Folks, today I present a story about a fish which predicted the end of World War 1, or at least the inscription on it did. Unfortunately part of the text on the photocopy I have is obscured by a stain which looks either like the head of Jon Downes or a brown parrot depending on your point of view. If you cannot read the caption beneath the fish it reads “ The strange fish caught at Zanzibar. The Arabic ( ?)….tail reads “God alone”
MYSTERIOUS FISH WITH STRANGE ARABIC INSCRIPTIONS
The accompanying photograph depicts a remarkable fish which was recently caught at Zanzibar with strange Arabic inscriptions upon its tail. It appears that the fish was not of a large haul, and was taken by a single fisherman, who brought it to the fish- market. There it remained for some time, having no purchaser as it was one that had never been seen before in those waters. Finally an Indian of the sect “ Memon” bought it, and, on the strange markings being noticed, it was taken to a well known Arab scholar, who deciphered the inscription.It was afterwards sent to the Sultan, who also recognized the wording.
That night, three thousand rupees were offered for the fish and refused, and on the following day five thousand rupees were refused. The original price paid for the fish was a penny, and it was eventually decided to have it preserved. For this purpose it was taken to the Government Laboratory, where it was treated with formalin. It has since been placed on public exhibition. There are two distinct inscriptions on the tail, one on each side. One reads: “ The work of God,” and the other “ God alone.” There is no suspicion of anything in the nature of a fake about the matter, and the mystery is so complete that no explanation of the strange phemomenon is forthcoming. The Arabic lettering is perfectly plain, and the discovery has caused wonderment throughout the Mohammedan community of Zanzibar. They declare it portends some thing about to happen, possibly the end of the war. [ My emphasis. NB the date of publication.]. In the course of conversation with a prominent East African official we gather that the only previous case of a similar nature known occurred in Tibet, where certain Hindustani wording appeared on the leaves of a tree. The whole of the circumstances are certainly very strange. (1)
1. Wide World Late 1917- Early 1918.
Until next time, this is Dr Devo signing off.