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Prodigy in a puddle
William Humphrey
September 18, 1978
Resplendent in the roadside pool, the huge trout was too big to be caught, yet too big not to be fished for
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September 18, 1978

Prodigy In A Puddle

Resplendent in the roadside pool, the huge trout was too big to be caught, yet too big not to be fished for

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There is a way to land a really big fish—maybe. It is the opposite of the way to land an ordinary one. Instead of fighting him, you put no pressure on him at all; indeed, you do not let him know that he is hooked. You give him his head. You just hold on quietly and let him have the freedom of the pool until the moment when you scoop him up tail first in your net. That was what the fish had done to me. Without my even knowing I was hooked, he had me all but ready for the net. Now or never, I must get up off my belly and into the water with him.

I then learned that we were not alone, my fish and I. While I had been observing him on that day of decision, I was being observed myself.

I was crawling backward away from the bank. Looking over my shoulder, I saw a towheaded little boy, as freckled as a trout. I spent another minute on my hands and knees searching for the thing I was pretending to have lost.

"After that big old trout, eh?"

"Trout?" I inquired, giving up my search and getting to my feet. "What trout?"

The boy stepped around me and started down the path to have a look for himself. He knew where to look.

"Don't go too near!" I said. "You'll scare him."

"Scare him? What's he got to be scared of? Heck, he's bigger'n I am."

"Well then, keep back. If you should slip and fall in he might eat you."

"You a foreigner?"

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