’31 Tales of Terror’ #10: Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad

*Title: Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad by M. R. James
Date Read: 22 October 2008
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: Prof. Parkins takes a golfing break at the coastal town of Burnstow. While on a side-mission to reconnoiter an old Templar preceptory for an archaeologist colleague, Parkins uproots an old whistle. He returns to his hotel room, cleans up the whistle and gives it a bit of a blows. Not surprisingly, after doing so, he gets more than he bargains for.
Afterthoughts: Now this is more like it – vintage horror as it should be. A nicely written and creepy tale, which makes for perfect reading last thing at night. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you :o).
Notable Quote: “And now followed another little discovery: a portion of soil fell inward as he scraped, and disclosed a small cavity. He lighted one match after another to help him to see of what nature the hole was, but the wind was too strong for them all. By tapping and scratching the sides with his knife, however, he was able to make out that it must be an artificial hole in masonry. It was rectangular, and the sides, top, and bottom, if not actually plastered, were smooth and regular. Of course it was empty. No! As he withdrew the knife he heard a metallic clink, and when he introduced his hand it met with a cylindrical object lying on the floor of the hole.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

*Story read as part of the 31 Tales of Terror reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. There’s a 1960s TV adaptation of this which is very highly regarded, but which goes down the tediously predictable route of making it all psychological. There’s also another tv version from the past couple of years, but it adds in extra detail and in doing so loses the power.

    Spectacular isn’t it? Easily one of the best two or three James wrote. Possibly the best. Seriouisly creepy.


  1. […] This is the second short I’ve read by M.R. James for this challenge (the first being Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad), and I found it to be quite entertaining, and not a little creepy. One thing James does seem to […]