The Worm

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The Worm

Wild Thing

 

Based on the legend of the Worm of Beck Hole

The Worm of Beck Hole

Over 1000 years ago, around the time when The Danes inhabited this part of the North, a great worm was said to have infested the forests around Godeland and Beck Hole.

It had a mouth like a dragon, was the length of 27 men laid head-to-toe, and had the girth of the largest oak tree in Buber Wood. Its scaly body gave off a scent likened to would garlic, which can still be smelt in the woods near the Murk Esk to this day. Wherever it slithered it left a trail of slime, and in this trail sprang up the herb called Wormwood (1). Wormwood was used as a stomach tonic to expel hookworm and to treat gout, and can still be found in Jenny Bank Wood.

The Worm lived in deep holes around Beck Hole and it is said that when iron ore was mined in the valley, in the 1850's, the minors who drove drifts deep into the ground in Scar Wood came across deeper holes that disappeared so far into the hillsides that they could only have been made by a very large, very powerful creature.

The Worm lived on cattle, sheep and young maidens. The people became so concerned about the appetite of the worm that they asked Roland, the Danish warrior, to help them by slaying the Warm. 

He agreed, but in order to lure the Worm from his hole he asked for a maiden to be tied to an elder tree as bait for the Worm.

The maidens name was Kitty, and she was said to be very beautiful. When Roland rode into the woods he was stunned by the vision of Sarkless Kitty (2) caught helplessly against a tree.

Fortified by the virtues of the Holy Seal which he always carried Roland charged through the tumbling waters of the river, past the twisted oaks and through the Wormwood and into the clearing where the worm was already advancing on Kitty. For over half a night and half a day he fought a fierce battle with the worm while Kitty watched in terror.

Finally, towards dusk, Roland slayed the Worm with a fatal blow to the neck, and he rode away with Kitty at his side.

For many years later, and even to this day, legend had it that if you walk in the woods around Beck Hole at dusk and hear the name 'Kitty' being carried on the wind, you may be struck down with hookworm.

(1) Artiemisia Absinthium
(2)
Sark - a shirt of chemise.