The Curse on the Baskerville Family
Dr. Mortimer took out some yellow papers from his pocket.
"They are about 150 years old," said Sherlock Holmes.
"How do you know that, sir?"
"I saw the writing when it was in your pocket, and what kind of expert would I be if I didn't know?"
"Yes, this old letter, written in 1742, is about the Baskervilles. I was the friend and doctor of sir Charles Baskerville, who died suddenly three months ago. He gave me these papers. They tell of a legend that's in the Baskerville family. sir Charles believed the legend.
Holmes sat back and closed his eyes while Dr. Mortimer said:
"This letter was written by Hugo Baskerville to his sons Rodger and John, and it says:
"This is the family legend about the hound of the Baskervilles. I heard the story from my father, and he heard it from his father too. A hundred years ago, Baskerville Hall was owned by a young Baskerville, our relative, called Hugo like me, a wild and wicked man, This Hugo loved the daughter of a farmer who lived not far away. The young girl stayed away from him because he had a bad name. One day Hugo, with five or six of his wicked friends, kidnapped the girl when her father and brothers were not home. They took her to Baskerville Hall, locked her in a room upstairs and sat downstairs drinking. The poor girl was very frightened and tried to escape. she climbed down from the window, holding onto the ivy on the wall, and started running for home.
A little later on. when Hugo went upstairs to bring food and drink to the girl, he saw she had escaped. he got very, very, very angry. He came down, jumped onto the table and shouted that even if he had to sell his body and soul to the devil he would catch her. Then one of his wicked, drunken friend suggested sending the hunting dogs after her, so Hugo told the servants to bring his horse and to let out the hounds.
His friends now started coming to their senses, afraid of the terrible things that would happen out on the moor. Thirteen of them got on their horses and rode after Hugo. The moon shone and they rode fast.
They had gone a mile or two when they passed a shepherd. They asked him if he had seen the chase. The man was so afraid that he could hardly speak, but finally he said he had seen the unlucky girl, with the hounds chasing after her.
'But i have seen more than,' he said, ' for Hugo Baskerville passed me on his black horse, and there right behind him was a hound from hell. God forbid such a thing should ever come after me!'
The drunken group rode on, but when the black horse ran past them with an empty saddle their blood ran cold. Now the group rode close together because a great fear was upon them, As they rode slowly they met the hounds at the top of a deep valley. The dogs were tense with staring eyes and they whimpered in fear. Most of the men were too afraid to go on but three of theme rode forward. The moon was shining bright and in the middle of the valley the poor girl lay dead. The body of Hugo Baskerville lay near her, But most frightening of all, standing over Hugo's throat was a huge black beast, like a hound, yet larger than any hound that any man's eye ever saw. As the beast turned its blazing eyes and bloody jaws towards them, the three screamed with fear and rode away in terror.
This is the story, my sons, of the hound which has troubled the family so badly since then. It is true that many of our family have had sudden, bloody and strange deaths. But the Bible says that the innocent will not be punished after the third or fourth generation. In any case please be careful. Do not go out on the moor after dark, when the powers of evil are strong."