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Dr. Hope Presents

The Grimm Brothers'

 Fairy Tales


The Fisherman and His Wife



There was once upon a time a fisherman who lived with his wife in a pig-stye close by the sea, and every day he went out fishing. And he fished, and he fished. And once he was sitting with his rod, looking at the clear water, and he sat and he sat. Then his line suddenly went down, far down below, and when he drew it up again, he brought out a large flounder. Then the flounder said to him, hark, you fisherman, I pray you, let me live, I am no flounder really, but an enchanted prince. What good will it do you to kill me. I should not be good to eat, put me in the water again, and let me go. Come, said the fisherman, there is no need for so many words about it - a fish that can talk I should certainly let go, anyhow. And with that he put him back again into the clear water, and the flounder went to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind him.

Then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in the pig-stye. Husband, said the woman, have you caught nothing to-day. No, said the man, I did catch a flounder, who said he was an enchanted prince, so I let him go again. Did you not wish for anything first, said the woman. No, said the man, what should I wish for. Ah, said the woman, it is surely hard to have to live always in this pig-stye which stinks and is so disgusting. You might have wished for a little hut for us. Go back and call him. Tell him we want to have a little hut, he will certainly give us that. Ah, said the man, why should I go there again. Why, said the woman, you did catch him, and you let him go again. He is sure to do it. Go at once.

The man still did not quite like to go, but did not like to oppose his wife either, and went to the sea. When he got there the sea was all green and yellow, and no longer so smooth, so he stood still and said, flounder, flounder in the sea, come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, good Ilsabil, wills not as I'd have her will. Then the flounder came swimming to him and said, well what does she want, then. Ah, said the man, I did catch you, and my wife says I really ought to have wished for something. She does not like to live in a pig-stye any longer. She would like to have a hut. Go, then, said the flounder, she has it already.

When the man went home, his wife was no longer in the stye, but instead of it there stood a hut, and she was sitting on a bench before the door. Then she took him by the hand and said to him, just come inside. Look, now isn't this a great deal better. So they went in, and there was a small porch, and a pretty little parlor and bedroom, and a kitchen and pantry, with the best of furniture, and fitted up with the most beautiful things made of tin and brass, whatsoever was wanted. And behind the hut there was a small yard, with hens and ducks, and a little garden with flowers and fruit. Look, said the wife, is not that nice. Yes, said the husband, and so it shall remain - now we will live quite contented. We will think about that said the wife. With that they ate something and went to bed.

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