What Is The Story Of The Three Wishes?


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Will Martin answered
This is, in its essence, a very old and widespread tale, with versions found in China and Persia, among other places. The basis of the story is simple: someone, usually poor, is given three wishes. He or she makes a foolish one, which is followed by a spiteful wish from his/her exasperated spouse. The third wish is then used to put things back as they were. In one European version, for instance, a hungry man wishes for a black pudding. His wife, furious at the waste, unthinkingly cries, "I wish that pudding were stuck on the end of your nose!" The third wish takes care of itself.
A good example of this story's continuing power is W.W. Jacobs' 19th-century story "The Monkey's Paw," in which a man wishes for some money. The money arrives in the form of compensation for his son's horrific death in a factory accident. The second wish is used to bring the son back to life; he does come back, but exactly as he was after the accident. Finally, as the mangled corpse is heard knocking at the parents' door, the third wish has to be used to undo the second.

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