Tuesday Terror! Old Applejoy’s Ghost by Frank R Stockton

The spirit of Christmas…

I know lots of you don’t like scary stories, but not all ghosts are bad. This tale, taken from the collection Chill Tidings, features a ghost who would surely be welcome at any Christmas party…

Old Applejoy’s Ghost
by Frank R Stockton

Frank R Stockton

For many years old Applejoy’s ghost had wandered freely about the grand old house and the fine estate of which he had once been the lord and master. But early in that spring a change had come over the household of his grandson, John Applejoy, an elderly man, a bachelor, and – for the later portion of his life – almost a recluse. His young niece, Bertha, had come to live with him, and it was since her arrival that old Applejoy’s ghost had confined himself to the upper portions of the house.

Old Applejoy’s ghost had had the freedom of the house because any time his grandson saw him, he dismissed him as a dream. The house has become dull indeed in the grandson’s time, but now young Bertha has brought youth and beauty back to the hall, and the ghost doesn’t want to inadvertently scare her away. However, one night the ghost realises Christmas is coming…

“Winter has come,” he said to himself. “And in two days it will be Christmas!” Suddenly he started to his feet. “Can it be,” he exclaimed, “that my close-fisted grandson John does not intend to celebrate Christmas! It has been years since he has done so, but now that Bertha is in the house, will he dare to pass over it as though it were but a common day? It is almost incredible that such a thing could happen, but so far there have been no signs of any preparations. I have seen nothing, heard nothing, smelt nothing. I will go this moment and investigate.”

He descends to the kitchen…

….“Let me see what the old curmudgeon has provided for Christmas.”
….So saying, old Applejoy’s ghost went around the spacious pantry, looking upon shelves and tables. “Emptiness! Emptiness! Emptiness!” he exclaimed. “A cold leg of mutton, a ham half gone, and cold boiled potatoes – it makes me shiver to look at them! Pies? there ought to be rows and rows of them, and there is not one! And Christmas two days off!”

Old Applejoy’s ghost is determined that Bertha shall have the Christmas she deserves, but how to achieve it? He wanders to his grandson’s room…

….There lay the old man, his eyelids as tightly closed as if there had been money underneath them. The ghost of old Applejoy stood by his bedside…
….“I can make him wake up and look at me,” he thought, “so that I might tell him what I think of him, but what impression could I expect my words to make upon a one-chicken man like John? Moreover, if I should be able to speak to him, he would persuade himself that he had been dreaming, and my words would be of no avail!”


He considers talking to the old housekeeper, but…

“It would be of no use,” he said. “She would never be able to induce old John to turn one inch aside from his parsimonious path. More than that, if she were to see me she would probably scream – die, for all I know – and that would be a pretty preparation for Christmas!”

He looks in on Bertha, sweetly dreaming in a room lit by moonlight, and quietly murmuring the name “Tom”. Then suddenly she wakes…

….The maiden did not move, but fixed her lovely blue eyes upon the apparition, who trembled for fear that she might scream or faint.
….“Am I asleep?” she murmured, and then, after turning her head from side to side to assure herself that she was in her own room, she looked full into the face of old Applejoy’s ghost, and boldly spoke to him. “Are you a spirit?”

Delighted that she seems unafraid, old Applejoy’s ghost promptly hatches a scheme that she should speak to her uncle…

“When you have told him all the events of this night, and when he sees that they must have happened, I want you to tell him that it is the wish and desire of his grandfather, to whom he owes everything, that there shall be worthy festivities in this house on Christmas Day and Night. Tell him to open his cellars and spend his money. Tell him to send for at least a dozen good friends and relatives to attend the great holiday celebration that is to be held in this house.”

And will Tom be one of those guests?

* * * * *

If you want to know the answer to that, you’ll need to read the story – here’s a link.

Charming and fun, bit of humour, bit of romance, lots of cakes and mince pies, wine and plum pudding – a sweet little Christmas story. Wish I had a ghost to arrange Christmas for me!

(The porpy wishes you all a Very Merry Christmas!)

Fretful Porpentine rating:   😮

Overall story rating:            😀 😀 😀 😀

Amazon UK Link
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39 thoughts on “Tuesday Terror! Old Applejoy’s Ghost by Frank R Stockton

  1. What a great holiday story, FictionFan! I love it! And Bertha sounds like a good character, too, and not the all-too-common ‘shrinking violet’ of far too many stories of this time. And, if there’s pie in the mix, too, well, then… Please tell the Porpy Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a sweet ghost! But I’m not sure about the mincemeat and plum pudding….they sound pretty ancient. I’m pleased that the old man relented, though. And Bertha and Tom will live happily ever after. Reminds me a bit of Fezziwig’s party. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wishing the Porpy a Merry Christmas, too! I’m glad you didn’t frighten him with this ghost story! A shame mince pies aren’t part of my diet anymore. You’ve left me with a hankering for one…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seemed only fair to show the porpy that some ghosts can be nice! Oh no! I must admit I’ve started on the mince pies already – seems a shame to save them for Christmas Day when we’re all too full to enjoy them properly… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How *did* you get Porpy to pose with all those Christmas goodies?? You’re simply amazing, FF! And this sounds like a good story — not too scary. Hope you and Porpy have a very Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, I wouldn’t mind having a ghost like that around the place – no clanking chains! The porpy thanks you and has gone back to his rummaging for Christmas presents… 🦔🎄

      Like

  5. Is that a picture of a porcupine opening Christmas presents? It’s sort of cute actually…
    This story sounds really cute too – sort of a Charles Dickens Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future vibe going on here. I like to think that ghosts are trying to help us, not just haunt us, that kind of thought gives me comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

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