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The Baker's Daughter

Published January 15, 2008
Countries: None
Age Levels: 5-6 and up

Many years ago a baker lived in a small town in England. His bread and cakes were delicious. But, just as a beautiful person can act ugly, this man who could bake so well was disliked for his ways. The baker was greedy. His manners and behavior were horrid. He cheated people if he could just to put a few more pennies in his pockets.

The baker had a daughter. The daughter did as most children do. She copied the behavior of her father. This made her unpopular. She never married and lived with her father to help him in the bakery.

One day, the daughter was alone in the shop when a very old woman came into the shop. "Young lady," she said. "I am old and hungry. Please give me a bit of dough to eat."

The girl tried to send her away, but the old woman would not leave. She begged and begged for a piece of dough and would not leave. The daughter at last gave in and threw a small piece of dough at her that was left over from a loaf of bread. "Now, go away, and do not come back," said the girl.

"Thank you," sad the old woman. "But before I leave I beg you to put the dough in the oven for a few moments to bake. I have no oven of my own." The young girl scowled as she took back the dough and put into the oven. The old woman sat down to wait for the dough to bake.

When the right time had passed, the girl opened the oven. Instead of finding a tiny piece of baked dough, she found a huge beautiful and delicious looking cake. The girl pretended the oven was empty. She put the cake behind the cupboard out of sight. "I cannot find your dough. It must have fallen into the fire." she told the old woman."

"Very well," said the old woman. Give me another piece of dough. I will wait until it bakes."

The girl took a smaller piece of dough and placed it into the oven. A few minutes later, she looked into the oven and found a huge loaf of bread. It was a loaf fit to be served at the king's table. She again pretended to find nothing in the oven. "Your dough must have burned up and disappeared she said. It is not here." As the old woman watched, the girl took out the large loaf of bread and put it on the counter to cool.

"Then give me yet another piece of dough," said the old woman. "You cannot send me away hungry."

The girl tore off a still smaller piece of dough and put it on the oven shelf. The old woman watched her every move. At the right time the baker's daughter opened the oven to find the biggest loaf yet. "You will have to leave," said the baker's daughter. "Your dough is now a pile of ashes."

"That loaf is mine," said the old woman.

"That cannot be," said the baker's daughter. Your dough was very small. This loaf is very large."

"You and your father cheat your customers out of little bits of their purchases to make your purses full and large," said the old woman. "I am a fairy, and I came to test you. You failed the test." The old woman waived her arms, and the girl turned into an owl.

The owl flew around the room. The old woman opened the door. The owl flew out the door and flew far away from the city.

"Whooo... was that woman?" wonders the owl. "Whooo should always treat others fairly and kindly?" knows that same owl... You! That is who!  That owl is much more wise than she was when she was a girl working in a bakery.