The next legend was obtained from a young girl of nine, a cripple, who stated that she had heard it from her “gran.” But I think it was tinged by her own fancy, which seemed to lean to eerie things, and she certainly revelled in the gruesome descriptions, fairly making my flesh creep with her words and gestures. I have kept not only to the outline of her story, but in great part to her very words, which I think I could not have made more effective even if I had wished to do so.


The Dead Moon.

Long agone, i’ ma gran’s toime, th’ Car-lan’s doun by wor a’ in bogs, as thee’s heerd tell, mebbe: gra’at pools o’ black watter, an’ creepin’ trickles o’ green watter, an’ squishy mools as’d soock owt in, as stept on un.

Weel, my gran’ used to sa’ay, how, long afwore her toime, tha moon’s sel’ wor towanst de’ad an’ buried i’ tha ma-ashes; an’ if thee will, a’ll tell thee aboot it as she used for to tell me.

Tha moon up yond’, shone an’ shone to than, jest as she do now, thoff thou moightn’t ha’ thowt it; an’ whan she shone, she loighted oop a’ tha bog-pads so’s a body cu’d wa’alk aboot, most ’s safe as o’ days. But when she didna shine, then oot cam’ a tha Things ’at dool i’ tha Darkness, an’ want aboot seekin’ to do evil an’ harm to all as worna safe beside ther ain he’arths. Harm an’ mischance an’ mischief: Bogles, an’ de’ad Things, an’ crawlin’ Horrors: tha a’ coomed oot o’ noights when the moon didna shine.

Weel, it comed so, ’at tha Moon heerd tell on a’ this; an’ bein’ kin’ an’ good—as she be, surely, a-shoinin’ fur us a’ noights, ’stead o’ takin’ her nat’ral rest; she wor main troubled to think o’ what went on ahint her back, loike; an’ says she: “A’ll see fur mysel, a wull; it mebbe, ’at its none so bad ’s fo’ak mak’ oot.”

So sewer ’nuff, come tha month end, doun she stept hapt oop wi’ a black cloak, an’ a black hood o’wer her yaller shinin’ hair; an’ straight she went to tha Bog edge, an’ looked aboot her. Watter here, an’ watter there; wavin’ tussocks, an’ trem’lin’ mools, an’ gra’at black snags a’ twisted and bent; an’ afwore her, a’ dark—dark, but the glimmer o’ tha stars on tha pools, an’ tha loight as comed fro’ ’s ’ain white feet, stealin’ oot o’ s black clo’ak. On a went, fair into the mid’ o’ tha bogs; an’ aye lookin’ about {158} her; an’ ’twor a mortal quare soight as ’a looked on. Tha witches girned as tha rode past on ther gra’at black cats; an’ tha evil Eye glowered fro’ tha da’arkest corners—an’ tha will-o’-tha-wykes danced a’ aboot wi’ ther lanterns swingin’ o’ ther backs. Than tha de’ad fo’ak rose i’ tha watter, an’ lookit roon’ ’em in white twisted fa’aces an’ hell fire i’ ther empty een-holes; an’ tha slimy drippin’ De’ad Han’s slithered aboot, beckonin’ an’ p’intin’, and makin’ yer skin crawl wi’ ther cowld wet feel.

Tha moon drew ’s clo’ak faster aboot her, an’ tremmelt; but a wouldna gaw back, wi’oot seein’ a’ ther wor to be seen, so on she went, steppin’ light as tha win’ in summer fro’ tuft to tuft, atween tha greedy gurglin’ watter ho’als; an’ jest as she comed nigh a big black pool, ’s fut slipt, and a wor nigh toomlin’ in—an’ a grabbed wi’ bo’oth han’s at a snag near by, to steady ’asel’ wi’; but so cum as she touched it, a twined itsel’ round her wrists loike a pa’ir o’ han’cuffs, an’ gript her so ’s she culdna move. She pulled, an’ twisted, an’ fowt, but twor no’on good: a wor fast, an’ a mo’ost sta’ay fast; so a’ lookit aboot, an’ wunnerd if help ’d coom by; but a saw nowt but shiftin’ flurryin’ evil Things, comin’ an’ goin’ here an’ there busy wi’ ther ain ill wark.

But presently, as a stood trem’lin’ i’ tha da’ark a heerd summat ca’allin’ i’ tha distance—a voice ’at ca’alled an’ ca’all’d, an’ than de’ed away wi’ a sob; an’ then began agean wi’ a screech o’ pain or fear, an’ ca’d an’ ca’d, till tha ma-ashes weer full on tha pitiful cryin’ voice; an’ than a heerd steps floonderin’ along, squishin’ i’ tha muck, an’ slippin’ on’ tha tufts; an’ throff tha darkness, a saw han’s catchin’ at the snags an’ tha tussocks, an’ a white face wi’ gre’at feared eyen.

’Twor a man strayed i’ tha bogs; an’ a’ roon’ about un tha girnin’ bogles, an’ tha de’ad fo’ak, an’ tha creepin’ Horrors crawled an’ crooded; tha voices mocked un, an’ the De’ad Han’s ploocked at un, an’ ahead, tha will o’ tha wykes dangelt ther lanterns, an’ shuk wi’ evil glee as a led un furder ’n furder fro’ tha reet track. Ma-azed wi’ fear {159} an’ loathin’ for tha Things aboot un, a stroogled on t’ords tha flick’rin’ loights ’at looked loike he’p an’ sa’afety.

“Thou yonder,” a’d shriek, “Thou!—a’m catched i’ tha bog-lan’s!—dost hear?—God an’ Mary save ’s fro’ the Horrors—he’p, thou yonder!” An’ then a’d stop an’ sob an’ moan an’ ca’ on a’ tha saints an’ wise women an’ God ’issel to fetch un oot.

An’ than ’a ’d break oot in a shriek age’an, as tha slimy slithery things crawled round un, till a couldna even see the fause lights afwore un. An’ than, ’s if ’tworna bad aneugh a’ready, the horrors ’d tak a’ sorts o’ shapes; an’ rampin’ lasses ’d keek at un wi’ bright eyen, an’ stretch oot soft he’pin’ han’s; but when a’d try to catch hol’ on un, a’d cha’ange in ’s grip to slimy things an’ shapeless worms, an’ tha wicked voices ’d mock un wi’ foul glee. An a’ tha evil thoughts an’ deeds o’s life cam’ an’ whispet in ’s ears, an’ da’anced aboot an’ shooted oot tha secret things o’s ain heart, till a shrieked an’ sobbed wi’ pain an’ shame, an’ the Horrors crawled an’ gibbered roon’ aboot an’ mocked un. An’ when tha poor Moon saw ’at he wor coomin’ nigher an’ nigher to the deep holes an’ tha deadly quicks, an’ furder ’n furder fro’ the pad, a wor so mad an’ so sorry, ’at she stroogled an’ fowt an’ pulled, harder nor iver. An’ thoff a couldna get loose, wi’ a’ her twistin’ an’ toogin’, the black hood fell ba’ack off ’a shoinin’ yaller hair, an’ tha beautiful light as coomed fro’t druv away tha darkness.

Ooh! but tha man grat wi’ joy to see God’s ain light age’an; an’ towanst tha evil things fled ba’ack into tha da’ark corners; fur tha canna boide tha light. So tha left un, an’ fled; an’ a could see whur a wor, and whur tha pad wor, an’ hoo a’d hev to gaw fur to get oot o’ tha ma’ash. An’ a wor in sich a ha-aste to get awa-ay fro’ tha quicks an’ tha boglan’s, an’ tha things ’at doolt thur, ’at a sca’arce lookit at tha bra’ave light ’at coomed fro’ tha beautiful shinin’ yaller hair streamin’ oot o’er the black cloak, an’ fallin’ to the watter at’s feet. An’ tha Moon’s sel wor so tuk oop wi’ sa’avin’ he, an’ wi’ rejoicin’ ’at a wor ba’ack on {160} tha reet pad, ’at a cle’an furgot ’at a needed he’p ’asel’, an’ ’at a wor held fast by the Black Snag.

So off a went; spent an’ gaspin’ an’ stumblin’, an’ sobbin’ wi’ joy, fleein’ fur’s life oot o’ tha tur’ble Bogs. Than it coom ower the Moon, ’at ’ad loike main to gaw wi’ un; an’ a gra’at fear coom to ’a; an’ a pulled an’ fowt ’sif a wor mad, till a fell on’s knees, spent wi’ toogin’, at tha fut o’ tha snag. An’ as a la’ay thur, gaspin’ fur bre’ath, tha bla’ack hood fell for’ard ower her he’ad; an’ thoff she tried to throw un ba’ack, ’twor catched in her hair, an’ wudna gaw. So oot want tha blessed light, an’ back coomed tha darkness wi’ a’ its evil things, wi’ a screech an’ a howl. They cam croodin’ round her, mockin’ an’ snatchin’ an’ beatin’; shriekin’ wi’ rage an’ spite, an’ swearin’ wi’ foul tongues, spittin’ an’ snarlin’, fur tha kenned her fur ther au’d enemy, tha’ bra’ave bright Moon, as druv ’em ba’ack into tha corners, an’ kep’em fro’ warkin’ their wicked wills My—what a clapperdatch ’twor—an’ tha poor Moon crooched tremblin’ an’ sick i’tha mid, an’ won’erd when tha’d make an en’ o’t, an’ o’ she.

“Dom’ tha!” yelled tha witch-bodies, “thou’st spiled oor spells this year agone!”

“An’ thou keeps us in wer stra’ight coffins o’ noights!” mo’aned tha de’id Fo’ak.

“An’ us thou sen’s to brood i’ tha corners!” howled tha Bogles.

An’ a’ tha Things joined in wi’ a gra’at “Ho, ho!” till tha varry tussocks shuk, and tha watter gurgled. An’ tha began age’an.

“Us’ll poison her—poison her!” shrieked the witches. An’ “Ho, ho!” howled the Things age’an.

“Us’ll smother her—smother her!” whispered the crawlin’ Horrors, an’ twined thersel’s roon’ her knees.

An’ “Ho, ho!” mocked the rest o’un.

“Us’ll strangle her—strangle her!” screeched tha Dead Han’s, an’ ploocked at ’a throat wi’ could fingers.

An’ “Ho, ho!” they yelled age’an.

{161} But tha dead Fo’ak writhed an’ girned about ’a, an’ chuckled to thersel’s.

“We’se bury thee, bury thee, doun wi’ us i’ tha black mools!”

An’ age’an tha a’ shouted wi’ spite an’ ill-will. An’ tha poor Moon crooched doun, an’ wished a wor de’ad, an’ done wi’.

An’ tha fowt an’ squabbled what tha should do wi’ her, till a pale gray light began to coom i’ tha sky; an’ it drew nigh the dawning. An’ when tha saw that, tha wor feared lest tha shouldna hev toime to work ther wull; an’ tha catched hol’ on her, wi’ horrid bony fingers, an’ laid her deep i’ tha watter at fut o’ tha snag. An’ tha dead fo’ak held her doun, while tha bogles fo’t a stra’ange big sto’an an’ rowled it o’top o’ her, to keep her fro’ rising. An’ tha towld twae o’ tha will o’ tha wykes to ta’ake turns i’ watchin’, on tha black snag, to see ’at a lay safe an’ still, an’ couldna get oot to spoil ther sport wi’ her loight, nor to he’p tha poor car-fo’ak to keep oot o’ tha quicks an’ ho’als o’ nights. An’ then, as tha grey light comed brighter i’ tha sky, tha shapeless Things fled away to seek tha da’ark corners, an’ tha dead fo’ak crept ba’ack into tha watter, or crammed thersel’s into ther coffins, and tha witches went ho’am to ther ill-do’ins. An’ tha green slimy watter shone i’ tha dawnin’ ’sif nae ill thing ’d aye coom nigh it.

An’ thur lay tha poor moon, de’ad an’ buried i’ tha bog till sum ’un ’d set her loose; an’ who’d ken whur to look fur a?

*   *   *   *   *   *

Weel, tha days pa’assed, an’ ’twor tha toime fur tha new moon’s coomin’; an’ tha fo’ak put pennies i’ ther pockets, and straws i’ ther caps so’s to be ready fur a, an lookit aboot onquietly, fur tha moon wor a good frien’ to tha ma’ash fo’ak, an’ tha wor main glad when tha da’ark toime wor ga’an, an’ tha pads wor safe age’an, an’ tha Evil Things wor druv back by the blessed Light into the darkness an’ tha watter ho’als.

{162} But days an’ da’ays passed, an’ tha new moon niver ca’ame, an’ tha nights wor aye da’ark, an’ th’ Evil Things wor badder nor iver. Ther wor no’on a loaning safe to travel, an’ tha boggarts crept an’ wailed roon’ tha hooses an’ keekit in at the winders, an’ sneepit at tha latches, till tha poor bodies mun ke’p lights a’ night, else tha horrors ’d a coomed ower tha varry doorsils.

Aye so, tha bogles o’ a’ sorts seemed to ha’ lost a’ fearin’. Tha howled an’ lafft an’ screecht aroon’, fit to wa’ake tha de’id thersel’s, an’ tha Car-fo’ak mun sit tremmlin’ an’ shakin’ by tha foire, an’ could nor sleep nor rast, nor pit fit across tha sil’, a thae da’ark an’ dreary nights.

An’ still tha da’ays went on, an’ tha new moon niver comed.

Nat’rally tha poor fo’ak were stra’ange feared and mazed, an’ a lot o’ un went to the wise woman wha doolt i’ th’ ’owd mill, an’ axed ef so be ’s tha could fin’ oot wheer tha moon wor ga’an.

“Weel,” said she, arter lookin’ i’ tha brewpot, and i’ tha mirror, an’ i’ tha Book, “it be main quare, but a canna reetly tell ye what’s hapt wi’ her. It be dark, dark, an’ a canna see nowt i’ tha spells. Go’a slow, childer, a ’ll think on it, an’ mappen a ’ll can he’p ye yet. If ye hear o’ a’wthing, coom by ’n tell ma; ’n annyways pit a pinch o’ salt, a stra’aw, an’ a button on the door sil o’ nights, an’ tha Horrors ’ll no can coom ower it, light or no light.”

So tha want ther wa’ays; an’ as da’ays want by, an’ niver a moon come, nat’rally tha talked—ma word! a reckon tha did ta’alk! ther tongues wagged like kenna what, at ho’am, an’ at th’ inn, an i’ tha garth. But so come one da’ay, as tha sat on tha gra’at settle i’ th’ Inn, a man fro’ tha fa’ar en’ o’ th’ boglan’s was smokin’ an listenin’, when all to wanst, a sat oop ’n slapt ’s knee. “Ma faicks!” sa’ays ’e, “A ’d clean furgot, but a reckon a kens wheer tha moon be !” an’ he telit ’em hoo a wor lost i’ tha bogs, an’ hoo when a wor nigh de’ad wi’ fright, tha loight shone oot, an’ a’ tha Evil Things fled awa’ay, an’ a fund tha pad ’n got ho’am safe.

{163} “An’ a wor so mazed wi’ fear, loike,” says he, “a didn’t reetly look wheer the light comed fro’; but a mind fine ’twor saft an’ white like tha moon’s sel’. An ’t comed fro’ suthin’ da’ark stannin’ nigh a black snag i’ tha watter. An’ a didn’t reetly look,” says he age’an, “but a seem to mind a shinin’ fa’ace an’ yaller hair i’ the mid’ o’ the dazzle, an’ ’t’ad a sort o’ kin’ look, loike th’ aud moon ’asel aboon tha Cars o’ nights.

So aff tha a’ want to tha wise woman, an’ tellt un aboot it, an’ a looked lang i’ the pot an’ tha Book age’an, an’ than a nodded ’s head. “Its da’ark still, childer, da’ark !” says she, “an’ a canna reetly see owt, but do ’s a tell ye, an’ ye’ll fin’ out for yersel’s. Go’a all on ye, just afwore the night gathers, pit a sto’on i’ yer gobs, an’ tak’ a hazel twig i’ yer han’s, an’ say ne’er a word till yer safe ho’am age’an. Than wa’alk on an’ fear nowt, fair into tha mid’ o’ tha ma’ash, till ye fin’ a coffin, a can’lle, an’ a cross. Than ye ’ll no be far frae yer moon; look, and mappen ye ’ll fin’.

Tha lookit each at ither, an’ scratched the’r heads.

“But wheer ’ll us fin’ her, mother?” says ane.

“An’ hoo ’ll us goa?” says t’other.

“An wull na’ tha bogles fett us?” says another, an’ so on.

“Houts!” said she, fratched loike. “Passel o’ fools! A can tell ye nae more; do as a tellt ee ’n fear nowt; ’n’ ef ye don’t loike, than sta’ay by tha hoose, an’ do wi’ outen yer moon ef ye wull.”

So cum tha nex’ night i’ tha darklin’s, oot tha want a’ thegether, ivery man wi’ a sto’on in’s moath, an’ a hazel-twig in’s han’, an’ feelin’, thou mayst reckon, main feared an’ creepy. An’ tha stummelt an’ stottered along tha pads into the mid o’ tha bogs; tha seed nowt, mirover, thoff tha heerd sighin’s an’ flust’rin’s i’ ther ears, an’ felt cowld wet fingers techin’ ’em; but on tha want, lookin’ aroon’ for tha coffin, tha can’le, an’ tha cross, while tha comed nigh to the pool a side o’ tha great snag, wheer the moon lay buried. An’ a’ towanst tha stopt, quakin’ an’ mazed an’ skeery, fur theer wor tha gra’at sto’an, half in, half oot, o’ tha watter, {164} fur a’ th’ warl’ loike a stra’ange big coffin; an’ at tha he’ad wor tha black snag, stretchin’ oot’s twae arms in a dark grewsome cross; an’ on it a tiddy light flickered, like a deein’ can’le. An’ tha a’ knelt down i’ tha muck, an’ crossed thersel’s, an’ said, “Our Lord”, fu’st for’ard ’cause o’ tha cross, an’ then back’ard, to ke’p off tha Bogles; but wi’oot sp’akin’ out, fur tha kenned as tha Evil Things ’d catch ’em, ef tha didna do as tha wise woman tellt ’em.

Than tha want nigher, an’ tha took hol’ on tha big sto’an, an’ shoved un oop, an’ arterwards tha said ’at fur wan tiddy minute, tha seed a stra’ange an’ beautiful fa’ace lookin’ oop at ’em glad loike oot o’ tha black watter; but tha light coomed so quick ’an so white an’ shinin’, ’at tha stept ba’ack mazed wi’ it, an’ wi’ tha gre’at angry wail as coomed fro’ tha fleein’ Horrors; an’ tha varry nex’ minute, when they could see age’an, theer wor tha full moon i’ tha sky, bright an’ beautiful an’ kin’ ’s ’iver, shinin’ an’ smilin’ doun at ’em, an’ makin’ tha bogs an’ tha pads as clear as da’ay, an’ stealin’ into tha varry corners, as thoff she’d ha’ druv tha darkness an’ tha Bogles clean awa’ay ef a could.

So ho’am tha Car-fo’ak want, gladly and wi’ light hearts; an’ iver sence tha moon shines brighter ’n clearer ower tha Bogs than ither wheers; fur a mind’s fine, ’at tha Horrors coom wi’ tha da’ark, an’ mischance an’ mischief an’ a’ evil things, an’ ’at tha Car-fo’ak sowt her an’ found her, whan a wor de’ad an’ buried i’ tha Bog, an’ ma’rk my wo’ds, it be a’ true, fur ma gran ’asel a seed the snag wi’ its twae arms, fur a’ tha warl’ loike a gre’at cross, an’ tha green slimy watter at ’s fut, wheer tha poor moon wor buried, an’ the sto’an near by ’at kep’ a doun, while tha wise woman sent ’s Car-fo’ak to set a loose, an’ pit a in’s sky age’an.