House or palace

There once was a poor fisherman who lived with his wife in a hovel by the sea. One day the fisherman catches a golden flounder, which claims to be an enchanted prince, and begs him to set it free. The fisherman kindly releases it. When his wife hears the story, she says he ought to have had the flounder grant him a wish, and insists that he go back and ask the flounder to grant her wish for a nice house.

The fisherman returns to the shore but is uneasy when he finds that the sea seems to becoming turbid, as it was so clear before. He makes up a rhyme to summon the flounder, and it grants the wife’s wish. The fisherman is pleased with his new wealth, but the wife is not and demands more, and demands that her husband go back and wish that he be made a king. Reluctantly, he does, and gets his wish. But again and again, his wife sends him back to ask for more and more. The fisherman knows this is wrong but there is no reasoning with his wife. He says they should not annoy the flounder, and be content with what they have been given, but his wife is not content. Each time, the flounder grants the wishes, but each time the sea grows more and more fierce.

Eventually, the wife goes too far when she wishes to command the sun, moon and heavens, and become equal to God. When that final wish is made, the flounder undoes all the wishes, and returns the fisherman and his wife to their hovel. And with that, the sea becomes calm once more.

So, what is a hovel?

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