The Rule of Three

Giulietta M Spudich
2 min readNov 15, 2023

The Rule of Three (sometimes called the Power of Three) refers to the idea that we find messages more humorous, more memorable, and more rewarding in sets of three. It comes into marketing slogans (“Go! Fight! Win!”), comedy (jokes are often told in a set of three) and of course, fairy tales.

From the three wishes of Aladdin’s lamp to the three times Jack climbs the beanstalk to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, fairytales and folktales are rife with sets of three.

The Rule of Three in Aladdin, The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears

In the Three Little Pigs, we even see a nice progression using the Rule of Three. The first house is straw, and is blown down by the wolf. The second house is wood, the tension increases, and the wolf blows that down too. Finally, the pigs make a brick house. Now the wolf is defeated.

What did Story Club, my young writers’ group, make of the Rule of Three? The following story ideas emerged.

One story had three characters (named One, Two and Three) who had to complete three tasks. The number three crept in lots of ways here, and it was quite exciting to hear the scene read aloud.

A second story that kept us on the edge of our seats involved a young woman chasing her father, lost and confused, into the forest. Three ravens circled above the icy pond …

A meaningful story started with three women who didn’t like each other at all. However, they come together to protect a tree from bulldozers. They save the tree and find harmony.

A fourth story was a fantastic tale of a girl who came home to find her mother’s message to her. Alone, she must drink one of three jars and it will take her on an adventure where she will grow. Which jar will she pick?

I loved hearing what the Rule of Three sparked. And I don’t think any of us will hear fairytales without counting, in the future! (How many wishes?)



Giulietta M Spudich

I am a children’s author and young writers' workshop leader. Give me a young/teen fantasy novel and a cup of coffee. Magic.