The farmer, thinking it was some trick or practical joke, rode on, and reached Macclesfield Fair; but no purchaser was found for his horse. He tried to sell it at a sum that was absurdly inadequate to its value, but no one would buy; so when the sun had set he resolved to keep the tryst appointed by the gigantic monk.
He found the stranger waiting for him. "Follow me," he said, and led the way by the Golden Stone Stormy Point to Saddle Bole. When they reached this spot, the farmer heard distinctly the neighing of horses under his feet.
The stranger waved his staff; the earth opened, and disclosed a pair of enormous iron gates. Greatly terrified, the horse plunged and threw his rider, who knelt at the monk's feet and besought his mercy.
The stranger bade him fear nothing, but enter the cavern, and see what mortal eye had never yet beheld. The farmer obeyed. On passing the gates, he found himself in a great cavern, on each side of which white horses, of the same size as his own, were tethered. Near these lay soldiers asleep, dressed in ancient armour, and in the chasms of the rocks were arms and piles of gold and silver. From them the monk took the price of the white horse in ancient coins. The farmer, trembling, asked who were these subterranean armies. His companion answered, "These are the caverned warriors preserved by the good genius of England, until that eventful day when, distracted by intestine broils, England shall be thrice won and lost between sunrise and sunset. Then we, awakening from our sleep, shall rise to turn the fate of Britain. This shall be when George the son of George shall reign. When the forests of Delamare shall wave their arms over the slaughtered sons of Albion, then shall the eagle drink the blood of princes from the headless cross. Now haste thee home, for it is not in thy time these things shall be. A Cestrian shall speak it, and be believed."
The farmer left the cavern, and the place has never again been found.
This legend has given rise to an inn sign in the neighborhood of Macclesfield on Monk's Heath. It is "The Iron Gates;" the sign shows the gates opening before a figure in a cowl to whom a yeoman kneels. Behind him is a white horse rearing; the background is a view of Alderley Edge.
The farmer, it is said, sought to prove the truth of his story by showing the old coins. That the tradition must be an old one, well known, the sign certainly testifies.