Friday, October 21, 2011

Folklife Friday: Ghost Story

George and his family lived more than a mile from the store. He walked there almost every day, picking up some items for his family while catching up on the news. The store was the main source of information in their little community, and George didn't want to miss anything.

It had been a long, busy day, and George had not had time for his diurnal trip to the store. As dusk was turning into true night, George set off, his empty tobacco sack overriding his anxiety of walking in the dark.

George walked peacefully for a while, surrounded by starlight and the sounds of his footsteps. As he started down a steep hill, he was shocked to discover he was not alone. A woman, clad in a billowy white gown, appeared, crossed the road in front of him, and went into the ditch on the far side of the road. Shaken up, he continued to the store with record speed.

George was greeted by the usual gang--retired and unemployed men who spent most of their time sitting outside the store and speculating on the affairs of the world. They sat up with interest when George appeared, bedraggled and white as cotton. They nodded sympathetically as George recounted his experience, his voice trembling as he struggled to regain his normal breath.

It turned out that many of the men had seen the woman before. She always appeared on the road at night and always disappeared in the ditch just like George had seen her do. No one had any solid ideas as to who or what she was. Some explained her away by saying it was just some crazy woman who wandered around at night.

There was no alternative to walking home the same way he had come. George even mustered up the courage to look in the ditch where the woman had disappeared. There was no footprints or disturbed vegetation that George could see in the dim light.

The mystery of the woman in white was never solved. George never saw her again, although afterwards, he made sure to find time for the trip to the store during the daylight hours.