the water, it is never a good but rather a bad sign because it is an indication that the fish are resting at the bottom. In order to do this they must, guided by their instinct, release the air from their air-bags, and this always creates in a fish-rich water the appearance of rising little bubbles. Only when you miss the little bubbles, then throw your nets out and you will catch a large number of fish! For if the fish does not expels air from its air-bag anymore, it needs air again because it is the only way it can get to the surface.
112,8. See, now the rising of the little bubbles has stopped and the gulls and herons start to dive into the water! Now make another throw and you will catch a large number of fish without any magic!”
112,9. It did not made a lot of sense to the fishing master but since his employer Jored instructed him, he ordered another throw and caught such a colossal number of fish that it was nearly impossible to bring the nets to shore. Now of course their was work above work to stock the mainly large fishes in the containers.
112,10. After an hour this was done and the fishing master could not curb his amazement about this so sudden overabundant catch and finally, after his surprise, said: “This was supposed to be no magic, - but I say: This was nevertheless the highest magic of all magic which has never been seen before! The man who advised me to make another throw, appears to know more than to notify an old fishing master about a rich catch based on the disappearance of the little bubbles and the actions of the certain water birds. In the end it is him who magically made the statues of the temple disappear and breathed better dwellings for the Malavanese! But leave it at that and I only ask if we should do another throw!”
112,11. Said I: “Do this and you will be provided for, for several weeks!”
112,12. Then the fishermen hurried and made another throw which was just as rich than the earlier one.
112,13. When the fish was stored in the large, empty containers, the fishing master instructed his servants to maintain the boats and fishing tackle upon which he came to Me and said: “Listen, you to me still completely unfamiliar man! You can do and understand more than an ordinary experienced, clever man can do and understand! You must have studied the great magic somewhere deep in Back-India; for here among the Greek and partly Romans and Jews such is totally unheard of. This rich fish catch you alone have magically put into our nets! I am an old fisherman; but never before, even in the very best fishing season, have I made such a catch - and on top of it, all noble fish. O, with you I want to discuss a few and many things; for you must have learned and experienced a lot and have possessed from birth on many talents! The gods must have breathed at you quite strongly, since your will has grown to such power in you!”
112,14. Says now Jored: “Very well, my old, loyal servant, when we are alone we will talk about this a lot! But for now take care that some of the best fish are brought to the kitchen for tonight; for we want to enjoy them still today! Make sure that you are not lacking anything either!”
112,15. The old man did this immediately but soon afterwards came back to us where we were seated at the raft timber trunks and watched a large flock of big gulls and herons making their reconnaissance above the large open fish containers and so to speak counselled each other how to get the fish out of them.
112,16. Then the fishing master asked Me by saying: “Dear man, what could one do against those feathered fish thieves so that they do not cause us any damage in the containers? See, even when these birds are not able to lift any of the large fish out of the water, they still wound the fish with their long and sharp beaks during their arrow-fast attacks. The fish thereby gets sick and are not that good for human consumption anymore, or they even die after being severely wounded and then are torn to pieces by these birds while floating on the surface as dead and finally sink to the bottom polluting the water in the container, which has an adverse effect on the healthy fish. You surely would know a means against it! Be so kind and tell me!”
112,17. Said I: “You still think that I am a magician; but I tell you as absolutely true and certain that with Me this is not the slightest case and surely never was. Therefore, as a knowledgeable person about nature, I will just tell you a quite natural means which consists therein: Cover the containers with an old fishing net, of which you have plenty, and the birds will not be able to harm the fish anymore! See, this is absolutely true and something quite natural and can easily be applied without any magic, and if carried out in good order and diligently, it will have a definitive good effect!”
112,18. Here the old man left again, since he found the advice good, called upon his servants and turned My advice into action and afterwards was quite joyful himself to have put a lock on the lascivious beaks of the greedy birds.
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