The Miser and the Fish©

This story about a miser and a fish has been handed down over many years. Now, as everyone should know, a miser is a stingy person who will not share anything with anyone else. This miser lived in a small village and wouldn’t even spend money for food. He always went fishing and got his food for free.

It happened that one day, while he was fishing in the village pond, he caught a beautiful silvery fish. Just as he unhooked it, the fish began to speak.

“I am an enchanted fish, and if you let me go I will give you one wish.”

The miser couldn’t believe his ears. This was his chance to get rich. “Very well, fish. I’ll let you go, but here is my wish,” said the miser. “I want all the money I can carry on my back.”

And before you could say the word magic, there was the miser on his way home with a big sack of money on his back. Of course, he stayed up all night counting it. But just like all other misers, he was not satisfied. He wanted more.

The next day, he went back to the pond, hoping that he might catch the enchanted fish and get another wish. As you might suspect, he did. “I have caught you again,” said the miser. “If I let you go, may I have another wish?”

“Yes,” answered the fish, “but after this, I can only give one more wish.”

“What do you mean?” asked the miser. “Can’t I catch you every day and get a wish?”

“No,” said the enchanted fish. “You see, enchanted fishes can never give more than three wishes.”

“Very well,” replied the miser. “I’ll catch you tomorrow, but for today’s wish, I want all the money I can carry on my back and in my pockets.”

As quick as you could say fish, the miser was on his way home with another big bundle of money. In fact, it was so big, he stayed up all night plus half the next day counting it. Then he suddenly remembered what the fish had told him. It was already afternoon, and he still might get one more wish if he could catch the fish. But what am I going to do about all the money in the house? he thought. He couldn’t leave it unguarded. So he stacked it under a pile of hay in a big wagon and took the wagon with him to the pond.

When he arrived, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Everybody from the village was fishing. “This can’t be,” he muttered. “Get away from here!” he shouted to the crowd. “This is my fishing place.” But no one moved. “I’ll show them,” he said. He then threw off all the hay from the wagon and showed them the stacks of money hidden underneath. “All of this money is yours if you will take it and go away,” he said. Of course, the villagers grabbed their bundles of money and ran away.

The miser laughed and laughed. “What fools they were,” he chuckled. “Now I can catch the enchanted fish, and with my last wish, I can get all my money back and lots more.” He then threw his fishing line into the water.

Just about then, an old man passed by. He stopped and asked, “How’s the fishing?”

“None of your business,” snapped the miser. “Go away!”

“Very well,” replied the old man. “But I hope you are as lucky as I was today.”

“What do you mean?” asked the miser.

“Well,” said the old man, “when I was fishing earlier today, I caught an enchanted fish that gave me her last wish.”

The miser’s mouth dropped open. He was afraid to ask, but finally he muttered, “What did you wish?”

“Oh,” said the old man, “I just wished that everybody in town could come out here and fish.”

Upon hearing this, the miser was so shocked that he fell to his knees and tumbled into the pond.

Being greedy can cause your fall:
Wanting more can lose it all.

Fish Fish