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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The Story of the Fisherman and His Wife"

The Story of the Fisherman and His Wife

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He stood looking at her magnificence, and when he had watched her for some time, said:

'Ah, wife, let that be enough, now that you are emperor.'

'Husband,' said she, 'why are you standing there? I am emperor now, and I want to be pope too; go down to the flounder.'

'Alas! wife,' said the fisherman, 'what more do you want? You cannot be pope; there is only one pope in Christendom, and he cannot make you that.'

'Husband,' she said, 'I will be pope. Go down quickly; I must be pope to-day.'

'No, wife,' said the fisherman; 'I can't ask him that. It is not right; it is too much. The flounder cannot make you pope.'

'Husband, what nonsense!' said his wife. 'If he can make emperor, he can make, pope too. Go down this instant; I am emperor and you are my husband. Will you be off at once?'

So he was frightened and went out; but he felt quite faint, and trembled and shook, and his knees and legs began to give way under him. The wind was blowing fiercely across the land, and the clouds flying across the sky looked as gloomy as if it were night; the leaves were being blown from the trees; the water was foaming and seething and dashing upon the shore, and in the distance he saw the ships in great distress, dancing and tossing on the waves. Still the sky was very blue in the middle, although at the sides it was an angry red as in a great storm. So he stood shuddering in anxiety, and said:

'Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.'

'Well, what does she want now?' asked the flounder.

'Alas!' said the fisherman, 'she wants to be pope.'

'Go home, then; she is that already,' said the flounder.

Then he went home, and when he came there he saw, as it were, a large church surrounded by palaces. He pushed his way through the people. The interior was lit up with thousands and thousands of candles, and his wife was dressed in cloth of gold and was sitting on a much higher throne, and she wore three great golden crowns.

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