The Sandman: More Farm Stories  by Willliam J. Hopkins

The Perch Story

dropcap image NCE upon a time there was a farm-house, and it was painted white and had green blinds; and it stood not far from the road. In the fence was a wide gate to let the wagons through to the barn. And the wagons, going through, had made a little track that led up past the kitchen door and past the shed and past the barn and past the orchard to the wheat-field.

One morning, in summer, little Charles and little John came out of the kitchen door, after breakfast, and they looked up and saw that it was cloudy, and it wasn't very hot. So they both thought it would be a good day to go fishing. And they both began to speak at the same time, and they said, "Let's go fishing." Then they both laughed and said, "All right. Let's."

So little Charles looked in the shed and he found a little old wooden pail, and he took it. Then the two little boys started down the little track and ran out the wide gate and along the road until they came to the horsie field. There they climbed over the bars and walked across the field until they came to a place that they knew about, near the river, and there they stopped. There wasn't any horse in the field that day, so they weren't afraid of being chased. Then little John got a stick and little Charles had a stone, and they both began to dig. And pretty soon they found a lot of worms. Some were long and fat and some were little, but they took all that they found, and little Charles found some and little John found some. They put these worms in the pail, and when they had about twenty, they stopped digging and they ran along by the river until they came to the swimming-tree. Little Charles set his pail of worms down on the ground and he went to the tree and reached up behind one of the big branches and took down a pole.

The pole that little Charles took down was a little longer than a bean-pole, and a little slimmer. He had made it, himself, from one of the little slim trees; and on the little end of the pole was tied a string. The string was about as long as the pole, and on the other end of it was a hook, with a little stone tied on near it, for a sinker. And a little way above the stone was a round piece of wood that the boys called a bob. The bob was fastened on so that the hook would be just far enough under the top of the water. Then little John reached up and took down another pole almost exactly like little Charles's, and the two little boys sat down on the edge of the bank, with their feet hanging over.

Then little Charles and little John each took a worm out of the pail and stuck it on the hook, and they let the hooks go into the water. But the bobs floated and held the hooks just as deep as the fish were swimming. Then the little boys held the poles so that the lines were loose, and they sat there on the bank and watched the bobs. And after awhile, little John saw his bob go part way under the water and then it bobbed around so that he knew a fish was biting. So he gave a great jerk with the pole, and he jerked so hard that the fish came flying up out of the water and went over his head into the grass behind him. But he pulled it back with the line, and took it off the hook and left it flopping about in the grass. It was not a very big fish, and it had sharp stickers in the fins in its back and there was some red colour on the other fins. That kind of fish they call perch.


Little John put another worm on the hook.

Then little John put another worm on the hook, and while he was putting it on, he looked at little Charles's bob, and that was bobbing around in the water. So he said, "Look at your bob, Charles!" Little Charles had been watching little John's fish and he had forgotten to look at his own bob. But he looked when little John called, and he saw it bobbing about, and he gave a hard jerk with the pole, and a fish came flying up out of the water and went over his head. But little Charles had jerked so hard that the fish had gone off the hook and far away in the grass, and he couldn't find it. So, after he had looked for it, he came back and put another worm on the hook and both the boys had their hooks in the water again.

Then they sat there on the bank, and pretty soon little Charles caught another fish, and this time he didn't lose it in the grass. And then little John caught another. After awhile, each boy had a little pile of fish in the grass beside him. Little John had caught seven and little Charles had caught six, and they were so busy fishing that they didn't know that it was raining a little. And then little Charles looked up and saw that it was raining, and he thought they ought to stop fishing and go home. Little John didn't want to stop fishing, but Charles was a bigger boy than he was, so he thought he ought to do what Charles said.

So the two little boys stopped fishing and put their poles up in the swimming-tree again, out of sight. And each boy broke a twig from the tree and strung his fish on the twig, and then they started to go home. And while they were walking along through the grass, they looked down, and there was the fish that little Charles had lost. So Charles put it on the twig with the rest, and each boy had seven.


Then they walked along by the river to the horsie field and across the field to the road and along the road to the farm-house, and in at the wide gate and up the little track to the kitchen door, and there was Aunt Deborah waiting for them. And little Charles put the pail in the shed. It had some worms in it, and he thought they would do for another time. But they all dried up before another time. And Aunt Deborah took all the perch and said they looked very nice and she was glad the boys had caught them.

The next morning they all had perch for breakfast and they were very nice. And they had the rest of the perch for supper, and they were very nice, too.

And that's all.