Chapter 23: - Page 7 of 10

Fishing

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

My, oh my! he complained as he felt of his smarting arms, what a distance there is between the Philippines and the banks of the Rhine! O tempora! O mores! Some are given honors and others sanbenitos!

All laughed at this, even the grave Victoria, while Sinang, she of the smiling eyes, whispered to Maria Clara, Happy girl! I, too, would sing if I could!

Andeng at length announced that the soup was ready to receive its guests, so the young fisherman climbed up into the pen placed at the narrower end of the corral, over which might be written for the fishes, were they able to read and understand Italian, Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’ entrante,[2] for no fish that gets in there is ever released except by death.  This division of the corral encloses a circular space so arranged that a man can stand on a platform in the upper part and draw the fish out with a small net.

I shouldn’t get tired fishing there with a pole and line, commented Sinang, trembling with pleasant anticipation.

All were now watching and some even began to believe that they saw the fishes wriggling about in the net and showing their glittering scales.  But when the youth lowered his net not a fish leaped up.

It must be full, whispered Albino, for it has been over five days now since it was visited.

The fisherman drew in his net, but not even a single little fish adorned it.  The water as it fell back in glittering drops reflecting the sunlight seemed to mock his efforts with a silvery smile.  An exclamation of surprise, displeasure, and disappointment escaped from the lips of all.  Again the youth repeated the operation, but with no better result.

You don’t understand your business, said Albino, climbing up into the pen of the corral and taking the net from the youth’s hands.  Now you’ll see! Andeng, get the pot ready!

But apparently Albino did not understand the business either, for the net again came up empty.  All broke out into laughter at him.

Don’t make so much noise that the fish can hear and so not let themselves be caught.  This net must be torn.  But on examination all the meshes of the net appeared to be intact.

Give it to me, said Leon, Iday’s sweetheart.  He assured himself that the fence was in good condition, examined the net and being satisfied with it, asked, Are you sure that it hasn’t been visited for five days?

Very sure! The last time was on the eve of All Saints.

[2]All hope abandon, ye who enter here. The words inscribed over the gate of Hell: Dante’s Inferno, III, 9.—TR.

Learn this Filipino word:

namámangkâ sa dalawáng ilog