2: Cave quid optes [be careful what you wish for]
Misty did a lot of short stories on the morals of wishing, be careful for what you wish for, and not to let greed overtake you when you make your wish. So it’s not surprising that a lot of genie types came into the picture here, drawing on another type of legend.
One Last Wish
Artist: Mario Capaldi
An unnamed orphan in 19thcentury France finds a genie bottle. She wishes to live in a cottage like Madame Dubarre. In exchange, she will free the genie. But the genie goofs up and has the girl and Dubarre switch bodies. At this, the girl refuses to free the genie and makes a second wish to trade places with the (cruel) Marquise De La Tours because she lusts for the Marquise’s riches and power. Still not satisfied, she makes her final wish to become Marie Antoinette, but still does not honour her promise to release the genie. Then the girl finds out that becoming Marie Antoinette has made her the prime target of the French Revolution. She tries to buy her freedom by giving the revolutionaries the genie bottle, but it got smashed. Nobody knows what happened to the genie. But one of the spectators watching her being taken to the guillotine bears a striking resemblance to him…
The story makes a goof in saying the story is set in late 19thcentury France when it should have been the 18th. Aside from that, we get a jolly good story and warning about keeping your promises, not letting power corrupt you, and of course, be careful what you wish for. At first the girl comes across as quite nice and deserves better than living in a dripping hovel. But once she changes bodies with more powerful, rich and corrupt people she grows increasingly cruel and dishonourable in the way she is not holding to her end of the bargain with the poor genie. She is heading up to a very serious fall indeed, which comes with the fall of the monarchy and aristocracy she had wished her way into. Had she stayed the poor peasant girl, the French Revolution might have been something she applauded for getting rid of those oppressive aristocrats.
The Dryad Girl
Artist: Jose Ariza
Shala, a tree dryad, grows tired of immortality because it’s endless boredom, and has fallen in love with a human boy, Brian. She wants to become a mortal so she can be with him. The spirit of the forest grants her wish although he expresses doubt she has wished for the right thing. Sure enough, when Shala becomes mortal, the bypassed years have so caught up with her that she is old and hideous. When Brian sees her he is repulsed at the sight and runs off.
Even if age had not caught up with Shala we can see her wish is going to end in disaster. She has lived in a tree all her life, so how is she going to cope in the outside world and live as a human? And how do we know Brian would even return her love for him? One can only hope the spirit of the forest is still around and will help her. After all, he did express misgivings about what Shala was asking: “Have you thought well on what you ask?” But one has the sinking feeling that the extreme old age will soon be the death of poor Shala.
The Not So Genial Genie
Artist: Blas Gallego
Reprint: Best of Misty 2
The protagonist finds a genie in a bottle on a beach. Although not sure about it at first, she releases him, and soon realises it was a big mistake. He turns out to be an evil genie, Makkalet, out to conquer Earth. Daring Makkalet to demonstrate his power, the protagonist tricks him into assuming ever-smaller animal forms until she has him take the form of a fly – just the form to swat dead!
They fall for it every time – being tricked into assuming a form that is small enough for the protagonist to crush them. They never learn, do they?
The Evil Djinn
Artist: John Armstrong
Kitty, a nurse, is debating whether or not to buy a fish dinner at the chippie. She decides to do so and walks in. Inside the chippie she saves a woman who is choking on a fishbone, but the woman is not grateful. However she is a djinn, and the chief djinn orders her to reward Kitty with the usual three wishes. But being an evil djinn, she takes great delight in twisting the wishes, monkey paw style, so they don’t come true in a form that makes Kitty happy: “You’ll be sorry” she always gloats. When Kitty first wishes for £5000 for her family (legal, and careful not to be greedy), the money comes in the form of life insurance that was paid out for her sister Beth’s sudden death from a fall downstairs. Kitty’s second wish is for Beth to be alive again. Beth does return to life, but is paralysed from the fall. One wish left, but this time Kitty knows how to use it: wish she had never met the djinn. Everything returns to how it was, and the djinn chokes to death on the fishbone because this time Kitty decided not to buy the fish dinner and did not enter the chippie.
Misty Short Stories I has already commented on the story, so these thoughts will be additional. The way in which the djinn grants the wishes is a very nasty but intriguing twist on the monkey paw story. It’s also a retelling of the old story about two wishes being wasted (wisher didn’t think things through properly or the wishes being granted too literally), so the wisher has to really think hard on the third wish if she is to put everything right.
The story also has you think that making a choice, even a simple, everyday one, can set you on two completely different timelines. The first occurred when Kitty made the choice to buy the fish dinner. The second occurred when she did not, and it proved to be the right choice. But it’s easy to say that in hindsight after seeing what happens with the first choice. And if Kitty had made the second choice in the first place, the story would have ended very quickly!