It's Their Miracle!

Every Bosnian child knows the story of a poor woman who caught a golden fish, released it and in return gained wealth and happiness. Its a Balkan fairy tale, but it turned into reality for one poor family. "What happened here is beyond good luck, it really is a fable," said Admir Malkoc, reflecting on how his fleeing relatives freed two goldfish and were repaid hundredfold. The 150 Muslim families in Jezero, a northwestern village surrounding a lake, lived a quiet life before the Bosnian war, except for holidays, when the men returned from jobs in western Europe loaded with presents. In 1990, Smajo Malkoc came back from Austria with a gift for his teenage sons, an aquarium with two goldfish. Two years passed, and war arrived. As Serb forces advanced on Jezero, women and children fled while the men resisted. Malkoc was killed. When his wife, Fehima, sneaked back to the village to bury her husband and take their remaining belongings, she saw the fish in the aquarium. She let them out into the lake. "This way they might be more fortunate than us" she thought. Fast forward to 1995. Mrs. Malkoc returned to Jezero to find ruins, nothing left except memories. Sadly, she turned toward the lake and glimpsed something strange. "The whole lake was shining from the myriad golden fish in it," she said. "I thought of my husband, he left me something that I never hoped for." During the years of war around the lake, life underwater had flourished. Soon Mrs. Malkoc and her sons started feeding and selling the fish.

Now, homes and coffee shops in the region are filled with aquariums containing fish from Jezero. The two boys are grown and Mrs. Malkoc is a proud grandmother. The Malkoc house, rebuilt from the ruins, is one of the biggest in the village. Two new cars are parked in front, and the family has enough money not to worry about the future. "It was a special gift from our father."

In winter, when the ice is thick enough to skate on the lake, the fish survive, although "before it was impossible to keep them even in a home aquarium without a heater", Malkoc said. Some are as big as 4.5 pounds, some have two tails, which the villagers say is something magical. Others are welcome to catch and sell the fish. But most defer to the Malkocs. "They threw the fish into the lake," said a villager, "Its their miracle."

The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

August 1998
Jumaada Awal 1419
Note from the Editor
Letters to the Editor
Islamic World News
Islam in Nicaragua
A Woman in Islam
How I Embraced Islam
Ask and He Gives
Sayings of
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Cook's Corner
Manners of the Prophet
Hadith Qudsi
The Qur'an and Science
Stories of the Sahabah
Islamic Diet & Manners
It's Their Miracle!
Islam 101
Kid's Corner
The Prophet Quiz
A Sad Passing
Technology Review
I Wonder
6 Year Old Hafiz