Achok and his Uncle
Narrated by Odolla Owar
Achok and his uncle went to the river to fish. Achok caught many okok fish, with sharp spines on their backs, and brought them home and cooked them. While his uncle was sleeping, he told him to get up and eat the fish with him.
When they were eating, the uncle asked, “Where did you catch this fish?”
Achok said, “I went to the river and I took the dregs of the beer from home to the river and poured it in the water. When other kinds of fish came, I left them. But when the okok came, I threw myself in the river. This is how I caught them. The spines ran into my body, so I climbed out of the river and pulled them out of my body.”
The next morning the uncle took the dregs of the beer and went to fish. He threw the dregs in, and when he saw the okok, he threw himself in and was speared by them. He came out and tried to pull them out, but he couldn’t, and the birds (olwaro) came around, which were the size of chickens but with very long necks. They came to save him.
When the olwaro came, Achok’s uncle said, “Please take the fish out.”
Olwaro said, “If I take them out, can I eat the big ones?”
The uncle refused so the olwaro went, and then the pelican came.
The pelican (abango) too asked if he could eat the big ones. The uncle refused.
Maribou stork (alwook – very big, blue, eats fish but puts the fish in its crop, like a turkey but bigger) said the opposite, “Give me the small fish only.”
So the uncle agreed, but the alwook cheated and ate all the big fish.
The uncle didn’t object and took the small fish home.
When he got home, his back was bleeding, and his nephew said, “What happened, uncle?”
“I did like you said, I put the dregs into the river and when the spiny fish came I fell into the river.”
“No,” said Achok. “I didn’t tell you to do that. I told you to fish them one by one, like I did.”
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