In a village dwelt a poor old woman, who had gathered together a dish of beans and wanted to cook them.
So she made a fire on her hearth, and that it might burn the quicker, she lighted it with a handful of straw.
When she was emptying the beans into the pan, one dropped without her observing it, and lay on the ground beside a straw, and soon afterwards a burning coal from the fire leapt down to the two.
Then the straw began and said, "Dear friends, from whence do you come here?"
The coal replied, "I fortunately sprang out of the fire, and if I had not escaped by main force, my death would have been certain — I should have been burnt to ashes."
The bean said, "I too have escaped with a whole skin, but if the old woman had got me into the pan, I should have been made into broth without any mercy, like my comrades."
"And would a better fate have fallen to my lot?" said the straw. "The old woman has destroyed all my brethren in fire and smoke; she seized sixty of them at once, and took their lives. I luckily slipped through her fingers."
"But what are we to do now?" said the coal.
"I think," answered the bean, "that as we have so fortunately escaped death, we should keep together like good companions, and lest a new mischance should overtake us here, we should go away together, and repair to a foreign country.
The proposition pleased the two others, and they set out on their way in company.