About the fisherman and his wife

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
About the fisherman and his wife; Depiction by Alexander Zick

Von dem Fischer un syner Fru (Vom Fischer and his wife) is a Low German fairy tale ( ATU 555) by Philipp Otto Runge . The Brothers Grimm took it in 19th place (KHM 19) in their collection of children's and house fairy tales , up to their 4th edition the title Von den Fischer und siine Fru , Von dem Fischer un siine Fru , Van den Fischer un siine Fru or Van den Fischer and its name was Fru .


A fisherman who lives with his wife in a squalid, called "Pissputt" cottage, fishing in the sea a Butt who asks as enchanted prince for his life; the fisherman releases him again. When Ilsebill, the fisherman's wife, hears this, she asks him whether he had wished nothing from him in exchange for the freedom of the fish. She urges her husband to call the Flounder again to ask for a little hut. The magic fish fulfills this wish for him. But soon Ilsebill is no longer satisfied with it. Again she asks her husband to call the Flounder ashore and express a greater wish.

The refrain that has become known with the fisherman's call to the flounder reads every time:

Manntje, Manntje, Timpe Te ,
Buttje, Buttje inne See ,
myne Fru de Ilsebill
I don't want to, as I want to.

The fisherman does not share his wife's wishes, but bows to her will despite growing fear. The more immoderate Ilsebill's wishes become, the more the weather worsens. The sea first turns green, then blue-violet, then black, and the storm becomes more violent. After the hut she asked for a lock. When she is not satisfied with that either, she wants to become king, emperor and finally pope. All these wishes are fulfilled by the Flounder and announced with the formula: "Just go there, it is already her."

When she finally demands to become like God, she is transferred back to the poor hut, as at the beginning. ("Ga man hen. Seitt all neither in'n pissputt.")


Illustration by Anne Anderson

Philipp Otto Runge sent Johann Georg Zimmer , the publisher of Achim von Arnim's Des Knaben Wunderhorn , the personally recorded fairy tale in a letter dated January 24, 1806, together with another, which was also to be included in Grimm's fairy tales as Von dem Machandelboom . In the letter he stated that he had adhered to the oral tradition, as it sounded , and found it actually sublime patetic and is greatly enhanced by the fisherman's miserliness and indifference . According to the linguistic form of the text, Pomeranian childhood memories may have been mixed with newer ones from Hamburg. Runge had probably told the fairy tales earlier in story evenings. Apparently in response to Achim von Arnim's public appeal to send in popular literature, he wrote them down. Through this his text reached the Brothers Grimm. Runge later wrote at least three further, varied versions, one of which was published as a copy by Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagens in 1812 by Johann Gustav Büsching .

Grimm's first print from 1812 was based on Runge's first version, from which Wilhelm Grimm made a copy in 1808. Büsching's first publication had little impact. From the 5th edition of 1843 onwards, Grimm's text was based instead on Runge's fourth version, which his brother Daniel printed in bad Hamburg language in 1840. Grimm's later editions do not differ.

Reception and interpretation

  • The Brothers Grimm received their version in the West Pomeranian dialect from Philipp Otto Runge . He has set the story in the area of ​​his home Wolgast , possibly on the backwater . A corresponding touristic arrangement has been set up in Warthe am Achterwasser.
  • In the town of Stade there is a fountain that shows the scene of the fisherman on the water with the flounder.
  • At first sight it is a moralizing parable with the popular wisdom that excess is punished by losing everything. Contemporaries understood the fairy tale as a satire on Napoleon and his relatives.
  • See man and woman in a vinegar jug in Ludwig Bechstein's German book of fairy tales .
  • The psychoanalyst Otto Gross understands the behavior of the protagonists as an expression of the will to power inherent in the patriarchal society and refers to the knowledge of the fairy tale that "God alone is protected from any foreign intrusion" (cf. Otto Gross: On the problem of solidarity in the class struggle ) .
  • Psychiatrist Wolfdietrich Siegmund thinks that the "Ilsebillweg", the haughty path of the insatiable man, leads to ruin, as it is with Mrs. Trude . In contrast, the three feathers , Cinderella , and the singing, jumping little lion , showed the daring way of faith, the humble way of hope and the strong-hearted way of faithful love.
  • The homeopath Martin Bomhardt compares the fairy tale with the drug picture of Ignatia .
  • Wilhelm Salber compares women who do everything in dramatizations about others without doing anything themselves. The fairy tale shows how everything can be reduced to metamorphosis and not to abstract meaning.
  • The psychotherapist Jobst Finke reads the fairy tale as a widespread conflict between couples, when women, disappointed by a lack of attention, shift to expensive clothes and men continue to withdraw.
  • The lyricist and publisher Jan Wagner sees “the ambitious Ilsebill as a distant, Low German cousin of Lady Macbeth.” However, he sees the fairy tale as more of a burlesque and not a drama as in Macbeth.
  • Cabaret artist Volker Pispers sees the fairy tale as an analogy to the "fairy tale of capitalism".
  • A Russian reception is the "Tale of the Fisherman and the Little Fish" by Alexander Sergejewitsch Pushkin .


Fabian Busch and Katharina Schüttler in June 2013 during the filming of a remake as part of the ARD series Six in one go .
  • The fairy tale has been played on various German theater stages. These stage adaptations have stimulated contemporary psychosocial interpretations of the relationship between men and women. A failure of the fisherman is also dealt with here: Since the man simply fulfills his wife's wishes literally and avoids arguments with her instead of turning to her deeper needs and motives, he neglects his partner, which causes her inner unrest, dissatisfaction and Exaggerate indulgence.
  • A Biedermeier - Posse entitled The two somnambulist or the necessary and the superfluous wrote the Austrian playwright Johann Nestroy 1836. He transferred the subject to the Viennese local flavor and made it a fairy-tale magic piece , but which got along without any real magic.
  • The fairy tale of the fisherman and his wife . A large, colorful Christmas fairy tale game in 3 acts by Robert Bürkner
  • The composer Friedrich Klose created the opera Ilsebill in 1902 . The fairy tale of the fisherman and his wife .
  • Composition by Othmar Schoeck : Vom Fischer and syner Fru op. 43 (1928–1930). Dramatic cantata in 7 pictures for 3 solo voices and orchestra. Libretto: Philipp Otto Runge (based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm). Premiere October 3, 1930 Dresden (State Opera) under the direction of Fritz Busch .
  • De Fisker un sien Fro. Fragment of a dramatic ballad (around 1930) by Moritz Jahn (1884–1979) in his cycle of poems Ulenspegel un Jan Dood. Low German poems. In: Moritz Jahn: Collected Works II: Low German Seals. ed. by Hermann Blome, Göttingen 1963, pp. 192–198.
  • De dumme Ilsebill is a dialect radio play by NDR from 1958. Otto Lüthje , Aline Bußmann and Günther Siegmund spoke under the direction of Hans Mahler .
  • Radio Bremen had already produced a dialect radio play three years earlier under the title Von dem Fischer und seine Frau. An old fairy tale in a new guise . Heinrich Kunst , Erika Rumsfeld and Hans Rolf Radula spoke here under the direction of Erich Keddy .
  • In 1962, a radio play for children was created under the direction of August Everding , in which Hans Cossy , Edith Schultze-Westrum , Robert Graf and Benno Sterzenbach played the leading roles.
  • The fairy tale became the starting point for Günter Grass in his novel Der Butt (1977). As a feminist, Grass turns the question of guilt anew in several episodes from the Stone Age to Romanticism to the present and relieves Ilsebill , the woman as such.
  • Also in 1977 was the record Achterndiek by Hans Scheibner . The title song moves the story to the present. The woman's wishes relate to a motorway slip road, an industrial park and a nuclear power plant. Ultimately, the fish dies as a result of the pollution it causes .
  • In 1993 Wolfgang Söring composed the opera Vom Fischer und seine Frau (Libretto Barbara Hass) for children aged 5 and over on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Theater für Kinder in Hamburg. First performance on February 28, 1993
  • The composer Georg Katzer wrote "Vom Fischer un sin Fru ...", a modern fairy tale for solo voices and / or a cappella choir
  • Feridun Zaimoglu created a new version of the fairy tale in 2008, to which the artist Hans-Ruprecht Leiß paraphrased 30 lithographs .
  • The band Caputt used the fairy tale as a template for the song Mantje Mantje Timpe te .
  • The composer Ingfried Hoffmann composed the jazz opera Vom Fischer und seine Frau for children from 5 years, libretto Barbara Hass , as a commissioned work for the Cologne Children's Opera . First performance May 16, 2010
  • In 2017 the musical Vom Fischer und seine Frau was commissioned for the “ Brothers Grimm Festival ” in Hanau. The book and the lyrics are by Kevin Schroeder , the music by Marc Schubring .

Film adaptations


  • Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm : Children's and Household Tales. With an appendix of all fairy tales and certificates of origin not published in all editions . Ed .: Heinz Rölleke . 1st edition. Original notes, guarantees of origin, epilogue ( volume 3 ). Reclam, Stuttgart 1980, ISBN 3-15-003193-1 , p. 40 .
  • Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (text); Yann Wehrling (illustration): The fisherman and his wife. Elatus Verlag, Kaltenkirchen 1997, ISBN 3-931985-07-5 .
  • Philipp Otto Runge: From the fisherman un syner Fru. (= Insel-Bücherei . 315 / 1A). A fairy tale based on Philipp Otto Runge. With seven pictures by Marcus Behmer. Insel Verlag, Leipzig 1920.
  • Philipp Otto Runge, Uwe Johnson: From the fisherman un syner Fru. A fairy tale based on Philipp Otto Runge ( Low German ) with seven colored pictures by Marcus Behmer . With a retelling and an afterword ( standard German ) by Uwe Johnson . Insel Verlag, Frankfurt 1976, 66 pages (IB 315 / 1B), also reprint after the IB edition of 1920: Frankfurt 1987 edition (IB 1075 / 1B, ISBN 3-458-19075-9 )
  • Philipp Otto Runge, Uwe Johnson: From the fisherman and his wife. A fairy tale by Philipp Otto Runge, retold by Uwe Johnson, illustrated by Katja Gehrmann . Picture book with original Low German text on the last pages. Hinstorff Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-356-01418-1 .
  • Brothers Grimm: From the fisherman and his wife. Retold by Sandra Ladwig , illustrated by Vitali Konstantinov . Carlsen Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-551-05761-7 .


  • Philipp Otto Runge, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: “From the Machandel boom”. "Von dem Fischer un syner Fru". Two fairy tales edited and commented by Heinz Rölleke. (= Literary Studies Series. Volume 79). WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, Trier 2008, ISBN 978-3-86821-045-3 .
  • Verena Kast : Man and woman in fairy tales. A psychological interpretation. 2nd Edition. dtv, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-530-42101-4 , pp. 12-35.
  • Hans Jellouschek: How to better deal with the wishes of your wife. The fairy tale of the fisherman and his wife. (= Wisdom in fairy tales ). Kreuz, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-7831-1941-3 .
  • Eberhard Rohse : Fairy tale models as poetic potential between contemporary novels and theodicy discourse: August Hinrichs' “Das Licht der Heimat” and Moritz Jahn's “De Fisker un sien Fro”. In: Eberhard Rohse, Dieter Stellmacher et al. (Eds.): August Hinrichs and Moritz Jahn. A literary comparison. 1870-1970. (= Literature - Language - Region. Volume 8). Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-631-60820-3 , pp. 217-254, especially pp. 243-254.
  • Hartmut Drewes: The fairy tale “Von dem Fischer un syner Fru” - considerations on a Christian-religious interpretation. In: Christian Stappenbeck, Frank-Rainer Schurich (ed.): Against the current. Greetings to Dieter Kraft on his sixty-fifth from friends and companions. Köster, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-89574-845-5 .

Web links

Commons : From the fisherman and his wife  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "Männchen, Männchen, Flösserich / small fish, small fish in the (north) sea / my wife, the Ilsebill (corruption:" Illsebillse "from Isabella , the Spanish-Portuguese form of the German female first name Elisabeth) / does not want to as I want "
  2. Philipp Otto Runge, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: "From the Machandelboom". "Von dem Fischer un syner Fru". Two fairy tales edited and commented by Heinz Rölleke. (= Literary Studies Series. Volume 79). Scientific publishing house Trier, Trier 2008, ISBN 978-3-86821-045-3 .
  3. Philipp Otto Runge, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: "From the Machandelboom". "Von dem Fischer un syner Fru". Two fairy tales edited and commented by Heinz Rölleke. (= Literary Studies Series. Volume 79). Scientific publishing house Trier, Trier 2008, ISBN 978-3-86821-045-3 .
  4. Frederik Hetmann: dream face and magic trace. Fairy tale research, fairy tale studies, fairy tale discussion. With contributions by Marie-Louise von Franz, Sigrid Früh and Wolfdietrich Siegmund. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-596-22850-6 , p. 124.
  5. ^ Martin Bomhardt: Symbolic Materia Medica. 3. Edition. Verlag Homöopathie + Symbol, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-9804662-3-X , p. 648.
  6. ^ Wilhelm Salber: fairy tale analysis. (= Work edition Wilhelm Salber. Volume 12). 2nd Edition. Bouvier, Bonn 1999, ISBN 3-416-02899-6 , pp. 103-105, 112.
  7. ^ Jobst Finke: Dreams, Fairy Tales, Imaginations. Person-centered psychotherapy and counseling with images and symbols. Reinhardt, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-497-02371-4 , pp. 157, 205-206.
  8. Manntje, Manntje: “The fisherman and his wife”. In: FAZ No. 47, February 24, 2006, p. 37. (faz.net)
  9. Volker Pispers: Volker Pispers ... until recently 2010. Audio book. Con anima, Düsseldorf 2010, ISBN 978-3-931265-87-8 .
  10. theaterderdaemmerung.de
  11. edition-eichthal.de