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One of Grimm’s fairy tales is about a little boy who lived with his father, his mother, and his elderly grandfather. The grandfather was feeble and his hands shook. When he ate, the silverware rattled against the plate, and he often missed his mouth. Then the food would dribble onto the tablecloth. This upset the young mother, because she didn’t want to have to deal with the extra mess and hassle of taking care of the old man. But he had nowhere else to live.


So the young parents decided to move him away from the table, into a corner, where he could sit on a stool and eat from a bowl. The young mother said, "From now on, you eat over there." And so he did, always looking at the table and wanting to be with his family but having to sit alone in the corner.


One day his hands trembled more than usual; he dropped his bowl and broke it. The young father yelled, "If you’re going to eat like a pig, you’re going to eat out of a pig’s trough!" So they made the old man a wooden trough, put his meals in it, and told him to eat out of it. And he did.


Not long after that, the couple came upon their four-year-old son playing out in the yard with some scraps of wood. His father asked him what he was doing. The little boy looked up, smiled, and said, “I’m making a trough, to feed you and Mamma out of when I get big.” The next day the old man was back at the table eating with the family from a plate, and no one ever scolded him or mistreated him again.

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