TRUE TALES OF TERROR:
The Yellow Ribbon
In a distant hamlet called Valley Glenn, there was a very practical man named Lars Fusslebritches who rarely gave in to his emotions. But Lars was smitten with a young woman named Vanessa Sippleshaw the first time he saw her. The long dark hair. The high patrician cheek bones. The dazzling yellow ribbon tied round her alabaster neck. And he knew that she would one day be his wife.
Well Lars set about to courting Vanessa and during one of their many remarkable outings, Lars breached a subject he’d been loath to bring up, but one that had been nagging at him since they first met.
“Please take this in the manner in which it is intended,” Lars said sincerely, holding Vanessa’s pale hands in his. “The beautiful yellow ribbon around your neck. It is very becoming and I admire it greatly, but I have noticed that you are never without it. Do you never remove it, even for a moment?”
“Lars, please,” Vanessa implored him. “My feelings for you are deep and you have my every trust, but in this one matter, I implore you to let it be. It is my secret and shall be forever more.”
“Very well then,” Lars said, changing the subject, for he did hate to see his lovely Vanessa so troubled. But truth be told, her answer only served to make him more curious, like an itch that must one day be scratched.
Their courtship progressed and soon they were married. It was a wonderful day, but even as they lay in their wedding bed that night, his mind would not let go of the puzzle of that yellow ribbon.
“It is our wedding night,” he said quietly. “We have professed our love. Surely now, you can share your most intimate secret with me and tell me why you continue to wear the ribbon?”
“I cannot,” Vanessa said, leaping from the bed. “I begged you not to ask it of me, but still you persist. You must never inquire again and whatever you do, you must never remove the ribbon from my throat.” She ran to the bathroom crying.
The years passed and their lives continued. Soon they were blessed with a child, and a year later with another. They bought a small house and his business flourished and they lived a typical life of domesticity, but none of it was a salve to his almost irresistible urge to rip that now tattered strip of faded fabric from her neck once and for all.
He had to remove it. He had to know.
That night, the moment she fell asleep, Lars reached one eager, trembling hand across the bed, took hold of that damnable yellow ribbon, and with one swift tug, yanked it from her neck.
Vanessa’s eyes flew open in shock, then turned to him with a look of ultimate sadness and disappointment.
Dark red blood pulsed from the wound that crossed her throat. Slowly, horribly, her head rolled off her pillow, away from her severed neck, and onto the floor.
“What have I done?” Lars cried, knowing that his curiosity had cost his wife her very head. He was truly horrified… at first. But soon, Lars came to see that having a wife with no head wasn’t the worst thing that could happen in a marriage.
For one, the nagging stopped immediately. She stopped asking him to do errands anymore, to fix things around the house, or even to pick up after himself. He found that they never argued now, no matter what he said or did. His finances were instantly more secure as their budget for food and clothing dropped markedly and their makeup and hair care expenses disappeared entirely. And perhaps the most advantageous difference was that she caused him no grief for patronizing the local drinking establishments until the wee hours of the morning.
It was one such night at a local tavern that Lars regaled his cohorts with the tale you have just read and raised up a toast to his own good fortune. This truly gave the other men food for thought.
And that winter in the town of Valley Glen, many a wife found a bright yellow ribbon in their holiday stocking on Christmas morn.