Posted by: keepfishing | September 28, 2009

The Fable of Honest Sammy and the Diving Mask

Once, there was a fair haired, good looking young man, who decided that he would take a trip to the sea. With his fins, masks and snorkle, he arrived at the coast ready for adventure. He swiftly donned his gear, and with a quick scowl toward the local youths wrestling octopus from their hidey-holes, he struck out toward the breakers, heading for the fabled coral forests and the fishy masses.

Yet once he’d broken the breakers, our hero found nothing more than a graveyard. All that remained were algae-covered boulders and huge tabulate rocks, dimpled as a monument to the pink polyps who once sat there dangling their bits out in search of passing food morsels and called it home. Few fish had stayed to pick over the remains; only hungry parrot fish feeding on the algae and a solitary butterfly fish, with a puffed up ego, knowing he was the prettiest fish around. Forlorn and annoyed at having paid $15 for the experience, the young man turned and pushed back to shore.

Reaching his destination, our protagonist stood up in the shallows, shook out his lustrous long hair and glanced around. Quickly it became apparent that one of the party who’d swam with him had not returned, so he wrapped his mask around his wrist and moved over to his companions to scan the waves for the lost comrade, avoiding the speedoed kite surfers along the way. Unbeknownst to him, however, the mask quietly slipped off his wrist on the journey. Far be it for him to panic, as the misfortune dawned on our hero, he swiftly switched into a search and recovery program, determined to recover his quarry. Alas, after a full 8 minute search, the mask was given up for lost, abandoned to the currents. Stricken with frustration and disappointment, the young man flung himself to ground, beating the sand with his fists, as moustachioed Italians looked on open-mouthed.

A few days later, the same young man was back at that same beach relaxing in the same stretch of water, with several new friends. Whilst they were daring each other to do adventurous back flips, a young local man, wearing little but a pair of shorts and a large white beanie, waded out and approached one of them. A little while later, upon being questioned, the new friend revealed that the local had wanted to know if he’d lost any swimming glasses. This was the information our hero had been waiting for! Without a second glance, he sprinted out of the water after the young man. After interrogation the young man introduced himself “I’m Sammy, and yes, I have your mask, let us go round the corner where we can talk”. It transpired that Sammy was a good man. He quickly asserted that he was a Christian, and rather than selling the mask and making lots of money, he wanted to find the owner.

Not only was he a good man, he was also a good haggler. Starting at 1000ksh, for the return of our hero’s own mask, he refused to budge an inch. Eventually the fee was agreed and shaken upon, but Honest Sammy wasn’t done “and maybe you can find me a nice tshirt”. The young man scoffed and enquired when the exchange could take place. “Oh just as soon as I get rid of these f***ing Italians I’m guiding”. Right on cue, several overweight, balding men strolled past, sporting big grins, bigger moustaches, and smaller speedos. And off he sped.

A frantic phone call an hour later took place, with Honest Sammy  assuring the good looking, long haired young man that he would be there with in 15 minutes. Sure even, honest as the day is long, as the wind picked up and the tide came in, Honest Sammy came bounding down the beach, holding our hero’s mask aloft and pumping the air with his other arm. ‘My friend! Rafiki! You are a very lucky man! So lucky that an honest man found your swimming glasses!”. The young man nodded, and handed over the note, simply relieved to be reunited with his gear. And with that, Honest Sammy spun on his heel and sprinted back the way he came, jumping and cheering like he’d won the lottery. Surrounded by his group of guffawing  friends, the young man shrugged with the knowledge that he’d still paid less than the insurance excess.

Which leaves us  pretty at the end of the fable. The good-looking, blonde haired young man carried on with his life, writing angry letters to the local wildlife service about the lack of policing in the marine park and occasionally mistaking flamingos for sacred ibises. Whilst whenever Honest Sammy is spotted these days, spurred on by his business acumen, his trademark doublefist pump and leap in the air is never far behind.

The end.

N.B. Fables usually have morals. this one doesn’t, so is probably technically merely a story. Fables are also about made up people, so any resemblance to people, living or dead, is merely a coincidence.


  1. I looooove this story/fable. I am glad you got your goggles back. I mean.. I am glad the good looking blond haired hero of your story got his goggles back. 😉 Brilliantly done blog Alasdair. Creative. 🙂

  2. […] lucky streak, which allowed Honest Sammy to return my diving mask, my laptop charger to be found on the beach, and my camera to survive […]

  3. […] woken in the night covered in army ants, the same day I got bitten by a dog, or want to relive the Fable of Honest Sammy and the diving mask, or want to hear the story of how laptop charger can be found in half a mile of pitch-black beach, […]

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