Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Ghostly Spools

They say it sometimes helps just to talk to or reason with a ghost to help them move on.

This story was first told by a Mrs. Charles Stone and then published in Barbara Shuttleworth’s book, Supernatural Folk Stories in the French-Canadian Tradition. It was then published later in Maria Leach’s Whistle In The Graveyard: Folktales to Chill Your Bones (1954).

Stories about ghosts that return from the dead to restore something that was stolen is a common theme in England, Canada, the United States, Germany, Persia, and the Scandinavian countries.

A Guilty Conscience

A grandmother who lived in French Canada, in the days when people still spun their own yarn to make their garments, used to hire women in the neighborhood to come to her home and spin and wind yarn on spools.

Vintage bobbins
One poor neighbor named Lucie was hired. She then made off with several spools that belonged to the grandmother. Shortly afterwards, she died. Soon after her funeral the grandmother woke in the middle of the night to hear a noise in her attic.

It sounded like wooden spools rolling around on the attic floor. She thought, “I’ll go look in the morning.”

She went up to the attic but found nothing out of place. She heard the same sound the next night. It sounded like wooden spools rolling and clattering around. She searched the attic again but found nothing.

Every night after this the grandmother was awakened by the sounds of spools rolling around. This constant noise kept her awake. At her wits end, she wondered how she could get a good night’s rest.

Then one late night as the spools rolled and banged around she remembered the poor old neighbor who had stolen some of her spools. “It must be Lucie,” she thought. “She’s bringing them back!”

She quickly got out of bed and went up the attic stairs. She carefully opened the attic door and called out softly. “Lucie, is that you?” “Lucie it’s all right. You can have the spools.”

At once the sound stopped, and the old grandmother never heard the spools rolling again.

Maria Leach’s book, Whistle In The Graveyard: Folktales to Chill Your Bones, is a popular children’s book. Clean copies of hardbacks are expensive but there are reasonably priced paperback copies available on Amazon.

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