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The Last Carp 18 October, 2012

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 1:30 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It was there again yesterday – the Last Carp.

We’ve got this pond in front of our house out in the country. I think the previous owner must have been keeping fish there, because there are some rusty poles left around it which look as if they once held netting, maybe to keep out hungry weasels. The fish, and nets, were gone when we bought the place 25 years ago, but the pond is fed by a pipe from the stream so the water has stayed fresh, and inhabited by a population of newts and smaller creatures. A few years ago they were joined by some fresh-water snails that must have arrived as eggs down that pipe. Now we had learned earlier that the larvae of the firefly could only grow in fresh clean water, because that was needed by the black shellfish they feed on. Sure enough, those were the same water snails that had settled in the pond and, sure enough, in another couple of years we had a settlement of fireflies there too. If we were lucky, we’d show up on a weekend in early July to be treated to a fantastic display in the bushes round that pond which lit them up like Christmas trees.

Anyway, you remember Ikemoto san the builder who changed our floor for us last year? We’ve been on friendly terms with him for years in fact, since he refurbished the house for us when we moved in, and he’s done a few things for us over the years. Maybe five or six years ago he fixed up the pipe that brought water to our pond, but kept getting blocked up, so now it hardly needs any attention at all. At that time he put a dozen or so small carp in the pond for us. Very kind, though we wondered what they’d live on. It used to be common in the countryside to keep carp as an extra source of protein, and people would give them left-over rice and the like, but we’re away in Nagoya for most of the week. As I had somewhat feared, they seemed to be doing OK without our help, living off those snails and firefly larvae, because the fireflies disappeared from that year. …sigh… Of course it was very kind of him to put those fish in the pond (without asking us) but we’d rather have kept the fireflies really…

However, we soon found that those nets that used to be round the pond had been necessary. One by one the carp just disappeared, presumably taken by animals or the kites that sometimes fly by. Over a year or so they went from 10 to 6 to 3… and then we didn’t see any at all. All gone – how long will it take for the fireflies to come back? But maybe six months after that I caught a glimpse of the Last Carp. Very timid, he’ll disappear under a rock or who-knows-where as soon as he sees you, but he’s still there. Every month or so I get a glimpse of this fish, quite a bit bigger than when he was put in, so he must be finding something to eat – we don’t give him anything. The Last Carp has been lurking in our pond a couple of years now, but after watching his friends being caught and eaten I suppose he’s got good reason to be timid…


2 Responses to “The Last Carp”

  1. It’s ashame about the fireflies, but I’m pulling for the last carp. Seems symbolic, but I’m not sure of what

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