The Parable of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish

A fisherman and his wife lived in an old dirty hut alongside a lake in Bavaria. Every day the fisherman went out to the lake and every day he returned with his catch.

One day, the fisherman’s net caught a golden fish. The fish spoke to him and said, “If you throw me back, I will grant you any wish you desire.”

The fisherman thought about it, and being of simple means he could think of no want, so he let the fish go.

Upon returning to the dirty old hut that night, he told the tale to his wife.

“You should have asked him for a nice cottage,” she said. “I would love to move out of this filthy hovel.”

So the next morning, the fisherman approached the lake and called out for the fish. The water bubbled and the fish surfaced. It asked, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She would like a nice cottage to live in.”

“Your wish is granted. Go home and see.”

The fisherman returned home, and sure enough their filthy hut was replaced with a nice cottage.

The next morning his wife said, “Go back and ask that fish for another wish. I want to be the Princess of Bavaria and live in a fine castle!”

The fisherman said, “Oh no, wife. That is too much. Do not make me ask the golden fish for such a thing. Let us be happy in our nice cottage by the lake.”

But his wife insisted and persisted, and eventually he agreed to ask the golden fish for this wish.

He went down to the lake, and the water was choppy. He called for the fish and its head appeared above water. It said, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She wishes to become Princess of Bavaria and live in a fine castle.”

“Your wish is granted. Go home and see.”

The fisherman returned home, and sure enough the cottage was replaced with a castle. There were battlements and guard towers and soldiers all around. His wife greeted him splendidly dressed as a princess.

The next morning his wife said, “Go back and ask that fish for another wish. I want to be Empress of Prussia and live in a grand palace!”

The fisherman said, “Oh no, wife. That is too much. Do not make me ask the golden fish for such a thing. Let us be happy in our Bavarian castle.”

But his wife insisted and persisted, and eventually he agreed to ask the golden fish for this wish.

He went down to the lake, and the water was boiling and turbulent. He called for the fish and its head appeared above water. It said, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She wishes to become Empress of Prussia and live in a grand palace.”

“Your wish is granted. Go home and see.”

The fisherman returned home, and sure enough the castle was replaced with a grand palace. It was larger, with more soldiers, more battlements, and more guard towers.

He went in to see his wife and said, “Surely you are happy now. There is nothing greater than being the Empress of Prussia, and no palace greater for you to live in.”

She said, “We shall see. I want to sleep on it and discuss it on the morrow.”

In the morning, she roused the fisherman and said, “Go back and ask that fish for another wish. I want to be the Pope, and live in the grandest palace of all.”

The fisherman said, “Oh no, wife. That is too much. Do not make me ask the golden fish for such a thing.”

She said, “Why not?”

“Well, for one thing, they only let men become popes.”

But his wife insisted and persisted. He said, “Let us be happy in our Prussian palace!”

But she said, “I want to become like God, and order Nature to do my bidding, and tell the sun and moon when to rise and command the stars in the sky above!”

She extolled and cajoled, and eventually he agreed to ask the golden fish for this wish.

He went down to the lake, and the water was dark and roiling. He called for the fish and its head appeared above water. It said, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She wants to become like God.”

“Go home. She is sitting in your filthy old hut.”

So the fisherman returned home, and all was as before. He and his wife cleaned the old hut, and lived out their days in peace.

 

Adapted from “Von dem Fischer und syner Fru,” (“The Fisherman and His Wife”), in Kinder – und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales, aka Grimms’ Fairy Tales), No. 19. Published 1857.

Resources:
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm019.html
http://www.yankeeweb.com/library/storytime/grimmbros/grimmbros_19.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_the_Fisherman_and_the_Fish http://www.storynory.com/2006/08/27/the-golden-fish/


This entry was posted in Stories to Inspire and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Parable of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish

  1. Pingback: Who’s In Charge Here? – Learning to Pray the Lord’s Prayer, Lent 2 | First Reflection

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *