8. Flying Childer

MCB could remember little of the person who told it to her. She never knew his name. She met him in a small Inn some distance from where she lived, where one day she had to spend an hour. He came from the Wolds.

A lad was fond of girls and couldn’t keep away from them. One day he went round a corner and saw a girl washing herself. He swore he would wed her, if she’d follow him. She made him swear that he would wed her in the church. He agreed and she said that if he didn't marry her she would put a spell on him. He replied that if he didn't marry her may the worms eat him and their children have wings to fly away. They went to find a church with a sober parson to marry them and eventually they arrived at a cottage in which an old man is sleeping. The lad killed the man with an axe and chopped the feet and hands off the body. They then threw the corpse out of the window, tidied up the cottage and lite the fire. He then noticed a wise woman trying to steal the corpse. She said she wanted to bury the corpse but he said he would do it and after an argument she went away. He buried the corpse and left one arm sticking out of the ground. He also threw the feet and hands to the pigs. He then went off to snare a rabbit and left the girl in the house. She heard the feet and hands calling to be buried with the rest of the body and she did this. The lad came back and asked where the children were. She said that they were gathering berries but when they had not come back by nightfall she said they were fishing, even the baby. Eventually she said they had flown away and he killed her and put all her bits under the bed. The children then came flying back and asked where their mother was. He eventually said that she was under the bed. The children then killed the lad and in death he met the girl who ran after him. He asked the thunder to strike him dead, the fire to burn him up, the water to drown him and the axe to cut his throat but they wouldn't. In the end the great worm, who had the girls head on its long slimy body, ate him up.