Friday Fictioneers: The mournful ghost

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


I’d hear the noise all through the night, the working of the treadle, the chick-chick-chick of the needle.

We’d never see the tailor, just the bales of dazzling cloth and paper patterns bundled at the foot of the be-spidered stairs, then suits and skirts and shirts – pressed sharp as the paper patterns – hung like a gathering of mournful ghosts, waiting to be worn by the moneyed of the town.

The only thing I saw of the tailor was his narrow coffin the day they took him out. It was of plain wood, unembellished – his last, ragged suit.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the photo and write a story of 100 words or fewer to accompany it. Go here to join in and to read the other, wonderful stories.


48 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: The mournful ghost

    1. Ah, thank you Chris. My imagination is anything but boundless, but if I did sell my soul I missed the meeting and didn’t read the small print, hich is quite possible with me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is beautiful and says so much in so few words. I only wonder how a ghost would be taken out in a coffin made of plain wood, in his last unembellished ragged suit. Maybe I’m missing something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I meant really that he was figuratively a ghost, in the sense he was a person the narrator never saw, a ghostly presence making noises, moving things but unseen. Thanks so much for reading and your kind comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It reads like a fairy tale, but also like harsh reality. We work. We die. What’s between? Did he have a between? Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are terrifically kind, C. It was one of those stories that felt right from the time I had the idea. Just had to tweak away at it. Really very chuffed you liked it so much and thank you for your kindness and encouragement 🙂


  3. Have you ever approached a top quality fabric with a pair of sharp shears, listened to the crisp sound of cutting as you squeeze the shears, and felt that indescribable shiver that runs up your hand and arm, straight to your heart? The music of a treadle machine (or even an electric one) as it sews a perfect seam, the satisfaction of pressing the seam open, so it lies perfectly flat, stitching an invisible hem, turning a perfect shoulder, making those beautiful couched buttonholes… I felt it all, as I was reading your lovely story, Lynn. Surely the tailor was a happy man. Hewould have lovingly hung each completed suit from a coathanger, and then stroked it lovingly.
    I’ve felt all of that and more. I could write pages on the various sensations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What fabukous descriptions of the process, Jane. My mum made us clothes when we were kids – tops and trousers, knitting jumpers and cardigans – though I’ve only made a few simple items myself. I’m always fascinated when I pass the chaps who do repairs – you know the shops where the tailor sits in the window so you can watch him work? The concentration, the dexterity, the hunched pose – there’s something timeless about it. Replace the machine for hand powered loom, or hand sewing and you find a tradition that goes back millenia.
      I think he would have loved the work too, creating beautiful things for people to wear, his pride on the backs of the moneyed peacocks. Thanks for reading Jane and look forward to reading your own story on your experiences if you ever write one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After two days of madness, away from my blog I feel as if I may never write again, but I expect that by the time I’ve caught up with my replies to comments I’ll feel differently.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Typical of people, isn’t it? To be producing the best they have of their time and talents for others, yet they never really save much for themselves. I love that second paragraph! It is SO descriptive and SO truthful.

    Great, terrific job, Lynn!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting!–I think you’ve created a mystery in the figure of this tailor–I’m very curious, imagining his inner life. I love he way he is like a ghost (I agree that the title is great), creating clothing almost without a trace of personality, and then still not seen until the end, when we miss him again, because he’s in the plain coffin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. People can feel like ghosts, I think, hardly there at all. Thanks so much for your great comment – I’m intrigued too, though not sure where else I could take the character 🙂


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