Hound’s Pool, Deancombe

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  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Hound’s Pool, Deancombe
    The the following story of The Hound’s Pool appears in Eden Phillpotts (born 1862 – died 1960) ‘The Torch and Other Tales’

    By day the place was inviting enough and a child wouldn’t have feared to be there. Dean Burn came down from its cradle far away in the hills and threaded Dean Woods with ripple and flash and song. The beck lifted its voice in stickles and shouted over the mossy apron of many a little waterfall; and then under the dark of the woods it would go calm, nestle in a backwater here and there, then run on again. And of all fine spots on a sunny day the Hound’s Pool was finest, for here Dean Burn had scooped a hole among the roots of forest trees and lay snug from the scythe of the east wind, so that the first white violet was always to be found upon the bank and the earliest primrose also. In winter time, when the boughs above were naked, the sun would glint upon the water; and sometimes all would be so still that you could hear a vole swimming; and then again, after a Dartmoor freshet, the stream would come down in spate, cherry-red, and roll big waters for such a little river. And then Hound’s Pool would be like to rise over its banks and drown the woodman’s path that ran beside it and throw up sedges and dead grasses upon the lowermost boughs of the overhanging thicket to show where it could reach sometimes.

    ‘Twas haunted, and old folk–John Meadows among ’em–stoutly maintained that nothing short of Doomsday would lay the spectrum, because they knew the ancient tale of Weaver Knowles, and believed in it also; but the legend had gone out of fashion, as old stories will, and it came as a new and strange thing to the rising generation. ‘Tis any odds the young men and maidens would never have believed in it; but by chance it happed to be a young man who revived the story, and as he’d seen with his own eyes, he couldn’t doubt. William Parsloe he was, under-keeper at Dean, and he told
    what he’d seen to John Meadows, the head-keeper; but it weren’t till he heard old John on the subject that he knew as he’d beheld something out of another world than his own.

    The two men met where a right of way ran through the preserves–a sore trial to the keepers and the owners also, but sacred under the law—and Harry Wade, the returned native, as had just come back to his birthplace, was walking along with Parsloe at the time.

    The keepers were a good bit fretted and on their mettle just then, because there was a lot of poaching afoot and pheasants going, and a dead bird or two picked up, as had escaped the malefactors, but died after and been found. So when Parsloe stopped Mr. Meadows and said as he’d got something to report, the old man hoped he might have a line to help against the enemy. One or two law-abiding men, Wade among ’em, had been aiding the keepers by night, and the police had also lent a hand; but as yet nobody was laid by the heels, nor even suspected. So it looked like stranger men
    from down Plymouth way; and the subject was getting on John Meadows’ nerves, because his master, a great sportsman who poured out a lot of money on his pheasants, didn’t like it and was grumbling a good bit.

    Then William Parsloe told his tale:

    "I was along the Woodman’s Path last night working up to the covers," he said, "and beside Hound’s Pool I fell in with a hugeous great dog. ‘Twas a moony night and I couldn’t be mistook. ‘Twas no common dog I knowed, but black as sin and near so large as a calf. He didn’t make no noise, but come like a blot of ink down to the pool and put his nose down to drink, and in another moment I’d have shot the creature, but he scented me, and then he saw me, as I made to lift my gun, and was off like a streak of lightning."

    John Meadows stared and then he showed a good bit of satisfaction.

    "Ah!" he said. "I’m glad as it is one of the younger people seed it, and not me, or some other old man; because now ’twill be believed. Hound’s Pool, you say?"

    Parsloe nodded and Harry Wade asked a question. He was a tall, handsome chap tanned by the foreign sun where he’d lived and worked too.

    "What of it, master?" he said.

    "This of it," answered Meadows. "Bill Parsloe have seen the Hound and no less. And the Hound ain’t no mortal dog at all, but he was once a mortal man and the tale be old history now, yet none the less true for that. My father, as worked here before me, saw him thrice, and his highest good came to him after; and Benny Price, a woodman, saw him once ten year ago, and good likewise came to him, for Mrs. Price ran away with a baker’s apprentice at Buckfastleigh and was never heard of again. And since you’ve seen the Hound, Parsloe, I hope good will come to you."

    Neither of t’other men had heard the tale and Harry Wade was very interested, because he minded that, when a nipper, his mother had told him something about it. And Parsloe, who was pretty well educated and a very sharp man, felt inclined to doubt he hadn’t seen a baggering poacher’s mongrel; but old John wouldn’t tell ’em then. He was a stickler for his job and never wasted no time gossiping in working hours.

    "’Tis too long to unfold now," he said, "because Bill and me have got to be about our duty; but if you’ll drop in o’ Sunday and drink a dish of tea, Wade, you can hear the truth of the Hound; and you can look in on your way to work, Bill, and hear likewise if you’ve a mind to it."

    They promised to come and upon the appointed hour both turned up at the gamekeeper’s cottage on Thurlow Down, where the woods end and the right of way gives to the high road. And there was John and his wife, Milly, and their daughter, Millicent, for she was called after her mother and always went by her full name to distinguish her. Meadows had married late in life and Milly was forty when he took her, and they never had but one child. A very lovely, shy, woodland sort of creature was Millicent Meadows, and though a good few had courted her, William Parsloe among ’em, none had won her, or tempted her far from her mother’s apron-strings as yet. Dark and brown-eyed and lively she was, with a power of dreaming, and she neighboured kindlier among wild things than tame, and belonged to the woods you might say. She was a nervous maiden, however, and owing to her gift of make-believe, would people the forest with strange shadows bred of her own thoughts and fancies. So she better liked the sunshine than the moonlight and didn’t travel abroad much after dark unless her father, or some other male, was along with her.

    Another joined the tea-party–a very ancient man, once a woodman, and a crony of John’s; and the keeper explained to the younger chaps why he’d asked Silas Belchamber to come to tea and meet ’em.

    "Mr. Belchamber’s the oldest servant on the property and a storehouse of fine tales, and when I told him the Hound had been seen, he was very wishful to see the man as had done so," explained Mr. Meadows. "You may say the smell of a saw-pit clings to Silas yet, for he moved and breathed in the dust of pine and larch for more’n half a century."

    "And now I be waiting for the grey woodman to throw me myself," said Mr. Belchamber. "But I raised up as well as threw down, didn’t I, John?"

    "Thousands o’ dozens of saplings with those hands you planted, and saw lift up to be trees," answered Meadows, "and scores of dozens of timber you’ve felled; and now, if you’ve took your tea, Silas, I’d have you tell these chaps the story of Weaver Knowles, because you’ll do it better than what I can."

    The old man sparked up a bit.

    "For my part, knowing all I know, I never feared the Hound’s Pool," he said, "though a wisht place in the dimpsey and after dark as we know. But when a lad I drew many a sizeable trout out of it–afore your time, John, when it weren’t poaching to fish there as it be now. Not that I ever see the Hound; but I’ve known them that have, and if I don’t grasp the truth of the tale, who should, for my grandfather acksually knowed the son of old Weaver Knowles, and he heard it from the man’s own lips, and I heard it from grandfather when he was eighty-nine year old and I was ten."

    "Then we shall have gospel truth for certain," said Harry Wade, with his eyes on Millicent Meadows.

    "Oh, yes," answered Silas, "because my grandfather could call home the taking of Canada and many such like far-off things, so that shows you the sort of memory he’d gotten. But nowadays the learning of the past be flouted a good bit and what our fathers have told us don’t carry no weight at all. Holy spells and ghostesses and–"

    "You get on to Hound Pool, Silas," said John Meadows, "because Parsloe will have to go to his work in ten minutes."

    "The solemn truth be easily told," declared Mr. Belchamber. "Back along in dim history there was a weaver by name of Knowles who lived to Dean Combe. Him and his son did very well together and he was a widower with no care but for his work. Old Weaver, he stuck to his yarn and was a silent and lonely fashion of man by all accounts. Work was his god, and ’twas said he sat at his loom eighteen hours out of every twenty-four. Then, coming home one evening, the man’s son heard the loom was still and went in and found old Knowles fallen forward on the top of his work, dead. So they buried him at Buckfastleigh.

    "Then young Knowles, coming home to his empty house after the funeral, suddenly heard the music of the loom and thought his ears had played him false. But the loom hummed on and he crept up over to see who was weaving. In a pretty good rage he was, no doubt, to think of such a thing; but then his blood turned from hot to cold very quick, I warn ‘e, for there was his father sitting on the old seat and working weft through warp as suent and clever as if he was alive!

    "Well, young Knowles he glared upon his dead parent and felt the hair rising on his niddick and the sweat running down his face; but he kept his nerve pretty clever and crept away and ran for all his might to the village and went to see Parson. They believed more in those days than what they do now, and Parson, whatever he may have thought, knew young Knowles for a truth-teller and obeyed his petition to come at once. But the good man stopped in the churchyard and gathered up a handful of sacred ground; and then he went along to the dead weaver’s house.

    "Sure enough the loom was a-working busy as ever; but it couldn’t drown Parson’s voice, for he preached from one of they old three-decker pulpits, like a ship o’ war, and his noise, when the holy man was in full blast, would rise over a thunderstorm.

    "’Knowles! Knowles!’ he cried out; ‘Come down this instant. This is no place for you!’

    "And then, hollow as the wind in a winter hedge, the ghost made answer.

    "’I will obey so soon as I have worked out my quill, your reverence,’ replied the spirit of Weaver Knowles, and Parson didn’t raise no objection to that, but bade the dead man’s son kneel down; and he done so; and the priest also knelt and lifted his voice in prayer for five minutes.

    "Then the loom stopped and old Knowles came forth and glided downstairs; and not a step creaked under him, for young Knowles specially noted that wonder when he told my grandfather the adventure.

    "At sight of Old Weaver, Parson took his churchyard dust and boldly threw it in the face of the vision, and afore you could cross your heart the shadow had turned into a gert black dog–so dark as night. The poor beast whimpered and yowled something cruel, but Parson was short and stern with it, well knowing you can’t have half measures with spirits, no more than you can with living men if you will to conquer ’em. So he takes a high line with the weaver, as one to be obeyed.

    "’Follow me, Knowles,’ he said to the creature. ‘Follow me in the name of the Father, Son, and Ghost’; which the forlorn dog did do willy-nilly; and he led it down the Burn, to Hound’s Pool, and there bade it halt. Then the man of God took a nutshell–just a filbert with a hole in it bored by a squirrel–and he gave it boldly into the dog’s mouth.

    "’Henceforth,’ he said, ‘you shall labour here to empty the pool, using nought but this nutshell to do so; and when you have done your work, but no sooner, then you shall go back whence you came.’

    "And the Hound will be on the job till the end of the world afore he gets peace, no doubt, and them with ears to hear, may oft listen to a sound in the water like the rattling of a loom to this day; but ’tis no more than that poor devil-dog of a Knowles at his endless task."

    Millicent poured the old man another cup of tea and Parsloe went to work and Wade applauded the tale-teller.

    "A very fine yarn, uncle," he said, "and I’m glad to know the rights of it; and if the Hound brings luck, I hope I’ll see him."

    "More would see him if faith was there," answered old Belchamber. "But where do you find faith in these days? For all I can see the childer taught in school don’t believe in nothing on earth but themselves. In fact, you may say a bald head be a figure of scorn to ’em, same as it was in the prophet’s time."

    "Youth will run to youth, like water to the sea," said Harry Wade. "But a very fine tale, master, and I hope I may be the next to meet thicky ghost Hound I’m sure."

    "You’ve had your luck, Mr. Wade, by all accounts," laughed Millicent, but the returned native was doubtful. They chatted and he told ’em some of his adventures and how, at the last gasp, prospecting along with two other men, they had found a bit of gold at last.

    "Not any too much for three, however," said Harry; "but enough for a simple customer like me. They say lucky in life unlucky in love; but I much hope I haven’t been too lucky in life to spoil my chance of a home-grown partner."

    Mr. Belchamber departed then, because he was rather tired after his tale, but Harry stopped on, because Mrs. Meadow had took a liking to his talk and found he’d got a very civil way with old women. He’d listen to her and, as she loved to chatter, though she’d got nothing whatever to say, as so often happens with the great talkers, his attention pleased her and she asked him if he’d bide to supper. And Millicent liked him also, being drawn to the man by his account of great hardships and perils borne with bravery; for though Harry wasn’t the hero of his own tales no more than his mates had been, yet he had gone through an amazing lot and done some bold and clever things. And the girl, being one of the timid sort, liked to hear of the courage of a man, as they will. Wade was an open speaker, and had no secrets from ’em. He confessed that he’d got a clear four hundred pounds a year out of his battle with life.

    "Not much for what I endured," he said, "yet a lot more than many poor chaps, who went through worse. And now I’m in a mind to settle down and find a bit of work and stick to Dean Prior for evermore."

    Mrs. Meadows laughed at her daughter when Harry was gone, for she had quick senses and was a good bit amused to see her shy girl open out and show interest in the man; but to chaff Millicent was always the way to shut her up, and she wouldn’t let her mother poke fun at her.

    "Now I’ll never see him again," vowed Millicent, "and all along of you, mother, for I’d blush to the roots of my hair if he spoke to me any more while I knew your cruel sharp eye was on me."

    However, see him again she did, because Wade had asked ’em all to come and drink tea long with him and witness the curiosities he’d fetched home from Australia; and though the girl made a hard try to escape the ordeal, her father bade her go along with him. Mrs. Meadows didn’t go when the day came, because she weren’t feeling very well; and out of her ailments sprang a surprising matter that shook ’em all to the roots.

    Harry Wade lived in a little house all alone and did for himself very clever as old campaigners know how to do. He’d planned a very nice meal for ’em and laid out his treasures and was very sorry when John and his daughter explained the absence of Mrs. Meadows. And sorrier still he declared himself to be when they cut their visit a bit short, because for
    the need to get home pretty quick to the suffering woman.

    He was engaged for the most part with Millicent’s father that visit, though he pressed food of his own cooking upon her and tried to make her chatter a bit. But he got little out of her, for she weren’t a talker at best, and she couldn’t forget her mother had laughed at her for being so interested in the man, and so she was shyer than usual.

    But though she said nought, she liked to hear her father praise Harry as they went home along, for John thought well upon him.

    "He’s a man who have got a regular mind despite his dangerous past," said the old chap. "You might think such a venturesome way of life would make him reckless and lawless; but far from it. His experience have made him
    see the high value of law and order."

    "He’s brave as a lion seemingly," ventured Millicent, and her father allowed it was so.

    "An undaunted man," he admitted, "and his gifts will run to waste now, because, unless you’re in the police, or else a gamekeeper, there’s little all for courage."

    Mrs. Meadows was a lot worse when they came home and they got her to bed and put a hot brick in flannel to her feet; but she’d had the like attacks before and John weren’t feared for her till the dead of night; and then she went off her head and he touched her and found she was living fire. So he had to call up his girl and explain that, for all he could tell, death might be knocking at the door.

    Such things we say, little knowing we be prophets; but in truth a fearful peril threatened the Meadows folk that night, though ’twas Millicent and not her mother was like to be in highest danger.

    "’Tis doctor," said John, "and I can’t leave her, for she may die in my arms, so you must go; and best to run as never you run before. Go straight through Dean Wood and don’t draw breath till you’ve got to the man."

    She was up and rayed in less than no time and away quick-footed through the forest; and so swift had been her actions that she hoped to cheat her own fear of the darkness and get through Dean Woods afore she had time to quail. But you can’t hoodwink Nature that way, and not long afore the trees had swallowed her up Millicent felt nameless dread pulling at her heart and all her senses tingling with terror. She kept her mind on her mother, however, and sped on with her face set before her, though a thousand instincts cried to her to look behind for the nameless things that might be following after.

    ‘Twas a frosty night with a winter moon high in the sky, and Millicent, who knew the Woodman’s Path blindfold, much wished it had been darker, for the moonlight was strong enough to show queer faces in every tree-hole and turn the shadows from the trees into monsters upon her path at every yard. She prayed as she went along.

    "My duty–my duty," she said. "God help me to do my duty and save mother!"

    Then she knew she was coming close to the Hound’s Pool and hesitated for fear, and wondered if she might track into the woods and escape the ordeal. But that wasn’t possible without a lot of time wasted, and so she lifted up another petition to her Maker and went on. She’d travelled a mile by now and there was another mile to go. And then she came alongside the Pool and held her hands to her breast and kept her eyes away from the water, where it spread death-still with the moon looking up very peaceful out of it. But a moment later and poor Millicent got the fearfullest shock of her life, for right ahead, suddenly without a sound of warning, stark and huge with the moonlight on his great open mouth, appeared the Hound. From nowhere he’d come, but there he stood within ten yards of her, barring the way. And she heard him growl and saw him come forward to meet her.

    One scream she gave, though not so loud as a screech owl, and then she tottered, swayed, and lost her senses. If she’d fallen to the left no harm had overtook her; but to the right she fell and dropped unconscious, face forward into Dean Burn.

    The waters ran shallow there, above the Pool, yet, shallow or deep, she dropped with her head under the river and knew it not.

    Many a day passed afore the mystery of her escape from death got to Millicent’s ears; but for the moment all she could mind was that presently her senses returned to her and she found herself with her back against a tree and her face and bosom wet with water. Slowly her wits worked and she looked around, but found herself a hundred yards away from the Pool. Then she called home what had befallen her and rose to her feet; and presently her blood flowed again and she felt she was safe and the peril over-got. ‘Twas clear the Hound had done her no hurt and she felt only puzzled to know why for she was so wet and why, when she went fainty beside the Pool, she’d come to again a hundred yards away from it. But that great mystery she put by for another time and thanked God for saving her and cleared the woods and sped to doctor with her bad news.

    And he rose up and let her in and, hearing the case was grave, soon prepared to start. And while he dressed, Millicent made shift to dry herself by the heat of a dying fire. Then he put his horse in the trap and very quick they drove away up to the gamekeeper’s house. But no word of her amazing adventure did the woman let drop in doctor’s ear; and the
    strange thing was that peace had come upon her now and fear was departed from her heart.

    Milly Meadows had got the influenza very bad and, guessing what he’d find, the physician had brought his cautcheries along with him, so he ministered a soothing drug and directed her treatment and spoke hopeful words about
    it. He was up again next day and found all going very orderly, and foretold that, if the mischief could be kept out of Milly’s lungs, she’d recover in due course. So the mind of her husband and her daughter grew at peace when Milly’s body cooled down; and then the girl told her father of what had befell her by Hound’s Pool, and he was terrible interested and full of wonder.

    In fact, naught would do but they went there together the morning after, and there–in the chill light of a January day, Millicent pointed out where she stood when the vision come to her and presently the very tree under which she had returned to life.

    But John, being skilled in all woodland craft, took a pretty close look round and soon smelled out signs and wonders hid from common sight. He’d been much pleased with the tale at first, for though sorrowful that his girl had suffered so much, he hadn’t got enough mind himself to measure the agony she’d been through; and, whether or no, since the Hound brought good luck, he counted on some bright outcome for Millicent presently, if it was only that her mother should be saved alive. But when he got to his woodcraft, John Meadows weren’t so pleased by any means, because he found another story told. Where the girl had fainted and dropped in the water on seeing the Hound was clear to mark; but more than that John discovered, for all round about was the slot of a big dog with a great pad and claws; and, as if that weren’t enough, the keeper found something else also.

    He stared then and stood back and scratched the hair on his nape.

    "Beggar my shoes!" said John. "This weren’t no devil-dog, but a living creature! The Hound be a spirit and don’t leave no mark where he runs; but the dog that made these tracks weighs a hundred and fifty pound if he weighs an ounce; and look you here. What be this?"

    Well, Millicent looked and there weren’t no shadow of doubt as to what her father had found, for pressed in the mire and gravel at river edge was the prints of a tidy large boot.

    William Parsloe came along at the moment; but he knew nought, though he put two and two together very clever.

    "’Tis like this," he said; "you ran into the poachers, Millicent, though what the blackguards was up to with a hugeous dog I couldn’t tell you. And now I’ll lay my life that what I saw back along was the same creature and he whipped away and warned his masters."

    "But me?" asked the girl. "Why for if I fainted and fell into the river, didn’t I drown there for you or father to find next day?"

    "Yes," added John. "How came that to be, Bill?"

    "I see it so clear as need be," explained Parsloe, who had a quick mind. "You fell in the water and the dog gave tongue. The blackguards came along and, not wishful to add murder to their crimes, haled you out. Then they carried you away from the water, loosened your neckerchief and finding you alive, left you to recover."

    "Dear God!" said Millicent, shivering all down her spine, "d’you mean to tell me an unknown poaching man carried me in his arms a hundred yards, William?"

    "I mean that," answered Parsloe, "and if we had the chap’s boot, we should know who ’twas."

    So they parted, and John he went home very angry indeed at such triumphant malefactors, and though Millicent tried her bestest to be angry also, such is the weakness of human nature that she couldn’t work up no great flood of rage. And when she was alone in her bed that night, for it was her father’s turn to watch over her mother, she felt that unknown sinner’s arms around her again and his wicked hands at her neckerchief, and couldn’t help wondering what it would have been like if she’d come to and found herself in that awful position.

    Then Milly Meadows recovered and John, along with William Parsloe, Harry Wade, and a few more stout men, plotted a plot for the poachers and combed the plantations on a secret night in a way as they’d never done afore; but they failed and had Dean Woods all to themselves, though the very next night there was another slaughter and a lot of birds lost.

    And a bit after the pheasant season finished, John Meadows heard that the master reckoned ’twas time his head-keeper made a dignified retirement and let a younger man–William Parsloe in fact–take his place.

    But while John felt sorry for himself in this matter, yet was far too sane and common-sensible to resent it, another wondrous thing fell out, and Harry Wade got in a rare sort of fix that promised more fret and strain than all his other adventures put together. For, along of one thing and another, though the true details never reached but two ears, he was up against a new and tremendous experience and from being a heart-whole man with no great admiration on the women, he felt a wakening and a stir and knew ’twas love.

    For Millicent Meadows he went through the usual torments, and his case weren’t bettered by William Parsloe neither, because when he confessed to the man, who had got to be his friend, that Millicent was a piece very much out of the common, Bill told him that he weren’t the first by many as had thought the same.

    "But she’s not for men," said Parsloe. "All sorts have offered, and good ‘uns, including myself I may tell you in confidence; but the man ain’t born to win Millicent Meadows."

    However, Wade, he set to it, and after a lot of patient skirmishing he began to see faint signs of hope. He held in, however, so powerful as his nature would let him until the signs heartened the man for a dash at last, and ’twas by Hound’s Pool on a May day with the bluebells beside the water, and the cherry blossom tasselling over their heads–that he told the girl she was the light of his spring and the breath of his life.

    And she just put her hand in his’n and looked up in his face and took him without any fuss whatever.

    Not for a week, however, till he felt safe in his promised state, did Harry ever open out his dark secrets to her; but then, for her ears only, out it came.

    "You mind that fatal night?" he asked; and they were beside the Pool again, for she loved it now, because ’twas there he begged her to marry him.

    "Ess fay and I do, but I don’t hate the Pool no more–not after you told me you loved me there," said Millicent.

    "’Twas I that saved you," he confessed. "At a loose end and for a bit of a lark–just sport, you understand, not wickedness–I done a bit of poaching and picked off a good few birds, I fear."

    She looked at him round-eyed.

    "You wretch!" she cried; but his arms were close about her, and she was powerless.

    "Oh, yes. And my great dog it was as I kept hid on a chain by day. And when he frightened you into the water that night, I was behind him and had you out again and in my arms in half a second. And then I carried you away from the river, and when I held you in my arms I knew you’d be my wife or nobody would."

    "Thank the watching Lord ’twas you!" she gasped.

    "I waited till I see you come to and knew you’d be all right then; but I followed you, to see what you was up to, and didn’t go home till I saw you drive away with the doctor. My dog was my joy till that night–a great mongrel I picked up when I was to Plymouth and kept close of a day. Clever as Satan at finding fallen birds in the dark, though unfortunately he didn’t find ’em all. But after the happenings I took him back to Plymouth again on the quiet, and he won’t frighten nobody no more."

    Then ’twas her turn and she dressed him down properly and gave him all the law and the prophets, and made him promise on his oath that he’d never do no more crimes, or kill fur or feather that didn’t belong by rights to him.

    And he swore and kept his oath most steadfast.

    "I’ve catched the finest creature as ever harboured in Dean Woods," he said, "and her word be my law for evermore."

    But nobody else heard the truth that Wade was the unknown sinner, for Millicent felt as her father would have been cruel vexed about it.

    They was wed in the summer and Wade found open-air work to his taste not a mile from their home. But often, good lovers still, they’ll go to Hound’s Pool for memory’s sake and sit and hear Weaver Knowles working unseen about his task.

  2. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Hound’s Pool, Deancombe
    English Fairy and Other Folk Tales by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890]

    There once lived in the hamlet of Dean Comb; Devon, a weaver of great fame and skill. After long prosperity he died and was buried But the next day he appeared sitting at the loom in his chamber, working as diligently as when he was alive. His Sons applied to the vicar, who accordingly went to the foot of the stairs, and heard the noise of the weaver’s shuttle in the room above. "Knowles," he cried, "come down; this is no place for thee." "I will," replied the weaver, "as soon as I have worked out my quill" (the quill is the shuttle full of wool). "Nay," said the vicar, "thou hast been long enough at thy work; come down at once." So when the spirit came down the vicar took a handful of earth from the churchyard and threw it in its face. And in a moment it became a black hound. "Follow me," said the vicar, and it followed him to the gate of the wood. And when they came there, "it seemed as if all the trees in the wood were coming together, so great was the wind." Then the vicar took a nutshell with a hole in it, and led the hound to the pool below the waterfall. "Take this shell," said he, "and when thou shalt have dipped out the pool with it, thou mayest rest–not before!" And at midday and at midnight the hound may still be seen at its work. It is difficult to understand why the industrious weaver was consigned to such a hopeless doom. Many spectral dogs, believed to be the souls of wicked persons, are said to haunt the sides of rivers and pools, and sometimes their yelping is so dreadful, that all who hear them lose their senses.