World of Tales

The Shroud

Fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm

There was once a mother who had a little boy of seven years old, who was so handsome and loveable that no one could look at him without liking him, and she herself worshipped him above everything in the world. Now it so happened that he suddenly became ill, and God took him to himself; and for this the mother could not be comforted, and wept both day and night. But soon afterwards, when the child had been buried, it appeared by night in the places where it had sat and played during its life, and if the mother wept, it wept also, and when morning came it disappeared. As, however, the mother would not stop crying, it came one night, in the little white shroud in which it had been laid in its coffin, and with its wreath of flowers round its head, and stood on the bed at her feet, and said, "Oh, mother, do stop crying, or I shall never fall asleep in my coffin, for my shroud will not dry because of all thy tears, which fall upon it." The mother was afraid when she heard that, and wept no more. The next night the child came again, and held a little light in its hand, and said, "Look, mother, my shroud is nearly dry, and I can rest in my grave.” Then the mother gave her sorrow into God's keeping, and bore it quietly and patiently, and the child came no more, but slept in its little bed beneath the earth.

From Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Household Tales, trans. Margaret Hunt (London: George Bell, 1884)

Household tales by the Brothers Grimm

Grimm book cover 1

Notes: Translated by Margaret Hunt, this is the only book that contains the complete collection of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales - 200
fairy tales and 10 legends.

Author: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Published: 1884
Translator: Margaret Hunt
Publisher:George Bell and Sons, London


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