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Main > South African folktales > Fairy tale "The Bargain for the Little Silver Fishes"

The Bargain for the Little Silver Fishes

“‘An’ what does you do when you is at home?’ ax Hahsie.

“‘Dis,’ ses Sculpat, an’ he don’t take de trouble to keep dat one eye half-way round, but let it swing back like a swivel.

“Little Hahsie he flick his years like he tink someb’dy ought to yust kick de stuffin’ out o’ Sculpat. ‘But,’ ses he, ‘you has to eat What you do den?’

“‘Eat,’ ses Sculpat—yust de one word.

“‘Oh,’ ses Hahsie, like he’d like to do dat kickin’ hisse’f. ‘Den you does ha’ to shift yourse’f a bit sometimes.’

“‘But I don’t,’ ses Sculpat. ‘I’s in my dinner now—dese water-weeds!’

“‘Oh, you is, is you?’ ses Little Hahsie, an’ he’s yust dat hairy over it dat he biffs de ground wid his back leg an’ he yump over his own shadda. ‘You’s fair dat lazy you’d rader eat weeds, when all de time dem pretty little silver fis’es is a-twinklin’ an’ a-slantin’ roun’ you! Allah Crachty!’

“‘What’s I want wid twinkly little fis’es?’ ses Sculpat. ‘Weeds is nice now, but fis’es—’

“‘You can keep all de weeds if you gi’es me de fis’es!’ ses Hahsie, like he never did hear no such a fathead notion.

“‘An’ how if I keeps all de weeds anyhow, an’ lets you do de same wid de twinkly little fis’es, hey?’ ses Sculpat, an’ his face kind o’ shine like he’d be a-grinnin’ if it wahnt too much trouble.

“Little Hahsie squot down agen at dat What Ou’ Sculpat ses is yust so right flat an’ square dat Hahsie he feel right flat too. But he see de little silver fis’es a-flashin’ agen an’ he fair cahnt give up yet. ‘Dat’s a’ right,’ ses he; ‘but I’s got my good clo’es on, an’ dey won’t do to get wet. What say you now if you was to ketch me out a little string of ’em, hey?’

“‘What ses I?’ ses Sculpat. ‘Rats!’

“Little Hahsie he’s yust dat mad he pick up one foot to go, but he’s yust dat gone on dem fis’es dat he put anoder foot down to stop. ‘Look-a’-here,’ ses he. ‘If you ketch me out some o’ dem fis’, den I’ll fetch you lots o’ de nicest garden stuff from de farm yonder.’

“‘Garden stuff!’ ses Sculpat. ‘Huh!—here’s weeds!’

“‘An’ what if I eats up dem weeds?

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