Perhaps it's the historian in me, but ghost stories from the past are much spookier than modern ones. The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings is a Medieval story written by a Medieval monk - in Latin, no less - that has been updated by the modern historian Dan Jones. The best of both worlds.
In a time when ghosts, superstition and all things supernatural ruled over just about everything else, it's easy to imagine this story being told over the fire and frightening everyone to death. Jones does a perfect job of making this modern enough to be enthralled in the tale while still keeping the Medieval elements. It helps to read it by candle light.
As with all great ghost stories, a tailor is travelling along a dark road at night in winter, alone on horseback. After hearing eerie sounds a grotesque raven hits him. It quickly transforms into a gory dog that gives him a challenge with an ultimatum. At the heart of this is the ghost of a criminal, who shall not be named. Brilliant imagery and Medieval horrors and chills.
The story is a very short one, but the book is supported by the history of the abbey and the background to the tale, including the Latin version for those who wish to translate it for themselves. A small format book making this a collectable for the connoisseur of history or ghost stories. Recommended for those who love real folklore and history.
Published by Head of Zeus on 14 October 2021.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.