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Journey With Story

The Fish with Hooked Nose E:227

the fish with hooked noses

The Fish with Hooked Nose E:227

A folktale from Cambodia that explains how some fish ended up with hooked noses as a punishment for what one of their ancestors had done when asked to help a prince and a princess. An episode from storytelling podcast, Journey with Story, for kids ages 4-10.  (duration 14 minutes)

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The Fish with Hooked Nose

Episode 227

May 4,2023

Have any of you ever seen a real live fish up close?  Or maybe you have seen a picture of a photo of a fish?  How would you describe a fish’s nose?

Hello everyone.  I’m Kathleen Pelley.  Welcome to Journey with Story.  I wonder if you were able to answer my question, because it is really a bit of a tricky one, because…fish do not really have noses the way we do – they only have nostrils.  Take a look at a photo of a fish and you will see that.  Now todays’s story is a tale from. Cambodia – hello to all of our listeners in Cambodia, and it is about some fish who ended up with hooked noses all because of one fish’s greedy and selfish act.  Let’s take a listen and see how that happened.

First of all – thanks to all of you who have been rating and reviewing our podcast and giving us such praise as this….from Sophia

I live in London. My favourite stories are ‘the elephants and the lake’ and ‘the three little pigs’ There are more but to many to mention.. Me and my mummy are loyal listeners. We have listened to your stories every bed time since I was 4. We also love the bonus episodes too. There are some we have listened more than 20 times! Please upload more stories for me. I can’t wait to hear a new story. I tell my mummy I want to visit Scotland- so I can meet you!!! 😀”Sophia B

Now let’s take a journey with – The Fish with Hooked Noses

Every year when the rainy season begins in the land of Cambodia, some strange fish with hooked noses appear in the Mekong River.  The old people in the villages say these fish are trying to reach the temple of Buddha to ask forgiveness for the evil deed of one of their ancestors.

This wicked fish had made the mistake of trying to interfere in the marriage of a beautiful young princess and her prince.

This now is the story of how a fish came to have anything to do with this marriage and how he was punished for his selfish deed.

Long, long ago in the land of Cambodia there lived a beautiful young princess called Lin Min.  So fair of face and kind of heart was she, that many princes came from far and near to ask for her hand in marriage.  But her father loved his daughter so much that he did not want to lose her and so he discouraged all these suitors by demanding them to perform impossible tasks if they wanted to win his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Lin Min never minded losing any of these suitors for she was still young and delighted in staying at home with her father.

One day, Lin Min’s young servant girl raced back from the well where she had gone to draw water and gasping for breath, she told Lin Min what had happened at the well.

“A kind young traveler, as handsome as a god, came up to me and asked for a drink of water.  And when he thanked me, I tell you, his voice was as sweet as the nightingale.” At once, Lin Min’s heart stirred with excitement at hearing about such a noble young man.

Now, of course, the servant girl had also told the handsome traveler about how beautiful and kind her mistress, Lin Min, was.  The young man, who was indeed a prince, had thought of asking for her hand in marriage, but he feared to do so, for he had heard so many stories about how jealous her father was.

Later that day as the servant girl was helping her mistress to bathe, and pouring water over her head, something small and hard landed and dropped on her hair.  Lin Min grasped it in her fist and left it there hidden until her servant girl left the room.  Then as soon as she was alone, she opened her hand and gazed in amazement at the sparkling ruby ring.  Now she knew for certain that this young man must be a prince and surely this ring was a sign that one day she would marry him.

She called to her servant girl and said, “Go at once back to the well and see if our prince is still there.  Then watch him carefully and try to find out why he is there.”

Meanwhile, Shin Nak, the young prince, realized he had lost his ring and he was searching for it by the well, when the servant girl came by.  “Please help me find my ring,” he asked.  “I must have dropped it nearby when you gave me a drink”

Together they searched all around the well, but of course, they could find nothing.

The servant girl returned to her mistress explaining all that had happened.  “Go back again to the well,” ordered Lin Min.  “Tell this prince that I will bring him his lost ring myself.”

When the prince heard Lin Min’s message, he took this as a sign that heaven had indeed intended for them to be man and wife, and at once, he rushed to the king and asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Although the king was impressed by this young man’s good looks and charm, he still did not want to part with his beloved daughter unless the prince could perform the tasks required.

“First,” he told the prince, “you must gather up every single grain of rice that my servants will scatter in those fields.   You have one night to complete this task.”

The prince was grief-stricken for he knew he could never perform such an impossible task.  He sat down beneath a tree and wept over his misfortune.  Just then a little bird swooped down and perched on his shoulder.

“You may not remember,” it said, “but once you saved my life when a hungry cat was about to pounce on me.  Now it is my turn to repay your kindness.”

With that the bird called to all of his friends and they flew over the fields until they had collected every single grain of rice.

The king could scarcely believe it when he discovered that this young man had completed this task successfully.    But still he was not satisfied and he ordered the prince to complete a second task.

“Now my servants will scatter pebbles in that river yonder, and I want you to collect all of them and return them to me.  You have one night to do this.”

Again, the poor prince sat down by the bank of the river deep in despair. How could he possibly do such a task.  Suddenly a fish popped up out of the water and said, “Last year you released me from the fisherman’s  hook and set me free.  Now it is my turn to help you and repay your kindness.”

With that he called to all of the fish in the water and asked them to gather up all the white pebbles.  Now when all the pebbles were gathered, it turned out that one of the fish was keeping hold of one of the pebbles in his mouth and would not release it.  The other fish scolded him for his greed and selfishness, and made him feel so ashamed that he felt sorry for what he had done.  He swam over to the prince and offered the pebble to him, but as the prince prised the pebble from his mouth, he accidentally pushed against the fish’s nose, bending it into a hooked shape.  Everyone agreed that this was the fish’s punishment for being so greedy and selfish and to this very day the descendants of this fish all have hooked noses.

The king was again amazed to see how the young man had successfully completed this task. But still he demanded him to do one more task.   “I want you to pick the hand of the princess from all the hands of the other ladies in my court,” said the king.

All of the ladies in the court stood behind a large screen and put one hand through a hole in the screen for the prince to see.

Now, at last, this was an easy task for the prince to do for of course, the princess wore his ruby ring and he immediately recognized her hand.

Now the king gave up his daughter with good grace for he knew this young man to be good and kind and full of love for his beloved daughter.

Everyone in the land rejoiced to see the young couple married at last, and a long and happy life they led from that day forward.

Well – what do you think this story’s souvenir is?  Do you think it might have something to do with -being greedy and selfish like that fish who did not want to give up the pebble- is usually not a good idea at all?  Whereas being kind and good hearted like our young man, usually means that others will be kind to you in return.

Remember – if this story painted any images in your mind – get busy drawing a picture and send it to us at

Cheerio then, join me next time, for Journey with Story

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