Genies are more than wish-granting lamp dwellers or mystical floating spirits. How genies are made is a story steeped in ancient legend with many variations emerging over time. The first tales about djinn are as much as 6,000 years old, so you can imagine that discovering just how genies are made is a difficult task.
Where did the story of a genie in a bottle granting three wishes come from? Did it originate as a single tale and split from there, or does the genie in a lamp have grander origins?
Genies are usually paired with lamps in the western world. The genie/lamp significance is tied directly to these tales, creating unique symbolism surrounding these spirits from the ancient Middle East.
What’s the deeper significance of the genie in the lamp story, though? Were these tales told just for entertainment, or was there a deeper meaning with genies and lamps? Below we’ll explore a few ideas about what the genie trapped in a lamp story could really mean.
The Ludicrous Wishes, a.k.a. The Ridiculous Wishes, The Three Ridiculous Wishes, or Les Souhaits ridicules, is a French fairy tale written by Charles Perrault in 1697. It predates the arrival of Arabian Nights in Europe and could be the inspiration for the modern trope of genies granting wishes that don’t turn out the way people expect.