Can anyone identify this story which traumatised me as a child?

The story concerned a small boy at a boarding house, or apartment and his creeping upstairs to spy on the old woman who lived upstairs. He was watching her through the keyhole.

He watched her singing a strange song and slicing the heads off mice with a carving knife in a strange ritualistic way. She then changed songs and somehow magically reattached and resurrected the dead mice, before looking directly at the protagonist and telling him that he'd seen too much and...

That's where my memory fails me, and I think as a child I had a fit of fright, threw the book away and ran screaming to my parents.

I think that this was a Roald Dahl short story - possibly one of the Tales of the Unexpected, or in his 'Henry Sugar' collection (though I can't find it in those collections.) like the Swans story which also upset me.

Sadly googling for "Roald Dahl" and Mice just brings up the sweet-shop story in 'Boy' or 'The Witches.' I may be entirely mistaken by the Dahl connection, but it's stuck in my mind and haunted my nightmares for years. It seems gruesome and weird enough for him.


  • 1
    It does sound like Roald Dahl but I've read Kiss Kiss and the Henry Sugar collection (especially the hitchhiker one!) many time and don't recall that story. – Todd Wilcox Sep 23 '16 at 11:46
  • 1
    Checking with Kris Howard at RoaldDahlfans.com revealed that this is not a Roald Dahl short story which she is aware of, and therefore probably not a Roald Dahl story at all, even though it sounds like him. – Imperator Helvetica Sep 25 '16 at 15:15

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