The Wishing Game

Fiction By Jsilas // 8/28/2010

  The Wishing Game. 

 

A young boy stood by the edge of a field, leaning on the fence and surveying the expanse of green grass, in which countless cows grazed peacefully.  The tranquility of the scene was lost on him, because the Boy was bored, and wanted to be anywhere but there, in that dull, uneventful pasture, staring at boring, languid cows.  In his impatience for excitement, the Boy spoke aloud to himself; so engrossed was he with his musings that he did not notice one of the Cows ambling its way towards him, from across the field...

“This place is awful!”  the Boy cried, “Nothing interesting ever happens here.  Why can’t I go to the city, like my friends?  There’s always activity in the city; always something to do.  Not like here!  I only pray that I could find a wish-granting jewel, like in that old story I once heard.”

  “I remember that story,” said a voice, “I was intrigued by it, as well, when I was young–very, very long ago.”

 

Now the Boy sprang backwards in alarm: the Cow, which had toddled up to the fence until nearly nose-to-nose with him, had suddenly opened its massive jaws and spoken!  The Boy shook for fright, and couldn’t at first bring himself to reply.  

“Why are you frightened?”  the Cow asked, quirking its brow.  “Fear not!”

“Pardon my surprise, venerable Cow,”  the Boy stammered, “It is only that I would never expect to hear you speak!”

“And why should that be?”  the cow inquired, adopting a sagacious air.  “You hear people speak every single day.”

“Yes, indeed I do,” the Boy said, “but they are people, and so it is only natural.  If you don’t mind me saying so, you are a cow: as such, I would not expect you to speak.”

“You should not judge by appearances,” quoth the Cow, and the Boy was shamed into silence.  

 

The Cow’s attitude softened, seeing the Boy’s contrition, and it said: “Cheer up!  I’ll have you know I am an Angel.  Were you not praying just now?”  The Boy was perplexed, before recalling his earlier prayer to find a wish-granting jewel:

“Yes, venerable Cow,” said the Boy, “I was just now thinking that I should like to find a means of having my wish for excitement granted: you see, I’m terribly bored here.”

“I don’t see why you should be,” the Cow observed, “when you’re surrounded by miracles!  Still, my Master has vested in me the power to fulfill three wishes of yours, so you may be freed from your boredom.”  At this, the boy was overjoyed, and wondered greatly at his good-fortune.  

“Genuinely?”  he exclaimed, “I am to be granted three wishes, no matter what they may be?”

“Yes,” the Cow confirmed.  “You shall have everything your heart desires: provided it can be granted in only three wishes.”

 

Now the boy began imagining how he had best spend his wishes, seeing as he had only three.  “First of all, it is rather hot, so I suppose I ought to use one wish for an ice-cream,” the Boy thought.  Then he thought better of it: “But once I eat that ice-cream, it will be gone, and I’ll be left where I started: unless I wish for another, and another, and what a pity it would be to waste three wishes in such a way!” 

 

       He mulled over the problem, and presently arrived at a solution: “Suppose I wished not for one ice-cream, but for an ice-cream factory, so I can have as much as I want, whenever I want it!  Yes, that’s much better.  And then, in case I eventually grow tired of ice-cream, I had best wish for a candy factory with my second wish.  As for the third, since I’ll have unlimited ice-cream and heat will no longer bother me, I will wish for Summer to last all year, every year!  How grand this will be!  My happiness will be unblemished!”

 

But as the Boy reflected more deeply, he began to realize he would miss the Fall and Winter, if it were always Summer perpetually; not to mention the Spring.  

“In that case,” he thought, “I will wish for an ice-cream factory with my first wish, and candy factory with my second wish, and with my third, I will wish that the seasons stay as usual, but there is never any work to do.  Yes, that’s ideal; no work at all, at any time!”  The boy was sure he had arrived at the perfect use of his wishes, and was about to recite them aloud to the Cow, when another problem presented itself to him.  “If there is never any work done,” he thought, “who will maintain my ice-cream and candy factories?”  Elysium seemed to be retreating beyond his reach, when a sudden idea blazed in his mind, and vaporized all his difficulties.  

 

“With my first two wishes,” he schemed, “I will wish for my factories; with my third, I will wish for three more wishes.  With the first of my new three, I will wish for an army of robots to maintain my factories, and with the second I will wish for–oh, I don’t know: I suppose it would be rather nice to be a Prince or a King, with my own splendiferous Kingdom, covering the entire world.  Then with the third, I will wish for three more wishes.  This is perfection itself!  No matter what I think to wish for, I can always get it with my first two wishes, and, with the third, and can always be granted three more!  Everything I want can be mine, forever, no matter what it may be!”

 

As the boy turned to the Cow, and prepared to speak his carefully chosen demands, he was surprised to see that the animal had walked aways away, and was grazing peacefully, seemingly without a thought as to its former promise.

“O, venerable Cow!”  the boy called, “I am ready to relate my wishes!”  The Cow turned to the sound of his voice; gazing languidly towards him, it said: “Moo!”  

 

The Boy was dumbfounded: staggering backwards in amazement, he blinked and rubbed his eyes.  The Cow had reverted to a simple cow.  The Boy was horrified, and dropped to his knees in despair: “How now will my wishes be granted?  I had worked it all out so well: I was to have everything I could want, from now, until forever!”  Then the Boy realized something.  He had, indeed, worked it out perfectly: no matter how outrageous his wishes grew, no matter how wildly they proliferated, he could have had them all granted instantly–yet, where would it have ended?  No matter what he could think to ask of the Cow, he would always be left wishing for more.  Suppose he eventually had all there was to have, and, even then, wanted more!  How horrible that would be!  And so the Boy realized he was better off, having the Cow revert to a simple cow, incapable of granting wishes.  

 

He leaned again on the fence, and, inwardly, wished for the end of wishing.  Instantly, the wish was granted, and he saw the emerald field before him, and the two-tone cows, and the blue sky, and the shimmering clouds, and saw what he had failed to see before: it was a very peaceful scene.  He sighed, and was glad to watch the languid animals, and feel the wind and sunlight.  In the next moment, the Angel was beside him: no longer in the form of a cow, she stood with feet on the bottom rung of the fence, and elbows resting on the top, her head, adorned with glittering strands of lustrous hair, leaning towards the fields with an expression of tranquil pensiveness.  She shone with an indescribable beauty; immovability and softness mingled in her features as they do in a still lake, or the airy, snow-capped peaks of a mountain.  Wings, like cottony clouds of light, spread from her back.  For some time, they were content to rest in silence.

“Who needs a wish-granting jewel?”  the Angel asked, at length, jauntily throwing her arm around the Boy’s shoulders.  

“Not I!”  the Boy replied, happily.  

 

“Letteth contentment be thy bread, and gratitude thy butter; drinketh of the wine of joy, and thou shalt have for thyself a kingly feast.”

 

Comments

This is so sweet! A new

This is so sweet! A new "fairy tale" to tell to little kids at bedtime. Thanks!

LoriAnn | Sat, 09/04/2010

Thank you!

 I'm glad you like it! You're right, it might make a good bedtime story for little kids (and maybe adults, too!)

Jsilas | Sun, 09/05/2010

I meant to read this awhile ago.

I wish I had. It's lovely. Quite lovely, in fact.

Anna | Wed, 10/13/2010

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief