Most people have tossed a coin into a fountain, or dropped a penny down a wishing well, hoping by some miracle that the act would make their wish come true. In the touristy village of Portmeirion, located in Gwynedd, North Wales, staff noticed some peculiar trees covered with coins. By examining the trees and learning their origin, the employees brought to light information about the traditions and superstition surrounding wishing trees.
Beginning with their discovery of a felled, coin-coated tree, employees quickly noticed seven more nearby and thus began their investigation. Eventually they found out that townspeople and tourists were following the centuries-old tradition of using the trees as wishing trees.
According to beliefs that date back to the beginning of the 18th century, one could rid herself of an illness by sticking a coin into a wishing tree so that the tree would assume the illness. If a person pulled one of the wishing tree’s coins out, he would become ill. Others thought that they would be granted a wish once the coin was driven past the bark and into the tree’s wood.