Monday, October 01, 2018

Three wishes

A traveller chanced upon an oil lamp lying amongst some rocks in a deserted place. Laughing at his own folly, he brushed the dust off the lamp then gave it a vigorous rub with his shirt sleeve. There was a brief wisp of smoke, the smell of brimstone and cardamons and a sudden flash of purple light.

"I am the genie of the lamp," said the Djinn, "And I must grant you three wishes."

The traveller stared at the Djinn for some time. And as he stared he thought. And as he thought his eye caught the sharpness of the Djinn's sword. And as he thought the more his eye caught the coldness of the Djinn's eye. And as he thought the yet more his eye caught the cruel sardonic smile on the Djinn's lips.

"Tell me," said the traveller, "What is the usual punishment for men who try to be clever and wish for an infinite number of wishes?"

"Is that what you wish?" asked the Djinn.

"Certainly not!" replied the traveller. "I cannot imagine anything more foolish."

"Perhaps the punishment would be to grant the wish," said the Djinn slyly.

"I expect it would be," lied the traveller. "A wise man would not wish for such a thing. And even one as foolish as I would be wise enough not to do so."

"Why so?" asked the Djinn.

"Man is capable of the most terrible errors of judgement, even with the best of intentions," replied the traveller. "It is best that there is a limit to the mischief he may bring upon himself and the world."

"A man who understands the importance of boundaries is a wise man indeed," mused the Djinn. "Perhaps you would wish to impose a limit of time? All you could ever wish for a whole year, perhaps?"

The traveller smiled. "Oh no. I have too little faith in my own self-discipline or judgement to do that. Besides, I suspect that such a heady brew would be impossible to taste once and then willingly walk away. No, I shall do no such thing, I shall know my limits."

"You cannot be persuaded?" asked the Djinn.

"I cannot be persuaded," said the traveller.

"You still have your three wishes," said the Djinn.

"I still have my three wishes," said the traveller.


Ms Scarlet said...

I had no idea that wishing could be so complicated.

Lovely to see you pop-up in my Reader!

Kevin Musgrove said...

They always say to be careful what you wish for.