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He grew a beard because of a tragic accident that killed his wife, Frances. She was sealing locks of her children's hair into envelopes with wax, when her dress caught on fire. Henry did his best to put out the fire by wrapping his wife in a blanket to try and suffocate the flames. The flames went up into his face. Eventually the fire was extinguished, but both suffered severe burns. Frances died the next day. Henry grew a beard to cover the scars on his face.

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Q: Why did Henry Wadsworth Longfellow grow a beard?
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