The Ungrateful Son Fairy Tale

The Ungrateful Son

He hid the good food when he saw his father coming. The ungrateful son will regret that for all the rest of his days.

The Ungrateful Son is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a son hiding a roasted chicken for his old father. Unfortunately, the chicken changes into a toad and attaches itself to the son’s face. He will need to feed it for the rest of his life to prevent the toad from eating his face.


Complete text The Ungrateful Son

A man and his wife were once sitting by the door of their house. They had a roasted chicken set before them and were about to eat it together.

Then the man saw that his aged father was coming. He hastily took the chicken and hid it, for he would not permit him to have any of it.

The old man came, took a drink, and went away. Now the son wanted to put the roasted chicken on the table again.

However, when he took it up, it had become a great toad. It jumped into his face and sat there and never went away again. When anyone wanted to take it off, it would looked venomously at him as if it would jump in his face. No one would try to touch it.

And so the ungrateful son was forced to feed the toad every day, or else it would feed itself on his face. He went about the world without knowing any rest.

Tips for Telling The Ungrateful Son

Storyteller Rudolf Roos
  • This is a stark warning tale without an happy end. I suggest keeping it that way, there are already enough stories with happy endings.
  • Take the time when telling this story. Your listeners need to feel what the son does to his father, so they can also feel how life gets back at him.
  • In the time of this story, a roasted chicken was a real luxury. You might need to tell that to your audience.
A reading of The Ungrateful Son

All Questions Answered

Who wrote the story The Ungrateful Son?

It was published by the Brothers Grimm in the first edition of their Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The tale was widely told. The Grimm’s source: Johannes Pauli.

When was The Ungrateful Son written?

The Brothers Grimm included it in the 1815 second volume of the first edition of their Grimm’s fairy tales. It was long told before.

More useful information

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Fairy tales with a toad

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