The Beautiful Skin is a scary story with a gruesome ending. It’s about a mother and daughter who live alone in the far north. It is based on an old Inuit legend.
This happened far up north, where the nights are long and the days are short and it snows all year round and the ice is always thick on the ground. There was a mother and daughter who lived together in a small house in the middle of nowhere.
The young girl was very beautiful and the old woman was not. They were inuit people… eskimos, some people call them… and they lived on the ice.
During the day, the girl would hunt for seals and when she caught one, she would bring it back to her mother. The old woman would skin it and gut it and after she cooked it over the fire, they would eat.
At night, when the harsh wind was blowing and the ice was creaking and groaning outside, the old woman would sit and comb her daughter’s hair in front of the fire and tell stories about the olden times and people long dead.
For a long time, they lived happily like this, until one day, a man appeared.
One morning, in Spring, the daughter was out hunting when she saw a tall, dark stranger approaching over the snow. She ran back to the house and told her mother what she had seen. Together, they went out to greet the stranger.
He was a young man and he was tall and handsome. He said he had lost his way in the snow and needed a place to stay before it grew dark. The two women welcomed him into their house and set about fixing him a meal.
The young man stayed with them longer than expected. Over time, he fell in love with the girl and she fell in love with him. They decided to get married and they lived together in the little house with the girl’s mother. At night, the old woman would lie awake and listen to them kissing and cuddling in the dark.
One day, the girl told her mother that they were going away. She said the young man was going to take her to his village and they would live there together as man and wife. The old woman didn’t say anything. She thought about how it would be to live alone in the house with the cold wind blowing outside and the ice craking and groaning all through the dark nights. She wondered how she would find food to cook.
One day, when the young man was out hunting, the old woman told her daughter that she wanted to comb her beautiful hair. She said that the girl should look her most beautiful for her husband when he came home.
The girl sat cross-legged on the floor at her mother’s feet. The old woman began to comb her daughter’s hair. She combed and she combed until it shone in the light of the lamp. Then, she took the girl’s hair and began to twist around into a long braid. She wound it round the girl’s neck and pulled and pulled, tighter and tighter, until she strangled her daughter to death.
The old woman took a knife and carefully skinned the young girl’s face. When she was done, she dragged her daughter’s bloody, faceless body out of the house and buried her in the snow. Then, she mopped the floor and trampled down the red snow and covered up all traces of what she had done.
When the young man came home, he found his wife in bed waiting for him. The old woman was nowhere to be seen. He climbed into bed with the girl and they began to kiss. Their kisses grew more passionate and when the young man caressed her cheek, the girl’s skin came off in his hands.
A look of horror came over the young man’s face. He couldn’t understand what was going on. Terrified, he clawed and scratched at his wife’s face and her skin came off, revealing the old woman’s face underneath. He screamed and leaped out of the bed and, gasping and heaving, he ran out into the snow.
He ran and ran until he was just a speck in the distance and the old woman watched him flee as tears flowed down her wrinkled cheeks.