Synopsis Edit

When a young man's mother dies, his father remarries. The stepmother gives the father an ultimatum to choose either her or his son. The father chooses his new wife, so the son is sent off with twelve dinars. The young man travels to a town where he sees a corpse lying in the market place. Civilians do not want to bury it because the dead man owed money. The young man feels sorry for him, so he uses his money to pay off the debt and to give the dead man a proper burial. When he is done, he leaves for the next town but comes across the cemetery where the dead man is buried. The dead man appears to the young man, in the form a vampire, and offers to accompany the man in his travels.

In the next town, the daughter of the pasha has died, and her body is in the chapel. A different person guards her every night, but the guard is always found dead the next morning. The vampire tells the young man, "Agree to stand guard over the pasha's daughter for three days and nights. Here is the Holy Scripture. While you are standing guard, put it above your heard and keep looking at it. Don't take your eyes off it, or you too will be dead by dawn."

After the man guards the body for three days, the girl rises and comes back to life. The young man brings the daughter back to the pasha, where the pasha gives the man his daughter's hand in marriage and a job.

Some time later, the young man wants to visit home. He stops at a tavern and plays cards with two men who are actually vampires. The men cheat and take all the young man's money. The young man is ashamed to return to his wife with nothing, so he goes back to his native land. When he doesn't come home, his wife and the vampire brother search for him. They too stop at the tavern and play cards with the two men. The vampire brother wins back all of the money. The wife and vampire find the young man and the vampire asks that the winnings be divided equally between them. The young man agrees so the money is divided, and then the vampire cuts the wife down the middle into two equal parts.

A serpent crawls out of the wife's body and the vampire kills it. He then confesses to the young man "I am the dead man whose debt you repaid. Therefore, I have rewarded you for your good deed." He had gotten the young man a wife, a job, regained his fortune, and rid his wife of the evil serpent inside of her. The vampire then says he had only 40 days to stay on earth and that this was his last. Then he returned home to the kingdom of the dead.

Background Edit

The tale "The Young Man and His Vampire Brother" is a short story from Yugoslav Romany.

Orthodox Christians believe the dead roam the earth for 40 days before leaving for heaven.

Relating to Jeffrey Jerome Cohen's Monster Culture (Seven Theses) Edit

The vampire brother in "The Young Man and His Vampire Brother" does not follow any of the typical "rules" that are commonly known about vampires. Thesis 1 of "Monster Culture" is that the monster's body is a cultural body. Most folklore about vampires follow a set pattern. The vampire is often an outsider who civilians fear. While he is dark and mysterious, he is also intriguing and desirable. And to kill a vampire, you must drive a stake through its heart. None of this is really true pertaining to the vampire brother. The vampire does not give feelings of fear or anxiety, and he leaves earth after 40 days, instead of having to be murdered with a stake in the heart to be sent back to the dark side.

The fourth thesis is that the monster dwells at the gates of difference. Cohen writes, "the monster is difference made flesh, come to dwell among us". In the tale, the vampire brother has no qualities that set him aside from anyone else. He has some inhuman powers, but he appears to be and acts like a human throughout. The vampire brother does not use "being an outsider" as an advantage for any purpose. He is very much human and is indeed like a "brother" to the young man.

The sixth thesis is that fear of the monster is really a kind of desire. This characteristic does not apply to the vampire brother either. Cohen describes the monster as being linked to forbidden practices and of being repulsive and attractive at the same time. The vampire brother does not seduce anyone in this tale in order to drink their blood. He is very friendly and nice, and does multiple favors for the young man. Many stereotypical traits about vampires are broken in this story. The vampire brother just does not embody these things, and is unlike the typical vampire character that is seen throughout vampire-media, from Slavic folklore to modern films.


Caffee, Naomi. "Unit 1 Panapto Lecture SlideCast." Panopto. Dr. Naomi Caffee, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

"Monster Culture (Seven Theses)," Monster Theory: Reading Culture, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 3-25.

"The Young Man and the Vampire Brother." University of Arizona - D2L(Desire2Learn). D2L, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

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