Famous Modern Ghost Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Famous Modern Ghost Stories.

When Lazarus left the grave, where, for three days and three nights he had been under the enigmatical sway of death, and returned alive to his dwelling, for a long time no one noticed in him those sinister oddities, which, as time went on, made his very name a terror.  Gladdened unspeakably by the sight of him who had been returned to life, those near to him caressed him unceasingly, and satiated their burning desire to serve him, in solicitude for his food and drink and garments.  And they dressed him gorgeously, in bright colors of hope and laughter, and when, like to a bridegroom in his bridal vestures, he sat again among them at the table, and again ate and drank, they wept, overwhelmed with tenderness.  And they summoned the neighbors to look at him who had risen miraculously from the dead.  These came and shared the serene joy of the hosts.  Strangers from far-off towns and hamlets came and adored the miracle in tempestuous words.  Like to a beehive was the house of Mary and Martha.

Whatever was found new in Lazarus’ face and gestures was thought to be some trace of a grave illness and of the shocks recently experienced.  Evidently, the destruction wrought by death on the corpse was only arrested by the miraculous power, but its effects were still apparent; and what death had succeeded in doing with Lazarus’ face and body, was like an artist’s unfinished sketch seen under thin glass.  On Lazarus’ temples, under his eyes, and in the hollows of his cheeks, lay a deep and cadaverous blueness; cadaverously blue also were his long fingers, and around his fingernails, grown long in the grave, the blue had become purple and dark.  On his lips the skin, swollen in the grave, had burst in places, and thin, reddish cracks were formed, shining as though covered with transparent mica.  And he had grown stout.  His body, puffed up in the grave, retained its monstrous size and showed those frightful swellings, in which one sensed the presence of the rank liquid of decomposition.  But the heavy corpse-like odor which penetrated Lazarus’ graveclothes and, it seemed, his very body, soon entirely disappeared, the blue spots on his face and hands grew paler, and the reddish cracks closed up, although they never disappeared altogether.  That is how Lazarus looked when he appeared before people, in his second life, but his face looked natural to those who had seen him in the coffin.

In addition to the changes in his appearance, Lazarus’ temper seemed to have undergone a transformation, but this circumstance startled no one and attracted no attention.  Before his death Lazarus had always been cheerful and carefree, fond of laughter and a merry joke.  It was because of this brightness and cheerfulness, with not a touch of malice and darkness, that the Master had grown so fond of him.  But now Lazarus had grown grave and taciturn, he never jested, himself, nor responded with laughter to other people’s jokes; and the words which he uttered, very infrequently, were the plainest, most ordinary, and necessary words, as deprived of depth and significance, as those sounds with which animals express pain and pleasure, thirst and hunger.  They were the words that one can say all one’s life, and yet they give no indication of what pains and gladdens the depths of the soul.

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Famous Modern Ghost Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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