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Ockington Miller 3

Ockington Miller 3

Ockington Miller 3

So, Ockington is once again a des-res place to live, full of neighbourly harmony and everyone were happy bunnies, come to that even the bunnies were chuffed. One slight problem, and that along with his cronies were sulking deep down in Lydford Gorge some eight miles down the road. Eventually the miller’s son came to the end of his tether and having spent countless sleepless night plotting his revenge he finally came up with another cunning plan. Rumour had it that way down on the south moor there was an old warlock who had also been banished from his home for various evil deeds. Apparently he was living amongst the tinner’s working in Erme Pits which was not the most salubrious of places to reside. Therefore the idea was to enlist his help in return for a nice comfortable abode in Ockington. The deal was simple, rid the place of the pesky piskies and be given the plot of land on which once stood the piskies wood. It took a good day to get to Erme Pits and heavens they really were ‘the pits’, grim only began to describe the place. In the darkest corner of the pits a plume of smoke was gently wafting into the air and it was to here the miller’s son made his way. Sure enough, sat by the fire was a wizened little old man, clearly lacking the benefit of soap and a razor. Needless to say it did not take much persuading to enlist his talents in return for somewhere habitable to live.

The following day the warlock was shown his plot of land and by that very same night a mighty castle had miraculously appeared where once the venerable oaks stood. This well impressed the miller’s son because if this was a demonstration of his powers then ridding the place of the piskies should be easy. Fair do’s, next day the wicked warlock dug out his ancient grimoir which was full of unspeakable evil spells and thumbed carefully through its time tattered pages. Eventually he found exactly what he was looking for now he just needed a suitable location. Living in the hamlet was a cattle drover who knew every inch of the moor and it was to he that the warlock sought the advise. Without hesitation the drover told the old warlock about a remote place that fitted exactly what was needed for the spell. It was a dire and desolate spot that was said to be haunted by every kind of evil spirit imaginable, there was even a dark and sinister pool surrounded by bottomless bogs, its name was Cranmere Pool.

That same night all the piskies came out for a revel on the hamlet’s green, no sooner had the band struck up than a dark cloud appeared over Ockington. The strange thing about this cloud was that it came swooping down from the top turret of the castle accompanied by a loud whoomping beat. To the piskies horror this black miasma turned into a flock of hug black crows which, when overhead, dived down upon them with each bird grabbing a piskies and whisking it high into the air. The flock then split up and headed off into various direction of the moor, some went south, some went west, some and the others east. The miller’s son was elated but slightly mystified and so asked the warlock what was occurring. It transpired that the spell meant that the piskie mayor and his council were going to Cranmere Pool where they would remain until they had emptied the deep pool of water. The miller’s son was none to impressed with this as that little task wouldn’t take very long to achieve. The warlock held up a bony finger and then added that to empty the pool they could only use a nutshell which was riddled with holes. He also added that some of the other piskies would be exiled to Sandy Hole pass where they would remain until they had woven all the sand from the river bed into lengths of twine. The remainder of the little folk were destined for Evil Combe to spend eternity or until they had managed to mine every ounce of tin which lay deep down in the ground with only a single wooden spade.

As you can imagine, as far as the miller’s son was concerned that would be the last he ever saw of the piskies and good riddance to them and all. Now he could once more reclaim the title of mayor and once more start to live his previous life of sloth and gluttony. There was no problem in persuading the folk of Ockington to re-elect him as he merely had to point to the warlock’s castle. The people had already been given one taste of his evil powers and did not want to see any more, especially if they were directed in their way. So the happy haven of Ockington once again returned to the hamlet of horror with just the select few of the miller’s cronies enjoying the situation. The next little problem the miller’s son had was replenishing his empty coffers but this was soon solved, as the majority of the folk were now terrified of him he simply had to introduce so stiff taxes which they would have to pay. I think we all know what that feels like, it’s a bit like Britain today, the majority work hard, get taxed heavily and that then given to the select lazy few who are allowed to live in comparative luxury.

But as it happens there was one tiny flaw in the warlocks spell, it only lasted for 364 days each year, this meant there was one day when all the piskies were freed from their assigned exiles. For many years the little folk used this opportunity to all meet up for a mass sympathise. They would all congregate on Fur Tor where they would whinge, whine, wail and witter about their sad plights before returning to another 364 day of drudge. However, one year the piskie ex-mayor was slopping through the bogs on his way down to Fur Tor from Cranmere Pool when he met a stranger. I’m not too sure who was the most startled out of the two because in those days very few travellers ventured that way. After exchanging the usual pleasantries both were inquisitive to know what each was doing. The piskie took no time in bewailing his plight and pulled no punches as far as his predicament went. Unbeknown to the piskie the stranger he was talking to was none other than a famous wizard who was travelling down from the Isle of Avalon to Tintagel. As soon as the piskie described the wicked warlock and his spell the stranger’s face turned a deep shade of red. It appeared that many centuries ago both wizard and warlock had locked horns over whose magic was the most powerful. Somehow the warlock had tricked the wizard into entering a dark and deep cave in which he was imprisoned for many years. Just perhaps now would be the time for payback thought the wizard and told the little piskie that he would help him and his people. The little fellow was told to carry on what he was doing and to mention nothing of their chance encounter to anyone. Then return to Cranmere Pool and continue with his fruitless task of emptying its peat black waters.

The next day the piskies went down to the pool with his little nutshell and began bailing the water, suddenly the stranger appeared from nowhere. He pointed his long staff towards the south west and uttered some words, within a mighty wind blasted over the moor from the south west. Then palls of thunder black clouds followed in its wake and amassed overhead, without warning a torrent of rain pelted from the heavens and began filling the pool. Before long the waters were trickling over the edges of the peat wall which surrounded the pool. Then a his finale the wizard thrust his staff into the northern bank, immediately there was a gigantic explosion with peat splattering far and wide and then the waters gushed out of the pool and into the river Okement below. The sudden surge of water formed a huge torrent which shot downstream gather pace and size as it gushed down the valley sweeping rocks and debris as it went. On its course it was joined by similar torrents from the Blackaven and Moor brooks which added to the ferocity of the deluge. Further downstream the hamlet of Ockington was busily going about its daily drudge, the miller’s son and the warlock were busy relaxing beside the river. They were reflecting on how clever they had been to rid themselves of the piskies and all the nicey nicey things they brought with them. Boy was it much better to be living in a place where you could do exactly what you want with nobody to interfere. The warlock nonchalantly threw a twig up the river, he loved watching things struggling in face of adversity. Eagerly he awaited the twig to float past but when it did it went flashing by, surfing at the head of the torrent. The two men had no chance, in a flash they were scooped up by the swollen waters and swept off downstream on the tide of angry, foaming waters. Ironically, as I write these words the Town of Tavistock has a flood alert in place after days of constant rain which is a few miles down the road from Okehampton (Ockington).

Never again was the miller’s son and the warlock seen again, their bodies were never recovered and it was thought that in all likelihood they were washed right out to sea. Having lost their leader, the miller’s cronies quietly slipped away and returned to the deep gorge at Lydford where they remained for the rest of their sorry lives. The good folk of Ockington once again returned to living in blissful harmony, working hard and playing hard – oh joy. But what of the piskies? Well, the demise of the warlock meant that his spell was broken and one by one all the little folk returned from their various exiles to Ockington. As their woodland home now had a ruddy great castle lumped on top of where it once stood they had no option but to make themselves comfortable in the mighty castle. Some say they are still in residence today, and on moonlight nights you can sometimes hear them scampering around the grounds as they make their way to the monthly revel. Sadly today, none of the locals are invited to attend as I think they have learned that lesson.

 

About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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