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Pollock, G.H. (1986). Childhood Sibling Loss: A Family Tragedy. Ann. Psychoanal., 14:5-34.

(1986). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 14:5-34

Childhood Sibling Loss: A Family Tragedy

George H. Pollock, M.D., Ph.D.

A bereaved mother dedicated her book on The Bereaved Parent to the memory of her son, who died when he was ten years old (Schiff, 1978). She wrote of her experiences as well as those of her family and friends who had similar losses in order to help those who confront a similar tragedy, recognizing that though each such catastrophic occurrence has its own individual significance there are some commonalities that can ease some of the pain and the burden. I begin my presentation with a tale that she uses in the introduction to her volume.

There is a tale about a prince fleeing from revolutionaries determined to kill him and take away his throne. The prince, terrified, sought shelter in a peasant's cottage.

Although the peasant had no idea the frightened man was a member of the nobility he gave the prince refuge by telling him to hide under the bed. The prince had no sooner done so when his pursuers battered down the door and began to search the cottage.

The revolutionaries searched everywhere. When they came to the bed they decided to prod it with knives rather than move the cumbersome piece of furniture. At last they left.

The prince, pale but alive, crawled from under the bed after hearing the pursuers depart. He turned to the peasant then and said, “I think you should understand that you have just saved the life of your prince. Name three favors and I will grant them.”

The

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