To start this conversation I am going to question why this is considered "a tale for children". I feel like this was overlooked the first time that read/looked at this. I am twenty one years old and this story confused me, how is a child supposed to understand this story. Thinking back to when I was a child I would have read the first two lines and been confused and gave up. So this makes me think that saying it's a child's tale has a tiny bit of sarcasm behind it, but hey that's just me. Somehow I feel like you can relate this to the golden rule we were all taught in school when we were younger, "treat others the way you want to be treated". They mocked and laughed at the poor old man/angel and then wanted him to work miracles for them. So when the old man didn't work the wonders that they were expecting they got pissed off. It was almost as if he were teasing them back. For example " Besides, the few miracles attributed to the angel showed a certain mental disorder, like the blind man who didn't recover his sight but grew three new teeth or the paralytic who didn't get to walk but almost won the lottery, and the leper whose sores sprouted sunflowers." These were very sarcastic remedies, like they almost got a miracle "but nah". The elder man gave them a taste of what he could do, but he was treated so badly that he didn't care to actual help.
Also what attributes make him an angel? The fact that he has wings? There are other characters within the story whom also have strange extremities. It never says that he actually has the wings of an angel. They are actually described as buzzard wings that have seen better days. If he were to be an angel I feel that his wings would be majestic and beautiful and could with stand a little weather. Then at the end of the story when he is secretly growing his wings back they are described as "the feathers of a scarecrow" again, not very majestic. Yet they keep referring to him as an angel. In a way it shows the fear of the unknown. They weren't sure what he was so they wanted to assume he was something nice and helpful rather than assuming he was evil and sent by the devil. Which they are even warned of that could be an option. "He reminded them that the devil had a bad habit of making use of carnival tricks in order to confuse the unwary." Why wasn't this considered an option, instead of automatically assuming it was an angel. Were they just afraid? I just don't think they wanted to know what he was. Assuming good over evil is always easier.
In the end he makes the family very rich and gets them out of the rundown home that they had. Do you think that this was an act of god? And that the man really was an angel and just had a funny way of showing it? Or do you think it was just a very old man with wings? (Yes I know we touched on this in class but the topic caught my attention).