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The Story of Wild Edric

Out to the very north of Herefordshire, to the east of Leintwardine there lies a small village called Burrington. It is here that Wild Edric a Saxon Thane owned considerable lands. He was a wealthy man who spent most of his time hunting and drinking.

There were many rumours about Edric, not least that his wife Godda was a fairy. It is said that one day while he was out hunting and upon returning home he found himself lost in an unfamiliar part of the woods. In the light ahead he saw an old house and could hear, singing, music and laughter coming from within. As he peeked into one of the windows to his surprise he saw six beautiful women dancing in a circle around the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Overcome with passion and desire he knew immediately that this woman must become his bride. So he rushed inside the house, swept her off her feet and took to leaving with her. Edric was definitely not prepared for what happened next. The mesmerising women who had been dancing and singing so beautifully turned into harpies, birds with the heads of maidens. Their vengeful screaming stunned him as their long claws took aim at him for taking their sister, leaving him bloodied and shocked.

Edric still clutching his bride to be managed to back out of the house and staggered into the forest. As he prepared for another assault from the women, he realised that it had all gone quiet. As soon as he had stepped over the threshold the commotion had ended. Mounting his horse quickly he took off with the beautiful woman that he had taken from the forest. Throughout the journey she did not struggle or speak and it was at this point that Edric realised that she was from the faerie realm.

Over the next few days, Edric spoiled his new beauty with fine food and delicious wine. He told her how much he loved her but she did not utter one word. After three days and nights much to Edric’s relief the silence was broken. His new maiden spoke, confirming that she would become his bride. She told him that he was a lucky man and that his good fortune and health would last forever. There was a caveat however, one rule that Edric must never break. He must never on any account speak any criticism of her sisters or of the place that he had stolen her from. In all of his excitement Edric readily confirmed that this would never happen. Why would he want to jeopardise his happiness or fortune in any way.

Edric arranged the most lavish of weddings. News of Edric’s beautiful bride went far and wide. Indeed William the Conqueror was said to have invited them to court in London just to get a glimpse of Godda’s beauty himself. King William was no fool and as soon as he gazed upon her he knew she was from the supernatural realm.

Years passed, the couple remained happy, Edric was prosperous and wealthy and they even had a son Aelfnoth. All was going well until one day Edric returned from a hunt to find his wife missing. When Godda returned he began to scold her blaming her sisters for taking her away from him. As he continued to speak Godda’s gaze became sad and in an instant she disappeared.

Edric was beside himself, stricken with grief. He called out her name time and time again but she did not return. He went back into the woods where he had first seen her but the house was no longer there. Edric forever regretted his mistake and the rest of his life passed in great sorrow.

And what became of their son you may ask. Aelfnoth went on to have a long and happy life. As he grew old he succumbed to illness. At the altar of St Ethelbert he prayed to be cured and was so. In appreciation Aelfnoth left much of his land to Hereford Cathedral. Upon his death it is said that Aelfnoth the son of a fairy was buried within the grounds of the cathedral.

These stories are curated from many sources and retold in our fun ESL style, in the true spirit of Folklore.

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