Once upon a time in a country far, far away, there was a magic wishing well on a green hill. Every time the princess passed the well, she took a gold coin from her purse and dropped it into the well. While the money travelled to the mystical depths, the princess whispered a wish.
From the dark shrubbery, two gleaming eyes watched the princess lean over the edge of the well. It was a greedy goblin who wanted to marry the princess so that he could rule over her father’s kingdom. Two times now, the goblin had proposed to the princess. The first time, he had offered her a set of silver handcuffs on a velvet cushion. The second time, he had appeared at her palace with golden handcuffs on a cushion of silk and down. Both times, the princess had turned him down gently. “Sorry,” she had said, “but I am not in love with you.”
The angry goblin had wagged his bony finger at her. “The third time,” he’d said, “I will make you an offer you cannot decline.”
From that moment onwards, the goblin started following the princess wherever she went. He followed her to charity dinners, to car shows and, eventually, to the wishing well. He hid in the thicket and watched her take a coin from her clutch.
“I wish that all stray dogs in the country will find a loving home,” the princess said. “I hope that their families will feed them and children will cuddle them, and all they have to do in return is protect their home.”
The following days, the goblin noticed less and less stray dogs in the streets and, soon, he read in the national newspaper that the number of burglaries had gone down drastically now that all homes were protected by dogs.
The second time the princess and the goblin passed the well, it hadn’t rained for weeks. The drought was threatening the livelihood of thousands of farmers. As the princess flipped a coin into the well, she asked for rain.
Before the princess reached her castle, rain started coming down in thick sheets. She saw all the farmers dance on the land, letting the rain soak their clothes and thanking the clouds for saving the crops.
“So the well really works,” the goblin said to himself. He spurred his horse to return to the wishing well, emptied his wallet into the well and wished for the princess to fall in love with him.
When he appeared at the court for a third time, the goblin offered the princess a set of rusty hand cuffs. “Majesty,” he said, “now that you have lost your heart to me, will you marry me?”
“Why, no,” she responded. “What makes you think my feelings have changed?”
“I paid the well to make you fall in love with me!”
“You silly thing,” the princess said. “Isn’t it obvious when you compare your wish to mine? The wishing well doesn’t understand selfish requests. It can only make good wishes come true.”