Short Stories

The Fish Lesson

In a school of orphans of old, where the boys who the family could not support went, there was much misery. Misery is a way of saying … fomenica, larica, galga and other names that hunger has, but that do not disguise the penury or tuck in the stomach.

  Meals in the huge freezing canteen were a make-suffer and a make-believe. Only the schoolmaster – the mayor – at the head of the table, ate to his liking. He said it was because it was big and thick and serious and that little ones, because they were small, did not need to eat as much. Lies Apologies.

  At lunch, they put a goldfish on each boarder ‘s plate with little company of a rice ladle.

  One of the orphans, instead of throwing his hungry fork at his meal, put his mouth to the edge of his plate and began to speak softly, as if praying. The colleagues were surprised and, deep down, the mayor wanted to know why this extravagance.

  “I’m talking to the fish, sir,” explained the good guy. “Since my father, who was a fisherman, died at sea, I am asking him if he ever got to know you.”

  – And what did he answer you? Asked the mayor, amused, between two bites.

  – He told me that he does not remember, because he is very small, but that perhaps the big fish, which is on the mayor’s plate, knows how to give me some news.

  It seems that from this case the orphanage boys had improved ration. See what a little fish can teach the big ones.

  António Toasted

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