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The Fisherman’s Wife

Broadcast on Christmas Eve, 2012 as part of BBC Radio 2’s “It’s Grimm Up North”, a selection of Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales updated by various writers. Also featured on the Ken Bruce Show on BBC Radio 2.

Once upon a time around about now an unemployed fisherman called Donald lived with his wife in Penury – a dreich Scottish town miles from any sea, river or loch. As the only aquatic life was the remnants of yesterday’s fish suppers littering the empty High Street, Donald stayed at home in their manky, Baltic cold council tenement flat while his wife Morag worked as a dog warden.

Now one braw, sunny day Morag was in Krankie Park rounding up stray Pit Bull look-alikes when she noticed a beautiful dog being kicked by a jakey. “Gonnae no dae that ya numpty!” shouted Morag, skelping the tramp and grabbing the dog.

“What a lovely Golden Retriever” she thought.

“I’m not a Golden Retriever” said the dog, “I’m a Tweed Water Spaniel”.

This startled Morag as the dog had an awfully posh accent.

“You’re no from round here are you?” Morag said.

“Certainly not”, said the dog, “I’m an enchanted prince from a faraway land. Please don’t lock me up in a kennel.”

“Okay” said Morag “But seeing as you’re a talking dog in a fairy tale can you do the auld three wishes routine?”

“Actually”, said the dog, “It’s four wishes for the price of three today. What would you like?”

“Nothing fancy” said Morag, “just a nice, cosy house of our own”

The dog wagged his tail once. “Go home to your new house ” he said.

Sure enough Morag got home to find Donald watching ‘Pointless’ on the giant plasma telly in their new terraced house with interior decor by Colin and Justin. She explained what had happened. “Aren’t we lucky?” she laughed. But Donald looked disgruntled. “It’s a wee bit toaty hen”, he said “surely this magic dog could have conjured up something bigger? Go and ask him for a castle the now.”

So, reluctantly, Morag returned to Krankie Park where a steady drizzle now fell from a pebbledash grey sky. She called out:

“Come back with a bound
Oh hound that I found
We need a fish upon our dish
My husband has another wish”

The dog suddenly appeared. “No need for poetry darling” he said, “just whistle and I’ll woof. What does he want?”

“He wants a castle” said Morag, “he’s claustrophobic”.

The dog wagged his tail twice. “Go home to your castle” he said.

Sure enough Morag returned home to find iron gates and a drawbridge over a moat leading to a gothic castle where her husband was reclining on an enormous tartan leather sofa taking tea with Louis Walsh.

“This is pure dead brilliant!” cried Morag.

“Aye” agreed Donald “It’s no bad but Louis says I deserve to be a superstar. Go back and tell the dog what I want, what I really, really want is to be rich and famous”.

“I love Donald”, added Louis, “he reminds me of a little Susan Boyle so he does”.

So a furious Morag stomped back to Krankie Park where clouds as black as her mood loured overhead and the trees bent double in the scouring wind.

She whistled. “What now?” asked the dog.

“He wants to be rich and famous” said Morag, “he’s got self-esteem issues”.

The dog wagged his tail thrice. “Go home to fame and fortune” he said.

Sure enough Morag found the castle gates besieged by screaming groupies and paparazzi. Inside, a Tango-tanned-Botoxed-up Donald wallowed in a vast golden jacuzzi with a dozen Double D-List floozies. He was totally blootered on champagne and nose candy.

“This is no enough!” he yelled revealing his new Hollywood teeth, “go tell the dog I want to be the big cheese, the top banana. I want to control the sky and own the sun!”

“What?” asked Morag, “like that Rupert Murdoch?”

“No!” Donald roared, “God! I want to be God!”

Morag put on her anorak and left. Back in Krankie Park icy shards of pitiless rain pelted down. The dog was waiting for her.

“He’s gone doolally” said Morag, “he wants to be God”.

The dog’s tail drooped. “Get back to where you once belonged” he said.

Sure enough  Morag returned home to their filthy, auld, freezing flat where Donald sat in silence with a face like a wet Monday.

So Morag packed her bags and ran away with the dog. Later that year they won “Britain’s Got Talent” together.

And Donald lived unhappily ever after in cruel Penury.

copyright elvis mcgonagall, 2012

elvis mcgonagall

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