Monday, August 28, 2017

Catfish Tales 4: The Taboo (泥鳅的故事4)

Fishermen spent most of their lives on sea and they very much depended on the weather to earn a living. With the only stepping ground is the deck, between the sky and the sea; naturally that they will have many taboos.

A more commonly know taboo is about consuming fish. A fish is normally cleared of internal contents except the gall bladder. Then the fish is cut open and it is put on a plate with both sides facing upwards as if a butterfly spreading its wings.

The way of consuming the fish is from outside in. It is forbidden to flip over the fish as flipping a fish is somehow synonym to the capsizing of a boat. So it is a big no-no.

There is another taboo that when a catfish is caught near a river mouth, the catfish must be smashed violently onto the ground a few times so that it wriggles. This is to exorcise water ghost that might have possessing the catfish and hence preventing the person from bringing the spirit back into his house. Maybe such a belief is founded because catfish is scavenger and they would eat just about anything including the corpse of a drowned person.

Jacky told me his own experience...

Once Jacky was fishing in Muda River mouth and caught a very big catfish. When he reached home, Jacky's 3 year old daughter rushed out to greet him. But when the little girl saw her daddy, she suddenly took a step back and fall buttock down; and then started to cry frantically.

Jacky thought that his daughter might be afraid of the big catfish. So, he asked his wife to console their daughter and kept the catfish inside the fridge until a suitable time for consumption.

One week later, Jacky thought about the catfish and decided to cook it. He fetched the half frozen catfish and dip it into water to defrost. Surprisingly speaking, the catfish started to awake and swim inside the bucket!

Jacky's mother saw the scene, she begged Jacky not to eat the catfish but to release it back to its habitat. Jacky is a modern scientific thinking person and he does not believe in supernatural stuffs. So, despite his old mum's advice, he decided to go on with his plan of cooking a pot of curry catfish.

The night after Jack cooked the catfish, his wife suddenly awoke in the middle of the night to see the silhouette of a person stood by their bed. Feeling strange, the lady switched on the light and the figure was gone as soon as the light is on.

The strangest thing is that though the figure had gone, there was a pool of water at the location where Jacky's wife saw it. Same sightings occurred for a consecutive few nights at the same hours. Then one night, Jacky was experiencing hag ride of another kind.

That night, Jacky went to bed as usual. In the middle of the night, he saw a figure soaking wet rode on his chest and he couldn't move or speak. The ordeal ended when the alarm clock rang at 5am.

On awakening, Jacky found he was wet throughout but his wife who slept beside him remained fairly dry though.

However rational Jacky might want to be, he decided to follow his mother's advice to consult a medium nearby. 

According to the medium, it was the drowned ghost that possessed the catfish that had troubled Jacky. The spirit was released as soon as its host was killed and it has nowhere to go but to follow Jacky.

Believe it or not, after some deliverance ceremonies; the strange wet figure was seen no more. Since then, Jacky would feel reluctant to bring back catfish caught near a river mouth...

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