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Main > Brazilian folktales > Fairy tale "The Adventures of a Fisherman’s Son"

The Adventures of a Fisherman’s Son

Long ago there was a man and woman who lived in a little mud hut under the palm trees on the river bank. They had so many children they did not know what to do. The little hut was altogether too crowded. The man had to work early and late to find food enough to feed so many. One day the seventh son said to his father, “O, father, I found a little puppy yesterday when I was playing on the bank of the river. Please let me bring it home to keep. I have always wanted one.”

The father consented sadly. He did not know how to find food for the children, and an extra puppy to feed seemed an added burden. He went to the river bank to fish that day with a heavy heart. He cast his net in vain. He did not catch a single fish. He cast his net from the other side with no better luck. He did not catch even one little piabinha.

Suddenly he heard a voice which seemed to come from the river bed itself, it was so deep. This is what it said: “If you will give me whatever new you find in your house when you go home I will give you fisherman’s luck. You will catch all the fish you wish.”

The man remembered the request which his seventh son had made that morning. “The new thing I’ll find in my house when I get home will be that puppy,” said the man to himself. “This will be a splendid way to get rid of the puppy which I did not want to keep anyway.”

Accordingly the man consented to the request which came from the strange voice in the depths of the river. “You must seal this covenant with your blood,” said the voice.

The man cut his finger a tiny bit with his sharp knife and squeezed a few drops of blood from the wound into the river. “If you break this vow the curse of the river giant will be upon you and your children for ever and ever,” said the deep voice solemnly.

The fisherman cast his net where the river giant commanded, and immediately it was so full of fish that the man could hardly draw it out of the water. Three times he drew out his net, so full that it was in danger of breaking.

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