There is a tradition in England during the month of December of people gathering by a fire late at night, long after all the children are safely tucked up in bed and then telling a ghost story.
Usually Christmas Eve is the chosen time for such tales of the supernatural.
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This is such a tale to be read to a gathered crowd though perhaps on this occasion this story should not be read on Christmas Eve, but rather on the eve of the more ancient date for Christmas which is the date when this particular story was set.
This story came to me during a dream on the night of the 8th or 9th of January. I had not read of Bede's description of this particular night of the full moon until I dreamt of walking up a hill holding a child's hand, and the rest of whatthen happened is of course chronicled in the story.
Burrough on the Hill (which is featured on the front cover of the story) is a real place just below Melton Mowbury. After reading this story to my friends one of their first reactions was, 'Where exactly is this place?' and 'I want to go there?'
A more thoughtful elderly lady who'd been sat in the corner and who had seemed to grasp the import of this story much quicker than many of the others then asked me quietly much later, 'Would you ever go there on that particular night?'
And I must admit that I answered. 'No, I'd be absolutely terrified!'
But from her enigmatic expression I wondered if once she too had been a 'Great Mother'!