Prophecies of the Yorkshire Witch
Predictions have always interested mankind, but ordinary people have always been admired by the gift of a soothsayer and fear, sometimes turning into hatred. Not passed this cup and Mother Shipton – the legendary prophetess from England.
Life in the small Yorkshire village of Knaresborough flowed peacefully and measured. Only one of its residents – the widow of Agatha Southale confused and disturbed the peace of local residents. For her, the glory of the broken little woman, who did not shy away from seducing someone else’s husband or quarreling with a neighbor because of a trifle, was entrenched for a long time. But it was still half the trouble: Agatha was engaged in a fortuneteering, in fact, she lived on it.
Throughout the autumn and winter of 1487, the fellow villagers, already accustomed to many things, were alarmed more than usual. According to Knaresborough, rumors were spreading that at night “someone” was calling in to the brisk widow — a goat-legged one with cloven hooves, a goat beard and horns. This strange creature was first noticed by a late hunter.
And then the widow told the companion about her “happiness”, they say, her nightly guest gives her such pleasure, which no man could deliver. At the same time, Agatha herself also looked strange: a consumptive blush on her cheeks, circles under the eyes, an unhealthy sheen in her eyes. A few months later, it became clear that Agatha was on demolition.
July 1488 turned out to be rainy and thunderstorm in England. Every day there were severe thunderstorms, and the villagers did not have time to hide from them in the houses. In the forest, hurricanes threw a lot of trees, and one lightning hit the mill and burned it to the ground. Miller and his family barely managed to escape.
Many began to talk about the end of the world, and some told that they saw ghosts and other vermin. And it’s necessary to happen that Agatha Southtail was relieved from the burden at such a bad time. The midwives gossiped that the child at birth did not utter any cry, but only angrily grinned and mockingly laughed, so that they had a frost on their skin.
Prophecies of the Yorkshire Witch
According to another version, Agatha herself uttered a terrible scream, and the baby screamed, as it should be for all newborns. But both versions converged on one thing: with the birth of a child, terrible thunderstorms ceased, and peace and grace reigned in nature.
Like Agatha Southale, her daughter, Ursula, from the very birth, caught the attention of her fellow villagers. The girl was unusually ugly, both in childhood and in her youth. Imagine a big frogish mouth, bulging eyes, a long hooked nose, covered in pimples, a duck gait waddle, a bent and crooked figure.
In addition, the girl was head and shoulders above the village, including men. Straight some kind of tower. It was possible to pity the plain woman because she grew up to be an orphan. Her mother Agatha died shortly after giving birth, and the girl was brought up by a guardian.
For the first time she distinguished herself at the age of one. Her guardian went to the village fair, and left the sleeping girl alone in the cradle, reasoning reasonably that nothing would happen to the baby in an hour. How she miscalculated. The men of her family tightly stuck to the poker, and the women began to dance in a circle and circled around the house unable to stop.
All these wild events so struck the guardian that she was speechless. Madness stopped by itself, exhausted people collapsed on the floor. And only then discovered the disappearance of the cradle with the baby. The search yielded an unexpected result: a bed with a peacefully sleeping girl was found on the street. How she got there is a mystery.
Never before the appearance of Ursula in the caretaker’s house did anything fantastic happen, and then it started. The furniture moved on its own, on the shelves the dishes were shaking, things disappeared, and stairs and shutters creaked. The members of the family that sheltered the girl became afraid of her, and in the depths of their hearts everyone dreamed that she would disappear once and for all.
It ended with the fact that as soon as Ursula was sixteen years old, she left the guardian’s house and settled in an abandoned forester’s house in the forest. She rarely left her haven, led an ascetic life, almost did not communicate with anyone. They say that she made her first predictions right then.
Ursula opened an unusual gift – she began to compose verses. Against her will, the hand itself stretched to the paper. So there were collections of short poems, which turned out to be prophetic. But this people understood later. In the meantime, everyone wondered why Tobias Shipton, a young carpenter of a very pretty appearance, visited the cabin of the horror of Ursula.
Was it really possible for the plain woman to lure such an advantageous gentleman into their networks? Not otherwise, she tells fortunes, like her mother, the local gossips whispered. And true, Shipton married Ursula, which gave a new reason for gossip. In the end, Ursula’s patience broke, and she decided to take revenge on all ill-wishers. She gathered the villagers for dinner.
During the meal, all the guests suddenly became overwhelmed with laughter, they laughed until they lost consciousness. The victims appealed to the magistrate with a complaint, and Ursula appeared before the court.