“Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come To You, My Lad” by M. R. James

The uptight, skeptical Professor Parkins, of Cambridge, has decided on the little seaside town of Burnstow for a holiday stay.  While there, he indulges his love of golf and relaxes among the dunes with the sounds of the crashing waves.  Also, he plans to get a bit of work done.  One more item on the agenda is to explore nearby Templar ruins for one of his colleagues.

It is while he is poking about the ruins on his amateur archaeological foray that Parkins finds a half-buried whistle.  This whistle has some rather strange inscriptions on it.  He does his best to translate the inscription, but realizes it’s a job better suited for his colleagues back at Cambridge.  To his knowledge, the phrases are warnings not to blow the whistle.

Of course Parkins does blow the carved whistle.  Afterward he begins to see someone walking along the sands, and, while he is on the links with fellow tourists, a young man receives a fright at seeing someone standing in the window of Parkins’ room.

The poor professor has woken something from a very old slumber and hastened its approach.

“Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come To You, My Lad” is from M.R. James’ 1904 collection Ghost Stories of an Antiquary.  James is considered the father of the ghost story for good reason, and this is the best example of his work. In England there is a tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas and James is a popular perennial choice. He always provides something spooky and it can be found in spades here.

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