Simon Bloodworth

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The story of Simon Bloodworth is cited by Gilbert Norrell as an example of the sort of treachery a magician may expect if he chooses to deal with fairy-servants[5].

Bloodworth was a moderately successful magician living in Bradford on Avon during the early 14th century. One day a fairy calling himself Buckler appeared before him, offering his services. Without further enquiry the imprudent Bloodworth closed with the offer, and for a time his practice thrived under Buckler's care as his new fairy-servant despatched business with great skill and to universal satisfaction. Then one day Bloodworth returned home to find only his eldest daughter Margaret there to greet him. All the rest of the family - wife, children, servants - along with some of their more curious neighbours, had vanished into a tall cupboard which Buckler had caused to appear in the kitchen. According to Margaret, Buckler had promised that those who went into the cupboard would visit Faerie and return almost within the hour; but that had been a considerable time since, and nobody had yet returned.

Despite his anxious daughter's protestations Bloodworth himself entered the cupboard, no doubt with the laudable aim of rescuing his family. He did not return. She, the sole survivor of her kin, was left to describe the outrage to two emissaries sent south by John Uskglass to investigate the matter. They were unable to effect any rescue or discover the perpetrator of one of the worst examples of stealing-away by fairies ever known. (Only the disaster at Exeter in 1201 is known to exceed it.[66])

One of the last visitors to Faerie, Dr. Martin Pale, records coming across a small human child in the castle of a fairy magnate called John Hollyshoes, where she drudged away in the kitchens washing a great heap of dirty pots. She said her name was Anne Bloodworth, and was under the impression she had been working there for some two weeks: in fact, two centuries had passed. The fate of the other Bloodworths is unknown.