Whenever Russell went to stay with his grandmother she would tell him stories. Grandmother never read from a book; her stories were real. They were about things that happened in the old days, like when the river flooded and washed away their woodshed, or how the cat got stuck up a tree and the fire brigade came with a big ladder and rescued the cat.
This time Grandmother told Russell something true but a little scary. It was how a ghost appeared one night to her uncle. Her uncle was now dead, but when he was young he was walking home one evening and suddenly a ghost appeared from behind a tree in the woods. Her uncle got a huge fright, but then he calmed down a bit.
The ghost told him that he was enchained in the afterlife unless he could help a person on earth for a whole year. This was because when on earth the ghost had been mean and selfish, so he had to earn his eternal happiness another way.
Russell’s grandmother’s uncle said he was happy for the ghost to help him for a whole year. So the uncle invited the ghost to stay in his home.
The thing was, the ghost was not a nice ghost. It was a trick he was playing on the uncle, and within a month the uncle had completely disappeared. Just like that. It was suspected that he was murdered by the ghost and then the ghost inhabited the uncle’s body. “My uncle began to act very strange,” Grandmother told Russell. “We knew it wasn’t really him.”
Russell told Grandmother that he didn’t believe in ghosts. “The story can’t be true,” he said. “You made it all up.”
Grandmother assured Russell that it was true and he must be careful when he walks through the woods in the evening.
“Pooh!” said Russell. “It’s nonsense.”
Goodness! It was already evening. Russell would be late for dinner. He took the shortcut home through the woods.
“I like it when history repeats,” smiled Grandmother.