Written and Illustrated by Walt Disney Productions
Random House, 1979
There was once a fisherman named Goofy.
The plot in a nutshell: A fisherman makes wishes.
One day, while fishing, Goofy catches a magic fish who asks to be put back into the water. When Goofy complies, the fish offers him a wish. Goofy wishes to be a farmer, thinking it will be an easier life. But then he learns that being a farmer is actually a lot of hard work, so he returns to the ocean and asks the fish for another wish. This time, he asks to be a rich sea captain. He enjoys that life, until robbers steal everything he has. He returns to the fish and asks to be a king. But when his people rise up against him, he returns to the fish and wishes he was a fisherman again. He never feels the need to seek out the fish again.
When our kids were little, we had a membership to the Disney book club (a gift from my parents) and as a result we had a large collection of book versions of Disney classics and new stories featuring Disney characters. This is one of the latter, featuring a take on the ‘three wishes’ trope with Goofy as the main character. In keeping with custom, the last wish resets the situation back to what it was in the beginning. But one thing that I really like about this version is that Goofy seems to have the ability to go back and ask for more wishes if he wants, but he learns the lesson so well that he doesn’t feel the need to do so. The book doesn’t list an author or artist, but simply credits Walt Disney Productions with the story and artwork. When the kids were little, we noticed this book’s Danish title, Fedtmule og den Fantastiske Fisk, on the acknowledgements page and have called it that ever since because it is just so much fun to say.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that every life has its hardships and sometimes it’s best to stick to the ones you already know how to handle.