The fisherman and his wife



There was once a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a hovel by the sea-shore, and the fisherman went out every day with his hook and line to catch fish, and he angled and angled.

One day he was sitting with his rod and looking into the clear water, and he sat and sat.

At last down went the line to the bottom of the water, and when he drew it up he found a great flounder on the hook. And the flounder said to him, "Fisherman, listen to me; let me go, I am not a real fish but an enchanted prince. What good shall I be to you if you land me? I shall not taste well; so put me back into the water again, and let me swim away."

"Well," said the fisherman, "no need of so many words about the matter, as you can speak I had much rather let you swim away."
Then he put him back into the clear water, and the flounder sank to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind him. Then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in their hovel.
"Well, husband," said the wife, "have you caught nothing to-day?"
"No," said the man "that is, I did catch a flounder, but as he said he was an enchanted prince, I let him go again."
"Then, did you wish for nothing?"said the wife.
"No," said the man; "what should I wish for?"
"Oh dear!" said the wife; "and it is so dreadful always to live in this evil-smelling hovel j you might as well have wished for a little cottage; go again and call him; tell him we want a little cottage, I daresay he will give it us; go, and be quick."
And when he went back, the sea was green and yellow, and not nearly so clear. So he stood and said,
"O man, O man!-if man you be, Or flounder, flounder, in the sea- Such a tiresome wife I've got, For she wants what I do not."
Then the flounder came swimming up, and said,
"Now then, what does she want?"
"Oh," said the man, "you know when I caught you my wife says I ought to have wished for something. She does not want to live any longer in the hovel, and would rather have a cottage.
"Go home with you," said the flounder, "she has it already."
So the man went home, and found, instead of the hovel, a little cottage, and his wife was sitting on a bench before the door. And she took him by the hand, and said to him,
"Come in and see if this is not a great improvement."
So they went in, and there was a little house-place and a beautiful little bedroom, a kitchen and larder, with all sorts of furniture, and iron and brass ware of the very best. And at the back was a little yard with fowls and ducks, and a little garden full of green vegetables and fruit.
"Look," said the wife, "is not that nice?"
"Yes," said the man, "if this can only last we shall be very well contented."
"We will see about that," said the wife. And after a meal they went to bed.
So all went well for a week or fortnight, when the wife said,
"Look here, husband, the cottage is really too confined, and the yard and garden are so small; I think the flounder had better get us a larger house; I should like very much to live in a large stone castle; so go to your fish and he will send us a castle."
"0 my dear wife," said the man, "the cottage is good enough; what do we want a castle for?"
"We want one," said the wife; "go along with you; the flounder can give us one."
"Now, wife," said the man, "the flounder gave us the cottage; I do not like to go to him again, he may be angry."
"Go along," said the wife, "he might just as well give us it as not; do as I say!"
The man felt very reluctant and unwilling; and he said to himself,
"It is not the right thing to do;" nevertheless he went.
So when he came to the seaside, the water was purple and dark blue and grey and thick, and not green and yellow as before. And he stood and said,
"O man, O man!-if man you be, Or flounder, flounder, in the sea- Such a tiresome wife I've got, For she wants what I do not."
"Now then, what does she want?"said the flounder.
"Oh," said the man, half frightened, "she wants to live in a large stone castle."
"Go home with you, she is already standing before the door," said the flounder.
Then the man went home, as he supposed, but when he got there, there stood in the place of the cottage a great castle of stone, and his wife was standing on the steps, about to go in; so she took him by the hand, and said,
"Let us enter."
With that he went in with her, and in the castle was a great hall with a marble- pavement, and there were a great many servants, who led them through large doors, and the passages were decked with tapestry, and the rooms with golden chairs and tables, and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling; and all the rooms had carpets. And the tables were covered with eatables and the best wine for any one who wanted them. And at the back of the house was a great stable-yard for horses and cattle, and carriages of the finest; besides, there was a splendid large garden, with the most beautiful flowers and fine fruit trees, and a pleasance full half a mile long, with deer and oxen and sheep, and everything that heart could wish for.
"There! "said the wife, "is not this beautiful?"
"Oh yes," said the man, "if it will only last we can live in this fine castle and be very well contented."
"We will see about that," said the wife, "in the meanwhile we will sleep upon it." With that they went to bed.
The next morning the wife was awake first, just at the break of day, and she looked out and saw from her bed the beautiful country lying all round. The man took no notice of it, so she poked him in the side with her elbow, and said,
"Husband, get up and just look out of the window. Look, just think if we could be king over all this country . Just go to your fish and tell him we should like to be king."
"Now, wife," said the man, "what should we be kings for? I don't want to be king."
"Well," said the wife, "if you don't want to be king, I will be king."
"Now, wife," said the man, "what do you want to be king for? I could not ask him such a thing."
"Why not?" said the wife, "you must go directly all the same; I must be king."
So the man went, very much put out that his wife should want to be king.
"It is not the right thing to do-not at all the right thing," thought the man. He did not at all want to go, and yet he went all the same.
And when he came to the sea the water was quite dark grey, and rushed far inland, and had an ill smell. And he stood and said,
'' O man, O man!-if man you be, Or flounder, flounder, in the sea- Such a tiresome wife I've got, For she wants what I do not."
"Now then, what does she want?" said the fish. "Oh dear!"said the man, "she wants to be king."
"Go home with you, she is so already," said the fish.
So the man went back, and as he came to the palace he saw it was very much larger, and had great towers and splendid gateways; the herald stood before the door, and a number of soldiers with kettle-drums and trumpets.
And when he came inside everything was of marble and gold, and there were many curtains with great golden tassels. Then he went through the doors of the saloon to where the great throne-room was, and there was his wife sitting upon a throne of gold and diamonds, and she had a great golden crown on, and the sceptre in her hand was of pure gold and jewels, and on each side stood six pages in a row, each one a head shorter than the other. So the man went up to her and said,
"Well, wife, so now you are king!"
"Yes," said the wife, "now I am king."
So then he stood and looked at her, and when he had gazed at her for some time he said,
"Well, wife, this is fine for you to be king! now there is nothing more to wish for."
"O husband!" said the wife, seeming quite restless, "I am tired of this already. Go to your fish and tell him that now I am king I must be emperor."
"Now, wife," said the man, "what do you want to be emperor for?"
"Husband," said she, "go and tell the fish I want to be emperor.!'
"Oh dear!" said the man, "he could not do it-I cannot ask him such a thing. There is but one emperor at a time; the fish can't possibly make any one emperor-indeed he can't."
"Now, look here," said the wife, "I am king, and you are only my husband, so will you go at once? Go along! for if he was able to make me king he is able to make me emperor; and I will and must be emperor, so go along!"
So he was obliged to go; and as he went he felt very uncomfortable about it, and he thought to himself,
"It is not at all the right thing to do; to want to be emperor is really going too far; the flounder will soon be beginning to get tired of this."
With that he came to the sea, and the water was quite black and thick, and the foam flew, and the wind blew, and the man was terrified. But he stood and said,
"O man, O man!-if man you be, Or flounder, flounder, in the sea- Such a tiresome wife I've got, For she wants what I do not."
"What is it now?" said the fish.
"Oh dear! "said the man, "my wife wants to be emperor."
"Go home with you," said the fish, "she is emperor already."
So the man went home, and found the castle adorned with polished marble and alabaster figures, and golden gates. The troops were being marshalled before the door, and they were blowing trumpets and beating drums and cymbals; and when he entered he saw barons and earls and dukes waiting about like servants; and the doors were of bright gold. And he saw his wife sitting upon a throne made of one entire piece of gold, and it was about two miles high; and she had a great golden crown on, which was about three yards high, set with brilliants and carbuncles; and in one hand she held the sceptre, and in the other the globe; and on both sides of her stood pages in two rows, all arranged according to their size, from the most enormous giant of two miles high to the tiniest dwarf of the size of my little finger; and before her stood earls and dukes in crowds. So the man went up to her and said,
"Well, wife, so now you are emperor."
"Yes," said she, "now I am emperor."
Then he went and sat down and had a good look at her, and then he said,
"Well now, wife, there is nothing left to be, now you are emperor."
"What are you talking about, husband?" said she; "I am emperor, and next I will be pope! so go and tell the fish so."
"Oh dear!" said the man, "what is it that you don't want? You can never become pope; there is but one pope in Christendom, and the fish can't possibly do it."
"Husband," said she, "no more words about it; I must and will be pope; so go along to the fish."
"Now, wife," said the man, "how can I ask him such a thing? it is too bad-it is asking a little too much; and, besides, he could not do it."
"What rubbish!" said the wife; '' if he could make me emperor he can make me pope. Go along and ask him; I am emperor, and you are only my husband, so go you must."
So he went, feeling very frightened, and he shivered and shook, and his knees trembled; and there arose a great wind, and the clouds flew by, and it grew very dark, and the sea rose mountains high, and the ships were tossed about, and the sky was partly blue in the middle, but at the sides very dark and red, as in a great tempest. And he felt very desponding, and stood trembling and said,
"O man, O man!-if man you be, Or flounder, flounder, in the sea- Such a tiresome wife I've got, For she wants what I do not."
"Well, what now?" said the fish.
"Oh dear!" said the man, "she wants to be pope."
"Go home with you, she is pope already," said the fish.
So he went home, and he found himself before a great church, with palaces all round. He had to make his way through a crowd of people; and when he got inside he found the place lighted up with thousands and thousands of lights; and his wife was clothed in a golden garment, and sat upon a very high throne, and had three golden crowns on, all in the greatest priestly pomp; and on both sides of her there stood two rows of lights of all sizes-from the size of the longest tower to the smallest rushlight, and all the emperors and kings were kneeling before her and kissing her foot.
"Well, wife," said the man, and sat and stared at her, "so you are pope."
"Yes," said she, "now I am pope!"
And he went on gazing at her till he felt dazzled, as if he were sitting in the sun. And after a little time he said,
"Well, now, wife, what is there left to be, now you are pope?"
And she sat up very stiff and straight, and said nothing.
And he said again, "Well, wife, I hope you are contented at last with being pope; you can be nothing more."
"We will see about that," said the wife. With that they both went to bed; but she was as far as ever from being contented, and she could not get to sleep for thinking of what she should like to be next.
The husband, however, slept as fast as a top after his busy day; but the wife tossed and turned from side to side the whole night through, thinking all the while what she could be next, but nothing would occur to her; and when she saw the red dawn she slipped off the bed, and sat before the window to see the sun rise, and as it came up she said,
"Ah, I have it! what if I should make the sun and moon to rise-husband!"she cried, and stuck her elbow in his ribs, "wake up, and go to your fish, and tell him T want power over the sun and moon."
The man was so fast asleep that when he started up he fell out of bed. Then he shook himself together, and opened his eyes and said,
"Oh,-wife, what did you say?"
"Husband," said she, "if I cannot get the power of making the sun and moon rise when I want them, I shall never have another quiet hour. Go to the fish and tell him so."
"O wife!" said the man, and fell on his knees to her, "the fish can really not do that for you. I grant you he could make you emperor and pope; do be contented with that, I beg of you."
And she became wild with impatience, and screamed out,
"I can wait no longer, go at once!"
And so off he went as well as he could for fright. And a dreadful storm arose, so that he could hardly keep his feet; and the houses and trees were blown down, and the mountains trembled, and rocks fell in the sea; the sky was quite black, and it thundered and lightened; and the waves, crowned with foam, ran mountains high. So he cried out, without being able to hear his own words,
"O man, O man!-if man you be, Or flounder, flounder, in the sea- Such a tiresome wife I've got, For she wants what I do not."
"Well, what now?" said the flounder.
"Oh dear!" said the man, "she wants to order about the sun and moon."
"Go home with you!"said the flounder, "you will find her in the old hovel."
And there they are sitting to this very day.
从前,有个渔夫,他和妻子住在海边的一所肮脏的小渔舍里。 渔夫每天都去钓鱼,他总是钓啊钓的,不愿休息有一天,他拿着钓竿坐在海边,两眼望着清澈的海水,竟就这样望啊望的,坐在那里一直发呆。
忽然,钓钩猛地往下沉,沉得很深很深,都快沉到海底了。 等他把钓钩拉上来时,发现钓上来一条很大的比目鱼。 谁知比目鱼竟对他说:"听着,渔夫,我恳求你放我一条生路。我并不是什么比目鱼,我是一位中了魔法的王子,你要是杀死我,对你又有多大好处呢?我的肉不会对你的口味的。请把我放回水里,让我游走吧。"
"哎,"渔夫说,"你不必这么费口舌。一条会说话的比目鱼,我怎么会留下呢?"说着,他就把比目鱼放回清澈的水里。 比目鱼立刻就游走了,身后留下一条长长的血痕。 随后,渔夫回到他的小屋,走到他妻子的身边。
他来到海边时,海水绿得泛黄,也不像以往那样平静。 他走了过去,站在海岸上说:
老婆对此却不饶又不依。 "
渔夫便回家去了,他妻子已不再住在那个破破烂烂的渔舍里,原地上已矗立起一幢小别墅,她正坐在门前的一条长凳上。 妻子一见丈夫回来了,就拉着他的手说:"快进来看一看。现在不是好多了吗?"
随即,他们进了屋。 小别墅里有一间小前厅,一间漂亮的小客厅,一间干干净净的卧室、卧室里摆放着一张床还有一间厨房和食物贮藏室,里面摆放着必备的家具,锡制铜制的餐具一应俱全。 还有一个养着鸡鸭的小院子,和一片长满蔬菜水果的小园子。
他们就这样生活了一两个星期。 有一天,妻子突然时:"听着,当家的,这房子太小了,院子和园子也太小了。那条比目鱼可以送咱们一幢更大一些的。我要住在一座石头建造的大宫殿里。快去找比目鱼,叫他送咱们一座宫殿。"
渔夫心情很沉重,本来是不想去的。 他低声地反反复复地自言自语道:"这不应该呀。"可他还是去了。
他来到海边时,海水不再是绿得泛黄,已变得混浊不清,时而暗蓝,时而深紫,时而灰黑,不过仍然很平静。 渔夫站在岸边说:
我捉你放你没提愿望老婆对此却不饶又不依。 "
渔夫于是往回走,心里想着快点儿到家吧。 走到了原来的地方一看,那儿真的矗立着一座石头建造的宫殿,非常宏伟壮观。 他老婆站在台阶上,正准备进去,一见丈夫回来了,就拉着他的手说:"快,快跟我进去。"
他和他老婆走了进去,只见宫殿里的大厅铺着大理石;众多的仆人伺候在那里,为他们打开一扇又一扇的大门;宫中的墙壁色彩艳丽,精美耀眼;房间里摆放着许多镀金桌椅;大厅所有的房间都铺了地毯;桌子上摆满了美味佳肴和各种名贵的东西。 屋后还有一个大院子,院子里设有马厩牛棚,有不少马匹和母牛,一辆富丽堂皇的大马车就停在那儿;除了院子,还有一座美丽的大花园,花园里开满了万紫千红的花朵儿,生长着不少名贵的水果树;还有一座占地有两英里多长的公园,里面有鹿啊,野兔啊等等,凡能想象出来的里面都有。
第二天早晨,妻子先醒了,这时正是黎明时分,她坐在床上看得见眼前的田野,富饶美丽,一望无际。 她用胳膊肘捅了捅丈夫的腰,然后说,"当家的,起床吧,快点儿跟我到窗前来。瞧啊,咱们难道不可以当一当这个国家的国王吗?快去找比目鱼,说咱们要当国王。"
我才不想干这个。 "
我跟他说不出口的呀。 "
渔夫只得走了出去。 一想到老婆非要当国王,心里就感到特别担忧。 "这不应该呀,这实在不应该呀。"他打定主意想不去了,可他还是去了。
他来到海边时,海水一片灰黑,波涛汹涌,从海底翻涌上来的海水散发着恶臭。 他站在海边说:
老婆对此却不饶又不依。 "
渔夫于是回家去了。 来到宫前时,他发现宫殿大了许多,增加了一座高塔,塔身上有漂亮的雕饰。 一排警卫守卫在宫殿门口,附近还有许多士兵,门前还有一支乐队,敲着锣打着鼓。 他走进宫殿,只见样样东西都是金子和大理石做成的;桌椅上铺着天鹅绒,垂挂着很大的金流苏。 一道道的门忽地打开了,整座王宫处处体现着富丽堂皇。 他的老婆就坐在镶嵌着无数钻石的高大的金宝座上,头戴一顶宽大的金冠,手握一根用纯金和宝石做成的王仗。 在宝座的两旁,六名宫女一字排开,一个比另一个矮一头。 渔夫走上前去对她说:"喂,老婆,你现在真的当上了国王吗?"
渔夫不得不去了。 他走在路上时,心里感到非常害怕,边走边想,"这不会有好下场的。要当皇帝!脸皮真是太厚啦!
到头来,比目鱼就会恼怒啦。 "
他就这样一边想着一边走,来到了海边。 只见海水一片墨黑,混浊不清,不仅汹涌翻腾,泡沫飞溅,而且旋风阵阵,令渔夫感到心惊胆战。 不过,他还是站在海岸上说:
老婆对此却不饶又不依。 "
于是,渔夫往回走,到家时一看,整座宫殿都由研磨抛光的大理石砌成,石膏浮雕和纯金装饰四处可见。 宫殿门前,士兵们正在列队行进,号角声,锣鼓声,震耳欲聋。 在宫殿里,男爵、伯爵走来走去,个个一副奴才相。 纯金铸造的房门为他一道道打开,他走进一看,妻子正坐在宝座上,宝座用一整块金子锻造而成,有数千英尺高。 她头戴一顶宽大的金冠,足有三码高,上面镶嵌着无数珠宝;她一只手里握着皇仗,另一只手托着金球。 在她的两侧,站着两列侍从,一个比一个矮,最高的看上去像个巨人,最矮的是个小侏儒,还没有他的手指大。 她的面前侍立着不少王孙贵族。
渔夫往前移动了几步,想好好看看她。 看了一会儿,他说:"哎,老婆,你当上了皇帝,真是太妙啦!"
渔夫胆战心惊,只得去了。 他走在路上,感到浑身发软,两腿哆嗦。 颤抖不止,海岸边的山上狂风呼啸,乌云滚滚,一片昏黑。 树叶沙沙作响,海水像开锅了似地汹涌澎湃,不断拍打着他的鞋子。 他远远地看见有些船只在狂涛中颠簸跳荡,燃放着求救的信号。 天空一片火红,并且越来越红,只露出中间一点儿蓝色,好像一场暴风雨即将来临。 渔夫站在那里,浑身颤抖,说道:
老婆对此却不饶又不依。 "
于是,渔夫往回走,到家时一看,一座大教堂矗立在那里,周围是几座宫殿。 人们正潮水般拥挤着往里走。 大教堂里燃着上千支蜡烛,照得四处通明雪亮,他老婆浑身上下穿戴着金子,坐在更高更大的宝座上,头上戴着三重大金冠。 教会中的众多显贵簇拥在她的周围,她的两侧竖立着两排大蜡烛,最大一根大得就像一座高大的宝塔,而最小的一根则跟普通的蜡烛差不多。 天下所有的皇帝和国王都跪在她的面前,争先恐后地吻她的鞋子。
说着他凑上前去,好好打量了一番,感觉她像耀眼的太阳一般,光辉灿烂。 看了一会儿之后,他说:
"这个嘛,我还得想一想,"妻子回答说。 说完,他们就上床休息了。 可是,她还是感到不满足,她的野心在不断地膨胀,贪欲使她久久不能入睡,她左思右想,想自己还能成为什么。
丈夫因为白天跑了那么多的路,睡得又香又沉,可妻子呢,在床上辗转反侧,不停地考虑着自己还能成为什么,却怎么也想不出来了,所以整整一夜没能睡着。 这时,太阳快要出来了,她看见了黎明的曙光,一下从床上坐起身来,望着窗外。 透过窗口,她看见一轮红日冉冉升起,忽然产生了一个念头:"哈哈!我难道不该对太阳和月亮发号施令吗?""当家的,"她用胳膊肘捅了捅丈夫的腰,说道,"快起来,去找比目鱼去,告诉他我要控制太阳和月亮。"
丈夫睡得迷迷糊糊的,一听她这话,吓得从床上滚了下来。 他以为是自己听错了,就揉了揉眼睛,大声地问:"老婆,你说什么来着?"
一听这话,她勃然大怒,脑袋上的头发随即飘荡起来。 她撕扯着自己的衣服,朝着丈夫狠狠地踢了一脚,冲他吼叫道:"我再也无法忍受啦!我再也无法忍受啦!你给我快去!"
外边已是狂风呼啸,刮得他脚都站不住了。 一座座的房屋被刮倒,一棵棵大树被吹翻,连山岳都在震颤着身子,一块块的岩石滚落在大海中。 天空雷鸣电闪,一片漆黑,大海掀起滚滚的黑色巨浪,浪头有山那么高,浪尖上翻涌着白沫。
老婆对此却不饶又不依。 "

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