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Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton

We Camp Out

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Directly I heard some one running toward me, and then I heard Euphemia cry out:

"Give him the butt! Give him the butt!"

"Give him what?" I exclaimed, without having time even to look up at her.

"The butt! the butt!" she cried, almost breathlessly. "I know that's right! I read how Edward Everett Hale did it in the Adirondacks."

"No, it wasn't Hale at all," said I, as I jumped about the bank; "it was Mr. Murray."

"Well, it was one of those fishing ministers, and I know that it caught the fish."

"I know, I know. I read it, but I don't know how to do it."

"Perhaps you ought to punch him with it," said she.

"No! no!" I hurriedly replied, "I can't do anything like that. I'm going to try to just pull him out lengthwise. You take hold of the pole and go in shore as far as you can and I'll try and get hold of the line."

Euphemia did as I bade her, and drew the line in so that I could reach it. As soon as I had a firm hold of it, I pulled in, regardless of consequences, and hauled ashore an enormous cat-fish.

"Hurrah!" I shouted, "here is a prize."

Euphemia dropped the pole, and ran to me.

"What a horrid beast!" she exclaimed. "Throw it in again."

"Not at all!" said I. "This is a splendid fish, if I can ever get him off the hook. Don't come near him! If he sticks that back-fin into you, it will poison you."

"Then I should think it would poison us to eat him," said she.

"No; it's only his fin."

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"I've eaten cat-fish, but I never saw one like that," she said. "Look at its horrible mouth! And it has whiskers like a cat!"

"Oh! you never saw one with its head on," I said. "What I want to do is to get this hook out."

I had caught cat-fish before, but never one so large as this, and I was actually afraid to take hold of it, knowing, as I did, that you must be very careful how you clutch a fish of the kind. I finally concluded to carry it home as it was, and then I could decapitate it, and take out the hook at my leisure. So back to camp we went, Euphemia picking up the little fish as we passed, for she did not think it right to catch fish and not eat them. They made her hands smell, it is true; but she did not mind that when we were camping.

I prepared the big fish (and I had a desperate time getting the skin off), while my wife, who is one of the daintiest cooks in the world, made the fire in the stove, and got ready the rest of the supper. She fried the fish, because I told her that was the way cat-fish ought to be cooked, although she said that it seemed very strange to her to camp out for the sake of one's health, and then to eat fried food.

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Rudder Grange
Frank R. Stockton

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