The Fisherman and His Wife

The Fisherman and His Wife
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The Fisherman and His Wife Information
Age4-6, 7-9
LengthLong
TypeBedtime, Moral
GenreFantasy, Fairy tale

A humble, poor fisherman catches a magical fish, but he lets it go. From that day on, his wife starts making him go and ask the fish to make her wishes come true!

audio story of the fisherman and his wife

The Fisherman and His Wife Story

In a seaside pigsty, there lived a fisherman and his wife. The fisherman would spend his days fishing while his wife tended to their home. One day, while sitting on the shore with his rod, the fisherman’s float was suddenly dragged deep into the water. Upon retrieving it, he found a great fish caught on his line.

The fish spoke to him, saying:

“Pray let me live! I am not a real fish; I am an enchanted prince: put me in the water again, and let me go!”

The fisherman was taken aback by the talking fish and refused its request, saying:

“you need not make so many words about the matter; I will have nothing to do with a fish that can talk: so swim away, sir, as soon as you please!”

He then released the fish back into the water, but not before noticing the long streak of blood it left behind.

Upon returning home to his wife, the fisherman shared his story of the talking fish. His wife, who was unhappy with their living conditions, urged him to go back to the sea and ask the fish for a cottage. Although hesitant, the fisherman did as his wife asked and returned to the shore.

As he stood at the water’s edge, he called out to the sea:

“O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill Will have her own will, And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!”

The water then turned yellow and green, and the fisherman knew that the enchanted prince had heard his request.

The fish returned to the fisherman and asked him, “Well, what is her will? What does your wife want?” The fisherman replied:

“She says that when I had caught you, I ought to have asked you for something before I let you go; she does not like living any longer in the pigsty, and wants a snug little cottage.”

The fish then told the fisherman to go home, saying:

“she is in the cottage already!”

The fisherman returned home and was amazed to see his wife standing at the door of a lovely little cottage. The cottage had a parlour, a bedchamber, and a kitchen, as well as a garden full of flowers and fruits. Behind the cottage, there was also a courtyard filled with ducks and chickens.

The fisherman was thrilled and said:

“Ah! How happily we shall live now!”

His wife replied/;

“We will try to do so, at least.”

For a week or two, everything went well. However, Dame Ilsabill soon became dissatisfied, complaining that the cottage was too small for them. She wanted a large stone castle to live in and urged the fisherman to go back to the fish and ask for one. The fisherman was hesitant, knowing that the fish may be angry. He tried to dissuade his wife, saying they should be content with their lovely cottage, but his wife insisted.

The fisherman went back to the sea and called out to the fish:

“O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill Will have her own will, And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!”

The fish returned to the fisherman and asked:

“Well, what does she want now?”

The fisherman replied:

“My wife wants to live in a stone castle.”

The fish then told the fisherman to go home, saying:

“she is standing at the gate of it already.”

The fisherman found his wife standing before the gate of a great castle. They went into the castle together and found it well-furnished with golden chairs and tables. Behind the castle was a garden and a park full of animals, and in the courtyard were stables and cow-houses. The fisherman was pleased with their new home and said:

“Now we will live cheerful and happy in this beautiful castle for the rest of our lives.”

However, the next morning, Dame Ilsabill woke up and declared that they should be king of all the land. The fisherman was reluctant, but his wife insisted. The fisherman went back to the sea, feeling sorrowful that his wife wanted to be king. This time, the sea was dark grey, with curling waves and ridges of foam.

He called out to the fish:

“O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill Will have her own will, And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!”

The fish returned to the fisherman and asked:

“Well, what would she have now?”

The fisherman replied:

“My wife wants to be king.”

The fish then told the fisherman to go home, saying:

“she is king already.”

The fisherman went home and saw a troop of soldiers and heard the sound of drums and trumpets. He found his wife sitting on a throne of gold and diamonds, wearing a golden crown. Six fair maidens stood on each side of her, each taller than the other. The fisherman asked:

“Well, wife, are you king?”

She replied:

“Yes, I am king.”

The fisherman thought they would never have anything more to wish for as long as they lived.

However, his wife soon became tired of being king and said she wanted to be an emperor. The fisherman was hesitant to go back to the fish and ask for such a thing, but his wife insisted, saying he was her slave. The fisherman went to the sea muttering that it was too much to ask and that it would come to no good.

When he arrived at the seashore, he saw that the water was black and muddy, and a mighty whirlwind was blowing over the waves. He called out to the fish:

“O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill Will have her own will, And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!”

The fish asked the fisherman:

“What would she have now?”

The fisherman replied:

“She wants to be emperor.”

The fish told him to go home, saying:

“she is emperor already.”

When the fisherman returned home, he found his wife sitting on a lofty throne made of solid gold, wearing a great crown that was two yards high. Her guards and attendants, including princes, dukes, and earls, were arranged in a row by her side, with each one smaller than the next, from the tallest giant to a dwarf the size of a finger. The fisherman asked:

“Wife, are you emperor?”

She replied:

“Yes, I am emperor.”

The fisherman admired her and said:

“Ah! What a fine thing it is to be emperor!”

But his wife was not satisfied with being emperor and declared that she wanted to be pope. The fisherman tried to reason with her, telling her that there could only be one pope at a time, but she insisted that she would be pope that very day and sent the fisherman back to the sea to make the request.

The fisherman was afraid because the sea was raging, the ships were in trouble, and it looked like a dreadful storm was coming. But he went down to the shore and called out to the sea:

“O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill Will have her own will, And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!”

The fish asked the fisherman:

“What does she want now?”

The fisherman replied:

“My wife wants to be pope.”

The fish told him to go home, saying:

“she is pope already.”

When the fisherman returned home, he found his wife sitting on a throne that was two miles high, wearing three great crowns on her head and surrounded by all the pomp and power of the Church. Two rows of burning lights were on each side of her, the greatest as large as the highest and biggest tower in the world, and the smallest no larger than a small rushlight.

The fisherman asked:

“Wife, are you pope?”

She replied:

“Yes, I am pope.”

The fisherman told her that she could not be anything greater than the pope, but she said she would think about it.

The next morning, as the sun rose, Dame Ilsabill became angry that she could not prevent it from rising and demanded that her husband go back to the fish and ask to be the lord of the sun and moon. The fisherman was frightened and begged her to be satisfied with being pope, but she insisted, saying she was uneasy as long as the sun and moon rose without her permission.

The fisherman went to the sea in a dreadful storm, with black waves swelling up like mountains and crowns of white foam on their heads. He called out to the sea:

“O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill Will have her own will, And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!”

‘What does she want now?’ said the fish.

‘Ah!’ said he, ‘she wants to be lord of the sun and moon.’

‘Go home,’ said the fish, ‘to your pigsty again.’

And there they live to this very day.

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Article categories: Audio Stories for KidsBedtime Stories for KidsFairy Tales Stories for KidsStories for 4-6 Year Old KidsStories for 7-12 Year Old KidsStories for Kids
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I'm a narrator obsessed with writing and telling children's stories. I believe that in the stories world, everything is much easier to understand, especially for kids.

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