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Overview: Ghost stories


Jani was a brutal murderer who knew no mercy. At first sight, you could see that this man, whose wildly sparkling eyes could immediately put the fear into anyone, must have come straight from hell. And at second sight... well, there usually wasn’t a second sight because no one who had seen Jani had gotten away alive.

The authorities had been chasing after him for years without success because this crafty bloke always managed to escape the hand of the law. The people in this isolated place were very scared of Jani and some even though he was the devil in person. They barricaded themselves in their huts as soon as darkness fell. But that did not do any good. Jani did not give up murdering and more bodies were found in my woods.

I had often had to experience Jani’s bloody deeds at first hand because the bloodthirsty thief often wandered about my woods looking for new victims. Unfortunately he had never gotten close enough for me to be able to intervene. There were good and bad people in this world. I had learnt that in the past two hundred years. And Jani was a bad man from top to toe who obviously enjoyed murdering. I would have wiped him from the earth if I had ever had the chance.

On one cold night as the full moon was high in the sky, my chance came quite unexpectedly to get revenge for all of the innocent victims. I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing at first – a young, pretty woman was wandering alone through the dark night! Was she looking for trouble or didn’t she know about the danger she was in here? “Maybe” I thought to myself “she is a stranger who has never heard anything about Jani before?” This explanation seemed the most likely to me. Despite the cold, the girl was only wearing a thin dress and she had a large bag over her back. I couldn’t recognise anything else in the darkness. She might have been a homeless person who was searching for work as a maid or a day worker.

In any case, her life was in big danger and this time of day! I would have liked to have warned her but unfortunately the human race does not understand my language. She walked lightly along the narrow path in the woods and... suddenly – fear ran through my whole body – Jani jumped out from behind a bush where he must have been waiting! Even by moonlight I could see that his face was distorted into a gruesome, murderous grimace. He held a knife with blood splatters in his right hand which had killed many a person.

As the woman saw him and saw the madness in his eyes, she knew immediately that these were her last minutes. She stood still frozen with fright. I could literally smell her fear as she started to whimper: “Please don’t! Spare me... I too...young.”

Begging for mercy would not help. That was obvious. Jani had never let anyone get away. He just laughed, lifted the knife and... the woman suddenly seemed to have gotten over her shock and she began to run. She was very slim and her feet flew over the floor of the woods.

I would have loved to have called to her to come here and I would protect her! But I couldn’t ... and it was no longer necessary. My silent prayers were heard and the girl ran directly towards me!

Jani, who was running behind her with the knife in his hand, was no slower than his victim and had already made good ground. “There!” The fluid in my veins ran cold with anger. The woman tripped over a stone, cried out and fell down flat. Jani was triumphant when he saw that there was no way his prey was going to get away. He stood still and watched the helpless girl with glee. Then he grabbed her and lifted his arm up again to stab her.

But it wasn’t to come to that. This time it was Jani who would have to pay with his life for the crimes he had done because he had now come within my reach. Before he could stab the cold blade of the knife into the girl’s body, I pushed down my strongest branch, pinned him to the ground and wrapped my strong twigs around his throat. I slowly lifted the murderer up into the air - Jani should suffer for a while before I finally finished him off. He, the one who so merciless, hadn’t earned anything else! He shook around, gasped for air and tried to wildly stab his knife into the air. But he couldn’t do me any harm. He only managed to cut a bit of bark from my trunk but the wounds would heal quickly in contrast to the injuries which I was subjecting upon Jani.

I finally had this disgusting murderer under my power and was certain not to let him escape my grip. “Knack!” There was a loud noise as I wrapped my branch around his throat even tighter. His neck was broken. I let his body fall to the ground in satisfaction.

The young woman who was still lying on the floor of the woods not daring to move had been watching us the whole time. Once she realised that Jani was dead and that there was no danger anymore, she managed to drag herself up again. She was shaking but so pleased to her gotten away with her life and she ran away. She would probably tell everyone in the neighbouring village about her luck: a criminal who wanted to murder her had gotten so caught up between the branches of a tree that he had managed to strangle himself to death.

None of that is important to me because I know the truth and I don’t expect any thanks. I thank God that I was able to rescue the young woman and able to get rid of Jani the murderer once and for all. That is all that counts.

Oh yes, you probably want to know who I am? Allow me to introduce myself: Eichenbart is my name. Eichenbart, the tree spirit!

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