There was a big mill behind the forest. Its mill wheel was always turning and the miller and the miller’s wife, who lived there, made flour for the whole village. Next to the mill was a pond. Its surface shimmered in the distance. Every now and then water splashed out of it and a bubble appeared because the pond was full of carp.
They swam happily there. Racek the waterman took care of the pond. He was a good waterman. He made sure that the fish in his pond had a good time. He always sat on his willow tree over the water and ate the buns that the miller left outside his window. He made sure that everything in his pond was just right. But things weren’t always this peaceful.
Once upon a time, when Racek the waterman was sitting on his willow tree like this, the frogs came screeching after him, calling, “Racek, come quickly and save the carp! He’s caught in a trap! But it’s not a fisherman’s trap, it’s something else! We’ve never seen anything like it before. We don’t know how to rescue him. Hurry, please! Follow us!”
The waterman quickly jumped down from his willow tree and ran to the other end of the pond after the frogs. When he got there, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The carp was flailing on the shore. He was tangled in some kind of bag and couldn’t get back into the water. The Racek came running in just in time. He quickly freed the carp and put it back in the water. Then he took the strange trap in his hand and began to examine it, wondering what such a thing was even doing in his pond.
The carp surfaced and said to Racek the waterman: “Thank you, waterman, for helping me. A little longer and I would have suffocated on the shore without water. The trap was floating at the edge of the pond and there were some scraps of food in it. I was tempted to eat something, so I looked into it. Before I could eat anything, I got tangled up and was left on the shore with no water.”
The waterman said goodbye to the carp and was grateful to the frogs for calling him and saving the carp together. But he had to find out where the strange bag had come from. And who dared to pollute his pond in the first place?! So he arranged with the frogs to patrol. They’d take turns day and night, watching anyone who came near the pond. See what he’s doing there. Nothing happened for a few days. Only the miller would come to feed the carps and sit by the pond in the evening. She liked to watch its shimmering surface.
Until one evening, when Racek the waterman and two frogs were on watch, a stranger sat down by the pond. The waterman knew him a little; he had seen him sometimes come to the mill to get flour. He was so dirty, dishevelled and always frowning. He walked over to the pond, looked at the surface, and then took out his creamed snack in a bag. As soon as he finished, he stood up and threw the bag with the rest of the food into the pond.
The waterman Racek was horrified. “It can’t be! This is my pond and my friends the carps live there. Garbage belongs in the trash, not in the pond. I’ll show him!” thought the waterman. The master was about to leave when Racek jumped in front of him. He shouted at him, and as he startled him in the dark, the master staggered and fell straight into the pond. The waterman only called out: “Now!” And the pond began to stir. The carps began to bump into him and swim around him so fast that it began to make a swirl. Frogs were bouncing on his head. The master just flapped his arms around and called for help.
After a while, the waterman motioned for the frogs and fish to leave him alone. The master crawled to the shore and turned to the waterman, “Thank you for telling them to stop. I was afraid I was going to drown.” “I wouldn’t let you drown. What would I get out of it? I don’t do that. I just wanted you to be scared and see what it’s like,” the waterman replied. “What, let me see what it’s like?” the man asked. “Just as you were splashing in the water and scared just now, my friend the carp was splashing on the bank the other day. He was tangled in your garbage that you threw into the pond. You almost got him killed. If you want to go to the pond, never throw anything in the water here again. Promise me that!” replied the waterman Racek sternly. The master was ashamed and blushed. He did not realize what he could have caused by his disorderliness.
Nothing like that has happened since. The master used to go to the pond regularly and always remembered what not to do. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to the carp or anyone else because of him. On the contrary, he only brought carp treats to the pond and buns to the waterman. Then they sat side by side on the willow tree, talking. Watching the magical shimmering surface of the pond perhaps even today.