Friday, 2 March 2012
Mikelmerck - Beasties and beastie marks
Some places call them boogey men, but in Mikelmerck, they are beasties. They are the dark things everyone tries to ignore in the hope that they will in turn be ignored. They are the things all children know are real and most adults hope are not. They are the meat of tall tales told in the long winter evenings by the fire to chill the blood. They are things that are heard at night, when the house is quiet and before the comfort of dawn arrives. When the floor creaks or a roof tile shifts, a beastie is moving.
Some families have their own beasties. These are not the familiar ghosts who protect their kin. Ghosts can do little against beasties, being of the same substance.
When first spotted, a beastie appears as an enormous crouching shadow and most people run from them. For the courageous who hold their ground, however, the sighted beastie starts to shrink. Continuing to stare at them is the surest way to remove a beastie, but there are dangers in that.
Some believe that looking too long at a beastie allows them to mark the observer. Such a person is regarded as fearsomely unlucky as it is believed that they may give birth to a beastie themselves.
Fortunately, there is a simple charm to remove the beastie mark. A toad must be wrapped in rowan leaves and buried under the doorstep on the night of the full moon. Each day, for the full lunar cycle, the afflicted one must stop on the threshold and ask the toad to remove the mark. When the toad is dug up, if it lives, it will take the mark away. If the toad does not survive the process, the beastie marked will surely have warts. Nor will the mark be removed. Whether the toad lives or dies, the wrapping leaves must be carefully burned.