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Balan and the Fish

by Vivek Subramanian (13 years old)

“Balan, how many fishes have you caught so far?” yelled Appa.

In a discouraged voice and with his head hung down, Balan responded, “None, Appa, none.” Beads of sweat rolled down his shirt reminding him of the unforgiving sun he was dealing with. Despite this, he kept the fishing line in the water determined to get something.

Shortly after, “YES! I have one I have one,” he ran back jubilantly to the village clasping the tail of an Indian salmon as it wriggled and swayed erratically, in an attempt to escape. “Appa, look what I caught!” he yelled, “common but delightful.” “Wonderful!” Appa gave him a pat on his back and told him to return to the spot to get more.

With a smile that ran across his face, he skipped back while singing. He seized his fishing rod and cast the line, disturbing the calm waters.

Time was flying by, and it was as if he was fishing in a dry riverbed. After another thirty minutes, still nothing. Clouds were nowhere to be found and by then, the sun was at its peak height. There were no trees, shelters, or anything to provide shade. There weren’t any shadows in sight. The sun smacked him at his already copper-skinned back and neck.

Just then, at the corner of his eye, he saw a few bubbles rising to the surface.

It must’ve been a… “Fish!” Balan exclaimed. Immediately, he snatched back the line and threw it towards the bubbles.

For a few seconds… silence. No movement or anything. Then before he knew it, water sprayed in all directions. His fishing rod escaped his hand and flung towards the water splashing. Balan lost control and fell on the smooth and slippery ground.

“NO, THE FISHING ROD! Appa will kill me!” he cried.

Exasperated, he pounded the Earth. This fish was powerful, too strong for him to handle.

He then caught a glimpse of a very long, thin, rough, and dark green object. A tail?

It moved precariously in wavelike motions swaying from side to side. He realized he didn’t lose the fishing rod to a big powerful fish… It was a crocodile.

“HELP ME!” he screamed.

He snatched his fish bucket and raced back to the village.

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