The Dule Upon Dun, Chatburn


Once upon a time, in Chatburn, there was a tailor who was unhappy with his lot. One day the Devil appeared and offered him three wishes. In return, he would visit again in seven years time and collect the tailor’s soul. The tailor agreed, asking immediately for a side of bacon, a delicacy he hadn’t tasted for years. His wish was granted at once. Next, the tailor asked to be rid of his nagging wife and at once, it was done. He was immediately sorry he had made such a silly wish – who would bake his bread now, and knit his stockings? “I wish I had never said that,” he said and at once, his wife was returned to her place by the fire.

The tailor, having used all his three wishes and effectively sold his soul for a side of bacon, had seven years to reconsider what he had done and by the time the Devil came back, he was ready for him. He talked the Devil into giving him just one more wish, as he had sold his soul so cheaply. Foolishly, the Devil agreed.

“I wish,” said the tailor, “that you were on the back of the dun horse in that field over there, riding back to where you came from, and that you’re never able to bother me or any other mortals again.” At once, the Devil was swept out of the house and set upon the dun horse, which galloped away, never to be seen again.

The story of the tailor’s great success against the Devil spread across the county and people came from far and wide to meet the man who tricked the devil… and the poor tailor finally found a prosperous life by turning his home into an ale-house for the use of his visitors.

text © Melanie Warren
© Copyright Mike and Kirsty Grundy and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

About LancashireFolk

Lancashire folklore, legends, ghosts, local history - author of 'Lancashire Folk' published by Schiffer Publishing 2016 - 9780764349836 £19.50. Please visit to see upcoming books. The Enchanted Valley and Manchester Folk will be published in 2020. Cumbria Folk almost ready!
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