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Postby Elgine » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:18 am

I have a reader who remembers a title from childhood(around 70 years ago) which he is trying to trace. It is "The black velvet ribbon mystery" and he thinks the author's first name was Steven. I have had no luck with this and wonder if you could help? Thanks Morag Tocher Senior Librarian East Lothian Library Services
Elgine
 
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Reader Enquiry

Postby aescby » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:37 am

Hi Morag

I too have struggled to find a book with this title but I think that "The Black Velvet Ribbon" is one of those stories which has been retold so many times over the years that it is hard to pinpoint the actual author.  The story is one of those urban ghost stories and I have found a retelling by Ann McGovern which may jog your reader's memory:-

THE VELVET RIBBON by Ann McGovern Once there was a man who fell in love with a beautiful girl. And before the next full moon rose in the sky, they were wed. To please her husband, the young wife wore a different gown each night. Sometimes she was dressed in yellow; other nights she wore red or blue or white. And she always wore a black velvet ribbon around her slender neck. Day and night she wore that ribbon, and it was not long before her husband's curiosity got the better of him. "Why do you always wear that ribbon?" he asked. She smiled a strange smile and said not a word. At last her husband got angry. And one night he shouted at his bride. "Take that ribbon off! I'm tired of looking at it." You will be sorry if I do," she replied, "so I won't." Every morning at breakfast, the husband ordered his wife to remove the black velvet ribbon from around her neck. Every night at dinner he told her the same thing. But every morning at breakfast and every night at dinner, all his wife would say was, "You'll be sorry if I do. So I won't." A week had passed. The husband no longer looked into his wife's eyes. He could only stare at that black velvet ribbon around her neck. One night as his wife lay sleeping, he tiptoed to her sewing basket. He took out a pair of scissors. Quickly and quietly, careful not to awaken her, he bent over his wife's bed and SNIP! went the scissors, and the velvet ribbon fell to the floor and SNAP! off came her head. It rolled over the floor in the moonlight, wailing tearfully: "I...told...you...you'd...be...s-o-r-r-y!" The colour of the ribbon varies from story to story too.

Some people think that the original source was Washington Irving's "The Adventure of the German Student" and some say it is based on "The Necklace" by Guy Maupassant. Others believe that its origin lies in the times of the French Revolution when they used to have masked balls in the cemeteries for people whose relatives had been guillotined. It was fashionable then to wear a red ribbon around your throat to indicate the line of blood where the blade struck. To dance with a woman, a gesture was made like a finger cutting off your head; thus, some people think that "The Red Ribbon" was the original title

Stephen Gammell has illustrated "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" which includes a version of the story but this would have been well after the time your reader remembers it.

I could be way off track and the book your readers remembers could be entirely different but I do hope that this may help in some way.

Kind regards

Nicky
aescby
 
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Reader Enquiry

Postby Meilyg » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:53 am

I have a reader who remembers a title from childhood(around 70 years ago) which he is trying to trace. It is "The black velvet ribbon mystery" and he thinks the author's first name was Steven. I have had no luck with this and wonder if you could help? Thanks Morag Tocher Senior Librarian East Lothian Library Services
Meilyg
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:55 pm


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