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The Linton Worm

During the twelfth century a worm lived in a hollow on the Northeast side of Linton Hill (called Worms Den today). From this lair it crawled to roam the countryside, eating livestock and laying waste to the land. The landscape around the area became desolate and derelict, avoided by the local population, who were in fear of the worm.

The story came to the ears of one Sommerville of Lariston, he came to the village of Jedburgh where many of the country folk had fled, and heard many conflicting tales about the dragon. Some said the dragon was sprouting wings, and others said that the dragon had fiery venomous breath that could kill from afar.

He decided to go and see for himself. He rode close to the worm's lair and waited. In a short while the worm caught his scent, brought half of its body out of its lair, and stood gazing at him with its mouth hanging open, but did not attack. He spent some time watching the habits of the dragon and saw that whenever somebody was close, it stood watching them with its great maw always gaping.

This gave Sommerville a plan. He went to the local blacksmith and had a long lance forged, a small iron wheel stood a foot from the point of the lance, and the barest touch would cause the point to drop.

On the point of the lance he placed a burning peat turf, dowsed in pitch and brimstone. With this he practised riding in joust position, until his horse had become used to the acrid smoke blowing in its face. He then told the people of his intention to slay the dragon but was only scorned by the elders for his folly.

The next day at sunrise he went with a servant to the worm's lair. He sat on his horse in readiness, and when the beast lumbered forward from out of its cave the servant set fire to the peat. Sommerville spurred his horse forward and in one swift movement shoved the burning peat into the worm's gaping maw. Thus was delivered a fatal blow to the Dragon of Linton. Sommerville was knighted and made a royal Falconer, he became the first Barron of Lintoune.

Daniel Parkinson

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