The Matchwight – gothic horror by Richard Patridge-Hickes

The Unfamiliar Threshold

“Candle light,

Candle bright,

First candle of the night,

With grace you may,

With grace you might,

Keep away the Matchwight’s bite.”

I heard the previous rhyme in Edinburgh, first from the mouth of a young urchin boy. He was gathered with a small group, watching as the gas lamps were lit and though none of the others spoke all seemed to watch the proceedings with a strange reverence. I was, I believe, somewhere between the area of the Bedlam and the Castle, having arrived earlier that evening, and the city being new to me, I am not confident of exactly where I heard it. Though the scene and rhyme were odd I did not afford them any real importance, it was only later when I heard it again that I had cause to remember them with more interest.

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