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Folktales A-Z

Der Belznickel

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.

What are some Holiday Ghost Stories?

Come celebrate the spooky side of the holidays.  Ghosts, Saint Nicholas, Der Belznickel and other characters haunt these stories that take place around the holidays.  We’ve also included a couple of ghost stories from the African-American tradition for folks to read during Kwanzaa!   Christmas Stories Haunted ChristmasThe soft thud of following footsteps echoed behind him as he hurried through the snowflakes toward home.  They kept pace with him, quickening when he quickened and slowing when… Read More »What are some Holiday Ghost Stories?

A Baker’s Dozen

Back in the old days, I had a successful bake-shop in Albany. I had a good business, a plump wife, and a big family. I was a happy man. But trouble came to my shop one year in the guise of an ugly old woman. She entered my shop a few minutes before closing and said: “I wish to have a dozen cookies.” She pointed to my special Saint Nicholas cookies that were sitting out on a tray. So I counted out twelve cookies for her…

Higher Mathmatics

Shmul and Benin, two of the wisest men in the town of Chelm, went one day to take a steam bath. As they relaxed in the luxury of steamy heat, they idly began discussing Benin’s upcoming trip to Dvimsk, debating how long it would take for him to drive to the distant town in his buggy…

Saving Time

Shmul was on his way to the market in Chelm one afternoon when he saw his good friend Bein on the street.
“Sholom aleichem,” called Shmul to his friend.
“Go to blazes,” Bein said without missing a beat.

White Wolf

She snapped awake out of a deep sleep, screaming aloud in terror. In her nightmare, a large white wolf had been chasing her around and around the house, gaining on her with every step until it finally pounced on her and ripped out her throat. She lay shaking for hours, unable to sleep after such a terrifying dream.

No Trespassing

Peggy and her boyfriend Tommy were driving down a lonely stretch of highway at dusk when a thunderstorm came crashing down on them. Tommy slowed the car and they crept their way past a formidable abandoned house. Plastered all over the fences and trees were NO TRESPASSING signs.

Bloody Mary Returns

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.

Olde Fort Mifflin

There is only one word for Fort Mifflin during a reenactment. LOUD! My ears were ringing as I hurried inside the ammunition mound, according to my assigned role. The mound muffled the sound of canons a little bit. But I still reckoned I’d be deaf all day tomorrow!

Brer Fox Goes Hunting

Well, it was a crisp autumn day, don’t ya know, and Brer Fox, he decided he wanted to go hunting. He’d made his peace with Brer Rabbit a few months back, and he thought it would be a fine thing if they went hunting together. So Brer Fox stopped by Brer Rabbit’s place and invited him to come along.

The Future

The Future

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!

Wild Goose Island

In the middle of St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park is a small island halfway between two shores. Many moons ago now, there were two tribes living on either side of the lake. While there was no direct warfare between them, the two tribes avoided one another and had no dealings one with the other.

McLoughlin’s Ghost

Dr. John McLoughlin came to the Pacific Northwest with the Hudson Bay Company and fell in love with the area. After losing his job (he was fired for giving supplies to settlers), he bought land in the Willamette Valley and founded the town now known as Oregon City.

Sasquatch and the Bear

Take a look over at this gravel bar on our left. It’s called Bony Point, and we saw something here the other day that I thought was kind of interesting so I thought I’d mention it. You see where the gravel bar meets the tree line up there and how it forms those shadows? Well, standing back there in those shadows was a big old Sasquatch. And, this isn’t unusual, because we have a lot of Sasquatches down here. But, we had some people on board who had never seen one, so we idled down to watch.

Pickled!

Dr. William Kiel, a radical preacher who broke from the Methodist church, formed his own church and decided to emigrate with his followers to the Pacific Northwest. He promised his nineteen year old son Willie that he could lead the wagon train, but his son died of malaria four days before the departure date. Determined to keep his word to his son, the doctor had his son’s coffin lined with lead and filled with One Hundred Proof Golden Rule Whiskey.

Madrone Monkeys

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.

Haunted Christmas

The soft thud of following footsteps echoed behind him as he hurried through the snowflakes toward home. They kept pace with him, quickening when he quickened and slowing when he slowed. It was creepy. His flesh crawled at the sound and he sped up, cursing himself for walking home alone from the midnight Christmas Mass.