Vol. 10


The German Fisherman

1944; Charleston, South Carolina, USA

It was 1944, and World War II was happening. My grandfather was about five or six years old. He lived in Charleston at the time. His father and mother worked at a navy shipyard. They couldn’t take my grandfather with them to work, so they paid a retired Greek fisherman to keep him for the day. The retired old man took very good care of my grandfather. He would talk to him, play with him, and feed him. The old man had a business — making fishing nets. While the old man worked, my grandfather would sit on a sea chest where he stored his toys. Over time he grew to love the old man.

"The German Fisherman" - Illustrated by Esten Ronning: A fisherman repairs a net while a child looks onWhen my grandfather had been with the fisherman for a few weeks, he noticed that some strange guys would visit and go to the back of the shop with the old man. While they were back there, they would speak a foreign language. But one day the police, navy, and other authorities stormed heavily into the shop and arrested the old man.

My grandfather was shocked and confused at the same time. He stayed there on the chest until they said, “Come with us.” They took the old man and my grand-father to police headquarters. Later my grandfather found out that the Greek fisherman was a spy for Nazi Germany. He had been giving food, drinks, and information to German sailors from off-shore submarines.

My grandfather stayed in police headquarters in shock, tears steadily rolling down his face, until his parents came to pick him up and take him home. He cried and cried for the next few weeks, because he loved the old man. It had been hard for my grandfather to see him go.

My grandfather still has that chest where he kept his toys, and he misses the old fisherman to this day. It’s funny how you could love somebody so much, yet you barely know that person.

Isabella Palmieri; Alabama, USA

Illustrator: Esten Ronning; Missouri, USA


This copyrighted story and illustration may be copied for limited classroom use or reprinted in an article about The Grannie Annie.


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