The Queen of the Fishes

Mary, poor, hungry children - desperate for work - gutting fish on boat - saves life of beautiful-looking fish.
Captain sees her throw it back - fires her.
Mary meets devil, who offers her a cow to feed her children.
Will come in three years to ask her 3 questions.
If she answers them, can keep cow. If not, won't ask for for anything she can't give him.

Mary prospers from cow's milk and cream - even opens a small tea-room.

After three years, devil comes - tea-room empty but for one woman in corner.
Devil: "Well, Mary, ready to answer?"
Woman interrupts: "Tell him you are, Mary."
Devil: "Can we get on with the questions now?"
Woman: "That's your second question."
Devil (really angry now): "And who is this interfering woman?"
Woman: "Tell him I'm the Queen of the Fishes - and that you've answered his three questions!"
Devil disappears in fury - and Mary can keep cow.


Those are the barest of bones: clothe them into a story as you wish.

There are various versions told. One online Irish tale, Emerald and Silver, tracked down by good friend and cyber-sleuth Karen Chace, has a male protagonist who is rescued by the King of the Fishes.

As I tell the tale more, I'll find out exactly how my version shapes up.

Do you want to tell this tale?
Go here to read my position on permission to tell

Go here to receive an e-mail notification when new tales are added

Go here for tales to watch

Go here for a list of all tales included on this site

You are a teacher? Read this: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling

Want to record your own performances? Here are some suggestions

Top