Alice wants something she shouldn't have. Knowing this, somebody else responds by giving it to her, as much or as frequently as she wants, to the point where she can't stand it anymore and voluntarily refuses it. An Aesop
is had by all.
This trope is named for a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
story about a little girl who hates taking baths. Her family lets her go unbathed for quite
some time (maybe a week, but don't think about it too hard
). Eventually, she is covered in a layer of dirt thick enough that her parents secretly plant radish seeds there. The seeds sprout in a day or two, and when the girl sees them, a Freak Out
ensues. She screams for a shower and never wants to go without her nightly bath again.
This seems particularly common in kids' stories where the moral is "your parents know best, and they really do love you, even when they don't give you what you want."
A once-common subtrope of this, now a Dead Horse Trope
, is parents who catch their kids with cigarettes forcing them to smoke a whole carton, which will make them so sick they'll never want to touch a cigarette again.
Compare Be Careful What You Wish For
, Exact Words
, Reverse Psychology
. Can overlap with Jerkass Genie
on the parents' part if they fulfill the child's wish by giving them only the negative aspects of what they want, without any of the good. If the child's punishment is essentially self-inflicted (i.e. s/he steals
the forbidden fruit and experiences its unpleasant consequences), it becomes a case of The Punishment Is the Crime
Definitely Truth in Television
, as many a parent has managed to give his beer-craving teenage son a disgustingly warm beer.
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- Hello Flo, a company that takes care of... women's hygiene, has this story about a preteen girl on the edge of puberty who gets tired of waiting for menarche (and the coming-of-age it implies to her and her friends), and decides to fake it. Her mother isn't fooled, nor does she find her daughter's simulation of snappish mood swings particularly amusing. Mom's solution? Why, an event this momentous calls for an all-out over-the-top traditional "First Moon" celebration, of course! Then, even after the embarrassment finally forces the daughter to confess, her mother isn't sending back the gifts, particularly that "starter pack" from Hello Flo. (Hey, just because she doesn't need it right now doesn't mean she isn't going to...)
Anime & Manga
- In Brewster's Millions, a recently-deceased relative of the title character employs this trope in his will: Montgomery Brewster must spend $30 million within 30 days, in order to get his actual inheritance of $300 million. There are several catches, though: at month's end, he's not allowed to own any assets of any kind, he can't simply give money and/or valuables away (beyond the $1.5 million he's allowed to donate to charity, that is), he mustn't destroy anything that's inherently valuable, and the final catch that makes this Radish Cure truly work in the end—during the 30 day period, he's not allowed to tell anyone else why he's spending his $30 million so foolishly.
- In the 1985 movie, the relative cites this trope as his motivation behind the will in the first place, since his father used the typical "letting your kid smoke... a whole heap of smokes all at once" tactic to prevent him from ever wanting to smoke.
- It might count as a deconstruction of the Radish Cure though as throughout the film Brewster 1) Still wants the money and 2) Has serious trouble trying to actually spend the amount without gaining assets (thus carrying out the terms of the cure). Even at the climax of the movie, when things are down to the wire, he still has $20,000 to spend.
- "I caught my son with a cigarette and forced him to eat the whole carton. Now he eats them."
- Named for the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle example. In fact, all of the early Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories had this basic form, not just the Radish Cure one. The plot outline changed a little after the author added magic powers to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's repertoire.
- For example, the Whisper Sticks - sweet candy canes given to two little girls who whisper incessantly, so that they can't do anything but whisper and end up in a huge fight.
- Bread And Jam For Frances is right up there with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle as the classic example of this trope.
- Roald Dahl
- Subverted in Matilda, where the evil Trunchbull forces a dessert-stealing child to eat a monster cake in a single sitting — he does get sick, but manages to finish it and becomes a hero figure for the school. Hooray, strange Dahlish morality fables!
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Arguably, this could be Wonka's real thoughts behind the children meeting their various fates. They all were taken out of running when they went to steal or use something that clearly wasn't safe but they still wanted. In adaptations, Wonka seems decidedly unconcerned with rescuing or stopping the kids, so...
- One of Jean de la Fontaine's Tales In Verse has a Family-Unfriendly Aesop version. The Casanova aristocrat sleeps with the wife of his servant and to prove to the servant that monogamy is impossible, serves him eel pie daily. This is at first a delicacy, but soon becomes unbearable.
- Done in The Great Brain is Back when Tom, in experiment to find out why men smoke, gets caught smoking a cigarette in the barn. Papa tells him he may not smoke cigarettes outside, but he's free to have a pipe or cigar in the house anytime. Tom lasts about a few minutes before turning green, and when his girlfriend says she doesn't like the smell anyway, he concludes that men smoke in order to repel women.
- In Little Town on the Prairie, Miss Wilder attempts to employ this trope by commanding Carrie Ingalls and her seatmate to put their books away and rock their desk as punishment for rocking it while studying. It's mostly an effort to get at Laura by picking on her little sister, and it backfires dramatically (and awesomely) when Miss Wilder demands that sickly little Carrie, abandoned by her seatmate, continue to rock the desk by herself - Laura declares that she'll rock the desk if Miss Wilder wants it rocked, and she proceeds to do just that, so loudly that nobody in the entire schoolroom can hear the lesson.
- In Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary, the title character's teacher has him make spitballs exclusively as punishment for shooting them. Cleary also includes a story in her autobiography of some boys who chewed garlic in class. The principal finally bought a dollar's worth of garlic—this was in the 1930s—and had them chew it all.
- There's a children's book called The Chocolate Touch based on the legend of King Midas where a boy who eats too much candy unwittingly buys a magic chocolate from The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday. After he eats it, everything he puts into his mouth turns to chocolate, making him thirsty and sick and ruining some possessions, like his trumpet. Finally he accidentally turns his mother into a chocolate statue by kissing her on the cheek, runs back to the shop's proprietor and tells him he's learned the error of his ways, and is allowed a Reset Button.
- Another children's book, Strega Nona, is a Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot starring the titular grandmotherly witch and her magic pot that produces pasta on command. The Radish Cure comes in at the end: Big Anthony's punishment for having flooded the entire village with pasta ... is having to eat all of it.
- In Numbers 11:10 - 11:29 of the Bible, the Israelites have had nothing to eat but manna since they were liberated from Egypt. They complain about this to God and have the nerve to suggest they had better food to eat in Egypt. God becomes so angry at them that he prescribes the following punishment: they shall indeed have meat. Lots of meat, and only meat, until it comes out of their nostrils and becomes loathsome to them.
- In The Baby-Sitters Club, Stacey uses this among other Reverse Psychology techniques when she first sits for the Delaney siblings. The kids are supposed to clean up their playroom, but they try to get out of it by claiming that they like a messy playroom. Stacey agrees that messy playrooms are better and starts pulling everything off the shelves, scattering art supplies, and generally trying to make the playroom as much of a mess as possible, until the kids stop her by admitting they don't like the mess and agreeing to clean it up.
Live Action TV
- Inverted in The Sarah Silverman Program - After being offered Tab by his boyfriend (who insists he at least try it once), Steve pretends to become obsessed with it. But, the boyfriend starts offering him more and more of it, turning it into an Escalating War.
- Loren does this on an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman when a boy keeps stealing his cigars. He finally tells the boy he can have them- as long as he smokes them all in the store, in one sitting.
- Cliff and Claire do it on The Cosby Show when Rudy complains about not being allowed to stay up late, choose her own clothes, etc. They agree to let her stay up as late as she likes.
- In an early episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm swears at his father, who is deeply hurt, and considers that it's hard to punish a child for swearing - 'if it was smoking I'd have him go through the whole pack until he was gasping for air'. This gives him an idea. Later, he hands Malcolm a long list of terms of abuse, and asks Malcolm to read everything on the list to 'the man who held you in his arms the moment you were born'. Malcolm gives up somewhere in the middle, but when Hal attempts to let him off, he quickly exclaims that he can finish the whole list. He does.
- In one episode of Mash, Father Mulcahy cures a dog of its liquor stealing habits by giving the dog all the whiskey it can drink. One massive hangover later, and the dog refused to touch alcohol ever again.
- The legend of King Midas and his golden touch.
- In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Inanna/Ishtar asks Gilgamesh to be her consort, but he refuses, citing what happened to pretty much all of her other boyfriends and husbands. Enraged, she runs to her daddy, Nanna the moon god, and asks for Gugalana, the Bull of Heaven. (Actually, the first husband of her older twin Ereshkigal. This becomes important later.) Nanna warns her that giving her the Bull of Heaven will cause a drought and says no, but Inanna/Ishtar pitches a fit, threatening to cause a Zombie Apocalypse if Gugalana is not given to her. Nanna gives in, and Enkidu and Gilgamesh destroy Gugalana.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin's mom lets him smoke a cigarette his grandpa left behind. He really doesn't enjoy it, but the Aesop he learns was not to trust his mother.
- There is a play about a German man who worked at a radio station and had to edit a four-hour speech by Adolf Hitler (to decide which three minutes to cut). He had to listen to the speech three times to make the decision, and as he said, before he started this work, he was a Nazi, but after hearing it the third time, he wasn't a Nazi anymore.
- New Zealand High School Principal Marg McLeod did the standard cigarettes variation with a number of her students at Wellington Girls' College, as a way to help those girls who wanted to quit - though not just a single carton. It reputedly succeeded.
- An actual therapy for smokers. The trick is that they have to take a puff regularly, from multiple cigarettes for a set amount of time. The thing is that Nicotine quickly becomes an overdose, and can make a person sick. After a while the body associates smoking with suffering and actually forces the person to never smoke again.
- New employees in candy stores/factories are often encouraged to eat all the candy they want. It doesn't take long until they aren't eating any.
- Chemotherapy patients experience a strange variation on this: the body associates the introduction of poison into the bloodstream with having consumed something poisonous, hence the common symptom of nausea. This is the body quite appropriately acting to rid itself of a potentially dangerous meal, as it would do for food poisoning or if you tried eating that colorful mushroom you found in the woods. Chemotherapy patients are warned not to eat their favorite foods on days that they receive treatment, because the body will begin to associate that food with being sick. Eventually the very thought of pizza or cheesecake will make them nauseous thanks to Pavlovian Conditioning. Many treatment centers give patients a "scapegoat food" to help avert this; generally an obscure and unlikely to be missed type of hard candy.