As mist settled over Pendle,
And clocks chimed the midnight hour,
Came a rush of broomsticks heading
For desolate Malkin Tower.
Alice Nutter leading her brood,
Chattox and the other crones,
While all the good folk round about
Felt a chill strike to their bones.
Vipers’ venom, tongues torn from larks,
Dank water drawn from a mire,
Devilish brewing, foul doings,
Their cauldron set on a fire.
Round and around those witches danced
Widdershins, wildly shrieking,
Knarled and naked, faces twisted,
Their billowing breath reeking.
As Malkin Tower shook and shuddered
With all those wild hags inside,
Invoking spells and vile curses,
The door was thrown open wide.
Satanic revels ceased at once,
Witches cowering cold and grey;
The High Sheriff of Lancashire
Stood framed in Malkin’s doorway.
At his back a hundred troopers,
In his hands a legal writ,
“Damned we are!” thought all the witches,
“Drawn to where the judges sit.”
“Spare us,” they cried, “Rack and thumbscrews,
Confessions we freely make.
We repent, so don’t condemn us
To the scaffold or the stake.”
“Beowulf faced Grendle, “ he replied,
“And the mother of Grendle.
Now it falls to my duty to
Face the Witches of Pendle.
“But, do not fret or harbour fear,
You’ll be neither burned nor hung,
For business folk of Lancashire
Wish to have your praises sung.
“Art works, part works, witchy-start works,
Model witches astride brooms,
From Roughlee, Barley and beyond,
The trade in witchcraft booms.
“You have managed to conjure up
A vibrant business bounty
For authors, artists, shopkeepers
And trade throughout the county.
“So, from Chambers of Commerce and
The Lancashire Tourist Board,
I’ve come here to present to you
Our Gold Enterprise Award.”