The Red Gloves is a strange story from Russia about a young girl who buys a new pair of gloves and has an encounter with a strange red-faced woman.
There was a young girl named Katja who lived with her mother and grandmother in a small town in Russia. One day, she was walking home from school. Somewhere along the way, she lost her gloves. When she arrived at her house, she told her mother what had happened.
It was the middle of winter, and Russian winters are very cold, so the girl asked her mother for some money to buy a new pair of gloves. Katja’s mother took some money out of her purse and gave it to her daughter.
“Buy whatever color gloves you like”, said her mother, “but don’t buy red gloves. You will only bring great grief and sorrow on our family by buying red gloves. That’s for sure.”
Katja walked to the store, shivering with the cold. There was a large selection of different gloves, but the only ones she liked were a pair of beautiful red gloves. Remembering her mother’s warning, Katja was reluctant to buy the red gloves and walked around the store for 20 minutes, trying to find a nicer pair.
In the end, she kept coming back to the red gloves and eventually decided to buy them. They were simply irresistible. She went home, proudly wearing her new red gloves.
On her way home, she noticed a plume of smoke rising into the air. She rushed to her house and was horrified to see that it was on fire. A fire truck arrived and the firefighters jumped out and began fighting the fire.
Standing under a tree, Katja watched as the firefighters tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the blaze. She could see her mother and grandmother sitting nearby on a rock. Both women were weeping silently. No matter how much water the firemen sprayed on the house, the blaze would not die out.
Just then, a strange woman with a red face emerged from behind the tree. Scared by the woman’s bizarre appearance, Katja was about to run away, when the woman spoke to her.
“Do you want this fire stopped?”, asked the woman.
“Of course!” cried Katja.
“I can put out the fire for you,” said the red-faced woman. “But, in return, you must do whatever I ask of you.”
Katja quickly agreed and the red-faced woman inhaled deeply, then pursed her lips together and blew. The young girl watched in amazement as the fire was extinguished and the smoke began to slowly dissipate. The house was completely intact and showed no signs of fire damage.
“Here is what I want you to do”, said the woman. “Take your red gloves and bring them to the cemetery tonight. Look for the tomb that stands exactly in the middle of the cemetery. Go inside and place your red gloves on the coffin you will find there.”
“OK, I will,” said Katja.
“If you don’t do this, something bad will happen,” the woman warned.
The young girl nodded her head impatiently, then ran over to her weeping mother and began to comfort her. When she looked back over her shoulder, the red-faced woman was nowhere to be seen.
That night, Katja didn’t mention anything to her mother about the red-faced woman’s strange request. At midnight, she climbed out of bed, put on her red gloves and set off for the cemetery.
As she neared the cemetery gates, the girl became very frightened and suddenly lost her nerve. She was afraid of what would happen if she went into the cemetery and instead turned back and went home.
The next morning, she was awoken by the sound of her mother crying. When she went out to see what was wrong, she discovered that her grandmother had died during the night.
Two days later, they held a funeral for the grandmother and the old woman was buried in a plot in the cemetery. Again, the red-faced woman appeared from behind a tree.
“Your grandmother died because you did not come to the cemetery,” said the woman. “You must go to the cemetery tonight, or more tragedy will befall you.”
That night, as her mother slept, Katja ventured out to the cemetery. When she reached the gates, she heard screams coming from the darkness. Her bravery deserted her and she gave in to fear and ran back home.
The next morning, she woke up and discovered her mother lying dead in bed. At her mother’s funeral, the red-faced woman appeared and told Katja to go to the cemetery that night, or the consequences would be terrible.
That night, as she went to the cemetery, Katja was still very frightened. She didn’t know what to do. Steeling her resolve, she walked through the cemetery gates. In the center of the cemetery, she found the old tomb. The door of the tomb was ajar and she walked inside. Sitting in the middle of the floor was a dusty old coffin.
Just as Katja was about to take off the red gloves, the lid of the coffin began to slide off. She jumped backwards and watched in horror. She was frozen to the spot by fear, as the coffin lid fell to the ground with a crash and the corpse inside was revealed. It was the red-faced woman.
Suddenly, the corpse sat up straight in the coffin and turned its head to look at her. The red-faced woman reached out to grab Katja’s arm. Terrified, the young girl dodged the woman’s icy grip and ran out the door of the tomb. As she fled, Katja heard the woman’s voice screaming: “You won’t get away from me that easily! Tonight, you will die!”
Katja ran all the way home, clutching her red gloves, tears streaming down her face. She undressed, got into bed and went to sleep.
Some time during the night, she died.
Katja awoke suddenly and found herself in the cemetery. There were dark figures gathered around her. As her vision cleared, she saw that it was her mother and grandmother. She had a sinking feeling in her stomach when she noticed that their faces were red. Her mother was holding a mirror and when Katja looked into it, she saw that she too had a red face.
Then they began appearing to anyone who bought red gloves.