Father Grumbler-The Brown Fairy Book
There was once a grumpy man who had as many children as there were sparrows in the yard. As you can imagine, all the children didn’t help with the grumpiness at all. Being poor also didn’t help the situation.
The man, who was called Father Grumbler, decided to go see a holy man to seek advice about his situation. The holy man took pity upon the man and gave him a basket that would produce food until he told it to stop. The holy man cautioned Father Grumbler not to show this basket off to anyone.
Well, we all know he showed it to people. He showed it off to some innkeepers who stole his basket and replaced it with another one. When Father Grumbler got home, he was disappointed to find that the basket he had was just a regular old basket that would not feed his children.
Father Grumbler returned to the holy man who gave him a magical cock, or rooster as we like to say. The rooster would drop bits of gold and diamonds out of its beak. Again, Father Grumbler was cautioned by the holy man not to show this gift off. Of course, he showed it off to the very same innkeepers, perhaps because he was stupid. The innkeepers again took advantage of Father Grumbler.
He returned a third time to the holy man who gave him a whip that would whip the people who had done him wrong until he told it to stop. Again, he wasn’t supposed to show this off, but he did because he just couldn’t help getting revenge. In all of the commotion, the holy man showed up and said he was taking his gifts back, which he did. Father Grumbler was left as poor as ever because he couldn’t follow advice.
What I liked
I like these stories where someone basically shoots themselves in the foot because they didn’t follow advice or instructions. There is certainly something to be said for following advice, especially, if the person giving the advice knows what in the heck they’re talking about.
On the inverse of this, there are some people who give advice who don’t know what in the heck they’re talking about. It’s probably not a good idea to follow their advice. In the situation of Father Grumbler, he got advice and even presents from a holy man, so he probably should have followed the holy man’s advice.
What I didn’t like
I feel bad for the children in this situation because they suffered because their dad was an idiot. Look, we all want to help the children. We want the children to have nice lives and opportunities, but sometimes we can’t help the children because of their parents.
I grew up in a somewhat poor area. At Christmas, there were toy drives for less-fortunate children. They would put the Christmas wishes of these children on a Christmas tree at Wal-mart or wherever. Sure, you could buy a PlayStation for that one kid, but there was a good chance that kid needed to be on this Christmas list because his or her parents spent all their money on meth or whatever. If that kid got the PlayStation, they wouldn’t get to keep the PlayStation. They would wake up one morning to find their parents had pawned the PlayStation for meth money. It almost seemed crueler for the child to get the item and have it taken away than to not get the item at all.
I feel like Father Grumbler’s children were in this same sort of situation and that’s sad. This holy man was probably just thinking of the children, but Father Grumbler made it impossible for his children to benefit from the holy man.
If you have a father named Grumbler, you should probably grow up in a hurry and make your own way in the world.
Did you ever know a kid growing up who missed out on the generosity of others precisely because of their parents?
Would you try to help the kids even though you knew the parents were going to prevent the kids from getting your help?