Tag Archives: Merry Christmas

A Ghost for Christmas

Thurlow’s Christmas Story   by John Kendrick Bangs (1894 Harper’s Weekly)

Wednesday’s Christmas Story  December 5, 2018

 

It’s nearly Christmas and a lovely time for ghost stories. Let’s imagine you are a writer. Or maybe, like me, you are a writer of fiction and a lover of ghost stories. Here is a story about a writer haunted by a ghostly vision. At the same time this ghost arrives, our writer is struggling to invent an adventure “the usual ghostly tale with a dash of the Christmas flavor” for his editor to publish for the Christmas  edition, The Idler. What John Kendrick Bangs does here in Thurlow’s Christmas Story is write a letter  based on a supernatural experience. He sends this letter to his editor Mr. George Currier at The Idler.

One night, after producing only blank pages at his desk … ‘On my way up to bed shortly after midnight, having been neither smoking nor drinking, I saw confronting me upon the stairs, with the moonlight streaming through the windows back of me, lighting up its face, a figure in which I recognized my very self in every form and feature.’

So, what happens when we meet a ghost in our own image? Some consider this a comic ghost story. You be the judge.

 

 

I can say that when writing—when inside that mysterious creative process of storytelling—some writers do experience supernatural activity, and I think author John Kendrick Bangs was one of them. Bangs is known as an American satirist, author of short stories, novels, poems, and serial fiction (Harper’s Weekly). He is a clever writer in supernatural fiction, and creator of modern Bangsian fantasy (fantasy set in the afterlife).

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Read the Christmas short story PDF https://loa-shared.s3.amazonaws.com/static/pdf/Bangs_Thurlow.pdf

Listen to the 30-minute audio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=805riJbo7UY

 

 

“May the Christmastide bear you to the highest level of your desires, and the ebbing year leave you stranded upon the Golden Shores of Peace, Prosperity and Happiness.”   J.K. Banks

 

Click to read other Christmas stories posted here at Reading Fiction Blog:

 

 Christmas River Ghost by Paula Cappa  2017

A Strange Christmas Game  by J.H. Riddell   2016 

A Boy Named Claus: The Adventure. Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum  2015

 

 

Please leave your comments! 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

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A Boy Named Claus: The Adventure

 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus  by L. Frank Baum  (1902)

Tuesday’s Holiday Tale, December 22, 2015

 

thumb_christmas_Bells_bell_icnI’m ringing the holiday bells early this year. Snuggle up. Grab the popcorn, mug of hot spiced cider, and imagine the snow sprinkling down soft and slow. Outside your window, the green hills shine white.  All is silent for this night …

 

Of all the Christmas classics you’ve read over the years, as a child or a teen, or to your children, L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is probably one you could not forget.  Some of us missed reading this story in our childhood. If, like me, you missed this magical adventure, today you can travel into the exciting world of a boy named Claus.

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We are in the enchanted Forest of Burzee, a mighty forest with queer gnarled trees, mosses, and sunlit meadows. There is a Master Woodsman of the World here, named Ak.  Ak is all wise, sees everything, and lives in a castle in Burzee with his queen.

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[Ak, Master of the World in the Forest of Burzee.]

The inhabitants of the forest are all immortals: fairies, Knooks, Ryls, and Nymphs. One very special wood nymph is Necile.  One day she finds a mortal baby starving and abandoned in the woods. Nearby is a lioness, intent on devouring the infant … until Ak commands the lioness Shiegra to give her milk to the infant.

Necile cannot resist the beautiful babe and takes him to the castle and raises him as her son. She names him Claus. The boy grows up and then moves to the Laughing Valley to live among the sweet-natured Knooks—creatures who speak no words.

But then the wicked creatures, the Awgwas, descend.

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[The Awgwas]

There’s a war. Claus is attacked. Who will save this young man from the evil forest creatures? Will he die? He’s mortal so surely he will. Ak to the rescue! Saved from evil powers, Claus becomes known as generous and kind man in the Laughing Valley, living alone with his cat Blinkie and whittling toys for the children he finds in the  woods and valleys.

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[Claus carrying a lost child back to the mother.]

Do you know the first toy that Claus ever made? Do you know how and why he made the first dolly? Who did he fashion it after? We all know the rest of this Christmas Eve story, Claus flying over rooftops and slipping down chimneys to bestow toys upon beloved children. But Claus’ trusty reindeer were not Dasher and Dancer. Come meet Flossie and Glossie, Racer and Pacer, Reckless and Speckless, Fearless and Peerless, and Ready and Steady.

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What is the destiny of such a good mortal man with a heart as big as the world? Old age and death? What can save him now so Claus can continue to work his magic for children?

 

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[Grim Reaper at Claus’ bedside]

 

Honor your imagination this holiday season and experience the power. Come back to your own childhood story time. Feel the joy and light! And the love in this dreamy Christmas adventure.

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The illustrated edition featured here is out of print (although you can buy it on AbeBooks.com), published by Henry Holt and Company in 2003. The illustrations are by the renowned Michael Hague (The Wizard of Oz and The Velveteen Rabbit.) All images here are photographed from the book for commentary and review purposes only.

You can read the story, free online at PageByPageBooks.com.

 

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Listen to the audio by Librivox.org.

Or, you can likely find this illustrated edition in your library, as I did. Try WorldCat.org to locate a library near you. ISBN 0805038221 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, Illustrated by Michael Hague. 2003.

 

 

 

For more Christmas short stories (ghostly ones!) this blog has several you might also enjoy.

Click the title for a free read.

The Water Ghost by John Kendricks Bangs

The Festival by Lovecraft for Christmas

The Ghost of Dr. Harris by Nathaniel Hawthorne for Christmas Eve

The Legend of the Fir Tree, A Christmas story

Markeim by Robert Louis Stevenson, a Devil of a Christmas Murder

Wishing you all happy holidays

and happy reading!

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vtpipkVWZiQ“>

 

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Lovecraft for Christmas

The Festival   by H.P. Lovecraft (1925)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 2, 2014

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No one but Lovecraft could bring you to the dark and dreary yuletide of the season. Come to Kingsport, an old fishing town in Massachusetts. Willow trees. Graveyards. Crooked streets … “antiquity hovering on grey wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs; fanlights and small-paned windows one by one gleaming out in the cold dusk to join Orion and the archaic stars.” There are black gravestones in Kingsport that stick up “through the snow like the decayed fingernails of a gigantic corpse.”

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Not exactly glistening angels and the merry sparkles of Christmas trees. Charles Dickens’ gave us cranky old Scrooge on Christmas Eve, but Lovecraft brings us  into subterranean rituals. Are you ready for the opposite of merry, merry? Gloomy, gloomy. Our narrator tells us that four witches were hung in Kingsport in 1692. Lonely and far from home, he is looking for his relatives for the merry season. He finds his relative’s home on Green Street. A man answers the door, a man with a face like wax and eyes that do not move. Invited in, our narrator enters the house. No one speaks. All he can hear is the “whir of the wheel as the bonneted old woman continued her silent spinning, spinning” before the fireplace.

He participates in a procession through the streets to the Festival, led by voiceless guides to a church and yard. When he looks back, he finds there are no footprints in the snow of these night marchers … nor his own. What does this festival bring? And how does he survive it?

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imagesThe power of Lovecraft’s language here touches deeply into fear, not an emotion we associate with holiday time. Fear, loneliness, displaced from home can harbor its own madness. As Lovecraft tells us in Latin at the beginning of his story: Demons have the ability to cause people to see things that do not exist as if they did exist.

 

 

 

 

Creature Sketch Art by Jason Thompson: MockMan.com

 

Read the full text at H.P. Lovecraft.com

Listen to the audio version on YouTube with visuals. Turn out the lights and listen to this one!

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjcM_sIDfUs Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62ICpQs9aac Part 2.

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