Subskill: Reading Comprehension
Concept: Literary Elements / Author’s Purpose
Grade Level: Middle Elementary
Long ago a fisherman and his wife lived in a small hut near the sea. They were very poor and had little to eat.
One morning, as usual, the fisherman cast his net out into the sea. He caught only one fish, but this was no ordinary fish. It was a beautiful golden fish, and it talked to him in a human voice.
“Please put me back into the sea before I die. I will give you whatever you wish.”
The fisherman was a kind man and felt sorry for the Magic Fish. He freed it from the net and tossed it back into the sea, asking for nothing.
However, when the fisherman got home and told his wife about the Magic Fish, she was angry. She sent him back to find the Magic Fish again and ask for a loaf of bread.
Out on his boat again, the fisherman called to the Magic Fish. Hearing him, the Magic Fish swam up and asked, “What is it that you want, fisherman?”
“My wife has a special wish. She would like a loaf of bread.”
Amazingly, when the fisherman returned home, he found a fresh loaf of bread on the table.
The next morning the wife decided she wanted much more than just a loaf of bread. “Go out and ask the Magic Fish for a new house,” she said. Again the fisherman went out to the sea and called to the Magic Fish, asking for a new house for his wife.
“Go home to your new house,” said the Magic Fish.
When the fisherman returned home, he saw a beautiful new house.
A few days later, the wife complained, “This house is too small. Tell the Magic Fish I want to live in a palace.”
The fisherman went back to the sea with his head bowed low and told the Magic Fish, ” Forgive me, but now my wife wants to live in a palace.”
The Magic Fish answered, “Don’t worry, old fisherman. Go home and your wife shall have her palace.”
Soon the wife became tired of the palace and demanded to become Queen of all the land. The old fisherman returned to the sea to beg the Magic Fish once again. “I am ashamed of my wife,” he said, “but she gives me no peace.”
The Magic Fish took pity on him and said, “It’s done.”
When the fisherman returned home, he saw his wife sitting on a throne with a crown on her head.
A few weeks passed, and the wife said to the fisherman, “It is not enough for me to be Queen of all the land. Go tell your Magic Fish I want to become ruler of the sea and all the creatures in it.”
This time, when the fisherman told the Magic Fish of his wife’s newest wish, the Magic Fish said nothing and disappeared deep into the ocean in silence.
When the fisherman returned home, he found his wife standing in front of their old hut, dressed in old rags, with not even a loaf of bread to eat.
Here are some questions to ask after listening to the story:
What character traits best describe the fisherman?
What character traits best describe the fisherman’s wife?
What did the fisherman do after catching the magical fish?
Why did the magic fish take everything away from the fisherman’s wife?
What is the theme of the story?