The Fishermen

Fishermen were expecting a big catch due to the weight of their nets. They were disappointed to find rocks and sand. Happens now and again one said.

Life has its ups and downs.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

Some fishermen were out trawling their nets. Perceiving them to be very heavy, they danced about for joy and supposed that they had taken a large catch. When they had dragged the nets to the shore they found but few fish: the nets were full of sand and stones, and the men were beyond measure cast down so much at the disappointment which had befallen them, but because they had formed such very different expectations. One of their company, an old man, said, “Let us cease lamenting, my mates, for, as it seems to me, sorrow is always the twin sister of joy; and it was only to be looked for that we, who just now were over-rejoiced, should next have something to make us sad.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version (Fishermen Disappointed)

Some fishermen that had been out a whole day with a drag-net, and caught nothing, had a draught toward the evening, that came home very heavy, which put ’em in hope of a sturgeon at least, but upon bringing the net ashore, it prov’d to be only one great stone, and a few little fishes. Upon this disappointment they were down in the mouth again; but says one of the company that was a little graver then the rest, you are to consider, my masters, that joy and sorrow are two sisters that follow one another by turns.


All our purchases in this world are but the catching of a Tartar, as we say, but it is some comfort yet to consider, that when things are at the worst they’l mend.