Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Cornish Fisherman

The most delectable boats are all over the place here. We see them when we wake up in the morning and peek out any window. We see them when we walk out to get a nice breakfast treat. They are floating; they are standing on sand; they are unavoidable. We love them, and at least one boy wanted to know who uses them, and why. One day early on, he found out.

A yellow boat happened to be coming around the pier when Grandpa and he were walking down it. The yellow boat drifted over toward them, and stopped. A man got out and climbed the iron ladder until he was standing and looking at them.

"Hello," said the grandson.

"Hello," said the fisherman, for that was what he was. "Bright day, it'nit?" 

"Oh yes. Is that your fishing boat down there?"

"That it is, that it is," said the fisherman. "Brought me up some Lobster, I did. Loads of it. Like to see it?"

Oh, would he! So the fisherman began his quick movements to and from the iron ladder, hooking up a huge pail filled with wriggling Lobsters, and hoisting them up, over and over again, until at last all the Lobster were safely binned. 

"What is that on their claws?" asked the boy.

"Oh, those are the ruddy great rubber bands I have to put onto each claw. Else I wouldn't have any hands left, they'd pinch the daylights out of me if they had half a chance. Don't want to go messin' with no Lobster claws." And he shook his head for emphasis, just in case a young boy might go out and try 'messin'.

The fisherman went about his business as the boy watched with interest from a small distance. It was fascinating, and set all sorts of ideas into the head of the boy. Just think of the fine Lobster his mother could eat, if HE were the fisherman. HE wouldn't bother with selling them, either; at least, not until his mother had got the biggest, the tastiest Lobster right there on her dinner table. He thought of her smile, as she took her first bite. Yes, that was what the boy would do.

"You can come watch me any day," said the fisherman, "'-cept Sunday. I never fish on a Sunday. But come and watch me on the other days whenever you see the tide rolling in. I'll be here."

And they did. On another sunny weekday, the boy brought along his brother and his sister, to see this fine and fascinating fisherman with his catch. Only this time it wasn't Lobster, it was Crab. Brown Crab and Spider Crab. Absolute bucketfuls of them!  

This time the children not only got to watch the fisherman - they got to help him. He kindly let them pick up (with their grandfather) the tub of wriggling crabs and bring them into the cooling room. There didn't seem to be any 'ruddy great' rubber bands put around their claws, though. The fisherman picked up a crab (at a safe distance) and let it snap its claws at them and wriggle its legs creepily. This, too, was fascinating.

The man soon finished his crab work and hurried himself back down into the boat. They had never seen a man hurry as quickly as did this man. He had to be quick because the tide was going out, and when the tide goes out, a fisherman can no longer move his boat; and if he can no longer move his boat, the boat will become stuck there at the bottom of the iron ladder for absolute hours; and he couldn't have that. Time is money, for a fisherman.

It is time for bed now, and one boy's bed is up in the tippy-top of a 4-story cottage. From it he can see just about everything, even the fisherman's boat. He lays there, wondering how he might one day become a Cornish fisherman. He'd have to get through school first, it was true, but after that? anything was possible.

See you along the way!

the SconeLady

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