The Wishing Tree shows a softer side of Faulkner, the realistic and sometimes violent, "southern gothic" writer. It is a gentle, moving account of a young girl's awakening to the realities of adulthood. It approaches growing up from a child's point of view and is infused throughout with idealism and faith. Despite the tragic undercurrent—the knowledge that the child is seriously ill—the story ends with the hope that next year's birthday wishes will bring new and unexpected adventures.
The adventures of Dulcie and her friends are structured around the search for the "wishing tree" that will grant all childhood wishes. While on their quest, the children learn about themselves and about the responsibility of choosing their wishes carefully. The children meet with a number of exciting adventures, through which they are guided by the magical elf, Maurice. At the end of the story Dulcie and her friends return to the world of everyday reality and to Dulcie's birthday celebration. The journey has turned out to be an initiation into adulthood.
(The entire section is 172 words.)