~ The Wishgiver ~ based off the musical Into the Woods and the story The Wishgiver.
Once upon a time in a far off kingdom there lived a young maiden named Cinderella, whose only wish was to go to the King’s festival. When her stepmother had found out about the girl’s wish, she and her two daughters had laughed at Cinderella and gave her an impossible challenge.
With one swift motion, the wicked stepmother threw lentils into the ashes of the fireplace. “I have emptied a pot of lentils into the ashes for you,” she began, her daughters standing behind her, trying their hardest to keep their giggles behind upward-curved lips, “if you can pick them out again in two hours time, then you shall go to the ball with us.”
A look of sorrow crossed Cinderella’s dirty, yet beautiful, face; this look of horror filled the stepmother with great self-satisfaction, and she and her daughters left, delighted by how they had made the cinder girl feel.
Now alone, the poor girl fell to the floor and wept to herself. “How will I go to the ball now!” She cried, “I will never be able to finish this task, even if I am given all the time in the world!” There she cried, before finally deciding to get at least some of her other tasks done.
While Cinderella was in the market picking out bread and cheese to bring home and marveling at the dresses she would dream to go to the ball in, she noticed a small sign in a dark window reading one word: WISHES.
“That’s exactly what I need right now,” dreamed the girl, “a wish. A wish.” She took her finger and brushed back a loose string of her dark brown hair, thinking. She looked around, so as not to be embarrassed by her foolishness. She figured she still had an hour until her stepmother came looking for her, and how long could it take to make a wish?
She knocked on the door before opening it. “Hello?” She called up the tall, thin staircase. “I saw the sign outside the window. Is it true you will grant my wish?”
“Yes,” boomed a sudden voice from upstairs, “I will grant any wish, though if you are frightened by my looks, you have no business here.”
Cinderella paused, startled by the scratchy voice from up the stairs.
“Well, are you coming?” Roared the voice.
The young girl hurried up the stairs. What was it that had such a giant, frightening voice? She stopped at the doorway at the top of the stairs.
“Come in, girl.” Cinderella obeyed the large lizard that stood wagging it’s tail on hideous purple carpeting.
How ugly, she thought, though dare not speak aloud. She advanced into the room. “Good afternoon, good sir,” she said, her voice pleasant and unsure.
“No need for introduction. State your wish.”
“Yes, you see, the king is giving a festival, and, well, I was not aloud to go.”
“So, your wish,” it said in a rushing tone of voice.
“I wish to go to the festival,” she said, and then remembered she had not anything to wear, “I wish to go to the ball in a magnificent dress and slippers as pure as gold!” She had no idea where the slippers came from, but she wished it anyway.
“Very well.” The green and black creature spit fire and a dress and shoes fell softly from it into Cinderella’s arms.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!” She bit her lip, trying to keep her smile from growing any larger. She then remembered an important detail. “But, how will I get to the festival, I have been forbidden-“
The lizard sighed a great sigh, “I know of your dilemma my child. Birds have gone and pecked out the lentils. Present it to your stepmother and ask her to take you.”
“But what if she wont take me?”
“How you get there is none of my concern, but you’ll find a way. Now go.” He was growing annoyed now.
Cinderella hid the dress in her basket and hurried home. The lizard was right! There were the lentils, all picked out of the ashes, and a few white feathers left behind. “Oh, my goodness!” She cried.
After fixing her stepsisters hair, she approached her stepmother with the lentils. “Now may I go to the festival?” she asked with happiness in her eyes.
“The festival? Darling, look at your self! You are dirty, you’d make us the fools of the festival and scare the prince to death!”
“The carriage awaits!” Called a voice from outside.
“No! Stepmother you don’t understand-“
“Enough is enough child!” The stepmother raised a hand and struck the poor girl across the face. One of her stepsisters grinned at the tears in Cinderella’s eyes.
The dirty girl paused, bringing her hand to her burning face, and then spoke. “Good night, stepmother.”
“Clod.” Whispered the other stepsister as they left. Cinderella heard their laughs ring into the night.
“I wish!” She cried.
“My dear, what’s wrong?” Echoed a voice.
“Mother! Mother they wont let me go!” she choked through her tears.
“Go where, child?”
“The festival. They promised I could and then they left.”
“Why, my dear, the palace is not that far. Walk.”
Cinderella felt hope spring up in her heart. She could see the palace from outside her window. It was true it was not that far. She ran and got ready, then left for the palace.
But when she arrived, the ball was not all she seemed. The prince had his eye set on her from the beginning, but, oh! If he knew who she really was!
So she ran. She ran from the ball, hiding in the woods, and giving up one shoe to the steps of the palace. She had got her wish, but it was much more than she had planned for, far too much more…
Once upon a time in the same far off kingdom, there lived a sad young lad named Jack. He had little money, and his mother was not very happy, or beautiful. His father had left a long time ago and they had little left but each other. Their only cow had gone dry weeks ago, and Jack had taken desperate measures now.
“You foolish child!” Scorned his mother, “what in heaven’s name are you doing with a cow inside the house?”
He faced his mother with no fear of the consequences. “It might be just what he-“
“She,” corrected his mother.
“Fine, she needs to produce her milk.”
“Jack, please.” She tilted her head back, and then looked him in the eye. “Please try to use that head of yours. See reason. We must sell the her.”
“No!” Jack shot out of the stool he was using to milk the dry cow, only to be pushed back down by his mother. “But he’s the best cow-“
“Was, Jack, was. But she’s been dry for weeks. We’ve no food, no money, and no choice but to sell her for the best price we can.” Jack stroked the cow with a brush with sadness in his eyes.
“But she is my best friend in the whole world.” He said softly.
His mother placed a hand on his shoulder. “Someday you’ll have a real friend Jack, one that can talk. You must take her to market. I’ll stay here and mind the house. Fetch the best price you can, Jack, but take no less than five pounds.”
Jack was staring into the cow’s fur, white as milk. He didn’t respond.
“Jack? Jack! Are you listening to me?”
“Hu? Yes, mother.”
“How much are you to ask, then?”
“Uh, no more than fi-“
“Less than five! Jack! Get your head down from those clouds!” She wiped dirt from his face with her thumb. “Now off to market you go, and don’t come back until you sell that cow.”
“Mother!” She gave him a stern look and he gave in.
After he had made it to the market, a man came up to him.
“What are you planning to do there?” The man asked.
“I am planning to sell my cow here for as much as she’s worth.”
“And how much do you think that is?”
“No less than…” he paused and thought a little, “five pounds, sir.”
“Five pounds?” Jack was nervous now. “Why such a sum?”
“Uhh…” He stood confused. He had no answer.
“Why,” the stranger laughed, “you’d be lucky to exchange that cow for a sack of beans!”
“Beans? In exchange for my cow?!”
“I happen to have some… magic beans here, son.”
“Magic,” asked Jack, “What kind of magic?”
The man paused, “… a magic that defies description!”
Embarrassed, Jack asked, “How many beans?”
“Five,” said a woman to Jack, “we can’t part with all of them we must save one for ourselves.” So they were in this together? “Besides, these beans are worth at least a pound each.”
“Might I buy my cow back from you some day?”
“Uh, no. Wait, yes? Uh, possibly.” Said the man as he gave Jack five beans in exchange for his cow.
And so, Jack made his way home, now wondering what he would tell his mother.
And when he did…
“Oh!” Jack’s mother moaned. “Five beans?! Only a dolt would exchange a cow for beans!” She whipped the beans at the ground.
“Mother! No!” He lunged for the beans, but his mother pulled him back by his ear.
“To bed without any supper for you!” She watched him all the way to bed, only then did she leave him. That night he thought about the sign of the window he saw in the market. “WISHES.”
He didn’t know what it meant, but it seemed interesting enough. So the next day he decided to go back to market. He went directly into the shop marked WISHES and bellowed up the stairs. “Hello? I’d like to make a wish.”
“I am the Wishgiver,” a voice boomed back, “I’ll grant your wish. Up the stairs, and don’t be bothered by my looks, or you have no business here.”
So up the stairs Jack went, trying to remember exactly what he had thought of to say the night before. When he got into the room and saw the large iguana like creature wagging its green, black tail on hideous purple carpet he forgot out of fright for a second what he was there for.
“Well, boy?” Sighed the creature, “What do you wish?”
“Right, my wish.” Jack coughed and explained his wish. “Well I have recently sold my cow, and I now want it back-“
“You wish a new cow?”
“No, my old cow.” Jack finished. “I wish my old cow back.”
“Very well,” boomed the wish giver. “There your wish is granted.”
“I don’t get it.” Complained the lad, “Where is my cow?”
“You’ll find it boy! You’ll get it eventually. Go off and find it.”
So Jack left and waited in the market. And he waited. And he waited again until the sun began to set. “Stupid lizard.” Jack said as he kicked the door he had came out of hours ago. Where was his beloved cow?
Though when he got home he was amazed to find an enormous beanstalk next to his little cottage. “What the?” He looked it up and down, and wondered where it lead to after it broke through the clouds.
After some time he decided to climb it.
When he got to the top he was amazed to find a shimmering kingdom of gold where every thing was at least 7 times larger than normal. The first thing he saw was a large piece of gold made up of normal sized pieces.
“Amazing,” he whispered as he chipped off 23 pieces and placed it in a bag. All of a sudden a tremendous voice thundered, and yelled at the boy for stealing. The voice cam from a man around ten times the size as Jack, so the lad’s first instinct of course was to run away, so he did.
He hurried down the beanstalk and into his house. Luckily the giant did not find him. He told his mother what had happened.
“Jack! Oh, my.” She took the gold from Jack and emptied it to the table. “Jack, this will pay off some debts, you must lend me 18, the other 5 will be yours to do with as you please.”
Jack agreed. 5 gold pieces was still a lot. Enough to buy his cow back…
He found the same man he had sold his cow to in the market and approached him. “Good fortune! Good fortune, sir. Look what I have here.” Jack emptied the money into his hand.
“5 gold pieces!” The man looked excited.
“I had more,” bragged Jack, “but my mother made me surrender them. She allowed me these five to do with as I please.”
“What do I have to do with these?”
“You said I could buy my cow back!”
“I don’t know that I wish to sell her.”
“But you said-“
“Fine. Follow me.” He led Jack around shops and into the woods, where the cow was tied up to a thick tree stump.
“My cow!” Cried Jack, but not out of joy. The cow was lying on the ground, and it’s massive chest lie still. He knelt down beside her and put his ear to her heart. He looked up terrified at the man.
“What is it lad?”
“My cow is dead!” But Jack had indeed gotten his cow back…
Once upon a time in, yet again, that same far off kingdom, there lived a childless baker and his wife. Now, they were fairly happy with their lives, but, oh, what they wouldn’t give for a child! They had tried and tried but they still had no child. They couldn’t dare take in another’s child so they continued trying, and they had always failed.
One day, a witch came to their house and explained to them of a spell she had put on the baker. “When you were a child,” the old hag explained to the baker, “your mother had been pregnant, and had only desired one thing to please the pain she was in. She only wanted greens. Most of the plants, parsley, peppers, cabbages, and others. Your father was determined to please her, so he snuck into my garden to get what she desired. But, he stole from me. So I took his mothers child, and still it wasn’t enough. I had inherited that garden from my mother, you see. It was what I had of her to keep her in my memory, and he took that from me. So I placed a little spell on him, that his family tree would always be a barren one!” The witch cackled and left.
The baker’s wife ran to her husband crying. She could never have a child with the man she loved. What could be worse?
The baker could not stand to see his wife in such sadness. “Please don’t cry, dear.” He said sympathetically while he held on to his wife, “I’ll get us a child. I don’t know how but I promise you I will.”
The next day, the baker went out into the market to get some flour and eggs, when he noticed an unusual sign in a dark shop window. WISHES, it read. He wondered. He could wish for a child!
And that’s exactly what he did.
He knocked loudly on the door then entered. “Hello?” He called, “Hello?”
“Hello?” Mimicked a voice. “Come upstairs man.”
“Will you grant me my wish if I do?”
“I will grant your wish, but if you are startled by appearance, you have no business here.”
So up the baker went. He was surprised to see a giant lizard wagging its tail across ugly purple carpeting.
“So I just wish?”
“Yes, go sir. Wish, I don’t have all day.”
“I wish my wife and I had a child of our own, of our blood.”
The lizard sighed.
“Your wish has been granted, but remember it takes time for a child, so don’t come complaining to me about ‘it’s not there!’” With that said, the creature fell asleep.
The baker went home and told his wife the news, and like most expectant parents, they waited impatiently.
Though when they did get their child, it cried all the time, and work was hardly done, but it was a pleasant life.
“And when will you take care of him?” The wife asked each time he put it off.
“I’ll care for him,” promised the baker, “when he is older.” And the wife would roll her eyes and give him a light kiss on the lips.
Though, one day when the child wasn’t but a year old, they had to wander into the woods. The wife wandered off alone to think to her self, the only free time she had to herself in a while. Though, she was in the wrong place at the exact wrong moment, for a falling tree had collapsed on her.
The baker was left alone, with the child he wanted and now no one to help him care for it. The child cried, and the baker saw, this would be a hard time to come…