You like stories, don’t you? I can tell.

Well, I like telling stories. In fact, it’s one of the things that landed me here, in fact.

So…you want to hear a story?

There was once a boy who loved stories. He loved hearing them, but more than that, he loved spinning fables, and telling tall tales. Whether he was supposed to be studying, or working in the fields, whenever he had a free moment, he harangued his friends into listening to him. The other boys laughed at him, but he wanted to become such a good storyteller that he would one day have an audience with the king himself.

As he grew, the boy’s imagination soared. He began to tell tales of fantastical places, of ghosts and demons and triumphant kings. One summer night, when the village had begun to chafe on him, and all the horizons he saw seemed to narrow, he left behind the little hut he shared with his parents.

He wandered from town to town, living off his imagination and his talent for spinning words.

And things would have been fine, if the boy didn’t have a burning desire to prove himself. But he did. Everywhere he went, he wanted to be known as the best storyteller they had ever heard. Every village he visited, he spent most of his time with the headman and his family, currying favour and earning his keep by weaving wondrous stories that left them singing his praises long after he had left.

It was easy in this particular village, because the headman had a beautiful daughter, who hung on his every word. They began to spend more time together, and soon they were meeting secretly when they thought no one was looking.

Perhaps you can imagine what the headman did when he saw his lovely daughter alone with the young storyteller in the fields on the outskirts of town.

For all his imagination, the boy certainly didn’t expect this twist: the headman killed him, and strung his body up on a nearby tree as a warning to others.

The storyteller had his revenge, though. His spirit had lingered on, after death, and every night he whispered into the headman’s ears, until he drove the man half-mad.

Soon that grew tiresome, and he decided to try roaming beyond the village, but the storyteller was tied to his body. Rumors grew that his tree was haunted, and soon, it became a game for the village boys to approach it. They would bully each other into throwing stones at the body that still hung there, to step as close to the tree as they dared. Sometimes, he liked to creep up behind them and blow in their ears. It made him laugh to see them scream and take to their heels.

Then one day, the unthinkable happened. Very simply, on one moonless night, a man cut his body down from the tree, and, slinging  it onto his back, began to walk away.

Want to read more?
Order the Dark Things anthology and read the full story!

Featuring cross-dressing assassins, were-snakes, gods and goddesses, demonesses and asura kings, Dark Things Between the Shadow and the Soul retells age-old tales from Indian mythology—with a twist. Rearranging myth and legend to create new plots, these short stories will delight lovers of the unusual.


Image from Morguefile,with thanks.

[mood|fractured fairy tales from indian mythology restless]
[music|Lacrimosa: Kalafina (Kuroshitsuji ED2) ]


  1. braazy

    lol… you are not leaving the reader any option but to comment huh?? :P

    Anyways…. I think the story is good except maybe, not sure, just maybe, it might have been better if it revolved around the original theme instead of extending it.. I mean on the 24 nights… and also I think you went a little too fast… I mean you killed him too fast and then the story got over too fast, atleast, for my taste… ohh yea and you did manage to kill some one this time too… just realized :P

    Still, its refreshing think a ghost is sitting ryt beside me and telling stories.. :P

    • Hah, yes. Seems to be the only way! Plus, I always liked that line in the original stories.

      it might have been better if it revolved around the original theme instead of extending it..

      I dunno, while I liked the stories when I was a kid, reading them now, I find I’m not as enchanted by them as I once was. I didn’t feel like setting this in the same universe, as such.

      I mean you killed him too fast and then the story got over too fast, atleast, for my taste…

      Hmm. I admit to feeling the same way, at least a little. Perhaps I’ll extend this some day.

      you did manage to kill some one this time too… just realized :P

      I stopped trying to fight it! =)

  2. Anonymous

    I agree with the above comment…it is well written but some suggestions…

    So for example you lost the plot here

    first, the storyteller didn’t mind. He had been alone for so long, with no one to hear his stories. And now here was the king, come at last.

    The longer it went on, though, the more it annoyed him. The king refused to react to him in any way, no matter how many shocking developments he added to the story, the king did not gasp, or even draw a breath in wonder.

    Finally, he did the only thing he was able to still do; he threatened the king.

    ‘Now, king, if you want me to come with you, you must answer my question.’

    When it seemed the king would still remain silent, in desperation, he said wildly, ‘If you know the answer but still remain silent, your head will break into a thousand pieces!’

    The bluff worked. The king spoke to him

    You could have started a new story compelling the king (& the reader), who is trying not to listen or answer; to think of the mystery to the story and if he interrupt with the wrong guess – the story teller flies away. And so the anxious king and the reader come up with obvious guess to the mystery of the story and the storyteller flies away telling the real mystert

    • Hmm. A good idea, but when I got the idea for this story, it came to me with the beginning and the ending all worked out – it was the middle I had to write, as such. Maybe that’s why the middle is the part that feels weak.

      Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. =)

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