The Curse of Yig

"The Curse of Yig" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop in which Yig, "The Father of Serpents", is first introduced.


Bishop supplied the story idea and some notes, paying Lovecraft to flesh it out in 1928. It could be said the tale was "ghost-written"; however, others class it as a "collaboration". Bishop then sold the story under her own name to "Weird Tales" magazine. It was published first in the November 1929 issue (volume 14, number 5) on pages 625-36.

It was the first of three tales Lovecraft wrote for Bishop, the others being "The Mound" and "Medusa's Coil".


Based in Oklahoma around 1880, a newly arrived couple learn about the local legends surrounding a "Snake God", Yig, who takes vengeance on anyone who kills a serpent by killing them or turning them into a half-snake monster. The husband has a snake phobia which isn't helped by the wife disturbing a nest of rattlesnakes.

The husband and wife go through rituals to keep Yig, the snake god away, but in the end it fails and in fear the woman kills her own husband in the dark, thinking he is Yig. She is taken to an asylum, and dies there.. But not before giving birth to a half-snake creature.


The story has appeared in a number of horror anthologies, including:

*"A Treasury of American Horror Stories", ed. Frank D. McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh & Martin H. Greenberg, Bonanza/Crown Books 1985
*"Tales of the Dark #3", ed. Lincoln Child, St. Martin’s 1988
*"The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions", H. P. Lovecraft, Arkham House 1989

External links

* [ Online text]

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