The Water Lily King

The Water Lily King - How a fisherman made peace with the water lilies

Jacob was a fisherman who had lived on his own in a hut by the lake since his wife died. Every morning he went out on the lake with his boat and threw out his nets. Jacob loved the water and the water lilies. Yet as soon as he was on land he felt lonely and often went for walks along the water's edge. One evening he saw a young woman sitting on a rock. Her name was Nika and she had cut herself on a clamshell as, in spite of the cool weather, she had no shoes on. Jacob carried Nika to his hut, cleaned the wound and gave her his dead wife's shoes. The two of them talked with each other for a long time. Towards the morning Jacob woke up with a shock. Nika had gone, and the shoes were left in front of the door. Jacob quickly ran outside and just caught sight of how Nika threw herself into the waves and disappeared. Full of concern, Jacob looked for her all day. Only when the sun set did he see Nika again. She was lying in the shallow water – and she had a fishtail. But as soon as she came on land, she acquired human legs.

"I am a mermaid and I live in the lake", explained Nika. The water lilies have cast a spell on me because I annoyed them. Every evening I become a human woman and I must go on land. Only at sunrise do I get my fishtail again and can return." Jacob then asked "What have you done to the water lilies?"
Nika sighed and said "I swam right through them. I mixed up all their stems. The only person who can save me is someone who protects the water lilies."

When Nika returned to the lake in the grey of dawn, Jacob stopped to think. Then he loaded fishing nets and some stakes into his boat and set off. When he reached the water lilies, he dived down and hammered the stakes into the ground. Then he nailed the nets firmly onto the stakes. Soon the fence around the water lilies was finished. Now no-one could mix up their stems any more. By way of thanks, the water lilies made Jacob their King and built a throne on the lake for him by magic. Whenever Jacob sat down on this throne, the beautiful water lilies opened up for him. Nika got her fishtail back and often sat next to him. At last Jacob was no-longer alone.