“This is my son!”
One of Lord Brightwater’s team recorded a strange meeting in Sleights (a few miles from the Black Meadow). In the many door-to-door enquiries made and recorded by the team, (the majority a mundane collection of accounts of cups of tea and biscuits or half mumbled conversations in public houses), a few do stand out.
In one account (dated 15th October 1932) an elderly widow led one investigator to her stable where they found a “tired looking stallion, thin and feeble and surrounded by old newspapers.” A wireless was “playing in the corner” and the investigator was not sure if he had ever seen a “sorrier looking creature” in his life. The investigator asked whether it had been put out to stud, but the old woman replied that both “she and the horse found that whole idea distasteful“. The investigator then continued with his usual enquiries, asking the woman whether she knew of anyone who had gone missing, she replied with the usual stories of friends who knew someone who had walked on to the moor and not been seen again. As he left, the investigator thanked the lady for her hospitality and enquired how long she’d had the horse in her possession. She said that she’d had him since he “were a little tyke“. The investigator indicated a lack of understanding:
“”Do you not mean foal, madam?” I said.
“I mean tyke!” said she. “This is my son.””
Lord Brightwater asked the investigator to return the following spring, but the old lady was reported deceased and the stallion had been destroyed.