Goldfish for Dinner
Tarah ran to the pond in her back yard and sat on the stone edge. Tears streamed down her face.
Bubbles popped on the surface of the water. An orange fish nose protruded. “What is it Tarah? Why are you crying?”
“Mom says she’s going to cook you up for dinner!”
“For DINNER!” Roydu’s eyes widened, his tail slapped against the water.
“We have no food in the cubbards. Dad has spent all our money on drink again. My baby brother won’t stop crying and mother says you are the only thing left to eat.”
Roydu squirted a stream of water out. “But, I am not a goldfish you eat.”
“That’s what I told her, but she said a hungry child is a hungry child.”
The goldfish ducked under the water, a handful of bubbles surfaced. Tarah looked back at the house. She could see her mother staring at her from the kitchen window.
“Roydu, what are we going to do?”
Roydu peaked his head out. “The only thing I can do. Your family will eat me for dinner. With my flesh in their stomaches they will not feel hungry for days.”
Tarah’s jaw dropped. “But how can we do that! You’re my best friend.”
The fish winked. “And I will be again. But, you must remember to do one thing for me.”
“You must return my bones to this pond when the moon rises. Can you do that for me?”
Tarah shook her head. A shadow fell over her orange friend. Seconds later he was ripped from the water, cooked in a stew and placed in front of her to eat. Tarah tried to eat as little as possible, but her mother’s prodding fingers proved hard to avoid. After dinner Tarah gathered up the bones. When the moon rose she tiptoed to the pond and placed them into the water.
Tarah watched the bones and thought of all the good times she had with her friend who was quite smart and funny for a goldfish. Tarah’s tears fell like rain into the pond. She sat there until the moon could be seen in the reflection of the water. Suddenly, it flashed a brilliant white. When the light faded, Roydu was there smiling at her.
This was inspired by a goldfish vase I saw on Antiques Roadshow.