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Friday, 6 May 2011

Fairy-Tale Friday: From Russia with Love #12

Each week Irena @ This Miss Loves To Read hosts Friday is for Fairy-Tales.

It is an opportunity to share a love of the fairy-tale genre throughout the blogosphere and discuss your favourite character, your childhood memories, new authors and all time favourites. You can find out more by visiting her POST.

Ever since I read Marcus Sedgwick’s Blood Red Snow White, I have wanted to read Arthur Ransome’s Old Peter’s Russian Tales. If you’ve read Blood Red, you’ll understand why. If you haven’t, then I suggest you add it to your wish list. I never realised how poetic fairy-tales could be until I read it.

So I am going to read one of Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome each week and then share it with you here.

Click HERE for link to Posts 1 – 10 of this feature.

Week 11 - A Chapter of Fish

It has been quite a long time since I posted a fairytale Friday. I have had too many other things to be getting on with and so it fell by the wayside. I keep promising myself I’ll get to the end of the book. It just might take a while.

Today’s fairytale is...

The Golden Fish

This fairytale is every bit a tale of morality. The sin explored is greed.

There was once an old man who lived with his wife in a hut close to the sea. They were very poor. The man went out to the sea and cast out his net. When he pulled it back, it was extraordinarily heavy. He expected to find a feast of fish but strangely it only held one fish. The Golden Fish. It was small and would have made a tiny meal for the couple.

But when the man looked at it, the Golden Fish spoke. The man was so surprised that he granted the fish his wish to live. He put him back in the sea and to reward his kindness the Golden Fish was willing to grant the man anything he wished for. But the old man was happy with his life and so he didn’t ask for anything.

He returned home without any supper for his wife and told her about the Golden Fish. She chastised the old man for not asking for food. She sent him off to ask the fish for some dinner. So the old man did just that and when he returned home, his wife greeted him with a loaf of bread. What follows is the wife telling the husband to ask for more, more, more until she is a rich Tsarina living in a palace and beats her own husband treating him as a poor beggar. Yet when the wife asks for more, the old man still returns to the fish and puts in her requests. The final thing the wife asks for is to be ruler of the seas and all the fish. This brings the wrath of the Golden Fish and the seas rise up in an angry torrent and there is a great storm.

The old man survives and when he returns home the palace is gone and his old hut is there in its place with his wife waiting for him.

My thoughts:

I wonder if the Golden Fish story is a metaphor for God and Satan. I’m not sure about that, I’d be interested to hear what Irena thinks as she can analyse fairytales in much more depth than me. It seems there is a cautionary tale in there about doing what your wife tells you. I think I should get my husband to read it.


Ebony McKenna. said...

I'm nearly half way through that other enormous Russian fairy tale, War and Peace. Feel like swapping?

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

What a very interesting story!

Thanks for thinking I can analyse fairytales!:) That's really sweet of you to say.

But yes! I agree with you! I also sense some Biblical symbolism - greed and temptation, God vs Satan. Something can definitely be said for this symbolism used in the story. I love its moral, too. Happiness is in small, but REAL things.

Thank you for your great post!

Emma Book Angel said...

I <3 these thank you so much for doing them

Enbrethiliel said...


I remember this one from my childhood! It wasn't in a book, however, but in an animated short I was lucky to have caught. Although I only saw it once, I've never forgotten it!

The faerie tales with sad endings aren't as popular as their more optimistic fellows, but they are better at holding up a mirror in which we can see ourselves.

But now that I think about it, this one kind of has a happy ending . . . for the man, at least! He is already happy with his life at the beginning; it's his wife who has the issues!