Which best describes John Greenleaf Whittier's purpose in "The Fish I Didn't Catch"?
It is the author's attempt to suggest to audiences that they must learn all lessons for themselves.
It is the author's attempt to prove to readers that the advice of older people is not always wise.
It is the author's attempt to persuade audiences to be more involved in the lives of their family members.
It is the author's attempt to use an autobiographical incident to share valuable wisdom.
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Our bachelor uncle who lived with us was a quiet, genial man, much given to hunting and fishing; and it was one of the great pleasures of our young life to accompany him on his expeditions to Great Hill, Brandy--brow Woods, the Pond, and, best of all, to the Country Brook. We were quite willing to work hard in the cornfield, or the haying--lot to finish the necessary day's labor in season for an afternoon stroll through the woods and along the brookside. I remember my first fishing excursion as if it were but yesterday. I have been happy many time s in my life, but never more intensely so than when I received that first fishing-pole from my uncle's hand, and trudged off with him through the woods and meadows. It was a still sweet day of early summer; the long afternoon shadows of the trees lay coo l across our path; the leaves seemed greener, the flowers Brighter, the birds merrier, than ever before. My uncle, who knew by long experience where were the best haunts of pickerel, considerately placed me at the most favorable point. I threw out my lin e as I had so often seen others, and waited anxiously for a bite, moving the bait in rapid jerks on the surface of the water in imitation of the leap of a frog. Nothing came of it. "Try again," said my uncle. Suddenly the bait sank out o sight. "Now for it," thought I; "here is a fish at last."I made .a strong pull, and brought up a tangle of weeds. Again and again I cast out my line with aching arms, and drew it back empty. I looked to my uncle appealingly. "Try once more," he said. "We fishermen must have patience."
Suddenly something tugged at my line and swept off with it into deep water. Jerking it up, I saw a fine pickerel wriggling in the sun. "Uncle!" I cried, looking back in uncontrollable excitement, "I've got a fish!" "Not yet," said my uncle. As he spoke t here was a splash in the water; I caught the arrowy gleam of a scared fish shooting into the middle of the stream; my hook hung empty from the line. I had lost my prize.
We are apt to speak of the sorrows of childhood as trifles in comparison with those of grown-up people; but we may depend upon it the young folks don't agree with us. Our griefs, modified and restrained by reason, experience, and self-respect, keep the p roprieties, and, if possible, avoid a scene; but the sorrow of childhood, unreasoning and all--absorbing, is a complete abandonmend to. the passion. The doll's nose is broken, and the world breaks up with it; the marble rolls out of sight, and the solid globe rolls off with the marble.
So, overcome by my great and bitter disappointment, I sat down on the nearest hassock, and for a time refusod to be comforted, even by my uncle's assurance that there were more fish in the brook. He refitted my bait, and, putting the pole again in my han ds, told me to try my luck once more.
"But remember, boy," he said, with his shrewd smile, "never brag of catching a fish until he is on dry ground. I've seen older folks doing that in more ways than one, and so making fools of themselves. It's no use to boast of anything until it's done, nor then either, for it speaks for itself."
How often since I have been reminded of the fish that I did not catch! When I hear people boasting of a work as yet undone, and trying to anticipate the credit which belongs only to actual achievement, I call to mind that scene by the brookside, and the wise caution of my uncle in that particular instance takes the form of a proverb universal application: "Never brag of your fish before you catch him."