Why Bread turned into Stone

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This Polish fairy tale recounts the story of a poor person and a miser who learned the error of his ways. It shows how greed can be repaid with kindness, and that by sharing what we have, we stand to gain even more.

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Why Bread turned into Stone
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Once upon a time, in a village in Silesia, there lived a woman with five children. She worked very hard to support her family, as her husband had died several years earlier. She only owned a small patch of land and ​​had no money to spare.

To keep her children from starving, she worked many jobs. She also helped one of the neighbours with their harvest and helped out at the mill. Sometimes she filled-in for the baker when he needed a break. People paid her a bit of money for this, and sometimes gave her some food.

However, winter arrived so early one year that it destroyed all of the crops. Spring followed, and with it came flooding. The fierce, roaring waters carried away everything the family had managed to save during the winter. Hunger plagued the whole area. And the poor hard-working widow with five children was now even worse off than before.

One day, when she was again traipsing around the countryside in search of work, she saw another local farmer further up the road. Not only did he not look at all hungry, but he was carrying a sack of bread on his back. In fact, it was so heavy that he stooped under the weight. Every now and then he would have to sit down by the side of the road to rest.

The widow slowly approached him and humbly asked: “Neighbour, I see that the cold weather and floods have left you with some food supplies. Would you be so good as to share a few loaves of bread with a poor widow and her five children? As soon as I have some money, I’ll pay you!”

But even though the man was clearly much better-off…

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