THE FISHERMAN
BY LAMERTU K'THAEN


A small Penda'u fairytale about fate and a fisherman. This tale has probably originated from the nomadic period, when memories of mermaids still haunted their minds, but factual information was absent.


n Merinde, on the other side of the ocean, when Essuan's footsteps could still be heard, there once lived a fisherman. Everyday, early in the morning, he would set out with his sail to the seas. He would spent his day hunting fish with his nets and fishing-spear, only to return at nightfall to his wife.

And thus it came to pass that one evening he returned home with his nets full of fish, and he saw a great tail rising above the waves. Following his inistincts he cast the spear, and hit.
 
And when he did, he heard a loud scream as that of a woman, and hauling the fish into his boat he saw two pale, cool and unforgiving eyes looking at him, and although they were dead he felt as if Lot herself was looking at him. The mermaid, for that is what she was, was bleeding heavily from her side, and her blood was flowing into the sea, leaving a trail for the other merfolk. Therefore the fisherman cast her back into the sea, but blood continued to stream from the boat seemingly out of nowhere.

Knowing the wrath of the merfolk was upon him, the fisherman raised all his sails, and his boat took him home as soon as possible. But in the sight of the harbor, the merfolk, following the trail of blood, took him over, and, he feared that they would tear him to pieces. For the woman he had killed had been old and well-beloved, because she knew everything about the depths of the seas. But the fisherman was strong, as was his spear, and the merfolk was not eager to fight, and so he was set free at last, promising that he would give them his firstborn son.

A few months later, his wife gave birth to a boy, brownhaired, grey-eyed, a mirror-image of his father. He and his wife loved him dearly, and they treated him like a prince. But one day, on his fifth birthday, the fisherwife was washing the boy on the riverbank, when a sudden wave took him away from the woman's hands, carrying him towards the sea, and he was assumed drowned. But his parents did not want to accept his death, and at the sight of dawn they would always go to the river and call out his name, hoping for him to return.

The fisherman started to age fast after this incident, and only a few years later his back was bent, his hair had grown gray, and his eyesight was dim. But even then, he had to fish to make his living, and on a winterday, on the cold seas, he suddenly heard a gay voice laughing, reminding him of his son. His heart began to beat faster, and he sailed towards the voice he had heard. Then the laughing stopped and was replaced by a muffled scream. The fisherman looked around, and saw air bubbles coming out of the water where his nets where. Quickly, he started to take the nets out of the water.

Between the fish, he saw a young merman, caught in the nets, dead. Turning his face around, he recognised him as his boy, the brown eyes watching him accusingly, and the fisherman knew that he had been dead since he had promised his firstborn son. For his heart was broken, and he cast himself into the ocean for the waves to take him as well.

Story written by Lamertu K'thaen View Profile