Bibliographic Information (best version for telling):

 DeSpain, Pleasant.  “The Three Wishes.” Twenty-Two Splendid Tales to Tell from Around the World.  Little Rock:  August House, 1994. 54-57.

 Ethnic Origin:  Swedish

Running Time:  2 minutes.  (This version is brief but very clear.  It can be fleshed out with details from the other versions without becoming confusing because of them.)

Power Center(s):  The escalating anger between husband and wife, and the dissolution of that anger as the husband empathizes with his wife’s horror at having a sausage stuck to her nose.

 Characters:     The Wood Nymph     

                        The Farmer

                        The Wife

Scenes: 1) The Farmer meets the Wood Nymph.  2) The sausage appears.  3) Farmer and Wife fight with horrific consequences.  4) Ordinary life is restored.

 Synopsis:  A poor farmer is cutting firewood in the forest.  A wood nymph asks the farmer to stop cutting her home, and when he obliges the wood nymph grants him three wishes.  Because he doesn’t believe in magic, he is shocked when his idle wish for a sausage is granted.  His wife berates him for wasting a wish and he responds by using the second wish to affix the sausage to her nose.  The two decide it is better be poor and sausage-free than rich and sausage-beaked, so they use the last wish to rid the wife of the sausage.

Rhymes/Special Phrases/"Flavor":  Rather then creating flavor with words, this story creates it with images—the primary one being the woman with a sausage stuck on the end of her nose.  The appearance of the wood nymph also adds Scandinavian flavor: when the Vikings imported Christianity, most Norse gave up their Pantheon but continued to believe in lesser spirits for several centuries.

 Audience (why is this story appropriate for the audience? Developmental characteristics?):  Young children find humor in the incongruous, and the image of a woman with a sausage on her nose is sure to be appealing.  They have active fantasy lives and have probably considered what they would wish for if offered three wishes.  Most importantly, preschoolers are learning to adjust to other people and are coming to grips with their emotions.  I chose the fight as a power center because I think it’s important for children to see that they are not the only ones who lose their tempers.  I chose the husband’s empathy as a second power center because, even though they may not be feeling it yet, it is important for preschoolers to see models of empathy as key to resolving conflict.


Bibliographic information on other versions/variants (at least two)?

Versions: Perrault, Charles.  “The Foolish Wishes.”  The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault.  Trans. Neil Philip and Nicoletta Simborowski.  New York: Clarion, 1993. 118-122.

Yolen, Jane, Ed.  “The Sausage.” Favorite Folktales from Around the World.   New York: Pantheon, 1986. 185-187.

Variant: Austad, Olav Eivindson.  “The Woman Who Got Three Wishes.” All the World’s Reward: Folktales Told by Five Scandinavian Storytellers. Eds. Reimund Kvideland and Henning K. Sehmsdorf. 74.


Brief comparison of all versions/variants in terms of language, rhythm, "tellability," "flavor," content, etc: Stress the differences in style rather than those of content.

I chose the Pleasant version because it has no clear-cut villain.  In the Yolen version, the husband is an impulsive cad; in the Perrault, the wife is a vain shrew.  Perrault is the only author who makes asides to the reader, which I like, but his comment that it wouldn’t have been a bad idea for the farmer to wish himself a widower is in conflict with my choice of reconciliation between husband and wife as a power center.

The Austad variant is Norwegian.  Three wishes in exchange for an act of kindness is a popular motif in Scandinavian folklore, and originates in a religious story about St. Peter at the gates of heaven.  Like many three wishes tales, this one is more of a joke than a story.