Food for the Dead
by John J. Dunphy

Many families in old Ireland set out food for the dead on All Souls Eve, since it was believed that deceased relatives often returned to their homes on that night. My ancestors observed this custom, and a story has been passed down in my family concerning one particular All Souls Eve.

Food had been placed on the table. A candle burned next to the food to make the dead feel welcomed. Whiel the rest of the family slept, two children slipped from their beds and hid so they could watch the food unobserved. About midnight a pale, gaunt man entered the house, ate his fill and silently departed.

My great-uncle, who related the story to me, noted it was logical to assume that the stranger was one of Ireland's many beggars who availed themselves of food left for the dead on All Souls Eve. At the time, however, some of our ancestors reached a very different conclusion.

All Souls Day
children search for footprints
leading from the graveyard

An excerpt from my scifiaku chapbook "Stellar Possibilities," from samsdotpublishing. Drop me an e-mail for ordering information.
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