The Pillowman

Katurian's stories

The Little Apple Men

Told briefly in I.i, and re-enacted in the first child murder. A young girl, whose father mistreats her, carves a set of little men out of apples. She gives them to her father, telling him to save them rather than eat them. He scoffs at her, and eats several. The men have razor blades inside, which kill the father. In a twist ending, however, at night the remaining apple men accuse the girl of killing their brothers, and they jump down her throat to kill her.

The Three Gibbet Crossroads

Told in I.i. A man wakes up in an iron gibbet, aware that he has committed the crime he is being punished for, but unaware what the crime was. He sees two other gibbets, one marked Murderer and the other marked Rapist. Several people come by who have sympathy for the murderer and the rapist, but only disgust for the first man when they read the sign declaring his crime. The man is shot by a highwayman, still unable to determine what crime he could have committed that would be worse than murder or rape.

The Tale of the Town on the River

Told in I.i, and reenacted in the second murder. A young boy, mistreated by his parents, offers a strange dark rider a piece of his meal. Touched, the rider presents him a gift: he chops off the child's toes. The conclusion of the story relates that the rider was the Pied Piper on his way to Hamelin to take away the children. Since the boy is now crippled, he cannot keep up with the other children, and is therefore the only child in the town to survive.

The Pillowman

Told in II.i. The Pillowman is a being made out of pillows who visits people on the verge of suicide because of the tortured lives they have led. The Pillowman travels back in time to the person's childhood and convinces them to commit suicide, thereby avoiding a life of suffering. This task saddens the Pillowman, however, and he decides to visit his own younger self, who readily commits suicide. This relieves the Pillowman's sadness, but also causes all the children he saved to live out their miserable lives and eventually die alone.

The Little Green Pig

Told in II.i. Katurian's most juvenile story, but also the only one devoid of violence. A green pig, who enjoys his peculiar coloring, is mocked by the other pigs. The farmers use a special permanent paint to make the pig pink just like all the others. The pig prays to God to keep his peculiarity, and can't understand why God ignored his prayers. Soon after, however, a magic green rain falls that makes all the other pigs green, and since the little pig retains his pink color, he is once again "a little bit peculiar".

The Little Jesus

Reenacted in II.ii, and originally thought to be the source for the third murder. A young girl believes that she is the second coming of Jesus, and goes about blessing unsavory characters, to the dismay of her parents and the annoyance of others. When her parents are killed in a horrific accident, she is sent to live with abusive foster parents. Annoyed with her pretensions of divinity, the foster parents complete her performance of Jesus' life by torturing her, crucifying her, and burying her alive so that she might rise again in three days. She doesn't but three days later a man walks through the woods close to the girls grave. He fails to hear the scratching of her nails on the wood on her coffin, and does not see the fresh grave because - like a man the girl tried to heal - he is blind.

The Writer and the Writer's Brother

This story is partially autobiographical. A boy, raised by loving parents who encouraged him to write, wrote happy stories for many years. Then, at night, he begins hearing sounds of torture from the next room, and as a result he began to write more disturbing stories. One night, a note is slipped under the door, claiming that the boy's brother has been tortured nightly for seven years as part of an artistic experiment to get the boy to become a great writer. He breaks down the door, only to find his parents, who were playing a trick on him, just pretending to be torturing a child. However, when he returns years later, he discovers his brother's dead body hidden under the mattress, clutching the manuscript of a beautiful story, better than any of his, which he burns. Later in Act II Katurian tells Michal that in the story, the character Michal was the true "writer" of the title, whereas his own character was merely the brother.

The Shakespeare Room

Michal mentions this story to illustrate the fact that Katurian's work, in general, tends to be dark and twisted. Unlike the others, it is not narrated, acted out, or summarized in great detail. Michal gives the following brief synopsis of the story: instead of being the literary genius the world thinks him to be, William Shakespeare does not pen his own plays; instead, whenever he wants something written, he jabs a little pygmy woman who he keeps in a box and she, in turn, composes a play for him (Shakespeare takes the credit).

The Face Basement

An unnamed, sadistic character chops off the faces of his (undescribed) victims, puts them in a jar, and keeps them in his basement. As with "The Shakespeare Room", this story is mentioned by Michal only in passing.

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