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Once again we walked to a tiny stream, this one about five feet wide and perhaps eight inches deep, and once again Juan Tomas went off to hunt for gusanos. When he didn't come back for a long time I searched and found him in earnest conversation with a farmer and his wife who were out raking hay. Juan took me aside. "It is inderdicted to fish in the river," he said, "so we will have to wait until the farmer leaves."
"What's the farmer have to do with it?" I asked.
"He is one of the councillors of Andorra."
An hour or so later the farmer and his wife completed their appointed task, and at 2:30 on the afternoon of my fifth day in paradise I finally held a fishing rod in my hand, or in my hands. It was an Andorran rod, 19� feet of cane from butt to tip, and it weighed about three pounds more than my oldest child. One walked along the creek, poked this Washington Monument of a rod through the greenery and tried to place three feet of line and one inch of worm into the pockets and riffles where monstrous trout lurked. Or so Juan Tomas gave us to understand.
After a while I got a bite, jerked the butt of the rod upward and flipped an infant trout 15 feet into an overhanging tree, from whence it dropped back into the stream. "Here," said the guide, wrenching the rod away. "I am showing you." He dropped the worm into a likely hole and suddenly catapulted a five-inch trout 50 feet behind him on the bank, using exactly the same stroke that is used by the commercial tuna fishermen off San Diego. Then he handed me the rod with a look of superiority. Using the Andorra technique I caught two trout, both of them miniscule, and finally informed Juan Tomas as politely as I could that it had been a grand experience but I had had my fill of trout fishing in Andorra. We returned to the hotel and I paid him off. Somehow the price had doubled, but I put this down to the language barrier.
The next morning a loud knock interrumpted our sleep. "Good evening," said one of the bellboys. "I am telling you the information that a good friend of mine is the best hunter and fisherman in Andorra."
"What?" I asked sleepily.
The man went on to explain that his friend John of the Dogs had agreed to take us fishing that same afternoon.
"Who?" I said.
"Juan dels Gosos," he said in Catalan.