charles dickens wrote about one billion christmas stories; enough to populate both A Round of Stories by the Christmas Fire AND Another Round of Stories by the Christmas Fire, and doubtless more than are included there. big on christmas, that dickens was. and yet this story, originally published in a “special christmas issue” of All the Year Round, perversely has nothing to do with christmas at all; it is just an everyman/anyday ghost story. dickens was so punk rock that he only wrote about christmas when he wanted to, on his terms. oi oi oi!
it’s fine. it’s about a man who decides that the local signalman is lonesome and barges into his little signalman box and then determines to visits him every day afterwards. which, were i the signalman, is an intrusion i would hate very much, but this signalman’s got bigger problems than a presumptuous box-guest because ghooooooosts!!! viiiiiisions!!! premoniiiiiitions!!!
it’s not scary, it’s not shocking – it goes where you expect it’s gonna go, but hey – it’s christmas! you’re half drunk on mulled wine and eggnog, watching the snow fall outside, wearing your new jammies and only half-listening to whomever is reading this aloud at your xmas eve ghost story gathering. plus, you don’t want to get too scared, or you’ll never get to sleep and santa won’t come and bring you all the loot you earned being so good this year.
and you were very good this year. i noticed.
mission statement copied from my review for One Who Saw:
this holiday season, i am going to read through ‘seth’s christmas ghost stories’ line on biblioasis, and i encourage you to do the same. the books are so cute and tiny, you can stuff someone’s stocking or dreidel with ’em! the cover art and interior illustrations are by seth, and they are seasonally spoooooky, blending the spirit of halloween with christmas cheer the way nature, and jack skellington, intended.
three more to go!