The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean: A Tale of Unity and Consequences

Summary of “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean”

“The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean” is a Brothers Grimm tale featuring anthropomorphic characters, teaching solidarity and consequences.

In “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean” tale, a straw, a coal, and a bean all escape their respective fates of being burned or boiled in a pot. They decide to stick together and leave the country to avoid further danger.

As they journey together, they encounter a stream with no way to cross. The resourceful straw offers itself as a bridge, allowing the coal to cross. However, when the coal reaches the middle and hears the rushing water, it becomes frightened and stops. The burning straw collapses, taking the coal with it, and both are extinguished in the water. The bean, who had stayed on the bank, finds the situation amusing and laughs uncontrollably until it splits. Fortunately, a passing tailor stitches the bean back together, leaving all beans with a black seam.

The tale teaches the importance of unity and the consequences of individual actions. Despite their differences, the characters initially band together for safety. However, their lack of cooperation and consideration for one another ultimately lead to their downfall, with only the bean surviving due to outside assistance.

The Story of “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean”

Once there was a poor old woman who lived in a village; she had collected a bundle of beans, and was going to cook them. So she prepared a fire on her hearth, and to make it burn up quickly she lighted it with a handful of straw. When she threw the beans into the pot, one escaped her unnoticed and slipped on to the floor, where it lay by a straw. Soon after a glowing coal jumped out of the fire and joined the others. Then the Straw began, and said: ‘Little friends, how came ye hither?’

The Coal answered: ‘I have happily escaped the fire; and if I had not done so by force of will, my death would certainly have been a most cruel one; I should have been burnt to a cinder.’

The Bean said: ‘I also have escaped so far with a whole skin; but if the old woman had put me into the pot, I should have been pitilessly boiled down to broth like my comrades.’

‘Would a better fate have befallen me, then?’ asked the Straw; ‘the old woman packed all my brothers into the fire and smoke, sixty of them all done for at once. Fortunately, I slipped through her fingers.’

‘What are we to do now, though?’ asked the Coal.

‘My opinion is,’ said the Bean, ‘that, as we have escaped death, we must all keep together like good comrades; and so that we may run no further risks, we had better quit the country.’

This proposal pleased both the others, and they set out together. Before long they came to a little stream, and, as there was neither path nor bridge, they did not know how to get over. The Straw at last had an idea, and said, ‘I will ​throw myself over and then you can walk across upon me like a bridge.’ So the Straw stretched himself across from one side to the other, and the Coal, which was of a fiery nature, tripped gaily over the newly-built bridge. But when it got to the middle and heard the water rushing below, it was frightened, and remained speechless, not daring to go any further. The Straw beginning to burn, broke in two and fell into the stream; the Coal, falling with it, fizzled out in the water. The Bean, who had cautiously remained on the bank, could not help laughing over the whole business, and, having begun, could not stop, but laughed till she split her sides. Now, all would have been up with her had not, fortunately, a wandering tailor been taking a rest by the stream. As he had a sympathetic heart, he brought out a needle and thread and stitched her up again; but, as he used black thread, all beans have a black seam to this day.

The Story of “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean”
– Grimm’s Fairy Tales –

The Moral Lesson of “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean”

In the vast realm of fairy tales, nestled among the classics penned by the Brothers Grimm, lies a timeless gem: “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean.” This enchanting narrative, though seemingly simple, is brimming with profound moral lessons that resonate through the ages. Let us embark on a journey to unravel the wisdom concealed within the whimsical adventures of these anthropomorphic characters.

At its core, this tale underscores the importance of solidarity and cooperation. The straw, the coal, and the bean, disparate in nature yet bound by circumstance, find themselves united in their quest for survival. In a world fraught with dangers—a blazing fire, a boiling pot—they realize that standing alone spells doom. However, by joining forces, they not only defy their grim fates but also forge a bond that transcends their differences.

As the tale unfolds, we witness the consequences of selfishness and lack of empathy. The coal, consumed by fear, halts its progress on the makeshift bridge, oblivious to the peril it poses to the straw. This disregard for the well-being of others proves catastrophic, leading to the demise of both the coal and the straw. Meanwhile, the bean, stationed safely on the bank, finds amusement in the misfortune of its companions—a momentary lapse in empathy that nearly costs its own existence.

Central to the narrative is the theme of accountability and the repercussions of one’s choices. Each character faces the consequences of its decisions: the coal’s hesitation results in its extinguishment, the straw’s frailty leads to its demise, and the bean’s laughter nearly seals its fate. However, it is the intervention of the compassionate tailor that ultimately saves the bean from oblivion—a reminder that redemption is possible even in the face of adversity.

In Conclusion

“The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean” may be a fairy tale woven from whimsy and imagination, but its lessons are profound and enduring. Through the trials and tribulations of its characters, we glean insights into the power of unity, the significance of empathy, and the gravity of our choices. As we navigate the tapestry of life, let us heed these timeless teachings, striving to cultivate compassion, collaboration, and conscientiousness in all that we do.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Grimm’s Fairy Tales

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

The Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen) is a collection of folk stories recorded by the two brothers, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Within these tales, children are invited to immerse themselves in a world filled with powerful fairy godmothers, beautiful princesses accompanied by brave princes, wicked witches, and ferocious monsters…

In addition, to the aforementioned “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean” story, presents a myriad of other captivating tales within the Grimm Brothers’ collection. Each narrative carries valuable lessons about morals and life.

Do not miss the opportunity to explore and delve into the enchanting world of Grimm’s Fairy Tales at FairyTales.Love.

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