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The Old Man and His Grandson
Grimms Fairy Tales and German Folklore
There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears
dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he
could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth
or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son's wife were
disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the
corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware
bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the
table with his eyes full of tears.
Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell
to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said
nothing and only sighed. Then they bought him a wooden bowl for a
few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.
They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years
old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. What
are you doing there, asked the father. I am making a little trough,
answered the child, for father and mother to eat out of when I am
The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently
began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and
henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if
he did spill a little of anything.