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Llanhamlach (Standing Stone / Menhir)

As Elderford hints, perhaps this stone is a bit young. The coflein record doesn't commit itself to any period but does admit the stone is on the line of an allegedly Roman road. Still, the romans had to put their roads somewhere. Marie Trevelyan calls the stone 'Maen yr Ast', contracted to 'Mannest' - or 'The Bitch Stone', presumably alluding, like a number of other names, to greyhounds (and perhaps Ceridwen taking the form of a greyhound?)
On Coflein its alternative name is the Peterstone; Peterstone Court lies across the road.

(M. Trevelyan, 'Folk lore and Folk Stories of Wales', 1909)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd September 2005ce

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s))

Halfway up the Garth Mountain, near Cardiff, a woman robed in green used to appear. She beckoned to men who passed, but they did not heed her. Two men at last ventured to listen to what she said, which was that she guarded hoards of gold, and could not move, but she wished to be released. They should have the treasure if they set her free. If they did not release her then, there would not be a man born for the next hundred years who could set her free. The men whispered to each other, wondering if her tale were true. One of the men, looking down at her feet, said "True enough. Her slippers are covered with gold-dust." The woman suddenly vanished, but for a long time her sobs and wailings were heard.
Marie Trevelyan, 'Folk lore and Folk stories of Wales' (1909).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd September 2005ce

Merlin's Hill (Hillfort)

The Coflein record says that "A single massive rampart crowns a visually distinctive, flat-topped hill, creating a roughly triangular enclosure, about 300m east-west by 180m." Visually distinctive eh, catching the eye of those folk and their stories. Marie Trevelyan tells us:
Merlin's Cave is in Merlin's Hill, above the secluded village of Abergwilli, near Carmarthen. Old stories state that Merlin is held there in bonds of enchantment by Nimue-Vivien, and it was firmly believed in the eighteenth century that the celebrated magician could be heard at certain seasons of the year bewailing his folly in allowing a woman to learn his secret spell.
Folk stories and Folk lore of Wales (1909).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd September 2005ce

Lligwy (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

A strange mix of symbolism in this story.
Arthur's Quoit, at Lligwy, near Moelfre, in Anglesea, is one of the stones of a cromlech once very important, and to it curious stories were formerly attached. A fisherman going down to the sea was overtaken by a storm, and halted to shelter beside Arthur's Quoit. When the rain was over, he looked towards the sea, and felt sure that somebody was struggling in the water. He hastened to the shore, and then discovered that a woman with very long dark hair was endeavouring to swim to land; but the ground swell was very strong, and each attempt proved unavailing.

The fisherman, fearless of the sea*, sprang in, and bore the swimmer to the shore, only just to escape a dangerous roller. The man observed that the woman was beautifully robed in white, and had jewelled bracelets on her arms. After squeezing the water out of her garments, she asked him to assist her to the "huge stone", meaning Arthur's Quoit. He did so, and while she sat to rest against the stone he noticed she was very beautiful and youthful. The man was about to ask her how she came to be in such peril, but she anticipated his question with a harsh voice, by no means in keeping with her beauty.

"Ha ha!" she cried. "If I had been swimming in my usual raiment, you would have allowed me to sink. I am a witch, and was thrown off a ship in Lligwy Bay; but I disguised myself, and was rescued."

The man shrank back in terror, fearing the woman would bewitch him. "Don't be frightened," said the witch; "one good turn deserves another. Here, take this." In the palm of her hand she held a small ball. "It is for you," she said, "and as long as you keep it concealed in a secret place where nobody can find it, good luck will be yours. Once a year you must take it out of hiding and dip it in the sea, then safely return it to its place of concealment. But remember, if it is lost, misfortune will follow."

The fisherman took the ball and thanked the witch, who gravely said: "That ball contains a snake-skin." Then she vanished mysteriously. But an hour later he saw her leaping from rock to rock in Lligwy Bay, where a boat was waiting for her, and in it she sailed away. Returning to Arthur's Quoit, the fisherman thought he could do no better than conceal the ball in a deep hole which he dug close beside the great stone which was reputed to be haunted, and accordingly avoided. He did this, and once a year he took it from concealment and dipped it in the sea. The ball was carefully preserved, and the family had remarkable runs of luck. But one evening when the fisherman went to look for the ball, it was nowhere to be found. He searched for many days, but without avail, and at last gave up his search as hopeless. Somebody evidently discovered his secret, and had stolen the precious ball.

Several years passed, during which time misfortune pursued the fisherman. At the end of that period a dying neighbour confessed to the theft of the ball, and restored it to its lawful owner. Good luck was at once restored to the family. When the fisherman died, he bequeathed it to his eldest son, who carefully preserved it. In the first half of the nineteenth century the fisherman's eldest son, accompanied by his only brother, started for Australia, where they eventually made large fortunes. A descendant in the female line of the old fisherman considered the ball one of her most precious treasures, and carefully preserved it in her far-away home in India. It was last heard of about forty years ago.
From Marie Trevelyan's "Folk lore and Folk Stories of Wales" (1909).

*surely not something a fisherman would be. In fact, many could not swim??
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd September 2005ce

Carreg Leidr (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Another source - 'Cambrian Superstitions' by William Howell (1831) suggests that the robber actually stole the church bells (quite a feat). Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd September 2005ce

The King Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Taken from Prehistoric England by Graham Clark.... quoting Sir Arthur Evan's version of witch and king..

Just as the king approached the crest of the hill, from which the village of Long Compton would be visible, she halted him with the word "seven long strides shall thou take" and
If long Compton thou canst see,
King of England thou shalt be"
exulting the King cried out;
Stick,stock stone,
As king of England I shall be known"
and strode forward 7 paces, but lo! instead of Long Compton there rose before him a long earthen mound, and the witch replied;
As Long Compton thou canst not see
King of England thou shalt not be.
Rise up, stick, and stand still, stone,
Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be
And I myself an eldern tree".

The whispering knights were turned to stones by the witch because they were plotting treachery..
moss Posted by moss
14th September 2005ce

The Bowden Doors (Natural Rock Feature)

There is a tale of an otherworldly being known as a 'Dunnie', who haunted the area between here and Chatton, who was often heard at night lamenting the fact that he could not return to the realm from which he came,

"Ah've lost the key to the Bowden Doors, Alas I'll ne'er gan hame nae more..."

A couple of versions of this tale are kicking about, at least one of which links the Dunnie to the spirit of a Border Reiver, but the one relating it directly to The Bowden doors seems to be the oldest, dredged from 'The Denham Tracts'.
Hob Posted by Hob
14th September 2005ce

The Whispering Knights (Burial Chamber)

Dr Stukeley tells a tale of a repentant Vandal, who having carried off one of the biggest stones to help make a bridge, saw a vision - and, being smitten with remorse, returned the stone to its original group.
Yes, but what did he See? Leave out the interesting bit why don't you. Perhaps there's more in the original, if anyone knows it.

Quote from 'Our Ancient Monuments and the Land Around Them' by CP Kains-Jackson (1880).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th September 2005ce

Dunino Den (Sacred Well)

Time travel at the Den?
Some years ago, when many of the roads in the east of Fife were still used but by few, a visitor to the district.. resolved to make a detour to visit [Dunino Church]. A somewhat rough track leads down to a bridge.. and a broad and well-made path , cut in the hillside [climbs] among the trees to the kirk and the manse. Leaving this for the moment he continued on the level track round the flank of the hill, and saw before him on thefarther side of the stream a picturesque hamlet. Some of the cottages were thatched, some tiled; but all were covered in roses and creepers.. At the east end.. a smithy closed the prospect, save for the trees that shut out the further windings of the Den.

No sound broke the stillness of the summer noon but the flow of the burn. At one or two of the doors there stood an old man in knee-breeches and broad bonnet, or a woman in a white mutch and a stuff gown, while in the entrance to the forge the smith leant motionless on his hammer... Half in a dream he turned and climbed to the church.. No sense of the abnormal had occurred to the intruder..

A year elapsed ere the wanderer came thither again.. This time he was accompanied by a companion to whom he had told the story of his glimpse of 'the most old-world hamlet in Fife'... they prepared to sketch the Arcady to be revealed. The cottages were gone. The burn flowed through the Den as when last he saw it, but its farther bank was bare...

.. The author is informed on excellent authority that there were at one time at least three or four cottages and a blacksmith's shop at the place described. It is said these were taken down "some time last century."
Edited from Wilkie's 1931 'Bygone Fife', quoted in K Briggs' 'British Folktales and Legends' (1977).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
9th September 2005ce

Bindon Hill (Hillfort)

Just recently an officer told me quite seriously that he could vouch for the fact that on certain nights a phantom Roman army marches along Bindon Hill to their camp on King's Hill. The thud of the trampling of horses and men is plainly heard and their indistinct forms seen as the fog drifts. On those nights no rabbits run and no dog can be induced to go near... one wonders if at any time an army lost its bearings in the fog and went over the very abrupt cliff which borders this hill...
Quote from 'Dorset, up along and down along', ed. Marianne R Dacombe (1935), p113.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th September 2005ce

Trent Barrow (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

More on Purejoy's pool:
Beside Trent Barrow near Sherborne is an old pit full of water and so deep that no one has ever been able to measure its depth and it is called the 'bottomless pit'. One dark and stormy night a coach, horses, driver and passengers plunged into the pit and disappeared, leaving no trace behind. But passersby along the road may still hear, in stormy weather, the sound of galloping horses and wailing voices borne by them on the wind.
(From 'Dorset, up along and down along', ed. M R Dacombe (1935)).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th September 2005ce

Poundbury Hillfort

Poundbury used to be stocked on May Day (this being the commoners' rights). "Dorchester folk were wont in olden time, it is said, to go forth to its flowery and airy sward a-maying and to drink syllybub of fresh milk."

Ah the rural idyll.

Quote from 'Dorsetshire Folklore' by John Symonds Udal (1922).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th September 2005ce

Bulbury Camp (Hillfort)

According to the information on Magic, this roughly circular univallate hillfort overlooks Poole harbour (though how the coastline differed in prehistory I can't say). One end of it is now built on with farm buildings.

From Dorset Folk-Lore, by J. J. Foster, in The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2. (1888), pp. 115-119.:
Some years a go several metal objects were found in a Keltic earthwork. Among them was a curious little grotesque bull, with a quaint tail curled up, which makes it somewhat like a dog. My friend heard that these things were in the hands of a certain old woman, and offered to buy them. "Han't got 'em - used to't - but there, 'twere loike this yer. My poor buoy, he wer terble bad, and he pined like a'ter they wold things. And ther - I thought myself how thick brass dog a noul'd ouver door'd do en a power o' good." And 'noul'd ouver door' it was found.

This remarkable find.. is fully described in Archaeologia v48, where the objects are figured... it's use as recently as 1881 as a prophylactic is surely an interesting fact to students of folk-lore.
Ah yes those Victorians middleclass intellectuals loved to imitate a quaint rural accent.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th September 2005ce

Marleycombe Hill (Round Barrow(s))

A golden coffin is buried somewhere on the Downs at Bowerchalke. It was stolen from one of the Britons' Barrows. The theft was discovered, and the coffin had to be hidden. At certain seasons seven men may be seen dragging the coffin over the Downs.
From Olivier/Edwards' "Moonrakings" (c1920) - a story they collected from a local WI member.

There are seven round barrows on the hill, and other earthworks, no doubt some of which are visible from the village below.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th September 2005ce

Vernditch Chase North (Long Barrow)

Two similar versions of the story, from Edith Olivier / Margaret Edwards' "Moonrakings - A Little Book of Wiltshire Stories" (c1920).

"Some time, before the memory of living man can definitely fix, a suicide was buried [here].. Legend has it that a girl from Bowerchalke, finding life too sad, drowned herself in a well near the churchyard.," the lane by the well being called 'Skit's Lane'.
"No bird is ever heard to sing there [at Kit's Grave]."
This version, told by Mrs John Butler, seemed confused as to whether the girl was buried there because she was a suicide and required unconsecrated ground, or whether it was because no parish would claim her (even though she'd specifically mentioned Bowerchalke!) so she was buried where three parishes met. Whatever, the theme of the weird nature of 'boundaries' clearly comes through.

The second version (p74) tells that "An old gypsy woman who used to frequent the Chalke valley was found in a well near Bowerchalke church. It was thought she had committed suicide, so she was taken and buried at the crossroads at night, with a stake through her heart. An avenue of trees leads to the spot, and no bird is ever heard to sing there. (This is indeed a very weird, eerie spot)."

Rather extreme measures (stakes through the heart at midnight) but I suppose you can't have these dead people wandering. I wonder whether there is any significance in the well being near the church: is it too much to read into it that it was a holy well? An inconsiderate and strange place to pick to kill yourself in.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th September 2005ce
Edited 6th January 2016ce

Martinsell (Hillfort)

On Palm Sunday, it was the custom, some years ago, for everyone in the village to visit Martinsell which is within easy walking distance. Here a Fair was held. Recruiting was also carried on at this Fair, at the last of which a local lad 'joined up' and afterwards served in the Russian War, taking part in the siege of Sebastapol. This fair was stopped about the year 1860. Since then religious services have been held on Martinsell on Palm Sunday. A Feast Day was always made of the Monday following Trinity Sunday, when a fair was held; but now for more than 20 years this has not been observed.
From 'Moonrakings' by E. Olivier and M. Edwards (c1920), p65.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th September 2005ce

Wandlebury (Hillfort)

The story of the ghostly knight at Wandlebury is told by Gervase of Tilbury, who was born c1150.
"Osbert, a bold and powerful baron, visited a noble family in the vicinity of Wandelbury, in the bishopric of Ely. Among other stories related in the social circle of his friends, who, according to custom, amused each other by repeating ancient tales and traditions, he was informed, that if any knight, unattended, entered an adjacent plain by moonlight, and challenged an adversary to appear, he would be immediately encountered by a spirit in the form of a knight. Osbert resolved to make the experiment, and set out, attended by a single squire, whom he ordered to remain without the limits of the plain, which was surrounded by an ancient entrenchment. On repeating the challenge, he was instantly assailed by an adversary, whom he quickly unhorsed, and seized the reins of his steed. During this operation, his ghostly opponent sprung up, and, darting his spear, like a javelin, at Osbert, wounded him in the thigh. Osbert returned in triumph with the horse, which he committed to the care of his servants. The horse was of a sable colour, as well as his whole accoutrements, and apparently of great beauty and vigour. He remained with his keeper till cockcrowing, when, with eyes flashing fire, he reared, spurned the ground, and vanished. On disarming himself, Osbert perceived that he was wounded, and that one of his steel boots was full of blood. Gervase adds, that as long as he lived, the scar of his wound opened afresh on the anniversary of the eve on which he encountered the spirit."
I haven't found the original but this is a retelling by Sir Walter Scott in 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' , on line at the Tam Lin website.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
31st August 2005ce

Berwick Law (Hillfort)

Well I don't know how good your Middle Scottish is, but this is the tale of Gyre Carling, a giant witch /earth mother /that sort of thing. It's not for the delicate minded.
In Tyberius tyme, the trew imperatour,
Quhen Tynto hills fra skraiping of tour-henis was keipit,
Thair dwelt ane grit Gyre Carling in awld Betokis bour,
That levit upoun Christiane menis flesche, and rewheids unleipit ;
Thair wynit ane hir by, on the west syde, callit Blasour,
For luve of hir Iauchane lippis he walit and he weipit ;
He gadderit ane menzie of modwartis to warp doun the tour;
The Carling with ane yren club, quhen yat Blasour sleipit,
Behind the heil scho hat him sic ane blaw,
Quhil Blasour bled ane quart
Off milk pottage inwart,
The Carling luche, and lut fart
North Berwik Law.
.. from which I gather her neighbour fancied her and sent some moles to undermine her house - but she bashed him over the head and laughed so much she farted out North Berwick Law. Ahem.

The rest of the anonymous poem is written in the 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' by Sir Walter Scott, online at the Tam Lin pages:
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
31st August 2005ce

Swayne's Jumps (Standing Stones)

According to Berta Lawrence in her 'Somerset Legends' (1973) during the civil war there was a man called Jan Swayne who lived in Moorlinch. Found to be a 'rebel' he was dragged from his bed to be taken to Bridgwater where he was to be hanged. Somehow he persuaded the troopers who came for him to untie him to show his crying children a last entertainment of how far he could leap (the 'police' are always stupid in films today too, so no change). Naturally he took three immense leaps - a hop, skip and a jump - which took him into the impenetrable and swampy Loxley Woods where he could hide safely.

The site of his leaps is known as 'Swayne's Jumps' or 'Swayne's Leaps' and you may find four (or even five) small stones in a line. The Somerset Historic Environment Record mentions them being in the SMR records, but I don't see a mention on Magic. Perhaps they're old, perhaps not? In the distant past perhaps this area would have been even boggier. Take your wellingtons and have a look. Apparently an old sign designates the place 'Jan Swaynes Jumps'.

The folklore is similar to that attached to other pairs or lines of stones (eg the Deerleap Stones).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th August 2005ce

Battlegore (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

One night during one of their last incursions, the Danes raided and burnt Watchet, and then they streamed inland plundering and burning as they went. The Saxons managed to ambush them at what is now known as Battlegore - many were killed though some escaped back to their ships. The mound at the site has long been called the burial place of the Danes.

According to Berta Lawrence, in 'Somerset Legends' (1973).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th August 2005ce

Wick Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

More local stories about the Pixies' Mound, from Berta Lawrence's 1973 'Somerset Legends'.

The hill was excavated in 1907 but local workmen were not keen to help. Some of those that did lend a hand experienced bad luck or illness - just as many people had predicted - and their wives persuaded them not to return to the work. After dark strange pixy music had been heard, and a circular wall of stones was discovered inside the mound - surely proof of the pixies' house?

When work was interrupted, some people said King Edward VII himself had stopped it because the excavation was so unlucky. The digging turned up 'a stone sword as long as a man's arm' and 'a wonderful bronze flagon' (somewhat exaggerated descriptions of the flint knife and pottery beaker that were found). A crouched skeleton was removed to Taunton museum. Was it Hubba himself (see the folklore at nearby Cynwit Castle)?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th August 2005ce

Cannington Camp (Hillfort)

I saw this wooded hill fort from the road; although it doesn't seem there is access over it, paths do lead around its base.

According to Berta Lawrence in 'Somerset Legends' (1973) it was "not many years ago" that people referred to this fort as "the place where they came from Athelney to fight."

Athelney (not so far away, the opposite side of Bridgwater) is where King Alfred was recuperating after coming off worst with the Danes. And now they were back. Odda spotted their ships from Longstone Hill on the Quantocks and set a beacon fire. He led his men (and one assumes, those from Athelney) to Cynwit Castle, meeting the Danish soldiers at the bottom of the hill, before nipping up into the safety of the camp to think.
When the pagans saw the stronghold unprepared and unguarded except for defenses built after our manner, they did not venture to storm it because from the nature of the ground the place was very secure on every side except on the east, as I myself have seen; instead they began to besiege it, thinking that those men would quickly be forced to surrender because of hunger and thirst, for there was no water near. But it did not turn out as they expected. For the Christians, before they suffered any such straits, prompted by God to believe it much better to win either death or victory, at dawn made an unexpected sortie upon the pagans, and shortly slew most of them, together with their king, only a few escaping to the boats.
(from Bishop Asser's 'Life of King Alfred', quoted at the Medieval Sourcebook.

Lawrence says that 1200 Danes were slaughtered, and were buried together where the modern quarry is now. She adds the ghastly detail that the quarrying left skeletons protruding from the soil and that they were 'quite a familiar sight to blackberry pickers'! (ugh)

Perhaps this idea of bones comes from a shrine/cemetery on the hill dating possibly from Roman times - see the story about the 'child of Cannington' on the Cannington Web Pages here:
It seems that areas of the hill have been quarried into regardless of the fact that they are a scheduled monument, and the Somerset Historic Env. Record says that the EH boundary markers appear to have been moved. Tsk. What has been lost? The hill has obviously been of great importance over a very long period of time, and finds have been made of pre Iron-Age objects. It's possible (according to the Cannington web pages) that the quarry may be reopened.

Lawrence adds in her book that the few Danes remaining buried their chief, Hubba, in a mound of his own. Near Chippenham there is Hubbaslow - Chippenham being the site of an earlier battle - but she suggests that everyone knows his burial mound is the one at Wick, next to Hinkley Point power station. (Of course we can say that both mounds are prehistoric and nothing to do with the Danes, though they might have been reused).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th August 2005ce

Dowsborough (Hillfort)

Dowsborough hill is replete with all sorts of strange names that beg for explanation: Great Bear, Robin Upright's Hill, Knacker's Hole.. One of them (mentioned below), 'Dead Woman's Ditch' is supposed to refer to the murdered wife of John Walford. The place he was left to hang in irons is now called 'Walford's Gibbet'. Ruth Tongue collected a little tale about the site from a farmer's daughter in Cannington.
Arter Walford were 'anged up there to Dowsburgh, there was a lot o' talk down to the Castle o' Comfort Inn, and they got to talking, and then they got to drinking zider and then one vellow getting a bit over-merry, they dared 'en to go up to Walford's Gibbet. Well, 'twere getting late at night, and being over full o' zider, 'e said 'e would, and off 'e goes. Well no sooner be 'e out o' front door than a couple o' rascals gets out by back door, and straight up over the 'ill. Laughing to themselves, they come up through the barn and the bushes like, till they come to the foot o' the gibbet, and they 'ided in bushes. And bye and bye they 'ears bootses coming up 'ill, getting a bit slower like, as they comes nearer to where gibbet was, and they chuckles to theirselves, and then boots comes a bit slower, like, and then, out o' the air above 'em comes a voice - "Oh! Idn't it cold up 'ere! Be yew cold too?"
Well by the time the vellow with the boots, and they two got down to Castle o' Comfort, they weren't cold no more.

You can still visit the Castle of Comfort today, it's marked 'hotel' on the map. But perhaps you'll only want to walk up to the Walford's Gibbet during the daylight.

Story copied from 'English Folktales' by Briggs and Tongue, 1965.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th August 2005ce

Battlegore (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

This is what happened after the episode at the Whit stones. It was some time later, after the Devil had dried out a bit, but he was still feeling embarrassed and angry. He and the Giant met up on the hill above West Quantoxhead for the next round of their throwing competition. He had his eyes to the ground to find a suitable stone when before he could react, the giant had picked his up and thrown it right over to Battlegore, six miles away. "It'll be your turn now," the giant said.

Well Old Nick was dancing with rage because he'd missed his chance to cheat. And perhaps his temper made his hand shake becuase when he'd thrown his stone, the giant's was further off. "Now," says the giant, "It's your promise to go away from round here, and never come back no more. But as no one don't trust you, I'll make sure." And he picked up the devil by his tail again and waded out into the Severn Channel until he was up to his armpits. Then he gave him a good swing, three times round his head, and let go. He probably hit the water somewhere near the West Indies - wherever, he had a good long swim back. He's back now of course, but you won't see him in Somerset because he doesn't want to bump into the giant.

(retold from Ruth Tongue's version heard in Minehead in the 50s, in 'Folktales of England' Briggs/Tongue 1965)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th August 2005ce

Whit Stones (Standing Stones)

The Giant of Grabbist and the Devil had had quite enough of each other. Exmoor wasn't big enough for the both of them. They decided to have a competition and whoever lost would have to leave the place for good.

They met up on Bossington Beacon; it was to be a throwing contest, and they'd each throw a big stone over to Porlock Common, about four miles away. The devil went first. His stone sailed up through the air and landed -douf- on the common, pointing up to the sky. Then it was the giant's turn. Just as he was about to release his stone- "A-HEM," the devil coughed. The stone still flew through the air to the common, but landed about three feet short of Old Nick's.

Well it was obvious: the giant would have to leave. Like heck he was - he gave the devil a shove and sat down on top of him. The devil was squirming and crying, but the giant just took out his pipe and calmly began smoking. When he'd finished he tapped his pipe out on the devil's head, picked him up by the tail, and said "I don't think that was a fair throw. We'll throw from Quantock later on. In the meantime you go and cool your head." He tossed the devil up in the air and batted him out into Porlock Bay.

(retold from a version by Ruth Tongue, who heard it locally in the 1940/50s; Tongue and Briggs, 'Folktales of England' 1965)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th August 2005ce
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