LEGEND OF THE WHITE MOLE
Now many have shunned talk of the white mole- it is just a myth – no meaning what so ever- well
There is a legend - the man that catches the white mole foretells his own death- now back in the 16th century there was an act passed – the vermin act -that encouraged many to kill every living thing- hedgehogs to badger, kingfishers to eagles nothing was safe including the moles. It encouraged many to search for all living creatures and kill them for the bounty they held, these people were known as the vermin takers the fore runners of what today are referred to as pest controllers.
The vermin takers would shy away from taking the moles – well moles were not so easy to obtain, requiring more effort to capture and the payments much less. It required a special knowledge to compete with the moles, which was something many lacked causing suffering to many moles.
Now witches have used moles for many things - their blood to cure epilepsy and fore feet to ward off evil, to bring good luck and stop tooth ache, they obtained these from the local molecatcher.
Some believed the molecatchers held special powers, and it was claimed it was a dark art for one to produce the rarely seen, never heard little velvet cloaked mole with such ease. Even that they were in an allegiance with witches, gifted in the way of the mole in return for their provision of moles for the witches needs.
The fact that the molecatcher was a rarely seen character of the countryside, their days spent in the wilds, amongst the fields and copse- adding further mystery and fueling those with a superstitious mind, to adopt the need to whisper in the presence of the molecatcher.
But the services of the molecatcher was always in demand- belief that should a mole tunnel around a house it would foretell the death of one in the family, enough to ensure the molecatcher was to be kept in favour.
From royalty, lords, landowners to the people of the parish, the craft of the molecatcher was always needed so they held a regular income and some had terms of up to twenty years secured employment.
Greed grew amongst the vermin takers to prey upon all, fish fur and feather and it was inevitable that eventually their interest was to finally turn to the mole.
The molecatchers way of catching the mole was from respect for the mole as the methods either inflicted restraint or required a one to one challenge. The restraint came from the snares which when sprung held the moles for the molecatcher to scurry over and humanely despatch the catch. One to one the molecatcher prowled in search of any working mole and would evict them with hand tools. The vermin takers saw these methods time consuming or frustrating and placed snares which were left until they could bother to return with no concern for any suffering they would cause to any mole. Moles became subjected to cruelty for money and molecatchers to protect both the moles and their income had to find a solution.
They presented the dilemma to the witch, who told of the moles curse- the white mole.
The witch informed that the moles will send a white mole and who ever captures it - will surely die from a mysterious illness or accident. It is a curse with no cure as no one knows where the white moles will be found.
Soon the words of the witch spread across the land, followed by tales of moles as white as the snow being caught and strange deaths in villages of those that that took them from the soil.
The true molecatchers – those that respected the moles – those that still waited for the movement in a whip of willow to meet first hand their foe or is it friend, in their battle for the supremacy of the soil, once again sought guidance from the witch.
If the witches were to retain a source of moles for their needs then the molecatchers needed protection from the white moles. The witch told them that there is no safe place from the white mole but if they are of a sincere character they should not fear them. She also told that their fate can be trod in the talking cards [tarot] should they wish.
Many molecatchers sought the words spoken by the witch in the talking cards to ensure a safe path in the seasons to come, but the vermin takers spurned the words of both witch and cards – that was until one agreed to listen to the cards – to be told of his death from the capture of the white mole, within weeks he lay in his shroud.