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Ghosts don’t bleed

Nobbly and Ratty were brothers. They both worked for Lord ‘High and Mighty’ up at the castle, looking after his cattle. One day, when Ratty came home tired and hungry from work, his wife, Noseycow (Nosey for short), gave him a bowl of broth to eat. It was a broth with no meat in it, made from water, lentils, and little else. It was a familiar broth for Ratty had had it for his tea every night for the past week. This particular night, however, he was fed up (though not full up)

‘Och. It’s hard for a man to be spending his days out in all weather looking after cattle so other folk can have meat on their table when he knows there’s none on his own, or ever likely to be given what Lord High an’ Mighty pays me. It’s not fair! I’ve a good mind to redistribute his wealth an’ lift one o’ his calves for the pot’

‘You’ll need to be careful’, said Nosey. Lord High an’ Mighty hangs cattle thieves. Better ask Nobbly to help you’

Nobbly was only too glad to help. He too was fed up with lentil this and lentil that every day. What he wanted was a nice big juicy hamburger covered in brown sauce!

So it was, that later that night, when it was quite dark, the two brothers set out to steal a calf from the pen near the Wailing Woods.

The woods were so called because of the strange noises that sometimes came from them. Sensible folk said it was only the noise of the wind whistling through the trees. Others, more superstitious than their fellows, said it was the cries of poor demented souls who had met a grisly end in the woods and whose ghosts now wandered amongst the trees at night seeking vengeance on the living. Most villagers, therefore, avoided the Wailing Woods at night. Nobbly and Ratty, however, didn’t believe in ghosts …… at least, not then!


The plan was for Ratty to go through the woods first to make sure the coast was clear. If he didn’t see anyone he would hoot like an owl, three times. Nobbly would then sneak down to the pen, grab a fat, young calf and make his way back to where Ratty was waiting. Sounds simple, but ………….

‘tiwit-tiwoo, tiwit-tiwoo, tiwit-tiwoo’

When he heard Ratty’s signal, Nobbly started slowly down towards the cattle. He tried to make as little noise as possible, so as not to scare the beasts but they seemed to sense something not quite right and shuffled nervously about. Suddenly, there were voices!

Fearing discovery, he quickly hid behind a clump of bushes. The voices seemed to be coming closer and closer. A cold sweat broke out on his brow and his heart hammered against his chest as he tried not to think about the villagers’ stories of ghosts wandering the woods at night. The cattle were frightened too. They pushed and jostled one another, moo-ing piteously, as they sought a way to escape from their pen. The voices were getting louder all the time and Nobbly could now clearly hear the ‘clip-clop, clip-clop’ of horses hooves. The riders were headed straight for him. Throwing himself flat, he tried to burrow into the earth. The next few seconds seemed like hours. Hardly daring to breathe, he lay as still as he could as the riders passed by, one on either side of his hiding place – and continued on.

Sighing with relief at his narrow escape, he slowly lifted his head and looked behind him. Then sat up – puzzled ?? For although he could hear the sound of voices laughing and talking and the ‘clip-clop’ of horses hooves slowly receding in the distance, there was nothing to be seen but the trees


Meanwhile, keeping guard on the other side of the wood, Ratty huddled round a small fire he had lit in a clearing.

It was a cold night and he had lit the fire to keep himself warm. But if truth were told, he had not been able to keep his mind off the stories he had heard about the woods being haunted, and the fire was as much for comfort as for warmth. He shivered, despite the heat from the fire, and wished Nobbly would hurry up and return with the calf. Every noise made him jump nervously, and he thought longingly of his bed at home. Miserable, he crouched closer to the fire. While unknown to him, a few feet above his head, stirred by the breeze, a pair of worn leather boots swung slowly backwards and forwards . . . .

Continued here . . .

2 Comments leave one →
  1. torri11 permalink
    November 30, 2009 7:21 pm

    Are you secretly a writer, Duncan? Using another name?


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