Some tales from Northumberland
Have you heard of the deurgars of Simonside? These mischievous creatures are said to live in the Simonside hills, a place where the remains of ancient Iron Age settlements can be found. Be careful if you see a deurgar – local stories tell of travellers being lured away from the paths only to be left stranded in a muddy bog or balanced on the edge of a cliff.
Sewingshields Castle, near Hadrian’s Wall, is heard in many folktales, in connection to the legend of King Arthur. There are many different tales of farmers and shepherds finding secret rooms within the castle, and blowing on a magical horn to send the King and his knights to their rest.
The tale of the Knocking Lady, or Nelly the Knocker, is heard often in the south of Northumberland. The ghost of a lady was said to be seen every night, knocking against a large stone in the middle of a field. In one version of the story, the local farmers sons remove the stone and found gold hidden in the ground underneath.
Why not write your own folktale?
Think about the following ideas if you would like to write your own folktale. It could be based on a local story you know, or an interesting place you have visited.
- Characters: Will there be a hero and a villain? Will there be ghosts, talking animals or magical creatures? What will their names be?
- Setting: Where will your story take place? Try and think of an interesting place local to where you live. It could perhaps be a woodland, a beach, a hill, or a village.
- Will there be a mystery or problem that your characters have to solve?
- Will there be a special phrase the characters use, or some magic words?
- Will your folktale have a happy ending?
We would love to see any stories you create. With an adult to help, you could share your folktales with us online. Head over to Twitter and tag our page @NlandNP.