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READING-LITERATURE: First Reader by  Harriette Taylor Treadwell and Margaret Free


 

 
[Illustration]

The Fisherman and his Wife

Once a fisherman and his wife lived
in a little hut by the sea.

One day the fisherman sat on the shore
with his rod.

"The fish do not bite to-day," he said.

Just then something pulled his line.

He drew up a large fish.


"Let me go," said the fish.

"I am not good to eat.

I am not a real fish.

I am an enchanted prince.

Please put me back into the water,
and I will swim away."


The fisherman put him back into the water,
and went home to his wife.


"Did you catch no fish to-day?"
said his wife.


"I caught a very large fish,"
said the fisherman.

"But it said to me,
'I am not a real fish.
I am an enchanted prince.

Put me back into the water,
and I will swim away.'

So I put it back into the water,
and it swam away."


"Did you wish for something?"
said his wife.


"What should I wish for?"
said the fisherman.


"You could wish for a pretty cottage,"
said she.

"I am tired of this little hut.

Go quickly and tell the fish
that we want a pretty cottage."


So the fisherman went back to the sea.

The water was all dark and green.

He stood by the shore, and said,

"O prince of the sea!
Come listen to me,

For my wife Isabel
Has a wish to tell."


The fish swam to the shore and said,
"What does she want?"

"She wants a pretty cottage," said he.

"She is tired of our little hut."


"Go, home," said the fish.

"Your wife is in her cottage now."


The man went home.

There stood his wife at the cottage door.

She took him by the hand and said,
"Come and see our cottage."

There was a pretty little parlor,
and a bedroom and a kitchen.

There was a little yard
with ducks and chickens.

And there was a little garden.


"Is this not beautiful?" said the wife.


"We shall always be happy now,"
said the fisherman.


But one day his wife said,
"This cottage is too small.
I want a large castle.
Go quickly and tell the fish."


So he went back to the shore.

The sea was all purple and dark blue.

The fisherman stood by it and said,

"O prince of the sea!
Come listen to me,

For my wife Isabel
Has a wish to tell."


"What does she want?" said the fish.


"She wants a large castle," said he.


"Go home," said the fish.

"Your wife is in her castle now."


The fisherman went home.

There stood his wife on the castle steps.


She took him by the hand,
and they went in.

There were large halls and beautiful rooms.

There were golden tables and chairs.

There was a garden
full of flowers and fruits.

And there was a forest
full of deer and sheep.


But his wife was not happy.

She wanted more power.

The next morning she said,
"You must be king of this country.
Go quickly and tell the fish so."


"I do not want to be king," said he.


"I will be queen then," said she.

"Go quickly and tell the fish
that I must be queen."


So the fisherman went back to the shore.

The sea was dark and gray.

There were great waves,
and they dashed upon the shore.

He stood by it and said,

"O prince of the sea!
Come listen to me,

For my wife Isabel
Has a wish to tell."


"What does she want now?" said the fish.


"She wants to be queen," said the man.


"Go home," said the fish.

"Your wife is queen now."


The man went home.

There he saw a great palace
with towers and gateways.

There were soldiers with trumpets
and drums.


[Illustration]

He went in and there sat his wife
on a throne of gold.

His wife had a crown on her head,
and a wand in her hand.

The fisherman looked at her and said
"You are queen now.
We can wish for nothing more."

"I must have more power," said she.

"What shall it be?"


The next morning she said,
"What shall I wish for?"


The sun was just coming up,

She looked out of the window and said,
"I know what I want.

The sun must obey me,
and the moon must obey me.

They must rise and set
when I wish it."


So she went to the fisherman and said,
"The sun and moon must obey me!
Go quickly and tell the fish."


"I can not ask that," said he.

"The fish is angry,
and the sea is wild."

"Go," she cried, "I am queen,
and you must obey."


So he went back to the shore.


There was a great storm.

The sky was black.

The lightning flashed,
and the thunder roared.

The wind blew,
and the waves beat high.


The fisherman was frightened.

But he stood by the sea and shouted,

"O prince of the sea!
Come listen to me,

For my wife Isabel
Has a wish to tell."


"What does she want now?"
shouted the fish.


"She wants to rule the sun and moon.

She wants to tell them when to rise."


[Illustration]

"Go home now," said the fish.

"You will find your wife in her hut."


The fisherman went home, and there sat
his wife in the little hut.


And there they live to this very day.


-German Folk Tale.


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