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The Third Wish Story

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Introduction to the Third Wish Story

Joan Aiken writes the Third Wish. He was an English author who specialized in alternative history books for youngsters and spooky fiction. A character is given three wishes in the drama "The third wish," which is based on a fairy tale, but things end up going horribly wrong. 

Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken

The Third Wish by Joan Aiken describes how the main character, Mr. Peters, is forced to decide between his happiness and the happiness of his wife. In this story, Mr. Peters saves the Forest King—who just so happens to be a swan—and receives wishes as payment at the end.

The Story - The Third Wish 

Mr. Peters was driving by a pond when he heard a terrible splashing and weeping sound. He is determined to find out the cause of this sound. It turns out to be a large swan that got tangled up in some prickles.

After releasing the majestic bird, Mr. Peters is shocked to see it magically change into a tiny king. Mr. Peters believes that since he has unleashed a magical being, he should be granted only three wishes, no more and no less.

He receives his wish from the Forest King, who also gives him three leaves. He claims that all he has to do is let go of the leaf and express his wish. In addition, he cautions that men frequently experience bad luck with their wishes. 

The First Wish

Mr. Peters carefully considers his desires while keeping in mind tales of wishes granted that went horribly wrong. Two of the leaves in his briefcase are placed aside. He makes his first wish for a lovely woman before retiring to the woods for the night. He encounters a stunning woman who claims she will be his bride when he awakens and then they get married to each other.

The Third Wish

The Third Wish

Mr. Peters and Leita are content as time goes on. Leita spends an increasing amount of time by the bank of the river where they reside. Leita is terribly depressed despite her intense love for Mr. Peters.

She ultimately admits to Mr. Peters that she was once a swan and misses the water, but she actually misses her sister, who was also a swan, more. Leita continues to sob beside the riverbed as more time passes. 

The Second Wish

One evening, Mr. Peters observes Leita sobbing while holding a sizable swan beside the water. Despite how much he loves having her as his wife, he determines right then that he will use his second wish to reverse his first. He takes a leaf out of his briefcase and releases it out the window before going to bed that night. Leita should turn back into a swan, he thinks while making the second wish.

Lieta assumes the shape of a swan while sleeping in their bed. She is tenderly carried to the river by Mr. Peters while she is still asleep, where he submerges her. 

She gently rests her head on his shoulder when he awakens her before taking her out into the forest. 

The Ending

Behind Mr. Peters, the nasty Forest King comes to taunt him about his misplaced wishes. Swans should be swans, and humans should be humans, according to Mr. Peters, who claims he won't utilize his third wish because he wants to remain devoted to his wife.

Mr. Peters continues to live a tranquil life. He regularly receives visits from two gorgeous swans. The entire town may hear two mourning swans singing on the night he passes away.

Moral of the Story

In this story, we have learned about the kindness shown by Mr. Peters. He was kind enough to let go of Lieta as his wife for her happiness. This is a very courageous act and teaches us that we should not refrain from giving happiness to others in every possible situation.


The story “The Third Wish” is about a man named Mr. Peters who saved a swan who was tied up in the prickles. The swan who was a tiny king grants him three wishes in a form of a leaf. The tiny king also warned Mr. Peters that there are always some side effects of the wishes granted by him.

In the first wish, Mr. Peters wished for a beautiful wife. He was granted that wish in the form of a woman named Lieta. After many years one day, Mr. Peters came to know that Lieta was actually a swan and was unhappy to live a life as a human. 

For the second wish, Mr. Peters wished for his wife to become a swan once again. The next morning Lieta turned back into a swan and Mr. Peters bid goodbye to her and let her go. 

The kind-hearted Mr. Peters never used his third wish as he wanted to be faithful to his wife. He was often visited by the swans. The entire town was sad the day he died and they could hear the two swans singing a very sad song.

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FAQs on The Third Wish Story

1. Give a character sketch of Mr. Peter.

According to the plot of "The Third Wish," Mr. Peters demonstrates courage. Even though he doesn't know who or what they are, he is prepared to assist them. Because he attempted to save the swan that became stuck on a thorny bush at the beginning of the story, Mr. Peters is helpful. He desired a happy wife and wanted her to be so. She was sad because she had to leave her sister and because she missed the forest. So he wanted her to turn back into a swan.

2. What do you learn from the story?

Based on Joan Aiken's short story "The Third Wish," Respect for others is the first moral lesson I've learned from this brief story. The reason for this is that we cannot change a person into something they are not. It is unethical to suppress a person's inherent nature or to make them fit into a mold that doesn't fit them. For instance, the old monarch shows up to make fun of Mr. Peters when he uses his second wish to transform Leita back into a swan. According to Mr. Peters, "humans and swans are better in their unique shapes."