Once upon a time there was a very old man who lived with his son and daughter-in-law. His eyes were dim, his knees trembled under him when he walked, and he was very deaf. As he sat at table, his hand shook so that he would often spill the soup over the tablecloth, or on his clothes, and sometimes he could not even keep it in his mouth when it got there.
His son and daughter were so annoyed to see his conduct at the table, that at last they placed a chair for him in a corner behind the screen, and gave him his meals in an earthenware basin quite away from the rest. He would often look at the table with tears in his eyes, but he did not complain.
One day, as he was thinking, sadly of the past, the earthenware basin, which he could scarcely hold in his trembling hands, fell to the ground and was broken. The young wife scolded him for being so careless, but he did not reply, and only sighed deeply. Then she bought him a wooden bowl for a penny, and gave him his meals in it.
Some days afterwards his son and daughter saw their little boy, who was about four years old, sitting on the ground and trying to fasten together some pieces of wood.
"What are you making, my boy?" asked his father.
"I am making a little bowl for father and mother to eat their food in when I grow up," he replied.
The husband and wife looked at each other without speaking for some minutes. At last they began to shed tears, and went and brought their old father back to the table. From that day he always took his meals with them, and was never again treated unkindly.