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Grassington Bargest


The following story was published in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890], under the title ‘Billy B---‘s Adventure’ and Robert Hunt’s 'Popular Romances of the West of England' was cited.

"You see, sir, as how I'd been a clock-dressing at Gurston (Grassington), and I'd staid rather lat, and maybe gitten a li'le sup o' spirit; but I was far from being drunk, and knowed everything that passed. It war about eleven o'clock when I left, and it war at back end o' t' year, and a most admirable (beautiful) fleet it war. The moon war varra breet, and I nivver seed Kylstone-fell plainer in a' my life. Now, you see, sir, I war passin' down t' mill loine, and I heerd summut come past me--brush, brush, brush, wi' chains rattling a' the while, but I seed nothing; and thowt to myself, now this is a most mortal queer thing. And I then stuid still, and luik'd about me; but I seed nothing at aw, nobbut the two stane wa's on each o' t' mill loine. Then I heerd again this brush, brush, brush, wi' the chains; for you see, sir, when I stuid still it stopped, and then, thowt I, this mun be a Bargest, that sae much is said about; and I hurried on towards t' wood brig; for they say as bow this Bargest cannot cross a watter; but Lord, sir, when I gat o'er t' brig, I heerd this same thing again; so it mud either hey crossed t' wafter, or have gane round t' spring heed (about thirty miles) I And then I becam a valliant man, for I war a bit freekn'd afore; and, thinks I, I'll turn and hey a peep at this thing; so I went up Greet Bank towards Linton, and heerd this brush, brush, brush, wi' the chains a' the way, but I seed nothing; then it ceased all of a sudden. So I turned back to go hame; but I'd hardly reached the door when I heerd again this brush, brush, brush, and the chains, going down towards t' Holin House; and I followed it, and the moon there shone varra breet, and I seed it: tailI Then, thowt I, thou owd thing, I can say Ise seen thee now; so I'll away hame. When I gat to t' door, there war a grit thing like a sheep, but it war larger, ligging across t' threshold of t' door, and it war woolly like; and says I; 'Git up,' and it wouldn't git up. Then says I: 'Stir thysel,' and it wouldn't stir itsell And I grew valliant, and I raised t' stick to baste it Wi'; and then it luik'd at me, and sich oies (eyes) they did glower, and war as big as saucers, and like a cruelled ball. First there war a red ring, then a blue one, then a white one; and these rings grew less and less till they came to a dot! Now, I war nane feer'd on it, tho' it grin'd at me fearfully, and I kept on saying 'Git up,' and 'Stir thysel,' and t' wife heerd as how I war at t' door, and she cam to oppen it; and then this thing gat up and walked off, for it war mare freet'd o' t' wife than it war o' me; and I told the wife, and she said it war Bargest; but I nivver seed it since--and that's a true story."


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