Sky Lanterns are one a magical way of making a wish. There are others, of course, such as blowing dandelion seeds, dropping coins into wells and wishing on a star. All of which come to use through folk tales and mythology. Folklore sometimes uses wishes in themes like “making a wish” or for wishes to “come true” or to “be granted”.


The classic wish tale is that of Aladdin, from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. His desire for wealth is still often taken as the most common request. Classically the wish provider is a spirit, such as the Genie, imprisoned in Aladdin’s oil lamp. The powerful entity’s subservience to the wisher can be explained in different ways. The entity may be grateful to be free and the wish is a thank you gift. Or it may be bound to obedience by its prison or some other item that the wisher possesses.


In some fiction wishes take a darker turn. In W.W. Jacob’s Monkey’s Paw, a mother wishes for her son to be brought back from the dead, not realising the horrific price attached. Piers Anthony puts a spin on this idea in Castle Roogna in which a magic ring claims to grant wishes and then claims credit when a wish comes true, apparently from the unaided efforts of the characters.


We feel sure, having read this, that when you next send your Sky Lanterns soaring you will “be careful what you wish for”.


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