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Summary written by Brenda Romano 4th level 2nd shift Malcolm was a student at college. He was studying very hard for his examinations but Malcolm was unable to study at home. The house was always noisy. -“I’m going to find a quiet house in a country” He told his father. Malcolm took a train to a quiet town in the country. He stayed in a small hotel. The next morning Malcolm found a large, old house. There was a shop not very far from it so he asked the man in the shop and the man said: -“That house is empty. Go to the lawyer.” The lawyer said: -“That house has been empty for many years. People say strange things about it but Malcolm said: -“I like that old house a I want to live here”

Malcolm gave the lawyer money to rent the house and walked back to the hotel. He packed his suitcase. Malcolm began to talk to a woman and she said: -“You can’t live in the Judge’s house because a famous judge lived there a long time ago. He had no mercy on any criminal” “I won’t have any time to be afraid of stories. Goodbye” He said and walked to the Judge’s house. Malcolm went inside. The dining room was big and there was a large table en the centre and he decided he was going to sleep and study there. He carried a bed and put it besides a wall. He lit a fire and started studying. In the evening he prepared some supper. Malcolm lit a lamp and put some more wood on the fire. There was an old wooden chair; it looked comfortable. Malcolm sat down on this chair. At first the house was very quiet. But then Malcolm heard a noise. “Rats” he thought. The rats ran in and out of holes in the walls. Malcolm was not afraid. Something happened because the rats stopped their noise and went away. Something was sitting on the chair. It was an enormous rat and it did not move. Malcolm picked up a book and then threw the book at the rat but it did not move. Malcolm stood up and the rat moved. It ran up the rope in the ceiling and disappeared. The next night there was a silence in the room. It was exactly like the night before. He was ready for the rat. Malcolm threw books at the rat but it escaped. Malcolm went to bed and slept well. The next morning was sunny. “I’ll get out again for a walk” he thought to himself.

A woman came to the house. She was the cleaning woman. Before He left the house, he pointed at a painting on the wall. “Please, clean this painting very carefully” Malcolm left the house and in the afternoon he returned to it. On his way back, Malcolm came to a small hotel. A man introduced himself to Malcolm. “I am the doctor in this town. Are you happy at the Judge’s house?” “There are hundreds of rats in the house. However, there is an enormous rat. It sits on a chair and looks at me with evil eyes” replied Malcolm.”Do you know what the rope is?” “When the judge was alive, he condemned many criminals to death. That was the rope that the hangman used. The noose was put over the criminal’s head. The rope by the fire is the hangman’s rope” Then Malcolm walked back to the house. The cleaning woman had lit the fire and he had some supper. He noticed the rope and he thought about the doctor’s story. Many men had died with this rope round their necks. Malcolm stood up and walked over the rope. Suddenly Malcolm felt terribly afraid. He saw that the painting that the woman had cleaned was the painting of a judge. His face was cruel and his eyes were evil. The eyes were like the eyes of the enormous rat. Malcolm understood and looked round the room. The huge rat was sitting on the chair. It was staring at Malcolm. “I must be strong or I will go mad” Malcolm said to himself Suddenly he heard a noise. He looked up the hangman’s rope. Malcolm was horrified and watched in horror. The rat was biting the rope. Then it dropped from the rope and landed on the floor.

“I will not be able to ring the alarm bell” he thought to himself He looked up at the painting; the judge in the painting had disappeared. Malcolm slowly moved his eyes from the real chair in the room. The judge was sitting in the big wooden high-backed chair. Slowly the Judge stood up and picked up the rope from the floor and started to walk towards Malcolm. Suddenly he tried to throw the noose over Malcolm’s head but Malcolm moved his head to one side. The Judge pulled the rope back but the end of it which was hanging from the ceiling was covered by rats. They were trying to help Malcolm. They were trying to make the alarm bell ring but it was not very loudly. The judge came up to Malcolm. He put the noose over Malcolm’s head and round his neck and pulled the noose tighter and tighter. Malcolm was petrified. The Judge carried Malcolm to the high-backed chair. The evil man disappeared but the enormous rat appeared. The rat escaped into the hole in the corner of the painting as soon as the Judge appeared again. Malcolm was now standing on the chair with the noose tightly round his neck. The rope went from Malcolm’s neck right up the ceiling. Malcolm’s body swung from the end of the rope. The alarm bell began to ring. The noise woke up the people up. They came running to the judge’s house and found Malcolm hanging from the rope in the dining-room. They all looked at the painting. The judge in the painting had an evil smile.


The judge's house  

A retelling based on this story

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