1. A small boy lay flat on his stomach in the royal garden of the King of Hawaii. Looking into the water and very excited, young Austin Strong saw shapes of double-tailed goldfish —a recent gift from the Emperor of Japan to His Oceanic Majesty, King Kalakaua. Austin lowered a bent pin attached to a piece of string.
2. A few minutes later he ran from the park, a royal goldfish flopping inside the crown of his straw hat. But on the road he heard a horse and carriage. It stopped. He was caught.
3. The frightened boy was led to the carriage. In it was King Kalakaua himself. Austin told of his crime. He had stolen the fancy goldfish.
4. Austin expected to be shot on the spot. Instead, the king sent a runner for fresh water. Placing the fish in the bowl, he presented it to the boy and took them home. The next day came an envelope with the royal seal. Inside was a letter signed by King Kalakaua giving Austin the right to fish in the royal park for the rest of his life.
5. Today fish collecting is still an exciting hobby in the Unite States. More than 20 million Americans own pet fish. Some raise plain or fancy goldfish, some collect fish found nearby. But the majority stock their tanks with "tropicals"-guppies and gouramies, bettas and angelfish, or others of the more than 150 kinds.
6. Fish collectors pay from 19 cents for a guppy to $100 or more for hard-to-breed fish. They subscribe to such magazines as The Aquarium, and join clubs. They also spend more than a million dollars a year for fish, tanks, plants, sand, shells, food and gadgets for heating and cleaning aquariums.
7.Collecting tropical fish dates back to World War Ⅱ in this country. But raising of pet fish goes back to the early days of the Sung Dynasty in China, about 900 A.D., when they were raised in small bottles as house pets.
8. They chose a small member of carp family, Carassius auratus, better known as the goldfish. From them they obtained different shaped and colored fish. There developed more than 100 beautiful kinds with such names as Falling Flowers, Seven Stars, Eight Melon Seeds, Piled-up-Gold, As Europeans began to go the Far East in numbers during the 17th century, it happened that they too grew to like the little carp. A jar-full of goldfish was then taken on a long sea trip back to London in 1665.By the late 18th century the fish were widely popular in England and soon the goldfish bowl was seen in many homes.
9. In 1853 the world's first public aquarium—The Regent's Park Fish House—was opened. So far, home aquarium contained only goldfish or other local plant life. Then from the Amazon and the Congo, from Pacific Island and West Indian reefs, scientists began to send home hundreds of strange, beautiful fish. Many of them have become popular pets. They are called tropicals.
10. Today a busy aquarium store may sell up to $20,000 worth of fish in a good year. The most sold are still tropicals, especially guppies, swordtails and millies, which people like because of their bright colors and because they provide the tank with new young fish.