Russian Folk-Tales/The Feast of the Dead

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THE FEAST OF THE DEAD


Some girls were out at night for the evening, and arranged for an evening party. They went out to get vódka. There were bones lying on the road. "Ho!" they said, "bones, bones, come and be our guests: we are having an evening party."

So they went back home, brought the vódka, and stepped in over the threshold.

But the bones came and sat at the table just like men, and said to the maidens, "Now give us the brandy."

So the girls gave them brandy.

"Give us bread!"

So they gave them bread.

They all sat down to eat, and one maiden dropped the meat.

Then the bones began lifting and stretching their legs under the bench. The girls tried to run away; and the bones raced after them. The bones caught one girl up, and broke her across their knees. The other girls made their escape into the loft; one girl hid behind the water-butt.

The bones ran up to the loft and asked: "What is there up there?"

"God's taper."

"But down there?"

"The Devil's poker," she answered.

So the bones hauled the second girl out and strangled her.


This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.