3 Chapter 4

The young salmon listened to the Arabian story in amazement. It was true. One jump was enough to escape from the fishfarm and swim free in the river. That way he would have much more time to spend with the swallow, even during the night. So he decided to gather up the little courage we all need to be free. He would jump into the river. Even so, the salmon didn’t know if he was capable of surviving and this made him doubt.

In order to read and learn about salmon, he began to look at books for the very first time. He wanted to know if he would be able to survive, to see if any other salmon had ever been as brave, to know how he would manage to feed himself. Everything would be new so he had to plan carefully. He had to read and learn.

After sunset, when the swallow had left, the salmon would look into the fishfarm library and devour all the books about salmon. The rest of them were quite fed up with him because he would disturb their rest by reading with the light on. So when he tried to tell the other salmon what he had learned after reading so many books, they looked at him with dark, distrustful faces.

-The books say that we are not naturally fishfarm animals. The rivers and the sea are our home, and once upon a time we were free to go from one place to another.

The older salmon looked at each other with surprise and concern. It was true what the young salmon said, but they had spent a long time at that fishfarm, eating the coloured pellets they were fed each day without a worry.

-We have enough to eat here, and there is no danger of starvation.

-On top of that most of us were born here and we haven’t known anything else. To leave what we have and go to the river is crazy!

– We live comfortably here, safe from any danger. Who knows what could happen in the river! And once we jump in, there is no turning back…

-The water is calm here in the fishtanks and we can see the moon and the stars at night, but in the river, I bet the current will stop us seing anything.

-On top of that, the river is dangerous. They say that fishermen can appear at any moment.

The young salmon listened to a long list of opinions and excuses. It was clear that most of the salmon were quite comfortable at the fishfarm and that they had no intention of joining the river.

Several salmon however, full of curiosity, started to ask the youngster questions.

-Is it true that there is plenty food in the river?

-Is it true that the river and the sea are our real home?

-Is it true that we can reach the sea by swimming down the river?

The young salmon tried to answer all the questions as well as he could.

-There is as much food as one could want, both in the river and the sea, but you have to fight to obtain it. It’s not usually easy, and you might go hungry. The most courageous might sometimes be left starving in the river. The cowards will always have enough to eat at the fishfarm. However, the only way to get to the sea is down the river, but according to the books, once you reach the wide open sea the pleasure of swimming there is extraordinary. They say there are no words to describe the beauty of it all. That is real freedom.

The sea and freedom. Many of them had heard these two words in stories, especially in those told by the oldest salmon. However, they had forgotten them long ago.

These two words were too beautiful to be pushed aside so easily, so the younger salmon decided to question the older ones about them.

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