Once again, Margot Zemach brings new life to a traditional story: the tale of the three wishes granted to those who are kind and compassionate. In Zemach's interpretation, a poor woodcutter and his wife are working in the forest when they hear a faint voice calling: "Help, someone help me!" They promptly rescue an imp whose tail is caught under a fallen tree, and in return he rewards them with three wishes. "Wish wisely, my friends," the imp says in parting. Prophetic words indeed.
It soon looks as if this windfall will be nothing but trouble for the woodcutter and his wife. The legendary dilemma they face--which involves a long string of sausages--is subtly dramatized in Zemach's simple text and wry yet heartfelt pictures. She takes particular joy in showing how, in the end, the woodcutter and his wife get just what they wanted all along.
Margot Zemach won the Caldecott Medal for "Duffy and the Devil" and was the United States nominee for the 1980 Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.