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Peg the Powler

The river Tees has its sprite, called Peg Powler, a sort of
Lorelei, -with green tresses, and an insatiable desire for human
life, as has the Jenny Greenteeth of Lancashire streams. Both
are said to lure people to their subaqueous haunts, and then drown
or devour them. The foam or froth, which is often seen floating
on the higher portion of the Tees in large masses, is called " Peg
Powler's suds ;" the finer less sponge-like froth is called " Peg
Powler's cream." Mr. Denham tells us that children are still
warned from playing on the banks of the river, especially on
Sundays, by threats, that Peg Powler will drag them into the
water; and he pleads guilty to having experienced great terror
whenever, as a boy, he found himself alone by the haunted
stream. The river Skerne too has a goblin or sprite, but of
what character I have not learned. That of the Eibble is a Peg
too, Peg o' Nell. A spring in the grounds of Waddow bears her
name, and is graced by a stone image, now headless, which is
said to represent her.

Tradition avers that in days of old Peg o' Nell was a servant at
Waddow Hall. Before starting one morning to fetch water from
the well, the girl offended her mistress the lady of Waddow, who
thereupon expressed a wish that she might fall and break her
neck. It was winter, and the ground was coated with ice. Peggy
fell, and the malediction was fulfilled. But she had her revenge.
Waddow Hall now became possessed of an evil genius. When
the chickens were stolen, the cow died, the sheep strayed, or the
children fell sick, all was due to Peg o' Nell. And further she
was inexorable in demanding every seven years a life to be
quenched in the waters of the Kibble. When " Peg's night,"
the closing night of the period, came round, unless a bird, a cat,
or a dog was drowned in the stream, some human being was
certain to fall a victim there. Accordingly on one anniversary
of the fatal evening a young man rode down to an adjoining inn
on the way from Waddington to Clitheroe. No bridge then
spanned the river at Brangerley ; passengers crossed it at the
ford, but it was so swollen on this occasion as to be unsafe. The
young man was told of this, but he said he had business at
Clitheroe, and must go on. The host and hostess tried hard to
dissuade him from his purpose, while the maid added, " And its
Peg 'o Nell's night, and she has not had her life." The traveller
laughed and set oflF, but neither horse nor rider reached the
opposite bank.
The stone image is probably that of some saint brought from
either Whalley or Salley Abbey, neither of which are very far