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Dying For A Snack

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 1

Hunger’s a terrible thing, not the “I forgot my lunch and all I’ve got is a bag of crisps hunger”, no, the real starving that maybe your grandparents felt when there was a war on or the crop failed.

Hunger is always a bad thing, generosity is worthy and self-denial is unwise.

These are lessons Jennifer, a woman new to the area should have born in mind when she rented the function room for her diet club.

Jennifer, never Jenny or anything soft, was a hard bodied and hard-faced woman of indeterminate years with hair permanently pulled back in a ponytail like a noose. Her athletic figure was the result of years of hard work, a little surgery here and there, and a few not entirely legal pills that she had found on the dark side of the internet.

Not that this was the story she was going to share with her clients, no for £50 a session she sold them miserly diet sheets, vials of wasp honey and Bai Lin Tea. As she counted the money her followers counted their sorrows.

Perhaps Jennifer should have been more of a student of history, rather than calorie content and miracle cures as there has been a pub on this site for a long, long time, right back to the times when a failed crop meant misery and death.

It is said that centuries ago the wise men of the village made a deal with the devil, at the very spot where the function room now stands. The deal was that in exchange for good crops, no one would knowingly go hungry. The devil not known for his charity assigned a minion to monitor the situation and be ready to collect his fee.

The good people of the village stuck to their word, a family in hard times would find a loaf of bread at their door, a passing beggar would get a bowl of soup from someone before being sent on his way.

Time passed, but the tears that Jennifer drew from her clients awoke something dark and perhaps best left forgotten. Every tut at a wobbly figure balanced on her specially unflattering scales, every preachy speech about the attraction of donuts and the sin of cola sealed her fate further.

Most likely it was the night she railed against beer itself, that most holy of indulgences that she sealed her fate. Not realising that everyone else had gone home she stayed up late in the function room, her face pulled back in what passed for a smile, counting her money.

Next morning she was found hanging by her ponytail and everyone wondered how a healthy (if slim) woman could starve to death in a single evening and could anyone be so hungry that they would try to eat their own breast implants?

This may be why the regulars who order a diet coke also order a packet of pork scratching’s and the landlord quietly crosses himself if anyone discusses a faddy new eating plan.

Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants