A Ghost Story, alternating title A Ghost"s tale (1870), is Twain"s unique twist that the ghost story genre, mocking superstition, and proving he"s a understand employing satirical wit throughout his broad selection of works. Featured in our Halloween Stories
Excavation the the "Cardiff Giant" in 1869 Excavation that the "Cardiff Giant" in 1869

I take it a huge room, much up Broadway, in a large old building whose upper stories had been wholly unoccupied for years till I came. The place had actually long been provided up to dust and cobwebs, come solitude and also silence. I appeared groping among the tombs and also invading the privacy of the dead, that an initial night ns climbed up to my quarters. Because that the an initial time in my life a superstitious dread come over me; and as i turned a dark angle of the stairway and also an invisible cobweb swung the slazy woof in my face and also clung there, ns shuddered together one who had actually encountered a phantom.

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I to be glad sufficient when I got to my room and locked out the mold and the darkness. A cheery fire was burning in the grate, and I satellite down before it through a comforting sense of relief. Because that two hrs I satellite there, reasoning of bygone times; recalling old scenes, and summoning half- forgotten deals with out the the mists of the past; listening, in fancy, to voices the long back grew quiet for every time, and also to once acquainted songs that nobody sings now. And as my reverie softened down to a sadder and also sadder pathos, the shrieking of the winds exterior softened come a wail, the angry beating that the rain versus the panes reduced to a tranquil patter, and one by one the noises in the street subsided, until the hurrying footsteps of the critical belated straggler passed away away in the distance and also left no sound behind.

The fire had burned low. A feeling of loneliness crept over me. I arose and also undressed, moving on tiptoe about the room, doing stealthily what I had to do, together if ns were environed by sleeping adversaries whose slumbers it would be fatal to break. I covered up in bed, and lay listening come the rain and also wind and also the faint creaking of remote shutters, it spins they lull me come sleep.

I slept profoundly, but how lengthy I perform not know. Overall I uncovered myself awake, and also filled v a shuddering expectancy. All was still. All yet my very own heart--I might hear it beat. Presently the bedclothes began to on slide away gradually toward the foot the the bed, together if some one to be pulling them! I can not stir; I could not speak. Still the blankets slipped intentionally away, it rotates my chest was uncovered. Then with a an excellent effort i seized them and also drew them over my head. I waited, listened, waited. Once more that stable pull began, and also once much more I place torpid a century that dragging seconds till my breast was nude again. At last ns roused mine energies and snatched the covers back to your place and also held them through a strong grip. I waited. By and by ns felt a pass out tug, and also took a fresh grip. The tug strengthened to a stable strain--it flourished stronger and also stronger. My host parted, and for the 3rd time the blankets slid away. Ns groaned. An comment groan come from the foot that the bed! Beaded fall of sweat stand upon my forehead. Ns was much more dead 보다 alive. Presently ns heard a hefty footstep in my room--the action of one elephant, it seemed to me--it was not prefer anything human. Yet it was moving from me--there was relief in that. Ns heard it method the door-- pass the end without moving bolt or lock--and wander away amongst the dismal corridors, straining the floors and joists till castle creaked again as it passed--and climate silence reigned when more.

When my excitement had actually calmed, I claimed to myself, "This is a dream--simply a hideous dream." and so i lay thinking it over till I encouraged myself that it to be a dream, and then a comforting laugh serene my lips and I to be happy again. I obtained up and also struck a light; and when I discovered that the locks and also bolts were simply as I had actually left them, another soothing laugh welled in my heart and also rippled from my lips. Ns took my pipe and lit it, and was just sitting down before the fire, when-down went the pipe out of my nerveless fingers, the blood forsook mine cheeks, and my placid breathing was cut quick with a gasp! In the ashes top top the hearth, next by side v my own bare footprint, to be another, so huge that in compare mine was yet an infant"s! climate I had had a visitor, and the elephant tread was explained.

I placed out the light and also returned come bed, palsied v fear. I lay a lengthy time, peering into the darkness, and listening.--Then ns heard a lattice noise overhead, favor the dragging that a hefty body throughout the floor; climate the throwing under of the body, and also the shower of my windows in response to the concussion. In distant parts of the structure I heard the muffled slamming the doors. Ns heard, in ~ intervals, stealthy footsteps creeping in and also out amongst the corridors, and also up and also down the stairs. Occasionally these noises approached mine door, hesitated, and went away again. I heard the clanking of chain faintly, in remote passages, and listened while the clanking flourished nearer--while the wearily climbed the stairways, marking each relocate by the loose surplus that chain that fell with one accented rattle upon every succeeding action as the goblin that bore it advanced. Ns heard muttered sentences; half-uttered screams that appeared smothered violently; and the swish that invisible garments, the sirloin of invisible wings. Then i became conscious that mine chamber was invaded--that i was not alone. I heard sighs and also breathings around my bed, and also mysterious whisperings. Three little spheres the soft phosphorescent light appeared on the ceiling directly over mine head, clung and glowed over there a moment, and also then to reduce --two of them upon mine face and also one top top the pillow. They, spattered, liquidly, and also felt warm. Intuition told me castle had--turned to gouts the blood as they fell--I necessary no light to accomplish myself the that. Climate I observed pallid faces, dimly luminous, and white uplifted hands, floating bodiless in the air--floating a moment and then disappearing. The whispering ceased, and also the voices and the sounds, anal a solemn stillness followed. Ns waited and also listened. I felt that ns must have light or die. Ns was weak v fear. I progressively raised myself towards a sit posture, and also my challenge came in call with a clammy hand! All toughness went indigenous me apparently, and also I fell ago like a stricken invalid. Then i heard the rustle of a garment it seemed to happen to the door and go out.

When everything was still when more, i crept out of bed, sick and feeble, and also lit the gas v a hand the trembled as if it were aged with a hundred years. The light carried some tiny cheer to mine spirits. Ns sat down and also fell into a dreamy contemplation the that good footprint in the ashes. By and also by its outlines started to waver and grow dim. Ns glanced up and also the vast gas-flame was gradually wilting away. In the same moment I heard the elephantine tread again. I noted its approach, nearer and nearer, follow me the musty halls, and also dimmer and dimmer the irradiate waned. The tread reached my an extremely door and also paused--the light had actually dwindled to a sickly blue, and also all things around me put in a spectral twilight. The door did not open, and also yet ns felt a faint gust of air pan my cheek, and also presently was aware of a huge, cloudy presence prior to me. I watched it through fascinated eyes. A pale glow stole over the Thing; gradually its cloudy folds take it shape--an arm appeared, climate legs, climate a body, and also last a good sad challenge looked out of the vapor. Stripped of its filmy housings, naked, muscular and comely, the majestic Cardiff gigantic loomed over me!

All mine misery vanished--for a child can know the no harm might come with that benignant countenance. Mine cheerful spirits changed at once, and in sympathy v them the gas flamed increase brightly again. Never ever a lonely outcast to be so glad to welcome agency as ns was come greet the trusted giant. Ns said:

"Why, is the nobody yet you? perform you know, I have been fear to death for the last two or three hours? i am most honestly happy to check out you. Ns wish I had actually a chair--Here, here, don"t try to sit under in the thing--"

But the was too late. He was in it prior to I could stop him and also down that went--I never saw a chair shivered for this reason in my life.

"Stop, stop, you"ll ruin ev--"

Too so late again. Over there was one more crash, and another chair to be resolved into its original elements.

"Confound it, haven"t girlfriend got any kind of judgment at" all? perform you want to damage all the furniture on the place? Here, here, you petrified fool--"

But it was no use. Before I might arrest that he had actually sat down on the bed, and also it was a melancholy ruin.

"Now what type of a means is that to do? an initial you come lumbering about the location bringing a legion that vagabond goblins along with you to issue me come death, and then as soon as I skipping an indelicacy that costume which would not be tolerated all over by cultivated human being except in a respectable theater, and not even there if the nudity to be of her sex, friend repay me by wrecking every the furniture girlfriend can uncover to sit down on. And also why will certainly you? You damage yourself as much as you carry out me. Girlfriend have broken off the finish of your spinal column, and littered up the floor v chips of her hams it spins the ar looks favor a marble yard. You must be embarrassing of yourself--you are big enough to know better."

"Well, I will certainly not break any an ext furniture. Yet what am i to do? I have actually not had a opportunity to sit down for a century." and also the tears came right into his eyes.

"Poor devil," i said, "I must not have been so harsh v you. And also you space an orphan, too, no doubt. But sit under on the floor here--nothing else deserve to stand your weight--and besides, us cannot be sociable with you far up there over me; I desire you down whereby I have the right to perch top top this high counting-house stool and gossip through you face to face." so he sat under on the floor, and lit a pipe which I offered him, threw among my red blankets over his shoulders, inverted my sitz-bath top top his head, helmet fashion, and also made self picturesque and also comfortable. Then he overcome his ankles, while ns renewed the fire, and exposed the flat, honeycombed bottoms of his prodigious feet come the thankful warmth.

"What is the issue with the bottom of her feet and the back of her legs, the they are gouged increase so?"

"Infernal chilblains--I caught them clear up to the earlier of mine head, roosting the end there under Newell"s farm. Yet I love the place; ns love it as one loves his old home. Over there is no peace for me choose the peace I feel when I to be there."

We talked along for half an hour, and then ns noticed that he looked tired, and also spoke the it.

"Tired?" that said. "Well, I should think so. And now I will certainly tell you all around it, due to the fact that you have actually treated me so well. Ns am the spirit of the Petrified guy that lies across the street over there in the museum. I am the ghost that the Cardiff Giant. I deserve to have no rest, no peace, till they have given that negative body burial again. Now what to be the most natural thing for me come do, to do men accomplish this wish? Terrify them into it! haunt the ar where the body lay! So ns haunted the museum night after night. I even got other spirits to help me. But it go no good, because that nobody ever came to the museum in ~ midnight. Climate it emerged to me come come end the way and haunt this place a little. Ns felt the if I ever before got a hear I need to succeed, because that I had actually the most efficient agency that perdition can furnish. Night after ~ night we have actually shivered approximately through these mildewed halls, dragging chains, groaning, whispering, tramping up and down stairs, till, come tell girlfriend the truth, i am nearly worn out. However when I saw a light in your room to-night i roused my energies again and went at it with a transaction of the old freshness. However I am worn down out--entirely fagged out. Provide me, i beseech you, give me some hope!" ns lit off my perch in a to explode of excitement, and exclaimed:

"This transcends everything! whatever that ever did occur! Why you negative blundering old fossil, girlfriend have had all your trouble for nothing-- you have actually been haunting a plaster cast of yourself--the real Cardiff giant is in Albany!----Confound it, don"t you understand your own remains?"

I never saw such an eloquent look at of shame, that pitiable humiliation, overspread a countenance before.

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The Petrified male rose progressively to his feet, and said:

"Honestly, is the true?"

"As true as I am sitting here."

He took the pipeline from his mouth and laid the on the mantel, climate stood irresolute a minute (unconsciously, indigenous old habit, advertise his hands whereby his pantaloons pockets should have been, and also meditatively dropping his chin top top his breast); and finally said:

"Well-I never felt so absurd before. The Petrified Man has actually sold anyone else, and now the median fraud has ended by selling its own ghost! my son, if there is any charity left in your heart for a negative friendless phantom choose me, don"t let this acquire out. Think just how you would feel if you had actually made such an ass the yourself."

I heard his stately tramp die away, step by action down the stairs and also out right into the deserted street, and also felt sorry the he to be gone, poor fellow-- and sorrier still the he had carried off my red blanket and my bath-tub.