Thursday, 12 November 2015

Another Childhood Tale - The Wizard of The Edge

After submitting my Mum’s ghost story (see post below) I remembered another supernatural tale from my childhood. A local legend this time, the Wizard of The Edge in Alderley Edge. It’s widely known around here and has been the subject of books (‘The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley' Alan Garner, 1960) and a sculpture at the Wilmslow Sainsburys (1989, Judith Bluck). The Edge is both beautiful and atmospheric and I encourage you to visit. The location was also used for the BBC 3 zombie series ‘In the Flesh’.

I was told the tale as part of a geography field trip at primary school. It certainly added an extra dimension to the visit. Possibly, helped by the fact I was walking under an umbrella with a massive metal spike during a thunder storm. I survived the experience.

“A farmer from Mobberley was taking a white mare to sell at the market in Macclesfield. Whilst walking along the Edge, he reached a spot known locally as "Thieves Hole." Suddenly an old man dressed in a grey, flowing garment stopped him. The old man offered the farmer a sum of money for his horse but the farmer refused, saying he could get a better price at the market. The old man told the farmer that he would be at this spot again when the farmer returned, not having found a seller for the horse. The farmer failed to sell the horse and cursing his luck made the journey back home along the Edge.

At the same point, the old man appeared again, repeating his offer, which this time it was accepted. The old man told the farmer to follow him with the horse. As they approached an area just past Stormy Point, the old man held out a wand and muttered a spell. To the farmer's shock, the rock opened to reveal a pair of huge iron gates, which the ‘wizard’ opened by casting another spell. The frightened horse threw its rider and the farmer knelt before the wizard and begged for mercy. But the wizard assured him he would come to no harm and told him to enter.

The farmer did so and was led through the gates into a large cavern. In the cavern, the farmer saw countless men and white horses, all asleep. In a recess there was a chest, from which the wizard took the payment for the horse. The astonished farmer asked what all this meant; the wizard explained that all these sleeping warriors were ready to awake and fight should England fall into danger. He then ordered the farmer to leave and the gates slammed shut. The rock face returned to its previous state. The farmer told his friends of his experience but when he returned with them the following day there was no sign of the mysterious iron gates”.

Find out more about The Edge and Alderley Edge here:

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