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I don't know what I am in this story. It's hard enough to decide what I am- hero or villain or something else- in my own story, let alone yours. Besides, you can decide for yourself, just as I decided things for myself and just as Rona did, in that other story I read to you so long ago. I wish we hadn't been interrupted on that terrible night. As with all good stories, I would have liked to know what happened next.

The Hero of the Story is a young child who is thirteen by the time Lemony Snicket publishes his account of their adoption, The Hero of the Story.

Please see "Speculation" for an explanation of pronoun usage.


The Hero of the Story

Hero: If you take me with you, aren't you a kidnapper yourself?
Lemony Snicket: I don't know.
The Hero of the Story

The infant came into possession of a Kidnapper Woman, and it is unknown if the woman was their biological mother or not. The woman also kidnapped the Emperor of Cramiton, a similar-looking infant to the Hero but biologically male, while the Hero was assigned female at birth.

In order to throw the police off her trail, the Kidnapper dressed the Hero in the emperor's clothes and gave them to a young boy in the park, Lemony Snicket, to look after while she claimed she would return shortly. Snicket imagines speaking to the baby, giving them a gurgly voice in his mind, while he waits to calm his fear, but upon realizing the mother had disappeared, he takes the baby into the nearby teashop to see if she is there. After finding no help, he takes the baby to the library.

At the library, he calms the Hero by reading them the story of Rona until they are interrupted by a screaming man. The shouting startles the baby, who cries themself into hysterics.

The police take the baby away as they arrest Snicket under suspicion of kidnapping, but return them to the boy when they discover that they are not the emperor. While the police say they are searching for her mother, Snicket does not like the idea of the baby being returned to a kidnapper and decides to take them somewhere else.

He walks the child back to the library, where a helpful librarian is opening up at sunrise. Snicket gives the child to the librarian to raise. Days later, the emperor is found and his kidnapper arrested; however, she does not mention the second child for unknown reasons. The same day, Snicket leaves town.

Later Life

I haven't seen you since that day, although I hear you are an interesting and curious person. Certainly you have had an interesting and curious childhood, and you are the hero of that childhood and of your own story.

The child is raised by the kindly librarian, eventually discovering the story of their adoption. They are said to have become an interesting and curious person who had an interesting and curious childhood, and a hero of their childhood and their own story.


While the child is claimed to be female by the Police Inspector, they may have a different gender identity; despite the baby being assigned a gender by the inspector, they are never given pronouns in the narration or referred to as female by anyone else, save the one time Snicket corrected the Inspector calling the baby "it." Adding to this, the short story was written in a collection intended for young men- Guys Read: Heroes and Villains.

It is entirely possible that the child is transgender, and identifies either as male (hence the story in a book for boys) or nonbinary (hence the refusal to give pronouns in the narration).


Because I am obviously a fancy and important baby, the hero of the story, and you are just a boy on a park bench.
Lemony Snicket: Even if that's true, it's not very nice. After all, I volunteered to take care of you.
Hero: You didn't volunteer. You were practically forced. and you're not really taking care of me. I'm just propped up on a bench next to you.
Lemony Snicket: Well, if I needed to take care of you, I'm sure I could.
Hero: What makes you so sure? And where is my mother, by the way?
The Hero of the Story
Enough is enough.
What do you want?
Lemony Snicket: Well, Your Highness, I guess I'm not a villain anymore.
Hero: I guess not. And you don't have to call me "Your Highness."
Lemony Snicket: But I like calling you "Your Highness."
Hero: Someone might hear you, and you'd be in trouble all over again.
The Hero of the Story
Hero: She didn't really do anything wrong.
Lemony Snicket: Neither did I.
Hero: Well, you could have taken me to the police instead of going to the library.
Lemony Snicket: You ended up with the police anyway, and they weren't helpful.
Hero: Well, they're going to find my mother.
Lemony Snicket: Your mother, if she really is your mother, is a kidnapper. She had the real emperor in her baby carriage and dressed you in his clothing. She left you with me to throw the police off her trail.
Hero: Is that true?
Lemony Snicket: Yes, but I didn't figure it out until I explained it to you.
Hero: Am I a hero for helping you figure it out?
Lemony Snicket: Maybe, and maybe I'm a hero for what I'm doing now.
Hero: Why are we leaving? Where are we going?
Lemony Snicket: I'm not going to have the police place you in the care of a kidnapper.
Hero: If you take me with you, aren't you a kidnapper yourself?
Lemony Snicket: I don't know.
The Hero of the Story