THE DEACON'S TROUT
BY HENRY WARD BEECHER
He was a curious trout. I believe he knew Sunday just as well as
Deacon Marble did. At any rate, the deacon thought the trout meant
to aggravate him. The deacon, you know, is a little waggish. He
often tells about that trout. Sez he, "One Sunday morning, just
as I got along by the willows, I heard an awful splash, and not
ten feet from shore I saw the trout, as long as my arm, just
curving over like a bow, and going down with something for breakfast.
Gracious! says I, and I almost jumped out of the wagon. But my
wife Polly, says she, 'What on airth are you thinkin' of, Deacon?
It's Sabbath day, and you're goin' to meetin'! It's a pretty
business for a deacon!' That sort o' cooled me off. But I do
say that, for about a minute, I wished I wasn't a deacon. But 't
wouldn't made any difference, for I came down next day to mill
on purpose, and I came down once or twice more, and nothin' was
to be seen, tho' I tried him with the most temptin' things. Wal,
next Sunday I came along ag'in, and, to save my life I couldn't
keep off worldly and wanderin' thoughts. I tried to be sayin' my
catechism, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the pond as we came
up to the willows. I'd got along in the catechism, as smooth as
the road, to the Fourth Commandment, and was sayin' it out loud
for Polly, and jist as I was sayin: 'What is required in the
Fourth Commandment?' I heard a splash, and there was the trout,
and, afore I could think, I said: 'Gracious, Polly, I must have
that trout.' She almost riz right up, 'I knew you wa'n't sayin'
your catechism hearty. Is this the way you answer the question
about keepin' the Lord's day? I'm ashamed, Deacon Marble,' says
she. 'You'd better change your road, and go to meetin' on the
road over the hill. If I was a deacon, I wouldn't let a fish's
tail whisk the whole catechism out of my head'; and I had to go
to meetin' on the hill road all the rest of the summer."
~~~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~~~