The Ridiculous Wishes

The story “The Ridiculous Wishes”, also known as “Three Ridiculous Wishes” is a French fairy tale by Charles Perrault and it was published in 1697 in Histoires ou Contes du temps passé.

The story describes the life of an unsatisfied woodcutter who complained about the skies never granting him a wish. Then Jupiter appeared and told him that he will grant his wish but the woodcutter got scared. He thought that his wife would help him coming up with a wish to make them happier.

The woodcutter didn’t wish for something that would be life changing but he was happy that his life remained the same. He thought how it would be if he became a powerful man, a king but in the end, he helped his wife which, because of him, had a sausage on her nose. He wished for her getting the sausage off of her nose and they continued on living a happy and a modest life.

In some other versions of the story, black pudding is used instead of the sausage.

Even though the fairytale was written in a funny way, it contains a moral to it. Perrault tried to tell us to take advantage of happiness because often does who have it don’t know how to use it in the right way. He dedicated the work to Mademoiselle de la C. but it was never discovered who this woman is. He only stated that she tells nice stories but nobody knows whether it’s a female author.

Time: once upon a time

Place: on the coasts of the river Acheron, in the couple’s house

Theme: three ridiculous wishes that the sky granted to the woodcutter

Moral:  those who have happiness sometimes don’t know how to use it in the right way

Book Summary

The woodcutter lived happily married to his wife but he often complained, by the river Acheron, about the sky never granting him a single wish. One day while he was complaining Jupiter, a god, came with a thunder in his hand. The woodcutter got scared at first and he fell down to his knees yelling he doesn’t need anything.

Jupiter told him that he shouldn’t be scared because he was there moved by his complaints and he wanted to show him that he was wrong. Jupiter told him to pick three wishes that will be completely granted to him. His future was depending on those three wishes and he had to think them through.

He went home, where his wife was waiting for him, and he hoped she will have a good advice for him. He told her about his talk with Jupiter and he started coming up with wishes immediately. She was a wise woman and she knew that they shouldn’t take the wishes for granted and that the best thing to do is sleep it off. They decided to wait until the morning to decide.

The woodcutter wanted to drink some wine before he went to bed so he asked his wife to bring him some. While they were drinking the woodcutter was thinking out loud and he said that it would be nice to have a sausage to eat. As soon as he said it his wife saw a big sausage coming their way. She screamed in fear and then she realized that her husband just used his first wish.

She got furious and said all kind of things to him because it was unbelievable to her that he didn’t wish for diamonds, rubies, pearls or a kingdom. He apologized because of his wish and promised it won’t happen again.

His wife couldn’t believe he was so careless. He felt hurt after her yelling and thought to himself that it would be nice to be a widower. The woodcutter said out loud that all men were meant to suffer and that he wished for the sausage to get stuck on his wife’s nose.

When he pronounced it, the sky granted it. His wife was beautiful but not with a sausage on her nose. Even though she wasn’t as pretty as before, the woodcutter had some usage out of the sausage and he thought that he didn’t need anything more in life.

He had one last wish and he thought about becoming a king. Power is a big deal but still he wasn’t satisfied with his wife looking like she did with the sausage. He asked her if she wanted to be a queen or get her looks back. She thought about it and decided it would be nice to be a queen but not with a sausage on her nose. She wanted to stay the woodcutter’s wife and the last wish was granted. He didn’t become a king but he still had his beautiful wife.

Characters: the woodcutter and his wife

Character analysis

The woodcutter – he was tired and complained about his life. When Jupiter heard him he decided to grant him three wishes. Since the woodcutter was careless he lost two wishes to ridiculous thing such as a sausage and getting it stuck on his wife’s nose. Instead of becoming royalty the couple decided to continue living a happy, modest life without a sausage on the wife’s nose. The woodcutter realized the mistake he had made but it was too late to fix it. The stories moral is that careless people can get little advantage from wishes because they don’t know how to use them correctly.

The wife – a wise woman that wanted to use the happiness given to her husband. She warned him to be careful but after having a few glasses of wine he didn’t know what he was wishing for out loud. After getting upset he wished for the wrong thing again and she ended up with a sausage stuck on her nose. It was a shame because she was beautiful. To fix his errors he wished for everything to go back the way it was. She knew he was careless but she couldn’t do anything about it. After their little adventure, everything went back to normal.

Charles Perrault biography