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No. 73 (July 1973)
– 44 –

The Trout

Old Sam was mean. He lived in a broken down old shack on the edge of our settlement. The only modern appliances he ran to was a fridge which he'd installed in his old wash house at the back door. Now he'd invested in a fridge because his one joy in life, apart from doing people one in the eye, was fishing. And to keep his catch fresh to gloat over he just had to have one.

Down at the local pub he was always skiting about a great old man trout he'd seen and was out to catch. But he wouldn't say where. Not that we cared much, there were plenty of fishing spots in our wilderness. Yet old Sam was sure we were out to nab his old man trout and he'd sneak off furtively to get to his secret pool.

Well blow me if he didn't turn up one evening with his trout, and boy I tell you she was a beauty. We all stood around while it was weighted at the pub and it just tipped 15 lbs. I've never seen old Sam so carried away, why he wsa almost jovial. And what's more he actually bet us $5 that by 9 a.m. next day none of us could outdo his magnificent effort. To say we were stunned is to put it lightly, but most of us decided there and then to give it a go if only for the joy of seeing old Sam relieved of $5. So we all cleared off to make plans and old Sam carefully bore off his prize and tenderly placed it in his fridge.

Now over the track from Sam lived Hori, with his wife and half a dozen kids. Hori was a great joker, liked by one and all. He took great pride in his garden and his wife kept the house and kids real neat—they were a pleasure to see.

But old Sam and Hori were enemies. Sam had cheated Hori once over a deal and although Hori didn't say anything, we knew it wasn't forgotten. So he was the keenest of all to relieve Sam of his money.

We packed our gear and each went off to his favourite pool, some for evening fishing and some for early morning, but by 8 a.m. we were all gathered back at the pub (the local copper didn't notice as he always slept in on Sundays) and what an assortment of fish there were. Some were real good, but when Hori strolled up we saw at once that he had a beauty. I could see old Sam was mighty disturbed and as he placed Hori's catch on the scales I'd swear his hand shook a bit.

What a gasp went up. That beautiful specimen weighted 15 lb 3 oz, just 3 oz more than Sam's treasure!!!

Well we went silly and clouted Hori on the back and yahooed a lot, but you should have seen Sam. His face was like a thundercloud. But he had to pay up, and Hori, he beamed all over his jolly good-natured face.

We made for home then, each to a fish breakfast and to talk about the wonder of it all.

Hori's missus had the frying pan ready, but before Hori cut his beauty into fillets he carefully pulled a 4 oz lead sinker from the fish's throat.

I tell you man, that trout was doubly good eating!!

But as for Sam, when he found his fridge empty, his wrath was awful to see; but he couldn't prove anything.

But we felt things were even at last, don't you?