20 Tales of Terror – Day 5: The Baker’s Wife

  
There once lived a baker whose pies were the most famous in town. He used only the tartest cherries, the sweetest blueberries and the juiciest apples in all his pies, using the magic of his oven to create tasty treats that no one could resist. He had a lovely young wife who was also his partner in the bakery, and whose smile was just as sweet as the pies they both sold. Together, they lived a most comfortable life.

But one day, a new neighbor came around. He a was a butcher, and owned some of the finest knives ever made. He stepped out of the stagecoach that had stopped in the town square, followed by his beautiful bride, looking radiant in a dress of the most elegant silk. Her hair shone with the light of the sun and her eyes were so blue that they made the summer sky look gray. The baker was smitten at first sight. Lust had driven its claws deep into his heart and knew he had to woo her.

He did what he did best, baking a pie with the ripest fruits and topped with the sweetest cream. It was the finest pie that he had ever made, and even his wife marveled at his creation. He claimed it to be a welcome gift for the newcomers, but it was much more than that. When the butcher was out, preparing the best cuts of meats to sell, the baker delivered his gift, along with a note requesting a moonlit tryst. The butcher’s bride received it, and after taking a bite, declared it to be the finest pie that ever she had eaten. Unknown to anyone, a small note was tucked into her bosom.

That night, the butcher’s bride stole away from her husband’s bed as he snored, and went to the spot that the baker had suggested. He was waiting for her there and took her in his arms. Their lips joined, and soon their bodies, united in a forbidden love.

But they were not alone that night. A lonesome crow was flitting around in the dead of the night and spotted the two lovers. Immediately, it flew to the baker’s house and rapped on the window until the baker’s wife was awakened. Irritable at being roused from her sleep, she demanded answers from the bird. And it sang. In its cracked crowish cawing it told her everything. It told her of the baker and the butcher’s bride and the unholy union they had formed under the light of the moon.

The baker’s wife was livid. Her life and her soul she had given to her husband, and this was how he repaid her? It simply would not do. In a fit of rage, she dashed into the house of her neighbor the butcher and searched around until she found his sharpest knife. The butcher still snored and paid her no heed.

Then she went to where the crow had told her to go, and she found the baker and the butcher’s bride entwined around each other, blind to the world around them. So the baker’s wife took the butcher’s knife and hacked the lovers apart. Their blood pooled on the ground like the juice from fresh cherry preserves. When the deed was done, she carved out both their hearts. The heart of the girl she gave to the tell-tale crow, who flew off with it in his hungry jaws.

She carried the baker’s heart back home, where she sliced it and put it into a pastry, baking herself a pie as the sun greeted the town. She knew from the sound of screams that her gruesome work had been discovered. The townspeople broke down the baker’s door and discovered her sitting at the table with an empty plate in front of her. As they led her outside, her hands bound behind her, she said it was the best pie she had eaten in her life.

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