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A fisherman and a genie

Once upon1 a time there was an old fisherman. He went fishing very early every morning, but he never cast2 his net more than four times a day.

 

One morning, he went out early to the sea. He cast his net for the first time, and drew in the body of an animal. He cast it a second time, and drew in an old basket full of sand. He cast it a third time, and drew in a lot of stones. It seemed he would have nothing to take home that morning.

 

Day had now broken3, and he cast his net for last time. After some time, he began to draw the net in. He found it was very heavy. But there were not any fish in it. Instead he found a jar4 with a lid5. He shook the jar, but could hear nothing. So he took off the lid and looked inside. He could see nothing. After a while a light smoke came slowly out of the jar. Then little by little, the smoke grew heavier and thicker till finally it turned into a terrible Genie6!

 

"Get down on your knees," said the Genie, "for I'm going to kill you."

 

"Why? Didn't I set you free from the jar?"

 

"That's why I'm going to kill you, but I'll let you choose how you're going to die."

 

"But why?"

 

"Listen, and I will tell you my story."

 

"I was one of the spirits7 in heaven8. But I did not want to obey Solomon's orders. So one day, he put me in this jar and threw it into the sea.

 

"During the first hundred years of my stay in the sea, I made a promise that if anyone set me free I would make him very rich. But no one came. During the second hundred years, I promised that if anyone set me free I would show him all the treasures9 in the world. But still no one came. During the third hundred years, I promised that if anyone came to set me free, I would make him king over the earth.

 

"Still no one came. Then I became very angry, and decided10 that if anyone should set me free I would kill him at once. Now you have come and set me free. So you must die, but I will let you say how you want to die."

 

The fisherman was not frightened. He said: "Since I must die, I must. But before I die, answer me one question."

 

"All right, but be quick."

 

"Were you really in the jar? You are so big and the jar is so small that it could hardly hold one of your feet."

 

"Of course I was in the jar. Don't you believe me?"

 

"No, and I won't until I've seen you in the jar with my own eyes."

 

When he heard this, the Genie changed into smoke. Slowly the smoke went back into the jar. When all of it was in the jar, the fisherman quickly put the lid on and threw it back into the sea. 


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