Dedicated to Ben and Edward who support us on Patreon
Hello, this is Jana,
And I'm dropping by with another story from the Eastern part of England.
If you have heard our story, The Buried Moon, you will know the Fens were once full of bogs and evil spirits. In the 17th century, King Charles I employed Dutch engineers to drain the fens. He used experts from Holland because they had a long experience of draining the lowlands of their own country. The magical spirits of the Fens did not want their bogs and water holes to be dried out.
This story is about how the supernatural creatures made their anger felt.
The chief spirit of the bogs was Tiddy Mun, who was no bigger than a child of three. He lived in the water holes, deep down in the still green water, and he only came out in the evening when the mist rose. Then he’d come creeping out into the dark corners, limping as he went. He was like a wee, dear old grandfather with long white hair and a long white beard, all clumped together and tangled. It was hard to see him in his grey gown through the thick grey mist. He came with the sound of running water and a sigh of wind, laughing like a lapwing bird. He wasn't wicked and stroppy like the water-elves, and he wasn't white and creepy like the Dead Hands. But it sent a shiver down your spine when, sitting at home in winter, you heard his screeching laugh out by the door. Folks huddled together and whispered, with a glance over their shoulders, "Hearken to Tiddy Mun!"
There was a rhyme about him.
‘Tiddy Mun without a name,
Whitehead, walking lame,
While the water teams the Fen
Tiddy Mun will harm no men’
When the season was wet, and the waters rose in the marshes, creeping over to the doorsteps covering the paths, father, mother and children would go out together, and looking over the bogs, they would all say:
"Tiddy Mun without a name, The water's soaked the earth, again.”
Then, with bated breath, holding tight to each other, trembling, they'd stand shaking and shivering until they heard the lapwing bird screech across the swamp. And in the morning, sure enough, the water would be down and the fields dry -Tiddy Mun had done the job for them.
King Charles employed Dutchmen to drain the bogs with canals and build up barriers to keep the waters out. The people of the Fens did not like the Dutchies and would not give them food or lodging. The spirits of the bog scared many of them away, but more Dutchmen came, and the work continued.
People gradually forgot Tiddy Mun. But then came the bad times.
Cattle died, children grew sick, as well as the elderly; and many went hungry.
People became desperate. They blamed the witches and tod-lowries. So they threw stones at the wall-eyed witch from Gorby, and they ducked Sally of Wadham in a pond till she nearly died. They said " the Our father" backwards and spat to the east to keep the tod-lowries away, but it was no use. It was only when the New Moon came that they remembered Tiddy Mun. Then, they gathered, each with a kettle full of water, and looked out to the River and chanted:
"Tiddy Mun, without a name.
Here's water for thee, make the spell undone again."
They listened to hear if Tiddy Mun would answer them, but there was no sound. They waited a long, long time; when suddenly there broke out the most awful wailing and whimpering sound, like a lot of crying babies, sobbing as if their hearts would break. All at once, there was stillness, and they could hear the water lapping at their feet. Then, from the River, quite softly, came the lapwing screech, and they knew the spell would lift. From that day on, nature thrived in the Fens; but with every New Moon they went out to the nearest water-edge saying:
" Tiddy Mun, without a name.
Here's some water for your game."
And then, the lapwing screech would come back soft and tender.
And that was the story of Tiddy Mun, from East Anglia in England.
And I’m delighted to dedicate this story to Ben aged 1o and Edward aged six, whose family generously supports us on Patreon.
"Ben and Edward love listening to Storynory at bedtime each day. Ben's favourite stories are following Astropup around the galaxy and Edward most enjoys hearing about Prince Bertie, how silly Tick Tock Turkey is, and how naughty Wicked Uncle will be next.
Thank you so much Ben and Edward. I do hope you enjoyed this story from the Fens of East Anglia.
From me Jana, at Storynory.com, bye for now!