I’m a bit late getting started this year, for which I apologize. A combination of work and a terrible cold that hit me last weekend are to blame. But I hope my selections this year will make up for my tardiness!
Today’s tale isn’t actually set around Christmas, or even in the winter, but it’s a short and quite fun little story that I think would be delightful read aloud. Indeed, it’s set as a story told by one person to his friends around an evening fire, which makes it appropriate as a winter tale, in my opinion.
A young woman and her brothers rent a delightful one-story house in Cumberland, called Croglin Grange. At first things go swimmingly: they love the house, their neighbors love them. Then one sultry summer evening, the young woman sees something coming across the lawn–and straight to her window. Scratch, scratch, scratch… will it get in? And what will happen if it does?
“Croglin Grange” comes from The Story of My Life, by Augustus Hare (1834-1903), an English writer of biographies and travel memoirs. Throughout his six volume (!) autobiography are scattered little ghost stories that he heard from his friends. They’ve probably the most interesting part of the tome. I shared one of them in a previous post, and I expect I’ll share a few more.
The description of the creature in “Croglin Grange” reminds me a little of the apparitions in a M.R. James story–though the story itself isn’t Jamesian at all. Think of it more as an oral tale written down, and I hope that you will find it as fun as I did.
Happy Winter Tales season!!
A list (with links) of the winter tales I’ve shared in previous years is on my Winter Tales page.
Featured Image: An anonymous illustration for H.J.V. Torode’s “Mr. Rangle’s Ghost Story,” The Lamp 27 (1884) p. 393.
Article Image: “We sped the time with stories old,” by E.H. Garrett, in Snow-bound; A Winter Idyll, by John Greenleaf Whittier (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1891) p. 13.
Both images sourced from Brom Bones Books.