The Goblin and the Empty Chair

If you begin to read the many picture books written by Mem Fox, you will see that she is not an author who sticks with one style, or with one message, but is, instead, an author who is able to speak about many different messages and who is able to write sweet stories that are about nothing more complicated than counting sheep, as well as one stories that are about the human condition. She also has written a number of stories that could be considered fine fairy tales, including one about a goblin and a family of humans.

The goblin is from The Goblin and the Empty Chair. One day he sees his face and he realizes that he doesn’t look like everyone else. He feels that he is too ugly to be seen so he goes to a castle and he hides away, never showing anyone his face. Years later he notices a farmer who is going about his business. He then drops to his knees and cries, his grief obvious, and he is unable to finish his work. That night the goblin goes down to the town and finishes the farmers work for him. The day after he sees the wife of the farmer grieving and unable to do her work, and that

night he again goes down and does what needs to be done around the farmhouse. And the third night the daughter of the household is unable to do her chores, so, of course, the goblin goes and does the chores that need to be done.

What he doesn’t realize is that the family has seen him doing their chores. Every night they set an empty place at their table, to symbolize one who has been taken from their family. On the forth night in The Goblin and the Empty Chair, the family sets the place for the goblin and open the door, inviting him into their life.

This tale tells some deep messages and is ideal for children from kindergarten to third grade to read and to enjoy on their own or with their family.

The Goblin and the Empty Chair

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