THE TASKS OF TREGEAGLE

THE TASKS OF TREGEAGLE


The name of the demon Tregeagle is a household word in nearly every part
of Cornwall. His wild spirit rages of nights along the rocky coasts,
across the bleak moors and through the sheltered valleys. For Tregeagle
is a Cornish "Wandering Jew"; his spirit can never rest, since in life
he was the most evil man the Duchy ever knew.

His story, as the legend has it, is that he was a man who amassed great
wealth by robbing his neighbours in the cruellest manner. As he approached
the end of his most evil life remorse seized him. There was no sin he
had not committed, and hoping to escape from the just reward of so
wicked a life, in the hereafter, he lavished money upon the Church and
the poor, trusting to obtain the help of the holy priests to save him
from the clutches of the Evil One.

The priests, ever anxious to save a soul, banded themselves together,
and by constant prayer and powerful exorcisms kept the powers of
darkness at bay, and Tregeagle died and was buried in St. Breock Church.
But the demons were not so ready to give up what they felt was their
lawful prey. An important lawsuit occurred shortly after his death, and
as the judge was about to give his decision against the unjustly accused
defendant, to the horror of all in court, the gaunt figure of the dead
Tregeagle stalked into the room. His evidence saved the defendant.

Now Tregeagle being brought from the grave, despite the honesty of
his mission, placed himself once more in danger of the demons. The
defendant, who had raised the spirit, calmly left him to the Churchmen
to put once more to rest, and after a long conference, presided over by
the Prior of Bodmin, it was decided that the only hope of ultimate peace
for the evil man's spirit was that he be set to some task which might
last until the Day of Judgment. And so long as he worked unceasingly
at that task he might still hope for salvation.

So the task appointed him was to empty out Dozmary Pool, a gloomy lake
on the Bodmin Moors, with a limpet-shell with a hole in it. For years
Tregeagle laboured at this, until one day during a terrible storm he
ceased work for a moment. Then the demons descended upon him. He fled
from his pursuers, and only escaped them by leaping right across the
lake--for demons cannot cross water--and rushing for sanctuary to the
little chapel on the Roche Rock, where he managed just in time to get
his head in at the east window. But the howls of the demons outside,
and the roaring of the terrified Tregeagle within, made the life of the
unfortunate priest of the Roche chapel unbearable, and he appealed to
his brethren of the Church to do something about it. So they bound the
wicked spirit with holy spells and took him safely across to the north
coast, where another task was set him. He was to weave a truss of sand
and spin a sand rope to bind it with. But as soon as he started on his
work the winds or the waves destroyed it, and the luckless creature's
roars of anger so disturbed the countryside that the holy St. Petroc was
prevailed upon to move him once more, to a wilder part of the country,
and the saint took him to the coast near Helston.

Here Tregeagle was set to the task of carrying all the sand from the
beach below Bareppa across the estuary of the Looe river to Porthleven,
for St. Petroc knew that each tide would sweep the sand back again and
the task could never be completed. But the demons were always watching
Tregeagle, and one of them contrived one day to trip him up as he was
wading across the river. The sand poured from the huge sack Tregeagle
was carrying and dammed up the stream, thus forming the Looe Pool, which
you may see to-day just by Helston, and the Looe Bar, which separates it
from the sea.

Tregeagle's next task he is engaged upon to-day. He was taken to near
the Land's End, and there he is still endeavouring to sweep the sand
from Porthcurnow Cove round the headland of Tol-Peden-Penwith into
Nanjisal Bay, and on many a winter night if you are there you can hear
him howling and roaring at the hopelessness of his task.

These scenes of Tregeagle's labours are all situated amid most glorious
scenery. Dozmary Pool, bleak and lonely amid the Bodmin Moors, the
little chapel on the Roche Rock near St. Austell, and the beautiful Looe
Pool by Helston, that attractive little town on a hillside, which is the
tourist centre for that country full of colour, deep sheltered valleys,
and magnificent coast scenery, the Lizard peninsula.

Porthcurnow, the miserable man's present abode, you will find nestling
amid the grim cliffs near the Land's End. And if you doubt this sad
history of the demon-ridden Tregeagle, go and look at the Looe Bar and
explain if you can how otherwise so strange a place could have been
created.

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Główna Czytelnia Literatura Legendy THE TASKS OF TREGEAGLE
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