2. ‘The Dead Moon’

Told by a nine-year old 'crippled' girl (Fanny) who said she had heard it from her ‘gran’. MCB acknowledges that she first heard of this in a sort of nursery-rhyme some children were singing (Balfour 1891:149). This story was also sent by Balfour to Joseph Jacobs who included it in his More English Fairy Tales.

When the moon was dark, wiches rode on great black cats, evil eye glowered from dark corners, wll o'tha wykes danced about and 'dead foak' rose from the water. The moon came down to the Carrs to investigate the horrors that came out when she didn’t shine.Her foot slipped and she tumbled in. She heard a man who was lost, pitifully calling for help.The horrors took on other shapes – ramping lasses offering a helping hand and when grabbed turned into worms. A snag grabbed hold of the moon and pulled her down. She managed to reveal her light long enough for the man to find his way to the path, before she lay down exhausted. The witches cursed the moon for spoiling spells, the dead for keeping them in their coffins at night and the bogles for keeping them in the corners. All wanted to punish her. But the sun was rising so they decided to keep her trapped. The bogles found a big stone to roll on top of her, will-o-the-wykes to guard her sitting on the cross shaped snag. The time of the new moon arrived and the people put pennies in their pockets and straws in their caps but no moon appeared. The evil things bothered them more than ever – boggarts wailing round their houses, looking in their windows and screeching fit to wake the dead. So the carfolk had to sit trembling by their fire and could not sleep nor put foot outside. They went to see the wisewoman who looked in the brew-pot, mirrot and the book but could not help. She suggested put a pinch of salt, a straw and a button on the doorsill at night so horrors can't cross. The people went home and to to the Inn and talked about it all. One day a man from the far end of the boglands was there listening and he said he might know where the moon was. They went to the wise-woman who this time said to “go before night gathers, put a stone in your gobs, take a hazel twig in your hands and say not a word. Look for a coffin, a candle and a cross.” The people did as they were told and foound the moon, they said the Lords' Prayer, forwards and backwards to themselves and then lifted the stone. After this the moon shone brighter over the Carrs than anywhere else.