Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Author: Sojourner Truth


When Isabella resided with Mr. Pierson, he was in the habit of fasting every Friday; not eating or drinking anything from Thursday evening to six o’clock on Friday evening.

Then, again, he would fast two nights and three days, neither eating nor drinking; refusing himself even a cup of cold water till the third day at night, when he took supper again, as usual.

Isabella asked him why he fasted. He answered, that fasting gave him great light in the things of God; which answer gave birth to the following train of thought in the mind of his auditor:-’Well, if fasting will give light inwardly and spiritually, I need it as much as any body,-and I’ll fast too. If Mr. Pierson needs to fast two nights and three days, then I, who need light more than he does, ought to fast more, and I will fast three nights and three days.’

This resolution she carried out to the letter, putting not so much as a drop of water in her mouth for three whole days and nights. The fourth morning, as she arose to her feet, not having the power to stand, she fell to the floor; but recovering herself sufficiently, she made her way to the pantry, and feeling herself quite voracious, and fearing that she might now offend God by her voracity, compelled herself to breakfast on dry bread and water-eating a large six-penny loaf before she felt at all stayed or satisfied. She says she did get light, but it was all in her body and none in her mind-and this lightness of body lasted a long time. Oh! she was so light, and felt so well, she could ’skim around like a gull.’


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Chicago: Sojourner Truth, "Fasting.," Narrative of Sojourner Truth, ed. Conway, Moncure Daniel, 1832-1907 in Narrative of Sojourner Truth Original Sources, accessed August 17, 2022,

MLA: Truth, Sojourner. "Fasting." Narrative of Sojourner Truth, edited by Conway, Moncure Daniel, 1832-1907, in Narrative of Sojourner Truth, Original Sources. 17 Aug. 2022.

Harvard: Truth, S, 'Fasting.' in Narrative of Sojourner Truth, ed. . cited in , Narrative of Sojourner Truth. Original Sources, retrieved 17 August 2022, from