In ‘How the Ceremony Ends’, it was last winter that the folklorist paid his visit to the village of Eight Pines.

He wanted to collect folk tales and customs, to re-enact the ceremonies of life and death that only old men still remember. But somehow he managed to provoke the villagers.

In ‘The Water Demon’, at the beginning, no-one noticed the little girl on the bridge. No-one knew what she was doing; she just stood and watched.

She would call out loudly, ‘Here comes the water demon!

Get out of the water or he will get you by the feet!’ and tear away out of sight.

Then, one day, there was no little girl on the bridge.

Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection Madwoman on the Bridge.

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