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Wishing Well

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Throw a coin down it, and you get a wish

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
hamza678 on Nov 4th 2015 at 12:45:51 PM
Last Edited By:
Morgenthaler on May 23rd 2018 at 1:45:30 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wishingwell.jpg
So you wished it, so shall it be!
In German and Celtic folklore, springs were considered sacred places, where wishes would be granted by a god (alternatively, the waters were housing some aquatic deities). This carried on with the introduction of wells. Basically, throw a coin in there, and you would get a wish granted. Today still, loads and loads of money are thrown by wishers in wishing wells all over the world. It was estimated that people threw 3 millions pounds sterling in those yearly.

See also Our Genies Are Different, for another type of wish granter, and Make a Wish, for wishes granted otherwise.


Comic Strips

  • Flo drops a coin into a wishing well in the Andy Capp strip for Sunday 29 February 2004. Andy sneers, "You don't believe in those things, do you?" Flo turns to gaze pointedly at him, and replies, "Not any more."
  • Perry Bible Fellowship has one strip where a man wishes for true love and obtains a girlfriend. However, he sees other people leaving with wheelbarrows of money, a spaceship or Superman's powers, and clearly has second thoughts.
  • Mother Goose and Grimm:
    • In one strip, Grimmy wishes he could fly while throwing a coin down a wishing well. Turns out the well was some kind of "Litteral Wishing Well" since instead of ganing the power of flight, Grimmy finds himself with one giant fly (as in, the insect) in the paws.
    • In another strip, Grimmy wishes to be popular with the lady dogs... and gets turned into a fire hydrant.

Film - Animated

Film - Live Action

  • One scene of The Goonies has the kids find themselves at the bottom of one during their quest. When they realize where they are, Andy says she always thought that when you threw in your coin, it turned into your wish. Mouth tries to take several coins, only to be admonished by Stef. He insists on taking them because his wish didn't come true.
  • La Dolce Vita (1961) has an iconic scene at the Trevi Fountain mentioned below.
  • Inverted in 2010 film When in Rome, where an American tourist played by Kristen Bell steals coins from a wishing-fountain and finds all the things she doesn't want now begin to happen to her.

Live-Action TV

Video Games

  • There are two wishing wells in Divinity: Original Sin but although they have magical powers, they are not very typical use of this trope. They both can talk and are actually brothers (somehow) separated by magic, and each can teleport your party to the other but cannot move themselves. A lengthy quest line revolves around finding means of reuniting them, so it's basically them doing the "wishing" part in this case.
  • In DragonVale, every 100 days you play for, you get a wish which you can spend at the Wishing Well. This allows you to get one of any item in the game for free.
  • The first Drawn to Life game has a wishing well. By tossing coins in, you can get anything from extra coins, to new special abilities, to access to the secret creator's section. Not every offer of coins gets results, however.
  • Subverted in Dungeon Keeper as when sacrificing gold in the temple in single-player, one would receive "This is no wishing well, Keeper" as a response.
  • Golden Sun has the fountains in Tolbi and Lemuria, a minigame where you throw a coin or lucky medal behind you and get coins/items based on where it lands (crabs and turtles in the drained fountain increase the chance of the toss going nowhere). In Lemuria the fountain also contains the Eclipse summon.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, there is a fountain at the center of Lake Hylia where Link can throw in rupees. If he throws in a certain amount, a Great Fairy will appear and grant his wish, which is limited to either the ability to carry more bombs, or more arrows.
  • In Pajama Sam in: No Need to Hide When it's Dark Outside, Sam meets an anthropomorphic wishing well in Darkness' garden. When Sam tosses in a penny and tries to make a wish, the Wishing Well wishes for him. When Sam asks why he did that, the Wishing Well says, "Who's the Wishing Well here, you or me?".
  • The Sims series is rather fond of these:
    • In the Seasons expansion pack from The Sims 2, the reward given by the Gardening Club for a perfect garden is a wishing well. Sims can throw money into it to grant wishes for money, love or popularity. Beware, though, as using it too many times will cause some wishes to backfire...
    • The star item introduced with Lucky Palms in The Sims 3 is a wishing well (that looks more like a fountain). Sims can wish for Wealth, Love, Power, Happiness or a Child y throwing a coin in it, One can even fish in it and catch awesome fishes regardless of their fishing level. Coins can be stolen from it, and sometimes the Sim might get a Lucky Coin to play in casinos with by doing so.
    • The Sims 4 has the Whispering Wishing Well introduced in the Romantic Garden stuff pack. One can wish for a variety of thing including good grades, love, life, youth, etc. However, one ought to be wary of the mood of statue face adorning it, as the outcome of the wish will be heavily influenced by the well's own mood. Should it be in a deadly mood, so might be the outcome...
  • Sunless Skies has an extraordinarily unusual example in the form of Old Tom's Well. Found near the Leadbeater and Stainrod Nature Reserve in the Reach, it is said that a prospector had made a wish into it and soon after discovered countless veins of hours on the Mother of Mountains and became excessively wealthy. Since then, people from all over the Reach come to the well in order to have a wish granted. How is that unusual? Old Tom's Well is a black hole, and the small settlements built above it are cold as ice and ravaged by strong winds. Some deluded wishers still swear they saw gold at the bottom of it, though.

Websites

  • Neopets has a wishing well which can give out items and an avatar.

Western Animation

  • In the Garfield and Friends episode "Day of Doom", Garfield makes a wish in a well for no more Mondays. At the end, it turns out that the well is actually part of a race of well-like aliens.
  • The premise of the Looney Tunes special Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island involves Daffy and Speedy discovering a magic talking wishing well while stranded on a desert island, and selling it's uses for cash.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: In "All's Well That Ends Wishing Well", Tigger drops a penny in a wishing well, but is disappointed when he doesn't get what he wished for at his birthday party. Later, everyone goes down the well and end up in Wishland, where all of Tigger's wishes come true.
  • The Spongebob Squarepants episode "Wishing You Well" has Mr. Krabs open a wishing well. At first it doesn't work, but when Spongebob and Patrick dig deep enough, they find the magic.

Real Life

  • The Trevi Fountain in Rome is possibly the world's most famous wishing well where coins are thrown in, in return for wishes possibly granted.
  • Wishing wells can be found everywhere in Great Britain and Ireland; Cornwall is the district most closely associated with the tradition. It is believed to go back to the millenia-old Celtic sacrificial tradition, where things of value were thrown into sacred rivers to propriate the Gods. Refer to The other Wiki:
  • Great Britain also has a tradition of wishing ''trees'' going back for millenia. Old trees are literally studded with coins embedded in the wood.

Feedback: 35 replies

Nov 4th 2015 at 12:51:46 PM

Make A Wish already mentions wishing wells in the description (and has several examples of such already).

Nov 4th 2015 at 2:36:41 PM

  • There are two wishing wells in Divinity Original Sin but although they have magical powers, they are not very typical use of this trope. They both can talk and are actually brothers (somehow) separated by magic, and each can teleport your party to the other but cannot move themselves. A lengthy quest line revolves around finding means of reuniting them, so it's basically them doing the "wishing" part in this case.

Nov 4th 2015 at 3:55:20 PM

Not to be confused with wishing someone to be well. Or wishing in a good way ("well").

Nov 4th 2015 at 5:49:51 PM

Radio

  • In The Goon Show, one episode sent up what was then a very popular Italian film, Three Coins In The Fountain. (1954) The romantic movie revolves around the Trevi Fountain in Rome, where there is a long-standing custom of throwing coins in the fountain while making a wish. The Goons send up the film and its iconic theme song with
    ''Three Goons in a fountain -
    Which one will the fountain drown?

Nov 4th 2015 at 5:59:46 PM

Film

  • Several films revolve around wishing wells, or wishing fountains in which people throw coins in exchange for granted wishes.
    • Film/ThreeCoinsInTheFountain (1954) set around the Trevi Fountain in Rome which has a centuries-old tradition of coin-throwing while wishing. Frank Sinatra performed the worldwide hit theme song.
    • La Dolce Vita(1961) also has an iconic scene at the Trevi Fountain.
    • Inverted in 2010 film When In Rome, where an American tourist played by Kristen Bell steals coins from a wishing-fountain and finds all the things she doesn't want now begin to happen to her.

Nov 4th 2015 at 6:09:13 PM

Real Life

  • The Trevi Fountain in Rome is possibly the world's most famous wishing well where coins are thrown in, in return for wishes possibly granted.
  • Wishing wells can be found everywhere in Great Britain and Ireland; Cornwall is the district most closely associated with the tradition. It is believed to go back to the millenia-old Celtic sacrificial tradition, where things of value were thrown into sacred rivers to propriate the Gods. Refer to The other Wiki:
  • Great Britain also has a tradition of wishing ''trees'' going back for millenia. Old trees are literally studded with coins embedded in the wood.

Nov 4th 2015 at 7:21:20 PM

Newspaper Comics

  • Flo drops a coin into a wishing well in Reginald Smythe's Andy Capp strip for Sunday 29 February 2004. Andy sneers, "You don't believe in those things, do you?" Flo turns to gaze pointedly at him, and replies, "Not any more."

Nov 5th 2015 at 3:02:17 AM

Wishing Well has been proposed as a trope at least three times before, but has never been launched. All of the previous proposals have been deleted so they're not available for example mining. :(

You can find more examples by entering "wishing well" in the Search area at the top of a regular TV Tropes page.

Nov 5th 2015 at 3:07:28 AM

Nov 5th 2015 at 3:45:09 AM

Not to be confused with making a proper and well thought out wish. ;)

Aug 24th 2017 at 6:01:45 PM

  • In DragonVale, every 100 days you play for, you get a wish which you can spend at the Wishing Well. This allows you to get one of any item in the game for free.

Aug 24th 2017 at 7:39:46 PM

Film-Live Action

  • One scene of The Goonies has the kids find themselves at the bottom of one during their quest. When they realize where they are, Andy says she always thought that when you threw in your coin, it turned into your wish. Mouth tries to take several coins, only to be admonished by Stef. He insists on taking them because his wish didn't come true.

Aug 25th 2017 at 4:58:16 AM

Video Games

  • In Pajama Sam in: No Need to Hide When it's Dark Outside, Sam meets an anthropomorphic wishing well in Darkness' garden. When Sam tosses in a penny and tries to make a wish, the Wishing Well wishes for him. When Sam asks why he did that, the Wishing Well says, "Who's the Wishing Well here, you or me?".

Aug 25th 2017 at 5:41:13 AM

Video Games

  • In the Seasons expansion pack from The Sims 2, the reward given by the Gardening Club for a perfect garden is a wishing well. Sims can throw money into it to grant wishes for money, love or popularity. Beware, though, as using it too many times will cause some wishes to backfire...

Aug 25th 2017 at 3:12:28 PM

Should this be Working Wishing Well, so it isn't just that a wishing well appears in a work?

Aug 25th 2017 at 6:06:11 PM

  • Garfield And Friends: In "Day of Doom", Garfield makes a wish in a well for no more Mondays. At the end, it turns out that the well is actually part of a race of well-like aliens.
  • The New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh: In "All's Well That Ends Wishing Well", Tigger drops a penny in a wishing well, but is disappointed when he doesn't get what he wished for at his birthday party. Later, everyone goes down the well and end up in Wishland, where all of Tigger's wishes come true.

Aug 26th 2017 at 8:14:43 AM

  • The premise of the Looney Tunes special Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island involves Daffy and Speedy discovering a magic talking wishing well while stranded on a desert island, and selling it's uses for cash.

May 20th 2018 at 11:13:53 AM

Bump. Maybe this trope is Up For Grabs...? If so can I grab it?

May 20th 2018 at 10:07:37 AM

  • The first Drawn To Life game has a wishing well. By tossing coins in, you can get anything from extra coins, to new special abilities, to access to the secret creator's section. Not every offer of coins gets results, however.

May 20th 2018 at 11:36:51 AM

  • Sunless Skies has an extraordinarily unusual example in the form of Old Tom's Well. Found near the Leadbeater and Stainrod Nature Reserve in the Reach, it is said that a prospector had made a wish into it and soon after discovered countless veins of hours on the Mother of Mountains and became excessively wealthy. Since then, people from all over the Reach come to the well in order to have a wish granted. How is that unusual? Old Tom's Well is a black hole, and the small settlements built above it are cold as ice and ravaged by strong winds. Some deluded wishers still swear they saw gold at the bottom of it, though.
  • In one Mother Goose And Grimm strip, Grimmy wishes he could fly while throwing a coin down a wishing well. Turns out the well was some kind of "Litteral Wishing Well" since instead of ganing the power of flight, Grimmy finds himself with one giant fly (as in, the insect) in the paws.

May 20th 2018 at 12:09:37 PM

  • Golden Sun has the fountains in Tolbi and Lemuria, a minigame where you throw a coin or lucky medal behind you and get coins/items based on where it lands (crabs and turtles in the drained fountain increase the chance of the toss going nowhere). In Lemuria the fountain also contains the Eclipse summon.
  • Perry Bible Fellowship has one strip where a man wishes for true love and obtains a girlfriend. However, he sees other people leaving with wheelbarrows of money, a spaceship or Superman's powers, and clearly has second thoughts.

May 20th 2018 at 12:38:37 PM

^^^^ - Last Edit was half a year ago. Yeah, this is Up For Grabs.

May 20th 2018 at 1:47:18 PM

^OK then I guess I'll grab it.

May 20th 2018 at 3:09:01 PM

Like in Spongebob example, this can also be a scam tactic.

May 21st 2018 at 12:00:24 AM

Would it be possible to make this a subtrope of Make A Wish?

May 21st 2018 at 1:25:44 AM

^ The "Genies" trope is already a subtrope to Make A Wish, so...

May 21st 2018 at 3:13:58 AM

^^ I'd even think one could split the make a wish into several subtropes, including this one and the "Wish it upon a star" thing, which both are consequent enought to warrant their own page.

May 21st 2018 at 3:27:51 AM

Could do with a longer, more detailed, description.

May 21st 2018 at 10:13:45 PM

  • One The Perry Bible Fellowship comic depicts a well that grants people their wishes. The first person wishes for true love and promptly gets the woman in the queue as his girlfriend. He gets disappointed as he then sees what others wished for and got in return.

May 22nd 2018 at 12:13:38 PM

Video Games

  • In The Legend Of Zelda A Link To The Past, there is a fountain at the center of Lake Hylia where Link can throw in rupees. If he throws in a certain amount, a Great Fairy will appear and grant his wish, which is limited to either the ability to carry more bombs, or more arrows.

May 22nd 2018 at 12:30:39 PM

The "Disney/SnowWhiteandtheSevenDwarves" wick needs to be capitalized correctly.


May 22nd 2018 at 2:03:44 PM

The Wishing Well in Neopets, which can give out items and an avatar.

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