The Brown Man of the Moors

By Charles J. Tibbits

Illustrated by Geoffrey Strahan

In the year before the great rebellion two young men from Newcastle were sporting on the high moors above Elsdon, and, after pursuing their game several hours, sat down to dine in a green glen, near one of the mountain streams. After their repast, the younger lad ran to the brook for water, and, after stooping to drink, was surprised, on lifting his head again, by the appearance of a brown dwarf, who stood on a crag covered with brackens across the burn. This extraordinary personage did not appear to be above half the stature of a common man, but was uncommonly stout and broad-built, having the appearance of vast strength. His dress was entirely brown, the colour of the brackens, and his head covered with frizzled red hair. His countenance was expressive of the most savage ferocity, and his eyes glared like those of a bull.

Illustration for The Brown Man of the Moors by Geoffrey Strahan

His foot was arrested by the voice of his companion

It seems he addressed the young man, first threatening him with his vengeance for having trespassed on his demesnes, and asking him if he knew in whose presence he stood. The youth replied that he supposed him to be the lord of the moors; that he had offended through ignorance; and offered to bring him the game he had killed. The dwarf was a little mollified by this submission, but remarked that nothing could be more offensive to him than such an offer, as he considered the wild animals as his subjects, and never failed to avenge their destruction. He condescended further to inform the young man that he was, like himself, mortal, though of years far exceeding the lot of common humanity, and that he hoped for salvation. He never, he added, fed on anything that had life, but lived in the summer on whortle berries, and in winter on nuts and apples, of which he had great store in the woods. Finally, he invited his new acquaintance to accompany him home and partake his hospitality, an offer which the youth was on the point of accepting, and was just going to spring across the brook (which if he had done, the dwarf would certainly have torn him to pieces) when his foot was arrested by the voice of his companion, who thought he had tarried long. On his looking round again “the wee brown man was fled.”

The story adds that the young man was imprudent enough to slight the admonition, and to sport over the moors on his way homewards, but soon after his return he fell into a lingering disorder, and died within a year.

From Folk-lore and Legends: England and Scotland.
Gibbins and Company, Limited. London, 1894.

Find stories similar to The Brown Man of the Moors

Collection:

Fairy-lore

Illustrator:

Reading time:

More stories you might like

The White Duckling

The red-hot fire is built, the bubbling pot is hung, the steely knives are sharpened.

EuropeRussia

read

Elves in Scotland: Sea Elves

By

His guide produced an enormous knife, and he already thought that his end was come; when the latter quieted his fears, and asked him if he had never before seen the knife?

EuropeScotland

read

The Feather of Bright Finist the Falcon

By

Wherever he came from, Bright Finist the Falcon of Flowery Feathers wheeled before her, sprang in through the window, struck the floor, and became a young man.

EuropeRussia

read

The Frog Prince

By

‘Your pearls and jewels, and your golden crown are not for me,’ answered the frog; ‘but if you would love me, and have me for your companion, then would I dive below the water and fetch you your golden ball again.’

EuropeGermany

read

Find stories