Useful And Fantastic: The Wish Olympics
Val Yule tells a magical story for children of all ages about a great wish contest organised by three wish-granters.
Once upon a time there were three fairies - a small fairy who lived in a microscope, a middle-sized fairy who lived in a many-coloured glass bottle, and a very large fairy who lived in a sunset cloud. They liked giving people wishes, to see what they would do with them.
One day, they had had very bad luck with their wish-giving. One man had wished for a sausage while he thought about what he wanted, but then wished to send it back because it was a frankfurt and then used his last wish to get a salami sausage instead. So that was his three wishes gone, just to get one salami sausage. A little girl spent all her wishes on fizzy and lollies, and her father had spent all his wishes on doctors and dentists to make her better.
Then Tinia, the micro-fairy, had an idea. "I am bored with giving wishes that people spend on gold and jewels and pretty hair and sausages. Let's ask several people to make their wish at once. Then we will give the wish to the person who makes the best wish.''
Media, the bottled fairy, thought this was a good idea too. She soon had the idea all worked out. "We could have a Wishiad, or Wish Olympics," she said. "We will be the judges in a panel, like they do in skating contests on television. We three magic folk will each have a set of cards with numbers going from one to ten. After each Human makes a wish we will hold up our cards with the number of points for each wish. We will give points out of ten. Then the wisher with the highest total of points will get their wish granted."
Tellastar, the space fairy, sent the news around the world. Of course, hundreds of people wanted to be in the Wish Olympics, and thousands wanted to watch the show. The three Fairies put up a great mist-woven tent on the edge of the great grey desert by the sea. Soon there were long queues to the door.
Most of the people were wishing they were higher up in the queue and nearer to the door to get in. What was their surprise to find suddenly that they were all back at home. The fairies had disqualified them at once, as not being good enough wishers. Too washed out even for watching wishing.
Many of the other people were wishing they could think of a good enough wish to be winning wishers. The fairies did not think much of that wish, either, and soon they were back home too. Too wishy-washy to be winning wishers.
Some fellers were grumbling already, because they wanted the wishes, but they did not like fairies. "It is not cool to think of getting wishes granted by fairies that live in dew-drops and bottles and goldy-pink clouds! Well, wishers can't be choosers, we suppose. But we wish the the fairies were respectable monsters, or vampires, so we would not feel so silly. "
The three fairies thought that was the silliest wish of the lot.
"Humans are always criticising other people for things they cannot help being. It's what we do that matters, not what we look like. Just because we have rainbow wings and golden hair and skin like rose-petals is no reason to say we ought to look like old boots with legs on their soles."
The fairies sent the fellers straight back home, with red stripes on their necks, and footprints on the back of their T-shirts. When people saw them, they cried, "You've been bitten by a vampire!" "You've been trodden on by a monster!"
The fellers did not know what to think - or what to wish either. But of course, it did not matter what they wished.
After that, there were not so many people in the queue. There were only about five thousand. They all fitted into the seats for the audience inside the tent. The seats ran around a big circus ring, where friendly animals like coyotes and possums were making music to keep them amused. The fairies had a big box near the front.
"I hope the animals get well paid for all this music they are doing for us," thought Miss Sprim. Instantly, there she was, standing in the middle of the ring, on a small circle labelled First-Wisher. The fairies were holding up their number cards - 7, 8, and 9. Miss Sprim had scored 24 for her wish, without even realising she had made it. Her number went up on a giant scoreboard near the roof.
"I hope I can do better than that," thought Mr Muckletoes. Instantly, out he stood, on circle number Two. The number cards went up - 0, 0, 0.
He wished he could disappear back into the audience, but no luck, he had to wait until all four people in his heat had made their wish.
"I wish my turn would come quickly," thought Shaun Wayne Jason. Suddenly found himself standing on circle number Three. His score went up, 0,0,0, no better than Mr Muckletoes.
"I hope Miss Sprim wins - she looks as if she needs something to cheer up her poor pale face," thought Norm MacPopolos. Instantly out there he was, standing on circle number Four, and his score was 10,10,10.
And his wish was granted! Miss Sprim won her wish.
And Norm MacPopolos won his wish too.
The afternoon went wonderfully. The winners included Bobby, who wished the great grey desert could blossom again - and it did.
Coriander wished there were no more wars - and there never were.
Jimsha wished nobody would ever be poor again - and nobody ever was.
Timiliki wished the doctors would find out how to cure everyone who was sick, but Mr Smith won with a better wish than that - that people would not get sick anyway.
Even a little tortoise won one of the contests. Everyone cheered him, but he was so shy he crawled slowly away under one of the stands, starting very very slowly to wish the wish he had won with - but he was so slow he never finished it - and nobody now remembers what it was.
The fairies were getting very tired and bored. Some of those big wishes were very hard indeed, even for fairies. When it was nearly time to stop, one of the last contestants was Sally, and she wished there would be another Wish Olympics soon. But suddenly, there on circle two was the tiniest fairy, and she was wishing there would not be another Wish Olympics for quite a while, as she was so tired.
This made a problem for the other two fairies. How could they judge this one? Suddenly Media had an idea. And there she was, standing on circle number three.
And her wish was that everyone would be able to judge their wishes well enough themselves before they made them. And then the fairies would not have such a hard time trying to judge them, because only very good wishes would be made.
Suddenly there was a great rush of bats' wings. And there, swooping down like a pterodactyl on circle number four, was the Fairy Horrabil. And she made a terrabil wish, fixing everyone with her magic spells. "I wish that I will be the judge of all the Wish Olympics from now on!" Heh, heh, I will only grant the really bad wishes! she thought to herself.
Nobody had expected the Bad Fairy to come with her magic spells. They had no counter-spells ready. The strong spell worked on everybody in the tent, and up on the screen came the scores, slowly, sadly, sent up by her magic spells. 10. 10.10. The Fairy Horrabil was going to win, and her wishes would be worse and worse.
She was going to judge all the Wish Olympics from now on! And she was so Horrabil that she would only grant the really bad wishes! Like turning jelly-lollies into slugs, and turning flowers into broccoli, and making everybody in the world get hay fever.
Everyone else in the tent started wishing like mad, to try to stop her being able to make wishes and grant wishes - but none of them worked.
The tent collapsed - the first bad wish was working.
The tent was wobbling up and down as people tried to crawl out from under and go home. What a sad end to a happy day! The fairies fled.
The witch sat there, happily, holding on to the tent pole, which she was about to turn into a monster broomstick.
Suddenly she began to feel a bit funny. What was happening?
She began to feel really funny. She was beginning to smile! What was wrong? Or what was right? She began to laugh.
The little tortoise who had hidden under the stand, too slow to make his own wish, was suddenly jolted into making a really great marvellous wonderful wish - even better than the wish he had won with.
The little tortoise wished what? He had wished that "The the Fairy Horrabil would turn herself into the Fairy Honorabil instead.''
And there was the new Fairy Honorabil, sitting there, happily, holding on to the tent-pole, which she was about to turn into an even better tent that expanded from the pole like an umbrella from its stick, in a thousand colours with a thousand lights dancing on them like stars.
The Fairy Honarabil loved holding WishOlympics, so the other fairies never need get tired - and all the wishes that won were well worth wishing.
Now you make your wish, and you too may be given a number, to say how good your wish is. If you are lucky, your wish may come true, one day.