The Fisherman and His Soul

“The Fisherman and his Soul” is a short fantasy story for children by the Irish author Oscar Wilde. It was first published in 1891 as part of the anthology House of Pomegranates, which also includes “The Young King”, “The Birthday of the Infanta” and “The Star-Child”.

The plot of “The Fisherman and his Soul” is set in motion when the title character accidentally catches a mermaid in his net. He falls in love with the Mermaid and tells her that he wants to marry her. She tells him that he can only marry her if he sends away his soul. From a Witch, the Fisherman learns how to send his soul away. The Soul makes several attempts to persuade the Fisherman to take him back, eventually convincing him to do so with the tale of a beautiful dancer who lives nearby. Too late does the Fisherman discover that the soul which he sent out into the world without a heart has become evil…

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