The Lambton Worm is a serpantine dragon that haunted the area around Durham, England after a boy named John Lambton accidentally brought it out of the river Wear while fishing. As the story goes, young John decided to skip Sunday church to go fishing, but caught the young worm instead. Scared of the thing he had pulled up, he tossed it in a well and hurried to church.
Years went by, and he eventually forgot all about the worm and went off to fight in the crusades. During his absence, the worm, which had grown quite large, crawlled out of the well in search of food. The villagers went out to hunt down the animal killing their livestock, only to find a massive worm coiling entirely around Penshaw Hill. Many tried to slay the worm, only to fall victim to its incredible strength and poisionous bite.
The worm continued to terrorize the villages by eating livestock and children, eventually heading for Lambton Castle. John's father, the Lord of the castle, managed to appease the worm by offering massive amounts of food every night, but this could only be a temporary solution. Finally, John came home and swore to rid his father's land of the beast.
Before he faced such a powerful creature, he approached a witch for assistance. The witch explained to him that the worm was rampant because of him, that because he had ignored the warnings about missing church a great evil had been set upon the land. She agreed to tell him the secret to killing the worm if he promised to kill the first living thing he saw after defeating the worm, and if he failed to do so his family would be cursed for nine generations.
Accepting the deal, John arranged for his servants to send out the faithful family dog when they saw him approach the castle. Following the witch's instructions, he attatched sharp spikes to his armor and went out to fight the worm. When the worm tried to squeeze him to death, the spikes punctured its body and killed it.
However, when he approached the castle, his father was so overjoyed to see his son alive that he ran out to greet him first. John refused to kill his own father, and the Lambton family was cursed for nine generations.