Tears in the snow
Not far from where I live is the town of Gloucester. Like most small towns it has its tragedies, but none so great as the one that happened one dark winter night. It was sometime in the 1800's that a lovely young girl named Elizabeth went with her father to London. While there she met a handsome young man and fell in love. Alas it was not meant to be because they soon returned home. Her father who was against the match intercepted the letters and they never heard from each other again.
Now the young girl longed for her love so much that she fell ill and died.
Friends say she lost the will to live, and on a late November afternoon they buried her in a grave at the foot of the garden. Snow begin to fall as the grief stricken father made his way back to the house, heart broken that his only child had died.
As the story goes a former butler angry at the family dug up her grave as soon as it was dark. He planned to steal the expensive jewlery she was buried with. He dug away the snow and soon reached the coffin where he found the body. He took the jewels from her neck and reached to take the ring on her finger but found it stuck so he took a knife and cut off her finger. Much to his surprise and horror the young woman who was not dead but simply in a coma woke up. He ran into the night never to be heard from again.
Somehow the young woman crawled across the yard and up onto the porch of the house. Her father who sat by the fireplace lost in thought and grieving paid no attention to the stratching at the door. Perhaps he thought it was one of the dogs, or just the wind.
The next morning the young woman was found outside the door.....Frozen under a pile of snow. There was a trail of bloody foot prints leading from the garden.
To this day when the first snow falls and the fire is crackling in the hearth...the new generations of this family still see the apparition of a young woman walking up the staircase..the rustling of the petticoats. If you look out into the snow, you can see the bloody footprints leading from the garden..She has at last found her way home.
And in the spring near the steps of the house grow the most beautiful violets. Watered by the tears of a young girl, seeking refuge from the snow
I first heard this story when I went on a "ghost tour" of Colonial Williamburg.I was touched by it as soon as I heard it and it was my favorite stories about hauntings in our area.
It can also be found in Volume 1 of The Ghost of Virginia by LB Taylor Jr.
I plan this spring to visit the area where this story took place.