Last week I had the stupendous honor of being interviewed by Warren Keedle, Manager of the Age of Fishes Museum, for this blog. You can read this interview, transcribed by Zoe Urquhart, below:
Warren: Thank you for letting me come down to your river for this interview.
Augustus: I’m sure it will be interesting.
Warren: My first question is who else lives in this part of the river?
Augustus: I have many friends and acquaintances with the river. Nearby me live Dan and Nelly the platypuses and their family. They live just up the river from the swinging bridge; the names of their numerous offspring are Perry, Noah, Lindsay, Robert, Spencer, Billy, Harry, Bobby, Sono, Boots, Nelly, Penny and Chuck. I find them to be friendly agreeable animals.
Of course there are other fish, such as myself. One of my closest relatives is Cecily; she is my cousin and lives quite near me in the river. I find her to be somewhat frivolous and overly cheerful.
There are also a family of Carp who live nearby, by the name of Beringer. They are a quiet family, but not unintelligent. I have frequently had many stimulating conversations with Hastings Beringer, the father. They are of course descendants of the immigrant carp who came here many years ago, and have retained much of their fascinating history. Hastings tells me that he often feels that he would like to return to the homeland for a visit but he and his family agree that they would not like to leave their lovely home in The River.
Warren: We look forward to getting to know all of them too. Now not trying to be rude but how do you hold things with your fins?
Augustus: I’m not trying to be rude either, but only a human would arrogantly assume that you need hands to be efficient.
Warren: Fair point. So how do fish communicate through the generations to pass down knowledge and history?
Augustus: It’s mostly an oral history. Stories of long past decades filter down throughout families, many of the same stories are told somewhat differently depending on which family you are in. In this respect it is similar to human history, changing depending on who is telling it.
Warren: Are there fish artists?
Augustus: Fish have learnt to appreciate beauty in everyday, without having to record it. Occasionally we sketch in the sand at the bottom of the river, perhaps to illustrate a point in a story or just for amusement, but of course it washes away very quickly leaving only a memory. In a way the transient nature of our art is a reflection of how transient our lives are in this river.
Warren: Are you superstitious?
Augustus: Not in the least.
Warren: How far have you traveled in your lifetime?
Augustus: As far up stream as I can, before I reach that natural wall like object and then back. I have never really had a desire to travel any further, or perhaps it is because I have accepted that I cannot.
Warren: Natural wall like object , you mean the dam?
Augustus: Dam? Dam did you say? You mean to tell me that there is a dam in my river!?
Warren: Yes, I believe it would have been built before you were born.
Augustus: That’s no excuse! Well for goodness sake, so you humans are again the reason for hopes and dreams being crushed. Never being able to explore my natural habit because of a dam!
Warren: Well I really had nothing to do with it, but perhaps one day the museum can find a way for you to travel further upstream and find out what’s beyond that wall.
Augustus: Well perhaps. It is very kind of you to offer.
Warren: So the next question. Have you ever had other close encounters with humans?
Augustus: Naturally I have seen humans many times down near The River, I have actually evaded capture by humans bent on fishing many times by my sharp wit and natural instincts. However the most frightening experience I ever had was once when I was quite young my older brother Marcus was taken by a human who was fishing.
Warren: I’m very sorry to hear that.
Augustus: Thank you.
Warren: If you could give one message to the humans around your area what would it be?
Augustus: First of all I would like to express that I have been surprised by the amount of good will shown to fish by humans through the Age of Fishes Museum and this blog. Also I would like to thank the humans around my river for not polluting it overly with much rubbish. I suppose there will always be some humans who pollute. The dam wall seems to be one instance of this, which you so kindly pointed out.
However although humans seem to fairly good in this respect I would wish, more than anything for humans and fish to be able to live peacefully together without one killing the other.
Warren: Great message. If you could give one message to all humans worldwide what would it be?
Augustus: I think that although not happening in my area, a lot of the atrocities being carried out against fish by humans such as the mass genocide happening on a regular basis in most oceans, must stop. I cannot expect that humans will give up killing fish altogether, such a thing is too deeply entrenched in human history, but that would be a wonderful achievement. However that is too much to expect, so I would just like to ask for a better feeling between fish and humans
Warren: Finally what’s the next big thing you hope to achieve in life?
Augustus: Like I mentioned before, life in the river is very transient. Therefore most fish will not have huge goals and plans in life. I think the biggest thing I have ever tried to do is this blog as it is a way for fish to reach out to humans and get our message across.
So I hope my answers were illuminating. Thank you Warren for your support of this project.
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