An ancient grandmother lived with her daughter and grandson. As she grew frail and feeble, instead of being a help around the house, she became a constant trial. She broke plates and cups, lost knives and spilled water.

One day, exasperated because the old woman had broken another precious plate, the daughter sent the grandson to buy his grandmother a wooden plate. The boy hesitated because he knew a wooden plate would humiliate his grandmother.

But his mother insisted, so off to market he went, and when he returned, he brought not one, but two wooden plates. "I only asked you to buy one," his mother said. "Didn't you hear me?"

"Yes," said the son. "But I bought the second one so there would be one for you when you get old."