The Legend of St Austell


Once upon a time, in the Downs of Cornwall there lived a man in a small shelter by the name of Austell. This was no ordinary man, this man named Austell was more like a saint.

St Austell was known to the people of the moorlands for his wide brim hat that had a pointed top that was flattened and his large walking staff made from a branch from a hawthorn. These were the only possessions St Austell had. St Austell enjoyed and took many walks across the desolate moorland, greeting the people and telling them about his God.

As legend goes, St Austell was returning to his shelter one evening from one of these walks. As he made his way through the moorlands he was unaware that he was being watched by the ol' devil himself, Old Scratch. Well Old Scratch decided he would stir up some trouble so he summoned up a storm. The wind begin to blow, stronger and stronger it blew. St Austell fighting to walk through the wind held on to his hat tightly so that he not lose it to the wind. Then the rain came, it fell hard and hit his face and hands piercing his skin.

Suddenly as if the wind and the rain was not enough, there came a gust of wind stronger then any St Austell had felt before and away with his hat it went, into the darkness. St Austell helplessly watched one of his only possessions be lost in the darkness. St Austell set off right away to search for his hat. But with the weather, the approaching darkness, and the soft turf of the moorland St Austell soon found his staff was not helping and only getting in the way. St Austell thrust his staff deep into the soft turf of the moorland, and he thought to himself "I will return later to retrieve this."

But before Austell could do anything about finding his hat, the full night had came and with the wind still whipping about, and the rain piercing his flesh St Austell soon became disorientated in the middle of the moorland in the total darkness. St Austell know that he was going to have a hard time finding his way home and had better forget about his hat until the next day when it turned light It was a stoke of luck that St Austell managed to find his way back to his shelter. There has been many souls lost in the moor and I hear they still wander aimlessly at night, in the moor to this day.

The next day the storm had passed and Austell set out to find his hat and his staff. Over the downs he went up and down this way and that. And finally Austell found his hat and his staff, but to his surprise the devil had turned them into huge solid stone, so huge that St Austell could not retrieve them. These stones were so large that later generations would say that they belonged to a giant and that's how one of the stones got the name of "The Giant's Hat". Years later The Giant's Hat was broken up because the people feared it would bring bad luck.

But St Austell's staff can still be seen to this day, no longer on the Down where it remained for many centuries, but now it is in Roche, and known as "The Long Stone".

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