There was a time when my family was extremely happy. There was my mother and father, and my sister, and my twin brother. We’re identical twins.
Disaster arrived when my parents decided to have a boy who was a ward of the state to stay with us over the summer. His name was Rene Leschallier de Lisle and he had a carrot up his bum. He was the same age as me and my brother and we were meant to look after him and be nice to him and let him join in with everything we did. So we were prepared to do that and all he did was not join in anything and complain about it. I can see why his own parents rejected him and he’d been passed on from one foster home to another.
It was proving to be the worst summer break ever in my whole life. Then one day we asked him – me and my brother – if he wanted to come trout fishing in the river and he said yes. Thank goodness he wanted to do something although we weren’t looking forward to having his company much while we went fishing.
When we got there he did an amazing thing: he tickled a trout. I always thought that trout tickling was a fiction but he showed us that it was true. Then he showed us how to do it. It was a bit like trying to hold a bar of soap in the bath. It is illegal of course but we went home with more trout than we were allowed to and we hadn’t even used the fishing line.
After that we couldn’t shut Rene Leschallier de Lisle up. He was interested in everything and the rest of the summer was a lot of fun.
Then as the summer ended our parents asked him if he wanted to stay with us permanently and he said yes. And my brother and I were very pleased.
Every day after school Biddy would go down to the lake to feed the fish. A good dozen trout used to wait for her, and then dart around excitedly when she appeared. They knew her and Biddy knew them. She even had names for some of them: Spot, Rainbow, Shadow, Speedy…
One day her mother said, “Why don’t you catch one for dinner? There’s plenty there, and one less fish won’t matter.”
So Biddy did that. She got a little fishing line, and fortunately caught one of the trout that didn’t have a name.
But none of the fish ever came back to see Biddy again. They disappeared into the depths of the lake. She had lost their trust.