It was Christmas Eve. A poor old lady was sitting alone, except for her cat, in her tiny house, in front of a small fire. Suddenly, there was a flash of light, and the old woman's good fairy appeared in the room.
The old woman was astonished, but the fairy reassured her: "Don't be afraid! I am your good fairy. You are very poor, and all alone at Christmas, so I have come to grant you three wishes, to cheer you up."
The old woman was about to speak, but the fairy held up her hand. "Wait!" she said. "Before you make a wish, think carefully! You will get exactly what you wish for, and no wish can be undone!"
So the old woman sat silently, staring at the fire and thinking. Eventually, she spoke: "First", she said, "I want to be very, very wealthy."
Poof! Immediately, the tiny house was packed with pots full of gold coins, and sacks of bank-notes. There was more money than anyone could spend in an entire lifetime.
The old woman looked around and smiled. She thought some more, and spoke again: "Next", she said, "I want to be young and beautiful again, like I was when I was 18."
Poof! The old woman disappeared. In her place sat a beautiful young woman, with smooth, white skin and long, golden hair. The woman looked at her hands and arms, felt her hair, and smiled.
"Third", she said to the fairy, "I want you to change my cat into a handsome young prince, who will love me and take care of me all my life!"
Poof! The fairy disappeared, and the cat leapt up from his place by the fire as a handsome young prince. He reached out to the woman, pulled her to her feet, embraced her, and kissed her passionately. Then he gazed into her eyes and said: "Hah! Now you're really going to be sorry that you took me to the vet!"