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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "Yuletide Specters"

Yuletide Specters

" Then she realized that things were not as they should be, and ran out hastily.

When she came into the church-yard, it seemed to her as though she were surrounded by a great crowd of people. In those days people wore broad mantles of unbleached wool, woven at home, and white in color. She was wearing one of these mantles and the specters seized it. But she flung it away from her and managed to escape from the church-yard, and run to the poor-house and wake the people there. It is said it was then one o'clock at night.

So she sat and waited for the early mass at four o'clock in the morning. And when day finally dawned, they found a little piece of her mantle on every grave in the church-yard.

A similar experience befell a man and his wife who lived in a hut known as Ingas, below Mosled.

They were no more than an hour ahead of time; but when they reached the church at Hanger, they thought the service had already begun, and wanted to enter at once; but the church was barred and bolted, and the phantom service of the dead was nearing its end. And when the actual mass began, there was found lying at every place some of the earth from the graves of those who shortly before had been worshiping. The man and his wife thereupon fell grievously ill, because they had disturbed the dead.

NOTE

"Yuletide Spectres." The tale of the weird service of the dead on Christmas night is common throughout Scandinavia. (From an mss. communicated by Dr. v. Sydow-Lund).

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