A long time ago, in a small town, a baker ran a little shop. Every day he got up before the sun an worked hard. He ground his flour and mixed it with water and yeast. Sometimes he added some seeds or an egg. Sometimes he made plain round loaves, and sometimes he made delicate braided ones. No matter what he made, it was always delicious. Everyone in town loved his bread. And everyone in town loved the cheerful baker.
One day, though, a terrible thing happened. The baker had a little son. He loved to play in the stream near the town. One day, he didn’t come back at supper time like usual. The baker waited and waited, and he started to get worried. There was nothing the baker loved more than his son. But the son never came home.
For weeks, the town sent out search parties. The boy wasn’t at the stream, and he wasn’t in the little woods. He wasn’t in the town, and he wasn’t at home. Nobody could find him. The baker became so sad he stopped baking bread. As the weeks went on, the shop became dry and dusty. People thought they would never have the baker’s delicious work again. Everyone was sad for the baker.
One day, the baker decided he would make a little bread in memory of his son. It was different than what he had been doing. Anything was different than what he had been doing, just sitting and being sad. So the baker made his bread.
He made plain bread, little round loaves like his son would take every day when he went to play. He set them on the windowsill to cool and went home for the afternoon. But when he came back to out the bread away, he saw something odd. One loaf was missing.
Hurriedly, the baker made more bread. They were more little loaves like the last ones. He made loaf after loaf until there wasn’t any space in the shop for more bread!
The people of the town smelled the bread and realized the baker was baking. They were very excited! Everyone ran to the bakery. When he saw the smiles of the people waiting for the bread, the baker smiled too. He forgot how good it was to make people happy with his work.
He let everyone take a little loaf. Some of the children took two. It was madness inside the tiny shop. The baker couldn’t see the counters or the door as everyone jostled for bread. But soon the bread was gone, and everyone started to leave. Soon only one person was left. The baker couldn’t believe his eyes. It was his son.
“How did you get back here?” The baker asked, hugging him tightly.
“I smelled your bread, and I followed it back,” the boy said.
The two of them went in the back and baked a last loaf of bread together, and ate it together for supper. The world was right again.