We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care. Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.
Germany can be a magical place full of fairy tales and folktales thanks to the Grimm Brothers. Despite the dark past of the Nazi, the German people have strove to be as generous as the characters found in those folk and fairy tales. This picture of Prague on a winter night is by Julius Silver.
Present-Day Generosity & Goodness
A widower father had a 3-year-old son diagnosed with leukemia. The boy had to be hospitalized and could not return yet to home in Fronhausen, Hessen, Germany. The father has used up his leave from his assembly factory job. The company turned to the 650 employees and all of them donated overtime hours so that the father could be “off” and be with his son for about 18 months. The boy is now recovering, and the father has been able to work 4-hour shifts a day.
More of this story can be read here as reported in the “Independent” by Jane Dalton: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/single-father-widower-thanks-colleagues-work-overtime-son-leukaemia-colleagues-donated-overtime-a8247421.html
Past Generosity & Goodness (Folktale)
This Grimms’ tale has too many “G”s that it almost sends me giggling. How does this sound…German Grimms’ Golden Goose? This is a classic tale. There are too many versions to count through we have the Grimm Brothers to thank for collecting this story and sharing it to be even more known to society.
Here are a few of many sources:
- Book “The Golden Goose” retold by L. Leslie Brooke, published by Lire Books
- Book “The Golden Goose” by Jacob Grimm and Wilhem K. Grimm, illustrated by Uri Shulevitz (unique style)
Here is my summary:
The youngest of three brothers was known as a simpleton. The father trusted the two oldest with chores around the home. One day, the oldest brother headed to the woods to chop down trees for firewood. A little grey man asked for something to eat and drink. The oldest brother said he would not have enough for both of them and continued chopping. He accidentally swipes the ax against his arm and must go home to recover. The middle brother headed to the woods to replace the oldest one. A little grey man asked for something to eat and drink. The middle brother said he would not have enough for both of them and continued chopping. He accidentally swipes the ax against his leg and must go home to recover. Finally, the youngest brother–the simpleton–asks to go though his father is hesitant. There is not much to eat or drink except sub-par items. The youngest brother took them anyway. A little grey man asked for something to eat and drink. The youngest brother warns that his food and drink are not the greatest yet is willing to share. The grey man then tells him which tree to chop and that he’ll find something special. The youngest brother does just that and discovers a golden goose within the tree trunk. As he carries the golden goose into town, people notice it. Three girls want to have at least one feather of it. The oldest of these girls reaches for a feather but instead becomes stuck to the goose. This youngest brother carries the goose as if nothing has happened. This continues for the two other girls and several townspeople. Soon there is a huge line of people forced to go wherever the youngest brother carries that goose. A princess looks out her window and laughs. She has not laughed before and the king promised his kingdom to whoever could do it. Yet, seeing this simpleton, he creates three tests: find a man who can drink a cellarful of wine, a man who can eat a mountain of bread, and a ship that sail on land and water. Each time, the youngest brother heads to the woods and find a different man for drinking and eating. Eventually, the youngest brother comes upon the grey man who grants the ship due to the kindness of sharing his meal. It turns out, the grey man was all three–big drinker, big eater, and the maker of the ship. The youngest brother marries the princess and eventually inherits the ship.
Interesting Notes on Kindness
- One small kindness opened up a world of possibilities for the youngest brother
- Ignoring chances of kindness can be detrimental in small and big ways
- Someone who has received kindness usually wishes to give back ten-fold or more as kindness begets kindness
- Each time the youngest brother sought someone who seemed truly thirsty or hungry so that those individuals could benefit from the wine or the bread
- Trickery by others may pause good fortune for those who are kind but eventually those who are kind will receive the great reward
What stories of kindness do you know associated with Germany? Anywhere in the world – past or present? Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.
While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).
We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.)