The Old Beggar Woman Fairy Tale

The Old Beggar Woman

An old beggar woman comes too close to the fire. The boy should have done something, shouldn’t he?

The Old Beggar Woman is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about an old woman who begs. Shivering from the cold, she enters a house but stands too close to the fire. There is a boy, without water, but should he not have saved her with the tears from his eyes?


Complete text The Old Beggar Woman

There was once an old woman. You surely must have seen an old woman begging before?

This woman begged likewise and each time she got something she said, “May God reward you.”

She came to a door. Inside by the fire, a friendly rogue of a boy was standing, warming himself. Kindly he said to the poor old woman, standing shivering by the door, “Come, old mother, and warm yourself.”

She came in, but stood too near the fire. Her old rags began to burn, and she was not aware of it.

The boy stood there and saw it. Should he not have put the flames out? Is it not true that he ought to have put them out?

And if he had not had any water, then shouldn’t he have wept all the water in his body out of his eyes? To supply him with two pretty streams with which to extinguish them?

Tips for Telling The Old Beggar Woman

Storyteller Rudolf Roos
  • This story needs some work to be told as a story. For starters, how will it end? You don’t need to tell it, but you need to know it yourself.
  • Take the time to flesh out the begging of this woman a little. Tell us something about where she does it and how she looks. Paint us a picture.
  • Think about the style in which you will tell this story. Is it a tragedy, a comedy, some philosophical musing?
A reading of The Old Beggar Woman

All Questions Answered

Who wrote the story The Old Beggar Woman?

It was published by the Brothers Grimm in the first edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Their source was a book by Heinrich Stilling, Heinrich Stillings Jünglings-Jahre.

When was The Old Beggar Woman written?

The Brothers Grimm included it in the 1815 second volume of the first edition of their Grimm’s fairy tales. It was written down before by Heinrich Stilling.

More useful information

  • No more useful information available.

Photo credits: Pixabay

The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales on this website are based on the authentic translation of Margaret Hunt. They were edited and reformatted for pleasant reading and telling by Storyteller Rudolf Roos.
See the complete list of The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (link to