The Duration of Life – Grimm’s Fairy Tale

The Story of “The Duration of Life”

“The Duration of Life” is a Grimm’s fairy tale, that reminds us to be content with what we have and not to desire more than what we need.

Once upon a time, after God had finished creating the world, He decided to determine the lifespan of each creature. The first to approach Him was the ass, who asked, “Lord, how long will I live?”

God answered, “Thirty years. Is that sufficient for you?” But the ass replied, “Ah, Lord, that is too long! My life is filled with hardships – carrying heavy loads from dawn till dusk, dragging sacks of corn to the mill so that others can eat bread – and receiving only blows and kicks in return. Please take away some of these years.”

Moved by the ass’s plea, God granted his wish and reduced his lifespan by eighteen years.

Next, the dog came to God and was offered thirty years to live. However, the dog complained, “Lord, that is too long! My feet cannot endure running for so long. When my voice grows weak and my teeth are gone, what will be left for me to do but run around and growl?”

God saw the dog’s point and reduced his lifespan by twelve years.

Lastly, the monkey appeared before God, who offered him thirty years of life. The monkey replied, “Lord, that may seem like a long time, but it is not. Even when porridge rains down, I have no spoon. I must always play pranks and make faces to entertain others, and if I receive an apple, it is always sour. Behind the facade of happiness is often sadness, and I cannot endure for thirty years.”

God was compassionate and removed ten years from the monkey’s lifespan.

Finally, man arrived, robust and healthy, and asked God to determine his lifespan. God replied, “Thirty years.” The man protested, “That is far too short! Just as I have built my home, planted trees that will bear fruit, and am about to enjoy life, I must die! O Lord, please lengthen my life.”

God granted him eighteen years from the ass, twelve from the dog, and ten from the monkey, but the man was still not satisfied.

Therefore, man’s life consists of seventy years. The first thirty years are his prime, where he is healthy, happy, and works diligently. Then come the ass’s eighteen years, where burdens are placed upon him, he carries corn for others, and receives only beatings and kicks. The dog’s twelve years follow, where he lies in a corner, growls, and no longer has teeth to bite. Finally, the monkey’s ten years end his life, where he becomes foolish, does silly things, and becomes the laughingstock of children.

The Story of “The Duration of Life”
– Grimm’s Fairy Tales –

The Moral Lesson of “The Duration of Life”

The moral lesson of “The Duration of Life” is that one should be content with what they have and not desire for more than they need. The man in the story desired a longer life even though he had already been granted many years from other creatures.

The story suggests that life has a natural cycle and everyone must go through it, no matter how hard or difficult it may be.

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