The Fisherman and His Daughter

The Fisherman and His Daughter

A Story by Hannah

A fisherman from a poor town that is trying to help his village out of poverty


           There is a village that borders a large lake with water the color of the stunning blue sky. It is mainly a fishing village, as it had been since its founding. The town’s economy centers on the lake’s fish, which makes it difficult during years where the fish are scarce. The majority of the men in the village take their boats to the lake early every morning to try to catch anything worthwhile. The male children often go with their fathers in attempts to learn the trade at a young age. As for the women, they have varying jobs. Some work as merchants in the town’s market, while others make clothes or blankets.

            There is a fisherman named Jonathon who is considered to be one of the most trusted men of the village. He constantly finds ways to help others without expecting anything in return. He and his wife, Abigail, who works at the market, live a mediocre life. They have a 7-year-old girl named Katie, which makes it tough to put food on the table. Especially the past few years, where it seems more and more difficult to catch any substantial fish.

            “How was it today?” Questions Abigail as Jonathon walks through the door from a morning at sea.

            “Bad.” He murmurs as he takes off his mud-coated boots. “Nothing was biting, I only caught one small fish.”

            “What about the other men? Did they catch anything?”

            Jonathon lets out a heaping sigh, “No, it’s like all the fish are gone. We need a miracle to keep our town from going under. If only the golden fish would come.” He sounded defeated; something that was completely unlike him.

            “The golden fish? From the old wives tale? You don’t really believe in that do you?” She said as she walked over to him.

            “Growing up, my father had always told me stories of it. He said that he, like few before him, had caught the fish. However, they all let it free back into the lake. He told me that the fish would come back when the village was in a time of need. That someone would catch it and sell it at the city in town. It would fetch a hefty price, because it is made only of gold.”

            Abigail deflected, “Let’s eat dinner.”

            The three sat down at the table and stared at the small loaf of bread in the center. There wasn’t even enough to hold one person over, much less three. They looked at it uneasily with silence on their lips. Finally, Jonathon stood up from the table and breathed, “You eat it, I’m not hungry.”

            “Where are you going?” She asked with worry on her tongue.

            “I need to go for a walk.”

            Abigail watched him as he went to the door. Katie just stares with wide eyes, unsure of what is happening. He put back on his boots and fishing jacket before leaving. Tears formed in her eyes as she saw Jonathon grab his fishing pole from its stand against the house.

            Jonathon headed back to the lake and untied the rope holding his rowboat to the shore of the water. He tossed in his bait and pole before leaping into the boat, which left rings in the water. The man is filled with determination, as he always had been, and casts his pole into the water.

            He waits for hours, occasionally casting or recasting to change the bait’s place in the water. Slowly, as the moon starts to rise, his eyes grow more and more heavy. He leans back in the boat and allows himself to drift to sleep, his fishing pole still clutched in his calloused hand.

            The next morning, when the village starts stirring and the men come out to the water, Jonathon finally wakes up. Disappointment floods over his face when he realizes that he hasn’t caught the fish from the legends.

            “Hey, Jonathon, how early did you get here?” Questions David from a boat nearby.

            Jonathon responds, groggily, “I’ve been here since yesterday.”

            “Why? Something going on between you and Abigail? You could have stayed at my place if you needed to.”

            Jonathon smiles and says, “No, we’re fine. I’m looking for the fish.”

            “Oh, John, the one from the stories? Don’t waste your time like that.”

            “It’s not a waste of time.”

            “Ok, but don’t get too frustrated if you can’t find it.” David whispers under his breath as he rows his boat further away.

            “I will catch it!” Jonathon calls after him.

            He casts out his line once more and waits. Somehow, the day slips by him and the sky starts changing to night. He suddenly realizes the pain coming from his stomach as it growls. Jonathon looks over at his house, but refuses to give up. I have to do this. He thinks to himself.

            A few hours pass by until he hears his daughter’s voice calling to him, “Daddy? Daddy?”

            “Katie? What are you doing out here?” He asks as he rows the small, wooden boat to shore.

            “Mommy and I were really worried about you, so I wanted to help!” She cheers as she shows him a fishing pole and some bread.

            “Where’d you get that fishing pole from?”

            “I asked your friend Mark and he let me borrow his extra one.”

            “What about mommy? Does she know you’re here?”

            “Yep, she knows.” Her mouth forms a grin, which reveals missing teeth.

            “Well, in that case, hop on in!” He cries as he pats on the seat in front of him.

            Jonathon steers the boat back to the center of the lake. They spend a little time chatting while they ripped pieces off of the bread. They laugh together as the sun goes down and there is no bread left. “Ok, ready?” He asks as he gets out his bait and starts to put it on Katie’s hook.

            “No wait! I wanna do it!” She says joyfully

            Jonathon lets out a chuckle and says, “Ok, but you have to be careful.” They both bait their own fishing hooks. Once they’re done, Jonathon casts his line out, gracefully, into the water. He cups his hands over Katie’s and helps her pull her arms back and throw them forward to cast out her fishing line. She cheers when it lands in the water.

            The two wait, recasting their fishing poles every time they feel too impatient. When the air starts to grow cooler, Jonathon picks Katie up and sits her in his lap to keep her warm. Jonathon drifts off to sleep with the sound of crickets chirping ringing in his ear and a smile on his worn face.

            A few hours later, he wakes to the sound of Katie crying, “Daddy, daddy, there’s something on my fishing pole!”

He stands up, alert, and holds his hands around Katie’s. The line jerks this way and that, but they hold steady and reel the fish in with all their might. It’s the most troublesome fish that he’s ever hooked, it must be the golden fish, he thinks to himself. After minutes of struggle, the fish is finally pulled above the water. It’s scales shine a beautiful gold color, just like his father had always said it would. Tears of joy stream down Jonathon’s face as he hugs Katie tight. “I’m so proud of you,” he whispers in her small ear.

He rows all the way to shore, wearing a grin from ear to ear. After tying up the boat, Jonathon hands the fish over to Katie. “It’s time to show everyone what you caught,” he says as he lifts her up onto his shoulder. He runs to his house and thrusts open the door. “Abigail! Abigail!” he cries as he runs to their bedroom.

“What is it?” she questions, groggily.

“Katie did it! She caught it! All the legends were true!”

“What? Come on John don’t fool around.”

“Look!” he yells in excitement as he lights a nearby candle.

A hand flies in front of Abigail’s face as she gasps in amazement. “I can’t believe you’ve actually done it. We have to tell the village!”

Together, the three ran up to the doors of every person in the town and showed their prize. Joy filled the entire village for the first time in years. Things were finally looking up for their small fishing village.

The next day, they walked to the city and displayed the fish for all to see. The merchant was thrilled to see the fish, for he too had heard the stories. The fish fetched a hefty price, much more than they could ever imagine. When they returned to the village, everyone cheered with delight and thanked the young girl, for their troubles had finally ended. 

© 2012 Hannah

Author's Note

Be harsh :)

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Added on August 15, 2012
Last Updated on August 15, 2012
Tags: fantasy, myth, legend, wive's tale, hero, family, fish, fishing, fisherman, gold




Hello! :) My name's Hannah, and I'm from New Jersey (unfortunately...) I'm 16 years old (I'll be 17 in October) I love writing and reading, my favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe. I really got in.. more..

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