The Fisherman and the Evil Genie – Part 1
Posted on: November 1, 2019.

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In a distant part of the world, many hundred years ago, there lived a fisherman, his wife, and their three children. Only scarcely could he manage to support his family, so old and poor he was. He would leave to catch fish, just before dawn each day, and while at sea, he had a self-imposed rule not to throw his nets more than four times. On a certain day, or rather night, the fisherman arrived at the sea-shore while there was still only moonlight.

He cast his nets, waited a while, and then, as he drew the nets towards the bank, he felt a great weight. He was ecstatic, thinking that he had caught a very big fish, but alas, it turned out to be the carcass of a donkey, much to his disappointment. Feeling dejected, he threw his nets a second time, after having mended the nets in places that were broken by the carcass of the donkey.

As he drew the nets, he again felt a great weight, but yet again, it wasn’t a large fish. It was a basket full of rubbish, much to his annoyance. “O Mother of the Ocean!”, cried the hapless fisherman, “hast thou no mercy, tormenting a poor fisherman as me, who can barely support his family?”

He threw away the rubbish, washed his nets clean off dirt, and cast them a third time… only to draw stones, shells, and mud. By now, the fisherman was in a grip of despair, in utter desperation. For the fourth and last time that day as was his principle, he cast his nets. Yet again, he felt something heavy caught in the nets, yet again it was not a large fish.

This time, it was a strange, heavy-looking, yellow pot caught in his nets, presumably filled with some priceless treasure.  The fisherman noticed that it was fastened and sealed with lead, bearing the impression of a seal. He was delighted. “I will sell it to the founder, and with the money, I shall buy my family a measure of wheat!”, he thought.

He shook the jar on all sides to see if it would rattle, but when it didn’t, he thought there must be something precious inside it. He took his knife, and with a little trouble, opened it, eager to discover its contents. He set it in front of him, and looked at it with an expression of great anticipation. Suddenly, thick smoke emerged from the yellow pot, and the fisherman staggered, stepping back a pace or two.

The smoke rose up to the clouds and formed a thick mist, stretching over the sea and the shore. The fisherman, not knowing what to expect, was much astonished, watching open-mouthed as the thick mass that had gathered itself together after coming out of the jar, took the form of a genie, “twice larger than the largest giant” in the fisherman’s perception.

He trembled with fright unable to move a step, though he wanted nothing more than to run away from such a terrible-looking monster. But the fisherman was rooted to the spot, in fear. But the first words that echoed from the apparition instilled some courage in the fisherman. “O great king of the genie! I will never again disobey you.”

The fisherman asked the genie what it mean by saying this, where it came from, and how it had gotten trapped. “Speak to me more civilly, before I kill you”, replied the genie haughtily. The fisherman asked the genie if it had already forgotten that he’d set it free, and then, why it wanted to kill someone who had put an end to its misery. The genie commented that nothing was going to prevent it from killing the fisherman, and that the only wish it would grant him was the choice of the manner of his death.

The fisherman, out of much remorse, asked: “But why kill me? What have I done to you?”

The genie replied, “In no other way can I treat you. But listen to my story, and you will understand why.”

…continued in the next part

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