Folktale week

#folktaleweek day 5! This is the Mermaid of Marden.
There's a church in the Herefordshire village of Marden and it lost its bell once upon a time thanks to an enthusiastic priest ringing it so hard the rope eventually frayed and it fell into the river and a mermaid made her home in it. She refused to give it back as the priest would wake her up everyday with its loud ringing. The villagers came up with an idea to use rowan tethers to tie 12 ox and yew goads to drive them to pull out the bell. They had to do it all in utter silence. They used hooks to silently locate the bell, rope to tie the hook to the oxen to heave the bell out. They did and they saw the mermaid fast asleep inside. The priest shouted out in excitement waking her up. She went into a fury breaking the rope from the bell and in fell the bell again followed by the mermaid, she retorted how shed have dragged the ox too if it wasn't for the fact they were tethered with rowan and the villagers had yew rods. In 1848 the village pond was cleared in Marden and they found an ancient bell that was used by the Celtic church. Was this the one from the legend? You can see it for yourself in the Hereford Museum. (I drew a more modern bell as it looked nicer for the illo!)

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