Ledia Runnels' "World of Fantasy Fiction"











Chapter One

Sleight of Hand

Thaddeus was missing. The only certain thing Benjamin could put a finger on. Everything else was a web of confusion left for him to untangle as best he could.

He opened the front door of the family mansion to find swirling darkness. Squinting, he adjusted his eyes to the room lit only by vague moonlight that shifted through the cloud-filled sky. His breathing and the steady drip, drip, drip from his raincoat hem were the only sounds that filled the otherwise empty silence that pressed against him while the musty scent of death sifted down with the dust particles that floated on the air. He was not surprised still it bothered him that there was no sign of a servant, not even the vermin that most definitely had taken up residence since the humans vacated the premises.

Fists clenched, determined that nothing would deter him, he forced away the willy-nilly shiver that raced up his spine. He covered his nose with a monogrammed handkerchief and pushed past cobwebs hanging from the ornate door frame. As he did so, soft webbing brushed against his face giving the sensation that spiders crawled through his hair and over his clothes.

Frantic, he yanked the rain-filled bowler from his head, slapping it against his exposed head, drenched-wet coat and gray flannel trousers. His startled gaze darted here and there, unable to see anything distinctly in the darkness. A flash of light, perhaps it was a will-o-the-wisp, snapped his brain. Still, he found nothing but air and an overactive imagination crawling through the crevices of his clothes and hair, though his scalp continued to tingle with the phantom touch of a thousand tiny arachnids.

Holding his breath, like a child afraid of the darkness, he stepped farther inside the octagon-shaped foyer, his back toward the rain outside. A slug of revulsion shivered through him as he pulled off his raincoat. He felt exposed as he draped the dripping coat and water-filled hat on to a brass stand that stood near the front door. Tarnished from lack of good housekeeping, the stand reminded him of a wooden skeleton with too many arms and no head.

The steady drip from the coat’s hem echoed dully against the dusty wood floor matching the rhythm of the wind that whistled against the windows and roof making an eerie tick, tick that resounded throughout the murky space beyond. A wet dog, Benjamin shook water droplets from his hair splattering them in every direction. This place, this house, no longer felt like his childhood home. It reminded him instead of a mausoleum that only dead things or the insane would skulk through. Not eager to have prying eyes peer into his private business, he closed the double front doors, shutting out the beam of moonlight that had shown the way. As the latch clicked into place darkness enveloped the room so thick it seemed to twist and coil around him. He yanked the door back open. Damn the rain, damn the floor, he needed the light.

“Thaddeus-s-s,” Benjamin hissed.

It had been months since he received the message that no one in Breton had seen or heard the whereabouts of his younger brother and new bride. Angrier than he had ever been at Thaddeus, and that was saying a lot, his gaze shot toward the three-story cathedral ceiling that lifted away into darkness.

“Where in hell are you, Thaddeus?”

The answer came like mice skittering from buried corners of the mansion. Benjamin pivoted toward the sound. His boot heels clicked on the parquet floor echoing eerily against the unseen walls of the hidden rooms beyond.

At the threshold of the library, he would swear he felt warm breath blew against his ear as if someone stood just above his right shoulder, whispering words he could not understand. He twisted around to face demons cavorting in the murky shadows. For one terrible moment, his senses blurred, his throat constricted. He could not breathe. Oh, God, he could not breathe.

“Who’s there?” He gasped the words, hating the way his voice trembled with dread, while forcing puffs of air out of his closed throat incapable of drawing in a fresh breath.

Everything, what little that he could see of the room, began to blur. He was going to pass out. Oh, God there was no one here to help him and he was going to choke. He was going to die—

He forced the knot out, once, twice from his throat clenched in a spasm before he gasped in the saving air he needed. Breathing in and out, he waited. His face hot from exertion, fists clenched at his side. Yet, only silence and gloom answered back adding to the creeping terror that had almost taken over his mind.

Drawing his courage, he turned back toward the book-lined room and pushed through the encroaching shadows. A tree limb scrapped and tapped at the library’s bay window sending a shiver of dread through him. Bustling about to keep the cold and fear at bay, he knelt before the hearth. Sweeping aside scattered ashes on the stone bed, he pulled wood, kindling and matches from the tarnished, copper magazine. Soon a blazing fire lit and warmed one section of the room. Eagerly, he stretched his hands toward the soothing heat and flickering flame.

He glanced toward the gaslights hanging unlit from the wood-paneled library walls, but thought better of turning them up, wishing to conduct his search in as much secrecy as possible. Instead, he retrieved a tallow candle from a desk drawer.

The wick blazed to life casting meager light and flickering shadows. Benjamin walked toward a mahogany desk where stacks of books and wads of paper covered thick dust. He picked up a crumpled note that lay among the books and smoothed it out. Uneven handwriting lay scrawled across the sheet. It read:

My Dearest Mary, I find myself in dire straits with only you as a possible savior…

The last word ended in a streaked blob of ink that trailed off the edge of the onion skin paper.

Benjamin bit back a curse. He scrunched the stationery into a ball and tossed it into a trash hamper that sat at the base of the desk. One by one, he flattened out the other sheets. Much to his frustration, none of the other sheets of crumpled paper revealed any more than the first had. Benjamin whisked the palm of his hand toward the desktop, scattering the paper wad on to the floor. He then brushed the grime from the palms of his hands, drew in a deep, calming breath and turned away from the desk with its piles of filth-encrusted clutter.

Why was he forever cleaning up Thaddeus’ messes? His anger welled up overpowering the creeping terror he fought at every turn since entering the house. Taking the candle with him, he strode toward to the entrance hall where the peculiar sounds now seemed to emanate.

Since his sojourn in the library, moonlight had broken free of the gathering clouds sending a kaleidoscopic beam of pink, blue and green light cascading down through stained glass cut into the third-floor ceiling. It shimmered like fairy dust against twin staircases that seemed to float as they curved toward opposite sides of the second story.

Near the bottom, right step of the east wing stairs there stood an upright “Saratoga” traveling chest. The bigger case hovered over a prone steamer trunk where a padlock bolted the lid shut.

Benjamin set down the candle and threw open the Saratoga. He searched, rummaging through frilly women’s clothing and shoes hastily thrown into the case, but he found nothing save inconsequential rubbish! He wanted to shout as he flung fists full of the feminine dainties on to the dusty floor. The only thing that prevented him was again, not wanting to draw attention this way.

His mind whirled with speculation. Why the hurriedly packed clothes, stuffed into travel cases left to gather dust in the foyer? Benjamin jumped to his feet and hurried toward the back of the mansion. In moments, he returned carrying a small pix axe and a blunt-nosed hammer. Using the ax tip as a wedge, he slammed the butt of the hammer against the ax’s blunt metal edge. One well-placed blow and the lock shattered. He tossed the tools aside and shoved open the steamer’s lid.

Silk shirts, hand-tailored woolen slacks and broad, colorful cravats, he scooped into a heap on the floor. At the bottom of the trunk, next to a half full bottle of rye whiskey, lay a slim, leather-bound, black book. When he held it up to the candlelight, a shudder of horror tracked down his spine. Pressed into the binding and along the front and back covers of the bleak volume were reddish-brownish stains.

Whose blood is this? His stomach churned.

He could feel the bile rise in his throat. His hands shook, His mind was unable to shut out all the gruesome possibilities. Dreading what new revulsion would present its self, he opened the front cover of the slender tome to find a penned signature occupying the upper left corner. It read, Personal Journal of Thaddeus Ulysses Theibes, Esq…

Continued…

Related articles


Set in Victorian EraWashington State,

Theibes House

is a

Fantasy Horror

from the author of

Legends of the Hengeyokai,

Book One,

Tengu Prince



Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Gogol (Photo credit: seriykotik1970)

Evening had already come when they left the high-road; the sun had just gone down, and the air was still heavy with the heat of the day. The theologian and the philosopher strolled along, smoking in silence, while the rhetorician struck off the heads of the thistles by the wayside with his stick. The way wound on through thick woods of oak and walnut; green hills alternated here and there with meadows. Twice already they had seen cornfields, from which they concluded that they were near some village; but an hour had already passed, and no human habitation appeared. The sky was already quite dark, and only a red gleam lingered on the western horizon.

“The deuce!” said the philosopher Thomas Brutus. “I was almost certain we would soon reach a village.”

The theologian still remained silent, looked round him, then put his pipe again between his teeth, and all three continued their way.

“Good heavens!” exclaimed the philosopher, and stood still. “Now the road itself is disappearing.”

“Perhaps we shall find a farm farther on,” answered the theologian, without taking his pipe out of his mouth.

Meanwhile the night had descended; clouds increased the darkness, and according to all appearance there was no chance of moon or stars appearing. The seminarists found that they had lost the way altogether.

After the philosopher had vainly sought for a footpath, he exclaimed, “Where have we got to?”

The theologian thought for a while, and said, “Yes, it is really dark.”

The rhetorician went on one side, lay on the ground, and groped for a path; but his hands encountered only fox-holes. All around lay a huge steppe over which no one seemed to have passed. The wanderers made several efforts to get forward, but the landscape grew wilder and more inhospitable.

The philosopher tried to shout, but his voice was lost in vacancy, no one answered; only, some moments later, they heard a faint groaning sound, like the whimpering of a wolf.

“Curse it all! What shall we do?” said the philosopher.

“Why, just stop here, and spend the night in the open air,” answered the theologian. So saying, he felt in his pocket, brought out his timber and steel, and lit his pipe.

But the philosopher could not agree with this proposal; he was not accustomed to sleep till he had first eaten five pounds of bread and five of dripping, and so he now felt an intolerable emptiness in his stomach. Besides, in spite of his cheerful temperament, he was a little afraid of the wolves.

“No, Khalava,” he said, “that won’t do. To lie down like a dog and without any supper! Let us try once more; perhaps we shall find a house, and the consolation of having a glass of brandy to drink before going to sleep.”

At the word “brandy,” the theologian spat on one side and said, “Yes, of course, we cannot remain all night in the open air.”

Continued…

Enjoy!

Source Link:

A short story by Nicolai Vasilievi  Gogol, “The Viv”  http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/61041/

EXTRA!

LEGEND OF THE TENGU PRINCE

— Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.



A Cossack officer from Orenburg, with a shashk...

A whole troop of them would go off in close ranks like a regiment; they cooked their porridge in common, and encamped under the open sky. Each had a bag with him containing a shirt and a pair of socks. The theologians were especially economical; in order not to wear out their boots too quickly, they took them off and carried them on a stick over their shoulders, especially when the road was very muddy. Then they tucked up their breeches over their knees and waded bravely through the pools and puddles. Whenever they spied a village near the highway, they at once left it, approached the house which seemed the most considerable, and began with loud voices to sing a psalm. The master of the house, an old Cossack engaged in agriculture, would listen for a long time with his head propped in his hands, then with tears on his cheeks say to his wife, “What the students are singing sounds very devout; bring out some lard and anything else of the kind we have in the house.”

After thus replenishing their stores, the students would continue their way. The farther they went, the smaller grew their numbers, as they dispersed to their various houses, and left those whose homes were still farther on.

On one occasion, during such a march, three students left the main-road in order to get provisions in some village, since their stock had long been exhausted. This party consisted of the theologian Khalava, the philosopher Thomas Brutus, and the rhetorician Tiberius Gorobetz.

The first was a tall youth with broad shoulders and of a peculiar character; everything which came within reach of his fingers he felt obliged to appropriate. Moreover, he was of a very melancholy disposition, and when he had got intoxicated he hid himself in the most tangled thickets so that the seminary officials had the greatest trouble in finding him.

The philosopher Thomas Brutus was a more cheerful character. He liked to lie for a long time on the same spot and smoke his pipe; and when he was merry with wine, he hired a fiddler and danced the “tropak.” Often he got a whole quantity of “beans,” i.e. thrashings; but these he endured with complete philosophic calm, saying that a man cannot escape his destiny.

The rhetorician Tiberius Gorobetz had not yet the right to wear a moustache, to drink brandy, or to smoke tobacco. He only wore a small crop of hair, as though his character was at present too little developed. To judge by the great bumps on his forehead, with which he often appeared in the class-room, it might be expected that some day he would be a valiant fighter. Khalava and Thomas often pulled his hair as a mark of their special favour, and sent him on their errands.

Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-viy-by-nikolai-vasilievi-gogol-part-four/

Source Link:

A short story by Nicolai Vasilievi  Gogol, “The Viv”  http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/61041/

EXTRA!

LEGEND OF THE TENGU PRINCE

— Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.



Nikolai Gogol

When this learned crowd arrived somewhat earlier than usual, or when it was known that the teachers would come somewhat late, a battle would ensue, as though planned by general agreement. In this battle all had to take part, even the monitors who were appointed to look after the order and morality of the whole school. Two theologians generally arranged the conditions of the battle: whether each class should split into two sides, or whether all the pupils should divide themselves into two halves.

In each case the grammarians began the battle, and after the rhetoricians had joined in, the former retired and stood on the benches, in order to watch the fortunes of the fray. Then came the philosophers with long black moustaches, and finally the thick-necked theologians. The battle generally ended in a victory for the latter, and the philosophers retired to the different class-rooms rubbing their aching limbs, and throwing themselves on the benches to take breath.

When the teacher, who in his own time had taken part in such contests, entered the class-room he saw by the heated faces of his pupils that the battle had been very severe, and while he caned the hands of the rhetoricians, in another room another teacher did the same for the philosophers.

On Sundays and Festival Days the seminarists took puppet-theatres to the citizens’ houses. Sometimes they acted a comedy, and in that case it was always a theologian who took the part of the hero or heroine–Potiphar or Herodias, etc. As a reward for their exertions, they received a piece of linen, a sack of maize, half a roast goose, or something similar. All the students, lay and clerical, were very poorly provided with means for procuring themselves necessary subsistence, but at the same time very fond of eating; so that, however much food was given to them, they were never satisfied, and the gifts bestowed by rich landowners were never adequate for their needs.

Therefore the Commissariat Committee, consisting of philosophers and theologians, sometimes dispatched the grammarians and rhetoricians under the leadership of a philosopher–themselves sometimes joining in the expedition–with sacks on their shoulders, into the town, in order to levy a contribution on the fleshpots of the citizens, and then there was a feast in the seminary.

The most important event in the seminary year was the arrival of the holidays; these began in July, and then generally all the students went home. At that time all the roads were thronged with grammarians, rhetoricians, philosophers, and theologians. He who had no home of his own, would take up his quarters with some fellow-student’s family; the philosophers and theologians looked out for tutors’ posts, taught the children of rich farmers, and received for doing so a pair of new boots and sometimes also a new coat.

Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/the-viy-by-nikolai-vasilievi-gogol-part-three/

Enjoy!

Source Link:

A short story by Nicolai Vasilievi  Gogol, “The Viv”  http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/61041/

EXTRA!

LEGEND OF THE TENGU PRINCE

— Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.





Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Gogol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(The “Viy” is a monstrous creation of popular fancy. It is the name which the inhabitants of Little Russia give to the king of the gnomes, whose eyelashes reach to the ground. The following story is a specimen of such folk-lore.)

I

As soon as the clear seminary bell began sounding in Kieff in the morning, the pupils would come flocking from all parts of the town. The students of grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, and theology hastened with their books under their arms over the streets.

The “grammarians” were still mere boys. On the way they pushed against each other and quarrelled with shrill voices. Nearly all of them wore torn or dirty clothes, and their pockets were always crammed with all kinds of things–push-bones, pipes made of pens, remains of confectionery, and sometimes even young sparrows. The latter would sometimes begin to chirp in the midst of deep silence in the school, and bring down on their possessors severe canings and thrashings.

The “rhetoricians” walked in a more orderly way. Their clothes were generally untorn, but on the other hand their faces were often strangely decorated; one had a black eye, and the lips of another resembled a single blister, etc. These spoke to each other in tenor voices.

The “philosophers” talked in a tone an octave lower; in their pockets they only had fragments of tobacco, never whole cakes of it; for what they could get hold of, they used at once. They smelt so strongly of tobacco and brandy, that a workman passing by them would often remain standing and sniffing with his nose in the air, like a hound.

About this time of day the market-place was generally full of bustle, and the market women, selling rolls, cakes, and honey-tarts, plucked the sleeves of those who wore coats of fine cloth or cotton.

“Young sir! Young sir! Here! Here!” they cried from all sides. “Rolls and cakes and tasty tarts, very delicious! I have baked them myself!”

Another drew something long and crooked out of her basket and cried, “Here is a sausage, young sir! Buy a sausage!”

“Don’t buy anything from her!” cried a rival. “See how greasy she is, and what a dirty nose and hands she has!”

But the market women carefully avoided appealing to the philosophers and theologians, for these only took handfuls of eatables merely to taste them.

Arrived at the seminary, the whole crowd of students dispersed into the low, large class-rooms with small windows, broad doors, and blackened benches. Suddenly they were filled with a many-toned murmur. The teachers heard the pupils’ lessons repeated, some in shrill and others in deep voices which sounded like a distant booming. While the lessons were being said, the teachers kept a sharp eye open to see whether pieces of cake or other dainties were protruding from their pupils’ pockets; if so, they were promptly confiscated.

Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-viy-by-nikolai-vasilievi-gogol-part-two/

Enjoy!

Source Link:

A short story by Nicolai Vasilievi  Gogol, “The Viv”  http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/61041/

EXTRA!

LEGEND OF THE TENGU PRINCE

— Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.



Deutsch: Hänsel und Gretel vor dem Hexenhaus

Image via Wikipedia

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had little to bite and to break, and once, when great dearth fell on the land, he could no longer procure even daily bread.

Now when he thought over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety. He groaned and said to his wife, “What is to become of us? How are we to feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for ourselves?”

 “I’ll tell you what, husband,” answered the woman, “early tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where it is the thickest. There we will light a fire for them, and give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be rid of them.”

“No, wife,” said the man, “I will not do that. How can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest? The wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces.”

“Oh! you fool,” said she, “then we must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane the planks for our coffins,” and she left him no peace until he consented.

“But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all the same,” said the man.

The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had heard what their step-mother had said to their father. Gretel wept bitter tears, and said to Hansel, “Now all is over with us.”

“Be quiet, Gretel,” said Hansel, “do not distress yourself, I will soon find a way to help us.” And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he got up, put on his little coat, opened the door below, and crept outside.

<  2  >

     The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house glittered like real silver pennies. Hansel stooped and stuffed the little pocket of his coat with as many as he could get in. Then he went back and said to Gretel, “Be comforted, dear little sister, and sleep in peace, God will not forsake us,” and he lay down again in his bed.

When day dawned, but before the sun had risen, the woman came and awoke the two children, saying, “Get up, you sluggards. We are going into the forest to fetch wood.” She gave each a little piece of bread, and said, “There is something for your dinner, but do not eat it up before then, for you will get nothing else.”

Gretel took the bread under her apron, as Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket. Then they all set out together on the way to the forest.

When they had walked a short time, Hansel stood still and peeped back at the house, and did so again and again. His father said, “Hansel, what are you looking at there and staying behind for? Pay attention, and do not forget how to use your legs.”

“Ah, father,” said Hansel, “I am looking at my little white cat, which is sitting up on the roof, and wants to say good-bye to me.”

The wife said, “Fool, that is not your little cat, that is the morning sun which is shining on the chimneys.”

Hansel, however, had not been looking back at the cat, but had been constantly throwing one of the white pebble-stones out of his pocket on the road.

When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said, “Now, children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not be cold.”

Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together, as high as a little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were burning very high, the woman said, “Now, children, lay yourselves down by the fire and rest, we will go into the forest and cut some wood. When we have done, we will come back and fetch you away.”

<  3  >

     Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate a little piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe they believed that their father was near. It was not the axe, however, but a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind was blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had been sitting such a long time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast asleep.

When at last they awoke, it was already dark night. Gretel began to cry and said, “How are we to get out of the forest now?”

But Hansel comforted her and said, “Just wait a little, until the moon has risen, and then we will soon find the way.” And when the full moon had risen, Hansel took his little sister by the hand, and followed the pebbles which shone like newly-coined silver pieces, and showed them the way.

They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more to their father’s house. They knocked at the door, and when the woman opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said, “You naughty children, why have you slept so long in the forest? We thought you were never coming back at all.”

The father, however, rejoiced, for it had cut him to the heart to leave them behind alone.

Not long afterwards, there was once more great dearth throughout the land, and the children heard their mother saying at night to their father:

“Everything is eaten again, we have one half loaf left, and that is the end. The children must go, we will take them farther into the wood, so that they will not find their way out again. There is no other means of saving ourselves.”

The man’s heart was heavy, and he thought, “It would be better for you to share the last mouthful with your children.” The woman, however, would listen to nothing that he had to say, but scolded and reproached him. He who says a must say b, likewise, and as he had yielded the first time, he had to do so a second time also.

<  4  >

     The children, however, were still awake and had heard the conversation. When the old folks were asleep, Hansel again got up, and wanted to go out and pick up pebbles as he had done before, but the woman had locked the door, and Hansel could not get out. Nevertheless he comforted his little sister, and said, “Do not cry, Gretel, go to sleep quietly, the good God will help us.”

Early in the morning came the woman, and took the children out of their beds. Their piece of bread was given to them, but it was still smaller than the time before. On the way into the forest Hansel crumbled his in his pocket, and often stood still and threw a morsel on the ground.

“Hansel, why do you stop and look round?” Said the father. “Go on.”

“I am looking back at my little pigeon which is sitting on the roof, and wants to say good-bye to me, answered Hansel.

“Fool.” Said the woman, “That is not your little pigeon, that is the morning sun that is shining on the chimney.”

Hansel, however, little by little, threw all the crumbs on the path. The woman led the children still deeper into the forest, where they had never in their lives been before.

Then a great fire was again made, and the mother said, “Just sit there, you children, and when you are tired you may sleep a little. We are going into the forest to cut wood, and in the evening when we are done, we will come and fetch you away.”

When it was noon, Gretel shared her piece of bread with Hansel, who had scattered his by the way. Then they fell asleep and evening passed, but no one came to the poor children.

They did not awake until it was dark night, and Hansel comforted his little sister and said, “Just wait, Gretel, until the moon rises, and then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I have strewn about, they will show us our way home again.”

<  5  >

     When the moon came they set out, but they found no crumbs, for the many thousands of birds which fly about in the woods and fields had picked them all up. Hansel said to Gretel, “We shall soon find the way.”

But they did not find it. They walked the whole night and all the next day too from morning till evening, but they did not get out of the forest, and were very hungry, for they had nothing to eat but two or three berries, which grew on the ground. And as they were so weary that their legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree and fell asleep.

It was now three mornings since they had left their father’s house. They began to walk again, but they always came deeper into the forest, and if help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and weariness. When it was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a bough, which sang so delightfully that they stood still and listened to it. And when its song was over, it spread its wings and flew away before them, and they followed it until they reached a little house, on the roof of which it alighted. And when they approached the little house they saw that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, but that the windows were of clear sugar.

“We will set to work on that,” said Hansel, “and have a good meal. I will eat a bit of the roof, and you Gretel, can eat some of the window, it will taste sweet.”

Hansel reached up above, and broke off a little of the roof to try how it tasted, and Gretel leant against the window and nibbled at the panes. Then a soft voice cried from the parlor –

“Nibble, nibble, gnaw

who is nibbling at my little house?”

<  6  >

     The children answered –

“The wind, the wind,

the heaven-born wind,”

and went on eating without disturbing themselves. Hansel, who liked the taste of the roof, tore down a great piece of it, and Gretel pushed out the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and enjoyed herself with it.

Suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, who supported herself on crutches, came creeping out. Hansel and Gretel were so terribly frightened that they let fall what they had in their hands.

The old woman, however, nodded her head, and said, “Oh, you dear children, who has brought you here? Do come in, and stay with me. No harm shall happen to you.”

She took them both by the hand, and led them into her little house. Then good food was set before them, milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterwards two pretty little beds were covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and Gretel lay down in them, and thought they were in heaven.

The old woman had only pretended to be so kind. She was in reality a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child fell into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near. When Hansel and Gretel came into her neighborhood, she laughed with malice, and said mockingly, “I have them, they shall not escape me again.”

Early in the morning before the children were awake, she was already up, and when she saw both of them sleeping and looking so pretty, with their plump and rosy cheeks, she muttered to herself, that will be a dainty mouthful.

<  7  >

     Then she seized Hansel with her shrivelled hand, carried him into a little stable, and locked him in behind a grated door. Scream as he might, it would not help him. Then she went to Gretel, shook her till she awoke, and cried, “Get up, lazy thing, fetch some water, and cook something good for your brother, he is in the stable outside, and is to be made fat. When he is fat, I will eat him.”

Gretel began to weep bitterly, but it was all in vain, for she was forced to do what the wicked witch commanded. And now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel got nothing but crab-shells. Every morning the woman crept to the little stable, and cried, “Hansel, stretch out your finger that I may feel if you will soon be fat.”

Hansel, however, stretched out a little bone to her, and the old woman, who had dim eyes, could not see it, and thought it was Hansel’s finger, and was astonished that there was no way of fattening him.

When four weeks had gone by, and Hansel still remained thin, she was seized with impatience and would not wait any longer.

“Now, then, Gretel,” she cried to the girl, “stir yourself, and bring some water. Let Hansel be fat or lean, to-morrow I will kill him, and cook him.”

Ah, how the poor little sister did lament when she had to fetch the water, and how her tears did flow down her cheeks. “Dear God, do help us,” she cried. “If the wild beasts in the forest had but devoured us, we should at any rate have died together.”

“Just keep your noise to yourself,” said the old woman, “it won’t help you at all.”

Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the cauldron with the water, and light the fire.

<  8  >

     “We will bake first,” said the old woman, “I have already heated the oven, and kneaded the dough.” She pushed poor Gretel out to the oven, from which flames of fire were already darting. “Creep in,” said the witch, “and see if it properly heated, so that we can put the bread in.” And once Gretel was inside, she intended to shut the oven and let her bake in it, and then she would eat her, too.

But Gretel saw what she had in mind, and said, “I do not know how I am to do it. How do I get in?”

“Silly goose,” said the old woman, “the door is big enough. Just look, I can get in myself.” And she crept up and thrust her head into the oven.

Then Gretel gave her a push that drove her far into it, and shut the iron door, and fastened the bolt. Oh. Then she began to howl quite horribly, but Gretel ran away, and the godless witch was miserably burnt to death. Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel, opened his little stable, and cried, “Hansel, we are saved. The old witch is dead.”

Then Hansel sprang like a bird from its cage when the door is opened. How they did rejoice and embrace each other, and dance about and kiss each other. And as they had no longer any need to fear her, they went into the witch’s house, and in every corner there stood chests full of pearls and jewels.

“These are far better than pebbles.” Said Hansel, and thrust into his pockets whatever could be got in.

And Gretel said, “I, too, will take something home with me,” and filled her pinafore full.

“But now we must be off,” said Hansel, “that we may get out of the witch’s forest.”

When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great stretch of water.

<  9  >

     “We cannot cross,” said Hansel, “I see no foot-plank, and no bridge.

“And there is also no ferry,” answered Gretel, “but a white duck is swimming there. If I ask her, she will help us over.” Then she cried –

“Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,

Hansel and Gretel are waiting for thee.

There’s never a plank, or bridge in sight,

take us across on thy back so white.”

The duck came to them, and Hansel seated himself on its back, and told his sister to sit by him.

“No,” replied Gretel, “that will be too heavy for the little duck. She shall take us across, one after the other.”

The good little duck did so, and when they were once safely across and had walked for a short time, the forest seemed to be more and more familiar to them, and at length they saw from afar their father’s house. Then they began to run, rushed into the parlor, and threw themselves round their father’s neck. The man had not known one happy hour since he had left the children in the forest. The woman, however, was dead. Gretel emptied her pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the room, and Hansel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to add to them. Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness.

My tale is done, there runs a mouse, whosoever catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it.

Arthur Rackham, illustration to Hansel and Gretel

Image via Wikipedia

(Read more @ Short Stories:  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/HanGre.shtml)



Illustration from the book "Grimm's Fairy...

Fitcher's Bird Image via Wikipedia

Once upon a time there was a sorcerer who was a thief. He disguised himself as a poor man and went begging from house to house. A girl came to the door and brought him a piece of bread. He touched her, and she was forced to jump into his pack basket. Then he carried her to his house where everything was splendid, and he gave her everything that she wanted.

One day he said, “I have to take care of something away from home. I will be away for a while. Here is an egg. Take good care of it. Carry it with you at all times. And here is a key, but at the risk of your life, do not go into the room that it opens. But as soon as he had gone, she unlocked the door and went into the room. In the middle there was a large basin. In it there were dead and dismembered people. She was so terrified that she dropped the egg, which she was holding in her hand, into the basin. She quickly took it out again and wiped off the blood, but it reappeared in an instant. She could not get the egg clean, no matter how much she wiped and scrubbed.

When the man returned, he asked for the egg and the key. He looked at them and knew that she had been in the blood chamber. “You did not heed my words,” he said angrily, “and now you are going into the chamber against your will.” With that he seized her, led her into the room, cut her up in pieces, and threw her into the basin with the others.

Sometime later the man went begging again. He captured the second daughter from the house, and the same thing happened to her as to the first one. She too opened the forbidden door, dropped the egg into the blood, and was cut to pieces and thrown into the basin.

Then the sorcerer wanted to have the third daughter. He captured her in his pack basket, carried her home, and at his departure gave her the egg and the key. However, the third sister was clever and sly. First of all, she put the egg in a safe place, and then she went into the secret chamber. When she saw her sisters in the basin, she found all of their parts and put each one back in its right place: head, body, arm, and leg. The parts started to move, and then they joined together, and the two sister came back to life. She took them both out of the room and hid them.

When the man returned and found that the egg was free of blood, he asked her to become his bride. She said yes, but told him that first he would have to carry a basket filled with gold on his back to her parents, and that meanwhile she would be getting ready for the wedding. Then she told her sisters to get help from home. She put them into the basket and covered them over with gold. Then she said to the man, “Carry this away. And don’t you dare stop to rest. If you do, I’ll be able to see through my window.” He lifted the basket onto his back and started off, but it was so heavy that the weight nearly killed him. He wanted to rest a little, but one of the girls inside the basket called out, “I can see through my window that you are resting. Walk on at once!” He thought it was his bride calling out, so he got up and walked on. Every time he wanted to rest, he heard the call, and had to continue on.

Meanwhile, back at his house, his bride dressed up a skull and placed it in the attic window. Then she invited all the sorcerer’s friends to the wedding. Then she dipped herself in a barrel of honey, cut open the bed, and rolled in the feathers so that no one would be able to recognize her. In this strange disguise, she left the house and started down the path. Soon she met some of the guests, who said, “You, Fitcher’s bird, where are you coming from?”

“I’m coming from Fitcher’s house.”

“And what is his young bride doing?”

“She’s cleaning the house from bottom to top. Right now she is looking out of the attic window.”

Then she also met the bridegroom, who was returning home.

“You, Fitcher’s bird, where are you coming from?”

“I’m coming from Fitcher’s house.”

“And what is my young bride doing?”

“She’s cleaning the house from bottom to top. Right now she is looking out of the attic window.”

The bridegroom looked up, and saw the disguised skull. Thinking it was his bride, he waved to it. But after he arrived home, and all his friends were there as well, the help came that the sisters had sent. They closed up the house and set it afire, and because no one could get out, they all perished in the flames.



Bluebeard with his bride, by Edmund Dulac

Once upon a time, in the fair land of France, there lived a very powerful lord, the owner of estates, farms and a great splendid castle, and his name was Bluebeard. This wasn’t his real name, it was a nickname, due to the fact he had a long shaggy black beard with glints of blue in it. He was very handsome and charming, but, if the truth be told, there was something about him that made you feel respect, and a little uneasy…Bluebeard often went away to war, and when he did, he left his wife in charge of the castle. He had had lots of wives, all young, pretty and noble. As bad luckwould have it, one after the other, they had all died, and so the noble lord was forever getting married again.“Sire,” someone would ask now and again, “what did your wives die of?”“Hah, my friend,” Bluebeard would reply, “one died of smallpox, one of a hidden sickness, another of a high fever, another of a terrible infection… Ah, I’m very unlucky, and they’re unlucky too! They’re all buried in the castle chapel,” he added. Nobody found anything strange about that. Nor did the sweet and beautiful young girl that Bluebeard took as a wife think it strange either.
She went to the castle accompanied by her sister Anna, who said:“Oh, aren’t you lucky marrying a lord like Bluebeard?”

“He really is very nice, and when you’re close, his beard doesn’t look as blue as folk say!” said the bride, and the two sisters giggled delightedly. Poor souls! They had no idea what lay in store for them!

A month or so later, Bluebeard had the carriage brought round and said to his wife, “Darling, I must leave you for a few weeks. But keep cheerful during that time, invite whoever you like and look after the castle. Here,” he added, handing his bride a bunch of keys, “you’ll need these, the keys of the safe, the armoury and the library keys, and this one, which opens all the room doors.
Now, this little key here,” and he pointed to a key that was much smaller than the others, “opens the little room at the end of the great ground floor corridor. Take your friends were you want, open any door you like, but not this one! Is that quite clear?” repeated Bluebeard. “Not this one! Nobody at all is allowed to enter that little room. And if you ever did go into it, I would go into such a terrible rage that it’s better that you don’t!”

“Don’t worry, husband,” said Bluebeard’s wife as she took the keys, “I’ll do as you say.” After giving her a hug, Bluebeard got into his carriage, whipped up the horses and off he went.

The days went by. The young girl invited her friends to the castle and showed them round all the rooms except the one at the end of the corridor.

“Why shouldn’t I see inside the little room? Why? Why is it forbidden?” Well, she thought about it so much that she ended up bursting with curiosity, until one day she opened the door and walked into the little room… Of all ghastly horrors! Inside, hanging on the walls were the bodies of Bluebeard’s wives: he had strangled them all with his own hands!

Terror stricken, the girl ran out of the room, but the bunch of keys slipped from her grasp. She picked them up without a glance and hurried to her own room, her heart thumping wildly in her chest. Horrors! She was living in a castle of the dead! So that is what had happened to Bluebeard’s other wives!

The girl summoned up her courage and she noticed that one of the keys – the very key to the little room – was stained with blood.

“I must wipe it clean, before my husband comes back!” she said to herself. But try as she would, the blood stain wouldn’t wash away. She washed, she scrubbed and she rinsed it; all in vain, for the key was still red. That very evening, Bluebeard came home. Just imagine the state his poor wife was in!

Bluebeard did not ask his wife for the keys that same evening, but he remarked, “You look a little upset, darling. Has anything nasty happened?”

“Oh, no! No!”

“Are you sorry I came back so soon?”

“Oh, no! I’m delighted!” But that night, the bride didn’t sleep a wink. Next day, Bluebeard said:

“Darling, give me back the keys,” and his wife hurriedly did so. Bluebeard remarked, “There’s one missing, the key to the little room!”

“Is there?” said the young girl shaking,

“I must have left it in my room!”

“All right, go and get it.” But when Bluebeard’s wife put the key into his hand, Bluebeard turned white and in a deep hoarse voice demanded:

“Why is this key stained with blood?”

“I don’t know…” stammered his wife.

“You know very well!” he retorted. “You went into the little room, didn’t you? Well, you’ll go back again, this time for good, along with the other ladies in there. You must die!”

Bluebeard with sword, by Edmund Dulac

“Oh no! I pray you!”

“You must die!” he repeated. Just then, there was a knock at the door and Anna, Bluebeard’s wife’s sister, entered the castle.

“Good morning,” she said, “you seem rather pale.”

“Not at all, we’re quite well,” replied Bluebeard.

His wife whispered in his ear, “Please, please give me ten minutes to live!”

Bluebeard replied, “Not more than ten!”

The girl ran to her sister Anna who had gone up to one of the towers and asked her,”Anna, do you see our brothers coming? They promised they would come and see me today!”

But Anna replied, “No, I don’t see anyone. What’s wrong? You look agitated.”

“Anna, please,” said the shaken girl, “look again! Are you sure you can’t see someone?”

“No,” said her sister, “only one or two peasants.”

Just then the voice of Bluebeard boomed up to them, “Wife, your time is up! Come here!”

“I’m coming!” she called, but then said to her sister: “Oh Anna, aren’t our brothers coming?…”

“No,” replied Anna. Again Bluebeard shouted up.

“Come down at once! Or I’ll come up!” Trembling like a leaf, his wife went downstairs. Bluebeard was clutching a big knife and he grabbed his bride by the hair…

“Sister, I can see two horsemen coming!” called out Anna from the tower that very moment.

Bluebeard made a horrible face, “They too will die!”

His wife knelt to implore, “Please, please don’t kill me. I’ll never tell anyone what I saw! I’ll never say a word!”

“Yes, you’ll never say a word for eternity!” snarled Bluebeard, raising his knife.

The poor girl screamed, “Have pity on me!”

But he fiercely replied, “No! You must die!” He was about to bring the knife down on the girl’s delicate neck, when two young men burst into the room: a dragon and a musketeer. They were his wife’s brothers.

Drawing their swords, they leapt towards Bluebeard, who tried to flee up some stairs, but was caught and killed. And that was the end of the sad story. Bluebeard’s poor wives were given a Christian burial, the castle was completely renovated and the young widow, some time later, married a good and honest young man, who helped her to forget the terrible adventure. And that young lady completely lost all her sense of curiosity.



Illustration of "The Robber Bridegroom&qu...

Image via Wikipedia

There was once upon a time a miller, who had a beautiful daughter, and as she was grown up, he wished that she was provided for, and well married. He thought, if any good suitor comes and asks for her, I will give her to him. Not long afterwards, a suitor came, who appeared to be very rich, and as the miller had no fault to find with him, he promised his daughter to him. The maiden, however, did not like him quite so much as a girl should like the man to whom she is engaged, and had no confidence in him. Whenever she saw, or thought of him, she felt a secret horror. Once he said to her, you are my betrothed, and yet you have never once paid me a visit. The maiden replied, I know not where your house is. Then said the bridegroom, my house is out there in the dark forest. She tried to excuse herself and said she could not find the way there. The bridegroom said, next sunday you must come out there to me, I have already invited the guests, and I will strew ashes in order that you may find your way through the forest. When sunday came, and the maiden had to set out on her way, she became very uneasy, she herself knew not exactly why, and to mark her way she filled both her pockets full of peas and lentils. Ashes were strewn at the entrance of the forest, and these she followed, but at every step she threw a couple of peas on the ground. She walked almost the whole day until she reached the middle of the forest, where it was the darkest, and there stood a solitary house, which she did not like, for it looked so dark and dismal. She went inside it, but no one was within, and the most absolute stillness reigned.

Suddenly a voice cried, turn back, turn back, young maiden dear, ’tis a murderer‘s house you enter here. The maiden looked up, and saw that the voice came from a bird, which was hanging in a cage on the wall. Again it cried, turn back, turn back, young maiden dear, ’tis a murderer’s house you enter here.

Then the young maiden went on farther from one room to another, and walked through the whole house, but it was entirely empty and not one human being was to be found. At last she came to the cellar, and there sat an extremely aged woman, whose head shook constantly. Can you not tell me, said the maiden, if my betrothed lives here.

Alas, poor child, replied the old woman, whither have you come. You are in a murderer’s den. You think you are a bride soon to be married, but you will keep your wedding with death. Look, I have been forced to put a great kettle on there, with water in it, and when they have you in their power, they will cut you to pieces without mercy, will cook you, and eat you, for they are eaters of human flesh. If I do not have compassion on you, and save you, you are lost.

Thereupon the old woman led her behind a great hogshead where she could not be seen. Be still as a mouse, said she, do not make a sound, or move, or all will be over with you. At night, when the robbers are asleep, we will escape, I have long waited for an opportunity. Hardly was this done, than the godless crew came home. They dragged with them another young girl. They were drunk, and paid no heed to her screams and lamentations.

They gave her wine to drink, three glasses full, one glass of white wine, one glass of red, and a glass of yellow, and with this her heart burst in twain. Thereupon they tore off her delicate raiment, laid her on a table, cut her beautiful body in pieces and strewed salt thereon. The poor bride behind the cask trembled and shook, for she saw right well what fate the robbers had destined for her. One of them noticed a gold ring on the finger of the murdered girl, and as it would not come off at once, he took an axe and cut the finger off, but it sprang up in the air, away over the cask and fell straight into the bride’s bosom. The robber took a candle and wanted to look for it, but could not find it. Then another of them said, have you looked behind the great hogshead. But the old woman cried, come and get something to eat, and leave off looking till the morning, the finger won’t run away from you.

Then the robbers said, the old woman is right, and gave up their search, and sat down to eat, and the old woman poured a sleeping-draught in their wine, so that they soon lay down in the cellar, and slept and snored. When the bride heard that, she came out from behind the hogshead, and had to step over the sleepers, for they lay in rows on the ground, and great was her terror lest she should waken one of them. But God helped her, and she got safely over. The old woman went up with her, opened the doors, and they hurried out of the murderer’s den with all the speed in their power. The wind had blown away the strewn ashes, but the peas and lentils had sprouted and grown up, and showed them the way in the moonlight. They walked the whole night, until in the morning they arrived at the mill, and then the maiden told her father everything exactly as it had happened.

When the day came for the wedding to be celebrated, the bridegroom appeared, and the miller had invited all his relations and friends. As they sat at table, each was bidden to relate something. The bride sat still, and said nothing. Then said the bridegroom to the bride, come, my darling, do you know nothing. Relate something to us like the rest. She replied, then I will relate a dream. I was walking alone through a wood, and at last I came to a house, in which no living soul was, but on the wall there was a bird in a cage which cried, turn back, turn back, young maiden dear, ’tis a murderer’s house you enter here. And this it cried once more. My darling, I only dreamt this.

Then I went through all the rooms, and they were all empty, and there was something so horrible about them. At last I went down into the cellar, and there sat a very old woman, whose head shook. I asked her, does my bridegroom live in this house. She answered, alas poor child, you have got into a murderer’s den, your bridegroom does live here, but he will hew you in pieces, and kill you, and then he will cook you, and eat you. My darling I only dreamt this. But the old woman hid me behind a great hogshead, and scarcely was I hidden, when the robbers came home, dragging a maiden with them, to whom they gave three kinds of wine to drink, white, red, and yellow, with which her heart broke in twain. My darling, I only dreamt this. Thereupon they pulled off her pretty clothes, and hewed her fair body in pieces on a table, and sprinkled them with salt. My darling, I only dreamt this. And one of the robbers saw that there was still a ring on her little finger, and as it was hard to draw off, he took an axe and cut it off, but the finger sprang up in the air, and sprang behind the great hogshead, and fell in my bosom. And there is the finger with the ring. And with these words she drew it forth, and showed it to those present.

The robber, who had during this story become as pale as ashes, leapt up and wanted to escape, but the guests held him fast, and delivered him over to justice. Then he and his whole troop were executed for their infamous deeds.

INTERESTING LINKS

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopeida/The Robber Bridegroom  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Robber_Bridegroom_(fairy_tale)

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia/Aarne-Thompson classification System     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aarne-Thompson



et cetera