The Parable of The Catfish

27 Jul




2017-07-27 11_19_13-ancient japanese fisherman - Google Search


Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts, 

The young boy of ten sat on the side of the lake, cane pole in hand, with cork floating on the water and a brown cricket submerged on the hook.  The catfish had not been biting all summer, and he was the last, grave hope for success.  His father, mother, and his older brother and older sister, all usually phenomenal in the art of fishing, had been unable to coax the big cats out of the pond.  And after a sub-par corn harvest, hush puppies had been a scarce delicacy as well.  His four younger siblings had cried themselves to sleep all summer for lack of delicious catfish in their bellies.  

“If I don’t catch some catfish,” the young boy muttered, “we’ll all starve to death, for a family cannot subsist on vienna sausages alone.”  (And they were running dangerously low on those little cans, as well.)

He sat for a couple of hours and fished with no luck at all.  Peering down the bank of the pond a few yards, he noticed an elderly Japanese gentleman, also with his pole in the water.  Every so often, the pole would wiggle, the cork would go under, and the gentleman would snap it back up to show a big, beautiful catfish hooked on the line, which he would then pull to shore with ease.  The boy continued to watch, and the catfish continued to bite the line of the old man.  Dumbfounded, the boy watched the old man pull in four catfish in just a few minutes.  

He called to the old man, “Sir, excuse me, but how are you doing it?  I have the same pole and the same bait, but I’m catching nothing!  I have to know your secret, sir.  My family is starving!”

The old man called him closer.  “I will give you my secret, young man.  Each time I put my line out, I say a Catfish-inspired Haiku in order to curry favor with the Catfish gods:

Catfish slumbering,

No more rest under water,

You must attack bait!

I do this each time my line goes in, and each time, I pull out a hearty, beautiful catfish, which I take home, clean, rinse in whole milk, coat in cornmeal, and drop into my Bayou Fryer 700-701 with V-Channel technology.  

When the catfish has fried to a golden brown, I pop open an ice-cold Miller Lite and enjoy these wondrous gifts of the catfish gods along with a tasteful mix of classic and new music, my family, and maybe a couple of friends and neighbors if they’re around.  After the catfish has been consumed and we are full and content, we continue to revel in the celebration of these gifts until well After Dark.”

The boy nodded enthusiastically and returned to his spot.  It couldn’t hurt to try, he thought, although in his heart, he doubted the existence of catfish gods.  He closed his eyes and remembered Haiku structure: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.  Then he spoke:

“My family withers

’cause we can’t get no Catfish.

Hook me up, damnit!”

He baited his hook and tossed his line into the murky water…Nothing.  He tried again, and again nothing happened.  

He thought for a moment, then said aloud, “I don’t doubt you, Catfish Gods, c’mon.  I need a break here and I welcome you into my heart.  My poor, starving family is depending on me!”  Then he recited his Haiku again.

Just like that, BOOM!  He had a catfish, and a nice sized one at that!  He repeated his Haiku and put the line back in…BOOM!  Another one!  The old man smiled and nodded as he watched with pride.  The young man continued his new ritual all afternoon, and returned home a hero.  

His family invited over all of their friends and neighbors, one of whom worked for a Miller distributorship and provided all the Miller Lite the adults could drink.  And another whose cousin was a corn farmer who’d dropped off a big bag of cornmeal for breading and hush puppies.   The family was saved!

And what is the moral of this tale, you might ask?  

If you don’t write a Catfish-Inspired Haiku for the Fourteenth Annual Denver Catfish Festival, FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN WILL STARVE, AND IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT.

We are accepting your submissions, all the way up until and including Catfish Festival Day!  What are you waiting for?  Fabulous prizes from the far corners of the Earth await the winners!


Joe T., Chairman

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