The Old Man and his Grandson

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The Old Man and his Grandson is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in Grimm's Fairy Tales as tale number 78.[1]

It is Aarne-Thompson type 980B, The Wooden Bowl.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

An old man could not eat neatly, so his son and daughter-in-law made him eat by the stove and, when he broke his bowl, bought him a cheap one. His four-year-old grandson played with wood and said that he was making a trough for his parents to eat from when they were old. After that, they let him eat at the table and did not complain about the spill.

Elements[edit]

The bowl was described as costing a few heller.[3]

Variants[edit]

Other tales of this type vary on the exact offense that the grandson declares he will commit and the son thereafter refrains from: making his father sleep under half a blanket in the stables, bringing back the carrier so he can carry his father to abandon him, or commit murder.[4] In medieval Europe, the son was commonly sent for a blanket and came back with half, justifying it by saying the other half is saved for his father.[5] In an Asian version, the father weaves a basket to throw his aged father into the river. A son says to bring back the basket so that it can be used for the father one day.[6]

References[edit]