Children's Legends, No. 5

God's Food

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once there were two sisters; the one had no children and was rich; the other had five children, was a widow, and was so poor that she no longer had enough bread to feed herself and her children.

In distress she went to her sister and said, "My children and I are starving. You are rich; give me a bite of bread."

The rich but hard-hearted woman said, "I don't have anything in my house either," and with angry words she sent the poor woman away.

Some time later the rich sister's husband came home and wanted to cut himself a piece of bread, but when he cut into the loaf, red blood gushed from it. When his wife saw this, she became horrified and told him what had happened. He hurried away and wanted to help. When he entered the poor widow's room, he found her there praying. She was holding the two youngest children in her arms; the three oldest ones were lying there dead.

He offered her food, but she answered, "We no longer need earthly food; God has filled three already, and will hear our prayers as well."

She had hardly uttered these words when the two small ones stopped breathing, whereupon her heart broke too, and she sank down dead.

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Revised December 14, 2008.