Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Scary Tales: The Lonton Lass

Here is today's scary tale, excerpted from Bluebeard Tales From Around the World (Surlalune Fairy Tale Series).

The Lonton Lass

THE facts of the story are simply these. About 90 years since, a young woman at Lonton had a lover, who first deceived and then resolved to murder her. Under pretence of arranging for their immediate marriage, he persuaded her to meet him in Park End Wood.

On the night appointed he repaired to the place and digged a grave. She slipped out of her parents’ house, when all was quiet, and sped on to the place of meeting.

The farmer, however, at Park End, was greatly disturbed that night by dreams. He dreamt twice that he saw an open grave and a spade sticking in the soil—in a wood near his house. And so excited was his imagination that he could not think of remaining in bed. He arose, and called up his young men, and ordered them to furnish themselves with bludgeons and accompany him into the wood. They all went, and sure enough there was the open grave and the spade. Their horror and astonishment were inexpressible.

They searched the wood, and beat about for some time among the bushes, but could neither see nor hear anybody. After some time had been spent in searching and watching, they returned. And on the old road not far from the farm-house, one of them discerned an object approaching. They stood aside. The object came up. A young woman!

“Hollo!” said the farmer, “whither are you going so late tonight?”

“And what is that to you?” she replied; “surely I am old enough to know my own business, without having to give an account of it to you.”

“Come, come,” said the farmer. “I know now, I think, who you are, and guess your errand; pray let me tell you what has caused us to be astir.”

She would not believe. They took her to the place, and at sight of the grave and spade she fainted. The whole party then returned to Park End, and the poor hapless girl, after telling her story of the matter, was only too glad to remain all night under the protection of him, who through his remarkable and providential dream, had been the means of saving her life.



A great many years ago, there lived at Park End, a dreamer of remarkable dreams. At the period to which I refer, the farm-house stood more to the north than at present, but still on the outskirt of that part of the ancient forest of Teesdale, within which a free chase was granted by King John, Feb. 21, 1201, to Lord Henry Fitz-Hervey, an ancestor of the Lords Fitzhugh. The road from Laythkyrke Bridge to Holick, or, as it is now called the old road, ran through Lonton, which was formerly a considerable hamlet—past Stepends, along the south bank of the Tees, very close to the river. . . .


Gutch, Mrs. [Eliza], editor. Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire, York and the Ainsty. County Folk-Lore Vol. II. London: David Nutt, 1901.

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