EXPOSITION: One spring evening, Mr. Peters is driving down the road when he hears wailing coming from the trees. He stops and finds a swan stuck in the bushes. After Mr. Peters helps the swan, it turns into a small, bearded king. Mr. Peters demands three wishes of the Forest King. The King gives him three dead leaves, which are his wishes, and a warning about making wishes.
Let me help you.
"I shall do neither. Human beings and swans are better in their own shapes."
RISING ACTION: For his first wish, Mr. Peters asks for a wife as beautiful as the forest. This wish is granted, and he marries her. Her name is Leita and she was a swan before the wish was granted. At this time, Mr. Peters is satisfied with his wish because Leita is beautiful and a good wife.
"Do swans come up here?"
That's an odd question...
CLIMAX: Mr. Peters notices that Leita is very unhappy, and that she keeps disappearing for hours at a time. He finds out that Leita has a sister that is a swan, and she has been visiting her by the river. He can tell that Leita misses her sister, and even though Leita tells him not to, he considers using one of his wishes to turn her back into a swan.
"This is my sister. I can't bear being separated from her."
"Leita, what is it?"
FALLING ACTION: Leita becomes so devastated that she is not able to be with her sister that Mr. Peters turns her back into a swan. The Forest King appears again and asks Mr. Peters what he will do with his third wish. Even though Mr. Peters misses Leita in human form, he chooses to let her stay a swan and becomes best friends with Leita and her sister.
"You don't seem to have managed so wonderfully with your first two wishes, do you? What will you do with the last? Turn yourself into a swan? Or turn Leita back into a girl?"
"The Third Wish" A short story by Joan Aiken Storyboard by Alyse Miller
RESOLUTION: Mr. Peters lives a good life in the company of the two swans. He never uses his third wish. He dies one autumn night with a smile on his face, holding the third leaf and a white feather in his hand. The swans mourn his death with a loud, sad song for all to hear.