How Man Came to Know that the Merilles Fish was Poisonous and Inedible

One morning in the summer of a year before years were counted, two naked savages with brown leathery skin waded out far into the cold waters that stretched away to Hedvana, the land of the dead and unborn spirits. Armed with long spears poised high above their heads they scoured the glassy waters for food. One of the savages who was called Bu tè flung his spear at a blue fish with yellow spots, impaling it. Bu tè retrieved his spear, raised it and examined the bright blue and yellow creature on the end of it. This was a fish that no man had ever seen before and Bu tè’s heart became full; he rushed back to the beach at once, splashing and flailing. The other savage, who was called Bu yà, noticed this unusual behavior by his friend and so came ashore to see what the matter was.

At the beach Bu tè had already gutted and splayed the fish, and was now making an obeisance over it. Bu yà beheld the fish before Bu tè and was awe struck by its brightness. He took his seat next to Bu tè and also began making an obeisance. Bu tè looked at his friend and made a grave expression. He then made guttural noises in his throat, which was the language of the savages. What Bu tè said to Bu yà was:

“You can’t have any.”

“What do you mean,” asked Bu yà, not a little offended. “There is enough for both of us. We are great friends you and I. We share everything.”

“I’m sorry Bu yà, but this fish I cannot share with you because it is a gift from Hevis, the lady of Hedvana and it was sent to me. If you were meant to have some, Hevis would have sent you your own Merilles fish.” At this Bu yà became suspicious, wondering how Bu tè knew that the name of this fish was Merilles, which in the savages’ guttural tongue meant “magic fish for a great warrior.”

Bu tè began to devour the Merilles fish while Bu yà watched jealously. When Bu tè had gorged himself he lay back on the sand, his lips shiny from the tetrodoxin-containing oil of the Merilles which is secreted in it’s ovaries, eggs, blood, liver, intestines and to a lesser extent, skin. Bu tè began to moan and mumble in ways not even Bu yà understood. Bu yà jumped to his feet believing that Bu tè was having a divine vision.

“What do you see!?” Bu yà hollered. Bu tè looked up at Bu yà with blood red eyes that rolled back into his head as he vomited and soiled himself many many times. When there was nothing left inside his stomach he was left heaving and convulsing on the sand. For about twenty minutes Bu yà sat next to his friend and watched intently as the tremblings of his body and the rise and fall of his chest grew less and less until at last he became still. Bu yà, upon examining the body of his friend, at this time, found him to be without spirit.

“Truly,” Bu yà thought “this was a fish sent by Hevis to bring Bu tè back to Hedvana. Indeed, Bu tè must have been the greatest warrior in the life of the land.”

Bu yà gave a great tribute to the body of Bu tè — he built an altar and a pyre on the beach and bid him good speed on his journey to Hedvana and then returned alone to his village. Bu yà related with great pomp and circumstance the story of Bu tè and the Merilles fish. His story became known to all people for many miles around who always did two things thereafter: they exalted the memory of the great warrior Bu tè, and were wary of the Merilles fish and knew not to eat of it, lest they should be carried away to Hedvana.

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