The lambton worm

chapter 1 my early life

I was born in the River Wear. I can’t recall ever meeting my parents because they abandoned me before I was born. I pushed my way out of the egg that they had left on a small sandbank in the middle of the river and I had to learn how to fend for myself.
The river where I was born flowed slowly and meandered back and forth to the sea, which was less than ten of your human miles away to the sea. Ten to twenty miles in the other direction was the human city of Durham, which surrounded the river on both sides. I swam all the way there once, as I chased salmon upstream. I saw the stone bridges, the magnificent cathedral and the castle overlooking the river. From where I was the buildings looked so tall and foreboding. I didn’t like it that far upriver. It was unfamiliar water to me, with different predators that might eat me up in one big bite!
I was glad to let the river carry me back downstream through the town of Chester-le-Street, to the water of my home.
I knew very little about human lives back then. My life was in the river, swimming with the fish amongst the pebbles, rocks and plants.
The fish teased me about the way I looked. You see, I had no fins and no tail. I was simply all body, with a mouth at one end. At the other end, there was a hole where I excreted the stuff my body did not want or need. I could swim quite easily with or against the current by wiggling my body from side to side.
I was jealous of the fish, though for their ability to breathe under the water. I had to come to the surface, take in a big gulp of air, then dive back under the water.
Nevertheless, it was a worry free lifestyle, with plenty of food and plenty of company under the water.
One day, (I was told later it was a Sunday morning) the son of the local landowner was supposed to go to church, but decided to play by the river instead. I saw the boy sitting on the river bank with a long stick. I wasn’t sure what that stick was for, it was none of my business what humans did, after all.
After a while, I came across a wiggly creature that looked a bit like me, but was more of a dull brown colour. It looked tasty, so I took a bite. I soon learned of my mistake because I felt something sharp and metal in my mouth. It tore at the flesh of my lips and got stuck there. Then I felt myself being dragged through the water and into the air. The metal hook was attached to a string, which was attached to the stick the boy had been holding. The boy took me off his hook and placed me in a small bucket with only a few inches of water in it.
He sat for what seemed like hours by the river, to me, but in his mind, it was only half an hour. Then he picked the bucket up with me still in it and started to walk home.
As he walked he started to think out loud. If he didn’t, I would not have been able to relay what was happening
It was strange enough being stuck in a bucket instead of swimming around my beloved river.
He’d thought his morning fishing might have been more productive. If he arrived back home with a nice big juicy fish in his bucket and gave it to the cook, she would praise him for his efforts. However, he should have gone to church instead of fishing. He looked down at me suspiciously in the bucket with his soft grey eyes. He did not know what kind of fish he had caught. He’d never seen anything like me before. He thought I looked ‘queer’. What would the cook think if he handed her this strange fish that he had caught on his hook that morning.
He decided it was not worth all the hassle and extra explanations at home, so he walked to a nearby well and threw the contents of the bucket down it, with me inside.

(Traditional song)
One Sunda morn young Lambton went a-fishin’ in the Wear;
An' catched a fish upon he's heuk,
He thowt leuk't vary queer,
But whatt'n a kind ov fish it was,
Young Lambton cudden'a tell
He wasn’a fash te carry'd hyem,
So he hoyed it doon a well.
Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
An' aa'll tell ye aall an aaful story,
Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
An' Aa'll tel ye 'boot the worm.


One Sunday morning young Lambton went fishing in the Wear;
He caught a fish upon his hook,
He thought looked very strange,
Young Lambton could not make out what kind of fish it was,
He could not be bothered to take it home with him,
So he threw it down a well.
Listen! Boys, be quiet,
I’ll tell you all an awful story,
Listen! Boys, be quiet,
And I’ll tell you about the worm.
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Aquarius64 2 years
The tale is now complete. This version of the story is based upon the song, which was written in Victorian times. A longer, more complete version of the original tale will become available as a premium story in the next week or so. The premium version wil
Aquarius64 2 years
Thank you! It is a real folk tale… and song… you can google it. I’ve just changed the point of view. It’s also not finished yet!
Built4com4t 2 years
It’s different