The Old Grandfather and His Grandson
Once upon a time there was a very old man who lived with his son and daughter-in-law. His eyesight was weak, he always bent forward when he walked, and he was very deaf. When he sat at the table his hands shook and he would often spill soup over the tablecloth or on his clothes, and sometimes the soup dribbled down his chin. His son and daughter-in-law were so irritated with him and they scolded him. “Grandfather, you’re disgusting!” they said. “Eat properly!”
After a while they became so annoyed with him that they put his chair in the corner of the room, behind a screen and they made him sit there, where he was hidden from them. Not only that, they put all his food into a big, clay bowl and made him eat from that. The old man would often look sadly at the table with tears in his eyes, but he did not complain. One day, while he was thinking sadly of the past, his hands shook so much that he dropped the clay bowl and it fell to the ground and broke. His daughter-in-law scolded him for being so careless. “You stupid old man!” she said. He didn’t reply, but just sighed deeply.
The next day, she bought him a wooden bowl for one penny. Only beggars used wooden bowls in that country. From then on, the old man ate from his wooden bowl, all alone behind the screen in the corner of the room.
Some days afterward his son and daughter-in-law saw their little boy, who was about four years old, sitting on the ground in their yard. He had found some small pieces of wood and he was trying to stick them together. “What are you making, my little boy?” asked his father. “I am making a little bowl for papa and mama to eat their food in when I grow up,” he replied. The husband and wife looked at each other without speaking for some minutes. Finally tears appeared in their eyes and they went and brought grandfather back to their table. From that day he always ate his meals with them and was never again treated unkindly again.