Churn Milk Peg

From “Tales of Craven”, Churn Milk Peg seems to be Craven’s version of Melch Dick? She does the same job of guarding unripe nuts from being eaten by children…

The Short Lea Lane is linked with fairy lore, being a favourite haunt of Churn-milk Peg, a being, perhaps, peculiar to Craven.

Peg is represented as an old and very ugly hag, with a pipe in her mouth. Her job is to protect the nuts, when in the pulpy state called churn-milk, from being gathered by naughty children. All she says is:

‘Smoke! Smoke a wooden pipe!

Getting nuts before they’re ripe!’

If this rhyme does not succeed in scaring the children, then churn-milk Peg ‘tacks em!’ This creature is known in Malhamdale, where fruit-pilfering children are told to ‘tak care, or Churn-milk Peg will tak ye to t’owd lad!’ i.e., to a certain ‘old gentleman!’

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