The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Tall, Tall Ferryman

I work hard, here at the end of the world. Every day, I do the same thing. I take people on my shoulders and carry them over the lake to the other side. I don’t need a ferry boat, because I am a tall, tall man. But I’ve never been able to enjoy my own life because I’ve been so busy carrying people over to the other side.

One day, this fellow comes along who wants to cross over. He’s determined to meet the Griffin, who is the Devil himself to the Christians. He’s such a candid fellow that we sit together and talk for some time. He tells me where he comes from and what he’s after.

I really like this fellow, and I’m happy to carry him over. I hope to carry him back, too. Nobody has ever spoken to the Griffin, not for a long time, and certainly not a Christian! But the Griffin is the wisest creature in the world, so I can’t resist making a request. “When you get to the Griffin, will you ask him something for me?”

“Of course,” he says.

“Will you ask him why I am forced to carry everybody over the lake? Is there any way I can be relieved of this duty?”

“Certainly, I’ll do that!”

What a good fellow. I hoist him up on my shoulders, and I carry him across the lake.

Tall, Tall Ferryman in The Griffin, Grimms. Vintage picture, artist unknown.

Tall, Tall Ferryman