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Aylesbury Black Dog


The following story which appeared in English Fairy and Other Folk Tales by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890], concerns ‘a man who lived at a village near Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire. This man was accustomed to go every morning and night to milk his cows in a field, which was some distance from the village. To shorten his walk, he often crossed over a neighbour's field, and passed through a gap in the hedge; but one night, on approaching the gap, he found it occupied by a large, black, fierce-looking dog. He paused to examine the animal, and as he looked at him his fiery eyes grew larger and fiercer, and he had altogether such a fiend-like and "unkind" appearance, that he doubted whether he were "a dog or the bad spirit." Whichever he was, he thought he would be no pleasant antagonist to encounter. So he turned aside, and passed through a gate at the end of the field. Night after night he found the same dog in the gap, and turned aside in the same manner. One night, having fallen in with a companion, he returned homeward with him across his neighbour's field, being determined, if he found the dog in the gap, to make an attack upon him, and drive him away. On reaching the gap there stood the dog looking even fiercer and bigger than ever. But the milkman, wishing to appear valiant before his companion, put down his milk-pails, which were suspended from a yoke across his shoulders, and attempting to speak very bravely, though trembling all over, he exclaimed: "Now, you black fiend, I'll try what ye're made of!" He raised his yoke in both his hands, and struck at the dog with all his might. The dog vanished, and the milkman fell senseless to the ground. He was carried home alive, but remained speechless and paralytic to the end of his days.’

[The name of the village was given in the account and therefore the map below at this moment obviously cannot be accurate. Should the location of the field or village be discovered then the map will be updated.]


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