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“. . . Your dreams come true”.  I can still hear Jiminy Cricket singing that tune in Walt Disney’s 1940 movie “Pinocchio”, winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

“When you wish upon a star,  Makes no difference who you are;  Anything your heart desires  Will come to you”.  (“Ask and you shall receive”  ?)

I have an eight-year old granddaughter who has just announced to her parents and grandparents that this Christmas she does not want any gifts, just wish-fulfillments.  She offers examples : horses that can talk (she has never even heard of Hollywood’s Francis the Talking Mule or the eloquent equine Mr Ed), friends with wings (angels have always been popular with kids), and clothes that put themselves on her every morning when she wakes up (she did see “Wallace and Gromit”).  I wondered whether one of her wishes might be to have a less grumpy old man as grandfather.  She doesn’t know it yet, but she will soon discover that some wishes, some dreams, never come true.

I don’t need to spell out the obvious.  The only good thing about believers’ vain wishes and pipe-dreams for an afterlife is that when they are dead they will never discover that their wishes were in fact fantasies, delightful in children, pathetic in adults.