The Gist: A piece of straw, a chunk of coal and a bean avoid being burned/cooked by an old woman, and together they set out to find a new place to live. Only the bean survives.
“The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean,” or as I have officially (alright, unoffially) dubbed it: “The Legend of Why Beans are Bad,” tells the story of how beans came to have a black seam. This story is barely a page long. It’s a quick little fable with cute, albeit foolish, characters . If you ask me, the bean is probably the least deserving of recognition of the three comrades. He just stands by laughing at his friends’ deaths, and yet he gains the pity of a passing tailor who sews the bean up when his laughing causes him to burst. No wonder I don’t like beans… They’re sociopaths! I now have literary support to back me up.
The poor coal and straw! Don’t they deserve a legend of their own? I think so.
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- The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, 3rd Edition translated by Jack Zipes (Bantam, 2003)