The Three Wishes
A WOODMAN went to the forest to fell some timber. Just as be was applying the axe to the trunk of a huge old oak out jumped a fairy, who beseeched him with the most supplicating gestures to spare the tree. Moved more by fright and astonishment than anything else, the man consented, and as a reward for his forbearance was promised the fulfilment of his three next wishes. Whether from natural forgetfulness or fairy illusion we know not, but certain it is, that long before evening all remembrance of his visitor passed from his noddle. At night, when he and his dame were dozing before a blazing fire, the old fellow waxed hungry, and audibly wished for a link of hog’s pudding. No sooner had the words escaped his lips than a rustling was beard in the chimney, and down came a bunch of the wished-for delicacies, depositing themselves at the feet of the astounded woodman, who, thus reminded of his morning visitor, began to communicate the particulars to his wife. “Thou bist a fool, Jan,” said she, incensed at her husband’s carelessness in neglecting to make the best of his good luck; “I wish em wer atte noäse!” Whereupon, the legend goes on to state, they immediately attached themselves to the member in question, and stuck so tight that the woodman, finding no amount of force would remove these unsightly appendages from his proboscis, was obliged, reluctantly, to wish them off, thus making the third wish, and at once ending his brilliant expectations.
[‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ (1890) by Edwin Sidney Hartland]