An American, a Spaniard and a Frenchman are walking on a beach when they discover a genie’s lamp. The American rubs the lamp and the genie appears in a puff of blue smoke. She announces to the trio that they will receive a total of three wishes, one each, so they should consider their wishes wisely.

The Spaniard is first, and asks the genie to make his country fruitful, his countrywomen beautiful and his traditions preserved. The genie grants the wish.

The Frenchman is second. “I’m sick and tired of my homeland being invaded every half century. I would like an impenetrable wall built to protect my beloved France, one which no one can scale.” The genie grants the wish.

The American thinks for a moment, and asks the genie, “I’m curious about this wall. How big is it?” The genie replies, “The wall around France is 150 high and 50 feet thick. It cannot be penetrated from either side, or climbed, and all the French people of the world are safe inside.” “Great,” says the American. “Fill it with water.”