Fairy Tale Friday- Skeleton Woman

This was a random one this week but one I found highly enjoyable, if a little disturbing!

It centres around a lonely hunter who hadn’t caught anything for many days. He padded his kayak around desperately looking for fish. One day he came across a tiny, deserted bay. The hunter thought his luck might change. He went ashore and built himself a snow house. When he had finished, he paddled out to the middle of the bay and lowered his fishing hook into the water. After many hours, he hadn’t caught anything. He was about to give up when he felt a tug on the fishing line. He thought it was a huge fish, but in fact it was a skeleton, draped in weeds. It had sea worms writhing from its eye sockets and crabs clinging onto its ribs. The hunter scream and dropped the rod.

Shaking, the hunter tried to get back to the shore (unaware that the skeleton was still hooked onto the fishing line!) At the shore, the hunter grabbed his rod and ran towards the snow house. The skeleton followed him rollings its skull from side to side. The hunter reached the snow house and breathed a sigh of relief. After calming himself, he thanked the spirits for keeping him safe. When he lit his oil lamp, he realised that there was a jumbled pile of bones on the floor.

The skeleton didn’t stir.  The hunter was too afraid to move. He felt great sadness for the skeleton. He started to untangle the fishing line from the skeleton’s bones, untangling them and laying them out as a body should peacefully lay.

When he had finished, he realised that the skeleton was a woman. He wondered who she was. As the hunter settled to sleep, he dreamt and a tear ran down his cheek. The skeleton woman caught his salty tear in her mouth. She slipped a hand inside his chest and pulled out his heart (!!!!)

She played his heart like a drum. She sang for everything to return to her, playing and singing for her body to return back and make her whole. When this had happened, she put the hunter’s heart back into his chest. When the hunter woke up, a beautiful woman was next to him. He believed his luck had truly changed and that he’d never be lonely again!

An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)   

Next Fairy Tale- The Weaving Maiden and The Oxherd