heart of stone
“Heart of Stone” is a German fairy tale that takes place in the Black Forest (spooky name, delicious cake). The story focuses on a hapless protagonist named Peter who learns a very valuable life lesson through various bad decisions and encounters with supernatural beings, specifically the “Glass Imp” and “Dutch Mike” who is in cahoots with the devil. Peter trades his heart for wealth and the ability to dance (one of which seems like an odd thing to waste a wish on.) His wishes are granted and a cold stone is placed in his chest where his heart once was (a pretty high stakes trade but at least he’ll be able to dance well). Peter achieves great financial success; unfortunately, this is followed by intense apathy and a murder. Don’t worry, he eventually comes to his senses and realizes that money can’t take the place of a real beating heart, joy and empathy. With the help of the Glass Imp, he tricks Dutch Mike and is able to get his real heart back. The Glass Imp also helps bring Peter’s wife, who was the victim of the aforementioned murder, back to life. Peter winds up being poor but happy, so to me this tale is a very literal interpretation of trading in morality and kindness for monetary gain. There was a German film of the same name made in 1950 which was based on this fairy tale.