The Best Ghost Stories
"Dey Ain't No Ghosts"
By Ellis Parker Butler
Once 'pon a time dey was a li'l' black boy whut he name was Mose. An' whin he come
erlong to be 'bout knee-high to a mewel, he 'gin to git powerful 'fraid ob ghosts, 'ca'se dat
am sure a mighty ghostly location whut he lib' in, 'ca'se dey's a grabeyard in de hollow,
an' a buryin'-ground on de hill, an' a cemuntary in betwixt an' between, an' dey ain't
nuffin' but trees nowhar excipt in de clearin' by de shanty an' down de hollow whar de
An' whin de night come' erlong, dey ain't no sounds at all whut kin be heard in dat
locality but de rain-doves, whut mourn out, "Oo-oo-o-o-o!" jes dat trembulous an' scary,
an' de owls, whut mourn out, "Whut-whoo-o-o-o!" more trembulous an' scary dan dat, an'
de wind, whut mourn out, "You-you-o-o-o!" mos' scandalous' trembulous an' scary ob all.
Dat a powerful onpleasant locality for a li'l' black boy whut he name was Mose.
'Ca'se dat li'l' black boy he so specially black he can't be seen in de dark at all 'cept by de
whites ob he eyes. So whin he go' outen de house at night, he ain't dast shut he eyes,
'ca'se den ain't nobody can see him in de least. He jest as invidsible as nuffin'. An' who
know' but whut a great, big ghost bump right into him 'ca'se it can't see him? An' dat
shore w'u'd scare dat li'l' black boy powerful' bad, 'ca'se yever'body knows whut a cold,
damp pussonality a ghost is.
So whin dat li'l' black Mose go' outen de shanty at night, he keep' he eyes wide open, you
may be shore. By day he eyes 'bout de size ob butter-pats, an' come sundown he eyes
'bout de size ob saucers; but whin he go' outen de shanty at night, he eyes am de size ob
de white chiny plate whut set on de mantel; an' it powerful' hard to keep eyes whut am de
size ob dat from a-winkin' an' a-blinkin'.
So whin Hallowe'en come erlong, dat lil' black Mose he jes mek' up he mind he ain't
gwine outen he shack at all. He cogitate' he gwine stay right snug in de shack wid he pa
an' he ma, 'ca'se de rain-doves tek notice dat de ghosts are philanderin' roun' de country,
'ca'se dey mourn out, "Oo-oo-o-o-o!" an' de owls dey mourn out, "Whut-whoo-o-o-o!"
and de wind mourn out, "You-you-o-o-o!" De eyes ob dat li'l' black Mose dey as big as
de white chiny plate whut set on de mantel by side de clock, an' de sun jes a-settin'.
So dat all right. Li'l' black Mose he scrooge' back in de corner by de fireplace, an' he 'low'
he gwine stay dere till he gwine to bed. But byme-by Sally Ann, whut live' up de road,
draps in, an' Mistah Sally Ann, whut is her husban', he draps in, an' Zack Badget an' de
school-teacher whut board' at Unc' Silas Diggs's house drap in, an' a powerful lot ob folks
drap in. An' li'l' black Mose he seen dat gwine be one s'prise-party, an' he right down
cheerful 'bout dat.