Suffolk Day

Today is both the summer solstice and Suffolk Day (a celebration of my home county instituted a year or two back by the local council). Having got up at silly o'clock to see the sun rise over the eastern seaboard - see photo inset showing the Golden Road to the Dawn - and I'm not quite with it as yet. I was going to record a long Lithuanian myth about the fairies of midsummer and the fern flowers (there are quite a few tales from that region of the world involving solstice fairies), but settled on a short local Suffolk tale instead.
A late 17th century account mentions an odd incident in Bury St Edmunds involving the local MP who believed himself under attack by witches. The happening is given as contemporary fact with eye witness testimony, rather than as ancient folklore. The account is quite brief and does not give a reason why the MP thought as he did, nor does it describe what happened next. So, being a typical storyteller, I have padded the gaps. The witches in question are not identified but, two years after this incident, the elderly Rose Cullender went to the gallows on charges of witchcraft so I have shoehorned her into the story.
I'm not the first person to utilise this weird occurrence - the wonderful Montague James spun the creepy tale into The Ash Tree.


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