Short and Shivery: Thirty Chilling Tales

Short and Shivery: Thirty Chilling Tales


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440418047
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 09/11/2001
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 293,762
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 990L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Robert D. San Souci is the award-winning author of many popular books for young readers, and resided in San Francisco, California. His works included the Short & Shivery books, and the quartet of picture books about Arthurian legends, Young Merlin, Young Guinevere, Young Lancelot, and Young Arthur.

Read an Excerpt

The Robber Bridegroom

(adapted from the Brothers Grimm)

There was once a miller who had a beautiful daughter. He was a hard worker, so his business prospered, and he grew wealthy. A widower, he gave his only daughter fine dresses and shoes with silver buckles. For himself he bought a splendid cloak, a broad-brimmed hat with a huge ostrich feather, and a gold ring with a picture of his mill engraved on it, because this had brought him his riches.

One night, however, robbers broke into the mill, and stole his hat, cloak, and ring-and all the gold he had saved up. Then the old man said to his daughter, "You must marry soon. The world is full of wicked men, and you should have a husband to protect you. But he must be a wealthy man, because you deserve the fine things I can no longer buy you."

"I don't care if the man is rich or poor," said the girl, Elsa, "as long as I love him and he loves me."

"Tut," said her father impatiently, "if the right kind of bridegroom comes along and asks for your hand, I'll let him marry you."

Soon enough, a suitor turned up who was dressed in the finest clothes, had boots with silver toes and tops, and rode a grand horse with a bridle trimmed in gold.

"I have seen your daughter when she walks to the village," said the stranger, "and I want her to be my wife."

The miller was dazzled by the man's garments and his horse's trappings, so he said, "She will be your wife."

But Elsa didn't love him as a bride-to-be ought to love her future bridegroom. She didn't trust him; and whenever she looked at him or thought about him, a shudder ran through her.

The stranger came often to the miller's house. Finally, he said to Elsa, "You're engaged to me, and yet you have never been to see me."

"I don't even know where your house is," the young woman answered, feeling a sudden chill in her heart.

Her suitor said, "My house is in the depths of the forest."

"Then I could never find my way there," Elsa said.

"Nonsense," said the stranger. "Next Sunday, you must come and see me. I've already invited some other guests, who are eager to meet you. So that you can find the way, I'll leave a trail of ashes to guide you."

Elsa started to protest, but her father said, "Tut!" Then, to the richly dressed stranger he said, "She will be there. I will see to it."

When Saturday came, the girl was about to start out, because her bridegroom had told her the journey would take a day and a night on foot. She felt terribly frightened, though she did not know why. To be sure of finding her way back, she filled her pockets with dried peas and beans to mark her path. At the entrance to the forest, she found the trail of ashes, like a thin gray thread, and followed it deep into the dark woods. But every step or two, she tossed a few peas and beans to her right or left.

She walked nearly that whole day and night, all the way into the heart of the forest. In the morning, which was almost as gloomy as midnight, she saw a house set by itself in a small clearing. It was so dark and dismal that she feared going any closer. But the trail of ashes led right to the front door, so she went up.

Elsa knocked softly several times; when no once answered, she went in. She saw nobody; there was a silence over all the rooms.

Suddenly, a voice cried:

"Turn back, young woman! Run away!

You've come to a robber's house this day."

She looked up and saw that the voice had come from a bird in a cage that was hanging in a window. Once more, it warned her:

"Turn back, young woman! Run away!

You've come to a robber's house this day."

She was about to turn and run, when she heard someone singing in a sweet, clear voice deep in the house. The voice was so gentle and sad that Elsa had to see who was singing. She followed the sound from room to room, all over the house, but they were all empty. At last she reached the cellar door. Descending the steep and narrow steps, she found an old blind woman who was sitting in a corner, shaking her head sadly while she sang mournfully to herself.

"Who are you?" Elsa asked.

"I keep this unhappy house," explained the blind woman. "But what are you with such a young, kind voice doing here?"

"I'm to marry the master of the house," said Elsa.

"Alas! You poor child! You have no idea where you are. You're in the den of a thief and a murderer. Years ago I was brought here with a promise of marriage. Instead the villain blinded me so I could not run away, and has made me work harder than the most wretched slave. Now that I've grown weary and unable to work as I once did, he has brought you here. He will drive me into the woods to die, and he will blind you and make you take my place."

"Come with me," urged Elsa, "we'll run away together."

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Short and Shivery: Thirty Chilling Tales 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved these stories when I was little, love them now. Can be a bit scary for children under about 8. I say the two books in this series are steppnig stones for the Alvin Schwartz books so if your child (or you) loves scary/ghost stories but can't take the creepy (sometimes a bit disturbing) illustrations, these are for you. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have thisbook and it is awsome
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will have you on the edge of your chair ALL NIGHT LONG!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because scary stories are the best (oppinion) I am the kind of person who likes to be suprised by books. My personal favorite from this book was "knock knock knock."