This is a scary story told by my informant’s father to her and her sister when they were children, that he said his father used to tell him.
“Basically this boy and girl, siblings, very spoiled, and they have this insanely rich grandmother that they never really cared for. One day, she passes away and they attend the funeral and it’s very sad, parents are a mess, everyone’s crying and it’s an open casket ceremony. So when they get their turn to get up and see the grandmother for the last time, instead of feeling sad, um, all they can notice is this huge ring on her finger, that’s just got a huge rock on it. And they’re thinking, you know, ‘our grandma was so rich how dare she die and not leave anything for us, she has all this money and we didn’t get a cent of it, and here she is burying herself with all these treasures.’ And so after the funeral, the boy and the girl start scheming, and they decide that they’re going to go visit the grave and get the ring.
Yeah, so, they get shovels and they dress in black and they start making their way to the gravesite and they get there and they start digging, and the entire time they’re just so excited thinking about the ring and how they’re going to get it. And they’re just totally disrespecting the site, and so they finally dig up the grave, open the casket, and there she is lying there looking beautiful with the ring on her finger. And the girl reaches to go for the ring, and she’s like “I can’t get it off! Her fingers have swollen, it’s stuck!” And the boy is like “let me see, like, get out of the way, we can get this off”, and he starts pulling and pulling and pulling and it won’t come off. And so finally they realize they’re going to have to chop off the finger. And so the boy takes the shovel and, um, severs the finger from the hand and they make off with the ring. And I think they kind of shantily throw dirt back on the spot and make it look somewhat normal, but really they were just happy to get out of there.
But the thing is, they live in this kind of mountainey area and it’s winter time, and there’s a storm coming in and, um, it gets very blizzardy and they begin to become uncertain if they were returning the way they came, the correct way, and they start wandering about. And you know, it’s getting colder and colder and they’re hungry and it’s dark and really at this point they’re starting to question whether or not it was even worth it to come out here because they may not make it. And then up in the distance they see a light, and they hurriedly run towards it hoping that its some sign of civilization and they come across a cottage and they’re banging on the door banging on the door, saying “someone please let us in we’re cold we’re starving”, and finally after a few minutes the door opens and there’s this very nice looking lady.
And you know she’s got a shawl on, your classic grandma figure, and she ushers them in and gives them new clothes, gives them tea, and, um, she’s sitting there and asking them do you want anything to eat? And they say yes, we would love cookies if you have cookies, and so she goes into the kitchen and she starts telling them about her life. And, um, how she had a family once but they didn’t really care for her anymore and that made her sad, and, um, sometimes it makes her very angry. And, um, basically she’s bringing them the cookies and as she’s putting the tray down the children notice she’s missing a finger. And the little girl looks at her brother, looks at the grandma, and says excuse me but I can’t help but notice you’re missing a finger, who would ever do something like this to you? And the grandma says in a loud, scary voice, “YOU DID IT”*. And that’s the end. And you never know what happens to the kids.”
*According to the informant, the teller at this moment is supposed to look menacing and bend towards the audience and say that line very loudly.
The prevalent theme in this story is the importance of honoring your family. Regardless of how greedy these kids may be, they should have put their grandmother’s memory first and shouldn’t have been so selfish. This story is a scary story for children that warns against disrespecting the dead and against greed. The scary things, of course, happen at night, in a dark storm, and the kids seek refuge in a warm house with an elderly women and cookies (much like Hansel and Gretel, though with very different personalities). The story is left open ended effectively, letting kids fill in a more terrifying gap than words could really express. Unlike the similar Hansel and Gretel, this story is not guaranteed a happy ending because of the difference of the natures of the two protagonists.