The stream was a net of limpid, delicate ripples, with the water running through the mesh. From time to time, like a fluttering of silver wings, the dorsum of a trout flashed on the surface, the fish at once plunging zigzag down into the water.

—Full of trout, one of the men said.

—If we toss a grenade in, they’ll all come floating to the top, bellies up, said the other; he detached a grenade from his belt and started to unscrew the baseplate.

Then the boy, who had stood aside looking on, walked over, a mountain youth with an apple-look to his face. —Let me have it, he said, taking the rifle from one of the men. —What does he want to do? the man said, intending to re-claim the rifle. But the boy was leveling it at the water, in search of a target, it seemed. “If you shoot, you’ll only scare the fish away,” the man started to say, but did not have time. A trout had surfaced, flashing, and the boy had pumped a bullet into it as though having anticipated the fish’s exact point of appearance. Now, with its white underside exposed, the trout floated lifeless on the surface. —Cripes, the men said. The boy reloaded the rifle and swung it around. The air was crisp and tensed: one could distinguish the pine needles on the opposite bank and the knitted texture of the stream. A ripple broke the surface: another trout. He fired: now it floated dead. The men glanced briefly at the fish, briefly at the boy. —He shoots well, they said.