What happened was back in the days when a pint of cider cost an old penny. A local moorman who will remain nameless (Tom Crossman) for fear of embarrassing his kin folk took a Friday night stroll down to the inn. It was a warm night and so by the time his first pint of cider arrived on the bar he was pretty spitting feathers. Needless to say it slipped effortlessly down his throat and no sooner hand his hand wiped his mouth than another pint appeared on the bar. This one took a little longer to go down but even so it went back at a fair rate. With a loud belch the moorman ordered his third pint and settled back to a normal drinking mans pace. It so happens that Tom Crossman had sold some bullocks at market and made a fair profit for that time of year and so as the cider went down he became full of life and generosity. Soon a group of moorland smallholders had joined him at the bar and the talk was agricultural to say the least. By the time the harvest, tups, sires and dams had been covered the landlord had to fetch a new barrel of cider. As is the norm in farming circles, once the everyday business had been considered it came around to ‘spoof’ time. This tends to slow the drinking down somewhat as each individual bluffs and frowns their way around how many coins are held by each member of the group. Sadly tonight was not the most astute nights Tom Crossman had known which resulted in his bullock profit dwindling as he bought losers round after losers round. But hey-ho, it was Friday night and the Tavistock Badger wouldn’t be calling until the morning.
The inn was a secluded affair and so closing time didn’t mean much especially as the constable was winning more spoof hands than anybody. But by about 2.00am the money had run out so it was decided to put a close on the day and everyone tottered homewards. Probably the word “homewards” is being a trifle optimistic maybe the word ‘somewhere’ would be appropriate as many of the revellers passed each other on several occasions as they all corrected their courses. By the time Tom Crossman had reached home he had probably walked an extra four miles but none the less he made it to his gate. Fair do’s, he made a master job of silently opening the gate, shame he then went sprawling and cursing into the vegetable garden. But as he cleared his mouth of soil and his hair of tettie haulms, to his amazement he noticed a little piskie princess stood under his runner bean wigwam. She was dressed in a silky green cape that went over a gorgeous cream dress, her jewels sparkled in the moonlight like tiny droplets of dew, in short she was the most fabulous vision he had ever seen. Without hesitation he made a grab for her, and even more to his amazement he actually caught her. Gingerly he stuffed the little piskie into his pocket and charged in to tell his wife the good news. As he clattered up the stairs his wife was beside herself, she yelled down and demanded to know what on earth he was doing. “Carrying twenty pints of cider and a surprise,” he bellowed back. His wife screamed at him to leave them in the kitchen until the morning. Excitedly Tom explained that he couldn’t leave the twenty pints of cider because they were in his belly and the surprise would not keep until the morning. He dashed into the bedroom and stood swaying at the bottom of the bed. His good lady merely sat up wearing the frostiest of looks. Gently he took the piskie princess out of his pocket and proudly presented it to his silent wife. The temperature dropped another twenty degrees and it has been suggested that you could hear a butterfly fart in the silence. Poor old Tom was now faced with the little problem of how to make sure the piskie didn’t escape and as always the cider came up with the perfect solution – tie her to the bed post. Carefully he took off his braces and secured one end around her waste and the other around the wooden post. His wife looked as if she was going to vomit as Tom then spent the next ten minutes tenderly kissing the beautiful bondaged princess. Eventually he collapsed in a heaving snoring heap and stayed that way until after the Tavistock Badger had been.
In the morning Tom gingerly opened a blood shot eye and once it had remembered how to focus he espied a huge leek tied to the bed post by his braces. His wife was patiently awaiting this moment with the typical female look of divine sufferance, he was sure he could just about make out a halo hovering above her head. He looked at the leek and then at his better half and then groaned. Her sarcasm was sharp enough to shave the Tavistock Badgers backside. “That,” she exclaimed pointing an accusing finger at the leek, “is the beautiful piskie princess that you found last night.” Her nostrils flared like a spooked stallions, “And that,” she hissed “is what you were kissing and cuddling last night.” Tom winced, that explains why he had lumps of peat in his mouth and around his lips. Like a little schoolboy he untied the leek, carried it over to the window and tossed it shamefully into the garden.
Tom watched the leek’s journey through space and as he saw it hit the peaty earth it suddenly turned back into the piskie princess. No sooner had that happened than hundreds of piskies appeared from under the vegetables and started to dance gleefully around the little princess. As they skipped and jigged they sang out “we’ve got her again, we’ve got her again.” Naturally by the time he had yelled for his wife and explained what was happening all the piskies had vanished. This did not enthuse his partner in the slightest, in fact it added further to her chagrin as she thought he was insulting her intelligence. Stolidly Tom stuck to his guns and demanded that they conduct as search of the garden. Outside he nearly convinced his wife that something weird had happened because they could not find any sign of the leek. This, Tom triumphantly explained, surely shows that the leek had turned back into the piskie princess who had then vanished. That was until the pig wandered around from the front of the house merrily chomping on a leek. This begged another question, how did the pig get out of its sty? It appears that secret remains firmly with the cider and the Tavistock Badger.
This event has tumbled down through the ages and as far as the moorfolk go, Tom kissed a leek and his pig ate a piskie princess!