The Witch-hare of Dartmoor


There once lived an old witch in a shack upon a hill. She and her grandson where strong believers in the dark arts. She was incredibly powerful. Her crowning trick was to be able to turn herself into a large hare. However she still had too pay for food. So, in order to earn money, she would trick the local lord. In the morning, her grandson would run up to the lords castle, informing him that he had spotted a huge hare on the moors. He would pay the boy a sixpence for informing him, gather his hunting dogs, and ride onto the moors, searching for the Hare. When he found it, he would set off his dogs, to try and catch the mighty beast. But the hare was fast and agile, always outpacing his dogs and escaping down a hole. This gave the witch enough money to be able to feed her and her grandson, but the lord was beginning to suspect foul play. He ordered the next time the boy came, he should be followed.

So, when the boy came next week, the servants followed him back to the cottage. They waited for someone else too enter, and sure enough, the hare came in, and before their eyes turned into the women. They ran back to the castle to tell the lord what had happened. The lord was furious, and to get the witch back, he decided to beat her at her own game. He ordered men too keep a watch outside their house, and so the next time the boy came running up, they would follow the witch and catch her before she had time too start running away.

The next day, the boy came running to the castle, saying he had seen the hare, and the lord gathered his dogs, and rode off towards the hare. When he arrived, he found the men holding the hare by its ears. When the lord approached, however, the hare broke free, and began to run to the cottage. The lord let off his dogs, and soon enough, they where at its heels. The hare had sustained an injury though, and was not able to run as fast. The dogs nipped at the hares feet as it tried to desperately get away.

The witch just about managed to reach the cottage. she ran inside and locked the door. The lord arrived at the cottage, and demanded the witch come out. There was no answer. He said she must come out, or he would break down the door. There was no answer. So he ordered the door to be broken down. The men ran at the door, and whacked it with their axes. But they had no affect.

The local villagers had now come out their homes to see what the commotion was about. The Lord gave the witch one last warning, before he would burn the cottage down. The witch finally gave in, and left the cottage. The lord accused her of witchcraft and sentenced he to be burned. The witch begged for mercy, and promised to never perform witchcraft again. The lord then yielded, and made her renounce Satan.

However, the witch soon returned to her old ways. She was hung, and her grandson banished from the moors, never to return again.

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