Friday, February 15, 2008

This week one of my fish was eaten by a crow.
Nice start for a blog don't you think?
And then you might think, "how could such a terrible, yet slightly amusing event occur to begin with?"
Well. I'll tell ya. But first a quick fill-in for those who didn't know that i even had fish. I got five of them from a JET a year and a half ago. The JET was leaving for an outer island and couldn't take them along, so i volunteered to take care of them. I had never owned fish before and thought they would be nice to have in my apartment--a pet of sorts since i can't own a dog.
They didn't stay at my apartment too long, however. That summer I went home for a 3 week visit and moved the fish to the school to be fed during my absence. When i came back, i decided that it would be best to keep the fish at school and so they have been swimming in the tank behind my desk ever since. A few weeks back, one of the 2nd grade girls expressed interest in one of my fish, and since I'm not emotionally attached to them and because i am generally a nice enough individual, i gave one of them to her. To thank me, she brought me home made Okinawan cookies and they were delish.
At about them same time some 1st grade boys noticed that one of the fish was pregnant. They seemed to be very enthusiastic about the prospect of tiny little fish emerging in the future, but i had to shatter those fantasies by telling them that she's been pregnant numerous times and that every single time the eggs get eaten by the other fish (just as well for me, really; don't know what i'd do with all that fish). Anyways. The boys thought it would be nice to separate the pregnant fish and we inserted a net into the tank two weeks ago for that purpose.
All this commotion aroused vice Principal's curiosity about my fish. He remarked several times about how big two of them have gotten over a year and how they're probably crammed in that tank. I agreed but didn't see an alternative and didn't think about it very much. Yet, he apparently spent a bit of the free time he has as a vice principal (which in all honestly is not that much) contemplating this problem and finally came up with a solution! "We'll move them to the pond!"he said. I was skeptical at first. Isn't the pond occupied at the moment but gigantic koi and wouldn't my tiny little goldfish get mauled by them? No! He already investigated the situation and found that a part of the pond can be easily separated with a large brick so that other fish can't swim in and this separation created a nice little 1meter long piece of fish paradise at the end of the pond stream. He asked if i wanted to move the two big fish, and i said, how about moving all four remaining fish and he said, won't you miss them terribly, and i said, uhmm. not really, plus i can visit them often. And so...on Tuesday the four goldfish were moved under the watchful eyes of 1st grade boys into their new home. We watched as they seemingly happily acclimated to their new surroundings, sprinkled some food stuffs and went away. A couple of the boys, however, expressed their pessimistic views that the fish won't survive over night, but i shrugged that off as utter nonsense--those fish were resilient! They survived me and tap water! They're no ordinary goldfish!
The next morning, after dropping my bag at the desk, I went to check out how my "pets" were faring in their new home. I counted three, looked around for the fourth, but not finding him thought nothing of it. There are plenty of water plants and dark corners in that pound under which the small goldfish could hide.
A few hours into the day, it was casually observed to me that one of the fish was snatched up by a crow at some point last night. What!? i thought. How could that be? And wouldn't the vice principal, who has been sitting at his desk and who has said "good morning" to me a couple of hours back, have told me about this because as the story went, he heard of this tragedy from some of the students already. Well. Nothing for it. I go outside to ask the vice principal who just happened to be standing by the pond. He proudly pointed to a sign he made and put up on the walkway near the pond which asked the students to take care of the fish because i have taken care of them since they were small and they're very important to me. I thanked him for this kind gesture and then asked him if he had seen four fish today. And he somewhat shyly recounted the truth of the hungry crow and unprotected goldfish.
Apparently the shiny scales of the curious little fish who ventured from the cover of the plants attracted the giant, black bird from its resting spot on a nearby tree. The crow descended, saw an opportunity and very literally snatched it. There went my fish.
Sad. But sort of funny. sort of.
the best bit, is that the boys are now in the process of constructing a scarecrow to stand in front of the pond. So far it's just an umbrella but i'm sure it'll turn into something appropriately scary.
And I learned the words for crow and scarecrow. So the fish did not die in vain.

Hmm. I was gonna mention a couple of other things, but i fear this post is long enough already.
In short, the spring is on its way and the clouds are back to their light and fluffy pre-winter shapes, and i am once again enamoured with them.

best
-e

3 comments:

Juhi R said...

as a vegetarian, it kinda hurt to read about how poorly the crow treated the goldfish... but as u said (in another context) cest la vie! and yes, inspite of me, the story is a little funny... :)

Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

Hehehe, good story, very much Elina in Okinawa. Fitting.

Craig Mauelshagen said...

Nice story, it could only happen in Japan!