Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pet Hito

Dr Abe V Rotor

Hito raised in garden pond, starting as juvenile, may reach two feet long and easily weigh a kilo each, in less than a year. Catfish can grow up to five feet and weigh half a ton in open water, such as the Mekong River in Vietnam, and Yangtze in China. It is a relative of the popular kanduli, a native of Laguna Bay.    

There is one problem though.  Hito may turn into pets, and children would not let them end up in the frying pan or charcoal grill. 

How to raise hito on the backyard, a pamphlet said it's easy to keep;
we extended our garden pond twice longer and dug it a meter deep.

We bought a dozen live hito, choosing the juveniles by look and size
from a fish peddler, and the expert that he was, gave us some advice.   

By the book and advice, and some experience we released our fish
to their new home, assuring them care, and sending off our wish.  

Days and weeks passed, and months, they grew big and fat, and happy,
what joy to see them everyday, for food, and the children's company!

The talisay, its crown spreading over the pond attracted many birds;
On their perch they sang melodiously, or danced like the fantail bird.

The pond turned emerald green, fresh with algae, moss covered the wall,
adding coolness to the garden, as our fish quickly grew big and full.   

Time came to harvest our fish, I announced having bought a new grill;
it was a special Sunday on the backyard by the pond - oh, what a thrill.

But the pond was unusually calm, and the children could not be found;   
the pond was creaseless and eerie, the fish knew - not a stir, not a sound. 

To this day the grill remains unpacked, our hito just grew long and round,
what a joy to see them everyday, their whiskers rising to greet every one.

Each has a name, by its whiskers known, its jump, its little eyes, too;
the birds perch on the talisay tree singing, oh, how we love the hito! ~

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