But Grandpa's stories are far from soothing, since his stories are scarier than any thunderstorm, with imagery and situations that may challenge a young reader's comfort level.
In the first story, The Bag of Old Bones, a boy (supposedly Grandpa, as a child) happens upon a dusty old leather bag in an otherwise empty shack. A voice from within beckons the boy to open the sack, which contains a disassembled skeleton.
After methodically piecing together the body, the skeleton comes to life and prances around the shack, declaring:
"As soon as I find my teeth we'll have a bit to eat. It's been two hundred years since I've had a morsel in my mouth."After finding and restoring his loose teeth from the sack, the skeleton reveals his intended meal:
"Now we'll have dinner," he cackled. "And the dinner is you. I'M-GOING-TO-EAT-YOU-UP!"The boy narrowly escapes the skeleton and flees into a tiny nearby cave, where the second story, The Cave of the Warty Witch, begins.
The boy finds himself in a dark cave, surrounded by pairs of fiery yellow eyes.
When the cave is finally lit, the boy discovers the eyes belong to "huge, sticky, furry spiders with big, squishy mouths full of teeth" and a "mean-looking, fearsome witch." But these spiders aren't interested in eating the boy, instead hissing ominously "Be our brother, be our brother." They want the witch to turn him into a spider and join the family.
The witch casts a spell, transforming him into a spider.
"The old witch led me to a mirror. I hardly dared to look. When I did, I saw a fearful, hairy spider. It was me. I looked exactly like my new brothers and sisters."After the witch has fallen asleep in a spider-web hammock she forced him to spin for her, the boy is able to reverse the spell and escape the cave, only to be snatched up by a huge, flying severed hand.
The flying hand whisks the boy to the site of the final story, The House of the Ghastly Ghost.
"What a house. It was built of mud, blood, old bones and bat wings. Here and there you could see a shin bone or a withered claw sticking out of the walls. The roof was made of old rat fur and dead hair. Perched on top were the bones of a long-dead alligator."The disembodied hand turns out to belong to the Ghastly Ghost, a "monstrous white ghost" whose "eyes and mouth were just gaping, black holes in her shroud."
The ghost wants to adopt the boy as her own child.
"You are a darling, boy. You shall be my very own sweet baby." She moaned and kissed me. UGH! Her breath smelled like the wind that blows from a cave full of bats. She hugged me close. WHOOF! Her shroud smelled even worse, like a toad's underwear.The ghost cuddles up with her new child for some quality time in front of the "ghost TV". The programs include The Open Grave Show, in which a mob of moldy old ghouls chop at each other with axes until one is declared winner...
...Feeding Phantom Faces, a cooking show hosted by a fat-bellied demon who makes soup out of a dead elephant...
...and where an old blue witch demonstrates how to "fry baby toes and eyeballs and bake a knuckle-bone pie."
All the while, a "screaming banshee orchestra" provides music that sounds like "truck brakes."
The entertainment is interrupted briefly by a commercial for Goblin Grease (used to lube up creaky goblin knees)...
...and finally The Hairy Snuffler Comedy Hour, in which "big hairy blobs with lots of teeth and claws and runny noses" eat up an entire second grade class.
The ghastly ghost is so amused by the program she accidentally drops the boy, right into the jaws of her greedy pet werewolf.
"I was knee-deep in possum tails, bug fur, lizard claws and rat teeth. And the smell--WHOOO-EE!"Grandpa's Ghost Stories is long out of print and fetching some high prices on the used marketplace...