A Story for October

Granny Says Good Night

by Carrie Anne Noble 

(In Which Granny Proves to be an Unfit Babysitter.)

Nothing good happens after midnight, my dears.
If the twelfth hour comes and your toes aren’t tucked up (every last one, from plump market-going piggy to wee-wee-wee one), Tom the Toe Snatcher may come and nip them off with his silver shears and take them home for his stew pot.
If the clock raises both hands in surrender and you’re not fast asleep—oh! The terrible Things you’ll see lurking in the corners and along the ceiling! If you aren’t snoring when midnight comes, you’d best keep your eyes shut tight.
A bit of caution for you, sweetlings: If your pillow covers dangle over the edge of your bed, the Devil’s likely to grab hold. He won’t just take the pillows, either. He’ll drag both you and your pillows down into his dark, everlasting hothouse. He’ll keep you children among the brimstone roses and fire marigolds, your feet planted in hot pitch till the end of time. I can’t say I rightly know what he does with the pillows.
Take heed of this now. If you leave your closet door open at night—even an inch—the Barghest will squeeze through whilst you dream. He will pant his poison dog-breath into your face and drip bloody drool onto your sheets. If he likes the smell of you, he’ll snatch you up in his iron-trap jaws and carry you back to his den to become one of his whelps. Do you fancy growing black fur and tails, dears? Just ask yourself that when you next leave the door ajar.
Granny loves her pet chicken.
By the by, do you ever skip brushing your teeth? That’s as good as begging the Tooth Fairy’s wicked stepsister to come play in your gob. Cavity Queen, she’s called. She uses tiny picks and drills to do her mischief. She’ll splash your teeth with smelly brown dye. She’ll hack and foul and then frolic upon your tongues when she’s done. I reckon you’re acquainted with her work, aren’t you, dears?
And for the love of Saint Peter! Never let your hands hang off your mattress. Not unless you like using them for bait. Night-sharks swim the unseen waters about your bed, red-eyed and razor-toothed and hungrier than your grandpa after a harvest day. How those sharks love a supper of hand flesh! How they relish the crunch of wrist bone and thumb nail!
Another bit of advice, children: do not neglect your prayers. You need the holy angels to direct your wandering souls along the Sweet Dream Paths. If those angels weren’t so pure-good and kind, they’d let you stray into the Nightmare Swamps or Forests of Terror and be lost. And anyone with a lost soul can forget waking up in the morning—no matter how loud the young cock crows. No matter how much broth your ma might dribble broth into your slack mouths, no matter if all the doctors in the county stuck you with pins, you’ll lie there as much as dead— but not so lucky!
Oh! Listen how the church bell tolls! Hurry and wash your faces! Bright faces keep the Sandman mindful so he won’t overdose you and kill you dead as Mulligan’s pony.
 Button your nightgowns to the top and pull up your covers, else a Draft will settle into your chests. A Draft was the death of your Aunt Tulip, you know.
How nicely you’ve listened to your old granny! For that, I’ll sing you a special lullaby. Heads on pillows, quick as you please! You may not be tired but I’m worn out, my dears.
A good night’s sleep is such a tonic! And you know that nothing good happens after midnight, don’t you?



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