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Main > Spain folktales > Fairy tale "The Girl-Fish"

The Girl-Fish

"They are hardly as blue as I expected," he grumbled, though the parrot knew as well as he did that he was not speaking the truth. "You must bring me a bag of stars from the sky. If you fail, it will cost you not only the crown but your life."

The parrot turned away. As soon as she was outside she murmured, "A toad, that's what I want to be!" And sure enough a toad she was, and off she set in search of the bucket of stars.

She had not gone far before she came to a clear pool, in which the stars were reflected so brightly that they looked quite real to touch and handle. Stooping down, she filled a bag she was carrying with the shining water and returned to the castle. Then she cried as before, "A parrot, that's what I'd like to be!" And in the shape of a parrot she entered the presence of the giant.

"Here is the bag of stars you asked for," she said, and this time the giant could not help crying out with admiration. He knew he was beaten, and he turned to the girl.

"Your power is greater than mine. So be it: Take this old crown, anyway."

The parrot did not need to be told twice. Seizing the crown, she sprang on to the window, crying, "A monkey, that's what I'd like to be!" And to a monkey, the climb down the tree into the courtyard did not take half a minute. When she had reached the ground she said again, "An ant, that's what I'd like to be!" And a little ant at once began to crawl over the high wall. How glad the ant was to be out of the giant's castle, holding fast the crown which had shrunk into almost nothing, as she herself had done, but grew quite big again when the ant exclaimed, "A deer, that's what I'd like to be!"

Surely no deer ever ran so swiftly as that one! On and on she went, bounding over rivers and crashing through tangles till she reached the sea. Here she cried, "A fish, that's what I'd like to be!" And plunging in, she swam along the bottom as far as the palace, where the queen and all the fishes were gathered together awaiting her.

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