The Linton Worm

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A typically well-read Scottish
Worm

The Linton Worm was a huge snake-like creature, at least 12 feet long, which lived in a tunnel on Linton Hill in Roxburghshire during the 12th Century.

Twice daily, at dusk and dawn, the beast would emerge to terrorise the surrounding area and feed on anything it could find, including people, crops and animals.

The local Borders folk were none too pleased with the anti-social behaviour of their unwelcome neighbour, but traditional weapons were useless against it and the worm seemed all but indestructible.

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Bugger, the MacDonalds are off
the menu

An enterprising Scots laird, John de Somerville, spent some time watching the worm from a safe distance and noticed that whenever it encountered anything that was too big to fit into its mouth, it would stop with its mouth gaping open as if in amazed surprise.

Just before dawn, Somerville waited for the worm to emerge. As it appeared into the daylight he rode up towards it and at the sight of both man and horse together, too big a mouthful, it stopped, mouth wide open just as he had anticipated.

Somerville had constructed a special spear coated in protective iron upon the end of which was a ball of peat soaked in tar. He lit the peat and thrust the spear deep into the beast's throat, lodging it firmly in its entrails and retreating before the worm recovered its senses.

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Why me ?

The writhing death throes of the worm flicking its tail are said to have created the strange undulations on the hills around the area that came to be known as Wormington. The worm finally brought the roof of its tunnel down on itself, perishing under a mountain of earth.

John de Somerville was rewarded by the King with the lands and barony of Linton, and his brave deed was commemorated on a specially carved stone at Linton Kirk.

To the best of First Foot's knowledge, no excavation of the site has ever been undertaken to either prove or disprove the existence of "the worm that burned."

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