Champion uncle

‘So, this is going to be a seaside holiday, is it?’ Uncle Max asked. He is Mum’s brother, the one who didn’t get married, and he often comes to have dinner with us.

‘That’s right, Max,’ said Dad. ‘A bit of swimming, a bit of relaxing, a bit of fishing...’

‘Fishing, eh?’ Uncle Max interrupted. ‘Did I ever tell you about the time I caught an 800-kilogram shark with my teeth?’

‘No,’ Dad sighed, rolling his eyes. ‘But I’m sure you will.’ Uncle Max was famous for his stories.

‘Well,’ said Uncle Max,pushing his plate to one side. ‘It was like this. I was out fishing in my little dinghy one day when a monster shark swam by. Seeing there were swimmers in the water not far away, I frabbed the anchor, baited it with a fish I had caught, and threw it over the side. I wrapped the anchor chain twice around the my waist and waited.

‘Sure enough, that shark took the bait. As soon as he felt the anchor, he took off, pulling me and my little boat after him. For two days and two nights he dragged me around the ocean. A storm blew up, but with my incredible balance I was able to stay standing.

‘At last, on the third day, the storm finished and I felt the shark growing tired. I unwrapped the chain and began to reel him in. Just as I got the shark near the boat, the chain snapped and he started to swim away.’

‘Quickly I dived overboard and swam after him. He saw me and turned to attack. Calmly, I waited until he was close and then punched him on the nose, knowing him out cold. I grabbed his tail between my teeth and began to tow him to shore, about 12 kilometres away.’

‘On the beach, I threw him over my shoulder and jogged to the nearest marine park. As far as I know, that shark is still there—and you can still see my teeth marks in his tail.’

‘Wow!’ I said. ‘Uncle Max, you must be a real, live hero.’

‘That is a wonderful story, Max,’ said Mum. She had just come into the room with the coffee pot. ‘But you left two things out of it.’

‘Oh?’ said Uncle Max, puzzled. ‘And what are they?’

‘Well, Max,’ Mum smiled, ‘you’re the only person I know who get seasick in a bath—and you can’t swim!’