The hero who finally put an end to its depredations was Guy of Warwick. He was supposed to have lived when Athelstan was King of England (924-7). They had a long combat in which blood flowed freely and in the end Guy was victorious.
In Warwick Castle what is supposedly a horn of the Dun Cow is yet shown. It is probably in fact the tusk of an elephant.
A variant of the legend comes from Lancashire. This says the Dun Cow supplied milk to all comers. A witch tried to get it to fill a sieve with milk, so that she would obtain far more than others. The poor cow died of shock. Another legend from the same area claims the milk of the Dun Cow stopped people from contracting the plague and it was finally buried at Dun Cow Hill. Its supposed rib is shown at Whittingham. It is perhaps a whale's bone.
The word dun in this context refers to the color of the animal.
This animal seems to have been regarded variously as beneficent and dangerous and it is difficult to tell what lies behind the tradition. Guy of Warwick's popularity in days gone by was not restricted to England. His story had considerable popularity in continental Europe.
|Guy of warwick|
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