United States Folklore

The Grave

A young woman lay suffering on her deathbed, her stillborn baby lying against her chest. Her young husband crouched close, stricken with grief. His beautiful wife crooned a lullaby to her dead baby, her voice growing fainter as death drew near. Finally, she looked at her husband and asked him to bury her back East, beside her dead mother. Choked with grief, the young husband agreed…

Green Lantern

There once was a lighthouse keeper who had lived on St. Martin’s Island with his children, whom he loved dearly. They were all alone there, for the mother had died long before. Wanting the best for his daughter and son, the keeper had insisted that they continue their education, and for this purpose had purchased a small dory for them, which they rowed across to the mainland each day to attend school.

Vision of War

I don’t do battlefields. Oh, it’s not because I am against history. Nope, the truth is I’m psychic and I find battlefields…overwhelming is the best word I can come up with. The fact of the matter is, I don’t deal at all well with being psychic, having been raised in a family of scientists and “seeing is believing” kind of people. I was the only one on either side of my family who had any sort of ESP, and it made things rather difficult growing up. For instance, when my high school class took a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I fainted as soon as I stepped out of the bus, overhelmed by the smells and sounds of the Civil War battle which I saw raging before my eyes. It was freaky. And embarassing. Pretty much the story of my life. Anyway, after that, I decided to avoid battlefields.

Der Belznickel

My sisters and my baby brother danced about the house, whispering to each other excitedly about the coming of der Belznickel on that snowy December 5th evening, the day before the Feast of Saint Nicholas. According to the stories, the good Saint Nicholas chains up the Devil on the eve of his Birthday – December 6th — and makes him visit all of the children in the village to see if they have been behaving themselves and deserved the attention of Kirstkindel.

A Baker’s Dozen

Back in the old days, I had a successful bake-shop in Albany. I had a good business, a plump wife, and a big family. I was a happy man. But trouble came to my shop one year in the guise of an ugly old woman. She entered my shop a few minutes before closing and said: “I wish to have a dozen cookies.” She pointed to my special Saint Nicholas cookies that were sitting out on a tray. So I counted out twelve cookies for her…