Rumour in the Fishermen’s Village

Shrawan Mukarung | June 5, 2020

When a rumour spread in the village
that stars had drowned
in the river
he picked up his fishing line
and left in the early dawn.

Above all, with Polaris
he was the most enamoured
because –
peeping in from his backdoor
the Pole Star
would spill all over his bed.
Whether on nights he went to bed hungry
or on nights he drank himself to sleep
would settle perfectly on his forehead
and he
would light up – luminous.

He –
was casting his lines,
attentive, on the river’s breadth,

From a distance
a gaggle of children
came prancing.

“Brother fisherman!
We found the shit of the stars!”
After he caressed each of them
they said in one voice –
“The shit of the stars
is just like stones!”

And he, without rest,
cast his lines
but never
did a star hook itself.
many fish were hooked –
enough – for all the villagers to snack on.

And now,
determined to hook Polaris itself,
even while ferrying passengers
across the river,
he wouldn’t stop casting his line.
Children heckled him from the banks –
“Brother fisherman!
Hurry and catch the stars for us!”

After all, it was the months of rains.
One night
a large flood rushed in.
He who was skilled in reeling in the Polaris
was swept away to unknown shores

by the heartless torrent

The next day in the early dawn
throughout the village
another rumour spread –
“In the river
the most lissom moon”
has drowned.

From the 8th Volume of La.Lit: Translations from the Margins.
Translated by Prawin Adhikari

Image from Unsplash

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