The Baby Cradle is a spooky tale for children. It is also known as The Cradle That Rocked Itself.
It was a dark night and there was a raging storm along the coast. A fierce wind blew in from the sea and the waves crashed violently against the rocksy shoreline. Many of the ships at sea that night were in trouble, struggling to stay afloat. They had been caught in the storm and some of them were never heard from again.
The wind rattled the doors and windows of the small houses on the cliffs that overlooked the churning ocean. In one warm little cottage, a young woman was cooking the dinner when she suddenly turned and called out to her husband.
“Did you hear that?” she asked.
“What?” said her husband, tapping his pipe against the table.
“I thought I heard a baby crying out there,” she said.
“It’s just the wind howling,” he replied. “Or maybe it’s a seal. Sometimes the frightened cry of a seal sometimes sounds like a baby.”
“No, I know a baby when I hear it,” said the woman.
The husband shook his head. “How could it be?” he said. “What would a baby be doing out on a night like this?”
Neither of them ventured out into the storm to look.
The next morning, the couple were walking along the beach when they saw some items that had washed ashore. They must have come from a ship that sank during the storm. The husband spotted a cradle among the debris. He picked it up and carried it back to their home. The storm had battered it about a little, but it was sturdy and undamaged.
In the years that followed, the woman gave birth to a number of babies and each of them slept in the cradle. But, there was one strange thing about it. Every time there was a storm, the cradle would rock by itself. As the wind roared outside, the cradle would rock back and forth, as if someone were sitting next to it, gently rocking a baby to sleep.
One day, the wife’s sister came to visit and the family gathered at the kitchen table for dinner. While they were eating, the sister happened to glance into the living room
“Who’s that woman rocking the cradle?” she asked in surprise.
The father and mother looked at each other and said, “What woman? There’s no woman, the cradle rocks by itself.”
“There is a woman there,” said the sister. “She has long dark hair, her face is pale and she looks very sad. She’s just sitting there next to the cradle, rocking your baby.”
Alarmed, the wife jumped up from the table and quickly ran over to the cradle. She picked up her baby and held it in her trembling arms.
That very night, the husband took the cradle outside and chopped it to pieces with an axe. He collected all of the bits of wood and threw them in the fireplace. He lit a match and, as the flames took hold and the pieces of the cradle began to burn, they could hear the chilling sound of a baby screaming.
But, after the fire died out and all of pieces of the cradle had turned to ash, they never heard the cries again.