Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a very poor couple in a shack not far from the edge of the sea. Their only means of food was the fish that the old man caught in the sea. One morning, as was his usual routine, the fisherman took his fishing net down to the sea. But on this day something unusual happened. On this day the fisherman caught the Golden Fish. The Golden Fish begged for the fisherman to spare his life, and offered in return to grant the fisherman any wish he would like. But the kindhearted fisherman asked for nothing, and returned the Golden Fish to the sea. However, the fisherman's wife was not so kindhearted. She became furious when he related the story to her, and sent him back to the sea to catch the Golden Fish and to wish for a loaf of bread. The fisherman did as he was told, and he caught the fish and wished for a loaf of bread. When he returned home, he found a fresh baked loaf of bread on the table.
The fisherman's wife then decided that she wanted more than just a loaf of bread. The next morning she sent her husband to ask for a new washtub. He returned home to find his wife with a new washtub, but she still wasn't satisfied.
The following day the husband was sent to the sea to find the magic fish and to wish for a new house. This wish was, like the ones before it, granted to the fisherman. But the fisherman was sent back again the next day to wish that his wife would become governor. This time he returned home to find his wife dressed in riches and ordering about servants. But the woman was still unhappy, and demanded to become Queen of all the land.
Eventually, even being Queen of all the land did not satisfy the wife, and so she sent her husband one last time to the sea to catch the Golden Fish and to wish that she would be ruler of the sea and of all creatures who live in it. The fisherman caught the fish, and made the wish. However, when he returned home, his wife was dressed in her old rags, standing by her old broken washtub, inside the old shack, with not even a loaf of bread to eat.
The fisherman never caught the Golden Fish again.