Goblins of the Preseli Hills
A young man walks the Preseli Hills on a crisp autumn morning. The sun had yet to crest over the hilltops, illuminating the path ahead just by misty twilight. The pilgrimage he was on was to Carn Menyn. One of the summits of the hills, housing a craggy outpost of rocks from which ancient builders mined to supply stones in the construction of Stonehenge.
Churning grass and mud underfoot, the man climbed higher into the hills, stopping only to take in the breath-taking views of the county before him. Steeling himself, he pushed on to the end of his journey, scrambling over the final rises, pumping burning legs; he made it—the summit. Before him, the rocks of Carn Menyn jutted out of the hilltop like fingers grasping toward the heavens.
He took a deep breath and smiled as he took in his accomplishment. As he stepped toward the rocks, he noticed a low hum. Looking around for the noise source, he realised it was coming from the ground. The earth had begun to move with a soft rumble. Specks of dirt and stone shifting along to the ground’s rhythm. Putting his ear to the ground, he tried to place the noise. Was it a tremor? An earthquake? Did it sound almost like…marching?
Suddenly, several of Carn Menyn’s rocks began to shift, pulling apart as the earth below them fell away, revealing a wide tunnel beneath. Shocked, the man scrambled away, diving behind an overturned stone lying away from the main formation. His eyes widened at what emerged from the newly opened cavern.
One after the other, small, squat creatures carrying crude axes and buckets emerged from the hole. No taller than a child but resembling men much older. Dark beards covered faces topped by wild clumps of hair, matted by dirt and dust. Bare-chested and pot-bellied, they wore sheep-hide breeches on their lower halves.
Transfixed, he watched as they marched out of the ground and toward the rocks in unison. Reaching the stone, they each paused for a moment before bringing down their axes. As they struck, a melody sang out as if beautiful music notes were being freed from the stone and a flash of blue light. He watched, awe-struck before he noticed a presence behind him. Turning slowly, his eyes met one of the creatures standing behind him, its axe resting over its shoulders. Terrified, he backed up against the rock behind him and put his hands out to ward off the threat. Grunting, the creature hefted its axe above its head and swung down towards the man. Screwing his eyes shut, the man cried out.
Then, sweet noise. The chime of the stone rang out as the axe struck the rock just by his ear. Paying him no mind, the creature continued his work, hewing the stone around him. Standing, he realised none of the mysterious miners was interested in anything else bar the singing rocks. After a short while, with their buckets filled, they returned to the cavern from where they’d come; as they did so, the stones above it closed as if it had never been there.
Sitting on a nearby mound, he tried to make sense of what he’d just seen. Sitting there, he noticed a twinkling amongst the mud and grass. A flint fragment remained from the work that had been left behind. Running it through his fingers, he noticed a faint blue hue shone when under the light and then, putting it to his ear the faintest of noises, a whisper of the sweet melody of the mountain.