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1001 Stories Collection

The Foolish Wishes

1001 foolishwishes
Added on 06th October 2020

Oral tradition European folktale

Whispering Wood Funny Magic
1001

A very funny story about wishes - and sausages.

Story

A poor couple are given three wishes. However, they foolishly waste them and end up no better off than they were before. The Foolish Wishes is a cautionary tale about not wasting good fortune when it happens.

Why we chose it

Stories about wishes appear across the world and children love them – particularly those where the wish goes wrong. This is a very funny story that is delighting visitors to the Whispering Wood, where it features in one of the trees.

Where it came from

The best known version of the story was told by Charles Perrault in 1693. It first appeared in the Mercure Galant (later Mercure de France), a French literary magazine. It was later collected into a small volume in 1694 and then into Perralt’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. A much earlier version of the story appeared in the story of Sheherezade and the 1001 Nights, and even before that in The Panchatantra, an ancient collection of Indian fables. Many countries have their own traditional version, such as Estonia, Sweden, and England. Sometimes it is a sausage that is wished upon the wife's nose, sometimes it is a black pudding. The giver of the wishes is sometimes a fairy, or Jupiter, or a tree spirit. However, it usually ends in much the same way.

Where it went next

The story has been adapted in many different ways. Popular children’s programmes Barney and Friends (1997) and Super Why (2008) had episodes based on the story, as did Canadian teen show Mr Meaty (2006). David Melling’s Three Wishes (2007) was inspired by The Foolish Wishes.

Associated stories

There are a huge number of stories about wishes, and often with a message about the need to be cautious with them. The Magic Porridge Pot, the story of Aladdin, the story of King Midas, E. Nesbitt’s Psammead stories, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Bottle Imp (1891), Dick King Smith’s The Queen’s Nose (1983) and Katherine Rundell’s One Christmas Wish (2019) are just a few of them.

In the museum
Find the story in one of the trees in the Whispering Wood.

Added on 06th October 2020

Oral tradition European folktale

Whispering Wood Funny Magic
1001