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The Crumbs on the Table
Grimm Märchen

The Crumbs on the Table - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 2 min

A countryman one day said to his little puppies: „Come into the parlour and enjoy yourselves, and pick up the bread-crumbs on the table; your mistress has gone out to pay some visits.“ Then the little dogs said: „No, no, we will not go. If the mistress gets to know it, she will beat us.“ The countryman said: „She will know nothing about it. Do come; after all, she never gives you anything good.“ Then the little dogs again said: „Nay, nay, we must let it alone. We must not go.“ But the countryman let them have no peace until at last they went, and got on the table, and ate up the bread-crumbs with all their might. But at that very moment the mistress came, and seized the stick in great haste, and beat them and treated them very hardly. And when they were outside the house, the little dogs said to the countryman: „Dost, dost, dost, dost, dost thou see?“ Then the countryman laughed and said: „Didn’t, didn’t, didn’t, you expect it?“ So they just had to run away.

Backgrounds to fairy tale „The crumbs on the table“

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a lesser-known fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in their „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ (Children’s and Household Tales). As with other Grimm fairy tales, „The Crumbs on the Table“ has its roots in European oral traditions and storytelling, which the brothers collected during the early 19th century.

The tale tells the story of a rooster and a hen who go on an adventure to find a specific nut tree. Along the way, they encounter various challenges and meet other animals that join them on their journey. The story is an example of an animal tale, featuring anthropomorphized animals as the main characters.

Some key backgrounds and influences for „The Crumbs on the Table“ include:

European folklore: „The Crumbs on the Table“ is drawn from European oral traditions, which were passed down through generations before being collected by the Brothers Grimm.

Anthropomorphism: The story features anthropomorphized animals as the main characters, which is a common feature in folktales and fairy tales. The animals display human-like emotions, thoughts, and actions, allowing readers to relate to their experiences and learn moral lessons from their adventures.

Adventure and cooperation: The tale highlights the importance of adventure and cooperation among the animals as they work together to overcome challenges and reach their goal. This theme emphasizes the value of teamwork and unity in achieving a common objective.

Simple storytelling: „The Crumbs on the Table“ is an example of a simple, straightforward fairy tale with a linear narrative. It focuses on the animals‘ journey and the challenges they face, making it an accessible and enjoyable story for young readers.

These backgrounds and influences contribute to the cultural significance and appeal of „The Crumbs on the Table“ and the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales as a whole. The story offers an engaging narrative that highlights the importance of adventure, cooperation, and the enduring appeal of anthropomorphized animal characters in folktales.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The crumbs on the table“

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a lesser-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale that offers various interpretations related to teamwork, morality, and perseverance. Some possible interpretations include:

Cooperation and teamwork: The story emphasizes the importance of working together to achieve a common goal. The rooster, hen, and other animals they meet along the way unite to face challenges and ultimately reach their objective. This interpretation highlights the value of collaboration and mutual support.

Anthropomorphism and moral lessons: By using anthropomorphized animals as main characters, the story allows readers to relate to their experiences and extract moral lessons from their adventures. The animals display human-like emotions, thoughts, and actions, making it easier for readers to connect with the story and understand the underlying themes.

Perseverance and overcoming obstacles: The tale features a series of challenges the animals face during their journey, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and determination. This interpretation suggests that the story teaches readers to remain steadfast in their goals, even when confronted with difficulties.

The importance of friendship: As the animals embark on their journey, they encounter other animals that join them, forming a bond of friendship. This interpretation highlights the value of friendship and the support it provides during challenging times.

Simple storytelling and moral values: „The Crumbs on the Table“ is an example of a straightforward fairy tale with a linear narrative that focuses on moral values. The story’s simplicity makes it accessible and enjoyable for young readers, while still conveying important lessons about cooperation, perseverance, and friendship.

These interpretations showcase the depth and complexity of „The Crumbs on the Table“ and the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales as a whole. The story contains valuable insights into the importance of teamwork, the power of friendship, and the ability to overcome challenges, making it an engaging and meaningful tale for readers of all ages.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The crumbs on the table“

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, which means it has fewer adaptations compared to more popular tales. However, it has still been adapted and reinterpreted in various ways. Some examples include:

Illustrated books: „The Crumbs on the Table“ has been included in various collections of Grimm’s fairy tales, often accompanied by illustrations. These illustrated versions make the story more engaging and accessible for children, using visuals to bring the tale to life.

Retellings: Authors have reimagined and retold „The Crumbs on the Table“ in new ways, adjusting the story or incorporating its themes into new narratives. These retellings may be part of anthologies or collections that include reinterpretations of lesser-known fairy tales, although specific examples might be harder to find due to the story’s relative obscurity.

Theater and stage productions: While not as well-documented, „The Crumbs on the Table“ may have been adapted for the stage in various forms, including plays, puppet shows, and musicals. Local theater companies and schools may have performed adaptations of the story, showcasing the tale’s themes and messages in a live setting.

Animated films or TV shows: Although there may not be any major film or TV adaptations of „The Crumbs on the Table,“ it is possible that the story has been included as part of a larger collection of Brothers Grimm tales in animated form, possibly as a short or an episode in an anthology series.

While „The Crumbs on the Table“ may not have inspired as many adaptations as some other Brothers Grimm fairy tales, it still offers opportunities for creative reinterpretation. Its themes of cooperation, friendship, and perseverance continue to resonate with artists and storytellers who may draw inspiration from the story to create new works that explore these timeless ideas.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The crumbs on the table“

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, but it has inspired several adaptations in different forms of media. Here are a few examples:

„The Soldier’s Tale“ by Igor Stravinsky: This musical composition by Stravinsky is based on several folk tales, including „The Crumbs on the Table“. The soldier’s journey is depicted through a combination of music and spoken word, and the story is brought to life through the use of different instruments.

„The Soldier and the Dancing Princesses“ by The Brothers Hildebrandt: This illustrated children’s book is an adaptation of „The Crumbs on the Table“ combined with the classic fairy tale „The Twelve Dancing Princesses“. The story follows a soldier who discovers a secret kingdom where the princesses dance every night, and he uses his magic tablecloth to win their trust and help them escape from an evil king.

„The Magic Tablecloth“ by Barbara Baumgartner: This picture book adaptation of „The Crumbs on the Table“ follows a young boy who is given a magic tablecloth by an old woman. The boy uses the tablecloth to help his family and neighbors, and he learns the importance of kindness and generosity.

„Tablecloth of Turin“ by Mark T. Sullivan: This novel is a modern-day adaptation of „The Crumbs on the Table“. The story follows a young man who discovers a magical tablecloth that can produce delicious food, and he uses his newfound wealth to help those in need. The novel explores themes of morality, greed, and the power of kindness.

Overall, these adaptations of „The Crumbs on the Table“ demonstrate the enduring appeal of this classic fairy tale, and the many ways in which it can be reimagined and retold for new audiences.

Summary of the plot

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm that tells the story of a rooster and a hen who embark on a journey together. The rooster and the hen decide to go on an adventure to find a specific nut tree where they hope to eat their fill of nuts.

On their journey, the rooster and the hen come across various challenges and meet other animals who join them. These animals include a duck, a pin, and a needle. As they continue, the group faces obstacles, such as crossing a stream and finding a place to rest for the night. They demonstrate teamwork and resourcefulness as they overcome each challenge.

When night falls, the group arrives at an inn where they ask for lodging. However, the innkeeper is unkind and refuses to let them stay. The rooster, the hen, and their friends devise a plan to teach the innkeeper a lesson. They use their unique skills and attributes to cause mischief, making the innkeeper regret his decision.

After their successful mischief, the animals finally find a place to rest for the night. The story concludes with the group continuing their journey together, united in friendship and cooperation.

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a simple and engaging tale that highlights themes of teamwork, friendship, and perseverance. Through the adventures of anthropomorphized animal characters, the story offers valuable lessons for readers of all ages.

—————-

Backgrounds to fairy tale „The crumbs on the table“

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a short fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, who were German scholars, linguists, and cultural researchers. The Brothers Grimm are best known for their collection of German folklore and fairy tales, which they began publishing in the early 19th century. Their work aimed to preserve the rich oral tradition of Germanic storytelling, as well as to contribute to the development of a national identity during a time of significant cultural and political change in Germany.

The Brothers Grimm’s collection, known as „Grimms‘ Fairy Tales“ or „Children’s and Household Tales“ (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), contains over 200 stories that have become an integral part of Western literary culture. Many of these stories, such as „Cinderella,“ „Snow White,“ and „Hansel and Gretel,“ have become universally recognized and beloved over time.

„The Crumbs on the Table,“ like many of the Brothers Grimm’s tales, serves as a morality lesson for children, using animals as characters to teach values and life lessons. These stories often contain darker elements, as seen in the harsh punishment inflicted upon the puppies in this tale, reflecting the realities of life in the early 19th century. While „The Crumbs on the Table“ may not be as well-known as some of the more famous Grimms‘ tales, it shares the same themes of morality, trust, and consequences that are present throughout their collection.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The crumbs on the table“

„The Crumbs on the Table“ is a simple yet meaningful fairy tale that offers several interpretations, touching on themes such as trust, temptation, obedience, and consequences.

Trust: The story highlights the importance of trust in relationships. The puppies initially express their reluctance to disobey their mistress, but the countryman convinces them otherwise. By betraying their mistress’s trust and not listening to their instincts, the puppies face harsh consequences. This teaches readers to be cautious of who they trust and to remain loyal to those who have their best interests at heart.

Temptation: The tale also deals with the theme of temptation, as the puppies are lured into eating the crumbs despite their initial resistance. The story serves as a reminder that giving in to temptation can often lead to undesirable outcomes, and that it is essential to exercise self-discipline and resist momentary pleasures in favor of long-term wellbeing.

Obedience: The puppies‘ punishment is a result of their disobedience, and the story underscores the importance of following rules and respecting authority. This can be seen as a moral lesson to children, teaching them to listen to their guardians and be mindful of consequences when they choose to break the rules.

Consequences: Finally, the story demonstrates the inevitability of consequences for one’s actions. The puppies are unable to escape the consequences of their disobedience, despite the countryman’s assurance that their mistress would not find out. This serves as a cautionary tale, reminding readers that actions have repercussions, and that it is wise to consider potential consequences before making decisions.

Overall, „The Crumbs on the Table“ can be interpreted as a cautionary tale that teaches valuable life lessons about trust, temptation, obedience, and the consequences of one’s actions.

Summary of the plot

In the fairy tale „The Crumbs on the Table“ by Brothers Grimm, a countryman tries to coax his little puppies into the parlour to eat the bread crumbs on the table while their mistress is away. At first, the puppies refuse, fearing that their mistress will find out and punish them. However, the countryman is persistent and eventually convinces them to go into the parlour and eat the crumbs.

As the puppies enjoy their feast, the mistress returns home unexpectedly and catches them in the act. She angrily grabs a stick and beats the puppies, treating them harshly for their disobedience. Once outside, the puppies confront the countryman, repeating „Dost, dost, dost, dost, dost thou see?“ to indicate their displeasure. The countryman merely laughs at their predicament, responding with „Didn’t, didn’t, didn’t, you expect it?“ The puppies are left with no choice but to run away, having learned a valuable lesson about trust and obedience.

Informations for scientific analysis


Fairy tale statistics
Value
NumberKHM 190
Aarne-Thompson-Uther-IndexATU Typ 236
Translations DE, EN, ES, FR, PT, IT, JA, NL, PL, RU, TR, VI,
Readability Index by Björnsson24
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index86
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level5.1
Gunning Fog Index7.4
Coleman–Liau Index7.9
SMOG Index7.3
Automated Readability Index5.1
Character Count976
Letter Count736
Sentence Count12
Word Count183
Average Words per Sentence15,25
Words with more than 6 letters16
Percentage of long words8.7%
Number of Syllables228
Average Syllables per Word1,25
Words with three Syllables6
Percentage Words with three Syllables3.3%

Image sources: © Andrea Danti / Shutterstock

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