The Brave Fish
by Daniel Barclay
written during third grade for Mrs. Carol Taggart
SAM THE SALMON looked at the worm on the fishing hook, and then sighed. "I wish people
wouldn't do this kind of thing to fish," he said. Ever since his mother had been caught and taken
away by one of those things, one-year-old Sam had been very aware of fishing hooks. He had
been determined to get her back, but now he knew that it was impossible.
But now, he had an idea. He gathered together all of his SCOBA (Self-Contained Out-of-water
Breathing Apparatus) equipment (it consisted of a helmet with water in it, two fake arms and legs,
a SCOBA face mask, and two tanks filled with water.) Then he grabbed hold of the worm (the
part that wasn't on the hook) and pulled.
He heard a shout of, "I've got one!" and then felt himself being pulled upward. When he got to
the surface, he saw two men sitting on a rock. Nearby was a town that consisted of a pet shop, a
drugstore, supermarket, aquarium, and some other stores. There were also a few houses.
Fortunately, the SCOBA gear was so small that the men didn't even see it. Sam didn't get speared
by the hook because he didn't grab it. He was dangling from the end of the worm. As the men
started pulling him in, Sam got ready so that he could let go of the worm any second. When he
was directly above dry land, Sam let go. The two men were too surprised to run after him. Sam
walked off toward the pet shop.
SAM'S MOTHER looked out of the glass in her fish tank in the aquarium and then sighed. "Poor
Sam!" she said, "Imagine what it must be like without any mother." Little did she know,
however, that Sam was trying to go rescue her. It had been two weeks since the incident and she
was beginning to lose hope. As she sadly swam around her small prison, she could only think, "I
wonder what Sam's doing now."
SAM OPENED THE DOOR of the pet shop and stepped inside. As he started looking around for
his mother, a dog managed to scramble up the wall of his open-air enclosed pen and attacked him.
Sam darted toward the fish tanks, but the dog was rapidly gaining on him. "Here goes!", Sam
muttered, and dove into a fish tank.
Worries, Worries, Worries
SAM'S MOTHER swam, worried, around her fish tank. The aquarium owners were getting tired
of her and were going to cook her for dinner. It was now 4 P.M. Two hours left to go. Just
then, the aquarium owner walked by, carrying a telephone. "May I speak to the pet shop's owner,
please? ... I want to invite him over for a salmon dinner."
FORTUNATELY, THE FISH TANK WAS EMPTY. Sam waited patiently for the dog to go
away. He heard a ringing of the telephone and a man picked it tip. There was a brief pause, and
then the man said," O.K., I'll put him on the line." The man covered the mouthpiece with his
hands and then said, "Mr. Davis? The aquarium owner wants to speak with you."
"Be right there!" a muffled voice replied. Seconds later, Mr. Davis took the telephone from the
other man and said, "A salmon dinner? Be right there!" Mr. Davis hung up the phone and
gathered together his coat and hat.
Sam let out a low whistle. "I'd better get moving." Sam hopped out of the fish tank and walked
out the door.
The Attempted Escape
SAM'S MOTHER shifted around nervously, hoping that dusk would never come. It was now
5:25. Time was running out. Frantically, she thrust herself -against the aides of her prison,
hoping it would break. When that didn't work, she jumped as high she could, with the slight hope
that she might jump over the edge of her cage. Unsuccessful, she decided that there was only one
thing left to do. Wait.
The Real Escape
SAM STARTED TOWARD THE AQUARIUM. He opened the door and stepped inside.
Walking up and down the endless rows of fish tanks, he looked for a fish that looked like his
mother. At last, his patience was rewarded and he saw her. He put a finger to his lips, afraid that
they would find and cook him if either of them made any sound. He started to climb the table leg,
and then climb the slippery glass wall of the cage. This was hard work, because every time he put
his weight on the side of the tank, he slipped down off the tank, off the side of the table, and
landed with a -plop- on the floor.
At last, he made it up and fell in the water. He picked his mother up, handed her his SCOBA (if
you have forgotten, it stands for Self-Contained Out-of-water Breathing Apparatus) gear, except
for the fake arms and legs, picked her up, and started to climb the wall of the tank.
IT WAS NOW 5:50. They'd be checking on her any minute now. Sam picked up his mother and
started to walk. But fish are not meant to be out of water without SCOBA gear. They can only
stay out for three minutes before they die. Groggily, Sam got up and started to find his way back
to the door. Just as he opened the door and stepped outside, he heard a cry, "She's gone!"
WOULD HE MAKE IT? Sam started groggily toward the beach. He just rounded a bend when
the doors of the aquarium were thrown open and Mr. Davis and the aquarium owner burst out.
They started off in the same direction as Sam did, and it all looked hopeless when Sam's mother
had an idea. "Dive into that pile of sand over there," she said, "and they won't see you." She was
right. Mr. Davis and the aquarium owner went right past them. But now two of the three
minutes were gone. Sam walked toward the ocean. When he was twenty inches away from it, his
three minutes were up. Sam fell, dying, to the ground. His mother tried frantically to drag Sam
the last twenty inches, but without success. Sam was dead. Sam's mother strung his body in the
sky, so everybody would remember her son's brave deeds. And there it lies to this very day.