6 Chapter 6

The unusual rumpus over the last few days at the fish farm was soon noticed by the keeper. Salmon that had once been weak and slow could now be seen at the surface of the water and some even rehearsed small leaps. He could see that they were unsettled and to punish them he decided to cut down their food. The daily amount went down considerably.

The salmon, of course, noticed the decrease in coloured food pellets. However, instead of using this change to think about their situation, they started to niggle and fight with each other.

-It’s the fault of these water-headed youngsters. They have got us all mixed up with their wild ideas! Until now we’ve lived very well with our daily dose…

-True! We should punish them!

And so some of them went looking for the young salmon.

Many others, however, realised for the very first time that they depended on the keeper. They lived thanks to the dose that was given to them, sometimes comfortably, but sometimes hungry. The young salmon was right. As well as being captive within the walls of the fishtanks, their food pellets were thrown in from above, but only as much as the keeper decided. If the dose of pellets disappeared, it would be the end.

-We depend completely on the keeper. He decides whether to keep us alive or let us die. It’s not fair!

-Even when he takes our friends and family away from here, we just look at him, like complete fools. We’re so stupid!

-We have to ask for a bigger dose of food!

-No! We want to choose how big the daily dose should be!

-And also whether we want to live in the fishfarm or the river too!

Something strange was going on, and although one of the sunniest and most beautiful days arose from the riverside the mood in the fishfarm was dark. One could feel a storm ahead.

Some refused to accept that a decision should be taken between all of the salmon. They said that until then they had lived in peace at the fishfarm and that they wanted to continue just the same. They wanted to be left in peace, in the water, calm and quite.

Another group wanted to get the dose of pellets increased. It was true that there was very little lacking at the fishfarm and that it was a suitable place to live. Nevertheless, as they would live more happily if they managed to get a bigger dose they decided to talk to the keeper about their daily ration.

The youngest ones didn’t want keepers. They proclaimed that salmon are river and sea animals and that they should be free. They also organised groups in order to attack the walls of the fishtank. In a joint effort, they even managed to slightly crack the wall at times. On these occasions, the angry keeper cut down the daily amount of food pellets even more and this increased the hate and anger the salmon felt felt for each other.

-Because of your foolishness the person that once took care of us now hates us and gives us less and less food! We shall all soon starve to death if we go on like this- said many of the salmon.

The youngsters however, did not want to give in, and went on attacking the walls in groups that were becoming smaller and smaller. Because the strength of the blows was getting weaker, instead of the wall cracking, it was more often the salmon who cracked their heads open. Those that had originally helped attack the walls but had later given in asked the most stubborn ones to apply the wisdom and judgement shown by circus tamers.

Caution, tranquillity, silence, peace…is what some of them asked for.

Bravery, strength, confrontation, dignity…is what others proclaimed.

Therefore, it didn’t take much for the salmon to start fighting, causing great harm to one another.

When the swallow flew by she was horrified to see what was happening at the fishfarm. Most of the salmon were hitting each other and swearing at each other, whilst the keeper scooped out the dead fish with a net.

Full of anxiety, she found the young salmon and told him a story from far away over the seas.


Red Tulips Copyright © 2002 by Gari Berasaluze. All Rights Reserved.


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