Russian Fairy Tales | Annotated Tale

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Ride on the Gravestone, The

But I will not dwell any longer on the story of the Fiddler, as I propose to give some account in the next chapter of several other tales of the same class, in most of which such descriptions of evil spirits are introduced as have manifestly been altered into what their narrators considered to be in accordance with Christian teaching. And so I will revert to those ideas about the dead, and about their abiding-place, which the modern Slavonians seem to have inherited from their heathen ancestors, and I will attempt to illustrate them by a few Russian ghost-stories. Those stories are, as a general rule, of a most ghastly nature, but there are a few into the composition of which the savage element does not enter. The "Dead Mother," which has already been quoted, [1] belongs to the latter class; and so does the following tale--which, as it bears no title in the original, we may name,


LATE one evening a certain artisan happened to be returning home from a jovial feast in a distant village. There met him on the way an old friend, one who had been dead some ten years.

                 "Good health to you!" said the dead man.

                 "I wish you good health!" replied the reveller, and straight way forgot that his acquaintance had ever so long ago bidden the world farewell.

                 "Let's go to my house. We'll quaff a cup or two once more."

                 "Come along. On such a happy occasion as this meeting of ours, we may as well have a drink."

                 They arrived at a dwelling and there they drank and revelled.

                 "Now then, good-bye! It's time for me to go home," said the artisan.

                 "Stay a bit. Where do you want to go now? Spend the night here with me."

                 "No, brother! don't ask me; it cannot be. I've business to do to-morrow, so I must get home as early as possible."

                 "Well, good-bye! but why should you walk? Better get on my horse; it will carry you home quickly."

                 "Thanks! let's have it."

                 He got on its back, and was carried off--just as a whirlwind flies! All of a sudden a cock crew. It was awful! All around were graves, and the rider found he had a gravestone under him!



[1] See Chap. I. p. 32.

[2] Afanasief, v. p. 144.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Ride on the Gravestone, The
Tale Author/Editor: Ralston, William Ralston Shedden
Book Title: Russian Fairy Tales
Book Author/Editor: Ralston, William Ralston Shedden
Publisher: Hurst & Co.
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1873
Country of Origin: Russia
Classification: unclassified

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