The Magic Fish and the Fisherman
ago on the shore of the deep blue ocean, there lived an old man and his wife.
They lived in a broken down hut and the man fished for his living. They were
very poor and often had little to eat. One day the old man cast his net in the
ocean and pulled up nothing but seaweed. When he cast his net for the third time
he landed just one fish. But this fish was not the ordinary kind, it was ,
however, a beautiful goldfish and it spoke to him in a human voice: Put me back
in the ocean old fisherman and I will pay you a royal ransom and give you
whatever you wish." The old man was astonished and scared having never
heard a fish talk so he untangled him and gently said, "God bless you
little goldfish, thank you but I don't need your ransom. Go back to your ocean
home." And the Fishman threw him back in the ocean.
When the old man got home and told his wife the story she was
outraged and scolded him. At least you could have asked for a wash tub to
replace this one that has a hole in it. She scolded for so long that the old man
decided to go back to the seashore and summon the goldfish. He called aloud over
the ocean waves and the goldfish swam up to him and asked,"What is it old
man, what do you want." The old man bowed and said, "forgive me, you
majesty goldfish. My old woman has scolded me for not asked you for a wash tub
to replace ours that is falling apart. The goldfish said ,"don't worry old
man, go home and you shall have a new wash-tub, God be with you!"
When the old man returned home this time the old woman was
even more angry. "Oh you simpleton, you ninny -- you asked for only a
simple tub, go back to that goldfish and ask for a new house!" Again the
old man went back to the seashore and called again. Again the goldfish came.
"Forgive me, your majesty Goldfish. My old moan is angrier than ever. She
asked now that you give her a new house to live in." The goldfish
answered," Don't worry old man now go home to your new house and may God be
So back home the old man went, only this time where his old
hut stood there was a beautiful new cottage with a white fence around it. And
there sat his old wife madder than every and she started to scold him again:
"You simple man, you ninny. To ask for just a cottage. How utterly stupid..
Go and bow low to the goldfish and tell it that I'm tired of being a peasant and
that I want to be a fine lady!"The old man trudged back to the seashore,
where now the ocean was troubled and the waves were churning. He called out
aloud for the goldfish and when it swam up to him he bowed low and said,
"forgive me, your majesty Goldfish! My old woman is madder than ever; she
gives me no peace. She says that she is tired of being a poor peasant and wants
to be a fine lady. "The goldfish murmured in answer, "don't worry, old
fisherman. Go home, and God be with you."
When the old fisherman returned, he saw a wondrous sight.
There stood tall palace with marble stairs. His old woman was wearing a rich
sable coat and a large head-dress, all embroidered with gold. She had pearls on
her neck and golden rings on the fingers and her feet were shod in the softest
read leather. Servants bowed before her. The old man approached his wife and
said, "Greetings, you ladyship, greetings, fine lady. "But she angrily
bade him to be quiet and sent him to work in the stables. The old woman became
prouder with the passing of time. One morning she sent for her husband and said,
"Bow low to the goldfish and tell it that I am tired of being a fine lady.
I want to be made a Tsaritsa." Her husband begged her to stop asking for
more and more saying, "Woman, you have surely gone mad! You can't even talk
like a lady! you would be made fun of by all the kingdom. But the old woman got
madder and madder and slapped him and shouted, " How dare you peasant argue
with me, a fine lady. Go and do as I order!'"
The old man went down to the seashore, and now the ocean was
swollen and angry. He called aloud for the goldfish and when it swam up to him
he bowed low and said, "forgive me, Your majesty goldfish! Now my old woman
has gone completely mad. She is tired of being a fine lady and wants to be made
a Tsaristsa. The goldfish murmured in answer, "Do not worry, old man. Go
home and your woman will be a Tsaritsa. God be with you."
The old fisherman hurried home and his eyes could not believe
what he saw. There was a magnificent palace, and in the palace at a huge table
sat his old woman, a Tsaritsa, attended by nobles who were pouring wines for her
and filling her table with cakes and fancy food. The old man was amazed and
bowed low to her, saying, "Oh might Tsaritsa! Now I hope that your soul is
contented!" But the old lady told her chamberlains to drag him away from
her presence and ordered him, under penalty of death, to keep his distance from
Time passed, and the old woman grew prouder than ever. One
morning she sent her maid to fetch her old husband from the servant's quarters.
When he came before her, she said, "Go bow low to the goldfish and tell it
that I'm tired of being a Tsaritsa. I Wish to be mistress of all the seas and
oceans, with my home in the blue ocean waters. I wish to have the goldfish for
my servant to do for me everything that I command." The old man dared not
contradict her, nor even to answer. He set out at once for the seashore very
Now a storm was raging over the ocean. Its waters were black
and angry, billowing and boiling with fury. He called out aloud for the goldfish
and when it swam up to him, he bowed low and said, "Forgive me, Your
majesty Goldfish! I do not know what to do with my cursed old woman! She is
tired of being a Tsaritsa. She wants to be mistress of all the seas and oceans,
with her home in the blue ocean waters. She wants you to be her servant, to do
all that she commands.." The goldfish spoke not a word in answer. It just
swished its tail and disappeared into the deep ocean in silence.
The old man waited in vain for an answer, and after many
hours, he turned his steps to the palace. Behold, instead of the palace, he saw
his old hut, and on the doorstep sat his old women, with a broken down wash-tub
at her side.