But What is a Goldfish For?

Listen to this original folktale. You can also follow along below.

Once there was a little old woman. She lived in a bright yellow house on a very green hill. She had always lived on the hill and nobody knew a time when she was not old.

Cartoon yellow house with brown roof and door. Flat vector illustration.

Every morning, when the children in the Village-at-the-Foot-of-the-Hill awoke, they would see her sweeping her porch and airing her sheets and singing songs that sounded like they came from another land. (She did not have a very good voice but nobody cared.)

One morning, the little old woman woke up to find that she was not strong enough to clean her house. So she went slowly, slowly down to the Village-at-the-Foot-of-the-Hill to see the Priest.

animated-broom-image-0007“What shall I do?” she asked the Priest. “I am not very strong and I cannot clean my house every day.”

“Get a Tortoise, a Pigeon, a Monkey, and a Goldfish,” said the priest.

“But how can I get a Tortoise, a Pigeon, a Monkey, and a Goldfish?” asked the little old woman.

“Go to the Mayor”, said the priest. 

And so she did.

“What shall I do?” she asked the Mayor, “I am not very strong and I cannot clean my house every day. The Priest told me to get a Tortoise, a Pigeon, a Monkey, and a Goldfish.”

“Go to the Hunter,” said the Mayor. 

And so she did.

“What shall I do?” she asked the Hunter. “I am not very strong and I cannot clean my animated-broom-image-0007house every day. The Priest told me to get a Tortoise, a Pigeon, a Monkey, and a Goldfish.”

“Go home,” said the Hunter, “I will bring you a Tortoise, a Pigeon, a Monkey, and a Goldfish before the day is done.” 

And so she did.

The Hunter brought the animals before the day was done. Then the little old woman went right to sleep. The next morning, she was very weak and tired. She could not get out of bed. Then she saw the Tortoise.

animated-turtle-image-0040“Come here, Tortoise,” she said kindly. And she sat on his broad back. “Take me to the kitchen, please,” she requested politely.

And the tortoise happily obeyed. 

But the goldfish swam around and around in his crystal bowl.

“Oh, dear,” said the little old woman, “I have forgotten my glasses and I cannot read my recipe for supper. Come here, Pigeon,” she said kindly. “Go fetch my glasses by the bed, animated-pigeon-image-0035 (1)please.”

And the Pigeon happily obeyed. 

But the goldfish swam around and around in his crystal bowl.

“Oh, dear,” said the little old woman, “ I have no water and I cannot boil the potatoes for supper. Come here, Monkey,” she said pleasantly, “go to the well and draw a bucket of water, please.”

animated-monkey-image-0015And the Monkey happily obeyed. 

But the goldfish swam around and around in his crystal bowl.

The day went on like that. Everywhere the little old woman wanted to go, the Tortoise would take her. And everything she needed, the Pigeon and the Monkey would fetch for her. 

But the Goldfish swam around and around in his crystal bowl.

At the end of the day, her house was very clean, her supper was made, and she was not giphygoldfishtired at all. So she got a book and curled up in her soft easy chair to read.

The Goldfish swam around and around in his crystal bowl. His yellow, silky, and feathery fins swayed this way and that way through the clear water. Colors of red, pink and purples of the rainbow sparkled in his golden scales.

“Goldfish,” the little old woman said gently as he swam around and around in his crystal bowl, “you can just be beautiful to look at.” 

And the Goldfish happily obeyed.

THE END

Hey Educators!

Check out our FREE PDF of But What is a Goldfish For, Choral Read. 

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