The Ghostly Lugger: Goonhilly Folk Tales with Kelly Stevens

writing workshop 1a
writing workshop 2

Imaginations ran wild at Goonhilly Village Green’s writing workshops with Kelly Stevens. All ages explored the flora and fauna of the heath and talked about its history and its ghostly tales before creating stories and characters (human and otherwise) to populate the imaginary sixth parish of Goonhilly.

In the stories, you can meet the giant Arthur, who created Croft Pasco pool by hurling rocks between the sea and an imaginary Croft Harbour, and Heathy, who gave his name to the surrounding Heathland in his battle against the giant. Meet poor Hereina, whose son was stolen by the “child taker” of the pool, and threw herself in the water in her grief. Meet Marie, whose throwaway wish not to have a sister tragically came true when a spriggan stole her away, and the benevolent Lydia, a ghost who longed to talk to the children – Nena and Freddy – who played in her forgotten garden. There’s lonely Ned, who drinks too much and is haunted by the memory of a lost love, and Ben and Jemima, children lured into the depths of the heath by a mysterious, magical light. Clever Bob the Fisherman managed to outwit the spriggan who stole his child, by summoning magical creatures who came to his aid. Alas, however, poor Michael Bright was not so lucky. He longed to bring his wife back to life but got more than he bargained for …

How Croft Pasco Pool Came to Be’ by The Glenister family
There once lived a giant called Arthur who roamed on the Lizard peninsula. He spent his days hiding, jumping out and scaring the villagers, the local farmers and fishermen, demanding food in return for leaving them in peace.

One day a local fisherman named Heathy got fed up with the giant and refused to hand over any fish. Arthur was furious and plotted his revenge.

The next day Heathy set out and returned happily with his catch, but on his return Arthur was hiding behind a mound. As Heathy sailed into Croft Harbour, Arthur jumped up and threw boulders and in doing so, completely sealed off the harbour, creating a pool.

Meanwhile, Heathy was losing his battle with bailing out the boat, which had been caught by a boulder and sprung a leak. Being brave and bold he refused to give up and slowly sank with his lugger to the bottom of the pool. It is said that his lugger haunts the pool still and the locals named the land around it Heathland in honour of his bravery.


The Grief of Heriena’ by Isaac, 11.

 Knock, knock, knock. Her heart flooded with joy; her little son was home. The door swung open and the old woman who looked after the village children hobbled onto the tiled stone floor with the little sleeping three year old in her arms. The boy stirred and opened his innocent eyes.

“Mama,” he mumbled, and then closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

“How was he today?” asked Heriena Smeral.

“He was jush fine,” replied the old woman, “aw was you ‘aday?”

“Ok,” Hereina mumbled, “I just missed the boy. Would you like some brew?”

“Na, got ‘a go,” the old woman said, and gently placed the boy in his mother’s arms. “See ya.”

That night was a full moon. It sparkled on the still surface of Croft Pasco lake, illuminating in its soft light the sinister lugger that had been there for years – and nobody went near. It was the boat of the child-taker, and he was out on his business tonight.

At the same time in the small village of Goonhilly, a man padded through the brambles and through the house of Heriena Smeral and her three year old son. This was his prey for tonight.

Hereina woke up at seven thirty. This was strange; usually her little son would have woken her up at six. She slipped out of bed and tiptoed over to the cot in the corner of the room and pulled back the blankets… This was bad, really bad. Her son was not there, and he could not have climbed out. There was only one place he could be. Fear. Anger. That was all she felt. She had to get to him.

Crashing through the heather and gorse had tired her, but nothing could counter the despair she felt at the sight before her. The mast of the boat was just disappearing below the water.


Her scream could have reached heaven. She was so grieved that she threw herself violently into the frigid depths of what was then a massive lake and now a small pool known as Croft Pasco, and from that day forth every night after the full moon, Heriena’s ghost will pull up the lugger from the bottom of the pool in search of her lost son.


‘Marie and the Spriggan’ by Willow, 11.
One day there was a young girl named Marie. At the age of 13 her mother had been widowed and not being able to look after Marie and the baby (who was due to be born soon), sent Marie to live with her uncle and auntie before bearing the child, Rosie, and then sending the baby away too. Marie had been told that her mother had gone rogue and taken a leap to the other side. On hearing this, Marie was quite distressed and it didn’t help when Gertrude (her snobby cousin) said that her mother was round the bend anyway, and that this had been anticipated for years. Marie was left on baby duties that night, and was really fed up.

“I wish I never had a sister,” she mumbled angrily.

The next morning, Marie went to wake the baby but all she found was an eerie doll and a note saying, “Don’t want a sister? This is what will become of her!” Tears of fury ran down Marie’s face as she pushed through the thorns. When she got to the beach she saw an old lugger sail out to sea and heard the faint cry of a child. She swam out to the boat and climbed on. Seeing this, the spriggan sank the ship, and now the boat haunts the water every full moon.

‘The Lonely Ghost’ by Willow’s mum
The full moon cast eerie shadows over the ruins of the old manor house. The only sound was the wind whistling in the trees and shrubs that overwhelmed the once beautifully kept garden. All at once the peace was disturbed by raucous laughter and squeals, and two figures burst out of the undergrowth.

“Okay, I surrender, you win! Please stop chasing me. I think I might have a heart attack!” said the girl.

“Oh yes. I am the victor, all must bow before my awesomeness!” said the boy.

“Freddy, you are so lame,” giggled the girl.

“You love me really Nena,” smirked the boy.

From a ruined window, a pale figure watched the antics outside with fascination. The girl looked like all young women seemed to these days – in some sort of tight-fitting top and tight-fitting breeches that should be scandalous even if a man wore them. Her hair hung in wild disarray around her heart-shaped face as she sprawled on the ground. The boy sprawled next to her in baggy trousers and a baggy shirt. His hair was short like a convict’s. Lydia longed to each out and touch them, perhaps even talk to them. But she knew from experience that they would probably run away, screaming…


‘Lonely Ned’ by Hils
Ned was an old drunk…he lived in an old shed with a rusty tin roof on the outskirts of the village. The roof used to leak when it rained very hard…He drank so he could sleep through the noise of the rain on the roof and to try and blot out and forget why he was so unhappy.

Because he was lonely and unhappy he tended to growl at people rather than speak to them…but he could be polite if he needed some work and be paid in cider or food or sometimes even money, and then he’d go to the pub. It was warm and cosy in the pub, but he didn’t like it as it reminded him of Rosa (Rosamund), the barmaid. He’d loved Rosa – and she had the most beautiful smile. Although it had been many years, he still loved her. He’d been broken-hearted when she’d got engaged and left the village of Goonhilly. The first time he’d seen her was May Day at Goonhilly village green, dancing round the maypole with garlands in her hair. She laughed and her eyes sparkled…


Into the Light’ by Den
It was getting late.

The light was fading and the mist began to slowly roll across the boggy, naked, barren moor.

“I’m getting cold,” Jemima said to her brother, Ben.

Ben and Jemima had been out looking for their favourite little creature, the hairy snortlywink.

They had been given permission by their grandmother, who they lived with, as it was a Saturday and they had finished all of their homework for school.

Ben put his arm around Jemima and said, “don’t worry, we’ll be home very shortly!” Jemima smiled as they carried on walking.

After a couple of minutes, Jemima saw a light just up ahead, shining brightly through the mist. “Look Ben! There’s grandma’s house!” she said.

They started to run towards the light, but for some reason the light did not get any closer.

“Ben,” Jemima gasped, “Why aren’t we getting closer to the light?”

Ben explained that it must be an optical illusion caused by the mist. Jemima nodded because she thought Ben knew everything.

It was getting darker by the minute, and the mist was getting thicker until the light suddenly disappeared.

Because it was now so dark, Ben and Jemima started straying off the path.

“Ben!” Jemima whined, “We must stay on the path otherwise we’ll get lost in the gorse.”

Ben comforted Jemima. “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine. I know these paths like the back of my hand. Besides, I can see the light again straight ahead of us.”

Carefully the two children stepped across the blackthorn, gorse and purple moor grass…

‘Bob the Fisherman’ by Bea, 10.
One night around 9.43 the fisherman came home to find his wife inconsolably crying.

“She’s gone!” she whispered, “I turned around for two minutes and she was gone!”


Bob left the house immediately and turned around three times before whispering the song almost completely forgotten by our race.

Before his eyes, the Mizhog appeared, closely followed by the Airymous.

“What is your business?” asked the Mizhog.

“My daughter was taken today at 3.21!” he answered, “I want her back!”

“We can arrange something…in return, we want your boat!” screeched the Airymous.

“I’ll do anything!”

“Tomorrow evening at the pool, we shall exchange…”

The next day the fisherman cleaned the boat and placed a large fateful rock around half way into Croft Pasco pool. It wasn’t visible above water, but was very dangerous indeed.

They met at dusk and they exchanged. The Spriggan that wanted the boat came and gave the child back to the fisherman.

“Test it out!” Bob said.

“Very well!” rumbled the Spriggan.

But the Spriggan didn’t know of the rock and the boat sank! Bob went home with his child, but every full moon, the boat returns to search for Bob who tricked him.


The Necromancer’ by Lubin, 8
It was twilight at Goonhilly village green and all Michael Firenze Bright could see was his beloved wife choking out her last word: “Michael!”

He closed his eyes, he couldn’t bear to remember. He had to see his darling Holly again, alive. But then the man remembered the book. Michael ran down to the cellar and opened the trap door. Inside it only had a single candle that glowed feebly, casting only a dim light, but Michael found was he was looking for anyway. The title was bold and slightly glossy but readable. The book and guide to necromancy. He would strike tomorrow night.

Nobody saw the figure creeping into the graveyard, partly because Michael didn’t creep, he ran. He ran until he came to Holly Bright’s grave, that was when he stopped and took out the book and turned to the third page, grave digging – that was what the subtitle read. Five seconds of muttering and the space was cleared, all that was left was the coffin with its door hanging open. There was Holly. Still and peaceful – that was when Michael made his biggest mistake yet: he brought her back.

Suddenly Holly’s eyes snapped open, they were no longer sea green like they used to be but a sparkling white. There was a scream – then silence. Michael Firenze Bright choked out his last word: “Holly?”


  1. Pingback: The Ghostly Lugger: Goonhilly Folk Tales with Kelly Stevens | Kelly Stevens

  2. Pingback: The Ghostly Lugger and Other Goonhilly Folk Tales | Kelly Stevens

Dear Goonhilly Chronicle

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: