The Bridge Story ID - Page 6

Lambtom worm

ipsum dolor

03

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Lambton Castle is on the banks of the River Wear near Durham. Long, long ago, John, Lord

Lambton's spoilt young heir, was fishing for trout in the river. It was Sunday.

"This is the Lord's day," said a passer-by. "You should be praying, not fishing!"

The lad took no notice. He put a grub on the hook and cast his fishing line again. It hit the water with a plop.

For a while he had no luck and he lost his temper. He cursed the river. Then, suddenly, the rod jerked madly. Young Lambton thought he had hooked a huge fish and struggled with the catch.

"You'll not beat me," he said, nearly falling over in the river. At last, he pulled his prize onto the sandy bank, and looked at it.

It was ugliest thing you ever did see: a worm-like creature, black as pitch and oozing slime. Its head, like a salamander's, had needle sharp teeth and nine holes along each side. It was thin like an eel, but had two legs at the front and two at the back, like a lizard. Despite being small, it twisted and coiled with amazing power.

"Whatever kind of fish is this?" he said aloud. Just then an old man appeared from behind and looked at the creature.

His face went ashen and he quickly made the sign of the cross.

"You must not put it back in the river," he said. "It bodes ill but you must choose what to do with it."

Then the old man disappeared.

With some hesitation, John Lambton put the creature into his basket. As he walked towards home, he glanced again at the hideous creature and shuddered.

On the way, he passed a field with an ancient, very deep well. "There is no way the creature can escape from here," thought John. So he tipped the basket up over the well and the worm dropped into the darkness below. After a while, Lambton heard a distant plop.

Satisfied, he went back to the castle and forgot all about the worm. But, in the black waters of the well, at the bottom of that deep, dark hole something stirred, for the ugly creature grew and each year got stronger and stronger.

As John grew up, he became sorry for his poor behaviour and decided to join the crusades. His loving father gave him his blessing and all the villagers turned out to wish him well. Then, just over a year later, strange things began to happen.

Shepherds found half eaten sheep. Just a few to begin with, but soon it became one every night. The cows started giving less and less milk. The smell near the well became terrible and strange vapours arose from its depths. People who drank its water complained of burning mouths and throats. The villagers thought the well had been cursed.

Then, one morning, they awoke to find a glistening trail of foul slime leading from the well to the Wear. There, in the middle of the river, wrapped around a rock, was a fully grown dragon. It was enormous and fearful, with huge coils that gleamed in the morning sun. It had no wings, but a thick muscled body. Its head was large and its mouth full of razor sharp teeth; poisonous vapours trailed from its nostrils and its mouth as it breathed.

Lambton Worm is a famous tale from Durham, It was prepared by the students from Shotton for the meeting in Palermo