"The Vampire" is a short story taken from the book Russian Fairy Tales. The short stories that comprise this novel is important to Russian Culture as it provides a clear illustration of vampires and other mystical creatures. The story involves an elderly man and his wife, their beautiful daughter Marusia, the villagers, and a handsome young man who we later discover is a vampire. The story begins with the festivities of the holiday of St. Andrews, whereby the women prepare food and drink for the event. Later in the evening, the men join the women for the merriment and the villagers dance into the night.
The evening's celebrations are interrupted by the entrance of a youthful, attractive man wanting to join in with the revelries, who brings with him "a purse full of gold, wine, nuts, and gingerbread." The alluring man is mesmerized by Marusia, who is the prettiest and most elegant dancer amongst the villagers. As the celebrations come to an end, the mystery man asks for Marusia's hand in marriage. Marusia, who is charmed by his good looks and wealth, agrees to be the merchant clerk's wife. Excited by the news, Marusia rushes home to tell her parents. Marusia's mother warns her that before she marries the man, she should carry a ball of thread to her next meeting with him and hoop the thread onto the button of his outfit in order to find out whether he is telling the truth about where he is really from.
The following day, Marusia goes to another party, where she meets with the mystifying, good-looking man again. They both have a pleasant time dancing, and when it is time to say goodbye, Marusia discreetly ties a thread to the man. When Marusia follows the thread, she is directed to the entrance of a church, which is shut. Intrigued to see what is indoors, Marusia climbs a ladder to look through the window of the church. Marusia is mortified to find her soon-to-be husband standing over a coffin eating a dead body.
The subsequent evening, Marusia feels uneasy about going to the party as she is afraid to run into the wicked man but is later convinced by her mother to go. The sinful, surreptitious man is at the party again, and at the end of the evening, he questions Marusia over whether she saw him in the church. Marusia denies being at the church, and as a result, the man tells her her father will die, and he does. When the man asks Marusia again if she was at the church, she lies once more, and this time, her mother dies. When the man asks Marusia for the last time whether she was at the church, Marusia is not truthful all over again and, as a result, dies.
After Marusia dies, an individual who is part of the long-standing aristocracy in Russia and his son pass Marusia's grave. They were both fascinated by the beautiful flower that grew on her grave that they ordered the servant to dig up the flower for their home. One evening, the servant became restless and could not sleep. He witnessed the transformation of the flower into a stunning young woman. After the servant told the aristocrat about this, they both waited till midnight that night to watch the astonishing transformation again. The young woman and the aristocrat's son were to marry on the circumstance that they do not attend church for four years. In pursuit of a friend calling his wife "infidel," he forced his wife and child to go to church. Marusia was haunted by the vampire at church who asked her the same question -- whether she was at church that night. When the vampire tormented her that, this time, her son and husband would pass, she hurried to her grandmother, who gave her a bottle of holy water. When Marusia was taunted by the vampire the following day when her son and husband died, she confessed to being at the church and witnessing the vampire eat the body. After Marusia told the vampire the truth, she sprayed the vampire and her son and husband with the holy water, which transformed the vampire to dust and brought her family back to life.
Links That Explore The Theme of The Vampire In More Depth: