THE TWO CORPSES
A Russian Ghost Story
A soldier had obtained leave to go home on furlough--to pray
to the holy images, and to bow down before his parents. And
as he was going his way, at a time when the sun had long set,
and all was dark around, it chanced that he had to pass by a
graveyard. Just then he heard that some one was running after
him, and crying:
"Stop! you can't escape!"
He looked back and there was a corpse running and gnashing
its teeth. The Soldier sprang on one side with all his
might to get away from it, caught sight of a little chapel, and
bolted straight into it.
There wasn't a soul in the chapel, but stretched out on a
table there lay another corpse, with tapers burning in front of
it. The Soldier hid himself in a corner, and remained there,
hardly knowing whether he was alive or dead, but waiting to see
what would happen. Presently up ran the first corpse--the one
that had chased the Soldier--and dashed into the chapel. Thereupon
the one that was lying on the table jumped up, and cried
"What hast thou come here for?"
"I've chased a soldier in here, so I'm going to eat him."
"Come now, brother! he's run into my house. I shall eat
"No, I shall!"
"No, I shall!"
And they set to work fighting; the dust flew like anything.
They'd have gone on fighting ever so much longer, only the
cocks began to crow. Then both the corpses fell lifeless to
the ground, and the Soldier went on his way homeward in peace,
"Glory be to Thee, O Lord! I am saved from the wizards!"
Even the possession of arms and the presence of a dog will not always,
it seems, render a man secure from this terrible species of