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Do a Favour and Throw It into the Water Armenian folk tale Translated in English by High School 198, Yerevan, Armenia Once upon a time there lived a very poor man. He had a wife and lots of children. Every day he looked for a job. Once he met a stranger who asked him, “Where are you going ?” The poor man said, “ I am a poor man. I

am going to look for a job.” The stranger said, “ Come with me to catch fish.” The poor man went with him and they caught many fish. He took home some fish and then in the evening he and his family ate them.

The next day they went fishing together. The stranger said, “ Did you see how I threw the hook ?” The poor man said, “Yes I did.” The stranger said, “Now it is your turn to throw the hook today.” This poor man threw the hook and he caught a beautiful but very small fish. “ It is too beautiful and too small to be eaten. I’ll let her go.”, he said and threw the fish into the water. The strange r saw that and gotangry and crie d, “ Why did you throw the fish back ? I‘ve brought you here to catch the fish but not to play with it. Get out of my sight !”

So the poor man left the stranger and went to look for another job. He was sad and unhappy as he was walking, when suddenly a monster appeared before him. “Where are you going, my poor man ? ”, the monster asked. He said, “I’m a poor man. I have six children, who are very

hungry, as we have nothing to eat. That’s why I want to work to feed them.” The monster said to the poor man, “I have a cow, take it and feed your family. After a year I’ll come and ask you a question. If you answer it, the cow will be yours, but if you don’t, I’ll eat you.” The man took the cow and went home. When the children saw the cow, they were very happy. The time passed by quickly and soon the worst day came. The wife of that poor man said to him, “Today is a day when the monster will come.” All day they thought about the question, which the monster would ask them. In the evening a stranger came and asked, “Can I stay here for a night, please?” “Of course you can,” answered the poor man.”, but …” As he didn’t want to hurt the stranger, he told him the whole story. When he finished, the stranger said, “Give me a place by the door, I’ll answer his questions.” They sat and ate some food then the stranger said again. “Will you give me my place by the door ?” They said, “No you are a guest so your place must be the best one in the house.” But the stranger said again, “No, make my bed by the door and when the monster asks his question, I’ll hear and answer at once”. They did so and he fell to sleep. At midnight, the monster came and knocked at the door. Guest: “Who is it ?” Monster: “The Monster. I have come.” Guest: “ So have I. ” Monster: “Where do you come from ?” Guest: “ From the other side of the sea.” Monster: “The sea may be small ?” Guest: “The sea is so wide that an eagle flying from one side to the other will take nearly a month. ” Monster: “Well, then the eagle is too small.” Guest: “No, not at all. Each of its wings can cover a city.” Monster: “Oh, I guess, the city is very small.” Guest: “No, a horse will hardly be able to run around the city within a month.” Monster: “Then it is not a horse. Is it a colt ?” Guest: “ No, 7 men can’t tame him”.

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Monster: “Well, then they were children”. Guest: “With the cock screaming under their beds, they continue to sleep.” Monster: “Were they deaf ?” Guest: “They can hear the deer sneezing in the fields.” The monster had nothing left to say and walked away from the house. Thus the stranger saved the life of the poor man and the cow remained with his family. In the morning the guest said, “Well, thank you for everything but I have to go now.” The poor man asked, “Brother, who are you ? Tell me how will we pay back for your kindness ?” The guest replied, “I’m the fish that you caught and released last year. To this I say, “do a favour and throw it into water, if the water won’t know, the fish will know.”

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