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There is a story from Russia about an old man and his wife. At the beginning of the story, they in a small house by the sea. They are very poor. Their house is old, and when it rains, water comes through the roof. The old man goes out in his boat every day and catches fish. The old woman works in small garden. Sometimes the old man catches lots of fish, and they eat well. Sometimes he doesn’t anything. On those days, he and his wife hungry.
One day, everything changed. The old man caught a golden fish.
“Please, me back in the sea,” said the fish.
The man was very surprised. “You can talk! Well, I’m not going to eat a talking fish,” he .
“Thank you for that,” answered the fish. “Now I’d like to help you. Tell , what can I do for you?”
The man thought about his house and its broken roof. “ like a new roof on my home,” he said.
He put the fish back in the water. “Thank you!” said the fish again, and it swam away.
The man went back to his house. The new roof looked good and strong.
His wife came out to meet him. “Did you catch fish today?” she asked.
“Only one,” said the man. “It was a magic golden fish. It could talk, so I put it back in the sea. But look, the golden fish gave us a new roof!”
“A new roof?” said his wife. “ didn’t you ask for a new house? That’s what we need! Go and tell your fish that.”
“A new house? That’s a good idea,” said the man.
The man went down to the sea again. It was a fine, warm evening.
“Golden fish, are you there?” he said. The fish immediately.
“So, do you like your new roof?” it asked him.
“It’s a good roof,” said the man. “It’s about the rest of the house, though.”
“I understand,” said the fish sadly. “Go home, and .”
The man went home. Below the new roof, he could see new walls, new windows and a new door. “Look at that!” he said. “The golden fish really has us a new house!”
His wife didn’t look happy. “It’s the same house, though” she said. “It’s always small and dark, and not at all comfortable. We ask the fish for a bigger, better house.”
“You’re right, my dear,” said the man.
He went back to the sea. There were a few clouds in the sky now. it would rain later.
“Excuse me, golden fish,” he began.
“Ah, I was expecting this,” said the fish. “Your wife doesn’t like the house, ? I suppose it isn’t big enough for you both. Well, let’s see what you think of it now.”
The man turned around. His old home was . There was a handsome stone house with tall windows, and a large garden. His wife was sitting in the garden. She was wearing a beautiful new dress, but she still didn’t seem happy.
“We never ask for enough,” she told him. “That fish can do anything. If you for a palace, the golden fish will give us one.”
“A palace?” said the man. “Oh yes, I could live in a palace.”
The man went back to the shore. Dark clouds filled the sky, and the waves were growing higher.
He felt a little nervous now: if he asked for a palace, the fish be annoyed?
“Please, golden fish, listen to me,” he said.
“Don’t tell me – you want a bigger, grander house,” said the fish. “A palace, indeed! When will you be ? Well, you can have your palace. Let’s see how you like it.”
The man turned to go home. Could that really be his home? He had never anything so magnificent. The enormous building had hundreds of windows, and wide stone steps up to the huge front door. All around it were beautiful gardens and an army of servants. He recognized his wife. She was wearing another expensive dress, and the finest jewels, but she was still . “Why didn’t we ask for more?” she said. “I don’t just want to be a rich lady. Anyone can be rich. I be queen. We could be king and queen of the whole world!”
“King and queen of the world? That sounds good!” said the man.
“You’re right, we ask for more.”
He went down to the sea shore. The sky was completely dark now, and the air was heavy. He could hear a storm in the distance. The fish was waiting for him, swimming backwards and forwards in the angry sea.
“This is the last thing I shall ever do for you,” said the golden fish. “Look, now!”
The man looked up. There was his old house, with the broken roof. There was his wife, standing in the rain, in her old dress. “I we were just too greedy,” she said sadly.