' I will describe another rough ordeal before I go on to the legends of the Land's End district. It is called "Riding the hatch," or "heps" (a half-door often seen at small country shops). Any man formerly accused of immorality was brought before a select number of his fellow parishioners, and by them put to sit astride the " heps," wrhich was shaken violently backwards and forwards: if he fell into the house he was judged innocent; but out on the road, guilty. When any one has been brought before his superiors and remanded he is still figuratively said "to have been made to ride the 'heps.' " Hands are washed, as by Pontius Pilate, to clear a person from crime, and to call any one "dirty-fingered" is to brand him as a thief.
On a bench-end in Zennor church there is a very singular carving of a mermaid. To account for it Zennor folks say that hundreds of years ago a beautifully-attired lady, who came and went mysteriously, used occasionally to attend their church and sing so divinely that she enchanted all who heard her. She came year after year, but never aged nor lost her good looks. At last one Sunday, by her charms, she enticed a young man, the best singer in the parish, to follow her: he never returned, and was heard of no more. A long time after, a vessel lying in Pendower cove, into which she sailed one Sunday, cast her anchor, and in some way barred the access to a mermaid's dwelling. She rose up from the sea, and politely asked the captain to remove it. He landed at Zennor, and related his adventure, and those who heard it agreed that this must have been the lady who decoyed away the poor young man.
Not far from St. Just is the solitary, dreary cairn, known as Cairn Kenidzhek (pronounced Kenidjack), which means the "hooting cairn," so called from the unearthly noises which proceed from it on dark nights. It enjoys a bad reputation as the haunt of witches. Close under it lies a barren stretch of moorland, the " Gump," over it the devil hunts at night poor lost souls; he rides on the half-starved horses turned out here to graze, and is sure to overtake them at a particular stile. It is often the scene of demon fights, when one holds the lanthorn to give the others light, and is also a great resort Legends of Parishes, etc. of the pixies. Woe to the unhappy person who may be there after night-fall: they will lead him round and round, and he may be hours before he manages to get out of the place away from his tormentors. Here more than once fortunate persons have seen "the small people " too, at their revels, and their eyes have been dazzled by the si°"ht of their wonderful jewels; but if they have ever managed to secrete a few, behold next morning they were nothing but withered leaves, or perhaps snail-shells.
" Sennen Cove was much frequented by mermaids. This place was also resorted to by a remarkable spirit called the Hooper—from the hooping, or hooting sounds it was accustomed to make. In old times, according to tradition, a compact cloud of mist often came in from over the sea, when the weather was tby no means foggy, and rested on the rocks called Cowloc, thence it spread itself like a curtain of cloud quite across Sennen Cove. By night a dull light was mostly seen amidst the vapour, with sparks ascending as if a fire burned within it: at the same time hooping sounds were heard proceeding therefrom. People believed the misty cloud shrouded a spirit, which came to forewarn them of approaching storms, and that those who attempted to put to sea found an invisible force—seemingly in the mist—to resist them. A reckless fisherman and his son, however, disregarding the token, launched their boat and beat through the fog with a "threshal" (flail); they passed the cloud of mist which followed them, and neither the men nor the hooper were ever more seen in Sennen Cove. This is the only place in the county where any tradition of such a guardian spirit is preserved." —Bottrell. The same author tells a story of a reputed astrologer called Dionysius Williams, who lived in Mayon, in Sennen, a century ago. He found his furze-rick was diminishing faster than it ought, and discovered by his art that some women in Sennen Cove were in the habit of taking it away at night. The very next night, when all honest folks should be in bed, an old woman from the Cove came as was her wont to his rick for a "burn" of furze. She made one of no more tan the usual size.... '
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