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The Troller's Gill Hound (standard:Ghost stories, 974 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Jan 30 2005Views/Reads: 2645/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Tom Trowler had had one too many. As he made his way out of the Grouse Inn in semidarkness, he missed the step and stumbled forward, almost falling flat on his face...
 



The Troller's Gill Hound 

©2004 Ian Hobson 

Tom Trowler had had one too many.  As he made his way out of the Grouse
Inn in semidarkness, he missed the step and stumbled forward, almost 
falling flat on his face. 

'Mind how you go, Tom,' said old George Butterworth, as he followed Tom
out of the pub.  'Are you gonna be alreet?' 

'Aye,' replied Tom, regaining has balance and looking over his shoulder
at George.  'There's nowt wrong wi me, lad...  G'night.' 

'Night, Tom.'  George was older than Tom by at least twenty years, but
he didn't mind being called lad.  He stood for a moment and watched Tom 
set off down the road towards Grassington, shaking his head as Tom 
lurched first to the right and then to the left, before disappearing 
into the night.  'These young'uns can't take their ale,' he said, out 
loud.  'It's a good job tomorrow's a Sunday.'  George turned and strode 
off in the opposite direction. 

As Tom continued along the road, guided by the silhouette of the
dry-stone walls on either side, he gradually sobered enough to keep a 
reasonably straight line.  And as he heard the sound of running water, 
he found the gap-stile in the wall, beside the beck, and squeezed 
through it.  Suddenly clouds that had obscured the moon parted, and the 
moon showed through, illuminating a grassy track: a shortcut that 
avoided the mine-workings and led, via a ravine, almost directly to 
Tom's cottage in Skyrehome.  If he hadn't been so drunk, he might have 
felt guilty about coming home to his family so late; though it did 
cross his mind that his wife would give him the sharp edge of her 
tongue again.  But, he'd worked hard at the lead mine all week, earned 
his pay, and... well, why shouldn't he have a pint or two? 

He cursed as his right foot caught an exposed tree root, causing him to
stumble off the path and crash into a sapling.  Then he almost jumped 
out of his skin, as a startled grouse, broke cover and took to the air, 
berating him with its noisy distress call.  Tom cursed again, shook his 
fist towards the receding sound, then continued downhill, slipping on 
the dewy grass but managing to stay upright, and soon nearing the lower 
end of the ravine where the path began to level out. 

The moon was still lighting Tom's way, but mist, rising from nearby
marshy ground, began to drift across the path.  And as the mist 
thickened around him, he heard someone or something ahead.  He stopped 
and listened.  Somewhere in the distance, a sheep bleated, but apart 
from the gurgling of the nearby stream, there was no other sound.  He 
shrugged and walked on a few paces then stopped.  There it was again, 
but this time closer: a swift four-legged animal, coming straight 
towards him.  Tom stepped off the path as the sound grew louder, but 
his foot found a rabbit hole, and he toppled over into the bracken as 
the creature came closer.  It's a wolf, Tom thought, as he heard the 
animal panting, and, frightened, he raised his arms defensively.  But 
again the sound stopped.  Tom couldn't believe it.  He was sure he'd 
heard a wolf, or perhaps a large dog, only a few paces away.  It was 
then that he remembered the story of the gill ghost: a huge grey hound 
that supposedly roamed the gill at night. 

Tom strained his eyes and ears, but he could see and hear nothing; just
the mist and the gurgling stream.  He scrambled to his feet, dismissing 
the idea as an old wives' tale.  Perhaps he had had too much ale.  That 
must be it.  There's no such thing as ghosts; two-legged or 
four-legged.  He laughed at his own foolishness and continued on along 
the path, then froze.  Somewhere behind him, a beast had begun to howl. 
 The sound seemed to pierce his very soul.  Then again he heard the 
panting and the sound of the beast racing towards him.  Tom ran for his 
life, blundering off the path, forcing his way through the bracken and 
stumbling over unseen obstacles, until finally he stepped into a void 
and fell, tumbling head over heels and landing with a splash. 

Tom lay on his back in the stream.  'Please, God!' he screamed out loud.
 'Please don't let it kill me!'  Then, out of the mist, loomed the 
beast.  It stood on top of the small embankment that Tom had just 
fallen from.  It was a huge silvery-grey hound.  As it looked down at 
Tom, its tongue lolled from its mouth and its fang-like teeth glinted 
in the moonlight.  Then, as it leaped from the embankment and fell 
towards him, Tom tried to move, but his limbs were made of lead; and as 
the grey shadow devoured him, he tried to scream, but no sound left his 
lips.  But then, just as suddenly as the hound had appeared, it was 
gone, seeming to have dissolve into the mist. 

Tom's heart was beating so loudly it was the only sound he could hear. 
Slowly he rolled over and struggled to his knees and, shivering with 
cold and fear, he clambered out of the beck and somehow found his way 
back to the footpath.  And as he staggered back to the safety of his 
cottage, he vowed never to drink or to take that way home again. 

*** 

Extract from a Yorkshire Dales walking book: Many legends centre around
Troller's Gill, mostly referring to a spectre, in the shape of a large 
hound.  A notable sighting of this ghost was by a lead miner, called 
Troller or Trowler, on his way home from work one night (and perhaps 
after calling at the Grouse Inn on the Pateley Bridge road, near the 
source of the beck). 


   


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