The Fish-Wife.

The boat had been there for years. Just sitting, bobbing vaguely up and down with the tide, but never going anywhere. No one knew who owned it, just that it stayed there. Somethings kids would play in it, draping tarps over the side to make tents or making each other walk the plank. There wasn’t a single child in the village who didn’t know all the ins and outs of that boat. The boarded up hole, the secret compartment in the stern, every inch had been explored and rediscovered by every new generation who came to aboard; and with every new generation the story of the boat changed. As I have said, no one knew where it came from, so the beginning of the story was just as much of a mystery as the boat itself, but every version, every retelling told the same sorry tale.

A fisherman and his wife had lived in the village, the boat had been their lively-hood, and every day he would go out into the waves, and every day she would wait for his return. This went on, day after day, week after week, month after month, until one evening, the fisherman did not return. Everyone in the village told he fisherman’s wife not to worry, that he’d be back soon, many of the men stayed out over night. So she waited til the next evening and he still had not returned and still the villagers told her not to worry, but she did. She knew he would not stay away so long. And so, when the next day he still did not return, she took a row boat from the dock and set out into the waves. The villagers called after her that the sea was treacherous, that it devoured those who did not know their way in the waves but she did not listen.

She rowed for days, calling out “Husband! Husband!” but to no avail. She scoured the waves for any sign of the boat or a body in the water but she could see nothing but the angry water that rocked around her. The sea’s enraged voice whistling about  the little boat, telling her to go back, but still she did not give up. She rowed on and on, calling and searching, until she came across a rock jutting right out of the waves all alone in the endless expansive of sea. Tethering the boat she climbed to top, threw her arms wide and called into the wind,

“Sea! Where have you hidden my husband?! Why have you taken him from me?!” and the sea replied,

“He is gone fish-wife. He is gone to the depth and you cannot have him back. Give up your searching. Go back to the land where you belong.”

“No!” She screamed. “I will have him back!”

The water rose up the rock, wave crashing around her, the sea’s bounding roar whipping all around her.

“My husband is mine and mine alone. If you have taken him, then I will go to the depths to be with him.” And with that she threw herself into the churning water below. As her body was dashed against the rock and all the life that she had faded, she saw the fishing boat as if it were being raised from the deep and her husband’s hand outstretched to pull her in.

No one knew how the boat had got there, just that it was there, returned as it always had been but inside, in eternal embrace lay the fish-wife and her husband, brought together by the sea.

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Holly Rose

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