Contains the poem ‘An Open Windows’ by Robert E. Howard.
Bran Mak Morn, King of the Picts, vows vengeance on Titus Sulla, a Roman governor, after witnessing the crucifixion of a fellow Pict. He seeks forbidden aid from the Worms of the Earth, a race of creatures who Bran Mak Morn’s ancestors banished from their kingdom centuries ago. They were once men, but millennia of living underground caused them to become monstrous and semi-reptilian.
Searching for a contact with these creatures, Bran Mak Morn encounters a witch who lives in a secluded hut, shunned by her neighbors, who was born from a sexual encounter between one of the “Worms” and a human woman. The witch’s price for helping him is “one night of love” which her human-half craves – as men in general are repelled by her reptilian traits. Bran Mak Morn, though also himself repelled, agrees to pay the price. In exchange, she tells him of a barrow where “The Black Stone”, a religious artifact of great importance to the “Worms”, is hidden.
“The Tower of the Elephant” is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan infiltrating a perilous tower in order to steal a fabled gem from an evil sorcerer named Yara. Due to its unique insights into the Hyborian world and atypical science fiction elements, the story is considered a classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales.
“The Slithering Shadow” is one of the original short stories starring Conan the Cimmerian. First published in the September 1933 issue of Weird Tales magazine. “The Slithering Shadow” is the original title, but the story is also known as “Xuthal of the Dusk” in further publications. It’s set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age, and concerns Conan discovering a lost city in a remote desert while encountering a Lovecraftian demon known as Thog.
Old Garfield’s Heart was first published in Weird Tales in December of 1933 and is generally labelled as a “Horror Story”. It takes place shortly after the end of the Wild West, but perhaps it falls squarely into the “Weird West” genre. The story is about an frontiersman, Old Garfield, that has lived as long as anyone can remember. The story is told through the eyes of an unnamed narrator who believes the tales told by Old Garfield are nothing more than whims of fancy or tall tales.