The Lambton Worm
This is an Anglish Notes on the Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders (pp. 287-89.) and later gathered together in More English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, and English Fairy and Other Folk Tales by Edwin Sidney Hartland. This reading is made of words only of Old English and otherwise unknown springs. by Wordwork.of the folk tale, The Lambton Worm, first written by William Henderson for
A wilde youngwas the of Lambton, the and by the side of the swift-flowing Wear. Not a would he hear in Brugeford Chapel of a Sunday, but a-fishing he would go. And if he did not in anything, his could be heard by the folk as they went by to Brugeford.
Well, one Sunday morning he was fishing as, and not a had risen to him, his was bare of or . And the worse his luck, the worse grew his , the were at his words as they went to listen to the .
At last young Lambton felt a mighty tug at his string. 'At last,' quoth he, 'a bite worth having!' and he pulled and he pulled,what should above the water but a head like an elf's, with nine holes on each side of its mouth. But still he pulled he had the thing to land, when it out to be a Worm of shape. If he had before, his were enough to the hair on your head.
'What ails thee, my son?' said aby his side, 'and what hast thou , that thou shouldst the Lord's Day with such ?'
Looking, young Lambton saw old man standing by him.
'Why, truly,' he said, 'I think I havethe devil himself. Look you and see if you know him.'
But theshook his head, and said, 'It bodes no good to thee or thine to bring such a to shore. Yet him not back into the Wear; thou has him, and thou must keep him,' and with that away he , and was seen no more.
The youngof Lambton up the gruesome thing, and it off his hook, it into a well , and ever since that day that well has gone by the name of the Worm Well.
For some time nothing more was seen or heard of the Worm,one day it had outgrown the of the well, and came forth full-grown. So it came forth from the well and itself to the Wear. And all day long it would lie a in the middle of the stream, while at night it came forth from the and harried the . It sucked the milk, the lambs, worried the , and frightened all the women and girls in the , and then it would for the rest of the night to the hill, still the Worm Hill, on the north side of the Wear, about a mile and a half from Lambton Hall.
Thisbrought young Lambton, of Lambton Hall, to his . He upon himself the of the , and for the Holy Land, in the hope that the he had brought upon his would . But the grisly Worm took no heed, that it the and came right up to Lambton Hall itself where the old lord lived on all alone, his only son having gone to the Holy Land. What to do? The Worm was coming and to the Hall; women were , men were gathering weapons, dogs were barking and horses neighing with . At last the steward out to the , 'Bring all your milk hither', and when they did so, and had brought all the milk that the nine of the byre had yielded, he it all into the long stone trough the Hall.
The Worm drew nearer and nearer,at last it came up to the trough. But when it sniffed the milk, it aside to the trough and swallowed all the milk up, and then slowly and the , and its three times the Worm Hill for the night.
Henceforth the Worm wouldthe every day, and woe betide the Hall if the trough the milk of less than nine kye. The Worm would hiss, and would , and lash its tail the trees of the , and in its it would the oaks and the firs. So it went on for seven years. Many to the Worm, but all had , and many a knight had lost his life in fighting with the , which slowly the life out of all that came near it.
At last the Childe of Lambton came home to his father's Hall, after seven long years spent inand on holy . Sad and he found his folk: the lands untilled, the , half the trees of the , for none would to the nine kye that the needed for his food each day.
The Childe sought his father, andhis forgiveness for the he had brought on the Hall.
'Thy sin is,' said his father; 'but go thou to the Wise Woman of Brugeford, and find if aught can free us from this .'
To the Wise Woman went the Childe, and asked her.
"Tis thy, O Childe, for which we ,' she said; 'be it thine to us.'
'I would give my life,' said the Childe.
'thou wilt do so,' said she. 'But hear me, and mark me well. Thou, and thou alone, canst kill the Worm. But, to this end, go thou to the smithy and have thy studded with spear-heads. Then go to the Worm's in the Wear, and thyself there. Then, when the Worm comes to the at dawn of day, thy on him, and God gi'e thee a good .'
'This I will do,' said Childe Lambton.
'But one thing more,' said the Wise Woman, going back to her. 'If thou slay the Worm, swear that thou wilt put to death the first thing that meets thee as thou the threshold of Lambton Hall. Do this, and all will be well with thee and thine. Fulfil not thy , and none of the Lambtons, for three times three, shall in his bed. Swear, and not.'
The Childe swore as the Wise Woman bid, and went his way to the smithy. There he had hisstudded with spear-heads all over. Then he his in Brugeford Chapel, and at dawn of day his on the Worm's in the .
As dawn broke, the Wormits snaky twine from the hill, and came to its in the . When it the Childe for it, it lashed the waters in its and wound its the Childe, and then to him to death. But the more it , the deeper dug the spear-heads into its sides. Still it and , all the water was with its blood. Then the Worm unwound itself, and left the Childe free to his sword. He raised it, brought it down, and cut the Worm in two. One half fell into the , and was swiftly away. Once more the head and the of the body the Childe, but with less , and the spear-heads did their work. At last the Worm itself, snorted its last foam of blood and fire, and into the , and was never seen more.
The Childe of Lambton swam ashore, and raising histo his lips, its thrice. This was the to the Hall, where the and the old lord had shut themselves in to for the Childe's . When the third of the was heard, they were to Boris, the Childe's hound. But such was their at learning of the Childe's and the Worm's , that they forgot , and when the Childe reached the threshold of the Hall his old father out to meet him, and would have clasped him to his breast.
'The! the !' out the Childe of Lambton, and blew still another blast upon his horn. This time the , and Boris, who came to his young . The Childe raised his shining sword, and the head of his hound.
But thewas broken, and for nine of men none of the Lambtons in his bed. The last of the Lambtons in his as he was Brugeford Bridge, one hundred and thirty years ago.