This episode is not original. It was related by a storyteller; those folks who face their audience with nary a teleprompter in sight and narrate their tales. Wish I knew the name of the storyteller, to share with you.
The Wooden Bowl
The frail old man could no longer live alone. He moved in with his son and his family. But things got off to a rocky start.
The old man’s hands trembled and his eyesight was blurred. When the family ate dinner together, food fell off his silverware. He spilled his milk. He dropped plates.
The son’s wife was irritated with the mess. Finally, they decided to set a small table in the corner where Grandpa could sit alone. This would keep everyone else from being annoyed by him as they ate. To avoid broken dishes, food was served at the little table in a wooden bowl.
His 8-year-old grandson thought he saw tears in the old man’s eyes at mealtime, but he made no objection. One evening the parents noticed their son busily at work with some pieces of wood.
“What are you making?” the father asked. The boy responded, “I’m making bowls for you and Mama to have your food in when you live with me when I grow up.”
The parents were speechless as tears welled up in their eyes. That evening the man’s son went over to his father’s place at the little table and took his hand. He gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days, the old man ate every meal with his son’s family. And for some reason, it didn’t seem to matter anymore when a fork was dropped, a drink spilled, or a tablecloth soiled.
P.S. I found that this story has been attributed to Tolstoy and also the Brothers Grimm. A compendium of tales from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries lists this tale as being in circulation since 1535. It’s a pleasure to feature it here, yet again.