Writing Group: Short Story: XV

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Time for some yuletide tales! For this prompt we selected a creature from a winter holiday belief system from around the world with a very brief description. I selected the Mari Lwyd. This is a bit of Welsh mythos-tradition, the only description I was given was a horse skull draped in a cloth that requests to come inside for food and beer.

The reality of the tradition is a bit more upbeat than my story. It’s closer to a caroling rap battle where if the people in the home cannot reply in song then the people pretending to be the horse get to come in and raid their pantry. You can get some more information here. As always, I leave my edits to a minimum for the sake of the story as it was originally written in the writing group.

Mari Lwyd Ghost Story

The snow was falling but mixed with the rising smoke from the village to land in a gray sludge upon the earth. Few lamps burned next to the houses – the inhabitants could not afford the fuel. Silently, into the village floated the stark white skull of a horse. The Mari Lwyd drifted between the houses before rap-tap-tapping bone against a wooden door. The farmer that opened the door went pale.

An unearthly song seemed to emanate from the cloak-draped skull and a voice seemed to echo through the one room, “bring me bread and bring me mead.”

The farmer and his wife bowed before handing the specter a small plate with a crust and a mug with a thimble full of ale. “This is what we have to spare,” they said. “All the goods have been taken by the Lord.”

The Mari Lwyd received similar offering at the other homes it visited. The spirit drifted up to the brightly lit house upon the hill. In the dining room the maid heard the rap-tap-tapping upon the iron bound door. Skittering to open it she gasped at the being before her. “Here is an offering from me and mine,” she said proffering a small wedge of cheese, “but the Lord of this house offers nothing.”

The horse skull seemed to vibrate for a moment as if in contemplation before drifting forward into the house. “Girl!” called a voice, “I need more wine.” The spirit followed the voice into the brightly lit dining room. The maid disobeyed for the first time in her life, she stayed by the doorstep as her Lord yelled.

“What? Who? Get out of my…” He never finished the sentence as he began screaming, screams that were cut off suddenly. The Mari Lwyd drifted back down the hall, humming contentedly. On Christmas Day the village feasted in the Lord’s halls as he had vanished never to be seen again.

Every Christmas Eve the village recounts the tale and has offering ready to share if there should come a rap-tap-tapping upon their door.

This prompt was inspired by one of my Campfire Stories. I hope that you enjoyed this tale and remember to always be generous. I hope that your day is filled with joy and cheer. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may all your days be bright.

Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!

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