“Curse of Yig, The“

“Curse of Yig, The“
   Short story (7,030 words); ghostwritten for Zealia Brown Reed Bishop, in the spring of 1928. First published in WT(November 1929); rpt. WT(April 1939); first collected in BWS; corrected text in HM Dr. McNeill, who runs an insane asylum in Guthrie, Oklahoma, tells the narrator (a researcher investigating snake lore) of the legend of Yig, “the half-human father of serpents,” specifically in relation to the story of two settlers, Walker and Audrey Davis, who had come to the Oklahoma Territory in 1889. Walker has an exceptional fear of snakes, and has heard tales of Yig (“the snakegod of the central plains tribes—presumably the primal source of the more southerly Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan…an odd, half-anthropomorphic devil of highly arbitrary and capricious nature”) and of how the god avenges any harm that may come to snakes; so he is particularly horrified when his wife kills a brood of rattlers near their home. Late one night, the couple sees the entire floor of their bedroom covered with snakes; Walker gets up to stamp them out but falls down, extinguishing the lantern he is carrying. Audrey, now petrified with terror, soon hears a hideous popping noise—it must be Walker’s body, so puffed with snake-venom that the skin has burst. Then she sees an anthropoid shape silhouetted in the window. Thinking it to be Yig, she takes an axe and hacks it to pieces when it enters the room. In the morning the truth is known: the body that burst was their old dog, bitten by countless snakes, while the figure that has been hacked to pieces is Walker. In a final twist, Dr. McNeill shows the narrator a loathsome half-snake, half-human entity kept in his asylum: it is not Audrey herself, but the entity to which she gave birth three-quarters of a year later. HPL wrote: “this story is about 75% mine. All I had to work on was a synopsis describing a couple of pioneers in a cabin with a nest of rattlesnakes beneath, the killing of the husband by snakes, the bursting of the corpse, & the madness of the wife, who was an eye-witness to the horror. There was no plot or motivation—no prologue or aftermath to the incident—so that one might say the story, as a story, is wholly my own. I invented the snake-god & the curse, the tragic wielding of the axe by the wife, the matter of the snake-victim’s identity, & the asylum epilogue. Also, I worked up the geographic & other incidental colour—getting some data from the alleged authoress, who knows Oklahoma, but more from books” (HPL to August Derleth, October 6, [1929]; ms., SHSW). HPL sent the completed tale to Bishop in early March 1928, making it clear in his letter to her that even the title is his. He adds: “I took a great deal of care with this tale, and was especially anxious to get the beginning smoothly adjusted…. For geographical atmosphere and colour I had of course to rely wholly on your answers to my questionnaire, plus such printed descriptions of Oklahoma as I could find.” HPL charged Bishop $17.50 for the tale. She sold the story to WT for $45.

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  • The Curse of Yig — is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop in which Yig, The Father of Serpents , is first introduced.BackgroundBishop supplied the story idea and some notes, paying Lovecraft to flesh it out in 1928. It could be said the tale was… …   Wikipedia

  • The Curse of Yig (book) — Infobox Book name = The Curse of Yig title orig = translator = image caption = Jacket illustration by Ronald Clyne for The Curse of Yig author = Zealia B. Bishop illustrator = cover artist = Ronald Clyne country = United States language = English …   Wikipedia

  • Yig — (the Father of Serpents) is a deity in H.P. Lovecraft s Cthulhu mythos. He appears as a serpent man, serpent with bat like wings, or as a giant snake.Yig first appeared in the story The Curse of Yig, which was created by Zealia Bishop and almost… …   Wikipedia

  • The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions — Infobox Book name = The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions title orig = translator = image caption = Dust jacket illustration by Gahan Wilson for The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions author = H. P. Lovecraft illustrator = cover… …   Wikipedia

  • The Spawn of Cthulhu — Infobox Book | name = The Spawn of Cthulhu title orig = translator = image caption = Cover of The Spawn of Cthulhu author = edited by Lin Carter cover artist = Gervasio Gallardo country = United States language = English series = Ballantine Adult …   Wikipedia

  • Beyond the Wall of Sleep (collection) — Infobox Book name = Beyond the Wall of Sleep title orig = translator = image caption = Dust jacket photograph by Burt Trimpey for Beyond the Wall of Sleep author = H. P. Lovecraft illustrator = cover artist = Burt Trimpey and Clark Ashton Smith… …   Wikipedia

  • “Dunwich Horror, The“ —    Novelette (17,590 words); written in August 1928. First published in WT(April 1929); first collected in O; corrected text in DH; annotated version in An1and TD.    In the seedy area of Dunwich in “north central Massachusetts” live a number of… …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • “Transition of Juan Romero, The“ —    Short story (2,710 words); written on September 16, 1919. First published in Marginalia;corrected text in D.    The narrator, an Englishman who because of nameless “calamities” has migrated from his native land (after spending many years in… …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

  • Cthulhu-Mythos — Der Cthulhu Mythos umfasst die vom amerikanischen Schriftsteller H. P. Lovecraft und anderen Autoren der Horrorliteratur erdachten Personen, Orte, Wesenheiten und Geschichten. Bekanntester Bestandteil dieses Mythos ist das ebenfalls fiktive Buch… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Narrators, Unidentified —    Many of HPL’s tales are narrated by individuals who, although not identified by name, either play an integral part in the story or serve merely as the conduit through which the events of the story are conveyed. They are described briefly below …   An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia

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