Devil's Bridge

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A fine 15th-century bridge spanning the Lune at Kirby Lonsdale, Cumbria/Westmorland, is said to have been built by the Devil in one night, as a favour to an old woman whose cow had strayed to the far side of the river, on condition that he could carry off the first living thing that crossed it. At dawn the old woman arrived, with a dog hidden under her cloak; she tossed a bun on to the bridge, and the dog rushed after it. Furious at being cheated of human prey, the Devil clawed at the coping stone of one arch (the marks are still there), and disappeared. The tale was first recorded late in the 18th century, but fits an international pattern. There are similar tales elsewhere in England (Briggs, 1970–1: B. i. 52, 86–9).

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