Three wishes joke  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
be careful what you wish for

The three wishes joke is a form of joke in which the protagonist is given three wishes by a supernatural being, and fails to make the best use of them. Common scenarios include releasing a genie from confinement - perhaps finding an old oil lamp and rubbing it; catching and agreeing to release a mermaid or magical fish; or crossing paths with the devil.

The protagonist of the joke makes their first two wishes and finds that all is well. Often, the third wish is either misinterpreted, or intentionally granted in an awkwardly literal fashion, and cannot be reversed because it is the final wish, resulting in the punch line of the joke. Alternately, the wishes are split between three people, with the last person inadvertently or intentionally messing up or undoing the wishes of the others with their wish to form the punchline.

An example of the three wishes joke runs as follows:

Three men are stranded on a desert island, when a bottle washes up on the shore. When they uncork the bottle, a genie appears and offers three wishes. The first wishes to be taken to Paris. The genie snaps his fingers, and the man suddenly finds himself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. The second man wishes that he were in Hollywood, and with a snap of the genie's fingers, he finds himself on a Tinseltown movie set. The third man, now alone on the island, looks around and says, "I wish my friends were back."

In fiction

The format is not always used for humor. In "The Monkey's Paw", a horror short story by author W. W. Jacobs, the paw of a dead monkey is a talisman that grants its possessor three wishes, but the wishes come with an enormous price.

The 1967 movie, Bedazzled, and the remake, are essentially movie-length stories relating such a joke, although the protagonist is given seven wishes rather than three.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Three wishes joke" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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