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The Fisherman and his Wife


"Yes," said she; "I am pope."

"Well," replied he, "it is a grand thing to be pope; and now you must be content, for you can be nothing greater."

"I will consider about that," replied the wife.

Then they went to bed; but Dame Alice could not sleep all night for thinking what she should be next. At last morning came, and the sun rose.

"Ha!" thought she, as she looked at it through the window, "cannot I prevent the sun rising?"

At this she was very angry, and wakened her husband, and said—

"Husband, go to the fish, and tell him I want to be lord of the sun and moon."

The fisherman was half asleep; but the thought frightened him so much that he started and fell out of bed.

"Alas! wife," said he, "cannot you be content to be pope?"

"No," said she, "I am very uneasy, and cannot bear to see the sun and moon rise without my leave. Go to the fish directly."

Then the man went trembling for fear. As he was going down to the shore a dreadful storm arose, so that the trees and the rocks shook, the heavens became black, the lightning played, the thunder rolled, and the sea was covered with black waves like mountains, with a white crown of foam upon them. The fisherman came to the shore, and said—

"O man of the sea, Come listen to me, For Alice, my wife, The plague of my life, Hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

"What does she want now?" asked the fish.

"Ah!" said he, "she wants to be lord of the sun and moon."

"Go home," replied the fish, "to your ditch again."

And there they live to this very day.

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