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Mountain Moggy The Stoning of the Witch   By: (1814-1880)

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Mountain Moggy; The Stoning of the Witch, by William H G Kingston.

This is quite a short book, taking only 2.5 hours to read, yet it packs quite a punch.

It is devoted to the theme of Forgiveness. On a remote mountainside in Wales there dwells a broken down old woman, whom the local children believe to be a witch. As such she will live for ever, and cannot be hurt, so they amuse themselves by going to her hut, taunting her, and throwing stones at the hut. One evening one of these stones knocks a burning stick from the fire, and sets fire to the old woman, but by chance a young midshipman who has lost his way, is nearby, helps her, and takes word to the village that she is badly hurt.

The local clergyman had previously been a medical doctor, and rushes up to the hut to see what can be done. One of the local women helps with Old Mountain Moggy as well. Old Moggy shows true forgiveness to William, one of the Doctor's sons, even though he had been one of the ringleaders in taunting her. William is very much moved by this.

Time goes on, and on his next leave the young midshipman brings one of his shipmates, Tom, to share his holiday with him. Tom tells the story of how he had been brought up, and Mountain Moggy tells her story, as well.

The story has a happy ending, after a fashion, literally on the very last page of the book.



The succession of mountain ranges, precipitous and rugged, which extend from the shores of the Irish Sea to the boundaries of England, rising tier above tier, and culminating, at different points, in the heights of Snowdon, Cader Idris, and Plinlimmon, gives to wild Wales that romantic beauty for which it is so justly celebrated. That mountain region, too, guarded by the strong arms and undaunted hearts of its heroic sons, formed an impassable bulwark against the advance of barbarian invaders, and remained for many years, while Saxon England was yet pagan, the main refuge of that Christian religion to which Britain owes its present greatness. Yet subsequently, on account of the inaccessible nature of the country, the inhabitants, separated from their more enlightened fellow subjects, remained for a long period almost as ignorant as their ancestors in the dark ages; and, till of late years, retained many of the grosser superstitions and customs of those times.

A young traveller was climbing the side of one of these mountain ranges facing the ocean, the silvery waters of which could be discerned in the distance, when he observed, far up, a hut. Solitary and cheerless it looked, scarcely to be distinguished from the sombre colouring of the surrounding ground and the rocks and bushes amid which it stood. It was weather worn and dilapidated, and appeared altogether unfit to be the abode of a human being; indeed, a thin wreath of peat smoke ascending from an aperture in the roof alone made it likely that it was inhabited. Its appearance offered no temptation to the young stranger to turn aside from the path he was pursuing, and he continued his ascent till he gained a rocky pinnacle, from whence he could watch the sun dipping into the ocean; and hence he could look down, on one side, over a confused mass of barren hills and fertile valleys, rocks, and precipices, heights crowned with trees, peaks bare and rugged, and glens with sparkling torrents dashing and foaming amid them; while on the other side, towards the ocean, he saw before him a wide and smiling valley, with a stream meandering through it, and green meadows and groves of trees, from among which a church spire reared its pointed summit; and near it a cheerful village of white washed cottages and other dwellings of more pretension; and there were sheep feeding, and cattle wending their way slowly homeward, all speaking of peace and security... Continue reading book >>

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