Fiction: The Fisherman

I haven’t posted any writing here for a while, so let’s remedy that. I wrote this a while back — not so much a fairy tale retelling as just a telling. It’s fun to take the old toys out of the box and play with them once in a while.

The Fisherman

The storybooks rarely record the day jobs.

O’Donnachú is a fisherman. This defines him, first and foremost: the rope calluses on his hands, the dried film of salt on his face and clothes. His little house and his workshop next door overlook the gray and shuddering sea, and it is all he has ever known. The boat was his father’s – is his father’s, still, in whatever part of O’Donnachú is still a small, frightened boy clinging to the side as the little currach rolls over vast, implacable waves. He was a fisherman for ten years before he pulled the woman out of the water. He went on being a fisherman during their lives together, and will certainly still do so now that she is gone. This is a throwaway in the stories, though – who else but a fisherman should pull such a creature in with his nets? In later years, when he catches snippets of his own story being traded between young men in the ale house, when he hears that his tale has been set to paper by a man he has never met, in words he has never learned to cipher, he will always wonder at this: that it should be rendered so small, this most important part of his life.

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