Read by Jana
Lightly adapted by Bertie from a traditional story.
Music by Beethoven (Moonlight Sonata)
The Buried Moon
Dedicated to Gray and Vreeland Ezell
Hello, this is Jana,
And I'm here with a creepy, ancient story from a part of England called East Anglia. The land is flat, cold and windy, but a fantastic place to grow crops, and now there are many large farms there. In the old days, it was very watery and boggy. These flatlands are known as the Fens, and there are many scary stories from that part of England. Listen on if you dare.
Long ago, when the Fens were nothing but bogs and water holes, they were teaming with supernatural creatures, known as the Things. You had to be brave indeed to cross the Fens at night. As your feet squelched through the mud, you might meet an evil spirit like a scarecrow with bony hands and feet. This apparition would almost certainly be a Boggart. Or perhaps you might spot a haunted light dancing through the night. That would likely be a Will-o'-the-wisp. Suppose neither the Boggart nor the Will-o'-the-wisp was scary enough for you. In that case, you might try listening to the voices of dead folk, moaning and crying, or watch witches riding around on broomsticks that turned into snakes.
The local folk were frightened of the Things. Infact, everyone went about with a charm to keep them safe - a shiny mirror to reflect away evil spirits, a block of wood with Bible verses carved onto it, or a smooth stone with a hole in its centre. And they all shook with fright when they told a tale of how they met with one of the Things.
If anyone absolutely had to travel about at night, they took great comfort from the Moon. When the Moon was bright, she shone down on the bog-pools so that you could walk about just as if it was the day.
But when she didn't shine, out came the Things that dwelt in the darkness. Bogles and Crawling Horrors all came out when the Moon didn't shine.
When Moon heard of this, being kind and good, she was troubled. "I'll see for myself, I will," said she, "maybe it's not so bad as folks make out."
At the month's end, down she stepped, wearing a black cloak with a hood over her shining yellow hair. She went straight to the bog edge and looked about her. All was dark but for the glimmer of the stars in the pools and the light from her own white feet.
The Moon drew her cloak tighter and trembled. On she went, stepping as light as the wind in summer from tuft to tuft between the greedy gurgling water holes. On the edge of a big black pool, her foot slipped, and she almost tumbled in. She grabbed hold of a creeping plant like a vine to steady herself with, but it wound itself round her wrists, like a pair of handcuffs, and gripped her so hard that she couldn't move. She pulled and twisted and fought, but it was no good. She was a prisoner of the creeper.
As she stood trembling in the dark, she heard something calling in the distance, calling, calling, and then dying away with a sob, until the marshes were full of this pitiful crying sound. Then she heard steps squishing in the mud and slipping on the tufts, and through the darkness, she saw a white face with eyes full of fear.
It was a man who had become lost while crossing the bogs. Amazed with fear, he struggled on toward the flickering light that looked like help and safety. And when the poor Moon saw that he was coming closer and closer to the deep hole, further and further from the path, she was so mad and so sorry that she struggled and fought and pulled harder than ever to get free. She twisted and turned till her black hood fell back off her shining yellow hair, and its beautiful light drove away the darkness.
Oh, but the man cried with joy to see the light again. All at once, the evil things fled back into the corners, for they hate the light. Then, the man could see the path and the way out of the marsh. He was in such a hurry to escape the Quicks, and Bogles, and Things, that he did not notice the trapped Moon with her golden hair.
So off he ran, worn out and gasping, and stumbling and sobbing with joy, fleeing for his life out of the terrible bogs. The Moon longed to escape with him. She pulled and fought as if she were mad until she fell on her knees, exhausted. And as she lay there, gasping for breath, the black hood fell forward over her head. Then the blessed light dimmed. Darkness returned. Evil Things screeched and howled. They came crowding round her, mocking and snatching and beating; shrieking with rage and spite, swearing and snarling, for they knew her for their old enemy.
"Drat thee!" yelled the witch-bodies, "You spoiled our spells by shining your light!"
"And you drove us to hide in the dark corners!" howled the Bogles.
And all the Things joined in with a great howling till bushes shook and the water gurgled. And then they began again.
"We'll poison her—poison her!" shrieked the witches.
"HAHA!" howled the Things again.
"We'll smother her—smother her!" whispered the Crawling Horror as they wrapped themselves around her knees.
"AH HA!" mocked the rest of them.
Again, they shouted with spite and ill-will. And the poor Moon crouched down and wished she was dead and done.
They fought and squabbled over what they should do with her until the first pale grey light of dawn appeared in the sky. And then horrid bony fingers caught hold of her and laid her deep in the water at the foot of the creeper. The Bogles rolled a big stone on top of her. And they told two of the Will-o-the-wisps to take turns to watch that she couldn't escape and spoil their fun.
And there lay the poor Moon, buried in the bog under a huge stone. She was lost. Who would know where to look for her?
Well, the days passed, and it was the time for the new Moon to appear. The people put pennies in their pockets and straws in their caps to be ready for her. The Moon was a good friend to the marsh folk, and they were glad when the dark time was gone and the paths were safe again.
But days and days passed, and the new Moon did not appear, and the nights were dark, and the Evil Things were worse than ever. Naturally, the poor folk were strangely fearful and amazed. Some of them went to see the Wise Woman who dwelt in the old mill and asked if she could find out where the Moon had gone.
"Well," said she, after looking in her cauldron, her mirror, and her book, "it be mighty queer, but I can't rightly tell ye what's happened to her. If you hear any news, come tell me."
So they went away. But tongues wagged at the inn, and one man recalled how he had been lost on the bog one night and saved by a bright, mysterious light.
So off they all went back to the Wise Woman and told her what they had heard.
"It's dark still, cold and dark!" she said, "and I can't rightly see, but do as I tell ye. Before nighttime, each of you put a stone in your mouth and take a hazel twig in your hands. Then walk on and fear not, far into the midst of the marsh, till ye find a coffin, a candle, and a cross. Then you'll not be far from your Moon. Seek, and ye shall find her."
The next night, each of them placed a stone in their mouth and took a hazel-twig in their hand, and went out feeling fearful and creepy.
They stumbled and staggered along the paths into the midst of the bogs; seeing nothing, though they heard sighs and flutterings in their ears. Every now and then, cold, wet fingers touched them. All at once, they stopped in their tracks, quaking, amazed and scared. The great stone, half in, half out of the water, looked just like a strange coffin. At the head was the black creeper, stretching out its two arms in the dark, like a gruesome cross. Behind, a light flickered, like a dying candle.
They crept closer in, and took hold of the big stone, shoving it up, and afterwards, they said that for one tiny moment they saw a strange and beautiful face looking up at them glad out of the black water. The light was so quick, so lovely, and so shiny that all were amazed. The very next moment, the Moon was back in the sky, bright and beautiful and kind as ever. She shone and smiled down at them, making the bogs and paths as clear as day, reaching into every corner to drive the darkness and the Bogles and all the evil Things clean away.
And that was the story of The Buried Moon, from the Fens of East Anglia in England.
And I’m delighted to dedicate this story to Gray and Vreeland Ezell aka "The Bubba Brothers". Both boys love Storynory and listen often on country drives outside of Nashville, Tennassee.
Their family very kindly supports us on Patreon. And if you do support us - even with a very small donation per month you can catch our extra content, including me reading some more scary stories.