Ray was a legendary fisherman. He caught fish in lakes that everyone said were impossible to fish in. He caught fish even when the fish saw him coming. He could catch trout from puddles in potholes. Ray’s skill as a fisherman was rather unbelievable.
The fish learned to recognize him by the shape of his shadow. They darted away as soon as they knew he was there, but they knew that by then it was too late. If he had decided they were going to be caught, then they would be caught, no matter where they tried to hide.
None of the fish felt the least bit safe. They sent messages from school to school in all the rivers and lakes in the area, trying to come up with a plan. The oldest and wisest and biggest fish discussed the problem for months. Finally they had an idea.
One day, Ray picked a rushing, roaring river to fish in. He settled on the bank and baited his hook. He cast the hook into the river and almost instantly felt a tugging on the line. He reeled in his catch.
There was a golden crown hooked at the end of the line. Ray scoffed and threw it back. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily,” he told the fish. He baited the hook and cast it back into the river.
The fish did not give up. There had to be a way to make their rivers and lakes and potholes safe. For their next plan, they watched for falling stars to wish on and combined all their birthday wishes. Together, they wished for a way to defeat Ray. The answer was not what they expected.
The next time Ray went fishing, he felt a tug on his line and reeled it in. This time, there was a brass oil lamp at the end of the line. “A magic lamp?” Ray said.
He rubbed the lamp. A genie appeared. “What do you wish?” the genie asked.
Ray laughed. “I don’t need your wishes. I am Ray, the legendary fisherman. Get out of my way. I have fish to catch.” The genie disappeared and Ray tossed the lamp back. “That won’t work either,” Ray said.
Unfortunately, the fish couldn’t use the lamp to wish Ray away. They’d already tried that. Wishes just didn’t work on legendary fishermen. So what had they done wrong? The lamp was supposed to be the answer to a million fish wishes. The eldest fishes conferred again, trying to come up with some way to send Ray away.
They spied on all the other, lesser fishermen to get an idea of what fishermen wanted. They sent fishes that were too small to catch to spy on Ray at a distance to figure out his motivations. Finally, they rubbed the lamp and made a new wish.
Not long afterwards, Ray went fishing again. He baited his hook and cast it into a lake. Ripples arched away from the line in rings. After a moment, there was a hard tug on the line. Ray had to fight to reel it in. After two hours, Ray still hadn’t reeled in his catch. This was very unusual for Ray, the legendary fisherman.
Ray was delighted with the challenge. Instead of giving up, he became even more determined to see what prize he’d managed to catch. Surely, after all this effort, it would be something completely amazing. Ray was willing to be as patient as needed.
Finally the line stopped leaping and yanking and Ray was able to reel the hook back in. It was stuck to the railing of a brand new houseboat. It was the latest model that all the fishermen wanted, and the time under water had done it no harm.
Ray did not toss it back and keep fishing. He looked at the houseboat from all angles, and then finally, he climbed aboard. It was in wonderful shape. It was the sort of houseboat that even legendary fishermen would want to live on, so that they could fish whenever they wanted in comfort and style.
There was an envelope in a plastic bag tied to the steering wheel. Ray opened it. A key fell out. He unfolded the papers. There was a deed to the boat and a scrap of paper that said, “Go fish somewhere else.”
“Fine,” Ray said. He drove the boat away from the river and didn’t come back. The fish he left behind were finally safe.
However, now Ray could fish in new areas. New fish learned to fear his shadow. With a few modifications to his new boat and an improbable diving suit, soon even the fishes at the bottom of the sea were darting behind rocks and holding their breath whenever Ray passed by. The legend of Ray the fisherman continued.