Welcome to part 7 of Murder Story Monday. This week I am looking at another version of The Singing Bone from Iceland. Just like last week, this is an unusual version in that the bone does not speak/sing, but bleeds in order to reveal the guilty party. It is an example of the “Murder will out” tale.
My friend Wendy has pointed out that many of these are just the sort of ghost stories you would tell at a sleepover. This one is no exception.
This murder story was collected by Jón Árnason, in his book Icelandic Legends which was published in 1864. Árnason was inspired by the Grimm’s Kinder- und Hausmärchen and so he and his friend Magnús Grímsson (a school teacher and later clergyman) collected traditional Icelandic tales for publication.
This version came from here.
Murder Will Out
Once upon a time, in a certain churchyard, some people who were digging a grave, found a skull with a knitting-pin stuck through it from temple to temple. The priest took the skull and preserved it until the next Sunday, when he had to perform service.
When the day came, the priest waited until all the people were inside the church, and then fastened up the skull to the top of the porch. After the service, the priest and his servant left the church first, and stood outside the door, watching carefully everybody that came out. When all the congregation had passed out without anything strange occurring, they looked in to see if there was any one still remaining inside. The only person they saw was a very old woman sitting behind the door, who was so unwilling to leave the church, that they were compelled to force her out.
As she passed under the porch, three drops of blood fell from the skull on to her white head-dress, and she exclaimed, "Alas, murder will out at last!"
Then she confessed, that having been compelled to marry her first husband against her will, she had killed him with a knitting-pin and married another.
She was tried for the murder, though it had happened so many years back, and condemned to death.
Stay tuned next week for a tale from Russia.