The blizzard was raging fiercely around them as the brothers stumbled down the long road. they were miles from any farm, and knew they had to seek shelter or freeze to death. So it was with gratitude that the two brothers spotted a saloon and pushed their way through the door.
My sisters and my baby brother danced about the house, whispering to each other excitedly about the coming of der Belznickel on that snowy December 5th evening, the day before the Feast of Saint Nicholas. According to the stories, the good Saint Nicholas chains up the Devil on the eve of his Birthday – December 6th — and makes him visit all of the children in the village to see if they have been behaving themselves and deserved the attention of Kirstkindel.
She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.
Way back in the deep woods there lived a scrawny old woman who had a reputation for being the best conjuring woman in the Ozarks. With her bedraggled black-and-gray hair, funny eyes – one yellow and one green – and her crooked nose, Old Betty was not a pretty picture, but she was the best there was at fixing what ailed a man, and that was all that counted.
The storm lasted so long that they thought they would starve. Finally, when the wind and swirling snow had died away to just a memory, the father, who was a brave warrior, ventured outside. The next storm was already on the horizon, but if food was not found soon, the family would starve.
He had just passed an abandoned missionary Baptist church when the forest grew quiet around him. The cicadas stopped singing, the night creatures went silent, and the breeze died to a whisper. In the silence, he heard something sliding through the trees on his right.
She was brand-new history teacher to the school and had been preparing her first lesson in her mind for weeks. This was her very first teaching job, and she wanted it to go well. The night before classes began, she couldn’t eat and tossed and turned restlessly all night. Up early, she was in her new classroom, sweeping the floor, tidying the desks, and putting up welcome signs just after dawn.
I’d just reached the old the hunting trail that led to the other side of the low gap. It was a short cut that sliced nearly two miles off my trip, which sounded good to me. But I never used the trail at night, because it was reputed to be haunted.
There was once a railroad conductor named Joe Baldwin who was working for the newly rebuilt Atlantic Coast line. The year was 1867, and the railroad had expanded to include a small station in Maco, North Carolina. Joe was assigned to the very last car in the train, and he executed his conductor duties to the best of his abilities aboard his assigned car. Then one night, something went wrong. Terribly wrong.
A couple were driving through Spokane, Washington one evening. They were hungry and tired and needed a break. Unfortunately, they were also broke. The wife went through her purse and the glove department and under the seats of the car, trying to drum up enough spare change to get them some kind of meal. She’d collect about eight dollars in quarters, dimes, nickels and a few dollar bills when her husband called her attention to a sign post reading: Steak and Eggs – $3.85. It was attached to a motel-diner combination in downtown Spokane.
My stepmother was vile. I guess most kids think that when their father remarries. But in this case, it was true. She only married Father because he was rich, and she hated children. There were three of us – me (Marie), my middle brother Richard and my youngest brother Charles. We were the price my stepmother Gerta paid for being rich. And we were all that stood between her and inheriting Father’s money when he died. So she took steps against us.
There was once a monk at the mission who loved money and power more than he loved God. He would hear the confession of the good folk who attended the mission, and then would blackmail them into giving him gold and silver to keep their darkest secrets.
My friend Isabela called me one evening before dinner. She was sobbing as she told me that she and her husband Enrique were getting divorced. He had moved out of the house earlier that day and Isabela was distraught…
A preacher was riding to one of the churches on his circuit when darkness fell. It was about to storm, and the only house nearby was an old mansion which was reputed to be haunted. The preacher clutched his Bible and said: “The Lawd will take care o’ me”…
He couldn’t believe it when she fell ill just a few short weeks before their marriage. His betrothed was beautiful, strong, and healthy, but she just faded away before his eyes. He held her in his arms as she gasped out her last breathe, and was inconsolable long after her body lay buried beside the Dismal Swamp…
She was nervous and excited as she approached the psychic’s store. Normally, she didn’t go in for fortune telling. But her best friend had visited the psychic a few months ago, and everything the woman had predicted came true. Everything!
Within an hour of my arrival at Fort Union, my new post, my best friend Johnny came to the barracks with a broad grin and a friendly clout on the shoulder. He’d hurried over as soon as he heard I had come, and we talked ’til sunset and beyond.
Something people often ask about, and you might be curious also, are the trees you see along the river with the kind of yellowish orange trunk, skin-like bark. They look like someone has been peeling the bark off of them. Those are called Madrone trees, and what gives them that appearance is that’s actually what happens to those trees. The brittle outer bark of the Madrone tree is deftly peeled away, on a regular basis, by the Madrone monkeys that live along the river.
Once upon a time, a man lost his favorite axe in the river. After much searching, he sat down on the bank in grief and began to weep.
The Water-sprite heard the man crying and took pity on him. He brought a gold axe out of the river, and said: “Is this your axe?”
A Farmer went to town, on a market day, and bought five peaches. He gave one to his wife, and one to each of his four sons. The next day he said to his sons, “Well, what have you done with your peaches?”
Gouverneur Morris, American minister to the court of Louis XVI, was considerably enriched, at the close of the reign of terror, by plate, jewels, furniture, paintings, coaches, and so on, left in his charge by members of the French nobility, that they might not be confiscated in the sack of the city.
Some years before the outbreak of the Civil War, a man with his wife and daughter took up their residence in a log cabin at the foot of Sunrise Rock, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. It seemed probable that they had known better days, for the head of the household was believed to get his living through “writin’ or book-larnin’,” but was fairly useless at hunting and farming.
Wallen’s Ridge, a rough eminence about a dozen miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was once an abiding place of Cherokee Indians, among whom lived Arinook, their medicine-man, and his daughter. The girl was pure and fair, and when a passing hunter from another tribe saw her one day at the door of her father’s home he was so struck with her charm of person and her engaging manner that he resolved not to return to his people until he had won her for his wife.
Long ago, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, two Inuit boys were walking from their own home to a far-away village. While they were going along, a terrible storm overtook them, and they had to hold each other by the hand to keep from falling.
Long ago, near the mouth of the Copper Mine River, which flows into the Arctic River, there lived an enormous giant. His cave was not far from an Inuit village, and he kept the people of that village in constant terror because when he could not get enough whale meat, or seal to eat, he would capture the little children and eat them up.
Long ago, in a village in Alaska, there lived a man with his wife and five sons, of whom they were very proud.
One day the oldest son came to his father and said, “Father we have always been in the same place, and seen the same kind of people. I think it is time for me to go in search of another village and see something of the world.”
Long, long ago, on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska, there lived an old woman with her little grandson. They were very poor, so poor that the old woman had a hard time to feed and care for the boy. It was always cold and stormy, and sometimes they had almost nothing to eat for days at a time, because the wind blew so hard that the little boy could not stay out to catch tom-cods.