1678 c/o Sian Cummins

Strange news out of Hertfordshire
They say the farmer is yet too afraid to remove the ruined crop from his field.

He declines to meet me and there is no trace of the mower he snubbed. I am late arriving, and the sun is low. The farm stands an uphill mile beyond the last cottage.

I arrive, perspiring, at the edge of the oat field. The land continues to incline upwards, broad and bleak, with a dark copse at its horizon. The circles are not immediately visible.

I am afraid, but I’m here for the edification of the many and so I take a step into the cursed oats. The usual industry of the hour is absent. At this time of day and year the field should be alive with the gathering of the crop. Instead it stands silent, a crow mocking from the distant copse the only sound.

I see that I am at the edge of the first circle. The crop lies rotting in a preternaturally perfect curve that arcs out to the horizon. Each stalk is laid with a precision that must be credited to a deliberate hand. It would have taken a man an age to do what has surely happened in one night. The local people reported seeing fire over the field. Even if one supposes the mower took revenge, he would not have had the opportunity to do such work.

I shudder, thinking – as a God-fearing man – to whose hand I must attribute this. The farmer’s curse was witnessed, no further proof is needed. Rather the devil mow the land than he pay the mower such a price, those were the farmer’s words.

I shudder not from fear of hell, but from fear of heaven. For I must return and report this story as proof that God exists. If the devil mocks man by performing the impossible, hell is assured. If hell is assured, heaven is, too. I shudder at a world that must be chastised through fear; at my own vocation which must shock to instruct. I shudder at a God who uses the devil to sign his name. For even diabolical work is surely His will.

I walk quickly back to the town.