Bigger houses, more important titles: sounds like the wishes of many of today’s professionals and entrepreneurs.
But wait! This is an old tale of envy. This version of “The Fisherman and His Wife” hews closely to the original, although some significant (and unattributed) changes have been made. Here Isabel, the wife, asks to be a queen (not a king), and her wish to be pope (perhaps to smooth out the original’s overtly Christian content) is elided, the text jumping straight to her even more outrageous desire to be God. When the couple is reduced to living under an “old broken pot” once again (like a chamber pot, taken from the German “pissputt”), Isabel realizes that luxury and palaces never made her content, again deviating from the original. She moralizes: “God on Earth lived a simple life full of love and kindness, and I’m happy to live like that too.” The story is smoothly told, with fisherman Thomas’ dialogue to the fish introduced in rhyming verse. The sea roils in a wilder and wilder manner as the fish grows angrier and angrier with Isabel’s demands. The delicate paintings often have an ethereal, abstract quality, as in the picture of Isabel on an emperor’s golden throne, with a long flight of steps leading up to an indistinct, richly dressed seated figure. Poor Thomas sits at the bottom, turned away from her, holding his head, sad and scared, when she makes her last imperious request. Thomas and Isabel both present white.
Although an additional purchase for most purposes, this might have a place in a religious school or for a family of faith. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-7)