These eight tales of mystery and the supernatural feature sorcerers, the Grim Reaper in a horse-drawn coach, a beguiling bird of death, a long-dead saint turned devil, and a whole retinue of creatures of the night. Claude Seignolle, distinguished French ethnographer and folklorist and author of more than twenty-three volumes of short stories and novels, is a master of the “rustic” tale, which depicts folklore and popular traditions of the French countryside. He incarnates Satan as an entity sharing human traits, an evil spirit who identifies himself with human suffering. Seignolle’s Gothic stories are not meant merely to terrorize, however; they are intended to revive an oral tradition in danger of becoming extinct.
These vignettes, selected and translated into English by Eric H. Deudon, are charged with poetry and mystery; as Lawrence Durrell notes in his foreword, they are strong, truthful, and intense. Seignolle brings to life the wealth of popular legend; by intertwining the boundaries of the real and the supernatural, he reveals that the least conspicuous or most ordinary objects of everyday life can possess unexpected and formidable dimensions.
Claude Seignolle’s fiction works have been translated into eight languages and adapted for both theater and cinema. These stories will delight anyone who enjoys Gothic tales and the enchanted territory of the fantastic.