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ACROSS a certain river a poor fisherman set a row of stakes, and on each stake was fastened a basket in which he hoped to trap the fishes as they swam down the river.
But his luck was very bad, and every p. 50 evening, as he went from basket to basket in his canoe, he was disappointed to find that no fishes, or only a few very small ones, had been caught.
This made him very sad, and he was forced to live frugally.
One day he found a stranger lying asleep on the river-bank. Instead of killing the stranger, the fisherman spoke kindly to him, and invited him to share his evening meal.
The stranger appeared very pleased and ate and drank, but spoke no word at all, The fisherman thought: “He speaks another language.”
Quite suddenly the stranger vanished, and only the remains of the meal convinced the fisherman that he had not been dreaming.
The next evening when he went to empty his baskets, he was astonished to find them overflowing with fish. He could not account for his good fortune, and his surprise was even greater when the same thing occurred the next day. On the third day p. 51 the baskets were again quite full, and when the fisherman came to the last basket he saw that it contained a single monstrous fish.
“Do you not know me?” said the fish.
“Indeed no, Mr. Fish. I have never seen you before!” declared the fisherman, nearly upsetting the canoe in his astonishment.
“Have you forgotten the stranger whom you treated so courteously?” went on the fish. “It was I, and I am the King of the fishes. I am grateful for your kindness and intend to reward you.”
Then the fish jumped into the river with a great splash. But ever afterwards the fishing-baskets were full every evening, and the fisherman became rich and prosperous.