The story "Gopal and the Hilsa-fish" is about a courtier named Gopal and a Hilsa-fish. The story begins with the fact that the Hilsa-fish season had arrived. The Hilsa-fish, also called Ilisha, is commonly known for its soft meat. Hilsa is a variety of fish that lives in the freshwaters of Eastern India. It looks shiny and smells good. One of the primary reasons for the rise in the price of Hilsa-fish is its scarcity. Hilsa-fish prices are lower in coastal areas like Goa, Kerala, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu than in cities farther away from the sea. It is highly rich in good-quality fatty acids, which help humans avoid coronary heart disease. Hilsa-fish usually lives in the sea, but it travels from sea to river during the breeding season and produces young ones.

During the Hilsa-fish season, fishermen could think of no other fish because it is highly popular among people for its rich fatty acids and flavours. And also, the fishermen could earn a lot of money during the Hilsa season.

People who sell fish in markets are known as fisher mongers. When the Hilsa season began, fisher mongers sold more Hilsa than other fish. Usually, in the fish market, the fisher monger shouts like, "Come, buy. The price of Hilsa is down today". Their loud voice seeks people's attention; on hearing that, people would arrive at the fish market to buy the Hilsa.
A fisher monger selling fish
The man and woman from their household would have nothing to speak about except the Hilsa-fish. The neighbours were discussing, "How much did you pay for that Hilsa?" As it was Hilsa-fish season, the price had become low, and people were excited to buy Hilsa. This is the reason behind their saying, "You wouldn't believe it if I told you". People were standing here and there and talking about the Hilsa-fish.
Householders were very curious in buying Hilsa and discussing it's price
People were speaking about the Hilsa-fish all over the place. Even in the palace, the courtiers were talking about the Hilsa-fish. Usually, courtiers in the king's palace will hold important meetings and discuss other matters surrounding the palace. However, since it was Hilsa-fish season, the courtiers had nothing but the Hilsa to speak.
After speaking with the fellow courtiers, one of the courtiers went in front of the king and said, "Your majesty, you should have seen the huge fish I caught; it was..."

When the king heard about the fish, he burst out in anger. He questioned the courtier whether he was a courtier or a fisherman. The king made this argument because the courtiers were wasting their time talking about the Hilsa-fish instead of doing their jobs. The king knew that the fishermen would discuss more about the fish rather than others. Since fishing was their career, fishermen would talk about it more. And so the king thought, what's wrong with these courtiers simply wasting their time in speaking about the fish.

King got angry at the courtier
The courtier stood silent and felt ashamed because he had never expected that the king would shout at him. When the king looked at the courtier, he felt guilty and regretted for having yelled at him. The king apologised for the mistake and said, "I'm sorry I lost my temper". The king lost his cool because everyone was speaking about the Hilsa-fish. He knew that it was the season for the Hilsa-fish, but the king was annoyed because no one stopped speaking about the Hilsa. Not even Gopal could stop anyone from talking about Hilsa-fish, not for even about five minutes.

After hearing the king's point about no one can remain silent without talking about Hilsa-fish, Gopal, at once said, "Oh! I think I could, Your Majesty." After hearing his response, the king assigned a task for him. The job was Gopal should buy a huge Hilsa-fish from the market, and he would have to return to the palace without anyone asking about the fish.

After hearing his assigned task, Gopal said, "I accept the challenge, Your Majesty."
The next scene takes place at Gopal's house. After a few days, when Gopal was at his home, he looks at the mirror and smears his face with some ash (a kind of powder formed after burning some substances like wood and coconut shells). At that time, Gopal's wife arrived there, and she was shocked to see Gopal's half-shaven face. The ash applied on one side of the face gave the impression that it was half-shaven. So Gopal's wife asked the question, "Why is your face half-shaven?"

Gopal answered her that he was getting ready to buy a big Hilsa-fish. Gopal's wife told him not to go out in the torn dress. But he never bothered her words. So she believed that he had gone mad and couldn't understand why he was acting so strangely. Gopal answered all of her questions as "I told you I'm dressing up to buy a Hilsa-fish." However, she was not satisfied with his answers. People might think Gopal had gone insane. She asked him where he was going after seeing him in damaged clothing. But Gopal's answer was silly and unconvincing. He said, "How many times must I tell you, woman? I'm out to buy a huge Hilsa-fish."

Finally, Gopal's wife thought to herself that Gopal had gone completely mad because he had no patience in listening to her words. He was blabbering the same thing as he was about to go out and buy a Hilsa. The reason behind her statement, "He's gone mad!" was that people usually go to the market dressed neatly. But Gopal was smearing his face with ash powder and wearing a torn dress and telling that he was going to the bazaar to buy a Hilsa. She can easily predict how people would respond if he behaves in this manner. Gopal's wife had no idea that Gopal's disguise was a part of the king's task. She was not aware of the fact that everybody was talking about the Hilsa-fish. So Gopal's wife never paid any attention to the fact that Gopal was going to buy a Hilsa-fish, even though he kept stressing on the same point. So she was worried a lot about him.
The scene that follows takes place on his way. Gopal arrived at the fish market and bought a massive Hilsa-fish. He reminded himself of his mission and began walking towards the palace. People standing nearby were staring at him as he walked, judging him based on his appearance. But people failed to notice the fish in his hand. A young boy and his mother came to buy things in the market. On seeing Gopal, the boy told his mother to look at him because he seemed to be very comical (one can't stop laughing at Gopal's appearance).

People started laughing after seeing Gopal's appearance
From the crowd, two persons were discussing Gopal and his look. When the first man saw Gopal, he thought Gopal was insane. And the next one contradicted by telling his opinion as Gopal might be a spiritual person (they judged Gopal based on his appearance). Gopal met several people on the way but no one noticed the Hilsa-fish in his hand.

Finally, Gopal reached the court with his Hilsa-fish. The guard outside the palace asked him, "What do you want?" Gopal answered him that he would like to see the king. However, the guard refused to let Gopal inside the palace after examining his appearance and said, "You can't see the king! Get away with you!" 

The guard did not allow Gopal inside the palace

Gopal began to dance and sing loudly because the guard would not allow him to see the king. Gopal danced and sang to seek the attention of the people and make them not to see what was in his hand.
The following scene is set inside the king's palace. People inside the palace had no idea that that the man standing outside the palace was Gopal and they never recognised Gopal's disguise. The guards were irritated by his loud voice. The guards started to tell that man was crazy and they should throw him away.
At that time, the king heard a call that "I want to see the king let me in!". After hearing that loud cry, the king ordered one of his guards to bring the man in front of him. The guards were in the thought of throwing him out, but the king let him in because he lives for the goodness and welfare of the country people. If anyone needs any help, the majesty would arrive there to help them. So when he heard Gopal's voice, the king asked the guard to let him in. The guard accepted his order and went out to call Gopal.
The king ordered his guard to bring Gopal inside the palace
Finally, the guard took Gopal in front of the king. On seeing the man in disguise, one of the courtiers understood it was none other than Gopal. The courtier exclaimed, "It's Gopal!"
Later on, the courtiers were talking about his appearance. One of the courtiers said Gopal had lost his sense and behaved like a mad person. At that time, the next one said he probably think it was one of Gopal's crazy jokes. From the second comment, it is clear that Gopal is a friendly person who enjoys entertaining others with his amusing jokes.

While the courtiers were reviewing Gopal's funny look, the king came out with a doubt. He questioned Gopal why he had dressed up in such a strange manner? At that point, Gopal began to remind the king of the mission he had been given. Gopal informed him that no one had questioned him about Hilsa until he arrived at the court. Instead, people were really curious to know who was that insane man. In this way, Gopal had succeeded in his task and reached the palace.

After hearing about Gopal's point, the king recalled the task assigned to him. Finally, the king congratulated Gopal on completing his goal, saying, "Ha! Ha! well, Gopal, congratulations! You have achieved the impossible once again!"