'The Three Wishes' Editor's note: A lucky wood-cutter must decide whether his last precious wish will be used to help his nagging wife.

Story Time

November 08, 1998|By Retold by M. Jean Craig

That is my tree! Please don't cut it down!" cried the tree fairy. The wood-cutter was so frightened he could not say a word.

"Please don't cut down my tree," begged the tree fairy. Her eyes were full of tears.

The wood-cutter tried hard to speak.

"Well . . ." he began.

"Well . . ." he began again.

"Well, all right, I won't," he said at last. "I won't cut your tree down if you don't want me to."

"Oh, thank you!" said the tree fairy. "How kind you are! And now I will do something for you. I will give you three wishes. No matter what in the world you wish for; your next three wishes will come true." Then the tree fairy was gone.

The wood-cutter picked up his axe and ran all the way home.

He told his wife about the tree and the tree fairy. "We can wish for a real house, with many windows," said the wood-cutter.

"Or even a tall castle!" said his wife.

"We can wish for a cart, and a goat to pull it," said the wood-cutter.

"Or even a shining carriage, with white horses!" said his wife.

They talked for a long time. They thought of many wishes.

At last the wood-cutter grew hungry. He was sorry he had left his bag of bread and bottle of tea in the forest. "Is supper ready yet?" he asked.

"Of course not," said the wood-cutter's wife. "It is much too early for supper."

"Will it be ready soon?" asked the wood-cutter.

"Supper will be ready when it is time for supper," said his wife.

"Yes, I know," said the wood-cutter. "But I am hungry now. I wish I had a nice piece of sausage right now."

Clatter-bump! Clatter-bang! A loud noise came from the chimney. And down fell a great long piece of sausage onto the floor.

"Oh, what a fool you are!" shouted the wood-cutter's wife. "You have wasted a wish!"

"Oh dear," said the wood-cutter. "So I have."

"You could have wished for a whole pig!" said the wood-cutter's wife. "You could have wished for a whole farm, with a hundred pigs! Only a fool would wish for just one sausage!"

"You are right. You are right. I am sorry," said the wood-cutter.

The wood-cutter's wife scolded and scolded. Soon the wood-cutter put his hands over his ears. "Please stop!" he said.

At last the poor wood-cutter could stand no more. "Stop! Stop! Stop!" he cried. "I don't want to hear any more about the sausage! I wish that the sausage were stuck to the end of your nose!"

And it was. The great long piece of sausage was stuck to the end of the wood-cutter's wife's nose.

The wood-cutter's wife pulled on the sausage. It did not come off. The wood-cutter pulled on the sausage. It stayed where it was. The wood-cutter and his wife pulled together. They pulled until they were tired.

Pulling did no good at all. The great long piece of sausage was still stuck to the end of the wood-cutter's wife's nose.

"Do something!" said the wood-cutter's wife. "You have one wish left!"

The wood-cutter looked hard at his wife's nose. "It is not so very bad," he said. "I could get used to it," he said. "If we had a whole barrel of gold, I think I could get used to it," he said.

"But I am sure that I could not!" cried the wood-cutter's wife. And so the wood-cutter had to use his last wish. "I wish that the sausage would come off the end of your nose," the wood-cutter said.

Plop!

The great long piece of sausage fell from the end of the wood-

cutter's wife's nose. It landed in a white dish that was on the table. The wood-cutter looked at the sausage. The wood-cutter's wife looked at the sausage.

"It's time for supper now," she said. "We might as well eat the sausage right away."

And that is what they did.

From THE THREE WISHES by M. Jean Craig, illustrated by Yuri Salzman. Text copyright 1968 by M. Jean Craig, illustration copyright 1986 by Yuri Salzman. Used by permission of Scholastic Inc.

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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