Rollright Stones

(Oxfordshire) The legend tells that the biggest of the stones, called the King Stone, was once a man who would have been King of England if he could have seen Long Compton. A witch said:

Seven long strides shalt thou take, and If Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be.

On his seventh stride a mound rose up before him, hiding Long Compton from him. The witch then said:

As Long Compton thou canst not see, King of England thou shalt not be, Rise up, stick, and still, stone, For King of England thou shalt be none. Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be, And I myself an eldern tree (A J Evans).

Though where exactly the witch-elder now stands seems to be a matter of conjecture. Nevertheless, the proof that the "elder is a witch is that it bleeds when it is cut" led to the custom, on Midsummer Eve, for people from the area to meet at the stones, and to cut the elder, or at least the tree they thought to be the real one. As it bled, the King Stone was supposed to move its head (Grinsell).

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