short story

A Deathly Jamboree

On midsummer's night, keep away from the tree.

There's a story to be told... one kept in the family and brought out at just this time of year. It's the story of a boy who wants to prove there are no such things as ghosts. But things go on in the dark when nobody's around to see, things you might wish you never knew...

This charming verse retelling of a traditional West Sussex folk tale is free from Dan Hunter as part of our annual Halloween collection.

A charming, chilling tale that's a delight to read, and to tell to others at this spooky time of year.
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In the series

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More books by Dan Hunter

The Light Runs Wild
A Winter Warmer
A Wilful Wisp
Chatter at the Window
The Shape in the Doorway

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One midsummer evening, not long after sunset,
my curtains were drawn and I was tucked up in bed.
Mum read, “The End.” She closed my story book, then said,
“Sleep well darling,” and planted a kiss on my head.

“Please Mum,” I cried as she stood and bid me goodnight,
“just one more story before you turn out the light.”
She looked at her watch, sighed and sat down with a smile.
“OK, let’s think – what haven’t you heard in a while?”

She stroked her locket slowly. Then, at last, she spoke.
“I know!” she gasped. “How about The Midsummer Oak?”
“The Midsummer Oak?” I quizzed from under my sheets.
“I want one with monsters – something spooky, at least.”

Mum winked and leaned in. She whispered, “Darling, don’t fret.
If you want something scary, that’s just what you’ll get.”
With a huff, I sank down beneath my thick covers.
“If it’s boring,” I whined, “then I want another.”

Mum chimed, “Fine, it’s a deal – though I know I can’t lose,
because what you’re about to hear is strange – but true!”
I wriggled to get cosy. She tucked me back in.
“OK, are you settled?” she asked. “Then, I’ll begin.”

“When I was your age and your Grandpa was alive,
he would tell me a tale about a tree nearby.
It looked like any other, this mighty old oak.
But once each year, they said it was haunted – by ghosts!”