Shrimp on horseback

From France to Germany to southern England, an ancient fishing method was popular in the North Sea coast of Europe: riding on a horse to catch shrimp. However, with the development of the economy, this 500-year-old tradition is facing a crisis. The only coastal town in the northwest of Belgium called Oostduinkerke in the world still maintains this way of working. Only 17 people have mastered this skill in the world.

Nari is one of these 17 people. The BBC followed her to experience this peculiar way of catching shrimp. After arriving at the beach, Nari had to put on special “equipment”: knee-length waterproof boots, bright yellow waterproof clothing and hat. After changing into “work clothes”, Nari tied a large funnel-shaped trawl to the saddle. There is a metal chain in front of the trawl, which can stir the sand and make small fish and shrimp jump up. There is a square board made of wood and metal on both sides of the trawl net. When the horse is dragging the net in the sea, these two boards can ensure that the net is open, so that the small fish and shrimp just jump into the net. .

Although the shrimp caught locally are small, they are said to be extremely tender. There are two shrimp fishing seasons on horseback every year, from March to May and September to November. As a “prawn rider”, you must not only be able to ride horses, but you must also be familiar with the local coastline and ocean currents. In 2013, the art of “catching shrimp on horseback” was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO. To become a “prawn rider” now, one has to go through theoretical study and practice, and pass an exam.

The current horse-riding shrimp fishing is not just a simple labor production, but an activity closely related to cultural heritage and tourism. Every September, the “prawn rider” will give the first harvest of the season to the King of Belgium. Since 1950, Ostunkirk has held a two-day shrimp fishing festival every June, which can attract tens of thousands of tourists.

few minutes later, Tom was in the shallow water of the sandbar, wading towards the Illinois bank. The water barely came up to his chest when he was halfway there. But now the current did not allow any further advance and he boldly set out to swim the remaining hundred meters. He let himself be carried away by the current, which carried him faster than he himself thought. But he finally managed to reach the bank and land on a lower part of it. He felt in his pocket for the piece of bark, found it safe in its place, and now strode into the forest along the bank with dripping clothes. Shortly before ten o’clock he came to a vacant place, just opposite the small town at home, and saw the ferry chained in the shade of the trees on the high bank. Everything was silent under the twinkling stars. He crawled down the bank, peering cautiously, slipped into the water, and swam in three or four thrusts towards the boat that was tied to the side of the ferry. There he stretched himself under the rowing bench and waited breathlessly. Immediately a hoarse bell rang and a voice gave the order to push off. A minute or two later the boat was pulled sharply by the ferry and the journey began. Tom congratulated A minute or two later the boat was pulled sharply by the ferry and the journey began. Tom congratulated A minute or two later the boat was pulled sharply by the ferry and the journey began. Tom congratulated[140] himself to his success, he knew it was the last trip that evening. After an endless twelve or fifteen minutes the wheels came to a standstill, Tom slipped overboard and swam on the bank in the darkness, landing about fifty meters below the town, for fear of meeting late swarms. He flew through lonely alleys and after a short time found himself at the back fence of his aunt’s yard. The fence was quickly climbed, he approached the house and looked through the window of the living room, in which the light was still on. Aunt Polly, Sid, Mary, and Joe Harper’s mother were sitting there talking. They sat in front of the bed and the bed was between them and the door that led directly into the courtyard. Tom stepped up on his toes and began to gently press the handle. The door gave way and opened a little with a gentle creak. Tom carefully widened the gap until he thought it was big enough to push himself through on his knees. Then he stuck his head through and bravely began to crawl forward.

“Why is the light flickering like that?” Said Aunt Polly. – Tom hurried to crawl in. “Good Lord, the door is open as much as I can see! Of course it is. There is no end to the horrors! Go, Sid, close the door! ”

Just in time, Tom disappeared under the bed. He lay there as still as a mouse, only to catch his breath first, then he crawled on to where he could almost touch his aunt’s feet.

“Yes, as I said,” she continued, “he wasn’t bad, as people call him so bad – just always full of madness, full of nonsense and always on top, you know. But you couldn’t hold it against him any more than with a colt; he thought nothing more of it, God knows[141] the kindest boy who lived and – ‘she began to cry.

“That’s exactly how my Joe was – always full of devils and ready for every great prank, but as selfless and good at it as possible. And, Heaven forgive me, I, I, his own mother, go over there and cut him off because I think he took the old cream, don’t think about the fact that I poured it away myself because he got mad. And now I shall never see him again in this world, the poor, battered boy, never, never again! ‘And Frau Harper sobbed as if breaking her heart.

“I hope Tom is better off where he is,” began Sid, “but if he’s better here in some things -”

“ Sid! – Tom properly felt the stern warning look,[142] the threatening twinkle in the old lady’s eyes, although he could not see it.

“Not a word more against my poor Tom, who has now passed away. Almighty God will take care of him, you don’t have to worry about it. Oh, my neighbor, I don’t know how to survive, I don’t know how to survive! He was my whole consolation, although he almost tormented my old heart out of my body! ”

“The Lord has given, the Lord has taken, the name of the Lord be praised! But it’s hard, so hard! Just last Sunday my Joe gave me a crush on me, whereupon I told him that he fell over. I didn’t think that he would soon – oh, Lord of my life, if I were in the same position again, I would press him to my heart and kiss him. ”

“Yes, yes, yes, neighbor, I know how courageous you must be, I know exactly. Only yesterday afternoon my Tom poured the “pain killer” into the unreasonable cattle, Peter, whom he was supposed to take himself. Well, I think the cat tears down the house, it rages around like that. And I, God forgive me, give the boy a clap on the head with my thimble; poor boy, poor, poor, dead boy! He’s been through it now. And the last words I heard from him were that he accused me – ”

But this memory was too much for the old lady, she completely collapsed under it. Tom was sobbing himself now, more out of pity for himself than for any other reason. He heard Mary crying, and from time to time interjecting a kind word about him. His own opinion of himself rose considerably. But his aunt’s grief touched him very much, and he could hardly do it[143] Resist temptation to break out of its ambush and turn its misery into joy. The theatrical effect that such a scene was bound to produce excited him tremendously, but he bravely defended himself against it and remained silent. He continued to listen and noticed from all sorts of fragments of the speeches which he put together that at first it was believed that he and his comrades had had an accident while swimming. Then the little raft was missed. Various boys now said that the missing had said that the whole city should soon find out something new. The “wise heads” of the community now rhymed various things and finally agreed that the boys should leave on the raft and appear in the next town downriver as soon as possible. But around noon the empty raft was found, which had drifted ashore about four miles below the town, and then all hope vanished. They must have drowned, otherwise hunger would have driven them home before night, if not earlier. It was believed that the search for the corpses was largely unsuccessful because the drowned people must have perished in the deepest water, for the boys were quick swimmers and would otherwise have surely escaped to the bank. That was on Wednesday evening. If it was not possible to find the bodies by Sunday, then one had to forsake all hope and a funeral service was to be held in the church on that day. Tom shuddered. otherwise hunger would have driven her home before night, if not earlier. It was believed that the search for the corpses was largely unsuccessful because the drowned people must have perished in the deepest water, for the boys were quick swimmers and would otherwise have surely escaped to the bank. That was on Wednesday evening. If it was not possible to find the bodies by Sunday, then one had to forsake all hope and a funeral service was to be held in the church on that day. Tom shuddered. otherwise hunger would have driven her home before night, if not earlier. It was believed that the search for the corpses was largely unsuccessful because the drowned people must have perished in the deepest water, for the boys were quick swimmers and would otherwise have surely escaped to the bank. That was on Wednesday evening. If it was not possible to find the bodies by Sunday, then one had to forsake all hope and a funeral service was to be held in the church on that day. Tom shuddered. That was on Wednesday evening. If it was not possible to find the bodies by Sunday, then one had to forsake all hope and a funeral service was to be held in the church on that day. Tom shuddered. That was on Wednesday evening. If it was not possible to find the bodies by Sunday, then one had to forsake all hope and a funeral service was to be held in the church on that day. Tom shuddered.

Mrs. Harper gave a “good night” sob and rose to go. Seized by a common drive, the two orphaned women flew into each other’s arms, cried for a few minutes and then said goodbye. Aunt Polly said “Goodnight” to Sid and Mary with particular tenderness. Sid sobbed a little, but Mary cried from the bottom of her heart.

[144]

Now Aunt Polly knelt down and prayed for Tom, so touching, so urgently, with such immeasurable love in every word, every tone of her old, trembling voice that the wrongdoer under the bed literally melted into tears again long before she had ended.

He had to be very quiet for a long time after she went to bed, because over and over again she tossed herself restlessly from side to side, moaning and moaning to herself. But at last she fell silent, only occasionally sobbing softly in her sleep. Now Tom stole from under the bed, slowly straightened himself up, shaded the light with his hand and looked at her. His heart overflowed with pity. He took the sycamore bark out of his pocket and laid it down by the light. Then a thought shot through his head and he hesitated, deliberately. His face literally transfigured in the reflection of the enlightened idea that had occurred to him. He quickly took the bark back, bent over the old face, breathed a kiss on her lips and stole, as quietly as he had come,

He crept the same way back to the ferry, found no one there, and stepped boldly on deck. Did he know that there was only one guard there at this time and he usually withdrew into the cabin and slept like a sack. He untied the boat from the side, slipped into it, and soon afterwards, rowing cautiously, slipped upstream. When he was a mile above town he headed across the river and worked hard. It hit exactly the landing point on the other side. This achievement was nothing new to him. Now Tom wondered whether he shouldn’t take the boat with him, which would be, so to speak, quite legitimate prey for a pirate. Yet he knew that thorough research should be done[145] after the whereabouts and that could have led to unpleasant discoveries in the end. So he jumped to the bank and immediately went into the forest. There he sat down, rested for a long, long time, torturing himself namelessly in order to keep himself awake. Then he made his way home tired, tired and sleepy. The night was well advanced. It was daylight before he was back on the bank across from the sandbar. He rested again until the sun had risen completely and gilded the stream with its sheen, then he threw himself into the water and soon afterwards he stood dripping at the entrance of the camp and heard Joe say:

“No, Tom is as loyal as gold, Huck, he’s coming back, he’s not pissed off! He knows that would be dishonorable for a pirate, and Tom is far too proud to do such a thing. He’s up to something, that’s for sure, just want to know what! ”

“Well, the things in the hat are ours, aren’t they?”

“Almost, Huck, not quite yet. Here the writing on the bark says: ‘The things are yours if I am not back by breakfast -‘ «

“Which is the case with this,” shouted Tom, and entered the scene with a magnificent, dramatic effect.

A sumptuous breakfast, made up of bacon and fish, was soon on the spot. The boys went about it, Tom told his adventures with appropriate embellishment. His fame cast a brilliant reflection on the others. The story soon transformed them into a vain, boastful, noisy band of heroes. Then Tom looked for a quiet, hidden corner to sleep while the other pirates got ready to fish and go out on discovery.

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