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Aristophanes Brown hadn’t had a country break for far too long, what with all the business of the concentrated wasp and hornet venom leading to the creation of a psycho-physical shortcut to the centre of the galaxy, and the moon-a-muck needed to get out into the countryside to be able to walk freely without its clumsy dog snout disguises to fool the urban Londoners they lived and researched among.

So taking advantage of a no-questions-asked cousin of Lady Alexia Laplace, they gained access to a pleasant country house on the banks of the renowned trout waters of the River Test.

Aristophanes, although missing the bustle and action of the city, found he enjoyed walking about the grounds with a happily unleashed and unmuzzled moon-a-muck, and the strange but joyous creature that had arrived so unexpectedly in his laboratory one day was obviously equally pleased with this state of affairs.

One of the recreations that Aristophanes found himself trying was a spot of fly fishing. Now he had never seen a copy of Isaac Walton’s “Compleat Angler” in his life, but he fancied that even he should be able to hook a brown trout or two from the clear waters for his supper.

He went every day while the moon-a-muck sang to flowers. “Hooo-hee hooo” it cooed while flopping its paw at butterflies, while Aristophanes applied himself to his fishing with great keen-ness.

He caught precisely nothing every day.

He tried wet flies. He tried dry flies. He tried a spinner. He might as well have been throwing pianos into the stream for all the good it did him. The moon-a-muck had no idea what he was doing, but had plenty of distractions. While not playing with the flora and fauna, it snouted down the alum crystals Aristophanes had brought with them, or lay its long ashy-silver body out in the sun.

Finally, on the last full day of their day, it heard a cry of joy from Aristophanes Brown. For he had finally hooked a trout, and was exclaiming what a fine spper it would indeed make as he swung it to the bank.

Finally the moon-a-muck caught on to what strange task his friend hat set himself to, and padded up to the bank to inspect the catch. In fairness, it wouldn’t really have made a hugely hearty supper, for it was barely a pound in weight, but Aristophanes couldn’t wait to eat something he himself had caught. Oh the primal man had awoken, the hunter gatherer was afoot!

Sensing all this, the moon-a-muck looked at Aristophanes with its almost Egyptian looking eyes, reached up with its snout and very gently sucked the writhing fish from

Brown’s hand.

It then ambled over to the water, and spat the fish back into the stream. “Hooo haa” it then exclaimed with finality.

When Aristophanes went to pick the rod back up and resume, the moon-a-muck looked at him with such a glance, he realised that there was to be no more fishing on this holiday.

He left the rod where it was, and the two of them headed back to the house.

And so it became that this gentle creature became so well known among the fishes, it was regarded as almost a benevolent god. But that is a whole series of other tales.

Copyright Mulberry Lightning 27.04.18