Anyway, let's look on the bright side and use modern technology to read something for free, the e-copy of Wildside Press's People of the Dark: The Weird Works of Robert E. Howard, Volume 3, which I borrowed from the public library of Grandview Heights, Ohio, using the hoopla software. I talked about Joe R. Lansdale's intro to this volume in our last episode; now let's grapple with some Howard stories that haven't yet passed before our eyes.
(More technology: at his great website Stephen Fabian explains that he created the cover for People of the Dark by using his computer to combine two earlier works of his, one an illustration for a William Hope Hodgson book and the other a private commission.)
"The Children of the Night" (1931)
The narrator wakes up in ancient times, clad in a loin cloth, bearing a bronze axe, his consciousness having been shifted back in time to ancient Britain, to the body of one of the blonde Sword People, Aryara. The narrator hasn't joined Aryara during a happy time in that long forgotten dude's life--in fact, he is the sole survivor of a hunting party of six that has been overwhelmed by short hideous men whose voices are like those of snakes! These creeps, known to the Sword People as The Children of the Night, left Aryara for dead after knocking him out, and then mutilated his friends. Aryara jumps up and takes the evildoers by surprise and beats the hell out of them.
From Aryara's mind the narrator learns all about the relationship of the Sword People to the dark Picts and these squat evil Children. When Aryara is finally killed by a throng of the Children the narrator wakes up back in the 20th century an expert on migrations from Continental Europe to the British Isles and the true sources of those legends of goblins and trolls. He also has achieved race consciousness, inspired by the direct knowledge that he is an Aryan, a descendent of Aryara's people, people who thrive while living as nomads and conquerors, and fall into weakness if they become farmers or city-dwellers. More chillingly, he now realizes that among Ketrick's many English and Celtic ancestors there must be one ancestor who was one of the Children of the Night, and it is the narrator's duty to his race to kill Ketrick! As the story ends the narrator is plotting Ketrick's murder; he doesn't care if he is hanged for this crime, because his duty to his people means more to him than his own life!
All the anthropology material can be a little tedious, but the idea of guys' subconscious or paranormally revived racial memories leading them to try to murder their friends is good horror fiction stuff. This story is not bad. Obviously any discussion of ethnic solidarity and race consciousness among white people that is the least bit sympathetic to the idea would be a big no-no today, but if you're looking for the conventional wisdom of the educated establishment of 2021 in a 90-year-old issue of Weird Tales, you are looking in the wrong place.
Besides mentioning Lovecraft and Cthulhu by name, "The Children of the Night" also references Bran Mak Morn, and it has appeared in collections of Howard's Bran Mak Morn stories as well as anthologies of Cthulhu Mythos tales.