The Basic Teacher
|expert||smell||living - dead|
What pleasure is there in fishing? It seems to me a poor sort of amusement for a man. Whenever I have been out with my rod I say to myself that this is the last time and that I will never go fishing again. Then I go to see some friend who is a good fisherman, and his story of coming back the day before with a basket full of fish or of getting one as long as his arm gives me new hope. In the end I foolishly let him take me to his special part of the river to see if I am able to do even better than he. The strange thing is that I never completely give up hope.
I went out with a friend of this sort yesterday. We made a start quite early, taking our fishing-rods and enough food for the day. My friend is an expert, and very good at fly-fishing. He puts a fly with a brightly coloured wings on the hook at the end of the line. (He makes some of these flies himself with feathers and a twisted wire.)
Then he lets the fly come down on the water with very little force, hoping that a fish will come up and take it in he belief that it is a living fly.
It frequently does. I am no expert enough for fly-fishing. I never got the right trick of touching the water with fly, and I generally made such a noise that all the fish got away long before I came near them. So I gave it up. My fishing is the quiet sort. I do not go out into the middle of the river with rubber boots on, as my friend does. I take a seat on the grass and put my line into the water with a worm on the end of it. Then I take out a book or go to sleep till the feeling of something pulling on the line makes me give attention.
I am very slow at putting my rod together. It is formed of short, hollow sticks made from the stem of a plant. Some are thick and some are thin,and I take some time to get them sorted. Yesterday my line got into knots when I was threading it through the rings of the rod, and my friend had got his first fish before I was ready
The level of the river was high and the current was strong. This made it hard for me to keep the line in one position, and it got fixed in some plants on the river-bed. While I was pulling to get it free, I saw my friend taking a great fish off his hook. Looking at me, he said, "I see you've got one," and then gave a laugh when my line came out of the water with a mass of green leaves on the end of it. I was pleased that no one but my friend was there to see me.
After than, nothing took place for a long time. But for the insects from the grass, which got on my hands and face, I would have gone to sleep I became interested in the observation of the things about me. Hours went by and it seemed to me that I was almost able to see the growth of the plants and the opening of the flowers. I was looking at a flower unfolding itself when a bee came and took the sweet liquid from it. When it went off, its legs were covered with the yellow powder from the middle of the flower.
All this time I had not been giving any attention to my rod. Suddenly there came to my ears the sound of something moving in the water. Was this a fish at last ? I quickly had a look. No, it was only a rat having a swim.
In the middle of the day my friend came back to where I was. He was looking very pleaded with himself, not without reason. He took two great fat fish out of his basket and some smaller ones. I had still got nothing. "Let us have some food," he said. "You may do better after a rest." We got our parcel of food open and made the discovery that some ants had somehow got inside and were all over the food. I had seen a line of them moving through the grass like an army and had been looking at their behaviour with great interest, but I had had no idea where they were going. Most of the food had to be put in the river, and so we had a very poor meal.
My friend then made me go to a different place, which he said was full of fish. He had seen them jumping out of the water earlier in the day, but he had kept away so that I might have a chance of hooking some. "They are waiting for you," he said, and he was right. I had been there only a short time when I got a bite. It seemed that I was going to be rewarded for all my trouble. With great care, I took in my line. At first the fish was pulling strongly. Then, when the rod was almost getting out of control, the line came in without any trouble at all. The hook had been broken off and there was noting there. The fish had taken the worm and got away with the sharp hook in its mouth.
When I had got another hook fixed on my line, I put a very fat worm on it and let it into the water at the same point as before. I was angry about the loss of the fish but comforted by the thought that there were still others in the river and that I had a good chance of getting one of them.
This time I kept my eyes on the water and gave all my attention to what I was doing. Suddenly the rod was almost pulled out of my hands and I saw something twisting violently about in the water. Gripping the rod more tightly, I put my foot against a stone to keep myself from being pulled into the river. The fish went out into the middle of the river, taking my line with it. When it had got as far as the line would let it, it went violently first to one side and then to the other, doing its best to get free. I went on pulling with all my force till, after a time, the fish got tired. Slowly, I got it nearer and nearer to land. "Now, I've go the better of you," I said. But the fight was not ended. Hoping to get back into the deep water, the fish gave a sudden pull. I didn't let the line out quickly enough and my fishing-rod became bent like a stem of grass in a wind. With another pull, the rod was broken. Dropping it, and taking the line itself in my two hands, I got the fish landed at last after much hard work. What a size it was.
When I got it on the grass it wasn't moving at all and it seemed to be dead. I went down on my knees and put my finger down its throat and took out the hook.
When the hook came out, the fish gave a jump into the air. I got a blow on the chest from its tail and the fish and I went into the river. The shock of the cold water made me give a cry, and my friend came and got me out. The only sign of the fish was a long red line of blood in the water.
I gave my friend an account of the fight I had had, stretching out my arms to give him an idea of the size of the fish, but I saw that he had little belief
to my story. "I'm not doubting what you say, old man, " he said, "But aren't you still feeling the effect of your fall into the river ? You are not quite yourself. I have made a fire and am cooking one of my fish. Come and get dry and have a meal. You'll be better after that." The smell of the cooking fish was very good and its taste even better, but the meal was poor comfort after the experiences of the day, and my friend's good humour made things worse. He had a basket full of beautiful fish to take back to his family. I, on the other hand, had nothing to take back but another fisherman's story.
fishing == using line, net, etc., for the purpose of catching fish.
poor sort : by expansion, poor == 'of little value, inferior quality'.
my rod : The rod here referred to is a rod used for fishing, frequently called a fishing rod (see later in the Step).
go fishing == go and do fishing. Go is used similarly with other -ing forms naming an activity involving an excursion. For example, we go walking, go sailing, etc.
fisherman : man who does fishing. Except in poetry, fisher by itself is used only of birds, etc.
full of fish : The plural of fish may be either fishes or fish, but the latter is commoner.
fly-fishing : fishing with a fly as bait.
at the end of his line : When used for certain special purposes, a length of cord or wire is called a line. A fisherman's line or fishing-line, is the cord he fishes with.
In the belief that : That is, 'under the influence of the belief that'. Note this idiomatic construction, which is possible also with the word hope.
not expert : Expert may be used as an adjective.
generally : General can mean, by expansion, "common, frequently met with, applying to the majority', and so generally may have the sense 'commonly, more frequently than not."
long before == a long time before. Long is used in various phrases as an abbreviation for a long time or for a long time.
my fishing is the quiet sort : Note that of is frequently dropped after be before sort. To be of a certain sort is of course to 'belong to' it.
rubber boots : A bit of rubber such as is used for rubbing marks off paper is named a rubber, and from this the substance itself gets the name of rubber.
slow at : Note that at may be used after slow (and quick) in the same way as after good.
formed of == made of. When a thing is made, it is given a certain form and is therefore said to be formed. Forming and formed are sometimes interchangeable with making and made, but in connection with non-material things, forming is generally used (as forming an opinion)
sorted : Sorting == 'separating according to sort', and the sense of sorted corresponds.
got into knots : A thing which is tangled is said to be in knots, and to become tangled is to get into knots.
threading : Threading a needle is putting a tr read through the eye of it, and from this, threading comes to be used instead of putting in connection with any similar process.
river-bed : The bed of a river (or of the sea, etc.) is the earth or stone beneath it.
no one but my friend : in addition to being a conjunction,but is used as a preposition meaning 'except'.
took place : Take place is an idiom meaning 'happen'.
but for == without, if there had not been. Note this idiomatic construction.
when it went off : Off is here used in the sense of away (see note on well off. page 195).
a flower unfolding itself : Unfolding is the action which is the opposite of folding. In the case of a flower, unfolding itself is 'opening'.
having a swim : The operator have is used with swim, as with walk and run.
a line of them : The resemblance between a line of things (that is, a row or procession of them) and a line on paper or a line cut into something is obvious.
so that I might have : This combination of so and that is used as a conjunction to introduce statements of purpose (indicted by may and will.
hooking some : Hooking may mean either 'catching on a hook', as in the case of fish, or 'fastening or fixing by means of a hook or hooks', as in hooking a dress.
got a bite : A fisherman gets a bite when a fish gives the baited hook a bite.
at first == at the beginning.
out of control == no longer possible to control. The opposite idea ('effectively controlled, able to be controlled') is expressed by the phrase under control.
at the same point : by expansion, a point is a dot such as one might make with the point of a pencil, or a position such as might be indicated by such a dot.
comforted : Comfort, in its root sense a condition soothing to the body, becomes by expansion a condition soothing to the mind. Comforting is 'giving mental comfort to' and the sense of comforted corresponds. Note that the derivatives of comfort belong to the same group as those of interest (see Step 24).
doing its best : This idiom was noted in connection with looking its best (step 26).
got the better of == overcome. Note his idiom.
ended : 'bring to or coming to an end', and the sense of ended is 'brought to an end' or 'having come to an end'.
dropping : The image of a falling drop of rain explains why dropping == 'falling' or 'letting fall'. The sense of dropped ('let fall') corresponds only with the latter.
taking the line . . . in my . . . hands : To take something in one's hands, teeth, etc., is to 'grasp' it with them.
landed : Landing means coming onto the land or getting something onto the land (from the water or the air), but landed can only mean got on land.
stretching out my arms : From the expanded sense of stretch previously noted, we get stretching out applied to arms. It is used in the loose sense of 'extending or putting out, that is, away from the body. Note that, from the root sense of stretch, we also have stretching used with adverbial phrases as 'forming an unbroken series or expanse (in the direction, etc., indicated)' ; a line of flags stretching from one end of the street to the other.
you are not quite yourself : We say that a person is not himself when he is upset and so has not complete command of his faculties.
experience : An experience is something that happens to one, something which adds to one's experience.
1 . Write sentences in Basic about what you see in the pictures, bring in thirteen of the new words you have learned in this Step.
2 . Fill in the blanks in these sentences with phrases or uses which have been learned in this Step.
(a) The horse was kicking violently and was quite _____ _____ control.
(b) The man had no clothing _____ what he had on.
(c) The rat was stronger than the snake and _____ _____ _____ is after a long fight.
(d) The discussion will not now ___ ___, become one of the representatives is ill.
(e) The fly was _____ _____ _____ to get out but the window was shut.
3 . Use the following in sentences :
(a) sorting (d) fishing
(b) threaded (e) formed
(c) dropped (f) landing
4 . Give a list of as many Basic nouns (including compounds) as you can think of that describe persons.
5 . Give the word which fits each of these definitions.
(a) An elastic substance which does not let water through
(b) The group of animals of which flies, ants, and bees are examples.
(c) The land under a river
(d) The process by which living things become greater in size.
(e) A person who is very good at doing something.
6 . Describe in Basic the experience of falling into a river as if it was something that had happened to you.
7 . Translate into Basic : Teacher Link
8. Answer in Basic
(a) Give an account of how fly-fishing is done.
< Step 29
Step 31 >
(b) Why did I give up fly-fishing?
(c) What did my friend make his flies of ?
(d) Why was it hard for me to keep my line in one position ?
(e) What was my fishing-rod formed of ?
(f) What did I put on my hook ?
(g) Why did my friend give a laugh ?
(h) What kept me awake ?
(i) Why did we have to put most of our food in the river ?
(j) What was the sound in the after which came to my ears ?
(k) What did I do after my first fish had got away ?
(l) Give an account of my fight with the second fish.
(m) How did it get away ?
(n) What made me give a cry ?
(o) What did my friend say which made it clear that he had little belief in my story.