The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish
Твори О.С. Пушкіна.Переклад англійською мовою.> The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish

 

The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish

 


An old man lived with his good-wife
By the shore of the deep blue ocean
In a hovel of clay and wattle;
They had lived there for three years and thirty.
The old man netted fishes,
The good-wife sat at her spinning.
Once he cast his net on the waters;
The net came up — full of sea-slime.
Again he cast the net on the waters;
The net came back — full of sea-weed.
A third time the net sank in the waters
And came up with one fish in it.
No common fish, but a golden.
The golden fish begged for mercy
And spoke with the voice of a human:
"Old man, throw me back in the ocean,
I will pay you a splendid ransom:
I will grant you whatever you wish for."
The old man was amazed and awestruck:
He had fished here for three years and thirty
But never once heard a fish talking.
Freeing the fish from the meshes
He gave him fair words and gentle:
"Golden fish, go your ways in peace now
There is no need to pay me a ransom;
Go back to your deep blue seas
And swim there and splash as you please.
"The old man returned to his good-wife
And told her of this great wonder:
"Today I netted a strange fish
No common fish, but a golden;
The golden fish spoke our language,
Begged to go home to the ocean,
Promised a splendid ransom:
To grant me whatever I wished for.
I durstn't exact the ransom;
Threw him back in the sea for nothing."
The wife fell to scolding her husband:
"Simpleton, silly old fat-head!
Too soft to get boons of fishes!
A new wash-trough at least you might ask for,
Ours is split right down the middle!"

He went back to the deep blue ocean.
He saw that the ocean was ruffled.
Then he raised his voice and shouted,
And the golden fish came swimming;
"What is it, old man, come tell me!"
With a low bow, the old man made answer:
"Be gracious, Lord of Fishes,
My good-wife is angry with me,
And gives me no peace with her nagging;
She says that we need a new wash-trough;
Ours is split right down the middle."
The golden fish made answer:
"Never mind, old man, go in peace now,
You will find a new wash-trough all ready."
The old man returned to his good-wife,
To find the new wash-trough all ready.
But she scolded him now worse than ever:
"Simpleton! Silly old fat-head!
So you begged a great boon — a new wash-trough!
But what profit is there in a wash-trough?
Back, you simpleton, you, to the great fish,
Make your bow to him: ask for an izba*."

He went back to the deep blue ocean
(The ocean was dark now and troubled).
Then he raised his voice and shouted,
And the golden fish came swimming:
"What is it, old man, come, tell me!"
With a low bow, the old man made answer:
"Be gracious, Lord of Fishes!
My good-wife is even more angry.
And gives me no peace with her nagging:
The old ne'er content wants an izba."
The golden fish made answer:
"Never mind, old man, go in peace now,
You shall have your wish: a new izba."
The old man returned to his hovel;
Not a trace remained of the hovel;
In its place — a brand-new izba
With whitewashed, brickwork chimney,
Oaken doors, a carved attic window.
On the garden seat sat his good-wife
Quite beside herself this time with anger:
"What a fool you are, simpleton, fat-head!
So you begged a great boon, a low izba!
Go back, make your bow to the great fish:
I will not be a plain peasant woman,
Let him make me a high-born lady."

The old man went down to the ocean
(The ocean was rough now and choppy).
Then he raised his voice and shouted,
And the golden fish came swimming:
"What is it, old man, come, tell me!"
With a low bow, the old man made answer:
"Be gracious, Lord of Fishes!
My good-wife's more wilful than ever
And gives me no peace with her nagging;
And now she has taken a notion
That she'll not be a plain peasant woman
But will be a high-born lady."
The golden fish made answer:
"Never mind, old man, go in peace now."

The old man returned to his good-wife.
And what does he see? A fine mansion.
On the porch his good-wife is standing,
Her rich jacket trimmed with sable,
A high, brocaded head-dress,
Pearls on her neck hanging heavy,
Golden rings on her fingers
And boots of soft, red leather.
Before her, servants are bowing;
She pulls their hair and strikes them.
The old man hailed his good-wife:
"How now, Mistress-Madam-M'lady,
Surely your heart is content now?"
His good-wife greeted him harshly,
And sent him to serve in the stables.

A week went by, then another,
And the good-wife, more self-willed than ever,
Sent the old man back to the ocean.
"Go back, make your bow to the great fish:
Say I'll not be a high-born lady.
Let him make me a mighty Empress."
The old man took fright, and argued:
"What, woman! You must be moon-struck!
You talk and you walk like a fishwife,
You will set your whole Empire laughing."
The good-wife grew-still more angry,
Boxed her husband's ears and shouted:
"How dare you argue, you peasant,
With me, with a high-born lady?
Get you gone to the sea, I tell you,
Unless you want to be dragged there."

The old man went back to the ocean
(Black and threatening now, the blue ocean).
Then he raised his voice and shouted,
And the golden fish came swimming:
"What is it, old man, come, tell me!"
With a low bow the old man made answer:
"Be gracious, Lord of Fishes!
Again my good-wife's on the rampage;
This time, she's taken a notion
That she'll not be a high-born lady
But will be a mighty Empress."
And the golden fish made answer:
"Never mind, old man, go in peace now!
You will find your good-wife an Empress!"
The old man returned to his good-wife.
And what do you think? A palace
Now houses the shrewish old woman.
She sits in state at her table.
Great nobles and lords wait upon her,
Serve her wine in a golden goblet
While she nibbles at crested sweet-meats;
Stern sentries mount guard about her
Each with an axe at the ready.
The old man took one look — his knees failed him!
He bowed to the ground before her
But spoke out: "All hail, dread Empress!
Tell me, is your heart content now?"
Not a glance did his good-wife spare him
But ordered her men to remove him.
Then the lords and great nobles came running,
By the scruff of the neck they took him,
And the sentries who stood in the doorways
Saw him off with their axes,
And the people shamed him with laughter.
"Serve you right, witless old grey-beard!
Let that be a lesson to you
To remember your place in future!"

So a week went by, then another.
The old woman grew more and more grasping.
She sent courtiers to fetch the old man.
They found him, brought him before her.
Then the good-wife said to her husband:
"Go back, make your bow to the great fish.
I'll no more be a mighty Empress
But will rule over Sea and Ocean.
In the Deep I will make my stronghold
And the golden fish shall serve me
And swim back and forth on my errands."
The old man dared not contradict her,
Was afraid to stand up against her.
Again he went down to the ocean
And saw — a black storm had arisen:
Angry waves reared up to meet him,
All a-quake, all a-swirl, all a-roaring.
But he raised his voice and shouted,
And the golden fish came swimming:
"What is it, old man, come, tell me!"
With a low bow the old man made answer:
"Be gracious, Lord of Fishes!
What can I do with the woman?
The old fool will no longer be Empress,
She will rule over Sea and Ocean;
In the Deep she will make her stronghold
And have you yourself to serve her
And swim back and forth on her errands."
The golden fish said nothing;
With a flick of its tail in the water
It swam away, back to the deep sea.
The old man by the shore stood waiting
For a long time, but got no answer.
At last, he returned to his good-wife
And lo: there she sat on the threshold
Of their old hut of clay and wattle
And before her — the broken wash-trough.

1833



*Izba — Russian peasant's log cabin.






 


Бібліотека ім. О. С. Пушкіна (м. Київ).
А.С. Пушкин. Полное собрание сочинений в десяти томах