The Ear of Corn (Fairy Tale Fridays)

The Ear of Corn is a story by The Brothers Grimm that is more a fable or a legend than what I usually think of when I hear "fairy tale".  I've lived in the Midwest region of the United States my entire life so I'm no stranger to fields upon fields of corn which often are, as the saying goes, "knee high by the fourth of July".   And yet, I've never given much thought to the origins of corn.  It's something I just take for granted as having always been here.

At the same time, I love stories that involve how things came to be.  As a child I remember loving Just So Stories by Kipling and others in that same style - the ones that had fables of how the camel got his hump or why the elephant has a trunk and the giraffe a long neck.  I think The Ear of Corn story fits in with these types of origin tales.  The story relates how corn used to grow with multiple ears on a single stalk.  Because mankind didn't appreciate the plentiful nature of corn, God removed the crop and only returned it to it's single ear per stalk form after hearing cries from the people.

I really like the quote from this story that says,

"Men however are so made, that when they are too well off they no longer value the blessings which come from God, but grow indifferent and careless."

I think this is an interesting reminder about living life with a spirit of gratitude.  Often times on or around Thanksgiving and Christmas people talk about how blessed they are to have things like family, shelter, food, jobs, clothing, and other things that they otherwise take for granted.  I certainly won't speak out against this notice of life's everyday blessings, but why not make it a point to appreciate them every day, all year long?  Similarly, around the holidays people often take the time to recognize those less fortunate and give more to charity, participate in service projects, and make an effort to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the sick.  Why not take these same steps to help others in January, April, and August?  I think this story makes a good point - that holds true today - about how we recognize blessings most when times are leanest.  I'm glad that we have a holiday in the US that's devoted to giving thanks, but I also wish that more people (regardless of religious or nonreligious affiliation) would take the opportunity to do so on a daily basis.  

What are your thoughts on this story?  Do you agree that people appreciate blessings less when they are well off?  Do you give thanks - and give to others - daily or only around the holidays?  Share your thoughts here or post your own Fairy Tale Fridays post and link up with Tif at Tif Talks Books!

Fairy Tale Fridays is a weekly meme hosted by Tif of Tif Talks Books.  Check out Tif's site for more information on upcoming Fairy Tales to read and discuss!

2 Response to "The Ear of Corn (Fairy Tale Fridays)"

  1. Peep says:
    November 19, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Hmmm, good story. I don't know about how much well off people appreciate their blessings. I think it's easy to point the finger at them. I am not well off but I know at times I still get comfortable and start taking things for granted - until something happens, you know?

    I'm a huge bargain, second hand, yard sale shopper, but I think its easier to give things away. That's how I grew up. My kids, so funny, they are always going through their stuff looking for things to give to other kids. OK, most times it's because they want something in exchange.

  2. Tif Sweeney says:
    December 10, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    Wow! I am really late in commenting on this one! I completely agree with you that we need to give and be thankful all year round! Why does it have to be just around the major holidays?!? Afterall, most of what I am thankful for is the stuff that happens on a daily basis!

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