A Tale of Charles Perrault Concerning Three Ridiculous Wishes
Charles Perrault, a French author, wrote several fairy tales for children, including “The Ridiculous Wishes.”
Charles Perrault, a French author, was born in 1628 and died in 1703. He enjoyed the respect of his contemporaries and became a member of the prestigious Académie Français. In addition to serious adult literature, he wrote several light-hearted fairy tales for children.
One of these bears the title: “Les souhaits ridicules.” (“The Ridiculous Wishes”).
After a brief introduction, Perrault introduces a poor woodcutter named Blaise, who was so dissatisfied with life that longed to rest by the banks of the river Acheron. Since Acheron was one of the rivers in the underworld according to Greek mythology, the woodcutter was longing for death. He complained that heaven never granted any of his wishes.
One day, when Jupiter appeared to him with a lightning bolt in his hand, the woodcutter apparently changed his mind about wanting to die. He had been complaining vociferously about heaven’s failure to grant his wishes, so he was afraid that he had angered Jupiter. To appease the god, he promised not to wish for anything any more.
However, Jupiter was not angry. In fact, he told the woodcutter that his next three wishes would automatically be fulfilled. Jupiter advised him to think carefully before making the wishes, since his happiness depended on them.
Blaise decided to discuss the matter with Fanchon, his wife. Fanchon had so many ideas that she could not come to any decision. So they decided to wait till the next day before making their wishes.
Blaise then decided to enjoy some of the wine that they had been keeping for a special occasion. As he was sitting before the fire and enjoying the wine, he remarked that it would be nice to have a sausage just then. To his surprise, a sausage suddenly appeared. Blaise had inadvertently used up one of his wishes.
When Fanchon realized what Blaise had done, she began to scold him mercilessly. She ridiculed him for wanting a sausage when he could have gold, diamonds, rubies, or even an empire.
Blaise apologized, but Fanchon continued to scold him and called him an ox. Then Blaise became angry. In the past, when his wife scolded him, he occasionally thought that it would be nice if he were a widower. Fortunately, this thought did not enter his head at this particular moment. Instead, he angrily said that he wished that the sausage were sticking to the end of Fanchon’s nose. By these rash words, he inadvertently used up his second wish.
Fanchon was beautiful, but the sausage had an adverse effect on her appearance. The couple considered their predicament. They could become a king and a queen, but then Fanchon would have to live with her deformity, for the only way that they could remove the sausage from her nose was to wish it off. Since Fanchon preferred to be the beautiful wife of a woodcutter rather than an ugly queen, Blaise used his last wish to remove the sausage.
@lyon: Les souhaits ridicules par Charles Perrault
Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature; 1995