For a long time the fish in the sea had been unhappy because there was no order in their kingdom. Fish did not give each other any leeway; each swam right and left, whatever he felt like. Some swam in between those who wanted to swim together. Others blocked the path and the stronger fish gave the weaker ones a slap with their tails, hurling them long distances. Or even worse, the bigger fish devoured the smaller ones. “How nice it would be if we had a king, who spoke law and justice amongst us,” they all said. They agreed they would vote one fish to be their leader; they would pick whoever could swim the fastest through the waves and bring help to the weaker ones.
They positioned themselves on shore, one after another in rank and file. The pike gave a sign with his tail and they all swam away. The pike shot through the waves like an arrow and the herring, gudgeon, perch, carp and all the rest as they are called followed after. The flounder also swam along and hoped to reach the finish line.
All at once a cry was heard “The herring is out in front! The herring is out in front!”
“Who is out in front?” the bad-tempered flounder screamed morosely. He was swimming far behind. “Who is out in front?”
“The herring, the herring!” was the reply. “
“The bare naked herring?” cried the envious flounder flabbergasted, “the bare naked herring?”
Since that time the mouth of the flounder has always been crooked as punishment for those unkind words.
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