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Three Wishes

Once there lived a woodcutter with his wife. He used to cut wood in the forest
and sold them in the market. This was the only means of his livelihood.

One day, he went to cut wood in the forest. On the way, he was singing a song
and enjoying the nature and its beauty. There he saw a very big tree in front of
him. He thought of cutting the whole tree to get more wood. As the tree was very
big, the wood obtained from it would be enough for his whole life.
As the woodcutter picked up his axe to cut the tree, he heard a voice, "Please do
not cut this tree." The woodcutter stopped and looked here and there, but found
none. He thought it to be an illusion. He again picked his axe and aimed at the
tree, but he heard the same words again, "Please be kind to me. Do not cut this
tree." The woodcutter again stopped and looked all around. But he could not see
anyone. He was quite perplexed. Then a fairy spoke from the tree, "I am a fairy
and live in this tree. During the winter, I live in the trunk and for rest of the year I
live on its branches. If you cut this tree, I will be homeless, the winter is
approaching fast and I will die of cold. Do not destroy my home. I will fulfill your
three desires instead."

The woodcutter was very happy. Now he could be rich without doing any work.
He accepted the fairys offer and ran to his house to tell his wife about this. His
wife was waiting for him as usual. She was surprised to see the woodcutter back
so early and said, "Why did you so early today? You are looking very happy. What
is the matter? Please let me know."
The woodcutter replied, "I got a big treasure today. Though it is yet to come. I will
get the treasure soon." And he started dancing. His wife could not understand
anything and said, "What is the matter? Tell me clearly. I cannot hold my
patience anymore."

The woodcutter narrated the whole incident to his wife. His wife jumped out of
joy. The woodcutter said, "I am hungry. Give me something to eat." His wife said,
"Since you used to come late, I have not prepared anything till now. Wait, I will
just prepare something for you." The woodcutter said, "No, do not cook anything.
I can fulfill any three desires. Now as the first one, I want sweets and hot
pudding." As soon as he uttered these words, a plate of hot pudding came before
him. He ate to his satisfaction and the plate continued to fill again and again.
Then he asked his wife also to eat the tasty pudding. But she was very angry and
said, "You have wasted one boon, and now I wish that the pudding should be
pasted on your nose!" The pudding immediately stuck to his nose. The
woodcutter got annoyed and said, "Oh, what a fool you are! What have you
done?" He tried to clear the pudding from his nose, but the pudding remained
stuck. He scolded his wife and said, "You have wasted the second boon and we
can ask for lots of money." The woodcutter got irritated and said, "Oh! You are a
big fool. There is hot pudding stuck to my nose and you are asking for money! I
wish that the pudding of my nose should vanish immediately!" The pudding
vanished. The woodcutter heaved a sigh of relief.

This way, the woodcutter and his wife lost the golden opportunity of becoming
rich. Their luck had knocked at their door, but they failed to avail the opportunity
and remained poor was as before.
Let's start off with the easy part. ' I wish to' can mean the same as 'I want to' but
it is much, much more formal and much, much less common.

I wish to make a complaint.


I wish to see the manager.

You can also use 'wish' with a noun to 'offer good wishes'.

I wish you all the best in your new job.

We wish you a merry Christmas.

Notice that when you want to offer good wishes using a verb, you must use 'hope
' and not 'wish'.

We wish you the best of luck.

We hope you have the best of luck.

I wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

I hope you have a safe and pleasant journey.

However, the main use of 'wish' is to say that we would like things to be different
from what they are, that we have regrets about the present situation.

I wish I was rich.

He wishes he lived in Paris.

They wish they'd chosen a different leader.

Notice that the verb tense which follows 'I wish' is 'more in the past' than the
tense corresponding to its meaning.

I'm too fat. I wish I was thin.

I never get invited to parties. I wish I got invited to parties.

It's raining. I wish it wasn't raining.

I went to see the latest Star Wars film. I wish I hadn't gone.

I've eaten too much. I wish I hadn't eaten so much.

I'm going to visit her later. I wish I wasn't going to visit her later.

In the case of 'will' , where 'will' means 'show willingness' we use 'would'.

He won't help me. I wish he would help me.

You're making too much noise. I wish you would be quiet.

You keep interrupting me. I wish you wouldn't do that.

Where 'will' means a future event, we cannot use 'wish' and must use 'hope'.

There's a strike tomorrow. I hope some buses will still be running.

I hope everything will be fine in your new job.

In more formal English, we use the subjunctive form 'were' and not 'was' after

I wish I were taller.

I wish it were Saturday today.

I wish he were here.