A Yao folk-tale: why dead fish do not close their eyes?


Fish live in water. With the large aquatic world as their home, they swim from one place to another seeking food and enjoying their happy existence. But eager fishermen go with their nets and hooks to catch them and then eat them with wine and rice.

As fish were not too happy with this situation, they placed a lawsuit in the Palace of Justice.

The judge asked: "Who are you suing?"
The fish replied: "The fishermen".
The judge continued: "What are you charging the fishermen with?"
The fish answered: "I am not their enemy nor have I offended them, but they insist on coming with their nets to catch me and eat me. This is why our population is diminishing."
The judge kept on: "When the fishermen come with their nets to catch you, do you check if the net is closed at the top?"
"No", said the fish.
"So why don't you jump over the top?" the judge asked.
"We hadn't thought of that" the fish said.
The judge continued: "Have you checked whether the net has a bottom?"
"No, no", said the fish.
"So why don't you swim to the bottom and get out of the net?" The judge inquired.
"They don't wait for us to get out. On the contrary, the fishermen pull out the net and us with it", answered the fish.
"Besides this, have you got any other charges?" Asked the judge in a tired voice, putting a bit of pressure on the fish.
"Yes, there are times the fishermen use hooks in order to catch us." Said an angry fish.
"And what is there on the hook?"
"A worm. This is what fishermen usually use to tempt us."
"That's strange. It seems as if you are predestined to become the fishermens' food. Knowing how easily you bite the hook, I am thinking of going to fish and place a bit of butter on my hook."

The fish lost the case. What seemed quite reasonable turned into an absurdity. How unfair. On his way back home, the fish got angrier and angrier and was so upset that he ended up dying. But already dead, he did not close his eyes. And this is so up to this date.

This is a Yao story from the Province of Guangxi.

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