The Old Beggar Woman

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

There was once an old woman, but you have surely seen an old woman going begging before now. This woman begged likewise, and when she received anything she said, "May God reward you."

The beggar woman came up to the door, and there by the fire stood a friendly rogue of a boy warming himself. The boy spoke kindly to the poor old woman as she was standing there by the door shivering, "Come, old mother, and warm yourself."

She came in, but stood too close to the fire, so that her old rags began to burn, and she was not aware of it. The boy stood there and saw that. Should he not have put the flames out? Is it not true that he should have put them out? And if he did not have any water, then he should have wept all the water in his body out of his eyes, and that would have supplied two good streams with which to put them out.

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Revised January 18, 2000.