Ghost Story Review: "The Superstitious Man's Story" by Thomas Hardy
This is a short little tale, narrated by an anonymous man who listens to the “seedman’s father” explain why there was something strange about William’s death.
The seedman’s father tells of a number of occurrences up until the poor man died while taking a break from mowing Mr. Hardcome’s meadow with John Chiles. For example, one Sunday while the bell was ringing for church, and William appeared to be in good health, the bell went heavy. The sexton said it was just that the gudgeons needed oiling, even though the bell had never gone so heavy before.
William’s wife thinks she sees him go out one night for a smoke and doesn’t feel like waiting up for him so leaves him a note to lock to the door. She finds him already asleep. He couldn’t have come in without her knowing.
I found it puzzling: were these stories meant to amuse the reader? It struck me as all just sad and a little silly. But maybe there was something I was missing.
Author Thomas Hardy is better known for his novels such as Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge , he also wrote poetry and short stories. His ashes are interred in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.
Title: “The Superstitious Man’s Story” first published in Harper’s Monthly March 1891
Author: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
© 2015 Denise Longrie
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