Maria Tatar: THE ANNOTATED BROTHERS GRIMM

The Fisherman and His Wife

A fisherman befriends a flounder who can grant whatever he desires. The fisherman’s wife asks that the flounder make her Pope. The flounder grants her request and the fisherman returns home to find his wife “seated on a throne that is bright as the sun.”

“Husband,” the fisherman’s wife says, “If I can’t make the sun and the moon rise, but have to watch them rise and set, I won’t be able to stand it. I’ll never have a moment’s peace . . . go to the flounder. I want to become like our dear God.”

Outside a storm was raging, and the wind was blowing so hard that the fisherman could hardly stay on his feet.

*****

Maria Tatar: The landscape begins to take on an apocalyptic coloring once the wife demands divine powers.

Tatar calls this story “an anti-fairy tale: a narrative that, rather than tracing a rise in fortunes or a reversal, takes the protagonist back to the miserable condition in which they started.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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