#FairytaleTuesday: The Stolen Pennies

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index type 154: The Stolen Farthing
[CW: child death}

Much like the last story, this one isn’t as well know but it has a slight spook factor that makes it interesting. As with many of the stories that the Grimm Brothers compiled, this one was told to them by Gretchen Wild. Due to its somewhat obscure nature, there were few images available. Having said that, the story is also incredibly short so I decided post the few images I could find as well as the story in its entirety.

One day a father was sitting at the table with his wife and children and a good friend who was visiting him, and they were having their noonday meal. As they were sitting there, the clock struck twelve, and the visitor saw the door open, and a pale child dressed in snow-white clothes entered. He didn’t look around or say anything but went silently into the next room. Shortly thereafter he returned and went away just as quietly as he had entered. On the second and third day the child came again. Finally, the visitor asked the father who the beautiful child was that entered the room every day at noon. The father answered that he knew nothing about him. He hadn’t seen anything. 

The next day as the clock struck noon, the child entered again, and the visitor pointed the child out to the father, but he didn’t see the boy. Neither did the mother nor the children. The visitor stood up, went to the door, opened it a little, and looked inside. There he saw the pale child sitting on the floor, digging and rummaging in the cracks of the boards. However, as soon as the child noticed the visitor, he disappeared. Now the visitor told the family what he had seen and gave an exact description of the boy. The mother was then able to recognize the child and said, “Alas, it’s my own dear child who died four weeks ago.” 

Then they ripped up the boards of the floor and found two pennies that the boy had received from his mother at one time to give to a poor man, but the child had thought, “You can buy yourself a biscuit for that.” Therefore, he had kept the pennies and had hidden them in the cracks of the floor. This is why he hadn’t been able to rest in his grave and had come back every day at noon to look for the pennies. So the parents gave the money to a poor man, and after that the little child was never seen again.

Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition (p. 26). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition. 

Shaun Tan, Date Unknown
Artist and Date Unknown

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