Copyright © 2020 Christopher Hiedeman. All Rights Reserved.

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Once upon a time, deep in the woods outside of a little town called Zelvish, there was a wishing well. The wishing well was buried in decades of dead branches and brush. It was a magical well that had been forgotten long ago.

The town of Zelvish, though they had all the space they needed, decided to expand. They cut down the trees in the woods and cleared them away, getting the land ready for more businesses. A few days into their demolition, they uncovered the well. At first, the workers were ready to demolish it. But a golden sign on the well caught their attention, so they took a break from their duties to see what it said.

The Wishing Well

This well was made with love, with a heart for giving. Lower the pail into the well, and whatever you wish will materialize in the pail. This well is meant only to be used as necessary and cannot supply money. Overuse will cause it to wither away.

The workers laughed at the well, for how could such a thing exist? As a joke, one worker lowered the pail into the well and wished for a new pair of shoes. When the pail was raised back up, resting neatly in the pail was a new pair of leather shoes. The workers’ laughing ceased. One by one they tested the well, and one by one they received the gift they desired.

That evening, the workers told their families about the well, and over the next few days, the entire town of Zelvish knew about the wishing well. A long line formed at the wishing well, as people wished for things they didn’t at all need, but wanted nonetheless.

Outside of the town of Zelvish lay a little farm. The family that lived there was poor and would sometimes go days without much to eat. Cindy, the eldest daughter, heard about the wishing well at school one day and decided to check it out after classes.

As afternoon approached, Cindy walked over to the edge of town and got in the mile-long line for the well. Hours and hours went by as she watched people skip by her with brand-new ruby earrings, fancy purses, and other luxuries. Cindy thought hard about what she would wish for. She wanted nothing for herself but something to help her family instead. Maybe some food, she thought. Maybe some vegetable seeds so they could grow a garden. Her little brother needed shoes; maybe that is what she should wish for. She spent the next hour dreaming of what she should wish for to give to her family.

She was the third person in line and patiently waited to meet the magical well. The person in front of her stepped forward, and so did she. Cindy looked at the woman in front of her, who wore a fancy dress and was adorned with exquisite jewelry.

The woman walked up to the well and said, “I want a diamond necklace.”

Cindy watched in awe as the woman lifted a sparkling necklace out of the pail. The woman stood aside and began attempting to put the necklace around her neck. Cindy walked up to the wishing well and sifted through her many wishes in her mind. She wanted so badly to give everything she could to her family but didn’t know what her wish should be. She finally settled on some food for her family. She thought to herself how excited her parents and little brother would be to have a good meal on the table for supper. She smiled and asked the well, “Could I please have some food for my family?”

As per the instructions on the well’s golden sign, Cindy lowered the pail into the well and brought it back up to her. The pail was empty. Sadness filled her heart as disappointment flooded her thoughts. She read the sign once more to see if she did something wrong and read:

This well is meant only to be used as necessary and cannot supply money. Overuse will cause it to wither away.

That was it, she thought. Unfortunately, the well was used faster than it could replenish itself, and now, it had gone dry.

It was almost dark. She was disappointed that she wasn’t able to give something nice to her family. But she put a smile on her face and walked home.

Time passed, and the whole town of Zelvish learned that the once-magical well was not magical anymore.

A few weeks passed. Cindy sat outside, enjoying the warm summer day. A cool breeze swept across the plains. A piece of paper drifted through the air in the distance and landed on the ground next to her. The parchment was old and stained. In curiosity, she flipped it over to see what it was.

Dear Giver,

Thank you for visiting the wishing well. By now, I am certain the well has been found and that it has most likely dried up.

The well was not intended for frivolous use but was built to help others—to give to those in need. But, unfortunately, much of this world only knows how to take.

You are receiving this letter because of your extraordinarily selfless, giving heart. You have been chosen to be the new keeper of a wishing well. Follow the instructions below to build your own wishing well.

Use it wisely. Help others who need it. By giving to others, you will enjoy a fortune the selfish takers will never know of.

Thank you.


Wishing Well Keeper CCXXXII

Wishing Well

Genre: Sentimental Short Story

A small town uncovers a magical wishing well that gives whatever its visitor desires.