Daniel and the Fishing Trip
Daniel hurried to pull on his boots. He was excited because today he would get to try out his new fishing rod, which had been given to him on his eighth birthday, last winter. Dad had promised to take big brother, Chad, and him down to Cottonwood Lake to fish today, as soon as they got their chores done.
“Can I go, too?” begged six-year-old Rosie, poking her head around the screen door.
Daniel looked at the long black pole and its shiny silver reel lying on the porch and frowned. He usually liked to play with his sister; but today… well, fishing was for boys. “Don’t you want to stay at home with Emma and play house?” he asked, hopefully.
“No,” said Rosie, shaking her braids determinedly. Just then Dad came around the corner of the house, and she eagerly ran up to him. “I can go fishing, too, can’t I, Daddy?”
“She doesn’t know how,” put in Daniel. “And, besides, fishing is for boys.”
Dad scratched his head thoughtfully. “Do you know how to fish?” he asked Daniel with a smile.
“No,” Daniel replied quickly, “but Chad promised to teach me.”
“I can learn, too!” Rosie chimed in.
“But,” Daniel tried again, “girls can’t fish. And we only have two fishing poles: there won’t be enough for everyone.”
Dad patted Daniel on the head. “We’ll see about that,” he said. “Right now we need to get ourselves some worms.” Daniel dragged his feet as he headed toward the van with his fishing rod. Rosie was so noisy that she would surely scare away all the fish. Taking her along would spoil the whole trip!
The water shimmered under a blue sky and red-winged blackbirds flew up from the rushes when Dad drove up to Cottonwood Lake an hour later. Daniel almost forgot his disappointment in the excitement of unloading the van. The lake was large and sure to have many hungry fish just waiting to be caught.
“Come along,” Dad called when they had all picked up their fishing gear. “Let’s follow this path to find a good fishing spot.” Rosie slipped her hand into his big one and they started out along the shore, with Daniel and Chad following, close behind. Beyond a clump of tall cottonwood trees they found a shady bank that was just perfect.
“The water is good and deep here,” Chad remarked, laying down his rod in the grass. “We should be able to catch some big ones.” He pulled a worm out of the bait can and began threading it on his hook.
“If you find a worm, Daniel, I’ll put it on your hook,” Dad offered.
“When can I fish?” asked Rosie plopping down into the grass beside them.
“It’s Daniel’s pole, so we should let him go first, shouldn’t we?” Dad reminded her. “After he has a chance to catch something, maybe he’ll let you have a try.”
The boys went down to the waters’ edge, and Chad showed Daniel how to cast out his line. After a few tries Daniel landed his hook and bobber in the deeper water and sat down to wait for a bite. Chad joined him with his pole, and Dad and Rosie sat down to watch.
“When will they catch a fish?” wondered Rosie, impatient for something to happen.
“Oh, sometimes it takes awhile before you get any bites,” Dad said. “Why don’t we go exploring a bit while we wait?” So together they set out along a footpath into a shady clump of trees. Here they found a cool dark pool surrounded by mossy rocks and ferns. Water skaters darted on the surface of the water, and Dad showed Rosie the slow, brown salamanders that lived on the muddy bottom.
Suddenly the stillness was broken by Daniel’s yelp. “I’ve got one! I’ve got one!” he called excitedly from the bank. Dad and Rosie hurried back to watch as Chad helped him reel it in and land it on the grass. It was only a small fish, so when Chad hooked a foot-long bass a few minutes later, Daniel was disappointed.
“I’m going to try one more time,” he said, when Rosie asked if she could have her turn now. “You can share with Chad.”
As Daniel watched her turn sadly away, his memory verse came back to mind: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31) If Rosie had the new pole, he thought, I would want her to share with me. Daniel looked at his little fish and bit the corner of his lip. Jesus would want me to share.
“Hey, Rosie!” he called. “Want me to show you how to fish?”
Rosie came running. “Really, Daniel? You will?”
Together they found a fat worm for Dad to bait the hook with. Soon Rosie sat expectantly on the bank with the shiny black pole in her hands.
“Watch, now,” Daniel cautioned. “You have to be very quiet or you will scare away the fish.”
“Okay, I will,” Rosie promised. She sat on the grass bank and watched the round bobber float on the rippling water. Daniel stood beside her and watched, too. They both held their breath as the red and white ball began to wiggle and lurch as something nibbled on the worm.
“Now!” Daniel ordered as the bobber disappeared. “Reel it in quick!” He helped her pull in the line as she cranked the handle with all her might.
“Oh, Daniel!” Rosie beamed as they breathlessly landed the slippery silver fish on the grass. “We’ve got a big one just like Chad’s!”
“Yep.” Daniel looked at his sister’s happy face and grinned, “You’re a fine fisherman, Rosie, though you are a girl.”
“Thank you for sharing your rod with me,” Rosie said, brightly. “And I couldn’t have caught it without your help.” Daniel only smiled as a warm feeling filled his heart.