De-Bait

The troll beneath the busy bridge
enjoyed fish as well as any lamb
and would sit on the nearby ridge
overlooking where the salmon swam.
Unrolling his long bloodless tongue,
he would pierce it with a sharp hook
and cast it out there, far, in among
the fattest fish in the murmuring brook.
His tongue would wiggle, like a worm,
and wag mockingly at the passing schools,
baiting them with each insulting squirm
and hooking many of those leaping fools.
How violent that easy brook became
with so many salmon jumping and splashing!
With each salmon the troll did claim
the flow became as whitewater, crashing.
Yet, there was one fish who, being wise,
warned the rest of his remaining kin
to not look up at the lure, nor to give a rise,
and instead to swim by with an easy fin.
He told them, “Do not take the bait.
Let the troll’s tongue wag all it wants.
We will not be like the others and sate
his appetite, or be caught by his taunts.”
And since none opened their mouths again
to bite the bait dangling overhead
the troll starved and withered, bone thin,
and the brook flowed gently, once more, in its bed.

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