THE EARS OF WHEAT
BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM (TRANSLATED)
AGES upon ages ago, says the German grandmother, when angels
used to wander on earth, the ground was more fruitful than
it is now. Then the stalks of wheat bore not fifty or sixty
fold, but four times five hundred fold. Then the wheat-ears
grew from the bottom to the top of the stalk. But the men of
the earth forgot that this blessing came from God, and they
became idle and selfish.
One day a woman went through a wheat-field, and her little
child, who accompanied her, fell
 into a puddle and soiled her frock. The mother tore off a
handful of the wheat-ears and cleaned the child's dress with
Just then an angel passed by and saw her. Wrathfully he
"Wasteful woman, no longer shall the wheat-stalks produce
ears. You mortals are not worthy of the gifts of Heaven!"
Some peasants who were gathering wheat in the fields heard
this, and falling on their knees, prayed and entreated the
angel to leave the wheat alone, not only on their account,
but for the sake of the little birds who otherwise must
perish of hunger.
The angel pitied their distress, and granted a part of the
prayer. And from that day to this the ears of wheat have
grown as they do now.