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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Letís Go Fishing!

The fishing poles leaned against the house. A large yellow tackle box sat on the ground next to it. It was open, the lid up, exposing little trays of hooks, flies, small jars of fish food and a can of worms. "As soon as the bairns arrive, weíre off," Mungo said to Ginger. He was dressed in rubber boots that went up to his hips, a long sleeved flannel shirt and a hat with a patch on it that said, ĎGone Fishingí. "Here they come now, girl," he said to the cat.

"Mr. McGee. Mr. McGee. Weíre going fishing. Iím wearing my Wellies," wee Fiona cried. Gavin walked behind her silently. "Do we have to touch worms? Gavin said we had to put worms on our fishing poles?"

Gavin started to laugh. Mungo answered, "Wee Fiona, Iíll put the worms on. Fish like to eat worms so we put them on hooks and the fish eat them. Thatís how we catch them."

"I hate worms. Iím glad I donít have to touch them," she gagged.

Just then Morag and wee Hamish came down the lane. "Hi, Mr. McGee," called Morag.

"Hello, Gavin," she said, waving madly to him.

Gavin gave a small gesture of acknowledgement and watched Mr. McGee put more things into the tackle box.

"I want to go fishing," wee Hamish said. He was very excited. He was wearing his rubber boots too.

"As soon as Gregor and Andy come, weíll leave," Mungo said. No sooner had the words left his lips than the two boys came running down the lane. "Hi, Mr. McGee," said Andy, out of breath from running so hard.

"Glad to see you all. Each of you pick up a fishing pole, carefully, and weíre off. Iíll get the tackle box. Gavin, could you carry the picnic basket please?" Mungo asked.

"Iíll carry it," Morag said, picking it up and walking towards the river with Mr. McGee. Gavin stood watching, angry, yet glad he didnít have to carry it.

"Whatís in the basket?" Gregor asked as he ran up to Mr. McGee.

"Just some snacks for later. I didnít bring too much. I hope you ate something at home," he said to the bairns. The line of bairns strung out behind Mungo as they walked through the tall grasses and fields of heather. At last they reached the river. There were mosquitoes buzzing all around. "First things first. Everyone rub mosquito repellant on themselves or youíll be eaten alive." Mungo warned.

Gregor rubbed it on himself and passed the plastic bottle around. "I have a big mosquito bite already," wee Fiona whined.

"Ignore it as best as you can. Now, bairns, bring me your fishing poles and Iíll put worms on the end. After I do that, go down the river a bit and cast your line into the water. Iíll help wee Fiona and wee Hamish. Can the rest of you do that yourselves or do you need help?" Mungo asked.

The bigger bairns knew how to do it. Living in a glen with a river flowing through the middle of it, theyíd learned at a young age how to fish. Soon all of them had their poles in the water. Scotland is famous for its fishing. Itís streams, rivers and lochs are teaming with salmon, trout, and other large fish.

"I got one," screamed wee Hamish a few minutes later. "Iíve caught a fish!"

"Pull the fishing pole and start reeling it in," Mungo urged.

"I donít know what that means," he said.

Mungo put his pole down and ran over to help wee Hamish. "You do have a big fish," he said, reeling it in. "Look. Wee Hamish caught himself a trout."

"Itís all sparkly with green and blue and red on it," wee Fiona laughed. Just then she felt something tugging on her line. "Iíve got a fish too," she giggled.

"Iíve got one too," called Andy.

"Me too," chuckled Gregor.

"Morag and Gavin, youíll have to help the younger ones. I am too busy with this fish. Gregor, hold on for a wee minute. Try to reel it in," Mungo said, flustered with all the business. He had to take time to slap away the mosquitoes that were buzzing around.

Within a few minutes, wee Hamish, wee Fiona, Gregor and Andy had their fish lying in the ice chest, surrounded by hunks of clear ice and their poles back in the water. "Iíve got one too," yelled Morag. She knew how to reel it in. "Look, Mr. McGee. Itís a salmon. Itís big." She was so proud.

"Take it off the line, Morag and put it in the ice chest," Mungo said. Morag did as she was told and threw her line back in.

"When are you going to catch one, Gavin," she laughed.

Gavin scowled. "When I catch mine, it will be the biggest fish in the river!"

Mungo passed the snacks around and bottles of water. After two hours, it began to get dark. "Itís time to quit," Mungo said. "Letís see how many fish we have in the ice chest. Wee Fiona, you caught three fish; very good. Wee Hamish, you caught two fish, but they are very big. Wee Hamish smiled. Andy, you caught four fish. Gregor you caught four fish and Morag, you caught two very nice looking salmon."

"What about Gavin?" wee Fiona inquired about her older brother.

"Iím sorry to say that Gavin wasnít very lucky tonight. Youíll have to share your catch with him," Mungo said to wee Fiona.

"Iíll share. Thereís enough for us all to have fish tonight," she replied.

"What a shame, Gavin, that you didnít catch any fish," Morag teased.

"Iíll catch one next time," he mumbled, his eyes avoiding the other bairnís eyes.

"Weíd better be off. Your parents will be at the house soon to pick you up. Wonít they be surprised to see all the fish!" Mungo said.

The bairns walked back to Mungoís house. No sooner had they arrived than their mums and dads came to pick them up. Each bairn took his fish home that night. Mungo went inside. Instantly Ginger came running up to him. She smelled his fishy hands. "Iíve saved us a treat," he winked at her. He washed up and cleaned the fish. After frying it in a pan, seasoning it and making sure it was done perfectly, Mungo sat down to eat. He put some of the salmon into a bowl for Ginger. "Thereís no fish like the fish found in a Scottish river," Mungo said and finished every bite. So did Ginger.

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