Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/331

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Collectanea. 3 2 1

an hour; only he should remember well, that if he doesn't bring the fish, he'll be killed ; while if he does bring a fish, he'll get a big present.

The Fisherman promises to bring a fish, if anything, before the appointed hour. So then he harnesses the donkey to his small cart, and starts for the river, to catch a fish. Arriving there, he unharnesses the donkey, takes his line, and casts it into the water; but he doesn't catch anything. Aei ! It is nearly time that he should take the fish to the Emperor, and he can't catch one. So then the poor man gets very worried, and he cries out :

" God or Devil ! Give me a fish ! "

Then, suddenly, a River-Monster pops out of the water, and asks him what he wishes. The Fisherman tells him how things stand. So the Monster says :

" All right. I'll give you a fish, only you must promise to give me that which you know you have not got at home ! "

The Fisherman thinks, "Lord! What can that be? For besides the cat, the cock, the donkey, the cart, my wife and myself, there isn't anything at home, I know." So after some time, he casts his line into the water again, saying to the Monster :

" Right ! I promise ! " and he catches a fish which has no peer in beauty ; he takes it, and brings it to the Emperor, who then gives him a big present.

The Empress eats the fish, and she knows that she is going to have a child.

However, we'll leave her, and we'll come back to the Fisher- man.

This one, coming home, tells his wife what has happened, and that he has promised the River-Monster that which he knows he has not got at home. The wife, who has more brains than he, says :

" Noah ! God has punished you ! For I am going to have a child, and you have promised the child that I am going to bear you, to the River-Monster."

The husband comforted himself quickly, saying it didn't matter, for by the time the child was born, they would have forgotten all this trouble, t'was lucky it was no worse.