A Ghost Story

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From Warwick Castle

The observant amongst you may have noticed that I totally missed Story Telling Sunday in October.  Well, since it is less than a week since Hallowe’en and exactly a week since we went to Warwick Castle, I thought I’d share the story of Moll Bloxham, which she told us herself.

There are a number of versions of the tale in circulation.  The first one we heard from The Rat Catcher, on the ghost tour.

Moll was a milk maid who lived at Warwick Castle. She sold short measures, but the villagers thought she was a witch and were frightened of confronting her about it.  Eventually they told the Earl of Warwick and he banished her from the castle.  But she ran to the top of Beauchamp Tower and locked herself in a room.  She was there for sometime before they broke down the door.

When they entered the room Moll was gone and they were faced with a large black dog with flaming red eyes, which pushed past them.  They chased the dog round the battlements until it finally fell to its death in the river below.

Now it is told, that if you are very quiet, you can hear the dog howling down by the weir and the rattling of Moll’s bones.

Now Moll herself told a slightly different story to the children gathered in the darkened Great Hall for Children’s Story Telling Time.

She said that she lived in the village and went to the Earl, with the idea that she would milk his cows, collect eggs from his hens, make butter and sell all of these to the villagers.  She would keep some of the money, he would have the rest.

This arrangement worked well for a while, but the villagers were jealous and said she watered down the milk, put wax in the butter and kept some for herself without paying the Earl.

When they went to the Earl and told him that she had been stealing from him, she expected him to defend her and send them away, but instead he had her pillaried in the Castle Courtyard.

She was tied up a and had things thrown at her by the villagers.  When they called her a witch she shouted at the top of her voice, ‘This Castle shall be haunted’.  Then she broke free and ran to the top of Beauchamp Tower where she barricaded herself in a room and hid under the table.

She was so afraid.  She thought her end had come.  She was just about to leave the room when she heard the castle guards stamping up the stairs.  ‘Come out Moll,’ they shouted, ‘we know you’re in there’.

Now she doesn’t know how it happened, but suddenly she was gone.  The men broke into the room and found it empty.  They searched everywhere, then one of them looked under the table and there was a large black dog with flaming eyes.  They tried to catch it, but it ran away and fell to its death in the river – you know the rest.

The next time we heard the story was from this witch.  The Witches had taken over The Princess Tower (and a jolly good thing too if you ask me – those Princesses are far too simpering and sickly sweet) and this is what she told us as we waited to go in.

Moll was a witch.  She used to terrorise the castle by changing into a big, black dog and chasing everyone.  She watered down the milk and put wax in the butter.  When she was caught she cursed the castle, turned herself into the dog and the guards had to chase her round the battlements, until eventually she fell into the river and died.

So my page is ready for the journalling, but which version of the story shall I tell?

This post was brought to you as part of Story Telling Sunday.

Page inspired by Shimelle’s Pretty Paper Party (the finished page will go on the forum).

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20 responses »

  1. I like the fiestiness of the second one but both have their place … maybe one on the front and a transcript of this blog post on the back?

  2. Oooh I couldn’t choose! Amy’s idea of putting your blog post on the page somewhere is inspired. You have reminded me of a visit we made to Warwick Castle many years ago…thank you.

  3. Well there are two sides to every story! We loved our visit to Warwick Castle a few years ago. That was on a lovely sunny day, but I’d like to experience Halloween there too :o)

  4. Oh, what a brilliantly spooky tale (or two or three) for this time of year! And what I especially love is the superb way your different versions show us how a story can change in the retelling. I think that’s wonderful! (and so is your layout)

    Thanks Julie! I’ll get onto that other project just as soon as I can (but definitely before next weekend!)

  5. I think you should put your favourite version on the page so it is visible and put the other two versions on some hidden journalling tags. That way you have all of them for people to read and then they can make up their own minds.

  6. Fabulous page – love the pleated paper rosette especially. I’d say number 2 had the most truth in it but can see that the guilt-laden villagers would prefer number 1 – perhaps tell both, one each side of a journalling tag?

  7. Lovely page – and I like your witch ornament too. I think that the second version is more likely – and as you have Moll in the photo maybe it’s her version you should tell? I like the idea of including them all somehow too!

  8. Haunting storytelling. I like Moll’s version – she a humble milk maid defending herself against an Earl. No chance! Good suggestions about using one story and ‘hiding’ the others on the lay-out. Irene

  9. How fascinating to hear the different versions 🙂 Have you decided which to use yet? I’d be tempted to write it out as a kind of conversation between the different characters, all disagreeing with each other about what exactly happened…

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