This extract from Louise Doughty's novel, Stone Cradle, concerns the tragedy of infant mortality, particularly in vulnerable communities where the poorest members don't have the means to bury their babies. 

This vignette from the novel gives us a graveside view of secret burials carried out by a vicar helping the most impoverished in the community.

It is told by a young woman who is herself pregnant and whose unborn child is thus at risk from the sickness sweeping the village. Out of this tragedy the young woman sees comfort in an unexpected way.  The background for the story is a Romany community, and some Romany names and words are used.

You can download the student worksheet and teacher’s notes below. You can also listen to the audio and read the transcript.


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