Editor’s Note: This extract first appeared in Hone’s Tableside Book in the early nineteenth century, though we have been unable to find the original reference. Grassington is in North Yorkshire.
You see, sir, as how I’d been a clock dressing at Girston (Grassington), and I’d staid rather lat, and may be gitten a lile sup o’ spirit, but I war far from being drunk, and knewed everything that passed. It war about eleven o’clock when I left, and it war at back end o’t year, and a most admirable beautiful neet it war. The moon war varra breet, and I never seed Rylstone Fell plainer in a’ my life. Now you see, sir, I war passin’ down t’ mill loine, and I heerd summat come past me – brush, brush, brush – wi’ chains rattlin’ a’ the while; but I seed nothing, and thowt I to mysel, now this is a most mortal queer thing. And then I stuid still, and luik’d about me, but I seed nothing at a’, nobbut the two stane wa’s on each side o’t mill loine. Then I heerd again this brush, brush, brush, wi’ the chains; for you see, sir, when I stuid still it stopped; and then, thowt I, this mun be a Bargest, that sae much is said about; and I hurried on towards t’ wood brig, for they say as how this Bargest cannot cross a watter; but lord, sir, when I gat o’er t’ brig, I heerd this same thing again, so it mud’ either hev crossed t’ watter or gane round by Spring Head [about thirty miles!]. And then I becam a valliant man, for I war a bit freetened afore; and thinks I, I’ll turn and hev a peep at this thing; so I went up Great Bank towards Linton, and I heerd this brush, brush, brush, wi’ the chains a the way, but I seed nothing; then it ceas’d all of a sudden. So I turned back to go hame, but I’d hardly reach’d t’ door, when I heer’d again this brush, brush, brush, and the chains going down towards t’ Holin House, and I followed it, and the moon there shone varra breet, and seed its tail! Then, thowt I, thou owd thing! I can say I’se seen thee now, so I’ll away hame. When I gat to t’ door, there war a girt thing like a sheep, but it war larger, ligging across t’ threshold o’ t’ door, and it war woolly like; and says I, ‘get up’ and it wouldn’t git up – then says I, ‘stir thysel,’ and it wouldn’t stir itsel! And I grew valliant, and I rais’d t’ stick to baste it wi’, and then it luik’d at me, and sich oies! (eyes) they did glower, and war as big as saucers, and like a cruelled ball; first there war a red ring, then a blue one, then a white one; and these rings grew less and less till they cam to a dot. Now I war nane feer’d on it, tho’ it girn’d at me fearfully, and I kept on saying ‘git up’ and ‘stir thysel,’ and t’ wife heer’d as how I war at t’ door, and she cam to oppen it; and then this thing gat up and walked off, for it war mare feer’d o’t’ wife than it war o’ me! And I told t’ wife, and she said it war Bargest; but I niwer seed it since, and that’s a true story!’ Cobley, 263-267