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In a fork of a tree on the lane above [Hothersall] Hall can be found an horrific and grotesque stone head. This was dug up by a man at Hothersall and placed in its present position.
Some say that the head is that of the petrified Hothersall Boggart. Legend says that a demon from Hades had undertaken to oblige a local man with three wishes for the surrender of his soul.
The man's first two wishes were for wealth and great fortune but his third was a crafty move to avoid damnation. He wished the devil to spin a rope from the sands of the River Ribble, which was close at hand. In case of failure he must consent to be laid (buried) under a laurel tree there to turn into stone (for a demon cannot rot, only fuse to granite).
The devil and mate then went to the strand,
In a jiffey they twisted a fine rope of sand,
And dragged it along with them over the land;
But when they brought the rope to be washed,
To atoms it went - the rope was all smashed!
Each time the demon spun a rope the man poured water over the rope and it disintegrated. Eventually he gave up his efforts and accepted his fate, whereby the man of Hothersall escaped the devil's clutches and saved his soul. The devil is understood to have been laid under the roots of a large laurel tree at the end of the hall, and will not molest the family so long as that tree exists. It is rumoured that the roots have to be nourished with milk on certain occasions, in order to preserve its existence, and also to preserve the power of the spell under which the goblin is laid. The laurel here seems to have been invested with the mythical properties of the ash and rowan trees.
2.59pm on 10/9/06|
EF 17-40 f/4L USM
40mm (64mm equiv.)