Originally published in The Fiend's Delight (1872), written under the pseudonym Dod Grile. Original artwork included here by Jakob Grim.

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The Discomfited Demon

I never clearly knew why I visited the old cemetery that night. Perhaps it was to see how the work of removing the bodies was getting on, for they were all being taken up and carted away to a more comfortable place where land was less valuable. It was well enough; nobody had buried himself there for years, and the skeletons that were now exposed were old mouldy affairs for which it was difficult to feel any respect. However, I put a few bones in my pocket as souvenirs. The night was one of those black, gusty ones in March, with great inky clouds driving rapidly across the sky, spilling down sudden showers of rain which as suddenly would cease. I could barely see my way between the empty graves, and in blundering about among the coffins I tripped and fell headlong. A peculiar laugh at my side caused me to turn my head, and I saw a singular old gentleman whom I had often noticed hanging about the Coroner’s office, sitting cross-legged upon a prostrate tombstone. [...]


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Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce was an American short story writer, journalist, and satirist born in Ohio in 1842. He served in the Civil War and worked as a reporter for various newspapers before moving to San Francisco. He wrote the critically acclaimed collection of short stories "Tales of Soldiers and Civilians" and the satirical "Devil's Dictionary," which defined common words with witty and often dark humor. Bierce disappeared in 1913 while covering the Mexican Revolution and his fate remains unknown.