Have you seen Into the Woods? The musical, written by Stephen Sondheim, opened on Broadway in 1987 and has been produced uncountable times since then. The play weaves together the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), and Rapunzel, among others. It begins with the narrator's decisive proclamation: "Once upon a time!" followed by Cinderella, Jack, and the wife of Little Red's favorite baker singing, "I wish …" as they confess their most intimate longings.
I wish I had a child.
I wish the walls were full of gold.
I wish a lot of things …
Getting lost in the woods. Being entrapped by a witch, or a wolf, or cruel stepsisters. These timeworn images are totems, calling up whole volumes of meaning. And the lines "I wish" and "once upon a time" are catchphrases we expect to hear from the likes of Cinderella and Jack. They are, to be sure,"Stuff People in Fairy Tales Say."
You've likely heard of the Internet meme with a similar name. Its origin is a Twitter feed ...1