"I am a bad man with a very black heart. And it was only that badness and blackness which forced me to seek out what I have carried now for many years and brought this night for you. Because you are young I will tell you I went in search of a weapon. But also because you are young I will not tell you why I went in search of such a weapon, though in truth while I could speculate, I am no longer capable of recalling the details myself. When you are older you will be able to imagine what drove me on such a quest. You will know more than me."
So begins the story teller's tale. The story teller explains how he went on a quest to find a weapon, but not just any weapon. Every time he would hear tell of a some new weapon, he would seek it out, only to be disappointed. Until finally he heard of a sword-maker in a far away mountain. His quest takes him through a series of creepy episodes (which I'm omitting, to avoid spoiling the novel at it's best). Finally, he is able to buy a sword, but the price of the sword is that he cannot remember his original reason for seeking it. So it is that the storyteller has a great weapon, but cannot remember why sought it.
Danielewski loves incorporating strange textual elements into his writing. This novel is no different. The story presents as a poem with five sets of colored quotation marks, each color representing one of the children recounting the events of the evening. The children are recounting how Chintana, a babysitter is watching them while the storyteller tells his story.
However, this window-dressing adds little to the important tale, the tale told by the storyteller, the tale of the fifty year sword. The tale is Danielewski at his best: original, unnerving, and creepy. His story weaves situations which are horrifying in a guttural way. Things that are horrifying because they are not incomprehensible. He puts them out there without trying to explain them, making them all the more horrifying.
I recommend this if you want a creepy story.