"The Fisherman and his Wife" in Household Stories from the Bros. Grimm,
translated by Lucy Crane.
The fisherman's wife always wanting more from the enchanted prince
The fisherman, his wife, and the enchanted prince/flounder
Poor husband and wife struggling to survive
Husband fishing/Discovering enchanted prince
Unsatisfied Wife/Wanting more (cottage, castle, king, emperor, control the sun and moon)
Returning to lake
"And there they are sitting to this very day."
Poor married couple struggling to live. Husband decides to go fishing to catch some food for them to eat. Catches a very large flounder that speaks to him and tells him that he is an enchanted prince. The fisherman throws him back into the water. When wife hears of this, she begins ordering the fisherman to return to the lake and make wishes to the enchanted prince for a better life. She keeps wanting more and more until finally she wants to control the sun and the moon each day and the fish takes everything away from them and restores their original life.
"Oh man, oh man, if man you be
Or flounder, flounder in the sea.
Such a tiresome wife I have got
For she wants what I do not."
"And it is there they are sitting to this very day."
Colors of lake on each visit: clear, green and yellow, purple and dark
blue, dark grey, black, dark/stormy with huge clouds and waves all about.
Repetition in story, magical fish should be appealing to preschool
age. The ability to describe the lavish changes to the wife's life should interest a young audience. Descriptive words and the addition of a few sounds (i.e. fishing pole) bring a very playful quality to the story. They might not understand the ending, but will recognize it as a conclusion to everything that they have just heard. When I told this
story to my college age roommates, only two of them really understood the ending! So you never know
British Folktales, "The fisherman and his wife," Katherine Briggs.
The Magic Gold Fish, Demi. (Russia)
Briggs- The language was slightly more difficult to discern, but it would still be a fine story to tell.
Demi- Russian skew on the story. Contains wife wishing ultimately to be a Czarina and rule the "golden fishes." Concept of the golden fish didn't appeal to me.
Crane- A lot of room for elaboration with sounds and descriptions. Story was too long, but was easily cut without harming the structure of the story.