The Old Man and his Dearest Wish
(Not a tale from Hoffman, Fontaine or the Brothers Grimm, but a tale nonetheless and it is certainly grim.)
Once upon a time there was a boy who was vibrant; his hair was red and his eyes were huge and the clearest blue. He was spirited and naughty.
His mother was an ogre, his sister too. They didn't like him, they ignored him. They were only interested in themselves and eating toadstools. His father was in a faraway land on the other side of the world, while war raged and ravaged.
When he grew up he became a doctor and married a nurse and all was well.
In time children were born and he grew older. His wife became sick and died. He was very sad.
Soon after, his mind began to be disturbed, disrupted, disconnected. At first it was subtle and then it became plain to him and to all that something was wrong. The sophisticated organ in his head was breaking down.
Years passed and then the old man, for now he had become old with white hair and clear blue eyes, had to go and live in a garret in an old house.
He was contented for a while, but then the dismantling in his head became unbearable and longed for death to come in any form - a visitation, self-inflicted. The old man feels very sad and longs for his wish to come true so that he can die and be happy in the ever after.