The Canterville Ghost
By Oscar Wilde
When the American, Mr. Otis, bought Canterville Castle, everyone told him that this was his foolishness, As the place was haunted. But Mr. Otis answered, 'I come from a modern country, where we Have everything that money can buy. And if there were such a thing as a ghost in Europe, we would Have it at home in one of our museums. '
A few weeks later, on a lovely July evening, Mr Otis, his wife and their children, Washington, Virginia And the twins, went down to their new home. When they entered the avenue of Canterville Castle, the sky suddenly became dark and a spooky stillness was in the air. Mrs. Umney, the housekeeper, led them into the library of the castle, where they sat down and began to look around. Suddenly, Mrs. Otis saw a red stain on the floor just by the fireplace and said to Mrs Umney, 'I am afraid something has been spilt there. '
'Yes, madam, ' said the old housekeeper in a low voice, 'blood has been spilt on that spot. ' 'How terrible, ' said Mrs. Otis; 'I don 't want any blood-stains in my sitting-room. It must be removed At once. '
The old woman smiled and answered, 'It is the blood of Lady Eleanore de Canterville, who was Murdered on that spot by her husband, Sir Simon de Canterville, in 1575. Sir Simon disappeared seven years later. His body has never been found, but his ghost still haunts the Castle. The bloodstain is a tourist attraction now and it cannot be removed. '
'That is all nonsense, ' said Washington, the eldest son of the Otis family, 'stain remover will clean it up in no time, ' and he took a bottle of stain remover out of his pocket and cleaned the spot. But as soon as the blood-stain had disappeared, a terrible flash of lightning lit up the room and a fearful peal of thunder made the whole building shake.
There was a horrible storm that night, but apart from that nothing scary happened. The next morning, however, when the family came down to breakfast, they found the terrible stain of blood once again on the floor. Washington cleaned it a second time, but the second morning it appeared again. The third morning it was there, too, although the library had been locked up at night by Mr Otis himself.
The following night, all doubts about the existence of the ghost were finally removed forever. At eleven o 'clock the family went to bed and some time after, Mr Otis was awakened by a strange noise in the corridor, outside his room. It sounded like the clank of metal, and it came nearer every moment. Mr Otis got up and looked at the time. It was exactly one o 'clock. So Mr Otis put on his slippers, went to the door and opened it. There, right in front of him, stood the ghost - his eyes were as red as burning coals; long grey hair fell over his shoulders and from his wrists and ankles hung heavy chains.
'My dear Sir, ' said Mr Otis, 'you must oil those chains. It 's impossible to sleep with such a noise going on outside the bedrooms. I have therefore brought you this bottle of lubricator, and I will be happy to supply you with more if you require it. ' With these words Mr Otis laid the bottle down, closed his door and went back to bed.
Shocked, the Canterville ghost stood quite motionless for a moment, but then he growled angrily. Just at this moment, the twins appeared on the corridor and threw a large pillow at him! The ghost hastily escaped through the wall, and the house became quiet again. When the ghost reached his small secret chamber, he took a deep breath. No ghosts in history had ever been treated in this manner!
The ghost did not appear for the rest of the week. The only strange thing that happened was the blood-stain, which they found on the library-floor every morning. It was also quite strange that the color of the stain changed from time to time. Some mornings it was red, then brown or purple, or even green. These changes amused the family very much, and bets on the colour were made every...
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