GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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A fisherman once lived contentedly with his wife in a little hut near a lake, and he went every day to throw his line into the water.
One day, after angling for a long time without even a bite, the line suddenly sunk to the bottom, and when he pulled it up again there was a large flounder hanging to the end of it
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed the fish, "good fisherman, let me go, I pray you ; I am not a real fish, but a prince in disguise. I shall be of no use to you, for I am not good to eat; put me back again into the water, and let me swim away."
" Ah," said the man, " you need not make such a disturbance. I would rather let a flounder who can speak swim away than keep it"
With these words, he placed the fish back again in the water, and it sunk to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind it. Then the fisherman rose up, and went home to his wife in the hut
"Husband," said the wife, " have you caught anything to-day?"
" I caught a flounder, he replied, " who said he was an en≠chanted prince, so I threw him back into the water, and let him swim away."
"Did you not wish?" she asked.
" No," he said; " what should I wish for ?"
"Why, at least for a better hut than this dirty place; how un≠lucky you did not think of it He would have promised you whatever you asked for; however, go and call him now, perhaps he will answer you."
The husband did not like this task at all; he thought it was nonsense. However, to please his wife, he went and stood by the sea. When he saw how green and dark it looked he felt much discouraged, but made up a rhyme and saidó .
" Flounder, flounder, in the sea, Come, I pray, and talk to me ; For my wife, Dame Isabel, Sent me here a tale to telL"