21 Sep 2004

The Fisherman

In an old land far off, a salty sea churned beyond the shores. There was a man who fished the waters out in that sea. Every day he woke before dawn, in darkness setting out, out into that broad expanse, casting his nets all day, and when he waited (between the time when he let the nets out and pulled them back in), he dreamed. He dreamed with his eyes wide open, understanding that they were only dreams and nothing but the air of his mind. He dreamed of never having to wake before dawn to set out to the ocean, never to need to cast his nets out and pull them in, that he lived far inland in a great mansion and that every need he had all he needed do was snap his fingers and they were done. He dreamed this every day.

The man had a wife, and he had a son, and he never talked to them about the dream he had. Time passed, he grew older, and his son grew up enough to bring out with him to fish. When he did this, the man had no time to dream his dream, because whenever he looked as if his eyes were drifting off, his son would ask him what he was thinking of. Embarrassed, he would always say that he was thinking of the boy’s mother. Then he would change the subject, and he and the boy would talk of this and that. As the days and weeks passed, the man felt a change come over him. He didn’t mind so much waking before dawn, going out to fish, because he had his son with him, and whenever he was about to float off into his dream, the boy would bring him back down, and they would talk of this thing and that.

One night he had a dream, but not that old one. That old dream had faded away by now. He dreamed he was out in the ocean with his son, and they were fishing. When his eyes started to drift away, his son asked him what he was thinking, and then they talked about this and that. And the fisherman couldn’t tell if he was dreaming or he was awake.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:08 am

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