The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

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Little Boy Named Sorrowful

Themes: Exile | Reunion

Today, my mother took my hand and led me into a room where a man was lying on the bed. He had a handkerchief over his face. It slid off and fell to the ground.

Mother said, “Sorrowful, pick up your father’s handkerchief, and cover his face.”

I picked up the handkerchief and I laid it over the man’s face, but he blew it off again.

I said, “Mother, why do you tell me to cover my father’s face when I have no father in this world? I only have the good God in Heaven. This wild man is not my father.”

The man sat up. He looked at my mother with tears in his eyes. “Who are you?” he asked.

My mother said, “I am your wife, and this is your son, Sorrowful.”

The Little Boy Named Sorrowful, in The Girl without Hands, Grimms. Illustration by Eleanor Vere Boyle.

Little Boy Named Sorrowful