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Lambton Worm

by Sophia Pacheco
The Lambton 'Worm' (old english for 'dragon') has long been part of folklore in Durham, England. The 'worm' began wreaking havoc in the middle ages, when a young member of the Lambton family caught an eel-like creature while fishing on a Sunday. He threw it down a well, where it grew to an enormous size. When the youth went off to on a crusade, the worm escaped the well and devoured anything that came near. It is said that the worm was long enough to wrap itself around the hill, now called "worm hill", completely three times, and it slept wound around the hill in this manner.

The young man managed to kill the worm upon his return from the crusades -- cutting the worm in three pieces -- but only with the help of a witch. His promise to her was that he would kill the first creature he met after his victory. Unfortunately, the first creature he met happened to be his father. Unable to murder his father, the young crusader reneged on his promise to the witch and condemned his family to a curse of untimely deaths that continued for nine generations.

Reader's Digest, 'Strange Stories and Amazing Facts', copyright 1977 Reader's Digest Association Far East Ltd.


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