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An interpretation of the grim, bleak story of
“The Fisherman And His Wife”. …

Background:

“The Fisherman and His Wife” is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale no. 19. It is Aarne–Thompson type 555, the fisherman and his wife. Wikipedia
Genre: Fairy tale

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Once upon a time, there was a fisherman. He lived in a dirty hovel with his horrid shrew of a wife. He didn’t see or else didn’t pay much attention to their presumed poverty since he saw beauty and joy all around himself.

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So he was nearly always grinning — even in his sleep. Consequently, his wife thought that he was a fool — someone not quite put together right in the brain department.

Yet, he was happy despite her stern rebuke of him. After all, he had enough to eat, a sufficient shelter, adequate clothes, relatively  good health, nice food and drink, friendly helpful neighbors and a a wondrous world all around him.

He loved trees, the sky, the ocean, his surroundings and so much more. So he awoke in happy spirits every day and sang upon awaking. He would sing a song like this one:

I’ve Got Plenty Of Nothing | André Rieu In Wonderland – YouTube

May 11, 2015 – Uploaded by The King Of Waltz


Then after eating breakfast, usually a little fish that he had caught the day beforehand mixed with rice and fresh vegetables, he’s go out to fish to catch that next day’s food. First, though, he’d water his garden from which his fresh vegetables, very much admired by him, derived.

Why, this guy was a real lover. He loved his plants, too, and was grateful for them, and for the bees and beetles in his garden that went around it pollinating.

 

So off he’d go to the ocean after doing a little garden work. Off to the seashore he’d merrily go and with his typical glee over the life surrounding him,, he’d catch a fish.

 

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Yet one day, something startling happened to him while he fished. He caught a truly huge fish and as he inspected it, he imagined that he heard this fish talk and say that if the fish were released, the fisherman would have bounty for times to come.
 

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Indeed, the fish warned about the alternative since this fish was one of the biggest and best breeders in the ocean. So the fish explained that he needed to be kept alive for future generations of fish. He also shared:

Seafood May Be Gone by 2048, Study Says – National Geographic

Darwin’s Bass: The Evolutionary Psychology of Fishing Man         The dramatic collapse of high seas fisheries around the globe in recent years can be laid at at least two doorsteps: too many fishermen from too many countries …

Well, the fisherman felt remorseful about this situation. So he decided that he and his wife would only eat garden vegetables and rice for dinner that night. So he went home without any catch that day. He was, in fact, empty-handed and you can only imagine his wife’s reaction.

Well, his wife was furious upon his returning home with no seafood. She was, in fact, one of those sociopathic individuals, someone who only wants more — more money, more goods to consume and more energy to use in her bid to have her idea of a better lifestyle realized. Yes, she only wanted more than anything to be  a top-dog in terms of power, control, energy use and, especially money! How dare her husband not conform to such a view!

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Accordingly, she fought him with great vehemence and hatred flashing in her eyes. Indeed, she gave him a good tongue-lashing after which she spurned him with unrivaled hatred.

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So on account of not wanting to be rejected and because he loved his wife (for some reason that I can’t understand), he kept on catching more and more fish every day and eventually his wife bought a middle class house with the earnings from her husband obtaining so many fish.

Eventually that, though, was not enough for her. So she made him work even harder and hire a fleet of gentlemen for whom he paid little money for the fish that they caught on his behalf and that he sold  at a great fiscal gain to financially enrich his wife.

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Eventually he had a monopoly on the fishing business in his part of the world and it was a good thing, too, because eventually his wife wanted a chateau, then a palace and then to be monetary lord of the land and eventually lord of the universe to supersede even the power that a God or Gods would have.

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There was no end to her rampant greed and desire to own everything to enrich herself and have fawning glory. Oh, she was adamant that it was her right to have anything that she desired.

The fact is, though, that she impinged upon everyone else in her folly to suck in assorted kinds of gains for herself. Why, she was so clever at the task that she even convinced armies to follow her across the world to get even more loot for herself. She, indeed, taught them that they were doing so to support justice, democracy and human rights. (Of course, she, herself, never went into battle since she didn’t want to end up as a potato body attached to a head.)

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She’d shutter when looking at people like this one below and despise (not pity) them. Then while salivating with glee over her gains, she’d leave it to others to face the glory of war so that she could gain even more resources.

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What did she care about the masses, anyway? Nothing!

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Meanwhile the oceans were “acting up” since her ways and the ways of others around her in terms of energy use from fossil fuels and them messing up the oceans in other ways made them embroiled.

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So her giant palace was taken down in the process of this embroilment. It was quite the hurricane that eventually struck her and those around her!

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(Another problem is that everyone had to pay the price for her wicked ways. Others, who had nothing to do with her wrongfulness, got sucked into the maelstrom since in the web of life, everything is ultimately connected. How fair is that?

Since it isn’t just, we have to stop people like her whenever we can. If not, we all have hell to pay since we are, indeed, all connected across the world!)

On account of the massive trauma that she instigated, the fisherman’s wife wound up back in her hovel, as did most other people living on the shoreline. Frankly little was left for any of them.

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Of course, she, with her mindset as it was, had invested lots of money in real estate prior to the demise of the shore. So she aided and abetted this happening, excessive growth:

A Short History of America by R. Crumb and Joni Mitchell – YouTube

Sep 21, 2009 – Uploaded by bdlightner

Music Video: “A Short History of America” cartoon poster by R. Crumb with music by Joni Mitchell, “The Big …

american-story

How much do the greedy, selfish and self-centered people have to take down before we, too, are affected? How much can be removed is the big question.

Want to know? If so, then, take a peek:

The Limits to Growth – Wikipedia

Logo of the Club of Rome. The Limits to Growth is a 1972 book about the computer simulation of exponential economic … Donella H. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows have updated and expanded the original version.

 

The Origin of “Limits to Growth” – Interview with Dennis Meadows …

Jul 14, 2016 – Uploaded by VolkswagenStiftung

The original Limits To Growth (LTG) study published in 1972 1 , the “Report for The Club of Rome‘s Project on the …

 

William R. Catton, Jr. – Wikipedia

William Robert Catton, Jr. (January 15, 1926 – January 5, 2015) was an American sociologist … understanding of, core carrying capacity as a limiting factor of the natural world as well as other limits and realities of natural ecosystems.

Meanwhile in my neighborhood of single family housing, we have some wetlands (which are good for wild animals to have a drink during drought periods) and some small stands of trees, some fields and a few other amenities common to us all. Yet it is being stripped away gradually, none the-less, by people like the Fisherman’s wife.

The proposal is to put a 48, three story high apartment complex a block away from where I live and where one (just one) bard owl lives and which, with many other species, will be driven out of his home.

On top of this happening, another forty-two unit apartment complex is to be built around three to four blocks from my home.

I would like to know about the way that other species than ours is to live without wetlands to have drinking water. I’d like to know the reason that properties around my neighborhood weren’t zoned to prevent these sorts of happenings.

Since this growth wasn’t adequately curtailed, I have to live with the fisherman’s wife dictating the way that my local world will become, it seems.

You know, I assume, about Greenpeace trying to fight environmental degradation across the world. Many outside of Greenpeace also care, which is the reason that I have people across the world caring about whatever happens in my town. It is because each piece of our natural world nibbled away bit by bit leads to this:

:

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The Holocene extinction, otherwise referred to as the sixth extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is the ongoing extinction event of species during the present Holocene epoch, mainly due to human activity.

Holocene extinction – Wikipedia

We can’t stop the demise happening on the massive scale that it is happening,
but I will hate and grieve when I see my one last singular owl is dying in my neighborhood
…  and so much more as
economic activity trumps true care for our world as the fisherman in this tale has.
 

Excerpted from The Myth of Exponential Growth | HuffPost:

From 1947 to 2013, the GDP of the American economy grew at an average 3.2 percent per
annum. Economists often refer to growth at less than that rate as “anemic.” Yet, at this
seemingly modest rate, the size of the economy doubles every 22 years, quadrupling in 44
years, and expanding by a factor of 8 in less than three generations. Such growth demands
commensurate doubling, quadrupling, and octupling of the energy sources and raw materials
that feed the economy. On an earth with finite resources, exponential growth trajectories are
unsustainable.

In 2003, The Global Footprint Network (GFN) was established to track the ecological footprint of

humans, nation by nation. The GFN estimates that global consumption exceeded the sustainability

threshold in 1971. Current average global consumption is 1.6 times what is sustainable. Americans,

God love us, consume at a rate 4 times what is sustainable.

Excessive consumption drives the American economy, which in turn is predicated on the fallacious premise

that exponential economic growth can be sustained indefinitely. What I find astounding is how few people “get”

this fundamental law of nature and Calc I: nothing grows exponentially forever. In the words of Kenneth Boulding,

the late Quaker economist: “Anyone who believes in indefinite growth of anything physical on a physically finite

planet is either a madman or an economist.”

There is no way that I can curtail this growth. There is nothing else that I can do other than bear witness as I

watch my local world come gradually  tumbling down around my feet.

However, I can become like the fisherman so as to find joy and goodness in every day even though my

natural world is continually shrinking all around me. After all, what is left except to find joy and beauty

in an orientation when the rest outside of oneself  is gradually ripped apart?

Our hearts will go on. Our culture will go on and our capabilities will go on regardless of whatever the fisherman’s

metaphorical wife,

who is everywhere across the world,

rips away the natural world

from our common good!

André Rieu – My Heart Will Go On

André Rieu – My Heart Will Go On – YouTube

Apr 11, 2015 – Uploaded by André Rieu

André Rieu & His Johann Strauss Orchestra performing My Heart Will Go On live in Vienna. Taken from the …

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.

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