Tis a tale of a fisherman and the sea
A great adventure, I will tell to thee.
A tale of the catching of a great fish
Every angler's fondest wish.
My tale begins innocently enough
With two friends near Argos, camping rough.
The dawn came creeping over the hill
With a yearning for breakfast and stomachs to fill.
Fishing poles in hand,
They cast from a beach of white sand.
But the fish, it seemed, had other plans,
So there they stood catching nothing but tans.
Iolaus' stomach began to rumble,
At the same time his mouth began to grumble.
Herc knew he had to think quick
Or it would be his friend, he'd want to kick.
Herc spied a row boat further down the beach
Maybe that would put the fish within reach.
So the two friends set out on the lake
In search of fish for hunger's sake.
There they sat, time dragging by
The only sounds; waves' lapping and Iolaus' sigh.
Hercules slapped idly at a flying bug.
Iolaus sat up with a start as he finally felt a tug.
His line fell limp and then grew taut,
Iolaus grinned, thinking lunch nearly caught.
He held on with all his might
For this fish was full of fight.
The tiny boat rocked atop the water.
Iolaus hoped he hadn't hooked Poseidon's angry daughter.
Hercules held tightly to the boat's sides.
This had the makings of a wild ride.
Iolaus was pulled forward in the boat.
"Herc!" he hollered, "I don't float!"
Hercules reached out and grabbed Iolaus by the pants.
The tiny boat tossed in the wave's mad dance.
Herc leaned forward, "Iolaus, let go of your pole!"
"No way!" Iolaus called as the boat began to roll.
"This is one catch I intend to attend."
That's our Iolaus, determined to the bitter end.
Faster and faster the small boat flew,
When they'd stop, they hadn't a clue.
Iolaus' arms felt pulled from their socket
But he was anchored securely by Herc's hand in his pocket.
Then, the mighty fish rose into the air,
It's tail flipping without a care.
Iolaus' eyes grew very large, Herc's chin fell.
As the beast dove beneath the water's swell.
The boat came about and stopped with a jerk.
The two sat quiet wondering what beneath them did lurk.
The creature again rose up from the deeps.
Herc and Iolaus developed a quick case of creeps.
The mammoth blue fish swam toward them.
It's eye like a gleaming, peacock gem.
It's mouth open wide,
With the tiny boat about to collide.
The yellowed teeth descended.
It's breath mightily offended.
The hull of the small vessel cracked.
Herc surfaced to find it was not only a boat but a friend he lacked.
Herc dove beneath but he searched in vain.
Finally, dispairing, he swam ashore in pain.
He feared his friend had once again died.
He kept a silent vigil on the beach as he cried.
Iolaus awoke with a start,
The pain in his head began to smart.
His eyes were open but this place was dark.
"How did I ever get myself into this lark?"
The smell of the place was unreal
And everything had a really moist feel.
Suddenly, Iolaus knew
He'd been swallowed whole by a fish of blue.
"Herc?" he called quietly to the gloom.
All he heard was a silent sense of doom.
Perhaps his friend had escaped
This horrible fate down the mouth that gaped.
Iolaus was wet and shivered with a sudden chill,
For it was a large beast that he alone would have to kill.
Herc had been in this predicament before
But Iolaus doubted his own size and strength could do the chore.
"There must be some other scheme."
The fish roared and to Iolaus' eye came a gleam.
Then a slow grin lit his dark face.
He felt around and came up with a vase.
"This'll make a good start.
You hear me fish, we'll soon have to part."
For fish this large need surface air to thrive
And Iolaus was determined to stay alive.
Iolaus soon scrounged the stuff he needed.
On his forehead, the sweat beaded.
He reached inside his vest and pulled out some lining.
This was one fish that wouldn't finish dining.
His flint he struck on the side of the vase.
"No breakfast for you, not while Iolaus is on the case."
He struck it again and with time it did light.
He blew gently till the flame burned bright.
Into the vase the flame did fall,
Smoldering began, Iolaus backed against the muscular wall.
Up, up the smoke curled.
Slowly, filling the cavern as it unfurled.
Iolaus moved as far away as he could.
He realized he may have done himself in for good.
For men need air, too,
That much at least Iolaus knew.
It was Iolaus versus the fish,
Which would become the other's dish?
Who would need air first?
And who would visit Hades' land of the cursed?
The fish gave a mighty roar
That shook Iolaus to the core.
Up through the water, they began to rise,
The fish sensing it's own impending demise.
The behemoth broke the surface and raced to the shore.
It wouldn't be eating boats or fishermen for breakfast any more.
Herc watched the mighty fish slide way up on the beach,
Belching smoke and fire as far as it could reach.
Herc ran frantically to the scene
In time to see Iolaus crawl out looking green.
Coughing and sputtering he fell to the sand.
Overjoyed, Hercules offered him a hand.
They surveyed the fish as they stood arm in arm,
both relieved Iolaus had come to no harm.
"A fish's breakfast, I shall not be
Instead he'll become lunch for me!"
They did that day devour a huge feast.
Iolaus more than ate his fill of the beast.
They fed an entire nearby village
With the very fish whose men it did pillage.
My epic tale now comes to a close.
There was one small problem Herc still had to pose.
"While it's true a mighty fish you did land without fail.
Who will ever believe such a wild fish tale?"
Written by Ceryndip in November 1997.
Continue with the next story in this IWC challenge.
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