The Greatest Gift: A Ghost Story

A young girl named Moko lived in a small village at the edge of a large forest. During the day, Moko often played in the forest, finding bright mushrooms among the fallen leaves. Moko’s parents told her never to go into the woods at night, and never on a moonless night.

Moko had a best friend, Leeta. Leeta was just a little older than Moko. The elders of the village often looked at Leeta and shook their heads because she often got into trouble. Moko loved Leeta because she was very funny and very kind, a girl full of adventures! One day, Leeta told Moko an exciting secret, something Leeta had heard her grandmother say. This is what Leeta told Moko.

“If you go into the dark forest on a moonless night, you can meet the grandmother of the forest. When you meet her, if you say the right words, she will give you a gift, something incredible, the best gift anyone can be given!”

“But what are the right words?” Moko asked her best friend. Leeta leaned close to Moko’s ear and whispered the words so only Moko could hear.

Moko remembered the words, and she thought about the gift. She imagined all the things the gift might be, and how proud her family would be. She thought about riches, and knowledge, and being the most beautiful girl in the world. Moko decided the gift must be worth the risk.

Moko prepared herself. She bathed in the sacred river. She collected food that would not spoil easily. She bought a fresh white candle so she could see in the darkness. When the moonless night came, Moko was prepared.

The moonless night was very dark, and the forest was full of strange sounds. Hoots,squeaks, and the sound of tiny feet were all around her in the dark, but she could not see any animals. Moko felt fear, but she was a brave girl and set to her purpose. She would gain the gift.

A strong wind blew through the trees and her candle went out. It was completely dark in the forest. Not even the stars could shine through the leaves. The trees were groaning and cracking from the wind and the sounds of the animals grew louder and closer. Moko’s courage had flown away from her. She began to run, and to cry, for she thought she would die in the forest. Something would eat her and she would never see what it was, only feel its teeth.

Just then, Moko heard a voice. It was a woman’s voice and it felt old like the trees themselves. It groaned and cracked. The voice spoke of her fears. It said this.

“You will surely die here little girl. You are a fool to come on a moonless night when the woods are dark and the wind blows from the north. Stop your running and crying and speak your name to me.”

Moko stopped her crying and running and she spoke her name to the voice, “Moko”

“You are too weak for this place. You are too small and very tender as well. I am the grandmother of the forest, and this is where you will die!”

Moko’s eyes went wide, even if no one could see them. She remembered the words Leeta had whispered and she said them to the grandmother. They were the right words to say and the wind carried them from her lips to grandmother’s ears.

Grandmother laughed then, a huge sound that filled the forest and was answered by the howls of wolves. “Well then tender little Moko, you are kind enough to say these words to your old grandmother. They are old words, but good ones, and you say them well. Because you are so kind, I will give you a gift Moko, it is the best gift anyone can give… your life.”

The wind stopped and Moko’s candle flame came to life on its own. She could see grandmother now, as ancient as the stones, as large as the trees, her fingers like old roots and her eyes like yellow moons. Her children were gathered all around her, black wolves with open jaws and hungry eyes fixed on Moko’s tender little neck.

Moko screamed, and she ran through the woods with only the candle to guide her. 

“Take your gift and flee my woods little girl, and if you ever come again on a moonless night, the gift I give you tonight, I will give to my hungry children instead!”

Sigfried

4 Responses to “The Greatest Gift: A Ghost Story

  • Benjamin Silverwood
    8 months ago

    Hi Sig
    Wonderful story. I wonder if Moko has an insatiable thirst for knowledge like everyone or she’s an entitled princess like everyone.

    It’s Benjamin by the way. We worked at Gaba together. I lost my Twitch account so I can’t watch your games, sorry about that.
    Somehow I had a dream recently and thought about you.
    .
    How are you doing?

  • Thanks Ben! No worries, I remember you. I was just telling a happy story about you to someone last week. I was also following you on Twitter until I dumped my account there (got fed up with Musk antics and never liked twitter much to begin with). (some chance I am slightly confused as to which ben I’m talking to but…)

    For me, Moko has the foolishness of childhood combined with courage and ambition, which are classic hero traits. But I wanted most of the story to feel like a sketch that the listener fills in with their imagination, kind of like a line painting or a woodcut illustration.

    So, this story has a story behind it. I wrote it for our Halloween party at Gaba, but only as an outline of the plot, something I’d embellish on as a demonstration of what an American Ghost Story is. And so I could grade the language for our students. I wanted a story I could use simple words to describe. Since the party had lots of activities planned, there was never a good opportunity to share it. I joined a local writers club, and I fleshed out the outline into a short story to read to them.

    So, you actually have a connection to this story through the school. 🙂 So it’s cool that you liked and commented on it.

    I’m doing pretty good. I’ve been very busy, happily so, being a writer/game designer, and promoting the new game. I got to go to the UK (amazing), and more recently Iowa (not so amazing) recently to talk to fans, sign books, and talk about the game. It’s one of my dream jobs so I really dig the work and love the success the game is having. I got to meet with a famous movie director, and we may be talking to Walmart about carrying some products, good stuff.

    Other than that, I’m enjoying life in a small apartment near the ocean beach, seeing friends occasionally, and playing video games. 🙂

  • Benjamin Silverwood
    8 months ago

    Nice to hear from you bro. I’ve never used Twitter so it might be someone else you were following
    I divorced since we last met in Sapporo, for better of for worse. Although we still talk actually my ex wife was a fan of your blog she sent me this link..
    Glad to hear you’re doing ok brother
    Do you still do the streaming on Twitch?

  • It’s been a while since I’ve been back to my blog…

    I got confused between you and Ben, our boss at Gaba. He’s back state-side and is working as a software developer. Sorry about that!

    Anyhow, I’ve not been doing Twitch for a while. In 2020 I was diagnosed with Leukemia and I couldn’t stream due to constant coughing and fatigue. Being too sick to play video games clued me in something pretty bad was going on. Once I recovered I got the writing job I’m still doing now, so I’m making games instead of playing them. I am thinking about restarting my streaming, but I’ve been lazy/busy and haven’t jumped in on that.

    So what have you been up to? I follow Kelly on facebook, seems like she’s teaching kids now which is nice.