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The Story of the Fisherman and His Wife

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Then the flounder came swimming up and said, 'Well, what does she want?'

'Alas!' said the man, 'my wife says I ought to have kept you and wished something from you. She does not want to live any longer in the hut; she would like a cottage.'

'Go home, then,' said the flounder; 'she has it.'

So the man went home, and there was his wife no longer in the hut, but in its place was a beautiful cottage, and his wife was sitting in front of the door on a bench. She took him by the hand and said to him, 'Come inside, and see if this is not much better.' They went in, and inside the cottage was a tiny hall, and a beautiful sitting-room, and a bedroom in which stood a bed, a kitchen and a dining-room all furnished with the best of everything, and fitted up with every kind of tin and copper utensil. And outside was a little yard in which were chickens and ducks, and also a little garden with vegetables and fruit trees.

'See,' said the wife, 'isn't this nice?'

'Yes,' answered her husband; 'here we shall remain and live very happily.'

'We will think about that,' said his wife.

With these words they had their supper and went to bed. All went well for a week or a fortnight, then the wife said:

'Listen, husband; the cottage is much too small, and so is the yard and the garden; the flounder might just as well have sent us a larger house. I should like to live in a great stone castle. Go down to the flounder, and tell him to send us a castle.'

'Ah, wife!' said the fisherman, 'the cottage is quite good enough; why do we choose to live in a castle?'

'Why?' said the wife. 'You go down; the flounder can quite well do that.'

'No, wife,' said the man; 'the flounder gave us the cottage. I do not like to go to him again; he might take it amiss.'

'Go,' said his wife. 'He can certainly give it us, and ought to do so willingly. Go at once.'

The fisherman's heart was very heavy, and he did not like going. He said to himself, 'It is not right.' Still, he went down.

When he came to the sea, the water was all violet and dark-blue, and dull and thick, and no longer green and yellow, but it was still smooth.

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