Once there was a little boy who turned into a Grumble. He didn’t mean to, but he did.
He never liked the food his mother would prepare for the family, so he would always fuss with it, and fuss at it. Most of the time he would say something about it, but even when he did not say anything, he would stare at his plate, and murmur in his heart.
His mother was a kind-hearted woman, and a very good cook. The rest of the family was very grateful for the food, and so she knew that the problem was in her youngest son, and not in the kitchen. “Please, be careful, son,“ she would warn him. “God always uses what is in our mouths to transform us. I want to put wholesome food in your mouth so that you will grow up healthy in every way. But if you mouth is full of grumbles, one day you might just turn into one.“
But her son wouldn’t listen to her, and then one day, it just happened. He was getting ready for dinner, and when he glanced in the mirror on the way down, he saw the ugliest thing the world had ever seen. Of course, he began to cry, which did not improve his appearance, and after about fifteen minutes, his father finally came up and got him.
One glance told his father what had happened, but he required his son to come along to dinner anyway. When he got down to the table, he found he couldn’t eat anything, for though Grumbles have mouths—very big ones—they have no throats or stomachs. They can chew but they cannot eat.
In addition, the little boy was so ugly that he had to sit at the table with a sheet over his head. And so night after night, he would just sit at the table with a sheet over his head, and he would silently weep under the sheet, feeling very sorry for himself. The family had stopped offering him food because he couldn’t swallow it, and he hadn’t liked any of it back when he could swallow it. Though this was very reasonable, the boy thought they were a very wicked and unloving family.
This is how it went for three weeks. But one night, when the cheerful cry, “Dinner!“ rang out in the house, the little boy started looking for his sheet. But then it suddenly struck him how funny the whole thing was, and so he laughed out loud. Not only did he laugh out loud, he laughed at himself. Then, not even bothering to look in the mirror, he ran down to dinner.