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Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

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Penniless Woodcutter Father

Themes: Trust | Worth

I worked from dawn to dusk cutting wood, and I saved enough money to send my son to high school. He was a diligent student and his teachers praised him, but when he came home, he said, “Ah, father, I’ve learned a little, but in these hard times, I can’t earn a farthing more than what will suffice for our daily bread.”

He wants to help me chop wood in the forest, but it is rough work, and he is not accustomed to it. There’s a mean part of me that thinks I should have just kept him at home and saved the money that I spent on his education. I prefer to think that if I do my best by him, and if it is God’s will, my efforts will somehow turn to my advantage.

Penniless Woodcutter Father in The Spirit in the Bottle, Grimms