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Title: Legend Land, Vol. 1 - Being a collection of some of the Old Tales told in those - Western Parts of Britain served by The Great Western - Railway.
Author: Barham, George Basil
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Legend Land, Vol. 1 - Being a collection of some of the Old Tales told in those - Western Parts of Britain served by The Great Western - Railway." ***

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G.W.R: The Line to Legend Land

THE HURLERS              Page  8
PERRAN SANDS             Page 12
ST ALLEN                 Page 16
ZENNOR                   Page  4
ST MICHAEL'S MOUNT       Page 20
THE LOOE BAR             Page 24
"FURRY DAY SONG"         Page 52

Vol. One Front End]

       *       *       *       *       *


    Being a collection of some of the _OLD TALES_ told
    in those Western Parts of Britain served by the



        _Published in 1922 by_


  The Mermaid of Zennor                           _Page_  4
  The Stone Men of St. Cleer                              8
  How St. Piran Came to Cornwall                         12
  The Lost Child of St. Allen                            16
  The Giants who Built the Mount                         20
  The Tasks of Tregeagle                                 24
  The Lady of Llyn-y-Fan Fach                            28
  St. David and His Mother                               32
  The Vengeance of the Fairies                           36
  The Old Woman who Fooled the Devil                     40
  The Women Soldiers of Fishguard                        44
  How Bala Lake Began                                    48
  The Furry Day Song (_Supplement_)                      52

       *       *       *       *       *

  This is a reprint in book form of the first series of
  _The Line to Legend Land_ leaflets, together with a
  Supplement, "The Furry Day Song."

  The Map at the beginning provides a guide to the localities
  of the six Cornish legends and the "Furry Day Song"; that at
  the back to the six stories of Wales.

       *       *       *       *       *

         _One New Street Square, London, E.C.4_


In those older, simpler days, when reading was a rare accomplishment,
our many times great-grandparents would gather round the blazing fire of
kitchen or hall on the long, dark winter nights and pass away the hours
before bedtime in conversation and story-telling.

The old stories were told again and again. The children learned
them in their earliest years and passed them on to their children and
grandchildren in turn. And, as is natural, in all this telling the
stories changed little by little. New and more familiar characters were
introduced, or a story-teller with more vivid imagination than his
fellows would add a bit here and there to make a better tale of it.

But in origin most of these old legends date from the very dawn of
our history. In a primitive form they were probably told round the
camp-fires of that British army that went out to face invading Cæsar.

Then with the spread of education they began to die. When many folk
could read and books grew cheap there was no longer the need to call
upon memory for the old-fashioned romances.

Yet there have always been those who loved the old tales best, and they
wrote them down before it was too late, so that they might be preserved
for ever. A few of them are retold briefly here.

All people should like the old stories; all nice people do. To them I
commend these tales of Legend Land, in the hope that they may grow to
love them and the countries about which they are written.




Carved on one of the pews in the church of Zennor in West Cornwall is a
strange figure of a mermaid. Depicted with flowing hair, a mirror in one
hand and a comb in the other, the Zennor folk tell a strange story about

Years and years ago, they say, a beautiful and richly dressed lady
used to attend the church sometimes. Nobody knew where she came from,
although her unusual beauty and her glorious voice caused her to be the
subject of discussion throughout the parish.

So attractive was she that half the young men of the village fell in
love with her, and one of them, Mathey Trewella, a handsome youth and
one of the best singers in the neighbourhood, determined that he would
discover who she was.

The beautiful stranger had smiled at him in church one Sunday, and after
service he followed her as she walked away towards the cliffs.

Mathey Trewella never returned to Zennor, nor did the lovely stranger
ever attend church again.

Years passed by, and Mathey's strange disappearance was almost forgotten
when, one Sunday morning, a ship cast anchor off Pendower Cove, near
Zennor. The captain of the vessel was sitting idling on the deck when he
heard a beautiful voice hailing him from the sea. Looking over the side
he saw the mermaid, her long yellow hair floating all around her.

She asked him to be so kind as to pull up his anchor, for it was resting
upon the doorway of her house under the sea and she was anxious to get
back to Mathey, her husband, and her children.

In alarm, the captain weighed anchor and stood out to sea, for sailors
fear that mermaids will bring bad luck. But later he returned and told
the Zennor folk of Mathey's fate, and they, to commemorate the strange
event, and to warn other young men against the wiles of the merrymaids,
had the mermaid figure carved in the church.

And there it is to-day for all the world to see, and to prove, to those
who do not believe the old stories, the truth of poor Mathey Trewella's
sad fate.

Zennor is a lovely moorland village in the neighbourhood of some of the
wildest scenery in Cornwall. To the south-west rugged moors stretch away
to the Land's End. To the north a quarter of an hour's walk brings you
to the coast with its sheltered coves and its cruel cliffs. Gurnard's
Head, one of the most famous of all Cornish promontories, is less than
two miles away. Grim, remote, yet indescribably fascinating, the country
around Zennor is typical of that far western corner of England which is
swept continually by the great health-giving winds of the Atlantic.

In its sheltered valleys flowers bloom all the year round. On its
bold hill-tops, boulder-strewn and wild, there remain still the old
mysterious stones and the queer beehive huts erected by men who
inhabited this land in the dark days before Christianity.

Gorse and heather riot over the moorland. There is a charm and peace
about this too little known country that compels health and well-being.

Yet Zennor is only five and a half miles by the moorland road from St.
Ives, that picturesque little fishing town that artists and golfers know
so well. St. Ives, less than seven hours' journey from Paddington, is an
ideal centre from which to explore the coast and moorland beauties of
England's furthest west.

[Illustration: _The Mermaid of Zennor: Bench End in Zennor Church_]



A thousand feet above sea level among the heather and bracken of
Craddock Moor, four or five miles north of Liskeard, you may find to-day
the remains of three ancient stone circles known as "The Hurlers."
Antiquaries will tell you that the Druids first erected them, but the
people of the countryside know better. From father to son, from
grandparent to child, through long centuries, the story has been handed
down of how "The Hurlers" came to be fixed in eternal stillness high up
there above the little village of St. Cleer.

Exactly how long ago it was nobody knows, but it happened in those early
days when pious saints were settling down in the remote parts of savage
Cornwall and striving to convert the wild Cornish from their pagan ways.

Then, as even to this day, the game of Hurling--a sort of primitive
Rugby football--was a popular pastime with the people. Village used to
play against village, with goals perhaps four or five miles apart. And
the good folk of St. Cleer were as fond of the game as any of their
neighbours--so fond, in fact, that they would play it on any and every
occasion, despite the admonitions of their local saint and parson, after
whom the village was named.

Again and again he would notice that his little church was empty on
Sunday mornings while the shouts and noise of a hard-fought Hurling
match drifted across the moorland in through the open church door. Again
and again he would take his flock to task for their godless ways and
their Sabbath-breaking games. But it was of little use. For a Sunday or
two they would be penitent and attend service. Then would come a fine
morning, and a challenge perhaps from the Hurlers of St. Ive or North
Hill, on the other side of the moors, and the young men would decide to
chance another lecture from the patient saint, and out they would go to
the hillside to do battle for the honour of their parish.

But even the patience of saints comes to an end at last, and good St.
Cleer saw something more than words was needed to lead his people into
the right way. And so it happened one Sunday morning, in the midst of a
hot tussle on Craddock Moor, the outraged St. Cleer arrived in search of
his erring flock.

He bade them cease their game at once and return to church. Some of them
obeyed, wandering sheepishly off down the hill; some were defiant and
told the worthy man to go back to his prayers and not to come up there
to spoil sport.

Then St. Cleer spoke in anger. Raising his staff he told them in solemn
and awful tones that it should be as they had chosen. Since they
preferred their game on the moor to their service in church, on the moor
at their game they should stay for ever. He lowered his staff and to the
horror of all onlookers the defiant ones were seen to be turned into

Many centuries have passed since then. Time, wind and rain have
weathered the stone men out of all semblance of humanity. Some have been
destroyed, but most still remain as an awful example to impious Sabbath
profaners. And there you may see them silent and still, just as they
were struck on that grim Sunday in the dark long ago.

The glorious moorland, rugged and wild, stretches all about them--a
wonderful walking country, where one may escape from all cares and
wander for hours amid the bracken and sweet-smelling grasses and find
strange prehistoric remains seldom visited by any but the moorland sheep
and the wild birds. It is a country of vast spaces and far views. You
may see on one hand the Severn Sea, on the other the Channel; to the
east the upstanding blue hills of Dartmoor and to the west the rugged
highlands by Land's End--and then trudge back at night weary but happy
to Liskeard, described as "the pleasantest town in Cornwall," and find
it hard to believe that only five hours away is the toil and turmoil of

[Illustration: _"The Hurlers," St. Cleer_]



Some sixteen hundred years ago, so tradition tells, there lived in the
South of Ireland a very holy man named Piran. Such was his piety that
he was able to perform miracles. Once he fed ten Irish kings and their
armies for ten days on end with three cows. Men sorely wounded in battle
were brought to him to be cured, and he cured them. Yet the Irish grew
jealous of his power and decided he must be killed.

And so one stormy, boisterous morning the pious Piran was brought in
chains to the summit of a high cliff, and with a huge millstone tied to
his neck his ungrateful neighbours hurled him into the raging billows
beneath. This horrible deed was marked, as the holy man left the top of
the cliff, with a blinding flash of lightning and a terrifying crash of
thunder, and then, to the amazement of the savages who had thus sought
to destroy him, a wonderful thing happened.

As man and millstone reached the sea the storm instantly ceased. The sun
shone out, the waves and the wind died down, and, peering over the edge
of the cliff, the wondering crowd saw the holy man, seated peacefully
upon a floating millstone, drifting slowly away in the direction of the
Cornish shore, some hundreds of miles to the south-east.

St. Piran's millstone bore him safely across the Atlantic waves until at
length--on the fifth day of March--it grounded gently upon the Cornish
coast, between Newquay and Perranporth, on that glorious stretch of sand
known to-day as Perran Beach. Here the Saint landed, and, taking his
millstone with him, proceeded a little distance inland and set himself
to work to convert the heathen Cornish to Christianity.

He built himself a little chapel in the sands and lived a useful and
pious life for many years, loved by his people, until at last, at the
great age of two hundred and six, he died. Then his sorrowing flock
buried him and built over his grave St. Piran's Chapel, the remains of
which you can see to-day hidden away in the sandhills of the Penhale

Although Cornwall can boast many saints, St. Piran has greater right
than any other to be called the patron of the Duchy. To him the Cornish
in the old days attributed a vast number of good actions, among them the
discovery of tin, the mining of which has for centuries formed one of
the chief Cornish industries.

This came about, according to the old story, from the saint making use
of some strange black stones that he found, to make a foundation for
his fire. The heat being more intense than usual one day, these stones
melted and a stream of white metal flowed from them.

The saint and his companion, St. Chiwidden, told the Cornish people of
their discovery, and taught them to dig and smelt the ore, thus bringing
much prosperity to the country, the story of which eventually reached
the far-away Phoenicians and brought them in their ships to trade with
the Cornish for their valuable metal.

Good St. Piran has left his name all over the wonderful country
south-west of Newquay. In Perranporth, with its rocks and caves and
glorious bathing beach; in St. Piran's Round, that strange old
earth-work not far away; in the parish of Perranzabuloe, which means
Perran in the Sands; in Perranwell, near Falmouth, and even further
south in Perranuthnoe, which looks out across the waters of Mounts Bay.

But although memorials of him are to be found over most of South
Cornwall, it is the district of the Perran Sands, where he landed, lived
and died, that is his true home. There, where the soft Atlantic breezes
or the fierce winter gales sweep in to Perran Bay, you may look out over
the dancing sea towards Ireland and America with nothing but Atlantic
rollers between, or wander amid the waste of sand dunes that comprise
the Perran Sands and breathe in health with every breath you take.

Perranporth is on the edge of these sandhills, which stretch away
north-east to within four miles of Newquay--all within seven hours'
journey from London.

[Illustration: _St. Piran's Chapel_]



They never talk of fairies in Cornwall; what "foreigners" call fairies
the Cornish call "piskies," or "small people." And all about the Duchy
piskies still abound for those who are fitted to see them. The old folk
will still tell you many strange stories of the piskies. One of the best
known is that of the lost child of St. Allen. St. Allen is a parish on
the high ground about four miles from Truro, and there, in the little
hamlet of Treonike, or, as it is now called, Trefronick, on a lovely
spring evening years and years ago, a small village boy wandered out
to pick flowers in a little copse not far from his parents' cottage.

His mother, looking from the kitchen door, saw him happily engaged in
his innocent amusement, then turned to make ready the supper for her
good man, whom she saw trudging home in the distance across the fields.
When, a few minutes later, she went to call her boy in to his evening
meal, he had vanished.

At first it was thought that the child had merely wandered further
into the wood, but after a while, when he did not return, his parents
grew alarmed and went in search of him. Yet no sign of the boy was

For two days the villagers sought high and low for the missing child,
and then, on the morning of the third day, to the delight of the
distracted parents, their boy was found sleeping peacefully upon a bed
of fern within a few yards of the place where his mother had last seen
him. He was perfectly well, quite happy, and entirely ignorant of the
length of time that had elapsed. And he had a wonderful story to tell.

While picking the flowers, he said, he had heard a bird singing in more
beautiful tones than any he had heard before. Going into the wood to
see what strange songster this was, the sound changed to most wonderful
music which compelled him to follow it. Thus lured onward he came at
length to the edge of an enchanted lake, and he noticed that night had
fallen but that the sky was ablaze with huge stars. Then more stars
rose up all around him, and, looking, he saw that each was in reality a
pisky. These small people formed themselves into a procession, singing
strange fascinating songs the while, and under the leadership of one who
was more brilliant and more beautiful than the rest they led the boy
through their dwelling place. This, he said, was like a palace. Crystal
pillars supported arches hung with jewels which glistened with every
colour of the rainbow. Far more wonderful, the child said, were the
crystals than any he had seen in a Cornish mine.

The piskies were very kind to him, and seemed to enjoy his wonder and
astonishment at their gorgeous cave. They gave him a fairy meal of the
purest honey spread on dainty little cakes, and when at last he grew
tired numbers of the small folk fell to work to build him a bed of
fern. Then, crowding around him, they sang him to sleep with a strange
soothing lullaby, which for the rest of his life he was always just
on the point of remembering, but which as certainly escaped him. He
remembered nothing more until he was awakened and taken home to his

The wise folk of St. Allen maintained that only a child of the finest
character ever received such honour from the small people, and that
the fact that they had shown him the secrets of their hidden dwelling
augured that for ever afterwards they would keep him under their
especial care. And so it was; the boy lived to a ripe old age and
prospered amazingly. He never knew illness or misfortune, and died
at last in his sleep; and those that were near him say that as he
breathed his last a strange music filled the room. Some say that the
piskies still haunt the woods and fields around Trefronick, but that
they only show themselves to children and grown-ups of simple, trusting
nature. Anyhow, those that wish to try to see them may reach the place
where the lost child was spirited away in an hour and a half's walk from
Truro, Cornwall's cathedral city, which is at the head of one of the
most beautiful rivers in the world.

The trip from Truro down the Truro river and the Fal to Falmouth
at any time of the year is a pleasurable experience that can never be
forgotten. Truro is an ideal centre for South Cornwall. Wild sea coast
and moorland, and woods and sheltered creeks, are all close at hand, yet
the city itself has the cloistered calm peculiar to all our cathedral

The tourist neglects Truro too much, for as a lover of the Duchy once
said: "It is the most convenient town in Cornwall; it seems to be within
an hour and a half's journey of any part of the county."

[Illustration: _Truro Cathedral_]



St. Michael's Mount, that impressive castle-crowned pyramid of rock that
rises from the waters of Mounts Bay, was not always an island. In fact,
it is not always an island now. At low tide you may reach it from the
mainland along a causeway. But once upon a time the Mount stood in the
midst of a forest; its old name, "Caraclowse in Cowse," means "the Grey
Rock in the Wood," and that was at the time when the Giants built it.

Cormoran was one of the Giants; he lived in this great western forest,
which is now swallowed up by the sea, and there he determined to erect
for himself a stronghold that should rise well above the trees. So he
set to work to collect huge stones from the neighbouring granite hills,
and his new home grew apace.

But the labour of searching far afield for suitable stones, and of
carrying them to the forest and piling them one upon another, was a
wearying task even for a giant, and as Cormoran grew tired he forced his
unfortunate Giantess wife, Cormelian, to help him in his task, and to
her he gave the most toilsome of the labour.

Was there a gigantic boulder in a far part of the Duchy that Cormoran
coveted, unhappy Cormelian was sent to fetch it; and she, like a dutiful
wife, never complained, but went meekly about her work, collecting the
finest and biggest stones and carrying them back to the forest in her
apron. Meanwhile Cormoran, growing more lazy, spent much of his time
in sleep, waking up only very occasionally to admonish his wife or to
incite her to greater efforts.

One day, when Cormelian had been twice as far as the Bodmin moors to
fetch some particularly fine stones Cormoran had seen, and was about
to set off on a third journey, she, noticing her husband fast asleep,
thought to save herself another weary walk by going only a short
distance and breaking off some huge masses of greenstone rock which
existed in the neighbourhood and placing them upon the nearly completed
Mount without being seen. Although Cormoran had insisted that the stone
be grey, Cormelian could see no reason why one stone was not as good as

So, carrying out her plan, she was returning with the first enormous
piece of greenstone, walking ever so carefully so as not to awaken
Cormoran, when, unfortunately, he did awake. He flew into a terrible
rage on seeing how his wife was trying to delude him, and, rising with
a dreadful threat, he ran after her, overtaking her just before she
reached the Mount.

Scolding her for her deceit, he gave her a terrific box on the ear. Poor
Cormelian, in her fright, dropped the huge greenstone she was carrying,
and ran sobbing from her angry husband to seek refuge in the deepest
part of the forest; and it was not until Cormoran himself had finished
building the Mount that she would return to him.

And to-day, as you walk along the causeway from Marazion to St.
Michael's Mount, you will see on your right hand an isolated mass of
greenstone, the very rock that Cormelian dropped. It is called Chapel
Rock now, because years and years afterwards, when pious monks lived
upon the summit of the Mount and devout pilgrims used to visit their
church to pay homage at a shrine, they built a little chapel, upon poor
Cormelian's green rock, of which only a few stones now remain.

You may visit Chapel Rock and St. Michael's Mount from Penzance, which
is between three and four miles away and is the ideal centre for some of
the most wonderful scenery in Cornwall. Both Land's End and the Lizard
are within easy reach of this, England's westernmost town, where a
climate that rivals that of the Mediterranean may be enjoyed in the
depth of winter. Semi-tropical flowers and trees bloom in the open,
and in February and early March--in what is, in fact, winter weather
for those in less favoured parts--Penzance and its neighbourhood are
surrounded by glorious spring flowers, the growing of which forms a
very considerable industry.

London and our other big towns often get their first glimpse of coming
spring in the narcissi and wallflowers grown around the shores of Mounts
Bay, and packed off to the grim cold cities only a few hours away.

[Illustration: _St. Michael's Mount_]



The name of the demon Tregeagle is a household word in nearly every part
of Cornwall. His wild spirit rages of nights along the rocky coasts,
across the bleak moors and through the sheltered valleys. For Tregeagle
is a Cornish "Wandering Jew"; his spirit can never rest, since in life
he was the most evil man the Duchy ever knew.

His story, as the legend has it, is that he was a man who amassed great
wealth by robbing his neighbours in the cruellest manner. As he approached
the end of his most evil life remorse seized him. There was no sin he
had not committed, and hoping to escape from the just reward of so
wicked a life, in the hereafter, he lavished money upon the Church and
the poor, trusting to obtain the help of the holy priests to save him
from the clutches of the Evil One.

The priests, ever anxious to save a soul, banded themselves together,
and by constant prayer and powerful exorcisms kept the powers of
darkness at bay, and Tregeagle died and was buried in St. Breock Church.
But the demons were not so ready to give up what they felt was their
lawful prey. An important lawsuit occurred shortly after his death, and
as the judge was about to give his decision against the unjustly accused
defendant, to the horror of all in court, the gaunt figure of the dead
Tregeagle stalked into the room. His evidence saved the defendant.

Now Tregeagle being brought from the grave, despite the honesty of
his mission, placed himself once more in danger of the demons. The
defendant, who had raised the spirit, calmly left him to the Churchmen
to put once more to rest, and after a long conference, presided over by
the Prior of Bodmin, it was decided that the only hope of ultimate peace
for the evil man's spirit was that he be set to some task which might
last until the Day of Judgment. And so long as he worked unceasingly
at that task he might still hope for salvation.

So the task appointed him was to empty out Dozmary Pool, a gloomy lake
on the Bodmin Moors, with a limpet-shell with a hole in it. For years
Tregeagle laboured at this, until one day during a terrible storm he
ceased work for a moment. Then the demons descended upon him. He fled
from his pursuers, and only escaped them by leaping right across the
lake--for demons cannot cross water--and rushing for sanctuary to the
little chapel on the Roche Rock, where he managed just in time to get
his head in at the east window. But the howls of the demons outside,
and the roaring of the terrified Tregeagle within, made the life of the
unfortunate priest of the Roche chapel unbearable, and he appealed to
his brethren of the Church to do something about it. So they bound the
wicked spirit with holy spells and took him safely across to the north
coast, where another task was set him. He was to weave a truss of sand
and spin a sand rope to bind it with. But as soon as he started on his
work the winds or the waves destroyed it, and the luckless creature's
roars of anger so disturbed the countryside that the holy St. Petroc was
prevailed upon to move him once more, to a wilder part of the country,
and the saint took him to the coast near Helston.

Here Tregeagle was set to the task of carrying all the sand from the
beach below Bareppa across the estuary of the Looe river to Porthleven,
for St. Petroc knew that each tide would sweep the sand back again and
the task could never be completed. But the demons were always watching
Tregeagle, and one of them contrived one day to trip him up as he was
wading across the river. The sand poured from the huge sack Tregeagle
was carrying and dammed up the stream, thus forming the Looe Pool, which
you may see to-day just by Helston, and the Looe Bar, which separates it
from the sea.

Tregeagle's next task he is engaged upon to-day. He was taken to near
the Land's End, and there he is still endeavouring to sweep the sand
from Porthcurnow Cove round the headland of Tol-Peden-Penwith into
Nanjisal Bay, and on many a winter night if you are there you can hear
him howling and roaring at the hopelessness of his task.

These scenes of Tregeagle's labours are all situated amid most glorious
scenery. Dozmary Pool, bleak and lonely amid the Bodmin Moors, the
little chapel on the Roche Rock near St. Austell, and the beautiful Looe
Pool by Helston, that attractive little town on a hillside, which is the
tourist centre for that country full of colour, deep sheltered valleys,
and magnificent coast scenery, the Lizard peninsula.

Porthcurnow, the miserable man's present abode, you will find nestling
amid the grim cliffs near the Land's End. And if you doubt this sad
history of the demon-ridden Tregeagle, go and look at the Looe Bar and
explain if you can how otherwise so strange a place could have been

[Illustration: _The Roche Rocks_]



Not many miles from Llandovery, in the midst of glorious mountain
scenery, is a lovely little lake known as Llyn-y-Fan-Fach, the scene of
a very remarkable occurrence. Once upon a time a simple cowherd, eating
his frugal meal by the edge of the water, observed with amazement,
seated upon the calm surface of the lake, the most beautiful woman he
had ever seen. So great was his admiration for her that he cried out,
and she, turning to him, gave a rapturous smile and silently disappeared
beneath the waters.

The peasant was distracted, for he had fallen deeply in love with the
beautiful lady. He waited until dark, but she did not appear again;
but at daybreak the next morning he returned once more, and was again
rewarded by the sight of his enchantress and another of her alluring

Several times more he saw her and each time he besought her to be his
wife, but she only smiled and disappeared, until at length one evening,
just as the sun was setting, the beautiful lady appeared, and this time,
instead of diving beneath the surface, she came to the shore, and,
after some persuasion, consented to marry the youth. But she made one
condition: if ever he should strike her three blows without cause she
would leave him, she said, and their marriage would be at an end.

So the two were married happily and went to live at Esgair Laethdy, near
Myddfai, the maiden bringing with her as dowry a large number of cattle
and horses which she called up from the bottom of the lake.

For years the couple lived in great prosperity and happiness, and three
handsome sons were born to them; then the day arrived when husband and
wife were setting out for a christening, and, being rather late, the
husband slapped his wife merrily on the shoulder, urging her to hurry.
Sadly she reminded him that he had struck her the first of the causeless

Years passed by, and the couple were at a wedding. In the midst of
all the merry-making the wife burst suddenly into tears. Patting her
sympathetically on the arm, the man inquired the cause of her weeping,
and she, sobbing the harder, reminded him that he had struck her a
second time.

Now that he had only one chance left, the husband was particularly
careful never to forget and strike the third and last blow; but, after
a long while, at a funeral one day, while all were sobbing and weeping,
the beautiful lady suddenly began laughing merrily. Touching her gently
to quiet her, the husband realised that the end had come.

"The last blow has been struck; our marriage is ended," said the wife,
now in tears; and with that she started off across the hills to their
farm. There she called together her cattle and other stock, which
immediately obeyed her voice, and, led by the beautiful lady, the whole
procession moved off across the mountains back to the lake.

Among the animals was a team of four oxen which were ploughing at the
time. They followed, too, plough and all, and, they say, to this very
day you may see a well-marked furrow running right across the Myddfai
mountain to the edge of Llyn-y-Fan-Fach, which proves the truth of this

The disconsolate husband never saw his lady again, but she used
sometimes to appear to her sons, and she gave them such wonderful
knowledge that all three became the most famous doctors in that part
of Wales.

Llandovery, from which place you may visit the scenes of this legend,
is a charming little town in East Carmarthenshire, situated in glorious
surroundings of mountains, vale, and moorland, where some of the finest
salmon and trout fishing in South Wales may be enjoyed. It stands in the
beautiful Towy Valley, on a branch line which runs up into the mountain
country from Llanelly. Llandovery is famous for its air, which is said
to be the purest and most bracing in the district.

[Illustration: _Landovery Castle_]



St. David, everybody knows, is the patron saint of Wales, but few know
the unique little "village-city," the smallest cathedral city in the
United Kingdom, St. Davids, in the far south-west of Wales; and fewer
still the story of the holy David himself. This story really begins
with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. As the old legends tell,
St. Patrick sailed on his mission to Ireland from the neighbourhood of
present-day St. Davids, and he liked the look of the country so well
that many years afterwards he established there a sort of missionary
college known as "Ty Gwyn," or the "White House," and here on the slopes
of Carn Llidi some of the earliest of the old Celtic holy men and women
were educated.

Among them, some fifteen hundred years ago, was a Welsh Princess named
Non, daughter of Cynyr of Caer Gawch, a powerful chieftain of the
district. Non was as pious as she was beautiful. There were few maidens
in the land who could compare with her.

But on what seemed to be an evil day--although it became really for
Wales a very lucky one--a barbarous chieftain from the north, called
Sant son of Ceredig, espied the rapturous Non picking flowers on a
lonely part of the hillside, and in the manner of those boisterous times
he decided to carry her off and make her his wife. And so despite her
struggles the unfortunate Non was kidnapped.

After some while she managed to escape from her fierce captor and
returned to live in a little cottage on the cliffs just south of St.
Davids, where subsequently a son was born to her. At the time of his
birth they say Non clutched at a stone in the wall of her cottage room,
and the marks of her fingers remained on it for ever. This stone was
seen by many people for years afterwards and was eventually placed over
her tomb.

The little son grew up and was baptised David by a kinsman of Non's,
one St. Ailbe. Like his mother, he was sent to the "Ty Gwyn" to school
and he became a very pious youth. Then he was sent away to the holy
St. Illtyd to be trained as a priest.

His grandfather Cynyr, who was by no means a holy man, growing
remorseful in his old age, was so much impressed by David's piety,
that for the good of his soul he made over to him all his lands, and
on this estate David founded a sanctuary for men of all tribes and
nationalities, and, to mark the privileged ground, he caused a deep
trench to be dug, and traces of this trench you may find to-day known
as "The Monk's Dyke."

Here in his sanctuary the holy David lived his pious, peaceful life for
many years, converting the heathen and performing miracles. And when
at last he died his sorrowing companions built over his grave a great
church to his memory, which years afterwards, when David had become
recognised as a saint, was replaced by the wonderful old building which
stands there now--St. David's Cathedral.

The remains of Non's old cottage on the cliff, which the monks
afterwards turned into a Chapel, may still be seen, and because of her
holy life she also became a saint. Near to the ruined Chapel you will
find, too, St. Non's well, or St. Nunn's well as it is sometimes called,
from which the holy woman drew her water when she lived her lonely life
at the time of St. David's birth.

Quaint little St. Davids lies far from a railway station, but a road
motor service will take you there in a two hours' journey across
magnificent country from Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, or you may
approach it along a wild, hilly road from Fishguard.

St. Davids is unique: it is literally both village and city. Situated
right by the coast of picturesque St. Bride's Bay on one side and
Whitesand Bay on the other, it occupies a position of peculiar beauty.
Good bathing, fishing and shooting abound; there is a golf course, and,
chief of its attractions, the glorious Norman architecture of its
jewel-like cathedral, its ancient monastic ruins, its old cross and all
the other relics of the careful work of the old ecclesiastical builders
in the far-away days.

[Illustration: _St. David's Cathedral_]



Overlooking the sea that washes the beautiful coast of the Gower
Peninsula in Glamorganshire stands the ruined castle of Pennard. All
about it is a waste of sandhills, beneath which, so the old stories have
it, a considerable village lies buried. For it is told that in the old
days, when the lands about Pennard were fertile and populous, the lord
of the castle was holding a great feast one day to rejoice over the
wedding of his daughter.

This happy event was being celebrated by the villagers too, and, unknown
to lord or serf, by the "Tylwyth Teg," or the fairy folk who abounded in
the neighbourhood, for the little people enjoy an innocent merry-making
as much as do mere mortals.

And that night, long after the villagers had gone to bed, the
festivities in the castle were continued. Wine flowed free and the
revellers became more and more boisterous. From mere jesting they came
to quarrelling, and, in the midst of their drunken orgy, there was heard
an alarm. A sentry on the walls of the castle reported that he heard
stealthy movements in the distance as of a large number of people
approaching with care.

The frenzied warriors, fearing a surprise from their enemies, armed
themselves and rushed from the castle to attack the intruders. They,
too, could hear a gentle murmur in the valley below, and towards it they
charged, uttering terrible threats, striking right and left with their
swords at the unseen foe. But, apart from a few shadowy forms that
quickly faded away into the undergrowth, nothing was to be seen, and at
length the knights and soldiers returned rather crestfallen, and much
more sober, to their stronghold.

Now the truth of the whole matter was that the alarm had been caused
by the festivities of the fairies, and they were so deeply incensed at
having their party broken up by this violent intrusion of wine-maddened
men that they determined to be revenged.

That very night the whole family set out for Ireland, where they
descended upon a huge mountain of sand, and each one of the small
people, loading himself with as much sand as he could carry, returned
to Pennard and deposited it upon the village at the base of the castle,
intending to bury both village and castle in sand.

To and fro the fairies went, intent upon their task of vengeance, and,
when morning broke, those in the castle looked out to see what they
thought was a violent sand-storm raging. By mid-day the village below
the castle was overwhelmed, and those in the stronghold began to fear
that it too would be smothered. But fortunately for them the Irish
sand-mountain gave out, and the fairies' complete vengeance was
thwarted. Still, they had destroyed the rich and valuable lands that
belonged to the castle, and from that day its fortunes and those of its
lords began to decline.

In proof of this story the old Irish records maintain that an
extraordinary storm arose that night and blew away a whole

Few tourists ever explore the beauties of the little Gower Peninsula,
save holiday-makers from the neighbouring town of Swansea; yet it is
a country of amazing charm, with a glorious coast and high ridges of
heather and moorland. It is only about eighty square miles in extent,
but it has over fifty miles of coast.

Remote from the world, this country, with its churches, castles, and
many prehistoric remains, is an ideal holiday land.

[Illustration: _Pennard Castle_]



One of the most beautiful spots in all Wales is the Devil's Bridge--an
easy excursion into the hills from Aberystwyth--which spans the gorge
through which the Mynach cataract descends in four boiling leaps a
distance of two hundred and ten feet. How this place received its name
is an old story, which goes back to the days before the monks of sweetly
named Strata Florida, who subsequently replaced the earlier bridge
across the gorge.

The beginning of the story is told in an old rhyme which runs:--

  "_Old Megan Llandunach of Pont-y-Mynach_
     _Had lost her only cow;_
   _Across the ravine the cow was seen,_
     _But to get it she could not tell how._"

Such was the sad plight of old Megan, who was bemoaning the loss of her
property on the wrong side of the gorge so many years ago, when there
appeared to her suddenly a cowled monk, whose dark face was scarcely
discernible, with a rosary hanging to his girdle, and a deep but
pleasant voice.

Enquiring the cause of her distress, the monk, in sympathetic tones,
promised to aid her. He would, he said, build a bridge across the
ravine, so that she might recover her lost cow, if she would promise
to give him the first living being to cross the bridge.

This seemed a natural enough suggestion to the sorrowing old dame, for
the good monks of the neighbourhood were ever about the countryside,
seeking converts; so Megan agreed, and the monk set to work with amazing
energy and skill to construct the bridge. And as he worked Megan sat on
a boulder and watched him.

Before sundown the marvellous bridge was finished, and the smiling monk,
walking over it, invited Megan to follow him and seek her cow. But Megan
had been observant. She had noticed two or three things. One, that there
was no cross attached to the monk's rosary; another, that while he was
labouring at his building he had slipped, and his left leg was exposed
through his long habit, and the knee was on the back of the leg, and not
the front; also the leg ended not in a foot, but in a cloven hoof.

And cunning old Megan was taking no chances. Feeling in the pocket of
her skirt she found a crust, and walking to her side of the bridge she
called to a black cur that was playing about. Hurling the crust across
the bridge she bade the dog fetch it. He ran over the bridge, and Megan,
smiling at the monk, thanked him, and told him to take the dog as his

The devil, realising that he had been fooled, disappeared in an
awe-inspiring cloud of smoke and sulphur fumes; but the bridge remained,
and its name to this day recalls the discomfiture of his evil plans. So,
having fooled the devil, Megan was able to recover her lost cow.

Wordsworth and Borrow, among other famous writers, have immortalised
the impressive beauties of the Devil's Bridge and its roaring cataract.
It is easily reached from that most attractive of Welsh seaside towns,
Aberystwyth, and lies in a country dominated by great Plinlimmon, from
the top of which a view of unrivalled beauty may be obtained.

All about this country of mountain and moorland are scenes of intense
historic interest and natural beauty. It is a district bleak and bracing
on the summits, warm and sheltered in the valleys, and as yet quite
unspoiled by the crowd, as too is the charming town which is the centre
of this country.

Aberystwyth retains the quiet charm of an old-world "watering-place,"
and glories in its wonderful climate and healing sea breezes that blow
in across Cardigan Bay, which have won for it its reputation in winter
and summer for being a British Biarritz.

[Illustration: _Devil's Bridge, Aberystwyth_]



They tell a story down in Pembrokeshire of how the Welsh country-women
once defeated an invading army. It was in the days of the Napoleonic
wars when, on a winter's afternoon, four hostile ships appeared
unexpectedly off Fishguard Bay. On board were fourteen hundred soldiers
intent upon an invasion of Britain.

The wild country of the far west of Wales was in those days even more
remote than it is now. In the neighbourhood were but three hundred
militiamen, and the invaders had an easy task in landing at Llanwnda,
about two miles away from modern Fishguard, in a charming sheltered
inlet known as Careg Gwastad Bay.

But the gallant Welsh determined to drive out the invader. They were
furious, and, armed with scythes and other farm implements, they quickly
gathered together. For such firearms as they had there was little
ammunition, so they stripped the roof of beautiful little St. David's
Cathedral of its lead in order to make bullets.

And the women of the country followed their men. Clad in their red
cloaks and high black steeple-crowned hats, in the distance they had
all the appearance of regular soldiers, and the leader of the defending
forces was quick to realise this fact.

He marshalled them into something like military formation and marched
them about in various places where they could be seen by the invading
troops. Up and down hill the willing Welsh women trudged until darkness
fell and they were tired out.

Meanwhile there was consternation in the invaders' camp. The commander
knew that scarlet was the colour of our soldiers' uniform, and he could
only conclude that overwhelming reinforcements were arriving from the
interior. Believing his cause hopeless, he sent in a letter under a flag
of truce to the British commander, offering to surrender, and within
three days of landing the whole invading force was made prisoner.

There is an amazing sequel to this invasion, for it seems that most
of the troops employed were criminals, released from French gaols, and
other similar undesirable characters, and since they had failed in their
primary object the French Government was none too anxious to have them
back in France again, and refused to exchange them.

The British Government was no more pleased than the French to have so
unsavoury a band of ruffians in its midst, and it had at last to force
the Frenchmen to receive their own rogues back again. This was done by
threatening that if the prisoners were not exchanged within a certain
time they would be landed with arms on the coast of Brittany and left
to do their worst.

The French preferred to have them in control and exchanges were promptly
arranged, the discomfited invaders going back, it is assumed, to the
safety of the French prisons from which they had been brought.

Careg Gwastad Bay, the scene of this landing, is but one of the many
fascinating little inlets that abound along the coast in the Fishguard
neighbourhood. Excellent fishing--for sea fish, trout, sewin, and often
salmon--abounds off the coast or in the streams. Fishguard is fortunate
in possessing a modern steam-heated hotel close to the station--the
Fishguard Bay--which is equipped with every modern luxury and comfort.

From Fishguard one can approach, too, that romantic and historic
country known as Kemaes Land, which extends away to the borders of
Cardiganshire, a country--bounded on the north by the cliffs that run
down to the waters of Cardigan Bay--full of old churches, castles, and
strange remains of earlier civilisations, standing remote upon its
mountains and moorlands.

This is a land of flowers too, for its mild winter climate enables
many plants to flourish in the open that must seek the security of
greenhouses in the bleaker parts of the south.

[Illustration: _Welsh National Costume_]



There is a Welsh couplet, still well known in the neighbourhood of
beautiful Bala Lake in Merionethshire, which, translated into English,

  "_Bala old the lake has had, and Bala new_
   _The lake will have, and Llanfor, too._"

For there is an ages-old belief in the countryside that Bala will
continue to grow bigger until it has swallowed up the village of
Llanfor, now about a couple of miles from the water's edge.

According to the old story the site of the original town is near the
middle of the present lake, at a spot opposite Llangower. There, years
and years ago, a peaceful community lived a happy, prosperous life in
their houses clustering around a well called Ffynnon Gwyer, or Gower's

Only one very important thing had these long-ago people to remember, and
that was to cover up their well every night, otherwise, as they knew
from their fathers and grandfathers before them, the spirit of the well
would grow angry with them and wreak some dire punishment upon them.

But one night, after some special festivities, the guardian of the well
forgot his task. Too late this omission was discovered, for as soon as
the last inhabitant was in bed, the well began to gush forth water.

Soon the whole village was in a state of alarm. The quickly rising
waters began to flow into the cottages, and young and old rushed to
Ffynnon Gower, which they realised was the cause of their distress.
There they saw a great stream of water gushing upward. In their anger
they called upon the negligent guardian, but he, seeing the harm that
had come of his forgetfulness, had fled, though it is said he did not
escape the angry waters, for they overtook him and drowned him

A frenzied effort was made to cover up the well and stop the unwelcome
flow, but it was useless, and the people of old Bala had to escape as
best they could to higher ground. When morning broke they looked out to
where their homes had been and saw, instead of their fields and houses,
a great lake three miles long and a mile wide.

To-day the lake is five miles long; and they say that on clear days,
when its surface is absolutely calm, you may see at the bottom, off
Llangower, the ruins and chimneys of the old town that was overwhelmed
so long ago.

And, as the old couplet tells, they say too that the spirit of Gower's
Well is not yet appeased. On stormy days water appears to ooze up
through the ground at new Bala, which is built at the lower end of the
lake, and some day they believe that too will be swamped and the waters
will cover the valley as far down as Llanfor.

Llyn Tegid is the old name for Bala Lake; it means the lake of
beauty, and Bala well deserves that title. Its shores are verdant and
beautifully wooded, commanding in many places magnificent distant views
of the mountains which encircle it only a few miles away. Its waters
teem with fish; trout up to fourteen pounds and pike twice as big have
been caught there--but the flyfisher must not expect always such giants.
There is salmon-fishing to be had in the Treweryn river in September.

In the neighbourhood are places of wonderful beauty. Dolgelly,
nestling beneath great Cader Idris, is easily accessible, as also is
that charming seaside town of Barmouth. Bwlch-y-Groes, one of the finest
mountain passes in the Principality, is only ten miles away, and an easy
excursion takes one across another very beautiful pass to Lake Vyrnwy,
which gives to Liverpool its splendid water supply, and provides anglers
with magnificent baskets of Loch Leven trout.

All around is a paradise for artists and fishermen, and a country rich
in mountain streams, wild woods, and wide, far views unbeaten in any
part of Wales.

[Illustration: _Bala Lake_]



The celebration of "Furry Day," on May 8th each year, at Helston, in
South Cornwall, is one of the most interesting survivals of an old
custom in the whole country. On "Furry Day" the whole town makes
holiday. The people go first into the surrounding country to gather
flowers and branches, and return about noon, when the Furry dance begins
and continues until dusk; the merrymakers, hand in hand, dancing through
the streets and in and out of the houses, the doors of which are kept
open for the purpose.

The origin of the word "Furry," and of the song and dance, is lost in
the ages. Some authorities hold that these celebrations are a survival
of the old Roman Floralia, others that it began in celebration of a
great victory gained by the Cornish over the Saxons. The words and
music, as they have come down to us, show many signs of Elizabethan
origin. The music reproduced here is from a very old setting and
contains many crude harmonies unfamiliar at the present day.

There is one line of the song, "God bless Aunt Mary Moses," that most
people will find incomprehensible. It refers to the Virgin Mary, "Aunt"
being among the Cornish a term of great respect; "Moses" being a
corruption of the old Cornish word "Mowes," a maid. "Mary Moses" means
literally "Mary the Maid."


[Illustration: THE FURRY-DAY SONG (Sheet Music page 1)]

[Illustration: THE FURRY-DAY SONG (Sheet Music page 2)]

  Robin Hood and little John,
      They both are gone to fair, O!
  And we will go to the merry green wood
      To see what they do there, O!
  And for to chase, O!
  To chase the buck and doe.

  With Halantow,
  Rumble Ow!
  For we were up as soon as any day, O!
  And for to fetch the Summer home,
  The Summer and the May, O!
  For Summer is a-come, O!
  And Winter is a-gone, O!

  Where are those Spaniards,
      That make so great a boast, O?
  They shall eat the grey goose feather,
      And we will eat the roast, O,
  In every land, O,
  The land where'er we go.
      With _Halantow, &c._

  As for Saint George, O,
      Saint George he was a Knight, O!
  Of all the Knights in Christendom,
      Saint Georgy is the right, O!
  In every land, O,
  The land where'er we go.
      With _Halantow, &c_.

  God bless Aunt Mary Moses,
      And all her powers and might, O,
  And send us peace in merry England,
      Both day and night, O,
  And send us peace in merry England,
  Both now and evermore, O!
      With _Halantow, &c_.


[Illustration: THE FURRY-DANCE TUNE (Sheet Music)]

The simple air only of "The Furry Dance" is given here. It was probably
originally played by a musician on the pipe, accompanying himself on the

Remote Cornwall is still full of queer old customs and survivals of
other days. Helston, the "Metropolis" of that picturesque wild district
near the Lizard, forms a perfect setting for this interesting relic of
the past, and an ideal centre for those who wish to enjoy the beauties
and mystery of one of the most remote corners of our island.

[Illustration: _The Furry Dance To-day_]

       *       *       *       *       *


G.W.R: The Line to Legend Land

BALA                     Page 48
DEVIL'S BRIDGE           Page 40
ST. DAVID'S              Page 52
PENNARD CASTLE           Page 36
LLYN-Y-FAN-FACH          Page 28

Vol. One Back End]

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