This is a short but sweet little story. It tells us of three shady men who are planning to rip off the titular Terrible Old Man. Little is known about him other than that he is rumored to be an eccentric former ship captain who is very wealthy. Dogs also do not like him and bark when they see him. Our three criminals decide they are going to go to his creepy house and steal his fortune once they get him to tell them where it is located.

His house has a collection of strange idols in front which usually scares off the local children. Inside his house people have seen a table with many bottles that appear to move when the old man talks to them, calling them by many names as though they were his former sailors.

But business is business, and to a robber whose soul is in his profession, there is a lure and a challenge about a very old and very feeble man who has no account at the bank, and who pays for his few necessities at the village store with Spanish gold and silver minted two centuries ago.

Two of the robbers go to the house wearing masks to “interview” the old man and the third waits by his car to drive them away. The wheelman waits a long time and becomes more nervous as the moments pass. He “did not like the hideous screams he had heard in the ancient house just after the hour appointed for the deed.”

Assuming his partners have murdered the old man, he is surprised when a lone figure approaches from the house. It was, of course, the Terrible Old Man.

The story ends with a remark that the townspeople were disturbed when they found the abandoned car and “three unidentifiable bodies, horribly slashed as with many cutlasses”.

There’s really not much to this story. It is actually kind of humorous as we know the three robbers are going to meet a horrible fate. I’m looking forward to future tales that are a bit longer and have a more involved and interesting plot.