The story's title character and protagonist is a frog who wants to invite friends to join him for dinner. He goes fishing, hoping to catch five small fish for the evening meal. Not only does Mr. Jeremy Fisher fail to catch any fish, he barely escapes with his life.
The Tale of Jeremy Fisher originated as an illustrated letter that Beatrix Potter wrote to a child while she was vacationing with her parents near the River Tay in Scotland in September 1893. In 1894, Potter produced nine sketches which she called "A Frog he would a-fishing go". She sold them to publisher Ernest Nister and they were published the following year, accompanied by verses by Otto Bingham. In 1902, following the success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter decided to revise her story about a fishing frog for publication. She bought the nine sketches back from Ernest Nister.
Rupert William Potter, Beatrix Potter's father, was a major influence on the composition of The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher. Rupert William Potter was a keen fisherman and enjoyed telling stories about his fishing exploits. In the illustrations to The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, Beatrix Potter attempted to imitate the style of Randolph Caldecott, a respected English artist and children's book illustrator whose works Rupert William Potter collected. Potter felt that her attempt to imitate Caldecott's style had not been entirely successful.
Translations of The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher into other languages include two different translations into French (1940 and 1984) and two different translations into Dutch (1946 and 1970). An edition of the book in the Initial Teaching Alphabet was published in 1965.
The character of Mr. Jeremy Fisher also appears in illustration only in Potter's 1909 book The Tale of Ginger and Pickles.
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher has been adapted for film and television.
Mr. Jeremy Fisher is a frog who lives in a small house, the floor of which is always damp, on the edge of a pond. One morning, he is happy to see that it is raining. He goes out to get worms to use as bait to catch minnows. He decides that, if he catches more than five minnows, he will invite his friends the newt Sir Isaac Newton and Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise to dinner. He is, however, aware that the Alderman only eats salad.
Jeremy Fisher puts on a raincoat and galoshes. He gets his fishing rod and his basket. He steers the lily pad which he uses as a boat to a place which he knows is a good spot to catch minnows. After fishing for almost an hour without having caught anything, Jeremy Fisher starts eating his packed lunch. When he thinks that he can hear the sound of a water rat nearby, Jeremy Fisher decides to move to a safer place.
When he finally catches something, Jeremy Fisher is delighted. He is horrified, however, when he finds that he has caught a stickleback. The sharp spines on the stickleback's back cut Jeremy Fisher's fingers.
While he is sucking his injured fingers, an enormous trout rises up behind Jeremy Fisher and swallows him. Fortunately for Jeremy Fisher, the trout does not like the taste of the frog's raincoat. After only being inside the fish for a very short time, Jeremy Fisher is spat out. He swims to the shore and makes his way home. He has lost his galoshes, his rod and his basket. He does not mind, however, because he is certain that he will never go fishing again.
Although Jeremy Fisher has no fish to offer them, his two friends come to dinner at his house anyway. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise brings a salad with him. Jeremy Fisher and Sir Isaac Newton eat roast grasshopper with ladybug sauce. The story's narrator concludes her tale by saying that, although frogs consider roast grasshopper with ladybug sauce to be a delicacy, she thinks that it must taste nasty.
A segment based on The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher is included in the 1971 Royal Ballet film Tales of Beatrix Potter.
The sixth episode of the British anthology series The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends presents an animated cartoon which is an adaptation of both The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher and Potter's 1905 book The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. In the episode, Mr. Jeremy Fisher is voiced by Derek Jacobi. It was first shown on BBC1 on July 7, 1993.
- ↑ Other segments in the 1971 film Tales of Beatrix Potter are based on The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, The Tale of Pigling Bland and The Tale of Peter Rabbit.