Title: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Author: Alvin Schwartz (collected from folklore and retold).
Artist: Stephen Gammell.
Genre: Fiction, literature, short stories, horror, mystery.
Publication Date: 1981.
Summary: A collection of 25 stories, 2 poems and 2 songs, all adapted from folklore, retold for children, and illustrated. The Big Toe is about a child who finds a toe in his garden and brings it home to be cooked in a stew, but the toe has an owner that wants it back. The Walk tells of two strangers walking together, both terrified of each other. In "What Do You Come For?", an old lonely woman wishes for company, and unfortunately gets her wish. Me Tie Dough-ty Walker! is about a legend of a bloody head falling out of the chimney of a haunted house, and a boy with his dog who decide to investigate the myth. The Man Who Lived in Leeds is a poem about a man who lives in Leeds and plants a garden, but things take a twisted turn. Old Woman All Skin and Bones is a song about an old woman who encounters death and wonders about her own rapidly-approaching time to depart. In The Thing, two boys meet a horrifying figure that turns out to be an ill omen for one of them. In Cold as Clay, a farmer tries to keep his daughter away from a farmhand he believes is below her, but he doesn't realize the young man may pursue her even beyond the grave. In The White Wolf, a man hunts down hundreds of wolves until he retires and vows never to kill a wolf again, but a mysterious and brutal white wolf appears to tempt his fate. In The Haunted House, a preacher decides to rid a haunted house of its spirit, and encounters it, learning the tragedy that has occurred to bring it to this world. In The Guests, a couple is glad of a hospitality of an elderly couple in a remote house late at night, but the following day learn the horrifying truth about their hosts. The Hearse Song is a song about what happens to you after you die. In The Girl Who Stood on a Grave, a young girl takes the dare to disprove a superstition and stand on a grave, plunging a knife into it as proof. In A New Horse, a farm-hand figures out how to deal with a witch that sneaks into his house every night and turns his friend into a horse. In Alligators, a wife begins to suspect her husband is an alligator, out to turn their children and herself into alligators, as well. In Room for One More, a man sees a hearse full of people that serves as a warning and an omen. Wendigo is about a hunter with an Indian as a guide go hunting into a desolate part of Northern Canada, and encounter something terrible there. The Dead Man's Brains is a story that is concurrent with a Halloween game, where the players have to feel different parts of a dead man's remains in the dark. In "May I Carry Your Basket?", a man offers to held carry an old woman's basket on a late cold night, but is horrified when he finds out what she carries in it. The Hook is a story about an escaped prisoner with a hook for a hand, and an unsuspecting couple. In The White Satin Evening Gown, a poor young woman rents a gown for an evening out for a very low price, but there is a different price she must pay for wearing it. In High Beams, a young woman is terrorized on an empty road by a truck driver following her and flashing his high beams, but all may not be as it seems. In The Babysitter, the children home alone with a babysitter are terrorized by creepy and disturbing phone calls, but things only get worse when they contact the authorities. In The Viper, a woman receives a creepy phone call announcing the imminent arrival or "a viper." In The Attic, a man living alone in the woods with his dog loses his companion, but eventually begins to hear strange sounds coming from the attic. The Slithery-Dee is a poem about a strange creature that comes from the sea. In Aaron Kelly's Bones, Aaron Kelly is dead and buried, but doesn't appear to realize it or wish to accept it at all. In Wait Till Martin Comes, a man takes shelter during the night in an old house, but every time he awakens he sees a cat always larger than the one before, waiting to "begin" when Martin comes. In The Ghost with the Bloody Fingers, a room in a hotel scares off every visitor with its creepy ghost, but eventually the ghost meets his match.
My rating: 8/10.
~~"What Do You Come For?"
~~Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!
♥ Some say this rhyme doesn't mean anything. Others are not so sure.
There was a man who lived in Leeds;
He filled his garden full of seeds.
And when the seeds began to grow,
It was like a garden filled with snow.
But when the snow began to melt,
It was like a ship without a belt.
And when the ship began to sail,
It was like a bird without a tail.
And when the bird began to fly,
It was like an eagle in the sky.
And when the sky began to roar,
It was like a lion at my door.
And when the door began to crack,
It was like a penknife in my back.
And when my back began to bleed—
I was dead, dead, dead indeed!
~~The Man Who Lived in Leeds.
♥ But when she turned and looked around
She saw a corpse upon the ground.
O-o o-o o-o!
From its nose down to its chin
The worms crawled out, and the worms crawled in.
O-o o-o o-o!
The woman to the preacher said,
"Shall I look like that when I am dead?"
O-o o-o o-o!
The preacher to the woman said,
"You'll look like that when you are dead!"
~~from Old Woman All Skin and Bone.
~~The Haunted House.
♥ Don't you ever laugh as the hearse goes by,
For you may be the next to die.
They wrap you up in a big white sheet
From your head down to your feet.
They put you in a big black box
And cover you up with dirt and rocks.
All goes well for about a week,
Then your coffin begins to leak.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.
A big green worm with rolling eyes
Crawls in your stomach and out your eyes.
Your stomach turns a slimy green,
And pus pours out like whipping cream.
You spread it on a slice of bread,
And that's what you eat when you are dead.
~~The Hearse Song.
♥ "Something has got me!" she screamed, and she fell to the ground.
When she didn't come back, the others went to look for her. They found her body sprawled across the grave. Without realizing it, she had plunged the knife through her skirt and had pinned it to the ground. It was only the knife that held her. She had died of fright.
~~The Girl Who Stood on a Grave.
~~A New Horse.
~~The Dead Man's Brains.
~~Wait Till Martin Comes.