Sadly, many popular legends are now disappearing from our landscape, but a new book aims to preserve some of Lancashire's most famous tales. Bygones has been given exclusive access to the Illustrated Tales of Lancashire and will publish five such legends over the coming weeks. Here is the first, All Hallows' Eve, a story originating from Pendle.

MANY years ago, standing at the foot of Pendle, there was a farmer who lived with his family and the one labourer that he employed.

Although he believed in witches, the farmer had no personal experience himself. That was all to change after a very wild night.

The following morning the farmer found three beasts dead in the shippon, the crops in the fields became blighted and two of his children fell ill.

He finally admitted to himself that he had incurred the displeasure of some unknown forces and that all the measures he'd taken to keep dark forces away had lost their power of protection. In his torment, the farmer decided to meet with the witches and his trusted labourer, Isaac, volunteered to accompany him.

His wife remonstrated with him, suggesting that he should abandon this ill-conceived notion. But the farmer was adamant, saying that others had met with the witches and had been given immunity from any misfortune.

One day, after their work had finished, the farmer and Isaac sat and waited for the time when they would venture to Malkin Tower to encounter the witches.

Neither was looking forward to the evening's work, but it was necessary for their continued well-being. As they departed for the tower, both carried a branch of mountain ash that had several sprigs of bay tied to it to ward off any lurking fiends.

In the other hand they carried an unlit candle and the farmer's old bulldog also accompanied them.

On reaching the foot of Pendle they lit their candles, but became engulfed in a sudden and ominous dark silence. 'Well, I think that it's nothing but a storm,' said the old labourer, as he turned and began to climb the hill with his master and dog closely behind him.

Just as they were nearing the top of a steep ravine a flash of lightning pierced the darkness, lighting up the whole of the sky and shaking the earth beneath their feet. Seconds later, there was an ear-piercing shriek of laughter as a black figure went gliding slowly past them. The dog immediately turned and darted away down the hillside, but the two men continued to climb. Isaac stumbled and almost fell, but the farmer exhorted him to be more careful.

The pair eventually managed to get within sight of the tower without further mishap.

It was clear that there was something going on as they could hear shrieks of laughter and saw dark figures floating over their heads. They were inclined to turn back, but as soon as they turned they saw a satanic face and the lights in the tower went out.

The men became terrified beyond measure and ran as hard as they could, heading in what they thought was the general direction of the farm.

In his haste, the farmer (who had taken the lead over his aged companion) fell and completely vanished.

He had slipped down the cleft where Isaac now stood. After searching for some considerable time and receiving no response, Isaac turned and made for the farm in the hope of gaining assistance in his rescue attempt.

But, being afraid of the thunder and lightning crashing around him, he took refuge under a large bolder and waited for the morning.

He was awoken by the old bulldog licking his face, and he could see a number of men in the vicinity.

Startled by the earlier arrival of the dog, the farmer's wife sensed that there was something wrong and trudged all the way to a neighbouring farm to seek help.

After finding Isaac, it was but a short while before they found the farmer at the bottom of the gorge, nursing nothing more than a broken leg.

Taken from the Illustrated Tales of Lancashire by David Paul published by Amberley Publishing priced £14.99.