The Monster of Draždiak

It was all the fisherman could do to stop himself from blurting back The lake is only seventeen metres at its deepest, but somehow he managed to bite his tongue on such words. Something about Eulalia’s expression, the fragility about her, the sense of being lost he felt emanating from her petite yet pretty form, stilled his voice. He took a long draw on his cigarette and held the smoke in his lungs. Finally, he exhaled.

‘How many people have you told about this here big fish you’ve seen?’

Eulalia turned to face him. ‘Only my mother. And my employer.’

The angler found himself raising his eyebrows. ‘And how did they react?’

‘My mother did not want to hear anything else about it. My employer indulged me a little though.’

‘Well, miss… what is your name, may I ask?’

‘Eulalia.’

‘Eulalia. Now there’s a pretty name. Don’t meet many Eulalias around any more. I’m Juraj, by the way.’ He offered his hand which she took in a brief light shake. ‘Well, Eulalia, before you go telling others about this big fish you’ve seen, thirty metres long and with horns on its head, why don’t you consider it might have been only you that was meant to see it?’

‘How do you mean?’

‘Well, maybe you were… chosen. Now there’s not everyone who can appreciate beauty and wonder, not too many among us at all, if you want my honest opinion. And if nature’s been and shown you some of its majesty, something most folk have not had the good fortune to see, don’t go assuming that others will appreciate and marvel at it the same way you do.’

Eulalia was frowning but listening carefully.

The fisherman looked back out across the water, testing his line. ‘Why don’t you consider this enormous fish you’ve seen as an omen?’

‘An omen? An omen of what?’

‘Oh, no need to look so worried. There are as many good omens as there are bad, you know. If you ask me, most omens are really good omens anyway. Yes, an omen. In fact, let’s take it a step further. Why don’t you make a wish on this fish. Yes, now I come to think about it, I’m sure that’s what you’re supposed to do in this situation. Why don’t you make a wish?’

‘What should I wish for?’

‘Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? Wish for what you want. You might want to wish to win the lottery…’

‘I don’t play the lottery.’

‘Well then, you might want a change of job…’

‘I like my job.’

‘Well, you might want the man of your dreams to enter your life…’

Eulalia chuckled, but made no rejoinder this time.

‘It’s really up to you. But just remember what I said. I reckon the more you share news of this spectacle with others, especially if they’re people who might laugh or mock you in return, the more you will dilute the magic of it, and the less chance you will give yourself to have your wish come true. But of course, you do what you want, I’m just a silly old fisherman.’

‘I don’t think so. Thank you for hearing me and for your advice. I will definitely think about it.’

‘You do that, Miss Eulalia.’

Eulalia chewed over all the fisherman had had to say. She thought about it a lot as the days went by. After three days had passed she realised she had not mentioned the incident with the monstrous fish to anyone else. Without even realising she was going to, she had followed the fisherman’s advice.

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