Captain Murderer is a scary story for kids. It is based on a story Charles Dickens heard from his nursemaid and it is closely linked to the Bluebeard folktales. Versions of this story have appeared in the Short and Shivery books and Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night.
Once upon a time, there was a gentleman named Captain Murderer. He was a diabolical character, but he was also very handsome and very rich. Despite his suspicious name, he was invited to all the best parties, admitted to all the best social events and considered the most eligible bachelor in the area.
Captain Murderer had an eye for the ladies and he wanted to find himself a wife. Nothing made him drool like the sight of a tender young bride decked out in her white wedding gown. Over the years, he married quite a few young girls who caught his fancy.
He rode around town in a coach drawn by six horses. All of his horses were milk-white and they all had one red spot on their backs. What nobody knew was that each red spot was a drop of blood from one of his young brides.
On the morning of his latest wedding, he placed a wreath made of curious flowers on the head of the young girl he was about to marry.
“Captain Murderer,” said his pretty young bride, “I never saw flowers like these before. What are they called?”
“They’re called Garnish,” he replied and he let out a horrid laugh at his own joke, displaying a sharp row of teeth.
When the wedding reception was over and all the guests had gone home, Captain Murderer was finally alone with his young bride. He took out a rolling-pin and a wooden board and asked the young lady if she could make pie-crust. The bride turned up her laced-silk sleeves and began to roll out the dough to make a pie. The Captain brought out an enormous silver pie-dish and laid it on the table. Then, he set out flour and butter and eggs and all the things needed for the pie, except for the meat.
The lovely young bride looked around said, “Captain Murderer, what kind of pie is this supposed to be?”
“A meat pie,” he replied.
“But Captain Murderer,” the lovely young bride said, “I don’t see any meat.”
The Captain smiled and said, “Look in the mirror.”
She looked in the mirror, but she still couldn’t see any meat and the Captain roared with laughter.
“Roll out the crust,” he growled.
So, the bride rolled out the crust and lined the dish with it. She cut the crust to fit the top and then the Captain took out his sword.
“What’s that sword for?” the bride asked.
“To cut up the meat,” said Captain Murderer.
“But where is the meat?” the bride asked.
“I see the meat in the mirror!” he replied.
The bride looked up at the mirror, just in time to see the Captain swinging his sword and cutting off her head.
He chopped her up into pieces, salted her and peppered her and put her in the pie. Then, he sent it to the baker’s where it was cooked and when it came back, he ate it all and picked his teeth with the bones.
Captain Murderer went on like this, marrying a succession of naive young girls and prospering exceedingly. Then, one day, he came across two twin sisters. One of them had blond hair and the other had brown hair.
At first, he didn’t know which one to choose because they were both equally beautiful. However, the blond twin fell for him, head over heels, and the dark twin was suspicious him, so he chose the blond one.
The dark twin would have prevented the marriage if she could, but she couldn’t talk her sister out of it. On the night before the wedding, she sneaked out and made her way to Captain Murderer’s house. She climbed over his garden wall and looked in at his window through a chink in the shutter. She saw him having his teeth filed sharp by the local blacksmith and she overheard him making a joke about flowers and garnish.
The next day, Captain Murderer and the blond twin were married. He took her home and had her roll out the dough for the pie crust. Then, he cut her pretty head off, chopped her into pieces, salted and peppered her, put her in the pie, sent it to the baker’s, had it cooked, ate it all and then picked his teeth with the bones.
Now, the dark twin had grown even more suspicious and when she put everything together, she decided that her sister must be dead. She was so sure of the truth that she was determined to have her revenge. So, she went up to Captain Murderer’s house, and knocked at the knocker and pulled at the bell, and when the Captain came to the door, she said, “Captain Murderer, please marry me next. I always loved you and I was so jealous of my sister.”
The Captain took this as a compliment and made a polite marriage proposal. The girl accepted and the wedding was quickly arranged.
On the night before she was to be married, the dark-haired bride sneaked out again and made her way to Captain Murderer’s house. She climbed over his garden wall and peeked in his window. Again, she saw him having his teeth filed sharp by the local blacksmith.
When she saw this, the girl let out such a terrible laugh that the Captain heard it though the chink in the shutter and it almost curdled his blood.
“I hope nothing I’ve eaten has disagreed with me!” he exclaimed.
At that, she laughed again, a still more terrible laugh, and the Captain rushed to the window and opened the shutter, but the girl was already gone and he could see nothing there.
The next day, they went to church in a coach drawn by six white horses, and they were married. When Captain Murderer brought her home, he told her to roll out a pie-crust and when she was done, he cut off her head, chopped her into pieces, salted her and peppered her, put her in the pie, sent it to the baker’s, had it cooked, ate it all and then picked his teeth with the bones.
But… before the dark-haired girl began to roll out the dough, she had taken a deadly poison… the most awful poison she could find, distilled from toads’ eyes and spiders’ knees.
When Captain Murderer had finished picking his teeth with her bones, his belly began to swell up and his face began to turn blue. Spot and boils burst out on his face and he began to scream.
He went on swelling and swelling and turning more and more blue, and the spots and boils kept bursting out on his face and he kept screaming, until his body was so bloated and distorted that he reached from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall. Then, at one o’clock in the morning, he clawed at the air with both hands, let out a long, low, hollow groan and blew up with a loud explosion.
At the sound of it, all the milk-white horses in the stables broke loose from their halters and went mad. They galloped through Captain Murderer’s house and trampled over everybody in their way (including all his servants and the blacksmith who had filed his teeth) until each and every one of them were dead, and then they galloped away.