Our Toastmasters club recently had a humorous and tall tale speech contest. We both entered: Sue in the humorous category and Nils in the tall tales. They both had fun, and Sue even won with her entry, so we thought we would post them in hopes of brightening your day. Begining with Nils’. Enjoy!
A Vertically Challenged Tall Tale
It was a beautiful August afternoon in the Colorado Rockies. We had crossed the head waters of the Rio Grande two days earlier and now stood atop the continental divide. The cirque lake that lay below was home to some of the finest fishing in the region.
We made our way down to the camp site and I oversaw the high school kids from California hurriedly set up tents before going to the lake. Two boys in particular were anxious to try their luck, but it wasn’t starting well. Sarah had never fished in her life and had been begging the boys to teach her. They could not shake her loose so they went together. “I’ll give you a lesson after I fish first” promised Fred. John gave him a sideways glance that said, “are you crazy?”
They ran ahead and I heard a shout, “Oh my gosh! Look at the size of those things!” I knew it was the first time they had seen a fish with a conning tower. In Latin, they’re called submarino-piscis.
John and Fred made their way to the far side of the lake in the shadows, with Sarah tagging along, all the while letting the boys know just how excited she was to fish. Occasionally, when Sarah came up for air, the boys would steal a glance at each other and roll their eyes. It did not take long for Fred to catch a nice size trout and reel it in. It wasn’t the lunker, but at 20 inches he was pretty happy. And so was Sarah. She figured it was now her turn. Fred just sighed.
Setting her up, he showed her how to cast and, after hitting John twice, she finally managed a pretty good toss. “Now just let it sit for a while,” said Fred. “When you feel a tug or the bobber bobs, then you gotta set the hook. That’s really important,” exhorted Fred, “you gotta set the hook.”
It didn’t take long. “I got a fish!” cried Sarah “Set the hook, set the hook!” yelled Fred. Immediately, Sarah pivoted, set the pole on her shoulder and began to run. “No!” screamed Fred, “what are you doing?” But her mind was made up. She was going to set that hook.
“Whoa! Did you see that?” yelled John, “That thing is Gi-normous!” By now Sarah had run far enough that the small submarine was closing on the shore at a rapid pace. “Stop!” hollered Fred and John together, “or it’ll get away”. Suddenly alert, she stopped. But the fish did not. It was simple physics, really: mass + velocity = beached whale.
Fred and John were ready for it, standing so they might look it in the eye. But when it came ashore, it looked them in the eye, and spit out the hook. With a twist of its substantial torso it began to roll back into the water. Fred and John instinctively knew they would never get near a fish this size unless they enlisted in the Navy, and they went after it.
Like a trained seal unit they flung themselves to the lakes edge, their hands slicing through the surface of the water up to their elbows. Feeling the body of the lunker slipping through their fingers they made a heroic effort to throw the Leviathan backwards over their heads. It was a thing of beauty as it arced through the air, except that they didn’t throw it far enough. It landed on top of the boys who groaned under its weight. With a smirk on its face and a flick of its tail it smacked them upside the head and slide back into the lake.
“My fish got away! How could you let my fish get away?!” howled Sarah. The boys glanced at each other, rolled their eyes and said, “Girls.”