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the story of: the fisherman and his wife

This year, I've been choosing a story each month, and today, I'm going to share with you the story of the Fisherman and His Wife. My sister chose this one, and I'm so glad she did! It's got a lot to offer, so let's get to it. Here is my retelling of this Grimm's Fairy Tale.

There was once a fisherman who lived with his wife in a broken-down shack. Every day he would go fishing, but one day something special happened. The fisherman caught a large fish, and upon pulling it from the water, the fish began to speak!

"Please, I beg of you. Release me! For I am not an ordinary fish, but an enchanted prince."

The fisherman thought that there was no sense in eating an enchanted prince, so he threw the fish back into the sea. When he returned home, the fisherman told his wife about what had happened.

"Did you ask him for anything?", the wife asked. "If he was in fact an enchanted prince, he would have given you something for sparing his life. Go back and ask him to give us a cottage to live in, instead of this old shack."

The fisherman wasn't keen on this idea, but didn't want to upset his wife so he went and called for the fish. The fish returned and asked what was needed.

"My wife says that I should have asked you for something," the fisherman replied, "and she would like a cottage for us to live in."

The fish answered, "Go home. She already has it."

Indeed, when the fisherman went home, there was a lovely cottage, with a garden. Inside there were furnishings and food for them to eat! His wife was pleased, but not for long.

After a few weeks, the fisherman's wife grew dissatisfied, and told the fisherman to go back and ask the fish for a palace. He did, and again the fish granted the request.

By the next day, this was no longer enough, for now the wife wanted to be queen of the land. Once again, the fisherman asked, and the fish gave her what she wanted. But that night, she began thinking about the moon and the sun, and the next morning she had another desire.

"Go and ask the fish to make me ruler of the universe, the sun, moon and stars! I want to be like God!"

Now the fisherman was really worried. What would the fish say to this? But he complied and called for the enchanted fish.

"What is it now?", asked the fish. "What could your wife possibly want?"

The fisherman replied, "She wants to be made ruler of the universe, and to be like God."

The fish sent him home again, where he found his wife sitting in their humble shack once more.

Any thoughts on this story? I think there are many things we can learn from it...what jumped out most to you?


  1. I know it's not the point of these stories, nor are these types of stories supposed to be realistic or even "fleshed out" in the modern sense of storytelling, but every single time I read one like this I wonder "Why did he (or she) marry such a pill?"

    I really like your idea of a story of the month! And, I like the rest of your stuff too. :>

  2. Maybe she used to be really hot?

  3. I love these types of stories because they are both a fun read + something to think about.
    The woman should have been amazed by the talking fish prince and not have asked for anything.
    She was just too darn greedy.
    I also like how it is never considered that there was anything that they could do for the enchanted prince.

    I know that these are just stories, but it makes me a little sad to read how selfish + self serving these people are.

  4. never ask for more than a favour ... one deal, one time...not forever and even more: be happy with what you have already got, because if you want too much, everything will come to an bad end!...I like the idea of story telling :) it is a very old human tradition...

  5. to me, this is a three-part lesson:
    1. one should do things for others out of kindness- not with the expectation of getting something in return
    2. always be careful of what you wish for...you might just get it
    3. greed makes people crazy!

  6. This verse comes to mind: Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Lk. 9:58 ....she needed to understand humility.

  7. I think it's interesting that the fisherman never expresses any of his own desires. He seems to want nothing but to make his wife happy, but she's lost her sense of wonder about the world, so there's nothing that could make her happy.

  8. I had to repost this on my site:http://forloveof.tumblr.com/.....I hope you do not mind:)

  9. I am going to have to spend some time thinking about this. Although I think what Nichole said was very insightful :)


  10. Maybe it's telling her she was already the ruler of her universe, like she could have anything she wanted if she just worked for it.

    Also, the fisherman needs a new wife :)

  11. Makes me think of Jesus. :)

  12. There is a saying in Portuguese that says "who wants it all, loses all" (in a rough translation). I think it applies here. Nice story. :)


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