Everyone loves a good mystery, even if it's not always easy to figure out -- in fact, this makes things even more intriguing. Some of the most compelling legends of our time -- the Loch Ness Monster, the story of Big Foot -- retain their power because they're mysterious, and just a little scary.
Whether it's for Halloween festivities or everyday fun, kids love scary stories. This collection of children's tales is the perfect way to introduce to young readers the fun of being scared silly. Kids can explore the world of the strange and mysterious through the eyes of young characters. And, at one narrative per page, these tales are a quick and entertaining way to fit a bedtime story into a busy day.
In this article, you'll find classic scary stories from famous authors -- Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein -- as well as more contemporary tales, all especially adapted for reading aloud to children. Here's a preview:
Little Orphant Annie: This poem introduces readers to their storyteller, and sets the mood for the rest of the tales.
King of Cats: Read about a lazy black cat who knows more than he lets on.
The Mystery on the Sargasso: Find out the secret of the mysterious ship that rescues John Fields from a desert island.
The Bermuda Triangle: Learn about one of the strangest areas of the sea, where ships are said to disappear wthout a trace.
Yeti: Learn about the legendary "abominable snowmen" that are said to live on the peaks of Nepal.
The Monkey's Paw: Read about why getting your heart's desire isn't always such a good thing.
The Mummy: Find out about the curse of King Elysian, a ten-year-old pharaoh of ancient Egypt.
The Teeny-Tiny Woman: Learn about a little lady's big adventure.
Dracula's Secret: Read about the count of Transylvania and his dark secret.
The Red Ribbon: Find out why a young woman refuses to let anyone untie the ribbon around her neck.
Dr. Jeckyll's Diary: Check out this adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic story, where the good Dr. Jeckyll turns himself into his own opposite -- the evil Mr. Hyde.
The Loch Ness Monster: Learn about Nessie, the famous mythical creature of Scotland.
Night Coach: Find out what happens to Orange, a young man who tries to take the night coach into town.
The Selkie Child: Read about Morgan, the girl who came from the sea.
Interview With Dr. Frankenstein: Check out this adaptation of the classic Mary Shelley novella, where a scientist tries to create a man in his laboratory.
Big Foot: Learn about the strange creatures that have been spotted in the forests of North America.
The Banshee and O'Doud: Find out what happens when a skeptical reporter's investigation turns up more than he'd bargained for.
The Second Captain: Read about a mysterious message that saves a ship from ruin.
Ready to set the mood for scary stories? Meet our storyteller, Little Orphant Annie, in the next section.
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Little Orphant Annie
Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
And wash the cups and saucers up, and brush the crumbs away,
And shoo the chickens off the porch, and dust the hearth, and sweep,
And make the fire, and bake the bread, and earn her board-and-keep;
And all us other children, when the supper-things is done,
We sit around the kitchen fire and have the mostest fun,
A-listenin' to the spooky tales that Annie tells about,
And the gobble-uns that will get you
Even grave diggers have unusual evenings. Read all about it in the next story, "The King of Cats."
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King of Cats
The grave digger's wife sat by the fireplace. She was mending socks. Her lazy black cat slept on the floor next to her. It was very late. The woman was waiting for her husband, the grave digger, to come home.
The grave digger's wife and the lazy black cat waited and waited. Still, the grave digger did not come home. At last, the grave digger rushed into the house. He slammed the door. His heart was pounding. He was out of breath.
"I have a story to tell you," he said.
If you're stranded on a desert island, all you can wish for is a ship to rescue you. Find out what happens when the ship isn't what you think in the next story, "The Mystery on the Sargasso."
He took off his hat and scarf. Then he turned to face his wife.
The grave digger's eyes were wide. He was pale. The grave digger's wife stared at him.
"You look strange," she said. "Did something happen?"
"Yes," said the grave digger. "Something did happen."
The lazy black cat sat up. He stared at the grave digger now, too.
The grave digger's wife moved closer to her husband.
"So tell me," she said. "What happened to you tonight that made you look so pale and afraid?"
The grave digger took a deep breath.
"Well," said the grave digger. "I was digging old Mr. Ford's grave. I guess I fell asleep. I woke up when I heard a cat say, 'MEOW!'"
"Meow!" said the wife's lazy black cat.
The grave digger's eyes widened even more. He pointed to the cat.
"Yes, just like that!" said the grave digger. "I was very deep in the grave. I looked up over the top of it. What do you think I saw?"
The grave digger's wife frowned.
"Now, how would I know that?" she asked.
"Well," said the grave digger. "I saw nine black cats. Nine black cats, just like your lazy black cat here. And what do you think they were doing?"
The grave digger's wife and her lazy black cat looked at each other. Then they looked at the grave digger. The wife shrugged.
"They were carrying a coffin," said the grave digger.
The grave digger's wife gasped.
"A coffin?" she asked.
"A coffin," he said. "There were four black cats on each side of the coffin. One black cat was in front of it. The coffin was covered with a black cloth."
"The cats came closer," said the grave digger. "They said 'MEOW!'"
"Meow!" said the wife's lazy black cat.
"Yes, just like that!" said the grave digger. "As the cats came closer and closer, I could see them more clearly. Their eyes were shining like little lights. They kept coming. They got closer and closer. They were looking at me, just like your cat looks at me now. Why, he looks like he knows every word I am saying."
"Never mind my cat," said the wife. "Go on. What happened next?"
"The cats came towards me," said the grave digger, "very slowly. With every third step they cried out, all together, 'MEOW!'"
"Meow!" said the wife's lazy black cat.
"Yes," said the grave digger, "just like that. When they stood at Mr. Ford's grave, they all got very still. They looked straight at me."
Now the grave digger stared back at his wife's lazy black cat.
"Look at your cat," said the grave digger. "He's staring at me."
"Never mind my cat," said the wife. "Go on!"
"The one that wasn't carrying the coffin came even closer," he said.
The wife's lazy black cat moved closer to the grave digger. The cat stared straight at him.
The grave digger backed up. He shivered.
"Never mind my cat," said the grave digger's wife.
The lazy black cat's eyes were shining like little lights.
"Go on," she said. "What did the cat do then?"
"The cat moved closer and closer to me," said the grave digger. "Finally, we were nose to nose."
"Oh, my," said the grave digger's wife. "Then what happened?"
"The cat spoke to me!" said the grave digger. "He said, 'Tell Old Tom that Old Tim is dead.'"
The wife's lazy black cat jumped up.
The grave digger's wife screamed.
"Look! Look at my lazy black cat!" she said "What is happening to him?"
The lazy black cat stretched and stretched. He grew taller and taller. Soon he was three times his normal size.
At last, the cat spoke. "What?" he said. "Old Tim is dead? Well, I'm Old Tom. Now I am the King of Cats!"
And with that, Old Tom rushed up the chimney.
The grave digger and his wife never saw the lazy black cat again.
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The Mystery on the Sargasso
John Fields sat on the sand. He looked out over the endless Sargasso Sea. He saw nothing but blue water. He had been stranded on this tiny island for an entire week. He had seen seven sunrises and seven sunsets.
"Good morning, sun!" John would say each morning. At night, he talked to the moon and tried to count the stars.
While he sat on the island, John thought about the storm that had brought him there. He remembered the way his tiny sailboat was tossed about on the waves. He remembered falling into the water. Finally, he remembered waking up in the very spot where he sat now.
John kept busy by fishing for food. He collected coconuts that fell from the trees. The husks of the coconuts were hard to open. But the sweet milk inside was a welcome reward.
Most days, though, John sat and looked at the water. One day, John saw a dot on the water. The dot was a ship! Even though the ship was far away, John could see that it was getting closer. He jumped up and down. He yelled and waved his arms. He would be saved!
As the ship sailed near John's tiny island, he yelled even louder. John ran out into the water. He laughed and waved at the boat.
Soon the ship was near the shore. A crew member rowed a small lifeboat over to John's island.
"I'm happy to see you," John said to the man in the boat. He climbed in. John was so excited, he had trouble sitting still.
The man rowed John back to the ship.
Aboard the ship, the captain and crew welcomed John. "You are a very lucky man," said the captain. He shook John's hand.
"Thank you," John said over and over. He knew that he was very lucky. As he looked around the ship, though, John noticed that things were strange. The captain and crew were wearing unusual uniforms. They were Americans, like John, but he felt that they were very different.
"Welcome aboard The Lily Belle," said a crew member, as he led John into a ballroom. "You must be very hungry," said the man. John was very hungry. He was tired of fish and coconuts.
John walked through the ballroom. He saw many people having fun. But, again, something about these people made John feel strange.
The crew member showed John a table covered with food. "Enjoy! Eat as much as you like," he said.
John stood at the table, filling a plate with delicious treats. He could not believe how hungry he was! He did not bother to sit down at one of the tables. He bit into a piece of chicken. He licked his fingers. He looked at all the people in the room.
Suddenly, he realized why these people seemed strange to him. Everyone looked as if they were dressed in a costume! They looked like they were having an old-fashioned costume party. He thought their outfits looked like pictures he had seen from the 1930's. "How fun!" he said to himself.
Soon he was approached by a stranger. She introduced herself as Addie Stewart. "Where did you get that costume?" she asked.
She laughed, but it was a very kind laugh. John thought he must look out of place.
"Your costume is wonderful," said John.
"Costume?" she asked him. "I'm not wearing a costume. This is my favorite dress." Addie stopped smiling.
John realized that he had said something wrong.
John did not know what to say to Addie. He asked her about the news.
"Have you seen the new bridge?" she asked.
"Which bridge is that?" he asked.
"The Golden Gate Bridge!" she laughed. "It's all anyone talks about."
"Oh, yes. I saw it years ago," said John.
Addie stopped smiling again. "Years ago? Very funny." She thought John was making fun of her.
John felt bad. He did not know what to say. He realized that he was very thirsty, so he excused himself. He went to get a drink.
John got a glass of soda. He looked at a newspaper. The newspaper's date said June 2, 1937! John picked up the paper and read the headline, "Amelia Earhart Ready to Fly Around the World!"
"You guys got props and everything," John said to a man next to him.
"Excuse me?" said the man.
Just then, John heard the bartender's radio. He heard the man on the radio talk about President Franklin Roosevelt. John could not believe his ears! "What day is it? What year?" John asked the stranger.
"Are you serious?" asked the man. "It's 1937."
John ran out onto the ship's deck. "What day is it? I mean, what year is it?" John asked the people on the deck. They laughed. They thought John was just being silly.
John knew that something was wrong. "Can you please tell me who the President of the United States is?" he asked a man and woman.
The couple laughed, but they answered his question. "Roosevelt is the president," said the man. The woman giggled at John.
John knew that he had to leave the ship. Something was very odd on this boat. He felt sick.
John looked around and saw the small lifeboats along the side of the ship.
John launched a lifeboat and rowed away. He rowed as fast as he could.
Days later, John was picked up by an American fishing boat. He told the fishermen about the strange ship and the party.
The fishermen looked at each other. John began to describe the ship and the crew. Then John added, "The boat's name was The Lily Belle."
The fishermen were silent. Finally, one of the fishermen said, "The boat you described is a cruise ship. It disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle almost seventy years ago!"
The tales of the Bermuda Triangle aren't over yet. Learn about one of the most mysterious regions in the ocean in the next story, "The Bermuda Triangle."
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The Bermuda Triangle
A long time ago, a new sailboat set sail from Florida. It had twenty-five sailors aboard. The crew was heading south towards the Bermuda islands.
During the voyage, dark clouds began to form over the ocean. One of the sailors used the radio to talk to the crew on a large navy ship.
"Do you have any information about this storm? Repeat: Do you have..." he said. The sailor's message stopped. The radio stopped working.
A young naval officer heard the sailor's message. He tried to use radar to find the sailors to help them. But the sailboat had completely disappeared.
Five years later, the same naval officer was on a search vessel. His radar found a sailboat drifting near Florida.
The young sailor boarded the sailboat. He did not find any people. But it looked like people had recently been on the boat. A warm cup of coffee was on a countertop near the stove. A board game was neatly set up on a table.
When the young officer got back to shore, he looked in the navy's sailing records. He found that this was the boat that had been missing for five years! The records showed that the twenty-five crewmen were never found.
Just southeast of the United States, below Florida, is an area called the Bermuda Triangle. It is in the Atlantic Ocean between Miami, Puerto Rico, and the Bermuda islands. When sailors draw a line from Miami to Puerto Rico, from Puerto Rico to the Bermuda islands, and from the islands back to Miami, what is left on the map is a large triangle.
Many sailors and airplane pilots try to stay far away from the Bermuda Triangle. They report that unusual, unexplained things happen in that area.
Their compasses, the tools that help navigate their direction, spin wildly in the Bermuda Triangle. Clocks and other equipment also display very jumbled numbers. Strange lightning storms are another reason sailors and pilots stay away from that part of the world.
There are also many reports of ships, planes, and all of their passengers just vanishing in the Bermuda Triangle. Some researchers say that over a hundred ships and planes have disappeared. One minute they are there, and the next minute they are gone without a trace.
Even stranger things have happen in the Bermuda Triangle. A missing ship has reappeared, but without any crew aboard. What could cause things like this to happen? What could explain these strange disappearances?
For years, scientists have been trying to figure out what is so different about the Bermuda Triangle. Why do so many odd things happen there?
One answer might be the weather in the area. Hurricanes are common there. It is possible that fast-moving storms surprise sailors and pilots.
But other scientists say the mysteries cannot be explained by bad weather. An accident from a storm would leave some wreckage behind. Usually, rescuers do not find any broken pieces.
Other experts think there might be unusual magnetic energy in the Bermuda Triangle. The magnetic energy draws objects towards it. It makes compasses and clocks break or malfunction. But why does this strange energy cause some vessels to disappear and not others?
Most likely, the pilots and sailors of these crafts are to blame. People who sail for fun sometimes make mistakes or take risks that could cause an accident. Many pilots of small planes are new to flying. It takes a lot of skill to fly a small plane or sail a yacht in bad weather.
But even the most experienced pilots and sailors are afraid of the Bermuda Triangle. They think the dangers of the region can never be explained. Until someone proves that it is safe, they will avoid the Bermuda Triangle.
There's a legendary creature that stalks the peaks of Nepal. Learn all about him in the next story, "Yeti."
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A Sherpa boy named Ang Chiki lived near the mountains of Nepal. His uncle led people on hikes through the icy Himalaya Mountains. Ang was on his first expedition.
Ang slipped and rolled down the snowy mountainside. He was not hurt, but the group was now far ahead of him.
Ang found the group's tracks in the snow. He followed them, hoping to catch up before nightfall.
Ahead of him, Ang saw fresh tracks that crossed the trail. These footprints were large and wide.
Ang put his boot in one. The tracks were deep. They held his feet well. Ang stretched his legs to step in them, one by one.
The footprints led him up the mountain towards the peak. With every long step, Ang was getting closer to the group.
But these huge tracks ended before the peak. They stopped at the opening of an icy cave. It was dark inside.
Ang looked into the cave. It smelled awful!
"Hello!" he called.
From inside the cave, something grunted and growled. Ang stepped back in fright. His face became as pale and cold as the icy cliffs around him. Ang turned around and ran.
The people of Nepal tell stories about wild creatures in the mountains. The Sherpa call them Yeti, which means "snowman." Some people know the Yeti as the "Abominable Snowman."
Some people have seen a Yeti walk standing up, like a person would. Some say they run on four legs like animals do.
They are very fast, even on ice. No one has ever seen a Yeti standing still. Their light-colored hair helps them hide in the snowy mountains.
Many hikers say they have seen these savage snowmen in the mountains of Nepal, Tibet, China, and Russia. They find Yeti tracks in the snow.
One mountain climber took a picture of a footprint in 1951. The track was large. The creature that made it was heavy. It had big toes like a person. It walked through the snow with bare feet.
In 1986, another mountain climber claimed to see a Yeti. He came within thirty feet of the creature.
Scientists have searched caves and rocks in the Himalaya Mountains. They found clumps of rough white hairs. They found the bones of a hand trapped in ice for hundreds of years. Was it a prehistoric human hand, or a modern Yeti hand? Tests on the bones did not answer these questions.
A Yeti has never been caught on film. The Sherpa people say the Yeti are too swift. No one will ever catch them, not even with a camera.
One Sherpa guide has said the Yeti are not real. They are only in the scary stories people tell their children.
The Yeti are said to live high in the mountains. Tracks are found in places people rarely go.
Some researchers compare stories of the Yeti with stories about Bigfoot. But Yeti are smaller, and they have white hair. The researchers say the Yeti could be the cold-weather cousin of Bigfoot.
Scientists study about new places all the time. In jungles and oceans where people never go, living species of bugs, birds, plants, and fish are just waiting to be found.
What if scientists studied the rough, icy mountaintops in Nepal? What would they discover?
Find out the darker side of having your wishes granted in the next story, "The Monkey's Paw."
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The Monkey's Paw
Mr. White held his front door open. "Morris! Come in, come in." Mr. White's old friend, Sergeant Major Morris, stepped inside. Mr. White led him into the parlor.
Mrs. White and their grown son, Herbert, sat before a crackling fire. Morris settled into a chair. Mrs. White poured tea.
"So good of you to come," said Mrs. White.
"Thank you for inviting me." Morris looked around the parlor. "It's so warm here. So safe. I can almost forget that the mysterious jungles of India lurk right outside this house. I can almost believe life has returned to normal."
"Normal?" Mr. White studied his old friend's face. He looked worried. Or did he look scared?
"Has something happened to you, Morris?" asked Mr. White.
Morris rubbed his hand across his chin. "My life has nearly been destroyed by a monkey's paw."
"A monkey's paw?" Mr. White frowned. "I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean."
Morris reached into his pocket and pulled out a dark object. It was a tiny, shriveled hand, covered in fur.
Mr. White peered down at the tiny hand. "Morris, this is the cause of all your troubles? The withered paw of one small monkey?"
"It's small and withered, yes," said Morris. "But it's powerful. It has a spell on it. This paw grants three wishes to anyone who owns it."
"Three wishes!" Mrs. White looked at the paw. "It's magic then."
"You may call it magic," Morris said. "I call it cursed."
"Cursed?" said Mrs. White. "But that's silly. How can a wish be cursed?"
"Very easily," said Morris, shaking his head. "Whenever we make a wish, greed clouds our judgment."
"I wouldn't let greed cloud my judgment," said Herbert. "I would think the whole thing through. I would know exactly what I was wishing for."
"I thought I was smarter than the monkey's paw and its magic," Morris said. "I was wrong."
"Then you've made your three wishes?" asked Mr. White.
"I have," said Morris. "And if I had a fourth wish, I'd use it now. I'd wish with all my heart I'd never seen this paw. It's terrible, I tell you."
Morris flung the monkey's paw into the fireplace.
"No!" Herbert said. He grabbed a fire iron. Then he fished the monkey's paw from the flames and flipped it onto the parlor floor.
"I can't watch you ruin your happy home." Morris rose to his feet. "You have a fine family and a good life," he told Mr. White. "If you want to keep them safe, you'll toss that cursed paw back into the flames."
Mr. White walked Morris to the door.
When Mr. White returned, Herbert said, "What should we wish for first?"
"Nothing," said his father. "Morris was right. I live in a fine house with a family I love. I have nothing to wish for."
"But this fine house isn't completely ours," said Mrs. White. "We still owe two hundred dollars to the bank. Wouldn't our good life and fine family be that much better without debt hanging over our heads?"
"Think how happy you'd be to hand two hundred dollars to the banker, Papa," said Herbert.
"I don't know," Mr. White said. "It would be nice to own this house." Mr. White stared at the monkey's paw. Then he took a deep breath. "I wish for two hundred dollars."
"Oh!" said Mrs. White. "I saw it move. The monkey's paw moved!"
"It heard your wish, Papa," said Herbert. "Now the wish will come true."
"Nonsense," said his father. "The wind moved it. This monkey's paw is no more magic than I am." He scooped up the paw. Then he put it into his desk drawer. "Let's forget about this withered paw and go to bed."
The next morning, though, Herbert had not forgotten.
"The two hundred dollars may come today while I'm at work," he said, as he left for his job at the factory. "Don't spend it all before I get back."
That evening, Herbert did not come home from work. Mrs. White was very worried. Then a knock sounded at the door. Mrs. White opened the door. A man from Herbert's factory stepped into the hall.
"There's been an accident," the man told Mr. and Mrs. White. "Herbert was caught in the machinery at the factory. We couldn't save him."
Mr. White stared at the man. "Herbert is...dead?"
The man nodded. "We hope this will help ease your suffering a bit." He handed Mrs. White an envelope.
Mrs. White's hand trembled as she opened it. "Oh! Oh, no!" She flung the envelope to the floor.
The packet from Herbert's factory contained two hundred dollars.
"Where is the paw?" Mrs. White ran into the parlor.
"I've put it away," Mr. White said, "where it can do no more harm."
"But we have two more wishes," said Mrs. White. "We can wish him back. We can have our sweet Herbert back."
"Do you really think that's wise?" said Mr. White. "After what just happened? Do you believe anything good can come from our wishes?"
"Don't you want your son back?" asked Mrs. White.
"Of course I do," said Mr. White. He unlocked his desk drawer and pulled out the monkey's paw. He closed his eyes. "I wish for my son," he said. "I wish my son Herbert would come back."
Thunder cracked outside the window.
"It heard you," whispered Mrs. White. "Our Herbert will come home."
Mr. and Mrs. White heard footsteps outside.
"Herbert," said Mrs. White. "I'd know the sound of his walk anywhere."
She raced through the hall and flung open the front door.
A tall figure stumbled towards her down the road.
"Herbert!" she said.
Lightning flashed. Mrs. White saw her son clearly.
"No!" Mrs. White screamed. "Oh, no! It can't be." She stared at the figure in the road. It was Herbert, but not Herbert as he had been that morning.
Mrs. White slammed the door.
Mr. and Mrs. White heard Herbert's uneven steps. They heard his knocks on the door.
THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.
"What have we done?" Mrs. White slumped to the floor.
THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.
"We have one wish left," said Mr. White. "I wish..."
THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.
"I wish my son was dead," said Mr. White.
The banging stopped. Mrs. White crept to the window and looked out.
"He's gone," she whispered. "Our son is gone."
"And so are our wishes." Mr. White stared at the shriveled paw in his hands. "Along with our happy life."
He staggered into the parlor and threw the monkey's paw into the fire. And this time Herbert was not there to pull it out.
The creatures of ancient Egypt have captivated the imagination for centuries. Learn about the mysteries of ancient Egypt in the next story, "The Mummy."
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Judsen was a famous archaeologist. She had been exploring tombs with her father since she was a little girl. Now she would take her son, Davis, on his first dig far away in Egypt.
Judsen had received a map from her friend Rashidi. The map showed Judsen where to find King Elysian's tomb. Judsen and Davis would meet Rashidi in Egypt and travel to the tomb together.
"King Elysian was a boy king," Judsen told Davis. "He was ten years old."
"That's how old I am!" said Davis excitedly.
"King Elysian became ill soon after he began his reign," Judsen explained. "He died just before he turned eleven."
Davis listened intently to his mother's story. "The people buried King Elysian in a secret tomb," she explained. "They also buried maps in the tomb. These maps may help us find other secret kingdoms and hidden jewels."
Soon the airplane was flying high above the clouds. Judsen remembered something she did not tell Davis. Rashidi had translated a secret message on the map. It read, "Those who disturb this tomb will be cursed forever."
Finally, the plane touched down in Egypt. Rashidi was waiting at the airport. "Welcome to Egypt," he said. "Are you ready to find King Elysian's tomb?"
As they grabbed their bags, a man approached Judsen.
"Are you the one looking for King Elysian's tomb?" he asked.
"Yes, but how did you know?" answered Judsen.
"Everyone is talking," he replied. "You must not disturb the tomb. The only person to find the tomb disappeared the next day. No one saw him again."
The man left and disappeared into the crowd. "Is that true?" asked Davis.
"I don't believe it," Judsen said. "King Elysian has been dead for thousands of years. How can a mummy put a curse on us?"
Rashidi led Judsen and Davis out of the airport. Soon they were heading for the desert. Three camels were waiting for them. They climbed onto the camels' backs and rode across the desert.
Rashidi and Judsen looked at the map many times. They made many twists and turns. Davis did not know which way they were heading.
Soon they came upon an opening to a cave. "This is it!" shouted Judsen. The three explorers jumped off their camels and ran to the opening. Judsen pointed her flashlight into the hole.
Judsen led the way and climbed down into the cave. They were amazed by all the maps and ancient drawings carved into the walls.
"Mom, what does that say?" asked Davis.
"Those are hieroglyphics," said Judsen. She copied all the pictures in her notebook. "I'm not sure what they say. Rashidi can translate them."
Judsen stopped and studied each picture. She recognized the pictures from the map. They made her feel a little uneasy.
"Davis," she said, "please do not disturb anything." Judsen was backing up to shine her flashlight on the wall. Suddenly she heard a loud crash.
"Oh, no!" said Judsen. She looked down and found an ancient urn filled with jewels. The jewels had scattered across the ground.
"You must leave everything just as you found it," warned Rashidi.
Judsen and Davis scrambled to pick up the jewels. They carefully put the jewels back in the urn. Judsen felt around on the ground for any loose gems. It was very dark in the cave. Judsen did not see that a diamond had rolled into the corner.
"I think we found them all," said Davis.
"Good," said Judsen. "Now let's find that mummy."
Judsen pointed her flashlight down a long corridor. Every few feet, Judsen would stop and copy the pictures into her notebook. Davis began to think the hallway would never end. But soon it emptied into a round room.
"There it is," whispered Davis. Judsen's flashlight stopped on a very small mummy. Davis stood next to the mummy. He ran his hand over the top and then touched his head.
"We're the same size," said Davis.
Judsen noticed the hieroglyphics etched into the rock right behind the small mummy. One showed a young king taking a drink. Another showed the king falling down. Judsen copied these pictures into her notebook, too.
Soon Judsen was finished drawing. "It's time to go," she said.
This time, Rashidi led the way with his lantern. At the opening, Judsen stopped and looked up. She saw hieroglyphics above the opening of the cave.
"I didn't see these earlier," she said. "Rashidi, what do these pictures mean?"
Rashidi held his lantern near the pictures and shook his head. "They are a warning to all visitors," he said. "If anything is disturbed, a curse will follow."
Judsen thought about the jewels in the urn. Then she helped Davis climb out of the cave.
The sun was setting in the sky. "We will ride back to my village. You can stay there tonight," Rashidi said.
The three explorers climbed back onto their camels and set out across the desert. It was a long ride. Davis could not keep his eyes open. He leaned onto the camel's neck and fell asleep.
"We are here," said Rashidi. It was a small home made of stone. Rashidi tied their camels up to a tree. Judsen helped Davis get down. She carried him inside and put him in bed.
Then Judsen and Rashidi studied Judsen's notes from the tomb.
"These pictures show the king," said Rashidi, "and how he died."
"It looks liked he drank something that made him sick," said Judsen.
Just then, they heard Davis cry out. Judsen rushed into his room. She felt Davis's forehead. It was very hot.
"Rashidi," she called, "please find a doctor." Rashidi ran out in the darkness. Soon he returned with another man. The doctor examined Davis, but he could find nothing wrong with the boy.
"This is the curse of King Elysian," he said. "You have disturbed his tomb, and he is angry."
Judsen remembered the jewels she knocked over. "Maybe I didn't pick them all up," she thought. Then she remembered all the pictures she copied into her notebook. "I must return to the tomb," she whispered.
By daybreak, Judsen was back at the cave. She climbed into the opening and read the hieroglyphics above her head. The same pictures were still there. Judsen searched the ground for missing jewels.
Suddenly, she noticed something twinkling in a corner of the cavern. There was a sparkling diamond! Judsen quickly returned it to the urn. Then she carried her notes and sketches down the long corridor.
In King Elysian's tomb, Judsen left the papers at the foot of the mummy. She shone her flashlight on the mummy's face. Judsen took one final look at the boy king.
"You may be small, but you are very powerful," she said.
She followed the corridor to the cave's opening. When she looked up at the hieroglyphics, they were gone! The king's warning had vanished.
Judsen rode back to Rashidi's village. She was relieved, but not surprised, to see that Davis was healthy again.
"I'm ready to go on another adventure!" Davis said.
Small people can have big adventures. Go along for the ride in the next story, "The Teeny-Tiny Woman."
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The Teeny-Tiny Woman
Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman. She lived all alone in a teeny-tiny house. Her teeny-tiny house sat on the teeny-tiny edge of a big swamp. The teeny-tiny woman loved her teeny-tiny house.
One day, the teeny-tiny woman decided to go for a teeny-tiny walk. She put on her teeny-tiny scarf and her teeny-tiny shawl.
She went only a teeny-tiny way before she stopped at a teeny-tiny gate. The teeny-tiny woman walked into a teeny-tiny churchyard.
Inside the teeny-tiny churchyard, she found a teeny-tiny graveyard. The teeny-tiny graveyard had only one teeny-tiny grave. The teeny-tiny woman looked at this teeny-tiny grave. On top of it was a teeny-tiny bone.
"This teeny-tiny bone will make me some teeny-tiny soup. I'll have that for my teeny-tiny supper," said the teeny-tiny woman. She put the teeny-tiny bone into her teeny-tiny pocket.
She left the teeny-tiny graveyard. She opened the teeny-tiny gate to the teeny-tiny churchyard. She walked a teeny-tiny way to her teeny-tiny house on the teeny-tiny edge of the big swamp.
Now the teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit tired. She did not feel like making any teeny-tiny soup with the teeny-tiny bone.
The teeny-tiny woman put the teeny-tiny bone into a teeny-tiny jar. She put the teeny-tiny jar into her teeny-tiny cupboard.
"I think I will go take a teeny-tiny nap," said the teeny-tiny woman. She went to her teeny-tiny bedroom. Then the teeny-tiny woman crawled into her teeny-tiny bed. Soon the teeny-tiny woman was fast asleep.
The teeny-tiny woman slept for just a teeny-tiny time. A teeny-tiny voice woke her. The teeny-tiny voice called out from the teeny-tiny cupboard.
The teeny-tiny voice said, "Give me my bone!"
The teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit scared. She pulled the teeny-tiny covers up around her teeny-tiny eyeballs.
The teeny-tiny voice in the teeny-tiny cupboard stopped.
The teeny-tiny woman went back to sleep. But only for a teeny-tiny time.
The teeny-tiny voice cried out from the teeny-tiny cupboard again. It woke the teeny-tiny woman.
This time, the voice was a teeny-tiny bit louder.
"Give me my bone!" it said.
Now the teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit more scared. She pulled the teeny-tiny covers over her teeny-tiny head and tried to hide. Soon, the teeny-tiny woman went back to sleep.
But only for a teeny-tiny time.
The teeny-tiny voice called out again from the teeny-tiny cupboard. It woke up the teeny-tiny woman. This time, the teeny-tiny voice was just a teeny-tiny bit louder.
The teeny-tiny voice said, "Give me my bone!"
The teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit more scared than before. But she did not hide under her teeny-tiny covers.
The teeny-tiny woman poked her head out from under the teeny-tiny covers. In her loudest, teeny-tiny voice, she said, "TAKE IT!"
Then the teeny-tiny woman went back to sleep. The teeny-tiny voice did not call out from the teeny-tiny cupboard anymore.
The teeny-tiny woman slept soundly all night in her teeny-tiny bed. The next morning, the teeny-tiny woman looked in her teeny-tiny cupboard. The teeny-tiny jar and the teeny-tiny bone were gone.
Now the teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit hungry again. After all, she never made her teeny-tiny soup for her teeny-tiny supper.
The teeny-tiny woman went for another teeny-tiny walk. The teeny-tiny woman went only a teeny-tiny way.
She stopped at the teeny-tiny churchyard. Inside the teeny-tiny churchyard she found the teeny-tiny graveyard again.
The teeny-tiny woman saw her teeny-tiny jar sat on top of the teeny-tiny marker of the teeny-tiny grave. The teeny-tiny woman picked up her teeny-tiny jar. The teeny-tiny jar was empty.
The teeny-tiny woman was just about to go back to her teeny-tiny house. She noticed something else.
"What is this?" said the teeny-tiny woman. "A teeny-tiny tooth." She put the teeny-tiny tooth in her teeny-tiny jar. She took the teeny-tiny jar back to her teeny-tiny house. She put the teeny-tiny jar into her teeny-tiny cupboard.
Now the teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit tired again. She decided to take a teeny-tiny nap. The teeny-tiny woman was almost asleep when she heard a teeny-tiny voice.
"Give me my tooth!" said the teeny-tiny voice.
This time, the teeny-tiny woman knew just what to do.
In her loudest, teeny-tiny voice, she said, "TAKE IT!"
Visit the count of Transylvania in the next story, "Dracula's Secret."
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Galloping horses pull a coach along a dark road. The driver shouts to his passenger. "We will arrive at the castle soon," he says. "I'll drop you off and leave at once. I must get out of these woods before the moon rises. Strange things happen around here during the full moon."
"What kind of things?" asks Jonathan Harker.
"When the moon is full," says the driver, "wolves prowl about and bats fly the skies. The wolves and bats travel with vampires."
"There's no such things as vampires," says Jonathan.
Jonathan sits back in the coach. He is too tired to be scared. He has been traveling for weeks.
Jonathan carries a packet with a secret document from London. His boss, Mr. Hawkins, asked him to give the document to Count Dracula of Transylvania.
"Whoa!" shouts the driver. The coach stops. Jonathan steps out. In front of him is a dark castle with an iron door and several towers. "Here's your stop, the castle of Count Dracula."
Before Jonathan can thank the driver, the coach speeds away.
Jonathan pulls the rope next to the door. The bell rings -- ding-dong. A man in an elegant suit stands in a dark hallway.
"Welcome to Transylvania, Mr. Harker," he says. "I've been expecting you." Count Dracula steps forward and shakes Jonathan's hand. The strength of the grip scares Jonathan. A chill travels up his spine.
"Thank you, Count Dracula," says Jonathan. The count's skin is as pale as the full moon, which rises in the sky. Jonathan hears a wolf howl in the distance. Bats flap overhead.
"Listen to the welcoming sounds of the night," says the count.
Jonathan shudders. "You have an interesting country," he says.
"You must be very hungry after your long journey," says the count. "Come. Dinner is ready."
Jonathan follows the count to the dining hall. Heaping plates of food are on the table. He forgets his fear and sits down. From his place at the table, the count watches Jonathan. The count's plate is empty. He does not eat.
"Count Dracula," says Jonathan. "Won't you join me?"
"I will eat later," says the count. The count smiles. Two sharp, white teeth glimmer in the candlelight.
After dinner, the count shows Jonathan to his room. "Sleep as long as you like," says the count. "I won't be home tomorrow until after dark."
"Thank you for your hospitality," says Jonathan. "Before you leave, I have something for you." Jonathan gives the packet to Count Dracula. "This packet contains a secret document from my boss, Mr. Hawkins."
Dracula smiles widely. He takes the packet. "Ah, yes," he says. "I have been waiting a long time for this."
That night Jonathan does not sleep well. Howling wolves and flying bats haunt his dreams.
The next day, Jonathan explores the castle. He tries to open the other doors along the hallway. They are all locked.
Finally, he tries a heavy door at the top of the stairs. The rusty latch breaks in his hand. The door swings open to reveal a stairway. He follows the twisting stairs deep beneath the castle. At the bottom, he enters a dark, earthen room lit by torches. Several wooden boxes rest on the floor.
Puzzled, Jonathan kneels near one of them. He slowly pulls back the lid. He almost screams. The box contains Count Dracula. He is a vampire.
Jonathan runs from the room. He races up the staircase. Back in his room, he quickly packs his bag. "I must leave this place at once," says Jonathan. Through his window, Jonathan sees the sun is low in the sky. "Night will be here soon. I must have slept for most of the day."
Jonathan runs to the iron door at the castle entrance. Three wooden beams cross the door. "The count has locked me inside the castle!" shouts Jonathan. "I am a prisoner. But I am smarter than he thinks. I will escape."
Jonathan looks around the dark hallway. He sees the count's lamp on a table. By the light of the flickering flame, Jonathan searches the walls.
At last he finds a bin below a small door in the corner. "This must be for the coal deliveries," says Jonathan. He turns the door's tiny knob. The door swings open. Quickly, Jonathan squeezes through the door. He falls to the ground on the other side.
Just then a wolf howls in the distance. Bats fly from the castle towers. The sun begins to sink below the trees. "I must leave at once. This is a very strange land. Vampires sleep by day and walk at night."
Jonathan sees a horse near the castle walls. He jumps on the horse's back. The frightened animal gallops from the castle, carrying Jonathan to safety.
After many weeks, Jonathan arrives back in London. His wife, Mina, is happy to have him home. "I'm so happy you are with me once again. Strange things are happening in London. I do not want to be alone," she says.
"What has happened?" asks Jonathan.
"Bats have been flying over the city," says Mina. "I hear wolves howling."
"Bats and wolves in London?" asks Jonathan. "That's silly. Bats and wolves live in Transylvania, not London. There must be some logical explanation. My poor Mina, why don't we go to the theater tonight? That will take your mind off such strange things."
"Maybe you are right," says Mina.
Jonathan and Mina dress in evening clothes. They attend a play. Then they stroll along the city sidewalks.
"What a fine play," says Jonathan. "What a lovely night, too."
"You were right," says Mina. "I do feel better. Look at the full moon. Isn't it just beautiful?"
Just then a man in an elegant suit passes them on the sidewalk.
"Good evening, Mr. Harker," he says. Jonathan turns to face him. The man smiles. Jonathan sees two sharp, white teeth. The man is Count Dracula.
Jonathan cannot believe his eyes. The count is in London. "Mina," says Jonathan, "I must visit my boss, Mr. Hawkins. I have an urgent question to ask him. But, first, I will take you home."
"You are acting strangely," says Mina. "I hope everything is okay."
Jonathan walks Mina home. He then runs to Mr. Hawkins's house. As he knocks on the door, Jonathan hears a wolf howl. Bats fly across the night sky. Jonathan shudders.
"Hello, Jonathan," says Mr. Hawkins. "It's a pleasure to see you."
"I'm sorry for the lateness of the hour, sir," says Jonathan. "I must know the meaning of the document I gave Count Dracula."
"Is that all? Count Dracula had requested that the document remain secret," says Mr. Hawkins. "But I can tell you now. The document you gave him shows that he owns a house in London. With that document, he can move here."
"H-h-he can move here? Count Dracula is going to live in London now?" shouts Jonathan.
Mr. Hawkins smiles.
"You're going to have a new neighbor," says Mr. Hawkins. "Count Dracula bought the house right next to yours."
Learn the secret of a young woman's mysterious necklace in the next story, "The Red Ribbon."
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The Red Ribbon
Bill whistled a jazzy tune. "Tonight's the night!" he thought. He strolled through Central Park on his way to meet Sally, his best girl.
There was still snow on the ground. But Bill could smell spring in the air. He jingled the engagement ring in his pocket. "A June wedding would be just right."
Bill saw Sally coming down the path towards him. He ran to her. He spun her around in his arms.
Sally squealed with delight. Bill settled Sally back down onto the park bench. He kneeled on one knee in front of her.
"Sally," Bill said, "you are the most beautiful girl I've ever met. I love you and I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?"
Sally laughed and said, "Yes! I will marry you."
As Bill gazed lovingly at his bride-to-be, his eyes lingered on the red velvet ribbon Sally always wore around her neck.
"Why do you always wear that red ribbon?" Bill asked.
Sally said, "Bill, I must never take off my red ribbon!"
Bill smiled at Sally and left the ribbon alone.
Bill and Sally were married that June. Bill found a lovely little house in a nice neighborhood and they moved in.
Bill bought Sally many party dresses. But Sally always wore her red ribbon with each outfit. Bill thought this was odd.
Sally just smiled and said, "I must never take off my red ribbon."
After a few years, Sally found out she was going to have a baby. This news delighted Bill.
Sally talked with her friends who had babies. Bill talked with his buddies who had children.
They talked together late into the night about what they had learned from everyone.
When the big day came, Sally said, "Please tell the doctor I must not take off my red ribbon!"
Bill was frustrated. But he promised Sally that he would tell the doctor.
After the baby was born, Bill gave Sally flowers.
"Thank you for the flowers, Bill," Sally said. "And thank you for telling the doctor I must not take off my red ribbon."
Bill did not understand why the red ribbon was so important.
"Do you want to hold little Billy?" Sally asked.
Bill, Sally, and little Billy lived happily for many years in the small, lovely house in the nice neighborhood.
When little Billy was a baby, he would sometimes reach for the red ribbon around his mother's neck. Sally would gently take his little hands in hers and coo at him, saying, "Mommy must never ever take off her red ribbon!"
The red ribbon had frustrated Bill for a long time. He loved Sally with all of his heart, but did not understand her need to wear the red ribbon.
After many years, Bill had an idea. "Our anniversary is coming up. I will buy Sally a beautiful necklace. She will take off that old red ribbon so she can wear the beautiful necklace!"
Their anniversary came. Bill took Sally to a fancy restaurant overlooking Central Park. They had a delicious meal.
Then Bill gave Sally a velvet box with a beautiful diamond necklace in it. She opened it, smiled, and tears came to her eyes. Bill put the necklace around her neck and started to take off the red ribbon.
Sally stopped him. She said, "I must never take off my red ribbon!" Bill sat back in his seat with a huff. He looked at Sally and shook his head.
"I may never understand," Bill said.
Sally gently placed the diamond necklace back in the velvet box and closed the lid. "It is lovely, Bill. I will treasure it always," she said. "But I must never take off my red ribbon."
"Why?" Bill asked, as he had for so many years.
Sally smiled sadly and shook her head. She did not answer him.
Late that night Bill was still awake. "I've loved Sally for more than twenty years. But she insists on wearing that horrible red ribbon around her neck. I think it's about time I found out why."
Bill got out of bed and walked around to Sally's side. Bill carefully pinched the ends of the bow on the ribbon. He began to slowly pull on the ribbon.
The bow became smaller and smaller. The loops of the bow pulled through and only a half-knot was left.
Bill slid his finger under the half-knot and tugged.
ZIP! The red ribbon gave way.
POP! Sally's head came off. It rolled right to the floor, bouncing in the moonlight!
One large tear fell from Sally's eye.
"I warned you!" she said.
Discover Robert Louis Stevenson's classic characters in the next story, "Dr. Jeckyll's Diary."
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Dr. Jeckyll's Diary
I am going to write everything down. If he discovers it, he'll destroy it. He wants to get rid of me, so he can live forever.
Mr. Hyde is not far. No, I fear he will come at any moment. I have been in my laboratory for three days just waiting for him.
It all started about a year ago. Back then, I had a good life in London. I was a doctor. I helped many sick people.
The night my life changed forever, my butler Poole said to me, "Dr. Jekyll, you help so many people."
I smiled and thought, "If only he knew about my other side."
I ate my dinner alone that night. Then I quickly headed down to my lab.
There was my magic formula! I had invented a liquid that could make me two different people. My good side would be one person. My bad side would be a totally different person.
I poured special powder into the glass. It turned green, then purple, and finally red. Steam rose from the glass and hung in the air like a cloud. The smell burned my nose. I held my breath. I drank it in one gulp.
Oh! The pain! My body shook. I cried out. Then the pain stopped.
I felt strange. I looked in the mirror.
I gasped! The eyes staring back at me were not Dr. Jekyll's wise brown eyes. The eyes in the mirror were gray and beady. My hair was wild. My teeth were crooked and pointy. I was ugly.
But I liked the new me. I named this new face Mr. Edward Hyde.
I went out the back door. I saw a horse and carriage on the side of the street.
I climbed in and yelled, "Take me to Soho!"
"Yes, sir," the driver said.
I spit out the window. I yelled at people on the street. Oh, how free I felt!
Before I knew it the driver called, "This is Soho, sir."
I jumped out and asked, "Do you want your money?"
"Yes, sir," the driver answered.
Instead of paying the driver, I swatted his horse with my cane and yelled, "Yah! Away! Yah!"
The frightened horse galloped wildly down the street.
I laughed as I heard the driver yell, "Steady, boy! Steady!"
Soon it was morning. I hurried home. I snuck down to my lab and drank my magic formula. I was Dr. Jekyll again.
That morning, I opened my office late. I went shopping for clothes that would fit Mr. Hyde. For weeks, I was Mr. Hyde by night and Dr. Jekyll by day.
One night, Poole said to me, "Sir, Mr. Utterson is here to see you. He is waiting in the study."
Mr. Utterson looked worried. "Good evening, Dr. Jekyll," he said.
"Good evening," I said. "To what do I owe this visit?"
"Dr. Jekyll, we've been friends for a long time," Mr. Utterson said. "I just wanted to see if anything is wrong."
"Nothing is wrong," I answered.
I thought I saw Poole hiding in the shadows listening to our conversation. I wondered what they knew.
"You have not been yourself lately," Mr. Utterson said. "This new friend of yours, Mr. Hyde, seems to be trouble. Why would you ever want to be friends with the likes of him?"
Oh! If only Mr. Utterson knew the truth! But I could not tell him.
"Mr. Utterson, thank you for your concern," I said. "You are a dear friend of mine. Mr. Hyde may be an interesting character, but I can assure you there is nothing to raise concern. Please excuse me. I have work to do in my lab."
I went down to the lab and quickly drank my magic formula.
This time I only drank half a glass, but I changed into Mr. Hyde even faster.
I snuck out the back door and tried to stay hidden in the shadows. But I saw Poole and Mr. Utterson watching me from the window.
I wandered up and down the streets of London. When the sun started to rise, I began to walk back to my house.
That was when all the trouble started. To be honest, I did not even see her. I slammed into a little child. I knocked her straight to the ground with a thud.
I did not care about the girl. I yelled, "Get out of my way, child!"
I kept walking. I did not look back. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder.
"Hey, you!" said a stern voice. "Did you knock that child over?"
"So what if I did?" I replied. I ran away.
"Police! Police!" cried the man.
A police officer chased me.
"You there! Stop!" he yelled, as he grabbed his whistle. Tooot! Tooot!
I ran. Faster and faster and faster! If Mr. Hyde went to jail so would the good Dr. Jekyll. I did not look back. I ran straight to my house and into the lab. I slammed the door. I drank a glass of my magic formula. Nothing happened.
I drank another glass. Still nothing happened. Finally after four full glasses of the magic formula, I turned back into the good Dr. Jekyll.
I knew that Mr. Hyde could get Dr. Jekyll into trouble. So I did the only thing that I could. I put away Mr. Hyde's clothes.
I locked away my magic formula. It was for the best, because I was running out of the special powder and could not find any as strong.
I could not get Mr. Hyde out of my head. This went on for months.
But yesterday morning changed everything. I woke with a start. My knuckles were thick like knots, and my hands looked like claws. I glanced at the mirror. I knew whose face I would see -- Mr. Hyde's.
Imagine my terror! I had not swallowed any magic formula! Not one single drop! I ran out of my bedroom and down to my lab.
I drank one glass of my magic formula. Nothing happened. Finally! After drinking five glasses, I changed back into Dr. Jekyll.
I went back to work. An hour later, my head began to ache. I was seeing one of my older patients. "Doctor," he said. "Is something wrong?"
I could not speak. I dropped his medical chart. I ran out of the office and down towards my lab. Before I made it to my lab, I changed into Mr. Hyde.
I drank the last six glasses of my magic formula. I don't have any more. I have just a short time left. I am writing so everyone will know the horrible truth that I, Dr. Jekyll, am also Mr. Hyde.
I'm just waiting for Mr. Hyde to show his ugly face again. I am afraid to shut my eyes to sleep. He'll come if I do. He can come by himself now. He does not need any magic formula. He is much stronger than Dr. Jekyll.
I can hear Poole upstairs as I write this. I hear other people, too.
I hear stomp, stomp, stomp, down the steps. The footsteps are getting closer! Closer!
Closer! They are just outside my door.
They cannot meet Mr. Hyde. He could hurt them!
I can hear Poole calling to me. "Dr. Jekyll are you in there?"
"Go away!" I yell back. Perhaps if he reads this diary he'll understand.
"We only want to help!" says another voice. Oh, no! It is Mr. Utterson, too.
"Go away! Go away! Why don't you listen to me?" My head aches.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Axes. I hear axes slashing at the door.
What can I do? Bang! Bang! They are almost in!
Mr. Hyde is very near. He'll be here any minute...
Nessie is one of Scotland's oldest mysteries. Find out all about her in the next story, "The Loch Ness Monster."
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The Loch Ness Monster
Loch Ness is a deep lake in Scotland. The lake is so dark, it is very hard to see anything underwater. But one girl saw something that she will never forget.
In 1960, Alice Logan visited Loch Ness for a day of sailing with her parents.
She had heard stories about a sea monster that lived in the lake. It had a long neck and even had a nickname. People called the creature "Nessie." They said it lived deep below the surface of the lake.
"Alice, why don't you put away those binoculars and play?" her father asked.
"I am going to get proof that Nessie is real," she explained.
Alice looked down into the water. She thought she saw something move. She leaned over the edge of the boat and fell into the cold water.
For a few seconds, she was underwater. It was dark, but she could see a shape right in front of her. It was a swimming beast, with a long neck and a tiny head. It had to be Nessie!
Just then, Alice's life preserver lifted her back to the surface. She rubbed the water from her eyes and searched the murky water again. But the strange creature was gone.
Stories about the Loch Ness Monster go back hundreds of years. The ancient Scottish people who lived near the lake told tales about the creature.
In 1933, more than ninety people said they saw the Loch Ness Monster. Many stories appeared in newspapers all over the world.
Altogether, more than four thousand people have reported that they saw something unusual in the waters of Loch Ness. The stories are hard to prove because it is so hard to search in the dark lake.
Loch Ness is a long, narrow lake. It is almost like a wide river, but it is also very deep. Diving is difficult in the lake because it is so dark. The water is full of tiny floating pieces of brown coal.
Scientists have to use machines to search the mysterious waters. Not even the most expensive cameras, submarines, and other devices could find Nessie. The rocky bottom of the deep lake makes it easy for a clever sea beast to hide.
Some scientists took photographs in the lake. The photos show an animal that is almost as big as a school bus. The beast has a wide body, fins, a skinny neck, and a tail.
The photographs are real, but many of them are cloudy or unclear. There is still no proof that Nessie exists.
Even though so many people have seen and even photographed the Loch Ness Monster, there are still many questions about the creature. Is there only one monster? Does Nessie have a family? If it really exists, where did it come from? What kind of creature is Nessie?
Scientists have many ideas. Some think Nessie could be a strange type of giant eel. Maybe it is a type of whale or seal that no one has ever seen before.
Another theory is that Nessie is a relative of a prehistoric fish called the plesiosaur. Scientists always thought the last plesiosaur died millions of years ago. But maybe Nessie's relatives have lived in the lake for all these years.
Scientists think there might be a lot of mysterious creatures living in deep lakes all around the world. People have seen strange sea monsters in New York, Canada, and Russia. Could these be Nessie's relatives?
Will anyone ever be able to prove that the Loch Ness Monster exists? If the creature exists, it knows how to hide well. It has been hiding from people for hundreds of years.
It is possible that Nessie and all of her relatives have lived in Loch Ness for millions of years. Will Nessie or one of her family members ever reveal themselves to us?
Sometimes things aren't what the seem. Read about a man who meets a mysterious driver in the next story, "Night Coach."
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Orange kicked the dusty, dry dirt with the toe of his leather boot. He cupped his hand to his mouth. "Gypsy," he called to his horse. "Gypsy, come back here!" Orange knew Gypsy was long gone.
"That horse! She sure gets spooked a lot," the cowboy said. Orange took off his brown ten-gallon hat. The sun was still hot, even though it had begun its descent behind the horizon. Night would soon fall upon the desert.
Orange had been riding through the desert to see his brother, Pete. Then all of a sudden, something startled Gypsy.
"Musta been a rattler," Orange thought. He had not seen one, though. Whatever it was, it sure scared Gypsy. She reared up and flung Orange from her back. Now Orange was stranded and did not know what to do next.
He surveyed the landscape. He saw a whole lot of sand.
Much to his surprise, Orange spotted a tiny cabin. A small trail of smoke rose from the chimney. Orange could tell the cabin was quite a ways away, but the evening air was growing brisk. He knew that temperatures in the desert dropped way down at night, so he started walking.
It was plenty dark when Orange finally made it to the cabin. But he could still see the dim light inside. He rapped at the door.
An old man, stout and balding, opened the door a crack. "Can I help you?" he asked cautiously.
"Why, yes sir. I hope so, sir," Orange said. He removed his hat politely. "Seems my horse got spooked and left me stranded here. I was hopin' you might be kind enough to give me shelter for the night."
"Come in," the man said. "I suppose you're hungry." He walked over to his kitchen and pulled some cans from a small pantry. "You're welcome to these," he offered. Then he poured Orange a cup of coffee.
While enjoying a supper of beans and stew, Orange looked around the cabin. It was filled with books and papers. A telescope rested on a nearby table.
"It's not too late to catch the night coach into town," the man offered, while Orange ate. "You could buy a new horse in the morning."
"Really?" Orange asked.
"You just need to walk out to Red Rock Hollow," the old man showed Orange on a map.
"That's where there's an opening in the rocks big enough for a coach to pass. It's the most direct route through the valley."
Orange thanked the old man for the suggestion. "And thank you for this fine meal, too," he added. Then Orange grabbed his hat and set off.
Orange walked alongside rock formations, which served as his guide. He immediately noticed that the temperature had fallen.
"It's downright cold out here," Orange declared, as he made his way towards Red Rock Hollow. Something seemed eerie.
"Maybe Gypsy had the right idea," he thought, shivering.
Orange rounded a bend and saw Red Rock Hollow before him. Suddenly, he noticed two tiny, dim lights shining through the hollow. The lights were steadily growing bigger and brighter.
Excitedly, Orange realized it must be the night coach. He jumped out into its path and shouted, waving his hands. Sure enough, the coach stopped.
Now, Orange had seen a lot of coaches in his day, but he had never seen one like this! It was black from top to bottom. A jet black horse wearing a giant black plume pulled it. The driver, who had not said a word, was draped in a heavy black cloak.
"Well, this is mighty strange," Orange thought to himself. But he went ahead and hopped inside anyway.
Orange did not feel comfortable sitting inside the eerie coach. But before long, the black horse was galloping at full speed. Its hooves thundered across the desert floor.
"I wonder why the hurry," Orange thought.
Orange decided he better say something to the driver. He leaned right out the window.
"Evenin' my good man," he shouted. "I thank you kindly for the ride. How long will it take us to get to town?"
He waited for the reply, but the driver said nothing.
"It shouldn't take too long at this pace," Orange continued. There was a big lump in his throat. He felt uneasy. Something was definitely not right. The coach sped on into the night.
"Perhaps you could just let me off right here," Orange called to the driver. "I believe I may be on the wrong coach."
He was relieved when the driver finally turned around. But relief soon turned to horror. The driver had no face!
Orange's eyes grew wide. "Now I know I'm on the wrong coach!" he said. Out of sheer terror, he closed his eyes and jumped.
When Orange woke up, he discovered he was in a bed. His brother, Pete, was there, as well as Pete's wife and a doctor.
"Orange!" Pete said. "We're gonna have to change your name. Your hair done turned pure white! Like you seen a ghost or something."
"H-h-how did I get here?" Orange stammered. He was still in a bit of shock from his ride.
"Why, the night coachman, of course," Pete said matter-of-factly.
Orange began to shudder. It was all coming back to him now. He could still see the black coach and horses. He did not even want to think about the driver who did not have a face.
"Yes, sir," Pete continued. "Said he saw ya lying in the desert, flat on your face. He stopped to see if you was alright and brung you on here. But don't you worry none," Pete patted Orange's shoulder. "We've arranged to have another coach take you on home."
"No! No coaches!" Orange blurted out. "A horse'll suit me fine. Yes, just find me a horse, would ya, Pete?"
"Sure, brother," Pete replied.
Orange thought for a moment. "And make sure it's not black!"
Read about the girl who came from the sea in the next story, "The Selkie Child."
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The Selkie Child
Martin threw his net over the side of his fishing boat. It fanned out like a giant spiderweb. As he waited for his net to fill with fish, he watched seals on the rocks. Martin pulled his net in, docked his boat, and began to walk home. When he passed the rocks, he noticed the seals had left a small bundle.
"It's a baby girl!" Martin cried. Next to the baby was a seal's skin.
"This must be a Selkie baby," whispered Martin. He had heard fishermen tell tales about beautiful creatures called Selkies. Selkies could change from a seal to a human by shedding their skin.
Martin cradled the baby in one arm and tucked the seal skin under his coat and ran home. He opened the door and yelled to his wife, "Sela! The sea gave us a baby."
Sela scooped the baby out of Martin's arms and said, "She's beautiful."
"Let's name her Morgan," Martin said. "It means a 'gift from the sea.'"
Martin did not tell Sela that Morgan was a Selkie child and might want to return to the sea when she grew up. Instead, he locked the little seal skin in a trunk in the attic.
Morgan grew up to be a beautiful child. Sela and Morgan spent the days swimming while Martin fished. Martin watched Morgan from his boat.
"She's almost as good a swimmer as her mother," Martin said. "I will tell Sela the truth about Morgan as soon as I return from my long fishing trip."
The day Martin left for his trip, a storm came up the coast.
Morgan stared out the kitchen window. "I'd like to go swimming."
"You cannot swim during a storm," Sela said. "It's too dangerous."
"I'm sure it's peaceful under the waves," Morgan said.
The next morning, Sela and Morgan found pieces of Martin's boat washed up on the beach. Martin never came home.
That night, another storm came up the coast. When Sela drifted off to sleep she heard a familiar voice whisper, "I can't rest until I tell you the truth!"
"Morgan!" Sela whispered with fright. She ran to Morgan's room. A bolt of lightning lit it up. The bed was empty. Sela searched every room.
When Sela stopped in front of the attic door, the doorknob slowly turned.
Trembling, she watched as the door creaked open. She whispered, "Morgan! Morgan! Are you in here?"
There was no answer, so she quickly shut the door and locked it.
"Morgan!" Sela cried. The wind was getting stronger. Sela ran down the steps. She peered through the kitchen window and saw Morgan standing on the rocks near the water.
Sela stumbled through the heavy wet sand on the beach. Thick storm clouds covered the moon.
"Mama," Morgan said. "Do you ever feel like you don't belong here?"
Sela shook her head and said, "I belong here with you."
Morgan and Sela walked back up to the house. When Sela went to the pantry to get Morgan a towel, she heard stomp, stomp, stomp above her.
"Someone is upstairs," Sela gasped.
Creeaakk! Sela knew the attic door was opening.
Sela lit a candle. They tiptoed up the steps. The attic door was open.
"Stay here," Sela told Morgan. Sela stepped inside.
"Mama!" Morgan cried. She peeked inside the attic.
Sela stood very still. Something moved.
A trunk suddenly slid towards her. She reached down and opened it.
Sela felt something cold and wet inside the trunk. She held it up. She saw a tiny seal's skin.
"Come with me!" Sela said. She grabbed Morgan's trembling hand and led her down three flights of steps to the basement.
Sela moved a pile of boxes and found a large chest.
"I hid this here years ago," Sela explained. She pulled out a seal's skin.
"What is it?" Morgan whispered.
"It's a seal's skin," Sela answered. "I'm a Selkie."
"This is your seal skin," Sela showed Morgan the smaller skin. "Your father must have known you were a Selkie. He just didn't know how to tell me."
Sela explained how she had fallen in love with Morgan's father when she was young. She hid her seal skin from him and gave up her seal life. "I always longed for the sea," Sela said to Morgan, "but I could never leave you. Tonight you will see just how peaceful it is under the waves."
Sela and Morgan ran to the beach and slipped into their seal skins. As they swam, they saw a familiar boat drifting along with the tide.
"Look, Mama," Morgan whispered. "It looks like Papa's boat."
Sela looked up and saw the ghostly figure of her husband standing on the boat's deck. A wave splashed over Sela and Morgan. When they wiped the water out of their eyes, the boat was gone.
Read about the doctor who tried to create a man in the next story, "Interview with Dr. Frankenstein."
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Interview With Dr. Frankenstein
There once was a man named Dr. Victor Frankenstein. He created a big monster, but then the monster ran away. Dr. Frankenstein looked all over the world for his monster.
Dr. Frankenstein visited his friend, Henry Clerval. Clerval wanted to know what happened. Clerval asked Dr. Frankenstein many questions.
"I tried to create a man," Dr. Frankenstein said, "but I created a monster."
Dr. Frankenstein worked very hard on this experiment. He tried to create a living person out of many parts of lifeless bodies. He sewed together body parts that he found in graveyards. Finally, the creature came to life!
The man he made was eight feet tall. He had stitches sewn around his pale skin. He could only grunt and growl like a wild animal, but he was alive!
"The creature opened his eyes and looked at me," Dr. Frankenstein said. "I knew right away that I had made a terrible mistake."
The monster groaned very loudly. The monster reached out with his huge hands. Dr. Frankenstein was afraid of the monster he created. Dr. Frankenstein ran away from his lab.
When he returned the next day, the monster was gone.
"What happened next?" asked Clerval.
"I was afraid," said Dr. Frankenstein. "I shouldn't have left the creature alone in the lab. It was not ready to be out in the world. And the world will never be ready to accept such a frightening creature."
"Where did the monster go?" Clerval asked.
"I have been looking for him," said Dr. Frankenstein. "During my search, I have talked to many people who saw the monster."
Dr. Frankenstein told Clerval about a man who saw the monster in the woods near the laboratory. The monster saw the man's campfire. The simple monster liked the light and warmth of the fire. The man was frightened by the monster. He ran to the village and told everyone what he saw.
"What did the villagers do?" Clerval wanted to know.
"They went back to the woods with torches and clubs," Dr. Frankenstein said. "They were afraid of the monster. They did not know that the monster was also afraid of them."
The creature began to growl angrily when he saw the mob. Their bright torches and weapons scared him. He stomped his feet. He groaned. Then he ran away from the village and into the country.
"Where did the monster go next?" asked Clerval.
"He ran until he found a place to hide," said Dr. Frankenstein.
The creature came upon a little cave in the country. He did not know why the villagers chased him away. He knew he should be where no one could see him. There, in his tiny cave, no one would be afraid of him.
But the monster was lonely. He moaned and groaned from loneliness. He discovered that he had neighbors. Their cottage was not far from his cave. He often watched them from the woods.
The monster saw that an old blind man lived in the cottage with his two children. The family was very poor. But they were very happy.
Sometimes, when the family left their cottage, the lonely monster would go inside. He borrowed books from their shelves. He taught himself how to read. He spent hours watching them and listening to them. He even taught himself how to speak. The monster loved to hear their voices. He also loved the sweet sound of the old man's guitar.
"Did they ever discover him?" asked Clerval.
"Yes, they did," said Dr. Frankenstein. "It was then that the poor monster's happiness ended."
"What happened to the family?" Clerval asked.
"Remember that the monster was still very young," said Dr. Frankenstein. "He was almost like a baby. He was still learning many new things."
Dr. Frankenstein sighed. "And the world was still not ready for him," the doctor said. Then the doctor told Clerval about the day that the monster met the poor family in the cottage.
One day, the children were not at home. The blind man was outside. The monster walked up to the blind man. They talked for a long time.
Then the children returned. Of course, their father was blind. He could not see the terrifying creature beside him. But the poor children could see the hideous monster. They were afraid. They screamed and shouted.
The creature tried to wave his arms to tell the children not to be afraid. The boy swung a log at the monster. When the girl screamed, the monster covered his ears and groaned.
The monster's deep voice and huge arms were unlike anything they had ever heard or seen before. The creature stomped his feet. He groaned. He was very upset. Then he gave up trying to calm the family down. He groaned and then ran away.
"What happened next?" Clerval asked.
"I was still looking for the monster," Dr. Frankenstein said. "I only wanted to find him. I wanted to help him."
"Help him?" Clerval asked. "But why?"
Dr. Frankenstein replied, "He sounded like he was kind and gentle. I wanted to give him a safe place to live."
"Did you ever find him?" Clerval asked.
Dr. Frankenstein sighed again. "No, I did not," he answered.
Dr. Frankenstein traveled all over the world. He talked to many people about the creature. He heard many horrifying stories about a strange creature.
The creature made terrible, deep noises. The creature crept through the woods. The creature stole food from fields. He peeked through windows at night. When people screamed, he groaned and ran away.
The monster ran far away from people.
The monster went through the snowy Alpine Mountains to the North Pole. Dr. Frankenstein followed the monster all the way to the North Pole. He hid there. It was a vast land covered with ice and snow. Dr. Frankenstein looked for the monster, but he could not find him.
"What happened next?" Clerval asked.
"I gave up," Dr. Frankenstein said. "I came home."
"Is the monster still alive?" Clerval asked.
"Probably not," the doctor said.
"What have I done?" Dr. Frankenstein shook his head and cried. "I gave the monster life, but it was a terrible life for the creature. People screamed wherever the monster went. He had to run away."
"Do you think the monster was angry with you?" Clerval asked.
"The monster must have been lonely and angry," Dr. Frankenstein said.
Clerval shook his head sadly. "Then, my friend, it is good that you never found the monster. He might be angry and looking for revenge."
"I doubt that I will ever see the monster again," said Dr. Frankenstein.
Just then, a bright bolt of lightning struck nearby. Dr. Frankenstein breathed in sharply at the alarming sound.
"The story of the monster was a terrible tale," Clerval said, "but now your long search is over."
Dr. Frankenstein said, "It's good to be home, where I'll be comfortable and safe again."
Be careful if you're caught in the woods alone. Learn about mysterious creatures that have been seen in the woods in the next story, "Big Foot."
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One summer in 1966, Tim and Tanya Saunders went camping. In the woods, they saw many plants and animals they could not see in their neighborhood. They also saw something quite unusual.
Tim and Tanya were playing near their campsite. They saw something move in the trees. It was a giant, furry figure. It looked like it was watching them. Tim stepped closer to get a better look, but Tanya pulled him back.
Just then, the creature stepped out from behind a large tree. The brother and sister could see its huge arms and legs. Its whole body was covered with shaggy, brown fur. It stood on two feet, straight up and down like a human being. It sniffed the air and looked at them curiously with its big black eyes.
Tim and Tanya screamed and ran as fast as they could to find their mom and dad. When they returned with their parents, the creature was gone. All that was left was a single footprint.
It was a huge footprint, twice as big as Tim's or Tanya's footprint. It was not left there by a regular man. It was not like any animal's tracks either. Only a very large, very heavy creature could leave a footprint that big and deep.
What Tim and Tanya saw in the woods is called a Bigfoot. Many people have been searching for Bigfoot.
Nearly two thousand people have told stories like Tim and Tanya's. All of these people saw a furry giant that looked like an ape. The creature stood up like a human and walked on two feet.
Most of the reports about Bigfoot occurred in the woods of California, Oregon, Washington, and Canada. Some stories go as far back as Indian times. Long ago, the Salish Indians told stories about the "Sasquatch." This name means "wild man of the woods." But there is still no definite proof that the creature actually exists.
Many Bigfoot tracks have been found in the woods. The footprints look like human footprints, but are much larger and deeper. They are all around fourteen to eighteen inches long and five to seven inches wide.
Scientists say that any creature who made a footprint like that would be nearly eight feet tall and weigh up to eight hundred pounds!
Some people have gone to the woods to find a real Bigfoot. Some Bigfoot "hunters" brought photos back. Experts who looked at the photos cannot tell if the creatures in the photos are real or fake.
In 1967, Robert Patterson brought a movie camera to the woods. His famous film shows a female Bigfoot who is about seven feet tall and weighs about three hundred pounds.
Patterson's short film is the best evidence of a Bigfoot. Some scientists think the Bigfoot in the movie is a man dressed in a furry costume.
Many scientists who believe in Bigfoot think the creature is a relative of the caveman. It is halfway between a man and an ape. It looks like an ape but walks like a man.
These scientists say there is no reason to be afraid of Bigfoot. These creatures are shy and keep to themselves. That is why they live deep in the woods, away from people.
Many other scientists do not believe in Bigfoot. They say the photos and the footprints are not strong enough proof. They want to see bones or even a real Bigfoot! Until then, they will think Bigfoot is a myth, a story, or a legend.
Bigfoot stories are very real to people who have seen these creatures. Tim and Tanya Saunders, the boy and the girl who saw Bigfoot, think what they saw was real. People might think they made it up as a story. But Tim or Tanya will never forget the day they saw Bigfoot.
Read about what happens when a skeptical reporter, nicknamed "O'Doubt," comes face to face with a mythical creature in the next story, "The Banshee and O'Doud."
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The Banshee and O'Doud
Aiken O'Doud was a man of few beliefs. He did not believe in leprechauns. He did not believe in fairies. He did not believe in Santa Claus!
"Only silly children believe in such things," he would say. The only thing Aiken O'Doud believed was that he knew everything.
Aiken O'Doud was a reporter for a very important newspaper. The name of the newspaper was The Truth. Aiken O'Doud thought that this was the best name for a paper. "I do not believe in anything but the truth," he told his boss one day.
Aiken O'Doud's boss would send him to different places to write stories.
"I have a great story for you," his boss said one day. He told Aiken to go to the Irish village of Limerick. "I want you to write a story about the banshee," he said.
"I don't believe in banshees!" O'Doud said.
But the next day, Aiken O'Doud packed a bag and made sure that he had his notebook. He bought a train ticket for the village of Limerick.
"I'm going to write the story, but I will not believe in banshees," O'Doud grumbled to himself. Aiken O'Doud grumbled to himself the whole train ride. "Banshees? Ha!" he would say.
Passengers seated around O'Doud moved away. O'Doud did not care. He grumbled to himself even louder.
O'Doud arrived in Limerick. He grumbled to himself as he walked to the Cloverleaf Inn.
O'Doud got right to work and began to ask questions about the banshee. The innkeeper told O'Doud how the banshee took the life of an old woman on the edge of the village.
"An old woman?" asked O'Doud. "How do you know that the banshee had anything to do with it?"
The innkeeper told O'Doud the villagers had heard screaming. "It was the howling of the banshee!" cried the innkeeper. "We all heard it just before the old woman fell."
"I don't believe such a thing," said O'Doud. "It must have been the wind."
"The wind indeed," said the innkeeper. He did not like O'Doud. "Go ask the other villagers. They will tell you what they heard."
"I'll do just that!" said O'Doud. O'Doud became angry that his boss sent him to this village. He thought the banshee story was silly.
Even though O'Doud did not believe in banshees, he wanted to learn more about the old woman. "Nobody can say that I did not do my job," said O'Doud. He went to visit the old woman's neighbors at the edge of the village.
Timmy O'Daley lived next door to the old woman. He was very excited to talk to O'Doud. "I have never really talked to a reporter before," Timmy said.
Timmy told O'Doud about the screaming he had heard the day the old woman disappeared. "It scared my cat right up the chimney, it did!" he said.
"Are you sure you didn't just hear the wind?" asked O'Doud.
"I never heard the wind sound like that before!" said Timmy.
"Are you sure?" O'Doud asked.
Timmy went on to tell O'Doud about the legend of the banshee. "She's a fierce spirit, the banshee is," said Timmy. "Nobody sees her. But you know she is coming when you hear her scream. But her victim never hears the scream. So if everyone around you hears screaming and you don't, you're in trouble."
"She screams, you say," said O'Doud, making a note.
"When she screams, something bad is going to happen," said Timmy.
"Something bad. Yes, I see. Thank you for your time," said O'Doud. He wrote what Timmy said in his notebook, but he did not believe him.
"These people are crazy," thought O'Doud. "Next they're going to tell me that a leprechaun has left a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!"
O'Doud left Timmy O'Daley. He walked back into the village. O'Doud knew he needed some more information for his newspaper story. He went to visit the local shopkeepers.
As O'Doud walked through the village, people stopped talking to each other. They tipped their hats or nodded politely.
O'Doud stopped to talk to Minnie O'Connell. Minnie ran the bakery. She was talking to Mrs. O'Malley.
"The banshee does not like those who don't believe," Mrs. O'Malley said.
"How do you know the banshee is real?" O'Doud asked.
"The banshee is real, you know," said Minnie. "You city folk think you've seen it all. But you've never seen or heard anything like the banshee."
O'Doud stopped writing for a moment. He looked up at Minnie.
"The likes of you better be careful," said Mrs. O'Malley.
O'Doud scribbled in his notebook and laughed to himself. He thought the women were trying to scare him. It did not work. O'Doud went back to the Cloverleaf Inn to sleep.
O'Doud woke up to a new day. He did not want to talk to more villagers. O'Doud thought the people in the village did not like him. He did not care. He thought that they were silly people with silly beliefs.
O'Doud got dressed and walked down the street. He was looking for a good place to eat breakfast. The villagers said hello. O'Doud thought he heard them say, "Good morning, O'Doubt!" He thought they were laughing.
"It must be my imagination," O'Doud said to himself.
O'Doud found a restaurant and asked the waiter for a cup of coffee.
"Did you hear the screaming last night?" the waiter asked, as he put a cup of hot coffee on the table.
O'Doud took a sip of the coffee. He did not hear any screaming last night.
"It kept me up," said the waiter. "All that strange screaming. It sounded just like the scream I heard right before the old woman disappeared."
"I'm sure it was the wind," said O'Doud.
The waiter bent down close to O'Doud and said, "Did you hear any wind last night, O'Doubt?"
O'Doud tried to eat his breakfast, but all the villagers stopped by to talk about the banshee.
O'Doud finished eating. Then he paid the waiter and left the restaurant.
O'Doud could not forget what the waiter had said. He thought about the screaming that people had heard in the night. He wondered why he had not heard all the noise.
As he walked near the village square, O'Doud looked at all the people. He saw Timmy O'Daley and Minnie O'Connell. He thought that they looked funny. He saw them looking around.
Then O'Doud saw that all the people had strange looks on their faces. He saw a few people cover their ears, as if they heard a loud sound.
"I think your wind is back again," shouted Timmy. Timmy covered his ears.
O'Doud did not hear anything. He looked around and around. He felt dizzy. He could not breathe.
Suddenly, O'Doud was struck down by the banshee!
The people of Limerick gathered around the man that they had all called "O'Doubt." The pages of his notebook blew in the wind.
Then a leprechaun peeked out from behind a stone and said, "Is O'Doubt gone then?"
Indeed, he is.
Sometimes a mystery is the only thing that can save a ship Find out about a mysterious message in the next story, "The Second Captain."
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The Second Captain
Robert's breath came out in white puffs as he spoke. "That should be the last of all the cargo, Captain," he said. "We should be right on schedule."
Captain Connor nodded. "Good. We don't need any delays."
Robert and the captain stood on the pier, watching their crew load the remaining crates into the hull of the long freighter. Icy wind whipped in from the ocean and whistled across the wooden planks below Robert's feet. Robert huddled down in his jacket and licked the salty mist from his lips.
Robert was the ship's first mate, the captain's right hand man. But this was his first trip to Newfoundland, and he wanted to be prepared.
"Do you think we'll run into any problems, sir?" he said.
The captain gazed out across the choppy gray water. "I've made this voyage many times, Robert. No two journeys are the same. This time of year, we'll have to remain alert. We can't let our guard down. Icebergs flow down from the north. Our ship is sturdy, but it would shatter against an iceberg. You need to be ready for icebergs."
"I will, sir," said Robert. "I'll be ready."
Robert and Captain Connor boarded the ship. They climbed to the bridge and settled into their desks. The captain recorded their departure in the ship's logbook while Robert began his navigational calculations.
After about an hour, the captain stood up and stretched. "Robert, I need to go below to chart the ship's position," he said. "I am leaving you in charge of the bridge."
The ship was far out at sea. Their best helmsman, O'Brien, was at the wheel. Robert had nearly finished his navigational calculations.
Robert set back to work and finished the calculations. Now all he had to do was ask the captain for the ship's position.
Robert set down his instruments and rubbed his eyes. When he looked up, he was startled to see Captain Connor had returned to the bridge. The captain was at his desk, scrawling in the
Robert picked up his instruments and studied his calculations.
"Can you confirm the ship's position, sir?" Robert asked.
The captain did not answer.
"Captain?" asked Robert, still glancing through his calculations. "Can you confirm the ship's position?"
Again the captain did not answer.
Robert looked up. The captain's desk was empty. The captain was gone.
"That's odd." Robert frowned. "O'Brien, did you see the captain sitting at his desk just now?"
The helmsman shook his head. "No. The sea's too rough. I haven't taken my eyes off it."
Robert scratched his head. "The captain didn't say anything when he came in, he didn't say anything when I spoke to him, and he didn't say anything when he left. That's just not like him. He must be worried about something."
Robert left his desk and walked across the bridge to where the captain had been sitting. The logbook was still open on the captain's desk. Robert read the latest entry:
Change position immediately.
Tack northwest ten degrees.
Robert stared at the captain's words. "Ten degrees? That changes our course completely. Why didn't he say something?"
He turned to O'Brien. "Tack northwest ten degrees. Immediately. I'll go find the captain."
Robert looked all over the ship. Finally, he looked in the infirmary. He was surprised to see the captain there. A bandage covered the captain's head.
"Captain! Thank goodness I found you," said Robert. "I changed course as you requested."
The captain frowned. "As I requested?"
"Yes, sir," said Robert. "I saw your note in the ship's log. I ordered O'Brien to tack ten degrees northwest."
The captain stared at Robert. "I recorded nothing in the log," he said. "And I didn't go back up to the bridge. I hit my head when I was climbing down the ladder to the chart room."
Now it was Robert's turn to stare. "Sir, I saw you. I saw you at your desk. I saw what you wrote in the log." He stopped. "The log! Captain, I can prove what I'm saying. I'll be right back."
Robert raced from the infirmary and climbed the ladder to the bridge.
The warning bell sounded -- CLANG-CLANG! CLANG-CLANG!
Robert bounded towards it. He ran even faster. He saw O'Brien leaning on the wheel. He was steering the ship away from an iceberg that loomed above the port deck.
"Thank goodness the captain ordered us to change course when he did," said O'Brien. "We would've hit her head-on."
Robert watched as the ship slipped past the ice. It was so close, Robert could nearly reach out and touch it.
When there was no more danger, Robert snatched the ship's logbook from the captain's desk and hurried back down to the infirmary.
"There, sir," Robert pointed at the last entry in the logbook. "Isn't that your handwriting?"
The captain studied the book. "It's my handwriting, all right, but I never wrote this!"
The captain sat straight up in bed. "My dream! I had a dream. In my dream I saw an iceberg. The ship was headed towards it. I knew we were going to hit it. I tried to tell you, Robert. I wanted you to change course, but I just could not get your attention."
Robert stared at him. "And in your dream, Captain, when you couldn't get my attention, what did you do?"
The captain's face went white. "I did the only thing I could do," he said. "I wrote 'tack ten degrees northwest' in the logbook."
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS:
"King of Cats" Adapted by Suzanne Lieurance, Kallen Godsey
"The Mystery on the Sargasso" Written by Lynne Suesse, Illustrated by Jan Gregg-Kelm
"The Bermuda Triangle" Written by Brian Conway, Illustrated by Doug Roy
"Yeti" Written by Brian Conway, Illustrated by Jason Wolff
"The Monkey's Paw" Based on the original story by W. W. Jacobs, Adapted by Lisa Harkrader, Illustrated by John Kanzler
"The Mummy" Written by Renee Deshommes, Illustrated by Patrick Browne
"The Teeny-Tiny Woman" Adapted by Suzanne Lieurance, Illustrated by Cathy Johnson
"Dracula's Secret" Based on the original story by Bram Stoker, Adapted by Elizabeth Olson, Illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau
"The Red Ribbon" Written by Leslie Lindecker, Illustrated by Gerardo Suzán
"Dr. Jekyll's Diary" Based on the original story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Written by Amy Adair, Illustrated by David Cooper
"The Loch Ness Monster" Written by Brian Conway, Illustrated by Aaron Boyd
"Night Coach" Based on the original story by Amelia Edwards, Adapted by Lora Kalkman, Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
"The Selkie Child" Written by Amy Adair, Illustrated by Beatriz Helena Ramos
"Interview with Dr. Frankenstein" Based on the original story by Mary Shelley, Adapted by Brian Conway, Illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck
"Bigfoot" Written by Brian Conway, Illustrated by Jason Wolff
"The Banshee and O'Doud" Written by Lynne Suesse, Illustrated by Frank Sofo
"The Second Captain" Written by Lisa Harkrader, Illustrated by Jo Ellen Bosson