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The Girl-Fish

Once upon a time there lived on the bank of a stream a man and a woman who had a daughter. They never could make up their minds to punish her for her faults or to teach her nice manners; and as for work -- she laughed in her mother's face if she asked her to help cook the dinner or to wash the plates. All the girl would do was to spend her days in dancing and playing with her friends; and for any use she was to her parents they might as well have had no daughter at all.

However, one morning her mother looked so tired that even the selfish girl could not help seeing it, and asked if there was anything she was able to do so that her mother might rest a little.

The good woman looked so surprised and grateful for this offer that the girl felt rather ashamed, and at that moment would have scrubbed down the house if she had been requested; but her mother only begged her to take the fishing-net out to the bank of the river and mend some holes in it, as her father intended to go fishing that night.

The girl took the net and worked so hard that soon there was not a hole to be found. She felt quite pleased with herself, though she had had plenty to amuse her, as everybody who passed by stopped had had a chat with her. But by this time the sun was high overhead, and she was just folding her net to carry it home again, when she heard a splash behind her, and looking round she saw a big fish jump into the air. Seizing the net with both hands, she flung it into the water and drew out the fish.

"Well, you are a beauty!" she cried to herself; but the fish looked up to her and said, "You had better not kill me, for if you do, I will turn you into a fish yourself!"

The girl laughed and ran straight to her mother.

"Look what I caught!" she said gaily. She left the fish with her mother, and off she went to gather some flowers to stick in her hair.

About an hour later the blowing of a horn told her that dinner was ready.

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