Monday, January 17, 2011

Fairy Tale of the Beggar Woman and the Fire

(Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman with Handkerchief, 1937)

Grimm’s Fairy Tale No. 150: The Old Beggar Woman

There once lived an old woman, surely you have seen this type of person begging?
When the old woman went out crying for alms, if she received something, she said to her benefactor, “May God give you your just reward.” Now the beggar woman arrived at the door of a rapscallion, a young chap warming himself by the fire. The fellow greeted the woman friendly enough and asked why the woman stood at the door shivering. “Come here, old mother and warm your bones.” She approached the fire but came too close so that her old rags began to burn, but she did not notice what had happened. The youth stood quietly, and saw it all. He should have done something! Even if he didn’t have any water, then he should have cried bitter tears so forcefully, that two watery streams flowed from his eyes to quench the fire.