there was once on a time a fisherman who lived with his wife in a miserable hovel close by the sea, and every day he went out fishing. and once as he was sitting with his rod, looking at the clear water, his line suddenly went down, far down below, and when he drew it up again he brought out a large flounder. then the flounder said to him, "hark, you fisherman, i pray you, let me live, i am no flounder really, but an enchanted prince. what good will it do you to kill me? i should not be good to eat, put me in the water again, and let me go." "come," said the fisherman, "there is no need for so many words about it -- a fish that can talk i should certainly let go, anyhow," with that he put him back again into the clear water, and the flounder went to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind him. then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in the hovel.
"husband," said the woman, "have you caught nothing to-day?" "no," said the man, "i did catch a flounder, who said he was an enchanted prince, so i let him go again." "did you not wish for anything first?" said the woman. "no," said the man; "what should i wish for?" "ah," said the woman, "it is surely hard to have to live always in this dirty hovel; you might have wished for a small cottage for us. go back and call him. tell him we want to have a small cottage, he will certainly give us that." "ah," said the man, "why should i go there again?" "why," said the woman, "you did catch him, and you let him go again; he is sure to do it. go at once." the man still did not quite like to go, but did not like to oppose his wife, and went to the sea.
when he got there the sea was all green and yellow, and no longer so smooth; so he stood still and said,