Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Ugliest Witch in the North Country

Alison Gross, 'the ugliest witch i' the north country,' lured a young man into her cottage and with many fair speeches tried to persuade him to become her lover. He withstood all her bribes and honeyed words even though she offered him a scarlet embroidered cloak, then a cap embroidered all over with pearls, then a cup of red gold. But he would not bend and would not given her even one small kiss. Becoming angry the witch blew three blast on a grass green horn and taking a silver wand in her hand, turned round three times, muttering words that chilled his blood until he fell down senseless at her feet and slowly turned into a dragon. She gloated over the fallen youth and spitefully chanted,

'And gard me toddle about the tree.'

Every Saturday his sister Maisry came with a silver basin and silver comb and took the dragon's head upon her knee to tend it. There seemed no way to break the enchantment until at last on Hallowe'en the fairy court rode by. The Queen spied the dragon coiled around the apple tree and dismounting from her horse, took it's head and stroked it three times over her knee, and the dragon was restored to it's proper human form.

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