The following extract from a letter dated 31st October, 1893, from East Halton, Ulceby, Lincolnshire, may be of some interest : —
"I have waited to answer your letter, as I wanted to get a little more information about old "Hob Thrust." When the S——'s lived on the hill they always burnt a light in one of the bedroom windows to keep Hob Thrust quiet at night. I have seen the light myself many times, coming home ; and there is still an iron pot in the cellar which had sand in it, but they took it out and left the pot in the cellar. They have often heard noises in the house like chairs falling and someone coming down stairs and across the floor to the fireplace. This is what they have told my husband.
"I will now, as well as I can remember, tell you all the old tales that I have heard since I came here, near 50 years ago. I once heard the Rev. J. Byron also name the legend in one of his lectures. One old tale is that they began to build the church in the centre of the village, but what they built in the day-time Hob Thrust removed at night, so that they were obliged to build it where it is. Once upon the time, as the story goes, the people in the house got tired of it and were removing their furniture, when they met some one on the road. They remarked that they were flitting, and Hob Thrust popped up its head out of an old churn, and said : "Yes, we're flutting." So the people said: "Oh, if you are going with us, we'll go back again." So they returned. It was sometimes very useful, as it would fetch up the horses in a morning, also the sheep up overnight into the barn for clipping. One night he told them that the little brown sheep had taken more getting up than them all ; and when the men looked it was a hare.
"Hob Thrust was also at times very mischievous and did some wonderful things, such as putting the wagon on the top of the barn, &c. The tale is that they used to leave it a clean shirt on a Saturday night ; but they offended it in not leaving one to its liking, for in the morning ashes were scattered all about the floor and the words were written :
'Harden, harden, hemp,
Harden, harden, gear,
If you'd have given me linen to wear
I'd have served you faithfully many a year.'
So I suppose that hemp was too coarse for him, and by gear he would mean his clothes. I think this is all about our old Hob Thrust."