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1001 Stories Collection

The Golden Fish

1001 The Golden Fish Kyaw Tun
Added on 01st July 2020

Oral tradition Folktale found across the world with versions from China, Russia, Europe and India

Russia Animals Fables
1001 , Audio , Text

A story about a wish-granting fish, with a moral about being happy with your lot.

Story

A man catches a golden fish. To his surprise the fish speaks and begs to be put back in the water.

Why we chose it

The Chinese version of the story was one of the stories chosen by Geraldine McCaughrean for our World Stories project with St Ebbes School in 2016. The stories were represented on fabric hangings made by artist Ally Baker which can still be found hanging in the museum

Where it came from

Versions of the story can be found in other parts of the world including India and Russia. In some versions the man refuses to put the fish back and is punished for it. In others he puts the fish back and in return is granted three wishes but is greedy – or his wife is greedy – asks for a fourth wish and loses everything.

Where it went next

The story was particularly popular in Russia. Alexander Pushkin, a great collector of Russian folktales, retold the story in verse, The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish (1833) and Arthur Ransome included it in his collection of folk tales, Old Peter’s Russian Tales (1916). The Brothers Grimm collected a German story The Fisherman and his Wife

Associated stories

Greed and the punishment of the greedy is a common theme in folktales from all over the world. The Stonecutter from Japan is another example, where a man is never satisfied, making wish after wish until finally he returns to where he started and has learnt to be happy with his lot.

Added on 01st July 2020

Oral tradition Folktale found across the world with versions from China, Russia, Europe and India

Russia Animals Fables
1001 , Audio , Text

Story Resources

  • The Golden Fish story text PDF (34.273 KB)
    Download