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The Shroud (fairy tale) facts for kids

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The Little Shroud Grimm
"Look, mother, my shroud is nearly dry" - illustration by Otto Ubbelohde (c1893)

The Shroud, (Das Totenhemdchen): KHM 109, also known as The Burial Shirt and The Little Shroud, is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm and published in the first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Grimm's Fairy Tales) in 1815. It contains elements of Aarne–Thompson type 769: The Death of a Child.


The tale was translated by Margaret Raine Hunt in 1884:

There once a mother who had a little seven-year-old boy who was so handsome and lovable that no one could look at him without liking him, and she herself worshipped him above everything else in the world.

He suddenly became ill, and God took him to himself. The mother could not be comforted, and wept both day and night. Soon afterwards, after the child had been buried, he appeared at night in the places where he had sat and played during his life, and if the mother wept, he wept also. When morning came, it disappeared.

When the mother would not stop crying, he came one night in the little white shroud in which he had been laid in his coffin, and with his wreath of flowers round his head. He 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 his 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 his little bed beneath the earth.

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