Western Europe

The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher

level 2
Difficulty **
Themes: Animals

Summary: Mr. Jeremy Fisher is a frog that lives in a little house at the edge of a pond. One rainy day, he collects worms for fishing and cross the pond on his lily-pad boat. His intention is to invite friends for dinner if he catches more than five fishes. He experiences many setbacks along the way, and escapes a large trout who tries to eat him. He swims back, hops back home and decides not to go fishing anymore.

Once upon a time there was a frog called Mr. Jeremy Fisher; he lived in a little damp house amongst the buttercups at the edge of a pond. The water was all slippy-sloppy in the back passage. But Mr. Jeremy liked getting his feet wet; nobody ever scolded him, and he never caught a cold!

He was quite pleased when he looked out and saw large drops of rain – “I will get some worms and go fishing and catch my dinner,” said Mr. Jeremy Fisher. “If I catch more than five fish, I will invite my friends Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise and Sir Isaac Newton. Alderman, however, eats salad.”

Mr. Jeremy put on a macintosh (a full-length waterproof coat), and a pair of shiny rubber boots; he took his rod and basket, and set off with enormous hops to the place where he kept his boat. The boat was round and green, and very like the other lily-leaves. It was tied to a water-plant in the middle of the pond. Mr. Jeremy took a reed pole and pushed the boat out into open water. “I know a good place for minnows,” said Mr. Jeremy Fisher. Mr. Jeremy stuck his pole into the mud and fastened the boat to it. Then he settled himself cross-legged and arranged his fishing supplies.

He had the dearest little red float. His rod was a tough stalk of grass, his line was a fine long white horsehair, and he tied a little wriggling worm at the end. The rain trickled down his back, and for nearly an hour he stared at the float. “This is getting tiresome, I think I should like some lunch,” said Mr. Jeremy Fisher.

He went back again amongst the water plants and took some lunch out of his basket. “I will eat a butterfly sandwich, and wait till the shower is over,” said Mr. Jeremy Fisher. A great big water-beetle came up underneath the lily leaf and tweaked the toe of one of his boots. Mr. Jeremy crossed his legs up shorter, out of reach, and went on eating his sandwich. Once or twice something moved about with a rustle and a splash amongst the rushes at the side of the pond. “I trust that is not a rat,” said Mr. Jeremy Fisher; “I think I should better get away from here.”

Mr. Jeremy shoved the boat out again a little way and dropped in the bait. There was a bite almost directly! “A minnow! a minnow! I have him by the nose!” cried Mr. Jeremy Fisher, jerking up his rod. But what a horrible surprise! Instead of a smooth fat minnow, Mr. Jeremy landed little Jack Sharp the stickleback, covered with spines! The stickleback floundered about the boat, pricking and snapping until he was quite out of breath. Then he jumped back into the water. And a band of other little fishes put their heads out and laughed at Mr. Jeremy Fisher. And while Mr. Jeremy sat sadly on the edge of his boat, sucking his sore fingers and peering down into the water, something worse happened. A really frightful thing it would have been, if Mr. Jeremy had not been wearing a macintosh!

A great big enormous trout came up with a splash and seized Mr. Jeremy with a snap, “Ow! Ow! Ow!” – and then it turned and dived down to the bottom of the pond! But the trout was so displeased with the taste of the macintosh, that in less than half a minute it spat him out again; and the only thing it swallowed was Mr. Jeremy’s boots. Mr. Jeremy bounced up to the surface of the water, like a cork and the bubbles out of a soda water bottle; and he swam with all his strength to the edge of the pond.

He scrambled out on the first bank he came to, and he hopped home across the meadow with his macintosh all in pieces. “Thankfully that was not a pike!” said Mr. Jeremy Fisher. “I have lost my rod and basket; but it does not really matter, for I am sure I would never have dared to go fishing again!” He put some sticking plasters on his fingers, and his friends both came to dinner. He could not offer them fish, but he had something else in his fridge. Sir Isaac Newton wore his black and gold waistcoat, And Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise brought a salad with him in a string bag. And instead of a nice dish of minnows- they had a roasted grasshopper with lady-bird sauce. Frogs consider it as a beautiful treat, but I think it must have been nasty!