27 August 2009


The fisherman looked down at it, half wrapped in net on the deck of their boat, it flapped and slipped around uselessly. A tail and cloven hooves were never a winning combination on a wet wooden floor.

“What is it?” Said one of the men.

“It’s the devil,” said another. He took hold of his crucifix and pressed it to his sunburned mouth.

“Let’s put it back before something bad happens,” said a third.

The creature had given up trying to escape and was lying exasperated on the deck. It looked at the men through large, black, sad eyes. Its tail was a stunning iridescent green and made the men recall their time in beautiful, far away places. It was making a strange sound.

Just then the captain appeared amongst them and looked down at the sorry creature. He had no idea what it was, but part of being a captain is to say things like the following.

“Whoo! We’ll eat a good supper tonight, lads!”

Some of the men started to retch, but the captain was in mid-flow. “Don’t worry, we won’t go near it until it’s stopped mooing from its gills. Now, do you suppose it'd go better with mustard or lemon?”

The captain wandered off in search of just the right condiment.

Without a word the men rolled the creature back over the edge of the boat and into the sea. It looked immediately happy. They watched it enjoy the water, diving down and swimming past them far more gracefully than they had expected. Before it disappeared, it popped its head up out of the water and looked back at them contentedly. It was slowly chewing an enormous clump of seaweed.

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