Overlooking the river Avon, there is a tower which bears the inscription "I. Cook, 1693". It's known as "Cook's folly", and it's origin story reads like a fairy tale.
The legend begins when a very pregnant Mrs Cook came across a gypsy beggar. Being a kind woman, Mrs Cook gave the beggar some alms, and in thanks, the beggar promised to tell the child's future.
Two days after the birth of the baby, the beggar, good to his word, delivered a scroll to the child's father, the Sheriff of Bristol, Sir Maurice Cook.
Inside was written the following prophecy:
"Twenty times shall Avon's tide
In chains of glistening ice be tied,
Twenty times the woods of Leigh
Shall wave their banners merrily,
In spring burst forth a mantles gay
And dance in summer's scorching ray;
Twenty times shall autumn's frown
Wither all their green to brown,
And still the child of yesterday
Shall laugh the happy hours away.
That period past, another sun
Shall not his annual journey run,
Before a silent secret foe
Shall strike the boy a deadly blow.
Such and sure his fate shall be,
Seek not to change his destiny."
(TL;DR: Boy will live 20 years but will die before he turns 21.)
All in all, it was a pretty crummy thank you gift.
The father built a tower and when the boy neared the end of his twentieth year the father said, "Hey, how would you like to live in this tower?"
To which his 20 year old son replied, "No thanks."
But after the father showed the scroll to his son and the rest of the family joined in pressuring him, the son relented and agreed to live in the tower until the threat had passed.
The tower had but one entrance which could only be opened from the inside. If the young man needed anything he had a basket and a rope that he'd let down from his window to be filled with supplies.
On what was to be his last night in the tower, feeling a bit of a chill, he requsted a bundle of wood be placed in his basket and for his friends to make arrangements to throw him a massive "if homeless people can see the future than why are they homeless" party celebrating his release.
In the morning, his sisters called up to him, probably to ask what he wanted written on the cake, but their brother didn't come to the window or open the door. The father ordered for a ladder to be brought and a servant climbed up to peek in.
"The young master is sleeping," said the servant, likely thinking the family he worked for was insane. After all, they did lock their adult son in a tower because of something a vagabond said.
The father however, freaked. He ordered the servant down and cried out that his son was dead. Once the ladder was clear, the father climbed up to see if his fears had come true.
And sure enough they had. On his motionless son's neck were puncture wounds. And an adder snake lay wrapped around the young man's arm. The snake had gained entrance via the bundle of wood and struck the boy dead (probably after learning his snake butt couldn't leave because he'd been carried into a tower and snakes can't fly. Unless they're on planes.)
And so, the prophecy was fulfilled...and the Cook family never gave alms to beggars ever again.
History, folklore & storytelling.
Mumbling hermit wandering the Welsh countryside in search of a cave to live in.