Wishing Charles to Kansas

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The good little sister took a knife and cut off her own tiny finger, fitted it into the keyhole and succeeded in opening the lock.  "The Seven Ravens" illustrated by Arthur Rackham.

The good little sister took a knife and cut off her own tiny finger, fitted it into the keyhole and succeeded in opening the lock.
“The Seven Ravens” illustrated by Arthur Rackham.

“Wa-hoppend?” Sagacia asked blearily.

“You’ve been sick,” Simplia replied. “First I was, then you caught it from me. The flu, or something.”

“Ugh! I feel like I’ve lost a few days.”

“You have.”

“And, . . . ” Sagacia began.

“And you’re better now. You took care of me, then I took care of you, and now we’re both better. And here’s some soup for you.”

Sagacia scooted up and leaned back against the headboard to accept the luscious tray. “Let’s see; I remember going over to the Fairy Tale Lobby with that request from ‘Wishing in Washington,’ and I remember you getting sick on the way home. You almost didn’t make it!”

“It was awful, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. But, then what happened?” Sagacia asked, slurping her soup. “What did our magical friends have to say about wishing?

“Well,” Simplia replied. “I went by yesterday to take some lemon bars, and who should be there but Adam Hoffman and Charles Kiernan!”

“Oh! I wish I could have seen them!” Sagacia whined.

“I know” Simplia sympathized. “They send their best wishes, though!”

“Well, their wishes are working!” Sagacia said, tipping the bowl to better fill her spoon. “I really do feel better, now.”

“And they had some ideas about wishes. Adam asked:

Do wishes always have to be phrased with “I wish”? The first thing that comes to mind is the Tom Thumb/Thumbling/Thumbnickel type of tale in which a couple wants a child so badly that they don’t care what they get. The version collected by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth (“Thumbnickel”) states the specific wish as “We want a child, even if it’s no bigger than a thumb!”

“Oh! The wish for a child!” Sagacia exclaimed. “And a pretty emphatic one, at that! I bet a lot of people can identify with that! It’s like ‘Thumbelina!’

“And ‘The Snow Maiden,’” Simplia agreed. “And then Charles was busy flipping through his Grimm book and making notes on a legal pad–oh, and enjoying his pipe. He mumbled that he was working on something, and would get it to me later. Then, just this morning, I found this note on our doorstep. Here; I’ll read it to you.” She unfolded the note.

I am sitting here in the Fairy Tale Lobby smoking my pipe, and besides Adam, who is staring out the window, there is no one else around. Where is everyone?

Oh, yes. Kansas. What did Dorothy tell Toto about that?

Since I am not off to Kansas (sigh,) I am the one with the time to compile a “wish” list.

Confining myself to perusing the Grimms’ book that starts off “In olden time, when wishes still helped…” I come up with the following:

The Fisherman and his Wife
Cinderella*
The Seven Ravens
Thumbling (as Adam said)
Juniper Tree*
Brier Rose
Snow White
The Knapsack, the Hat, and the Horn
Three Feathers*
Pink Flower
Brother Lustig
The Poor Man and the Rich Man
The Gnome
The Raven
Hans the Hedgehog
The Jew in the Throne Bush
White Bride and Black Bride

And I may well have missed one or two. I did not include wishing-devices unless they were wished for, nor did I include things that were granted rather than wished. This last can be a fine line.

Roughly, I see three categories (we should not be surprised; there is the magical three again.) One: wishes for a child, which usually produces questionable result such as a hedgehog. Two: wishes for material things for the purposes of wealth and control, which often get taken away and need to be recovered. And three: wishes that are wasted (be careful what you wish for).

I wonder if I can wish myself to Kansas?

“I wish Charles could wish himself to Kansas, too!” Sagacia laughed.

“That wouldn’t be a wish for a child,” Simplia observed. “It wouldn’t be a wish for anything material–certainly not for purposes of wealth or control, and it definitely would not be a wasted wish!”

“What great categories!” Sagacia exclaimed.

Simplia continued pondering. “I wonder if they cut across other collections? You, know: Asbjørnsen and Moe? Perrault? Afanas’ev? Japanese or Persian? Hindu or Czech? Someone must know!”

“Or if stories from other collections fit into the same categories,” added Sagacia. “You know how I love sorting and pasting and categorizing!”

“Let’s ask our magical friends!” said Simplia.

And she did. Did you hear her?

And she also wished Charles to Kansas, especially to the Fairy Tale Lobby Dutch Treat Lunch. Maybe he’ll read the details below and be unable to resist!

*The link will take you to the corresponding story on Charles’ Fairy Tale of the Month site, where he muses and expands upon one tale each month, offering wisdom and open-ended thoughts on three aspects of the tale. Fairy Tale of the Month is a great place to begin your own pondering about a new tale you’re working on!

Fairy Tale Lobby Dutch Treat Dinner
at the NSN Conference in Kansas City. 

  Friday evening, July 31 at 5:45
at the Kona Grill in Country Club Plaza.
Take the hotel shuttle to Country Club Plaza; Kona Grill is three doors east of Plaza III, facing Brush Creek. Dinner Menu.
RSVP in your comment below or email Mary Grace: mgk_at_talesandlegends.net