The Fisherman and the Banker

Come proseguire:

  1. Ascolta senza leggere il testo cercando di capire il racconto solo con l’audio;
  2. Ascolta leggendo il testo per confermare e/o chiarire dubbi sorti dal primo ascolto;
  3. Rispondi alle domande “true or false” sul testo;
  4. Controlla con le risposte corrette in fondo alla pagina.
  5. Lascia nei commenti una tua brevissima riflessione sul racconto (in inglese).

The Fisherman and the Banker

(adapted for didactic purposes from the original story by Courtney Carver)

N.B. Per sapere il significato delle parole evidenziate passarci sopra con il mouse.

An American banker was walking along a beautiful beach in a small Mexican village when he saw a fisherman in his boat with a few freshly caught fish.
“Good catch,” he said. “How long did it take you?”
“Oh, not very long, ” answered the fisherman.
“In that case why didn’t you stay out at sea a little longer and catch some more?” asked the banker.
“Well,” replied the fisherman, “there are enough fish here to feed my family and me.”
“So what do you do with the rest of your time?” asked the banker.
“I get up late in the morning and go fishing for a while. Then I play with my kids. After lunch I have a nice long siesta with my wife. Then, in the evening, I stroll into the village and sip wine and play guitar with my friends.”
The banker chuckled condescendingly. “Listen,” he said, “I’m a graduate from Harvard University and I can give you some really good advice. First of all you should stay out fishing all day so that you can start selling your fish in the market and buy a bigger boat. With a bigger boat you’ll be able to catch even more fish and make enough money to buy a second boat and then a third one and so on. After a while, instead of selling your fish in the market, you can sell them directly to a fish factory. Eventually you can even open your own fish factory. Then you can move from this little village to Mexico city, and finally to New York where you can be the managing director of your own thriving fishing company.
“And how long will all this take?” asked the fisherman, a little bewildered.
“Oh, about 15 to 20 years,” answered the banker.
“And then?” asked the fisherman.
“Then it starts to get really interesting,” replied the banker. “When the moment is right, you put your company on the stock exchange and make millions!”
“Millions?” repeated the fisherman. “And then what?”
“Well, then you can move to a little village by the sea, where you can get get up late in the morning, go fishing for a while, play with your kids, have nice long siestas with your wife, stroll into the village in the evening and sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”



Propongo agli studenti più avanti di fare questo esercizio senza riguardare il testo.

  1. The fisherman isn’t happy with his catch.
  2. The banker wants to help the fisherman.
  3. The fisherman wants to buy more boats.
  4. The fisherman usually sells his surplus fish in the market.
  5. The banker feels that the fisherman can do more with his life
  6. The banker considers himself to be more intelligent than the fisherman.
  7. The banker’s plan is for the fisherman to open a fish factory in New York.
  8. The fisherman likes his present lifestyle.
  9. The fisherman is interested in the banker’s plan.
  10. The end result will be a big improvement for the fisherman.


  1. F – He only wants enough fish for his family and for himself.
  2. T – The banker wants to help the fisherman to make lots of money.
  3. F – The fisherman is quite happy with the boat that he already has.
  4. F – The fisherman doesn’t catch surplus fish.
  5. T – The fisherman’s lifestyle is very unproductive in the banker’s opinion.
  6. T – The banker clearly considers the fisherman to be pretty stupid.
  7. F – According to the plan, the head office will be in New York, not the fish factory.
  8. T – The fisherman shows no sign of being unsatisfied with his lifestyle.
  9. F – The fisherman shows no real interest in the banker’s plan.
  10. F – After 20 years of hard work the fisherman will finally return to his old lifestyle!

Author: Tony

Born and raised in Malaysia between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Educated at Wycliffe College in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, England. Living in the foothills of Mount Etna since 1982 and teaching English at Catania University since 1987.

13 thoughts on “The Fisherman and the Banker”

  1. 1 It’s false because the fisherman is happy for the fish that he catch into the sea.
    2 False. The banker wants only that fisherman put her company on the stock exchange.
    3 False. The fisherman wants just to be happy with her child and her wife, to stroll into the village with his friends ecc.
    4 False. The fisherman usually not catch a surplus of fish. He is content about her present although occasionally complains about him.
    5 Maybe, but certainly the fisherman can do more for life of bankers. All philanthropists with the work of others..
    6False. the banker considers the fisherman a stupid, certainly more stupid of him.
    7False. The banker looks the fisherman as a director a thriving fishing company.
    8True. The fisherman likes his present lifestyle, and is for this that at the end the banker promises fisherman the same things that he already has.
    9 False. The fisherman isn’t interested to change her life. He thinks to present day after day and not makes a plan for become a rich banker even him.
    10 False. Paradoxically Fisherman reaches a milestone where he already is situated.


    1. 1) OK – [catches]
      2) True! The banker (in his own way) is trying to help the fisherman.
      3) OK – [his child] [his wife]
      4) OK – [doesn’t usually catch] [content with his present] [complains about it]
      5) True! Difficile capire cosa vuoi dire con questa risposta
      6) True! Anche tu lo dici!
      7) OK – Il motivo è un altro. [sees the fisherman as the director of a…]
      8) OK – [and it is for this reason that…]
      9) OK – [isn’t interested in changing…] [He lives from day to day and has no plan to becone a rich banker himself]
      10) OK – [Paradoxically the fisherman will reach a milestome where he is already situated]




    1. Marcella, the text is elementary/intermediate. If you got all the questions right, it’s a good sign. 🙂
      When you want to know the level of an article, look at the TAGS at the end of the article. 😉

      [Be careful: “Good morning all/ Good morning everybody” + “I would like to know…”]


          1. I like this story. In my opinion there is so much more to life than just work and money. I think that being content is more important than money could have !
            Enjoying your life!


            1. I agree with you, Marcella. If you spend all your time trying to make as much money as you can, then you don’t have any time left to enjoy your life!

              [I don’t understand your “…than money could have”. Perhaps you mean “…than having a lot of money”?

              [You should say, “Enjoy your life!” It’s an imperative form.]


        1. nella frase : ” how long will all this take ?”
          é un errore mettere” all this” alla fine della frase ?
          grazie .


          1. Si, è un errore perché non rispetta la forma interrogativa: “ausiliare + soggetto (all this) + verbo”.
            L’esercizio è infatti a livello elementare, ma è sempre un buon esercizio soprattutto se hai provato a dare una spiegazione per la tua scelta tra “true” e “false”.


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