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Literature / The Ludicrous Wishes

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"The Ludicrous Wishes" (or "The Three Ridiculous Wishes") is a French literary fairy tale by Charles Perrault.

The tale follows a woodcutter, down on his luck. Depending on the version he is granted three wishes by either the god Jupiter, a fish whose life he spared or, alternatively, a tree spirit, for his help in their time of need.

The woodcutter went home, and his wife persuaded him to put off the wishing until the next day, but while sitting by the fire he wished for sausages. His wife taxed him for his folly, and angry, he wished the sausages on her nose. Finally, they agreed to use the last wish to take the sausages off her nose, leaving them no better off than before.

Full online text here and here

Tropes in "The Ludicrous Wishes":

  • Androcles' Lion: In some versions, the woodcutter is granted wishes for a fish whom he spared or a spirit whom he helped.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Each thoughtless, stupid wish uttered by the woodcutter is fulfilled.
  • Closer to Earth: Likely unintentional, but the wife can come of as this in some versions. Many versions make them equally incompetent however.
  • The Fool: The woodcutter.
  • Good Samaritan: The woodcutter.
  • No Antagonist: There is no villain in this story, unless foolishness counts.
  • No Name Given: The woodcutter and his wife.
  • Talking Animal: In some versions, the woodcutter is granted three wishes by a talking fish.
  • Three Wishes: This may be the Trope Maker.
  • Wasteful Wishing: The woodcutter wastes his three wishes on one sausage, embarassing his wife and undoing said embarassment.