A Witch Cat
The following account of the story is extracted from‘Legends Superstitions of the County of Durham’ by William Brockie (1886). ‘Mr. John Bonner, farmer at Beggar-Bush, between Easington and Castle Eden, and close beside the River Dene, was coming home one night in his cart, -when something rushed suddenly out of the hedge, leapt on to the cart behind him, and said, “Johnny Bonner, Johnny! when thou gets hyem, tell your cat Catherine Curley’s deed.” Turning round to see who it was that spoke, and seeing that it was a great big cat, he was terrified out of his wits. The cat leapt off the cart and he drove away furiously. When he reached home and got into the house and had thrown himself down on a seat, his wife saw he was in such a state, that she “exclaimed in mortal fear “Johnny, what’s the matter.” As soon as he could speak, her husband gasped out “0 Lass, sit down! there’s something awful happened te neet. As I was coming hyem a cat leapt on te me cart, and says “Johnny Bonner, Johnny, when thou gans hyem, tell your cat Catherine Curley’s deed.” No sooner had the good man uttered these words, and his wife had not had time to speak, when their own cat, a great favourite, which had been lying asleep on the ledge behind the old-fashioned kitchen chimney-piece, jumped up and exclaimed “Aw mun awa.”
She instantly ran out of the house, and was seen no more. Mr. Bonner was succeeded in the farm by Mr. George Dobinson, the father of the woman who told me the tale, which she had often heard him tell.