She dropped the blade and jumped away from the counter. This couldn’t be happening.
Her eyes must have been playing tricks on her. She looked at the shiny object in shock. But as she reached out to touch it, it moved. Her scream echoed through the house as her husband ran to her side. What was going on?!
Minni and her husband, Joel, lived off the land as much as their lifestyle would allow.
Aside from growing their own fruits and vegetables in their lush garden, they also fished in the lakes and sea nearby to put delicious food on the table. Everything they ate was homegrown and they loved showing their kids basic hunting and gathering skills.
One Fateful Day
For Minni and Joel, their grow-what-you-eat lifestyle wasn’t a chore for them. Instead, it was a pleasant, relaxing hobby that let them spend quality time with their kids and each other.
But on this fateful day’s fishing haul, the couple caught something that changed everything.
Bowfin, also known as Mudpike or even Trashfish, aren’t always a welcome catch for fishermen. But if someone knew how to cook them properly, they could make quite a tasty meal.
Luckily for the couple, they knew how to cook them so when they caught a few bowfin, they knew exactly what to do with them.
“Looks like it’s going to be fishcakes and baked potatoes today!” Joel said as he reeled in their hard-earned catch.
They returned home, popping the extra fish in the freezer and leaving two out to prepare for dinner. Minni put fish into the sink and began her cleaning ritual. She did this hundreds of times before but never had she seen something like this.
Preparing The Meat
Preparing the fish was her least favorite part of the whole process but she always consoled herself that at least it was better than buying the processed and imported meats at the store.
The first step was to remove the head, then she had to take out the guts and clean it before scaling. She was just about to slide the knife along its stomach when she felt something strange.
A Strange Bump
There was a hard lump right in the middle of the body. She checked out the fish and knew it wasn’t eggs. But if not that, then what?
Fish are known to sometimes eat strange things. So, she opened up the fish and carefully took out the insides. She had no idea what she might find. But when something shiny came into view, she gasped.
Minni stared at her hands, still not believing what she was holding.
The delicate, gold links formed into a necklace with an anchor pendant on the end. This was unbelievable! How did this little swimmer eat such a thing? Suddenly, the flabbergasted wife felt something strange along the fish again.
Jewelry In A Fish
The necklace already raised so many questions, but the little fish still had more to offer.
She grabbed it again and took out the rest of the guts. She traced her figure down along the insides until she spotted where the bump was. But as soon as she dug her fingers in, something terrifying happened.
Screams And Surprises!
Minni put her finger over the lump and felt something move. She screamed in surprise and disgust and jumped back, away from the counter.
Her scream echoed through the house, alarming Joel who suddenly leaped to her side. His eyes popped open as he took in the inexplicable scene that lay before him.
Sudden Heart Attack
Mini’s heart raced. Her lungs felt like they would never catch up. It had been a while since she received a shock like this.
“What’s happening?!” her husband asked, looking at the fish. Minni steadied herself and slowly reached out her hand. She pointed at the fish. “How is that possible?” she shrieked.
The long piece of meat curled up like it was a live fish, flopping around for air on a dry dock.
It was moving! The head was in the sink and the rest of the body parts were on the cutting board! Minni’s husband poked the flesh and the flopping became more intense. How was this even possible?!
Minni wondered if it had something to do with whatever was hiding inside the lump. Was the thing inside the lump making the fish move?
Before she was going to touch that thing again, she wanted to understand what she was dealing with. Minni put her treasure hunt on hold and ran to her phone.
While her husband filmed the phenomenon, she immediately pulled up a search engine and scoured the internet for answers.
She drew a sigh of relief when she found that fish moving after they’re dead is actually quite common. And the cause is a very common cooking ingredient – salt.
Cells And Muscles
Even after a fish dies, some cells in the body can still react to stimuli. In this case, it was sodium.
The scientific answer had a lot of complicated ideas about sodium and potassium ions reacting to neurons firing as well as electrical signals. This chain reaction can cause muscles to contract and release for a short period of time.
Minni giggled with relief as her husband played with the fish. But not, only one question remained: what else was hiding inside the fish?
As Minni approached the fish again, her husband saw the necklace and asked her about it. When she described to him what happened, he was speechless. Then he felt exactly what she did.
Moment Of Truth
He stepped back and allowed her to continue with her crazy discovery. “Do you think there’s more jewelry in there?”, he asked. “I don’t know but I guess we’ll find out”, Minni replied.
Joel peered over her shoulder as she pulled back the insides and a small ball came into view before seeing another and another. ‘What the..?” Minni muttered.
Minni uncovered a handful of tiny shiny balls. She and Joel took one between their figures to examine what it was. “Is it a bead?”, Minni asked.
Joel was squinting his eyes, turning the tiny ball between his figure and thumb. When he held it into the light, he could hardly believe his eyes.
With a shocking realization, Joel declared that they were pearls. Real, pure pearls. Minni’s jaw dropped. “Wow! Are you sure?”. He grabbed the pearl and rubbed it against his teeth.
His eyes popped. “These are definitely real!” he exclaimed. Minni’s forehead knitted in confusion. How could he tell?
If you ever need to differentiate between a real or fake pearl, the best way to do it is to rub it against your teeth.
A real pearl will feel gritty against your teeth - almost as if you’re rubbing sandpaper against them. A fake or imitation pearl will feel smooth. If you’re unsure, the likelihood is that it’s fake as a real pearl will most definitely grate against your teeth. But how did it get in the fish?
A Fishing Fortune
Bowfish are known for not being the pickiest of eaters. In fact, they’ll eat anything that moves! This fish must have had a liking for shiny things after eating an oyster and mussel or two.
Fortunately, for the couple, the jewelry found in the fish was in pristine condition and the pearls, well! One of those could sell for $300 to $1500!
The couple uploaded their video of the moving fish and posted about their incredible find on social media.
It didn’t take long for comments to come pouring in. Most were shocked, and a few even accused them of faking the entire thing. Oh well, who can blame them! But two other users pointed out something interesting.
The moving of the limp body didn’t just happen to fish.
Frogs and squids could sometimes do the same thing. It didn’t mean that every fish that came out of the water would do this – or have hidden treasure inside. But it was still an amazing thing to witness. Nature was truly astounding! But did they sell their find?
Joel and Minni faced a lot of criticism online at first for not trying to find the real owner of the gold necklace. But they tried to describe to their friends that it was impossible to find the real owner.
The necklace could have fallen anywhere in the water system around the area that the fish would have commuted around. And there was also another problem.
There was no telling how long the necklace could have been living underwater before the fish grabbed it. For all anyone knew, it could have been years - or decades!
Now, one would think that this was the end of their amazing discovery. But over the next few weeks, something nagged at Minni – they had put some fish in the freezer as well. Would there be anything interesting in those as well?
Finding The Fillets
Minni might have felt foolish rummaging around in the freezer like a child on a treasure hunt. However, the previous discovery had already been amazing. So, why not have a peek?
She sliced open the vacuum-sealed pack, stuck the frozen block of fish into a bowl, and waited for them to defrost.
Joel stopped cutting the garden tomatoes he had picked for the afternoon’s salad. He looked over and raised an eyebrow. “You don’t actually think there’s more?”
Minni nudged him away. Her hands jittered with excitement.
Thankfully, the fishy siblings didn’t do the disturbing death-dance like the other fillet.
She slid the knife along the belly and poked her fingers inside, hoping to feel something other than squishy guts.
Nothing. It was a normal fish, just like the hundreds they had caught before.
But there were four more to go and she pounced on them like a gambling addict with a pile of fresh scratch cards. Little did they know the mystery that awaited them.
5th Times The Charm
Third, nothing. Fourth, nothing.
But it was on the fifth fish that her knife hit something solid. Joel’s eyes went as wide as dinner plates when Minni pulled out another piece of gold – but this one wasn’t a necklace. It was a thick gold ring, like something a man would wear.
What Are The Chances?
“This isn’t happening,” Joel said.
Minni leaned against the counter. Her head was already dizzy to the point of pulling her to the floor. This wasn’t just a shiny new find. Because, as she looked closer, an astounding clue appeared.
A Solid Lead
With the necklace and pearls, there was no way of knowing who the treasures belonged to.
But as Minni wiped away the icky film, the inside revealed an engraving – two names and a date. This was the breakthrough they needed! The adventure wasn’t over.
Starting The Search
It might not have been much, but the new details were far more than what they had started with.
Joel pulled out his computer and frantically looked for wedding announcements around the date on the ring. Minni did the same – there was no way she could sit back and do nothing.
Not Giving Up
“Jimmy? Maybe James,” Minni muttered, her hands sailing over the keys in a caffeine-fueled blur.
The entire thing was like finding a needle in a hundred haystacks. It wasn’t until their 6th cup of coffee did something finally spark their hope again.
Could It Be?
“James and Madeline Jeffords!” Joel exclaimed. His excitement nearly knocked her out of her seat.
There it was, plain as day – this had to be the owner of the lost wedding band. Minni thanked the internet gods ... they had a social media page.
It was a stream of photos, mostly grandkids and silly jokes.
But there was no mention of a lost wedding band. Maybe that was because the couple had lost it so long ago? Minni’s hands shook with excitement as she typed a message to Madeline.
The Waiting Game
Every click of their kitchen clock was like agony.
They waited with bated breath to see those three little dots appear – a sign that someone was writing back. Every part of them hoped someone still bothered to look at the account.
Minutes turned into hours, and the moon rose high in the sky.
The kids slept soundly in their beds while Joel snored like a chainsaw in his Barcalounger. Minni’s head dipped towards the table over and over as she willed herself to stay awake. Finally, she heard the “ding” they had been longing for.
The Stars Align
“Yes, we lost a wedding band. But that was years ago. Who is this?”
Minni squealed loudly, waking Joel up with such a start that his chair folded like a mousetrap from under him. Before they could move forward, both Minni and her husband had made one simple rule.
She introduced herself, mentioning that their family were fishing fanatics.
They had stumbled across the ring ... but could the person or people on the other end describe it accurately? They weren’t about to accidentally give someone else’s wedding memento to a complete stranger.
Yes, It’s Them!
The dots appeared again, and the next message made Minni want to cry.
They described it perfectly – right down to the use of “Jimmy” instead of James. They had found the owner of the ring! But the best part was yet to come.
The family piled into their minivan and made the 3-hour trip north to where the couple was waiting. As they pulled into the driveway, Minni could feel the tears build.
An old man and woman stood on the porch, holding hands – their faces bright with excitement.
Lost Long Ago
It was an unbelievable series of events that had connected two families over many years and miles.
The couple had been taking a walk along a pier one day. Madeline wasn’t sure how, but a small pouch of jewelry had fallen out of her purse – things she had wanted to take to the jeweler to get cleaned. It must have been taken by the waves and washed away.
The Necklace Too!
Minni and Joel’s eyes turned wide as the couple showed them photos of the wedding bands ... and a gold necklace with an anchor pendant.
Both sides couldn’t hold back the tears. It was fate ... pure fate. But the old couple was about to do something extra-special.
A Wonderful Gift
“We want you to keep the necklace,” they said – as a thank you for reuniting them with the long-lost ring and to have something as a memory for this unbelievable meeting.
Even after a cup of tea and then returning home, Minni and Joel’s smiles didn’t fade. But this wasn’t the first time a fish has been found sporting a wedding band...
Losing one of your personal items is annoying, but losing an item that’s sentimental and irreplaceable is even worse. That’s exactly what happened to one Australian couple when they went out for a day at the beach.
They were visiting family off the coast of Norfolk Island, swimming and having fun when tragedy struck.
Gone For Good?
Suzie Quintal’s husband, Nathan Reeves, discovered - to his horror - that his wedding band was missing when they came back to shore.
The couple returned home after Christmas, thinking the ring was lost for good. However, in May the next year, a woman who was snorkeling saw something unlike anything she’d ever seen before.
Susan Prior is a writer, editor, and environmental conservationist. She was snorkeling in Emily Bay, close to Norfolk Island, when she saw a gut-wrenching sight.
Seeing fish with trash wrapped around their necks wasn’t uncommon, but Susan noticed that one of the spotted sand mullets she’d been tracking was wearing what looked like a gold collar.
A Gold Collar
"Yesterday, I saw another mullet with a ring collar, but this one looked a shiny metallic gold, with a lot less algal growth compared to the plastic ones," she explained on her blog.
She went on to write that it probably got lodged around the tiny fish when it was looking for food on the ocean floor. "Sometimes these rings escape into the wild, and this is the sad consequence," she explained. "Mullet snuffle through the sand looking for food making it so easy for a ring or hair tie to flip over their noses and get stuck."
Tracking The Owner Down
"The metal can only be removed by catching the fish in a net and gently removing it. The fish seems to be OK so far but as it grows, the ring will cut into it," Susan wrote.
Susan remembered a local post about a man who had lost his $1000 wedding ring in the bay over the festive period and tracked him down.
According to an interview, Suzie Quintal had been rather unhappy about the whole situation. "He tried to look for it and then broke the news to me and I was not happy,” she said. "I always tell him to take it off before he goes for a swim. He lost it a day before our second wedding anniversary."
Locals are now trying to catch the fish to remove the heavy ring from its body, and Susan is sure they will catch it soon. And the enviromnmentalist who spotted it decided to use the incident to raise awareness about the trash in the ocean.
Looking For The Positive
"Always trying to find the positives of any given situation, I see this as an incentive to encourage someone to relieve the poor fish of its handicap," she wrote on her blog.
"Here's hoping we can deliver a happy ending to his story and for the owner of the wedding ring! The mullet has a life to live and it's only fair he gets to live it."