The Fisherman and His Wife
(Week #3 The Negative aspect.)
The Sun, Moon and Stars
When someone says, The Sky is the Limit,” they could be talking about the Fisherman’s wife. She wants the Sky, the Sun, Moon and Stars. Why not? All her other wishes to date had come true. However, this wish is different. This time the wish becomes “The end”! The Magic Founder takes it all away, everything. The Sky was the limit.
What is interesting about this tale is the lack of rules. When the Magic Fish is caught and released, the Prince Fish says nothing. The story does not explain the parameters, limitations or expiration of the Fish’s enchanted magic. The fish doesn’t say, “I will grant you 1, 2, or 3 wishes.” There are no boundaries stated in this story; nothing is specified. Is the Sky the limit?
When the Fisherman’s wife suggests to the Fisherman that he is entitled to ask for a wish because in essence he saved the fishes life, we don’t know what to expect. Perhaps there is an unwritten rule covering this event. The Fisherman’s wife seems sure that this is the case while the rest of us reserve our opinions until later. We don’t know the rules about magic fish. We gasp at the wife’s demands. We are appalled at her greediness. Yet the Magic Fish continues to grant wish after wish.
We are not sure how long the Enchanted Fish will demonstrate its gratitude. We wonder when the pay back is exhausted. We question why the Fisherman is entitled to wish granting. Is it because he let the fish go? Alternatively, is it because the fisherman now knows about the fish’s magic and, therefore; is entitled to use its powers?
Another twist to the tale is it’s the Fisherman’s wife making all the demands and not the Fisherman. She didn’t catch the fish. She didn’t give the fish back its life. However, she is the one running the show. She feels entitled to her demands because she is married to the Fisherman.
The “bad guy” in the story is the wife. The wife may have become evil (greedy) because the fish didn’t set parameters, and the fisherman never stands up to her demands. I was continually annoyed with the Fisherman. He is an example of an enabler. He plays the role of the long-suffering husband. “What’s a fellow to do?” He protests but weakly and ineffectually. He and the fish become the slaves of the wife. He allows her to be the center of the universe, making wishes that always escalate never being satisfied.
What is the significance of the fish being a flounder? Who in the story is floundering around? The Sea demonstrates our emotions as the wife increases her demands? The Sea is the reflection of the force of Nature, and the gauge of Divine wrath over the natural order of things. When the Wife asks to rule the moon and sun she is saying she wants to be in charge of the cosmos. “Dark and stormy,” the Sea Rages its fury.
In my collage I show the fisherman’s wife asking for the Sun, Moon and the Stars. Finally, we discover when “Enough is enough!” The Tale is over. Asking to be a God is over the top. The Sea, the Magic Fish, the Heavens all say, no more and everything is changed back to what it was in the beginning. The Fisherman and his Wife live once again in their shack and order has been restored.