Once upon a time there was a sulker. He was surly, unpleasant, moody and cried a lot. He wasn't fun to be around. The other children who lived nearby didn't like him very much (but had to play with him sometimes because their mothers told them they had to, after all, everyone has to be nice). The sulker's own parents weren't too keen on the sulker either. The sulker didn't have many friends and his mother constantly reminded him that this was because he sulked all the time. At school it was the same as in the village. The sulker was as unpopular with all the teachers and the headmistress and the deputy head. The sulker wasn't popular with little girls either. They thought he was too pouty and looked ugly with his silly sulky face.
The sulker didn't like football. He didn't like playing marbles for "keepsies" only for "lendsies". He hated getting wet and muddy so wasn't much good at sports. So therefore the sports teacher REALLY didn't like the sulker.
The only people who did like the sulker were his grandparents. Not the ones on his mother's side, oh no, no. They didn't like sulky little boys who didn't smile. They were rich and liked well dressed smart little children who smiled a lot and gave nanny and granddad a kiss and a cuddle and sat sweetly in the corner. But the grandparents on his father's side of the family liked him. They loved him because he was their grandson and although they told him to sulk less, just to back up the advice that all the other grown ups gave him...in their hearts they didn't really care about his sulking as they loved him very much.
Unfortunately for the sulker they died when their bed caught fire and they were asleep, when he was still a young boy so that was the end of that. The sulker was told not to sulk too much at their funeral in case his sulking upset the people who weren't sulkers who had, for once, a good reason to be unhappy.
The sulker was told repeatedly by his mother that he would NEVER have any friends if he didn't stop sulking. She pointed out his cousin who always had lots of friends because he always had a smile on his little face. The sulker was told he'd never get a girlfriend when he got older if he didn't stop looking so sulky. His mother told him that by "having his lower lip on the floor" the sulker was being selfish as he was bringing the mood down for everyone around him. Everyone else was fine. It was only the sulker who was wrong.
When other children hit the sulker or called him names, everyone said it was the sulker's fault. He was told that if he wasn't so sulky then people wouldn't want to hit him. He should smile more to make people want to be his friend and not hurt him. It wasn't their fault, it was all the sulker's fault.
The sulker didn't like being alone but it felt better than being with other people. He would go for walks on his own and look at the worms in the grass and the fish in the river. He'd climb trees and look at sheep and wander for ages so his mind wasn't a storm of badness that made him unhappy. One day the sulker found two boys hurting a little dog by throwing stones at it. He pushed them over and kicked one in the face. The boys ran off crying. The sulker was punished when he got home as the boys lied and said there wasn't any dog. The boys were from families that had more money than the sulker's family and their fathers had better jobs than the sulker's father did.
There was some horrible bullying at school one term when some older boys decided to begin hitting and abusing the younger boys. The sulker was one of them but there were two or three others that were victims too. The bullies got expelled and the stories of the other boys were believed. The sulker was believed too but he overheard his mother saying "Well normally we'd have thought it was all his fault but our friend's son is nice as pie and he was getting it as well so we knew it couldn't be all his fault."
The sulker's mother had a big fat friend who the sulker didn't like. She had a daughter who didn't like the sulker and was one year younger. The sulker's mother said that he should work harder to get that girl to like him. Maybe by not being so sulky.
When he was 16 the sulker killed himself.
The sulker's mother was very upset and cried a lot. Her friends all said quietly that the sulker was selfish to have done that. He obviously hadn't thought of the pain he'd caused those he'd left behind.