The Shroud

Sacred Texts  Household Tales Index  Previous: The Ungrateful Son  Next: The Two Kings' Children 

 The Shroud
      There was once a mother who had a little boy of seven years old, who was
 so handsome and lovable 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.