Peau de Chagrin

Peau de Chagrin  (pō du shä-grin ), “The Ass' Skin.”—A story by Balzac. The hero becomes possessed of a magical wild ass' skin, which yields him the means of gratifying every wish; but for every wish thus gratified the skin shrank somewhat, and at last vanished, having been wished entirely away. Life is a peau d'âne, for every vital act diminishes its force, and when all its force is gone, life is spent.