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The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

Click the image above to fetch a new random story.

Armless African Maiden

After my mother died, every time my father looked at me, he wept. He said he looked so much like my mother. I hoped that his grief would pass, but it made me anxious. I became thin. I asked him why he cried, and he told me again how much I looked like my mother. He could not rid himself of the anguish. He wanted to lie with me. I was horrified. No!

Later, he asked me again, and I refused. I said I would rather die than sleep with him. “You would rather die?”

“Yes.”

He sharpened his knife and took me far away, into a forest in a strange land. He demanded again that I lie with him. Oh, Father! Never! Never! Once again, I refused. He cut off my arms and left me to die.

I bled in an extraordinary way. All night I writhed in acute pain on the cold ground. When the sun rose, I sat up, tormented by my wounds. I was hungry and thirsty but I had no hands to grasp anything. I moved myself by rolling, and at last I found support from something that helped me to stand.

My clothes were stiff with blood. I could not be recognized. I had become a thing. But I survived, as you will see. I thrived.

Armless African Maiden in A Father Cuts off His Daughter’s Hands, The World and the Word. Vintage illustration.