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Title: Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx (Volume 1 of 2)
Author: Rhys, John
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx (Volume 1 of 2)" ***

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                            CELTIC FOLKLORE

                             WELSH AND MANX


                        JOHN RHYS, M.A., D.Litt.

                          PROFESSOR OF CELTIC

                                VOLUME I


                         AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

                              TO ALL THOSE
                      THE PRODUCTION OF THIS WORK
                           IT IS RESPECTFULLY
                       IN TOKEN OF HIS GRATITUDE
                               THE AUTHOR

        Our modern idioms, with all their straining after the
        abstract, are but primitive man's mental tools adapted
        to the requirements of civilized life, and they often
        retain traces of the form and shape which the neolithic
        worker's chipping and polishing gave them.


Towards the close of the seventies I began to collect Welsh folklore. I
did so partly because others had set the example elsewhere, and partly
in order to see whether Wales could boast of any story-tellers of
the kind that delight the readers of Campbell's Popular Tales of the
West Highlands. I soon found what I was not wholly unprepared for,
that as a rule I could not get a single story of any length from the
mouths of any of my fellow countrymen, but a considerable number of
bits of stories. In some instances these were so scrappy that it took
me years to discover how to fit them into their proper context; but,
speaking generally, I may say, that, as the materials, such as they
were, accumulated, my initial difficulties disappeared. I was, however,
always a little afraid of refreshing my memory with the legends of
other lands lest I should read into those of my own, ideas possibly
foreign to them. While one is busy collecting, it is safest probably
not to be too much engaged in comparison: when the work of collecting
is done that of comparing may begin. But after all I have not attempted
to proceed very far in that direction, only just far enough to find
elucidation here and there for the meaning of items of folklore
brought under my notice. To have gone further would have involved
me in excursions hopelessly beyond the limits of my undertaking,
for comparative folklore has lately assumed such dimensions, that it
seems best to leave it to those who make it their special study.

It is a cause of genuine regret to me that I did not commence my
inquiries earlier, when I had more opportunities of pursuing them,
especially when I was a village schoolmaster in Anglesey and could
have done the folklore of that island thoroughly; but my education,
such as it was, had been of a nature to discourage all interest in
anything that savoured of heathen lore and superstition. Nor is that
all, for the schoolmasters of my early days took very little trouble
to teach their pupils to keep their eyes open or take notice of what
they heard around them; so I grew up without having acquired the
habit of observing anything, except the Sabbath. It is to be hoped
that the younger generation of schoolmasters trained under more
auspicious circumstances, when the baleful influence of Robert Lowe
has given way to a more enlightened system of public instruction,
will do better, and succeed in fostering in their pupils habits of
observation. At all events there is plenty of work still left to be
done by careful observers and skilful inquirers, as will be seen
from the geographical list showing approximately the provenance
of the more important contributions to the Kymric folklore in this
collection: the counties will be found to figure very unequally. Thus
the anglicizing districts have helped me very little, while the more
Welsh county of Carnarvon easily takes the lead; but I am inclined to
regard the anomalous features of that list as in a great measure due
to accident. In other words, some neighbourhoods have been luckier
than others in having produced or attracted men who paid attention
to local folklore; and if other counties were to be worked equally
with Carnarvonshire, some of them would probably be found not much
less rich in their yield. The anglicizing counties in particular are
apt to be disregarded both from the Welsh and the English points of
view, in folklore just as in some other things; and in this connexion
I cannot help mentioning the premature death of the Rev. Elias Owen
as a loss which Welsh folklorists will not soon cease to regret.

My information has been obtained partly viva voce, partly by
letter. In the case of the stories written down for me in Welsh,
I may mention that in some instances the language is far from good;
but it has not been thought expedient to alter it in any way, beyond
introducing some consistency into the spelling. In the case of the
longest specimen of the written stories, Mr. J. C. Hughes' Curse of
Pantannas, it is worthy of notice in passing, that the rendering of
it into English was followed by a version in blank verse by Sir Lewis
Morris, who published it in his Songs of Britain. With regard to the
work generally, my original intention was to publish the materials,
obtained in the way described, with such stories already in print
as might be deemed necessary by way of setting for them; and to let
any theories or deductions in which I might be disposed to indulge
follow later. In this way the first six chapters and portions of
some of the others appeared from time to time in the publications of
the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion and in those of the Folk-Lore
Society. This would have allowed me to divide the present work into
the two well marked sections of materials and deductions. But, when
the earlier part came to be edited, I found that I had a good deal of
fresh material at my disposal, so that the chapters in question had
in some instances to be considerably lengthened and in some others
modified in other ways. Then as to the deductive half of the work,
it may be mentioned that certain portions of the folklore, though
ever apt to repeat themselves, were found when closely scrutinized
to show serious lacunæ, which had to be filled in the course of the
reasoning suggested by the materials in hand. Thus the idea of the
whole consisting of two distinctly defined sections had to be given
up or else allowed to wait till I should find time to recast it. But
I could no more look forward to any such time than to the eventual
possibility of escaping minor inconsistencies by quietly stepping
through the looking-glass and beginning my work with the index
instead of resting content to make it in the old-fashioned way at the
end. There was, however, a third course, which is only mentioned to
be rejected, and that was to abstain from all further publication; but
what reader of books has ever known any of his authors to adopt that!

To crown these indiscretions I have to confess that even when most of
what I may call the raw material had been brought together, I had no
clear idea what I was going to do with it; but I had a hazy notion,
that, as in the case of an inveterate talker whose stream of words
is only made the more boisterous by obstruction, once I sat down to
write I should find reasons and arguments flowing in. It may seem
as though I had been secretly conjuring with Vergil's words viresque
adquirit eundo. Nothing so deliberate: the world in which I live swarms
with busybodies dying to organize everybody and everything, and my
instinctive opposition to all that order of tyranny makes me inclined
to cherish a somewhat wild sort of free will. Still the cursory
reader would be wrong to take for granted that there is no method
in my madness: should he take the trouble to look for it, he would
find that it has a certain unity of purpose, which has been worked
out in the later chapters; but to spare him that trouble I venture
to become my own expositor and to append the following summary:--

The materials crowded into the earlier chapters mark out the stories
connected with the fairies, whether of the lakes or of the dry land, as
the richest lode to be exploited in the mine of Celtic folklore. That
work is attempted in the later chapters; and the analysis of what
may briefly be described as the fairy lore given in the earlier ones
carries with it the means of forcing the conviction, that the complex
group of ideas identified with the little people is of more origins
than one; in other words, that it is drawn partly from history and
fact, and partly from the world of imagination and myth. The latter
element proves on examination to be inseparably connected with certain
ancient beliefs in divinities and demons associated, for instance, with
lakes, rivers, and floods. Accordingly, this aspect of fairy lore has
been dealt with in chapters vi and vii: the former is devoted largely
to the materials themselves, while the latter brings the argument to
a conclusion as to the intimate connexion of the fairies with the
water-world. Then comes the turn of the other kind of origin to be
discussed, namely, that which postulates the historical existence of
the fairies as a real race on which have been lavishly superinduced
various impossible attributes. This opens up a considerable vista
into the early ethnology of these islands, and it involves a variety
of questions bearing on the fortunes here of other races. In the
series which suggests itself the fairies come first as the oldest
and lowest people: then comes that which I venture to call Pictish,
possessed of a higher civilization and of warlike instincts. Next
come the earlier Celts of the Goidelic branch, the traces, linguistic
and other, of whose presence in Wales have demanded repeated notice;
and last of all come the other Celts, the linguistic ancestors of the
Welsh and all the other speakers of Brythonic. The development of these
theses, as far as folklore supplies materials, occupies practically the
remaining five chapters. Among the subsidiary questions raised may be
instanced those of magic and the origin of druidism; not to mention a
neglected aspect of the Arthurian legend, the intimate association of
the Arthur of Welsh folklore and tradition with Snowdon, and Arthur's
attitude towards the Goidelic population in his time.

Lastly, I have the pleasant duty of thanking all those who have
helped me, whether by word of mouth or by letter, whether by
reference to already printed materials or by assistance in any
other way: the names of many of them will be found recorded in their
proper places. As a rule my inquiries met with prompt replies, and
I am not aware that any difficulties were purposely thrown in my
way. Nevertheless I have had difficulties in abundance to encounter,
such as the natural shyness of some of those whom I wished to examine
on the subject of their recollections, and above all the unavoidable
difficulty of cross-questioning those whose information reached me
by post. For the precise value of any evidence bearing on Celtic
folklore is almost impossible to ascertain, unless it can be made
the subject of cross-examination. This arises from the fact that we
Celts have a knack of thinking ourselves in complete accord with what
we fancy to be in the inquirer's mind, so that we are quite capable
of misleading him in perfect good faith. A most apposite instance,
deserving of being placed on record, came under my notice many years
ago. In the summer of 1868 I spent several months in Paris, where I
met the historian Henri Martin more than once. On being introduced to
him he reminded me that he had visited South Wales not long before,
and that he had been delighted to find the peasantry there still
believing in the transmigration of souls. I expressed my surprise, and
remarked that he must be joking. Nothing of the kind, he assured me,
as he had questioned them himself: the fact admitted of no doubt. I
expressed further surprise, but as I perceived that he was proud of the
result of his friendly encounters with my countrymen I never ventured
to return to the subject, though I always wondered what in the world
it could mean. A few years ago, however, I happened to converse with
one of the most charming and accomplished of Welsh ladies, when she
chanced to mention Henri Martin's advent: it turned out that he had
visited Dr. Charles Williams, then the Principal of Jesus College,
and that Dr. Williams introduced him to his friends in South Wales. So
M. Martin arrived among the hospitable friends of the lady talking
to me, who had in fact to act as his interpreter: I never understood
that he could talk much English or any Welsh. Now I have no doubt that
M. Martin, with his fixed ideas about the druids and their teaching,
propounded palpably leading questions for the Welsh people whom he
wished to examine. His fascinating interpreter put them into terse
Welsh, and the whole thing was done. I could almost venture to write
out the dialogue, which gave back to the great Frenchman his own exact
notions from the lips of simple peasants in that subtle non-Aryan
syntax, which no Welsh barrister has ever been able to explain to
the satisfaction of a bewildered English judge trying to administer
justice among a people whom he cannot wholly comprehend.

This will serve to illustrate one of the difficulties with which
the collector of folklore in Wales has to cope. I have done my best
to reduce the possible extent of the error to which it might give
rise; and it is only fair to say that those whom I plagued with my
questionings bore the tedium of it with patience, and that to them
my thanks are due in a special degree. Neither they, however, nor I,
could reasonably complain, if we found other folklorists examining
other witnesses on points which had already occupied us; for in
such matters one may say with confidence, that in the multitude of
counsellors there is safety.


Jesus College, Oxford, Christmas, 1900.



    GEOGRAPHICAL LIST OF AUTHORITIES                         xxv

    LIST OF BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES                      xxxi


    Undine's Kymric Sisters                                    1

        I.    The legend of Llyn y Fan Fach                    2
        II.   The legend of Llyn y Forwyn                     23
        III.  Some Snowdon lake legends                       30
        IV.   The heir of Ystrad                              38
        V.    Llandegai and Llanllechid                       50
        VI.   Mapes' story of Llyn Syfadon                    70


    The Fairies' Revenge                                      75

        I.    Bedgelert and its environs                      75
        II.   The Pennant Valley                             107
        III.  Glasynys' yarns                                109
        IV.   An apple story                                 125
        V.    The Conwy afanc                                130
        VI.   The Berwyn and Aran Fawdwy                     135
        VII.  The hinterland of Aberdovey                    141
        VIII. Some more Merioneth stories                    146
        IX.   The Children of Rhys Dwfn                      151
        X.    Southey and the Green Isles of the Sea         169
        XI.   The curse of Pantannas                         173
        XII.  More fairy displeasure                         192


    Fairy Ways and Words                                     197

        I.    The folklore of Nant Conwy                     197
        II.   Scenes of the Mabinogi of Math                 207
        III.  Celynnog Fawr and Llanaelhaearn                214
        IV.   The blind man's folklore                       219
        V.    The old saddler's recollections                222
        VI.   Traces of Tom Tit Tot                          226
        VII.  March and his horse's ears                     231
        VIII. The story of the Marchlyn Mawr                 234
        IX.   The fairy ring of Cae Lleidr Dyfrydog          238
        X.    A Cambrian kelpie                              242
        XI.   Sundry traits of fairy character               244
        XII.  Ynys Geinon and its fairy treasures            251
        XIII. The aged infant                                257
        XIV.  Fairy speech                                   269


    Manx Folklore                                            284

        The fenodyree or Manx brownie                        286
        The sleih beggey or little people                    289
        The butches or witches and the hare                  293
        Charmers and their methods                           296
        Comparisons from the Channel Islands                 301
        Magic and ancient modes of thought                   302
        The efficacy of fire to detect the witch             304
        Burnt sacrifices                                     305
        Laa Boaldyn or May-day                               308
        Laa Lhunys or the beginning of harvest               312
        Laa Houney or Hollantide beginning the year          315
        Sundry prognostications and the time for them        317


    The Fenodyree and his Friends                            323

        Lincolnshire parallels                               323
        The brownie of Blednoch and Bwca'r Trwyn             325
        Prognostication parallels from Lincolnshire and
            Herefordshire                                    327
        The traffic in wind and the Gallizenæ                330
        Wells with rags and pins                             332
        St. Catherine's hen plucked at Colby                 335
        The qualtagh or the first-foot and the question
            of race                                          336
        Sundry instances of things unlucky                   342
        Manx reserve and the belief in the Enemy of Souls    346
        The witch of Endor's influence and the
            respectability of the charmer's vocation         349
        Public penance enforced pretty recently              350


    The Folklore of the Wells                                354

        Rag wells in Wales                                   354
        The question of distinguishing between offerings
            and vehicles of disease                          358
        Mr. Hartland's decision                              359
        The author's view revised and illustrated            360
        T. E. Morris' account of the pin well of Llanfaglan  362
        Other wishing and divining wells                     364
        The sacred fish of Llanberis and Llangybi            366
        Ffynnon Grassi producing the Glasfryn lake           367
        The Morgan of that lake and his name                 372
        Ffynnon Gywer producing Bala Lake                    376
        Bala and other towns doomed to submersion            377
        The legend of Llyn Llech Owen                        379
        The parallels of Lough Neagh and Lough Ree           381
        Seithennin's realm overwhelmed by the sea            382
        Seithennin's name and its congeners                  385
        Prof. Dawkins on the Lost Lands of Wales             388
        Certain Irish wells not visited with impunity        389
        The Lough Sheelin legend compared with that of
            Seithennin                                       393
        The priesthood of the wells of St. Elian and
            St. Teilo                                        395


    Triumphs of the Water-world                              401

        The sea encroaching on the coast of Glamorgan        402
        The Kenfig tale of crime and vengeance               403
        The Crymlyn story and its touch of fascination       404
        Nennius' description of Oper Linn Liguan compared    406
        The vengeance legend of Bala Lake                    408
        Legends about the Llynclys Pool                      410
        The fate of Tyno Helig                               414
        The belief in cities submerged intact                415
        The phantom city and the bells of Aberdovey          418
        The ethics of the foregoing legends discussed        419
        The limits of the delay of punishment                420
        Why the fairies delay their vengeance                423
        Non-ethical legends of the eruption of water         425
        Cutting the green sward a probable violation of
            ancient tabu avenged by water divinities         427
        The lake afanc's rôle in this connexion              428
        The pigmies of the water-world                       432
        The Conwy afanc and the Highland water-horse         433
        The equine features of March and Labraid Lore        435
        Mider and the Mac Óc's well horses                   436
        The Gilla Decair's horse and Du March Moro           437
        March ab Meirchion associated with Mona              439
        The Welsh deluge Triads                              440
        Names of the Dee and other rivers in North Wales     441
        The Lydney god Nudons, Nuada, and Llud               445
        The fairies associated in various ways with water    449
        The cyhiraeth and the Welsh banshee                  452
        Ancestress rather than ancestor                      454


    Welsh Cave Legends                                       456

        The question of classification                       456
        The fairy cave of the Arennig Fawr                   456
        The cave of Mynyd y Cnwc                             457
        Waring's version of Iolo's legend of Craig y Dinas   458
        Craigfryn Hughes' Monmouthshire tale                 462
        The story of the cave occupied by Owen Lawgoch       464
        How London Bridge came to figure in that story       466
        Owen Lawgoch in Ogo'r Dinas                          467
        Dinas Emrys with the treasure hidden by Merlin       469
        Snowdonian treasure reserved for the Goidel          470
        Arthur's death on the side of Snowdon                473
        The graves of Arthur and Rhita                       474
        Elis o'r Nant's story of Llanciau Eryri's cave       476
        The top of Snowdon named after Rhita                 477
        Drystan's cairn                                      480
        The hairy man's cave                                 481
        Returning heroes for comparison with Arthur and
        Owen Lawgoch                                         481
        The baledwyr's Owen to return as Henry the Ninth     484
        Owen a historical man = Froissart's Yvain de Gales   487
        Froissart's account of him and the questions it
            raises                                           488
        Owen ousting Arthur as a cave-dweller                493
        Arthur previously supplanting a divinity of the
            class of the sleeping Cronus of Demetrius        493
        Arthur's original sojourn located in Faery           495


    Place-name Stories                                       498

        The Triad of the Swineherds of the Isle of Prydain   499
        The former importance of swine's flesh as food       501
        The Triad clause about Coll's straying sow           503
        Coll's wanderings arranged to explain place-names    508
        The Kulhwch account of Arthur's hunt of Twrch Trwyth
            in Ireland                                       509
        A parley with the boars                              511
        The hunt resumed in Pembrokeshire                    512
        The boars reaching the Loughor Valley                514
        Their separation                                     515
        One killed by the Men of Llydaw in Ystrad Yw         516
        Ystrad Yw defined and its name explained             516
        Twrch Trwyth escaping to Cornwall after an
            encounter in the estuary of the Severn           519
        The comb, razor, and shears of Twrch Trwyth          519
        The name Twrch Trwyth                                521
        Some of the names evidence of Goidelic speech        523
        The story about Gwydion and his swine compared       525
        Place-name explanations blurred or effaced           526
        Enumeration of Arthur's losses in the hunt           529
        The Men of Llydaw's identity and their Syfadon home  531
        Further traces of Goidelic names                     536
        A Twrch Trwyth incident mentioned by Nennius         537
        The place-name Carn Cabal discussed                  538
        Duplicate names with the Goidelic form preferred
            in Wales                                         541
        The same phenomenon in the Mabinogion                543
        The relation between the families of Llyr, Dôn,
            and Pwyll                                        548
        The elemental associations of Llyr and Lir           549
        Matthew Arnold's idea of Medieval Welsh story        551
        Brân, the Tricephal, and the Letto-Slavic Triglaus   552
        Summary remarks as to the Goidels in Wales           553


    Difficulties of the Folklorist                           556

        The terrors of superstition and magic                557
        The folklorist's activity no fostering of
            superstition                                     558
        Folklore a portion of history                        558
        The difficulty of separating story and history       559
        Arthur and the Snowdon Goidels as an illustration    559
        Rhita Gawr and the mad kings Nynio and Peibio        560
        Malory's version and the name Rhita, Ritho, Ryons    562
        Snowdon stories about Owen Ymhacsen and Cai          564
        Goidelic topography in Gwyned                        566
        The Goidels becoming Compatriots or Kymry            569
        The obscurity of certain superstitions a difficulty  571
        Difficulties arising from their apparent absurdity
            illustrated by the March and Labraid stories     571
        Difficulties from careless record illustrated by
            Howells' Ychen Bannog                            575
        Possible survival of traditions about the urus       579
        A brief review of the lake legends and the iron
            tabu                                             581
        The scrappiness of the Welsh Tom Tit Tot stories     583
        The story of the widow of Kittlerumpit compared      585
        Items to explain the names Sìli Ffrit and Sìli
            go Dwt                                           590
        Bwca'r Trwyn both brownie and bogie in one           593
        That bwca a fairy in service, like the Pennant
            nurse                                            597
        The question of fairies concealing their names       597
        Magic identifying the name with the person           598
        Modryb Mari regarding cheese-baking as disastrous
            to the flock                                     599
        Her story about the reaper's little black soul       601
        Gwenogvryn Evans' lizard version                     603
        Diseases regarded as also material entities          604
        The difficulty of realizing primitive modes
            of thought                                       605


    Folklore Philosophy                                      607

        The soul as a pigmy or a lizard, and the word enaid  607
        A different notion in the Mabinogi of Math           608
        The belief in the persistence of the body through
            changes                                          610
        Shape-shifting and rebirth in Gwion's
            transformations                                  612
        Tuan mac Cairill, Amairgen, and Taliessin            615
        D'Arbois de Jubainville's view of Erigena's
            teaching                                         617
        The druid master of his own transformations          620
        Death not a matter of course so much as of magic     620
        This incipient philosophy as Gaulish druidism        622
        The Gauls not all of one and the same beliefs        623
        The name and the man                                 624
        Enw, 'name,' and the idea of breathing               625
        The exact nature of the association still obscure    627
        The Celts not distinguishing between names and
            things                                           628
        A Celt's name on him, not by him or with him         629
        The druid's method of name-giving non-Aryan          631
        Magic requiring metrical formulæ                     632
        The professional man's curse producing blisters      632
        A natural phenomenon arguing a thin-skinned race     633
        Cursing of no avail without the victim's name        635
        Magic and kingship linked in the female line         636


    Race in Folklore and Myth                                639

        Glottology and comparative mythology                 640
        The question of the feminine in Welsh syntax         642
        The Irish goddess Danu and the Welsh Dôn             644
        Tynghed or destiny in the Kulhwch story              646
        Traces of a Welsh confarreatio in the same context   649
        Þokk in the Balder story compared with tynghed       650
        Questions of mythology all the harder owing to
            race mixture                                     652
        Whether the picture of Cúchulainn in a rage be
            Aryan or not                                     653
        Cúchulainn exempt from the Ultonian couvade          654
        Cúchulainn racially a Celt in a society reckoning
        descent by birth                                     656
        Cúchulainn as a rebirth of Lug paralleled in
            Lapland                                          657
        Doubtful origin of certain legends about Lug         658
        The historical element in fairy stories and lake
            legends                                          659
        The notion of the fairies being all women            661
        An illustration from Central Australia               662
        Fairy counting by fives evidence of a non-Celtic
            race                                             663
        The Basque numerals as an illustration               665
        Prof. Sayce on Irishmen and Berbers                  665
        Dark-complexioned people and fairy changelings       666
        The blond fairies of the Pennant district
            exceptional                                      668
        A summary of fairy life from previous chapters       668
        Sir John Wynne's instance of men taken for fairies   670
        Some of the Brythonic names for fairies              671
        Dwarfs attached to the fortunes of their masters     672
        The question of fairy cannibalism                    673
        The fairy Corannians and the historical Coritani     674
        St. Guthlac at Croyland in the Fens                  676
        The Irish sid, side, and the Welsh Caer Sidi         677
        The mound dwellings of Pechts and Irish fairies      679
        Prof. J. Morris Jones explaining the non-Aryan
            syntax of neo-Celtic by means of Egyptian and
            Berber                                           681
        The Picts probably the race that introduced it       682
        The first pre-Celtic people here                     683
        Probably of the same race as the neolithic dwarfs
            of the Continent                                 683
        The other pre-Celtic race, the Picts and the people
            of the Mabinogion                                684
        A word or two by way of epilogue                     686

    Additions and Corrections                                689

    Index                                                    695

We are too hasty when we set down our ancestors in the gross for
fools, for the monstrous inconsistencies (as they seem to us)
involved in their creed of witchcraft. In the relations of this
visible world we find them to have been as rational, and shrewd
to detect an historic anomaly, as ourselves. But when once the
invisible world was supposed to be opened, and the lawless agency
of bad spirits assumed, what measures of probability, of decency, of
fitness, or proportion--of that which distinguishes the likely from
the palpable absurd--could they have to guide them in the rejection
or admission of any particular testimony? That maidens pined away,
wasting inwardly as their waxen images consumed before a fire--that
corn was lodged, and cattle lamed--that whirlwinds uptore in diabolic
revelry the oaks of the forest--or that spits and kettles only danced
a fearful-innocent vagary about some rustic's kitchen when no wind
was stirring--were all equally probable where no law of agency was
understood.... There is no law to judge of the lawless, or canon by
which a dream may be criticised.

                                          Charles Lamb's Essays of Elia.



Aberffraw: E. S. Roberts (after Hugh Francis), 240, 241.

Llandyfrydog: E. S. Roberts (after Robert Roberts), 239, 240.

Llyn yr Wyth Eidion: (no particulars), 429.

Mynyd y Cnwc: A writer in the Brython for 1859, 457, 458.

Mynyd Mechell: Morris Evans (from his grandmother), 203, 204.

Towyn Trewern: John Roberts, 36-8.

    ?    : Lewis Morris, in the Gwyliedyd, 450-2.


Cwm Tawe: Rd. L. Davies, 256, 257.

   ,,   : Rd. L. Davies (after J. Davies), 251-6.

Llangorse: Giraldus, in his Itinerarium Kambriæ, 72.

    ?    : Walter Mapes, in his book De Nugis, 70-2.

    ?    : The Brython for 1863, 73, 74.

Llyn Cwm Llwch neighbourhood: Ivor James, 21, 430, 445.

    ?    : Ed. Davies, in his Mythology and Rites, 20, 21.


Atpar: John Rhys (from Joseph Powell), 648, 649.

Bronnant: D. Ll. Davies, 248, 249.

Cadabowen: J. Gwenogvryn Evans, 603, 604.

Llanwenog: J. Gwenogvryn Evans, 648.

Llyn Eidwen: J. E. Rogers of Abermeurig, 578.

Moedin: Howells, in his Cambrian Superstitions, 245.

  ,,  : D. Silvan Evans, in his Ystên Sioned, 271-3.

Ponterwyd: John Rhys, 294, 338, 378, 391, 392.

    ,,   : Mary Lewis (Modryb Mari), 601, 602.

Swyd Ffynnon: D. Ll. Davies, 246, 247, 250.

Tregaron and neighbourhood: John Rhys (from John Jones and others),

Troed yr Aur  } : Benjamin Williams (Gwynionyd), 166-8.
      and     } : Gwynionyd, in the Brython for 1858 and 1860,
    Verwig?   }     151-5, 158-60, 163, 164, 464-6.

Ystrad Meurig: Isaac Davies, 245.

  ,,     ,,  : A farmer, 601.

      ?      : A writer in the Brython for 1861, 690.


Cenarth: B. Davies, in the Brython, 1858, 161, 162.

Llandeilo: D. Lleufer Thomas, in Y Geninen for 1896, 469.

    ,,   : Mr. Stepney-Gulston, in the Arch. Camb. for 1893, 468.

Llandybie: John Fisher, 379, 380.

    ,,   : Howells, in his Cambrian Superstitions, 381.

    ,,   : John Fisher and J. P. Owen, 468.

Mydfai: Wm. Rees of Tonn, in the Physicians of Mydvai, 2-15.

    ,,   : The Bishop of St. Asaph, 15, 16.

    ,,   : John Rhys, 16.

    ?    : Joseph Joseph of Brecon, 16.

    ?    : Wirt Sikes, in his British Goblins, 17, 18.

Mynyd y Banwen: Llywarch Reynolds, 18, 19, 428-30.

       ?      : I. Craigfryn Hughes, 487.


Aber Soch: Margaret Edwards, 231.

    ,,   : A blacksmith in the neighbourhood, 232.

    ?    : Edward Llwyd: see the Brython for 1860, 233, 234.

    ?    : MS. 134 in the Peniarth Collection, 572, 573.

Aberdaron: Mrs. Williams and another, 228.

    ?    : Evan Williams of Rhos Hirwaen, 230.

Bedgelert: Wm. Jones, 49, 80, 81, 94-7, 99, 100-5.

    ,,   :      ,,     in the Brython for 1861-2, 86-9, 98-9.

    ,,   : The Brython for 1861, 470, 473, 474.

Bethesda: David Evan Davies (Dewi Glan Ffrydlas), 60-4, 66.

Bettws y Coed: Edward Llwyd: see the Cambrian Journal for 1859, 130-3.

Criccieth neighbourhood: Edward Llewelyn, 219-21.

    ?    : Edward Llwyd: see the Camb. Journal for 1859, 201, 202.

Dinorwig: E. Lloyd Jones, 234-7.

Dolbenmaen: W. Evans Jones, 107-9.

Dolwydelan: see Bedgelert.

    ,,    : see Gwybrnant.

Drws y Coed: S. R. Williams (from M. Williams and another), 38-40.

     ?     :       ,,       89, 90.

Edern: John Williams (Alaw Lleyn), 275-9.

Four Crosses: Lewis Jones, 222-5.

Glasfryn Uchaf: John Jones (Myrdin Fard), 367, 368.

    ,,    ,,  : Mr. and Mrs. Williams-Ellis, 368-72.

Glynllifon: Wm. Thomas Solomon, 208-14.

Gwybrnant: Ellis Pierce (Elis o'r Nant), 476-9.

Llanaelhaearn: R. Hughes of Uwchlaw'r Ffynnon, 214, 215, 217-9.

Llanberis: Mrs. Rhys and her relatives, 31-6, 604.

    ,,   : M. and O. Rhys, 229.

    ,,   : A correspondent in the Liverpool Mercury, 366, 367.

    ?    : Howell Thomas (from G. B. Gattie), 125-30.

    ?    : Pennant, in his Tours in Wales, 125.

Llandegai: H. Derfel Hughes, 52-60, 68.

    ,,   :     ,,     ,,     in his Antiquities, 471, 472.

    ,,   : E. Owen, in the Powysland Club's Collections, 237, 238.

Llandwrog: Hugh Evans and others, 207.

Llanfaglan: T. E. Morris (from Mrs. Roberts), 362, 363.

Llangybi: John Jones (Myrdin Fard), 366.

   ,,   : Mrs. Williams-Ellis, 366, 471.

Llaniestin: Evan Williams, 228, 229, 584.

Llanllechid: Owen Davies (Eos Llechid), 41-6, 50-2.

Nefyn: Lowri Hughes and another woman, 226, 227.

  ,, : John Williams (Alaw Lleyn), 228.

  ,, : A writer in the Brython for 1860, 164.

Penmachno: Gethin Jones, 204-6.

Rhyd Du: Mrs. Rhys, 604.

Trefriw: Morris Hughes and J. D. Maclaren, 198-201.

   ,,  : Pierce Williams, 30.

Tremadoc: Jane Williams, 221, 222.

   ,,   : R. I. Jones (from his mother and Ellis Owen), 105-7.

   ,,   : Ellis Owen (cited by Wm. Jones), 95.

Waen Fawr: Owen Davies, 41.

    ?    : Glasynys, in Cymru Fu, 91-3, 110-23.

    ?    :    ,,     in the Brython for 1863, 40, 41.

    ?    : A London Eistedfod (1887) competitor, 361, 362.

    ?    : John Jones (Myrdin Fard), 361, 362, 364-8.

    ?    : Owen Jones (quoted in the Brython for 1861), 414, 415.

Yspytty Ifan?: A Liverpool Eistedfod (1900) competitor, 692.


Bryneglwys: E. S. Roberts (from Mrs. Davies), 241, 242.

Eglwyseg: E. S. Roberts (after Thomas Morris), 238.

Ffynnon Eilian: Mrs. Silvan Evans, 357.

   ,,     ,,  : Isaac Foulkes, in his Enwogion Cymru, 396.

   ,,     ,,  : Lewis, in his Topographical Dictionary, 395, 396.

   ,,     ,,  : P. Roberts, in his Camb. Popular Antiquities, 396.

   ,,     ,,  : A writer in Y Nofeld, 396.

Llangollen: Hywel (Wm. Davies), 148.

Pentre Voelas: Elias Owen, in his Welsh Folk-Lore, 222.




Bridgend: J. H. Davies, D. Brynmor-Jones, J. Rhys, 354, 355.

Crymlyn: Cadrawd, in the South Wales Daily News, 405, 406.

   ?   : Wirt Sikes, in his British Goblins, 191, 192, 405.

Kenfig: Iolo Morganwg, in the Iolo MSS., 403, 404.

   ?  : David Davies, 402.

Llanfabon: I. Craigfryn Hughes, 257-268.

Llanwynno: Glanffrwd, in his Plwyf Llanwyno, 26.

Merthyr Tydfil: Llywarch Reynolds (from his mother), 269.

Quakers' Yard: I. Craigfryn Hughes, 173-91.

Rhonda Fechan: Llewellyn Williams, 24, 25.

   ,,    ,,  : J. Probert Evans, 25, 27.

   ,,    ,,  : Ll. Reynolds (from D. Evans and others), 27-9.

Rhonda Valley: D. J. Jones, 356.

    ?    : Dafyd Morganwg, in his Hanes Morganwg, 356.

    ?    : Waring, in his Recollections of Edward Williams, 458-61.


Aberdovey: J. Pughe, in the Arch. Camb. for 1853, 142-6, 428.

    ,,   : Mrs. Prosser Powell, 416.

    ?    : M. B., in the Monthly Packet for 1859, 416, 417.

Ardudwy: Hywel (Wm. Davies), 147, 148.

Bala: David Jones of Trefriw: see Cyfaill yr Aelwyd, 376, 377.

 ,, : Wm. Davies and Owen M. Edwards, 378.

  ? : Humphreys' Llyfr Gwybodaeth Gyffredinol, 408-10.

  ? : J. H. Roberts, in Edwards' Cymru for 1897, 148-51.

Dolgelley: Lucy Griffith (from a Dolgelley man), 243, 244.

Llandrillo: E. S. Roberts (from A. Evans and Mrs. Edwards), 138-41.

Llanegryn: Mr. Williams and Mr. Rowlands, 243.

    ,,   : A Llanegryn man (after Wm. Pritchard), 242.

    ,,   : Another Llanegryn man, 242, 243.

Llanuwchllyn: Owen M. Edwards, 147.

     ?      : J. H. Roberts, in Edwards' Cymru for 1897, 215-7, 457.

     ?      : Glasynys, in the Brython for 1862, 137.

     ?      :     ,,    in the Taliesin for 1859-60, 215, 216, 456, 457.


Aberystruth: Edm. Jones, in his Parish of Aberystruth, 195, 196.

Llandeilo Cressenny: Elizabeth Williams, 192, 193.

Llanover: Wm. Williams and other gardeners there, 193, 194.

   ,,   : Mrs. Gardner of Ty Uchaf Llanover, 194, 195.

   ,,   : Professor Sayce, 602.

Risca?: I. Craigfryn Hughes (from hearsay in the district between
Llanfabon and Caerleon), 462-4, 487, 593-6.


Llanidloes: Elias Owen, in his Welsh Folk-Lore, 275.


Fishguard: E. Perkins of Penysgwarne, 172, 173.

    ,,   : Ferrar Fenton, in the Pembroke County Guardian, 160.

Llandeilo Llwydarth: The Melchior family, 398.

    ,,        ,,   : Benjamin Gibby, 399, 400.

Nevern: J. Thomas of Bancau Bryn Berian, 689.

Trevine: 'Ancient Mariner,' in the Pembroke County Guardian, 171.

   ?   : Ferrar Fenton, in the Pembroke County Guardian, 171.

   ?   : Ab Nadol, in the Brython for 1861, 165.

   ?   : Southey, in his Madoc, 170.




The author would be glad to hear of unrecorded Welsh stories, or
bits of Welsh stories not comprised in this volume. He would also be
grateful for the names of more localities in which the stories here
given, or variants of them, are still remembered. It will be his
endeavour to place on record all such further information, except
stories about spooks and ghosts of the ordinary type.


Ab Gwilym: Bardoniaeth Dafyd ab Gwilym, edited by Cyndelw (Liverpool,
1873), 206, 233, 439, 444, 671.

Adamnan: The Life of St. Columba, written by Adamnan, edited by
William Reeves (Dublin, 1857), 545.

Agrippa: H. Cornelius Agrippa De Occulta Philosophia (Paris, 1567),

Aneurin: The Book of Aneurin (see Skene), 226, 281, 543.

Antiquary, the, a magazine devoted to the study of the past, published
by Elliot Stock (London, 1880-), 467.

    ,,    : the Scottish: see Stevenson.

Archæologia Cambrensis, the Journal of the Cambrian Archæological
Association (London, 1846-), 73, 141-6, 233, 366, 403, 468, 528, 532,
533, 542, 566, 570, 579.

Athenæum, the, a journal of English and foreign literature, science,
fine arts, music, and the drama (London, 1828-), 335, 612.

Atkinson: The Book of Ballymote, a collection of pieces (prose
and verse) in the Irish language, compiled about the beginning of
the fifteenth century, published by the Royal Irish Academy, with
introduction, analysis of contents, and index by Robert Atkinson
(Dublin, 1887), 375.

   ,,   : The Book of Leinster, sometimes called the Book of Glendalough,
a collection of pieces (prose and verse) in the Irish language,
compiled, in part, about the middle of the twelfth century, published
by the Royal Irish Academy, with introduction, analysis of contents,
and index by Robert Atkinson (Dublin, 1880), 381, 390, 392, 528,
531, 616, 618, 635, 657.

Aubrey: Miscellanies collected by John Aubrey (London, 1696) [the
last chapter is on second-sighted persons in Scotland], 273.

Bastian: Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, edited by A. Bastian and others
(Berlin, 1869-), 684.

Bathurst: Roman Antiquities at Lydney Park: see 445, 446.

Behrens: Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Litteratur, edited
by D. Behrens (Oppeln and Leipsic, 1879-), 480.

Bell: Early Ballads, edited by Robert Bell (London, 1877), 317.

Bertrand: La Religion des Gaulois, les Druides et le Druidisme,
by Alexandre Bertrand (Paris, 1897), 552, 622, 623.

Bible: The Holy Bible, revised version (Oxford, 1885), 583.

  ,, : The Manx Bible, printed for the British and Foreign Bible
Society (London, 1819), 288, 297, 348.

Boschet: La Vie du Père Maunoir, by Boschet (Paris, 1697), 386.

Bourke: The Bull 'Ineffabilis' in four Languages, translated and
edited by the Rev. Ulick J. Bourke (Dublin, 1868), 606.

Boyd Dawkins: Professor Boyd Dawkins' Address on the Place of a
University in the History of Wales (Bangor, 1900), 388, 389.

Bray: The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy, their Natural History,
Manners, Customs, Superstitions, &c., in a series of letters to the
late Robert Southey, by Mrs. Bray (new ed., London, 1879), 213.

Braz: La Légende de la Mort en Basse-Bretagne, Croyances, Traditions
et Usages des Bretons Armoricains, by A. le Braz (Paris, 1892), 273.

British Archæological Association, the Journal of the: see 674.

British Association for the Advancement of Science, Report of the
(John Murray, London, 1833-), 103, 310, 346, 590.

Brynmor-Jones: The Welsh People, by John Rhys and David Brynmor-Jones
(London, 1900), 421, 448, 454, 488, 548, 554, 613, 656, 661.

Brython, Y: see Silvan Evans.

Cambrian: The Cambrian Biography: see Owen.

   ,,   : The Cambrian Journal, published under the auspices of the
Cambrian Institute [the first volume appeared in 1854 in London,
and eventually the publication was continued at Tenby by R. Mason,
who went on with it till the year 1864], 81, 130, 201, 202, 480, 564.

   ,,   : The Cambrian newspaper, published at Swansea, 468.

   ,,   : The Cambrian Popular Antiquities: see Roberts.

   ,,   : The Cambrian Quarterly Magazine (London, 1829-33), 202.

   ,,   : The Cambrian Register, printed for E. and T. Williams
(London, 1796-1818), 217.

Campbell: Popular Tales of the West Highlands, with a translation,
by J. F. Campbell (Edinburgh, 1860-2), 433, 434, 690.

Caradoc: The Gwentian Chronicle of Caradoc of Llancarvan, 404.

   ,,  : The History of Wales written originally in British by Caradoc
of Lhancarvan, Englished by Dr. Powell and augmented by W. Wynne
(London, 1774), 476, 480.

Carmarthen: The Black Book of Carmarthen (see Skene), 543.

Carnarvon: Registrum vulgariter nuncupatum 'The Record of Carnarvon,'
è Codice msto Descriptum (London, 1838), 70, 201, 488, 567-9, 693.

Carrington: Report of the Royal Commission on Land in Wales and
Monmouthshire, Chairman, the Earl of Carrington (London, 1896), 488.

Chambers: Popular Rhymes of Scotland, by Robert Chambers (Edinburgh,
1841, 1858), 585.

Charencey, H. de, in the Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de
Paris, 664.

Chaucer: The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous
manuscripts by the Rev. Prof. Skeat (Oxford, 1894), 75.

Chrétien: Erec und Enide von Christian von Troyes, published by
Wendelin Foerster (Halle, 1890), 375, 672.

Cicero: OEuvres Complètes de Cicéron (the Didot ed., Paris, 1875), 652.

Clark: Limbus Patrum Morganiæ et Glamorganiæ, being the genealogies
of the older families of the lordships of Morgan and Glamorgan,
by George T. Clark (London, 1886), 26.

Clodd: Tom Tit Tot, an essay on savage philosophy in folklore, by
Edward Clodd (London, 1898), 584, 598, 607, 627, 628, 630.

Cochrane: The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,
Robert Cochrane, Secretary (Hodges, Figgis & Co., Dublin), 546.

Cockayne: Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of early England,
by the Rev. Oswald Cockayne (Rolls Series, London, 1864-6), 293.

Cormac: Cormac's Glossary, translated and annotated by John O'Donovan,
edited with notes and indices by Whitley Stokes (Calcutta, 1868),
51, 310, 521, 629, 632.

Corneille: Le Cid, by P. Corneille, edited by J. Bué (London,
1889), 655.

Cosquin: Contes populaires de Lorraine, by Emmanuel Cosquin (Paris,
1886), 520.

Cothi: The Poetical Works of Lewis Glyn Cothi, a Welsh bard who
flourished in the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III, and
Henry VII, edited for the Cymmrodorion Society by the Rev. John Jones
'Tegid,' and the Rev. Walter Davies 'Gwallter Mechain' (Oxford, 1837),
74, 134, 135, 201.

Coulanges: La Cité antique, by N. D. Fustel de Coulanges (Paris,
1864), 649, 650.

Courson: Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Redon en Bretagne, published by
M. Aurélien de Courson (Paris, 1863), 544.

Craigfryn: Y Ferch o Gefn Ydfa, by Isaac Craigfryn Hughes (Cardiff,
1881), 173.

Cregeen: A Dictionary of the Manks Language, by Archibald Cregeen
(Douglas, 1835), 288.

Cumming: The Isle of Man, its History, Physical, Ecclesiastical,
Civil, and Legendary, by Joseph George Cumming (London, 1848), 314.

Curry: The Battle of Magh Leana, together with The Courtship of Momera,
with translation and notes, by Eugene Curry [later O'Curry] (Dublin,
1855), 393: see also O'Curry.

Cyndelw: Cymru Fu, a selection of Welsh histories, traditions, and
tales, published by Hughes & Son (Wrexham, 1862) [this was originally
issued in parts, and it has never borne the editor's name; but it is
understood to have been the late poet and antiquary, the Rev. Robert
Ellis 'Cyndelw'], 66, 91, 109, 123, 155, 156, 481.

Dalyell: The Darker Superstitions of Scotland illustrated from History
and Practice, by John Graham Dalyell (Edinburgh, 1834), 273.

Davies: The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids, by Edward Davies
(London, 1809), 20.

Davies: Antiquæ Linguæ Britannicæ et Linguæ Latinæ Dictionarium Duplex,
by Dr. John Davies (London, 1632), 13.

Derfel Hughes: Hynafiaethau Llandegai a Llanllechid (Antiquities of
Llandegai and Llanllechid), by Hugh Derfel Hughes (Bethesda, 1866),
52, 480.

Dionysius: Dionysii Halicarnassensis Antiquitatum Romanorum quæ
supersunt (the Didot edition, Paris, 1886), 650.

Domesday: Facsimile of Domesday Book, the Cheshire volume, including
a part of Flintshire and Leicestershire (Southampton, 1861-5), 563.

Dovaston: [John F. M. Dovaston's poetical works appear to have been
published in 1825, but I have not seen the book], 410-3.

Doyle: Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by A. Conan Doyle (London,
1893), 690.

Drayton: The Battaile of Agincourt, by Michaell Drayton (London,
1627), 164.

Dugdale: Monasticon Anglicanum, a history of the abbeys and other
monasteries in England and Wales, by Sir William Dugdale (vol. v,
London, 1825), 443, 469, 479.

Edwards: Cymru, a monthly magazine edited by Owen M. Edwards (Welsh
National Press, Carnarvon), 148.

Elfed: Cyfaill yr Aelwyd a'r Frythones, edited by Elfed (the
Rev. H. Elvet Lewis) and Cadrawd (Mr. T. C. Evans), and published by
Williams & Son, Llanelly, 23, 376, 418.

Elton: Origins of English History, by Charles Elton (London, 1882),

Elworthy: The Evil Eye, an Account of this ancient and widespread
Superstition, by Frederick Thomas Elworthy (London, 1895), 346.

Evans: The Beauties of England and Wales [published in London in
1801-15, and comprising two volumes (xvii and xviii) devoted to Wales,
the former of which (by the Rev. J. Evans; published in London in 1812)
treats of North Wales], 563.

Folk-Lore: Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society (published by David
Nutt, 270 Strand, London), 273, 338, 341, 344, 346, 356, 358-60, 584,
585, 593, 608.

Foulkes: Geirlyfr Bywgraffiadol o Enwogion Cymru, published and
printed by Isaac Foulkes (Liverpool, 1870), 396.

Fouqué: Undine, eine Erzählung von Friedrich Baron de la Motte Fouqué
(11th ed., Berlin, 1859), 1, 2, 27, 437, 661.

Frazer: The Golden Bough, a study in comparative religion, by
Dr. J. G. Frazer (London, 1890), 638, 662.

  ,,  : The Origin of Totemism (in the Fortnightly Review for April,
1899), 662, 663.

Froissart: OEuvres de Froissart, Chroniques, edited by Kervyn de
Lettenhove (Brussels, 1870-7), 489.

    ,,   : Chroniques de J. Froissart, published for the 'Société de
l'Histoire de France,' by Siméon Luce (Paris, 1869-), 489-91.

    ,,   : Lord Berners' translation (in black letter), published in
London in 1525, and Thomas Johnes', in 1805-6, 490.

Gaidoz: Revue Celtique, 'fondée par M. Henri Gaidoz,' 1870-85 [since
then it has been edited by H. d'Arbois de Jubainville, and it is now
published by Bouillon in Paris (67 Rue de Richelieu)], 60, 374, 375,
387, 389, 390, 427, 432, 435, 480, 519, 546, 573, 580, 581, 603, 618,
619, 629, 631, 649.

Geoffrey: Gottfried's von Monmouth Historia Regum Britanniæ und Brut
Tysylio, published by San-Marte (Halle, 1854), 4, 280, 281, 374, 406,
448, 503, 507, 547, 562, 611.

Gilbert: Leabhar na h-Uidhri, a collection of pieces in prose and
verse in the Irish language, compiled and transcribed about A.D. 1100
by Moelmuiri mac Ceileachar, published by the Royal Irish Academy,
and printed from a lithograph of the original by O'Longan & O'Looney
(preface signed by J. T. Gilbert, Dublin, 1870), 381, 387, 414, 424,
435, 498, 537, 547, 611, 613, 618, 620, 624, 654, 657, 661.

Gillen: The Native Tribes of Central Australia, by Baldwin Spencer
and F. J. Gillen (London, 1899), 662, 663.

Giraldus: Giraldi Cambrensis Itinerarium Kambriæ et Descriptio
Kambriæ, edited by James F. Dimock (Rolls Series, London, 1868), 72,
90, 269-71, 303, 389, 414, 441, 507, 509, 660.

Glanffrwd: Plwyf Llanwyno: yr hen Amser, yr hen Bobl, a'r hen Droion,
by Glanffrwd [the Rev. W. Glanffrwd Thomas] (Pontyprid, 1888), 26.

Gottingen: Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen, unter der Aufsicht der
königl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (Gottingen, 1890), 544.

Gregor: Notes on the Folk-lore of the North-east of Scotland, by
the Rev. Walter Gregor, published for the Folk-Lore Society (London,
1881), 103.

Griffin: The Poetical and Dramatic Works of Gerald Griffin (Dublin,
1857), 205, 418.

Gröber: Grundriss der romanischen Philologie, unter Mitwirkung von
25 Fachgenossen, edited by Gustav Gröber (Strassburg, 1886), 563.

  ,, : Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, edited by Gustav Gröber
(Halle, 1877-), 563.

Gruter: Iani Gruteri Corpus Inscriptionum (part ii of vol. i,
Amsterdam, 1707), 580.

Guest: The Mabinogion, from the Llyfr Coch o Hergest and other ancient
Welsh manuscripts, with an English translation and notes by Lady
Charlotte Guest (London, 1849), 69, 123, 196, 386, 442, 502, 507,
509, 538, 553, 560, 613, 620, 629, 645-7, 649, 672.

Gwenogvryn: Facsimile of the Black Book of Carmarthen, reproduced
by the autotype mechanical process, with a palæographical note by
J. Gwenogvryn Evans (Oxford, 1888), 216, 217, 383, 384, 413, 432,
478, 513, 527, 543, 545, 563, 565, 619, 621.

    ,,    : Report on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language, published by
the Historical MSS. Commission (vol. i, London, 1898-9), 280, 330,
487, 573.

    ,,    : The Text of the Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest, edited
by John Rhys and J. Gwenogvryn Evans (Oxford, 1890), 163, 201, 442,
506, 512, 562.

    ,,    : The Text of the 'Mabinogion' and other Welsh Tales from
the Red Book of Hergest, edited by John Rhys and J. Gwenogvryn Evans
(Oxford, 1887), 69, 142, 196, 207, 208, 217, 218, 225, 226, 233, 264,
280, 287, 315, 386, 388, 425, 430, 439, 440, 442, 498, 500, 502, 506,
507, 509-16, 519-27, 529-34, 536, 537, 543, 546-8, 550, 551, 553, 560,
561, 565, 580, 608-10, 613, 619, 620, 622, 628-30, 636, 637, 644, 645,
647, 649, 657, 672.

    ,,    : The Text of the Book of Llan Dâv, reproduced from the
Gwysaney manuscript by J. G. Evans, with the co-operation of John Rhys
(Oxford, 1893) [this is also known as the Liber Landavensis], 163,
398, 476, 478, 528, 531, 568, 691.

Hancock: Senchus Mór, vol. i, prefaced by W. Neilson Hancock (Dublin,
1865), 617.

Hardy: Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating to the History
of Great Britain and Ireland, by Thos. Duffus Hardy (vol. i, London,
1862), 476.

Hartland: The Legend of Perseus, a study of tradition in story,
custom, and belief, by Edwin Sidney Hartland (London, 1894-6), 662.

Hartland: The Science of Fairy Tales, an inquiry into fairy mythology,
by Edwin Sidney Hartland (London, 1891), 18, 268, 583.

Henderson: Fled Bricrend, edited with translation, introduction,
and notes, by George Henderson (London, 1899), 501.

Henderson: Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England
and the Borders, by Wm. Henderson (London, 1879), 340, 346.

Herbord: Herbordi Vita Ottonis Ep. Bambergensis, in vol. xiv of Pertz'
Monumenta Germaniæ Historica Scriptorum [= Script. vol. xii], edited
by G. H. Pertz (Hanover, 1826-85), 553.

Hergest: The Red Book of Hergest: see Guest, Gwenogvryn, Skene.

Heywood: The Dramatic Works of Thomas Heywood (London, 1874), 694.

Higden: Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis, together
with the English translations of John Trevisa and an unknown writer
of the fifteenth century, edited by Ch. Babington (Rolls Series,
London, 1865-86), 330, 331.

Holder: Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, by Alfred Holder (Leipsic,
1896-), 533, 622, 659.

Howells: Cambrian Superstitions, comprising ghosts, omens, witchcraft,
and traditions, by W. Howells (Tipton, 1831), 74, 155, 160, 173, 204,
245, 268, 331, 424, 453, 469, 576-9.

Hübner: Das Heiligtum des Nodon: see 446.

  ,,  : Inscriptiones Britanniæ Latinæ, edited by Æmilius Hübner and
published by the Berlin Academy (Berlin, 1873), 535.

Humphreys: Golud yr Oes, a Welsh magazine published by H. Humphreys
(vol. i, Carnarvon, 1863), 493.

    ,,   : Llyfr Gwybodaeth Gyffredinol, a collection of Humphreys'
penny series (Carnarvon, no date), 408.

Iolo: Iolo Manuscripts, a selection of ancient Welsh manuscripts
in prose and verse from the collection made by Edward Williams
(Iolo Morganwg), with English translations and notes by his son,
Taliesin Williams Ab Iolo, and published for the Welsh MSS. Society
(Llandovery, 1848), 564, 565, 569, 619.

Iolo Goch: Gweithiau Iolo Goch gyda Nodiadau hanesydol a beirniadol,
by Charles Ashton, published for the Cymmrodorion Society (Oswestry,
1896), 281, 367.

Jacobs: Celtic Fairy Tales, selected and edited by Joseph Jacobs
(London, 1892), 567.

Jamieson: An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, by
John Jamieson (new ed., Paisley, 1881-2), 591.

Jamieson: Popular Ballads and Songs, by Robert Jamieson (Edinburgh,
1806), 592.

Jenkins: Bed Gelert, its Facts, Fairies, and Folk-Lore, by
D. E. Jenkins (Portmadoc, 1899), 450, 453, 469, 533, 567.

Johnstone: Antiquitates Celto-Normannicæ, containing the Chronicle
of Man and the Isles, abridged by Camden, edited by James Johnstone
(Copenhagen, 1786), 334.

Jones: see p. 195 for Edmund Jones' Account of the Parish of
Aberystruth (Trevecka, 1779), 195, 196.

  ,, : see p. 195 as to his Spirits in the County of Monmouth
(Newport, 1813), 195, 217, 350.

Jones: The Elucidarium and other tracts in Welsh from Llyvyr Agkyr
Llandewivrevi, A.D. 1346 (Jesus College MS. 119), edited by J. Morris
Jones and John Rhys (Oxford, 1894), 529, 693.

Jones: The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, collected out of ancient
manuscripts, by Owen Jones 'Myvyr,' Edward Williams, and William Owen
(London, 1801; reprinted in one volume by Thomas Gee, Denbigh, 1870),
441, 469, 529, 560, 610, 619.

Jones: A History of the County of Brecknock, by the Rev. Theophilus
Jones (Brecknock, 1805, 1809), 516-8.

Joyce: Old Celtic Romances, translated from the Gaelic by P. W. Joyce
(London, 1879), 94, 376, 381, 437, 662.

Jubainville: Le Cycle mythologique irlandais et la Mythologie celtique,
by H. d'Arbois de Jubainville (Paris, 1884), 616, 617, 620.

     ,,    : Essai d'un Catalogue de la Littérature épique de
l'Irlande, by H. d'Arbois de Jubainville (Paris, 1883), 549, 616,
617, 620.

Kaluza: Libeaus Desconus, edited by Max Kaluza (Leipsic, 1890), 562.

Keating: Forus Feasa air Éirinn, Keating's History of Ireland, book i,
part i, edited, with a literal translation, by P. W. Joyce (Dublin,
1880), 375.

Kelly: Fockleyr Manninagh as Baarlagh, a Manx-English Dictionary by
John Kelly, edited by William Gill, and printed for the Manx Society
(Douglas, 1866), 316, 349.

Kermode: Yn Lioar Manninagh, the Journal of the Isle of Man Natural
History and Antiquarian Society, edited by P. M. C. Kermode (Douglas,
1889-), 284, 289, 311, 334, 434.

Kuhn: Beiträge zur vergleichenden Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der
arischen, celtischen und slawischen Sprachen, edited by Kuhn and others
(Berlin, 1858-76), 629.

 ,, : Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete
 der indogermanischen Sprachen, edited by Kuhn and others (Berlin,
 1854-), 625.

Lampeter: The Magazine of St. David's College, Lampeter, 156.

Leem: Canuti Leemii de Lapponibus Finmarchiæ Commentatio (Copenhagen,
1767), 658, 663.

Leger: Cyrille et Méthode, Étude historique sur la Conversion des
Slaves au Christianisme, by Louis Leger (Paris, 1868), 553.

Lewis: A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, by Samuel Lewis (3rd ed.,
London, 1844), 395, 397, 470.

Leyden: The Poetical Works of John Leyden (Edinburgh, 1875), 466.

Lhuyd: Commentarioli Britannicæ Descriptionis Fragmentum, by Humfrey
Lhuyd (Cologne, 1572), 412.

Lindsay: The Latin Language, an historical account of Latin sounds,
stems, and flexions, by Wallace Martin Lindsay (Oxford, 1894), 629.

Loth: Les Mots latins dans les langues brittoniques, by J. Loth
(Paris, 1892), 383.

Llais y Wlad, a newspaper published at Bangor, N. Wales, 234.

Mabinogion: see Guest and Gwenogvryn.

Macbain: The Celtic Magazine, edited by Alexander Macbain (Inverness,
1866-), 520.

Malmesbury: De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum Libri Quinque, edited by
N. E. S. A. Hamilton (Rolls Series, London, 1870), 547.

Malory: Le Morte Darthur, by Syr Thomas Malory, the original Caxton
edition reprinted and edited with an introduction and glossary by
H. Oskar Sommer (Nutt, London, 1889), 476, 562.

   ,,  : Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, with a preface by John
Rhys, published by J. M. Dent & Co. (London, 1893), 543, 565.

Mapes: Gualteri Mapes de Nugis Curialium Distinctiones Quinque, edited
by Thomas Wright and printed for the Camden Society, 1850 [at the last
moment a glance at the original Bodley MS. 851 forced me to deviate
somewhat from Wright's reading owing to its inaccuracy], 70-2, 496.

Marquardt: Das Privatleben der Römer, by J. Marquardt (Leipsic,
1886), 650.

Martin: A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, by M. Martin
(London, 1703), 615, 691, 692.

Maspero: see 682.

Maximus: Valerii Maximi factorum dictorumque memorabilium Libri novem
ad Tiberium Cæsarem Augustum (the Didot ed., Paris, 1871), 623.

Mela: Pomponii Melæ de Chorographia Libri Tres, ed. Gustavus Parthey
(Berlin, 1867), 331, 550.

Meyer: Festschrift Whitley Stokes, dedicated by Kuno Meyer and others
(Leipsic, 1900), 645.

  ,,  : The Vision of MacConglinne, edited with a translation by Kuno
Meyer (London, 1892), 393, 501.

Meyer: Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, edited by Kuno Meyer
and L. C. Stern (Halle, 1897-), 500.

Meyer: Romania, Recueil trimestriel consacré à l'Étude des Langues
et des Littératures romanes, edited by Paul Meyer and Gaston Paris
(vol. xxviii. Paris, 1899), 690, 693, 694.

Meyrick: The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardigan,
by Samuel Rush Meyrick (London, 1808), 579.

Milton: English Poems, by John Milton, 288.

Mind, a quarterly review of psychology and philosophy, edited by
G. F. Stout (London, 1876-), 633.

Mommsen: Heortologie, antiquarische Untersuchungen über die städtischen
Feste der Athener, by August Mommsen (Leipsic, 1864), 310.

Monthly Packet, the, now edited by C. R. Coleridge and Arthur Innes
(London, 1851-), 416, 417.

Moore: The Folk-Lore of the Isle of Man, by A. W. Moore (London,
1891), 284.

  ,, : The Surnames and Place-names of the Isle of Man, by A. W. Moore
(London, 1890), 311, 332, 334.

Morgan: An Antiquarian Survey of East Gower, Glamorganshire, by
W. Ll. Morgan (London, 1899), 404.

Morganwg: Hanes Morganwg, by Dafyd Morganwg [D. W. Jones,
F.G.S.] (Aberdare, 1874) [an octavo volume issued to subscribers,
and so scarce now that I had to borrow a copy], 356.

Morris: Celtic Remains, by Lewis Morris, edited by Silvan Evans and
printed for the Cambrian Archæological Association (London, 1878),
148, 413, 564, 566, 694.

Myrdin: Prophwydoliaeth Myrdin Wyllt: see 485.

Nennius: Nennius und Gildas, edited by San-Marte (Berlin, 1844), 281,
406, 407, 537-9, 570.

New English Dictionary, edited by Dr. James H. Murray and Henry Bradley
(London and Oxford, 1884-), 317.

Nicholson: Golspie, contributions to its folklore, collected and
edited by Edward W. B. Nicholson (London, 1897), 317.

Nicholson: The Poetical Works of Wm. Nicholson (3rd ed., Castle
Douglas, 1878), 325.

Notes and Queries (Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, E.C.), 563.

  ,,  : Choice Notes from 'Notes and Queries,' consisting of folklore
(London, 1859), 140, 213, 217, 325, 418, 453, 454, 494, 596, 601, 611,

Nutt: The Voyage of Bran son of Febal to the Land of the Living,
by Kuno Meyer and Alfred Nutt (London, 1895, 1897), 618, 620, 622,
657, 662.

 ,, : Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail, by Alfred Nutt (London,
1888), 287, 438, 548.

O'Curry: On the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, a series
of lectures delivered by the late Eugene O'Curry (London, 1873), 375,
392, 617, 632: see also Curry.

O'Donovan: Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters,
from the earliest period to the year 1616, edited by John O'Donovan
(2nd ed., Dublin, 1856), 414, 426-8, 433, 546, 569.

O'Grady: Silva Gadelica, a collection of tales in Irish, with extracts
illustrating persons and places, edited from manuscripts and translated
by Dr. S. H. O'Grady (London, 1892), 381, 437.

O'Reilly: An Irish-English Dictionary, by Edward O'Reilly, with a
supplement by John O'Donovan (Dublin, 1864), 142.

Oliver: Monumenta de Insula Manniæ, being vol. iv of the publications
of the Manx Society, by J. R. Oliver (Douglas, 1860), 314, 334.

Owen: Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, edited by Aneurin Owen
for the Public Records Commission (London, 1841), 421.

Owen: Welsh Folk-Lore, a collection of the folk-tales and legends of
North Wales, being the prize essay of the National Eistedfod in 1887,
by the Rev. Elias Owen (Oswestry and Wrexham, 1896), 222, 275, 690.

Owen: The Poetical Works of the Rev. Goronwy Owen, with his life and
correspondence, edited by the Rev. Robert Jones (London, 1876), 84.

Owen: The Description of Pembrokeshire, by George Owen of Henllys,
edited with notes and an appendix by Henry Owen (London, 1892), 506,
513, 515.

Owen: The Cambrian Biography, or Historical Notices of celebrated men
among the Ancient Britons, by William Owen (London, 1803), 169, 170.

Paris: Merlin, Roman en Prose du XIIIe Siècle, edited by Gaston Paris
and Jacob Ulrich (Paris, 1886), 563.

Parthey: Itinerarium Antonini Augusti et Hierosolymitanum ex Libris
manu scriptis, edited by G. Parthey and M. Pinder (Berlin, 1848), 514.

Pembroke County Guardian, the, a newspaper owned and edited by
H. W. Williams and published at Solva, 160, 171, 172.

Pennant: A Tour in Scotland, by Thomas Pennant (Warrington, 1774), 310.

   ,,  : A Tour in Scotland and a Voyage to the Hebrides, MDCCLXXII,
by Thomas Pennant (Chester, 1774), 692.

   ,,  : Tours in Wales, by Thomas Pennant, edited by J. Rhys
(Carnarvon, 1883), 125, 130, 532.

Phillimore: Annales Cambriæ and Old-Welsh Genealogies from Harleian
MS. 3859, edited by Egerton Phillimore, in vol. ix of the Cymmrodor,
408, 476, 480, 551, 570.

Phillips: The Book of Common Prayer in Manx Gaelic, being translations
made by Bishop Phillips in 1610 and by the Manx clergy in 1765;
edited by A. W. Moore, assisted by John Rhys, and printed for the
Manx Society (Douglas, 1893, 1894), 320.

Plautus: T. Macci Plauti Asinaria, from the text of Goetz and Schoell,
by J. H. Gray (Cambridge, 1894), 535.

Plutarch: De Defectu Oraculorum (the Didot ed., Paris, 1870), 331,
456, 493, 494.

Powysland: Collections, historical and archæological, relating to
Montgomeryshire and its Borders, issued by the Powysland Club (London,
1868-), 237.

Preller: Griechische Mythologie, von L. Preller, vierte Auflage von
Carl Robert (Berlin, 1887), 310.

Price: Hanes Cymru a Chenedl y Cymry o'r Cynoesoed hyd at farwolaeth
Llewelyn ap Gruffyd, by the Rev. Thomas Price 'Carnhuanawc'
(Crickhowel, 1842), 490.

Ptolemy: Claudii Ptolemæi Geographia: e Codicibus recognovit Carolus
Müllerus (vol. i, Paris, 1883), 385, 387, 388, 445, 581.

Pughe: The Physicians of Mydvai (Medygon Mydfai), translated by John
Pughe of Aberdovey, and edited by the Rev. John Williams Ab Ithel
(Llandovery, 1861) [this volume has an introduction consisting of the
Legend of Llyn y Fan Fach, contributed by Mr. William Rees of Tonn,
who collected it, in the year 1841, from various sources named], 2, 12.

Pughe: A Dictionary of the Welsh Language explained in English,
by Dr. Wm. Owen Pughe (2nd ed., Denbigh, 1832), 383, 502.

Rastell: A. C. Mery Talys, printed by John Rastell, reprinted in
Hazlitt's Shakespeare Jest-books (London, 1844), 599.

Rees: An Essay on the Welsh Saints or the primitive Christians usually
considered to have been the founders of Churches in Wales, by the
Rev. Rice Rees (London and Llandovery, 1836), 163, 217, 396, 534.

Rees: Lives of the Cambro-British Saints, by the Rev. W. J. Rees,
published for the Welsh MSS. Society (Llandovery, 1853), 693.

Rennes: Annales de Bretagne publiées par la Faculté des Lettres de
Rennes (Rennes, 1886-), 500.

Revue Archéologique (new series, vol. xxiii, Paris, 1800-), 386.

Rhys: Celtic Britain, by John Rhys (2nd ed., London, 1884), 72.

 ,, : Lectures on Welsh Philology, by John Rhys (2nd ed., London,
1879), 566.

 ,, : Hibbert Lectures, 1886, on the origin and growth of religion
as illustrated by Celtic heathendom, by John Rhys (London, 1888),
310, 321, 328, 331, 373, 387, 432, 435, 444, 447, 511, 542, 570,
613, 654, 657, 694.

Rhys: Studies in the Arthurian Legend, by John Rhys (Oxford, 1891),
217, 287, 331, 375, 382, 387, 435, 438-41, 466, 494, 496, 561, 573,
610, 613.

Rhys: Cambrobrytannicæ Cymraecæve Linguæ Institutiones et
Rudimenta ... conscripta à Joanne Dauide Rhæso, Monensi Lanuaethlæo
Cambrobrytanno, Medico Senensi (London, 1592), 22, 225.

Richard: The Poetical Works of the Rev. Edward Richard (London,
1811), 577.

Richards: A Welsh and English Dictionary, by Thomas Richards (Trefriw,
1815) 378.

Roberts: The Cambrian Popular Antiquities, by Peter Roberts, (London,
1815), 396.

Rosellini: see 682.

Rymer: Foedera, Conventiones, Literæ et cujuscunque Generis Acta
publica inter Reges Angliæ et alios quosvis Imperatores, Reges,
Pontifices, Principes, vel Communitates, edited by Thomas Rymer
(vol. viii, London, 1709), 490.

Sale: The Koran, translated into English with explanatory notes and
a preliminary discourse, by George Sale (London, 1877), 608.

Sampson: Otia Merseiana, the publication of the Arts Faculty of
University College, Liverpool, edited by John Sampson (London),
393, 451.

San-Marte: Beiträge zur bretonischen und celtisch-germanischen
Heldensage, by San-Marte (Quedlinburg, 1847), 611.

Schwan: Grammatik des Altfranzösischen, by Eduard Schwan (Leipsic,
1888), 563.

Scotland: Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
(Edinburgh), 244.

Scott: the Works of Sir Walter Scott, 320, 643, 689.

Sébillot: Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute-Bretagne, by Paul
Sébillot (Paris, 1882), 273.

Shakespeare: The Plays and Poems of Shakespeare, 197, 636, 694.

Sikes: British Goblins, Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and
Traditions, by Wirt Sikes (London, 1880), 17, 18, 99, 155, 160, 173,
191, 192.

Silvan Evans: Dictionary of the Welsh Language (Geiriadur Cymraeg),
by D. Silvan Evans (Carmarthen, 1888-), 387, 431, 539, 580, 620, 621.

  ,,    ,,  : Y Brython, a periodical in Welsh for Welsh antiquities
and folklore, edited by the Rev. D. S. Evans, and published by Robert
Isaac Jones at Tremadoc (in quarto for 1858 and 1859, in octavo for
1860-2), 40, 73, 86, 98, 134, 137, 141, 151-5, 158-60, 202, 321, 413,
442, 456, 464, 470, 481, 690.

  ,,    ,,  : Ystên Sioned, by D. Silvan Evans (Aberystwyth, 1882),

Simrock: Die Edda, die ältere und jüngere, nebst den mythischen
Erzählungen der Skalda, translated and explained by Karl Simrock
(Stuttgart, 1855), 652.

Sinclair: The Statistical Account of Scotland, drawn up from the
communications of the ministers of the different parishes, by Sir
John Sinclair (Edinburgh, 1794), 310.

Skene: Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots, and other
Memorials of Scottish History, edited by Wm. F. Skene (Edinburgh,
1867), 374.

Skene: The Four Ancient Books of Wales, by Wm. F. Skene (Edinburgh,
1868) [vol. ii contains, besides notes and illustrations, the text
of the Black Book of Carmarthen, 3-61; the Book of Aneurin, 62-107;
the Book of Taliessin, 108-217; and some of the poetry in the Red Book
of Hergest, 218-308. These four texts are to be found translated in
vol. i], 226, 233, 269, 281, 387, 442, 541, 543, 550, 614-7.

South Wales Daily News (Duncan, Cardiff), 376.

Southey: Madoc, a poem by Robert Southey (London, 1815), 169-71.

Speed: The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, by John Speed
[not Speede] (London, 1611), 208.

Steinmeyer: Die althochdeutschen Glossen, collected and elaborated
by Elias Steinmeyer and Eduard Sievers (Berlin, 1879-98), 683.

Stengel: Li Romans de Durmart le Galois, altfranzösisches
Rittergedicht, published for the first time by Edmund Stengel
(Tübingen, 1873), 438.

Stephens: The Gododin of Aneurin Gwawdryd, with an English translation
and copious notes, by Thomas Stephens; edited by Professor Powel,
and printed for the Cymmrodorion Society (London, 1888), 310, 543, 647.

Stevenson: The Scottish Antiquary or Northern Notes and Queries,
edited by J. H. Stevenson (Edinburgh, 1886-), 693.

Stokes: Cormac's Glossary: see Cormac.

  ,,  : Goidelica, Old and Early-Middle-Irish Glosses, Prose and
Verse, edited by Whitley Stokes (2nd ed., London, 1872), 295, 374.

  ,,  : Irische Texte mit Uebersetzungen und Wörterbuch, edited by
Whitley Stokes and E. Windisch (3rd series, Leipsic, 1891), 631.

  ,,  : The Tripartite Life of Patrick, edited, with translations and
indexes, by Whitley Stokes (Rolls Series, London, 1887), 535.

  ,,  : Urkeltischer Sprachschatz von Whitley Stokes, übersetzt,
überarbeitet und herausgegeben von Adalbert Bezzenberger, forming
the second part of the fourth edition of Fick's Vergleichendes
Wörterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen (Gottingen, 1894), 671.

Strabo: Strabonis Geographica recognovit Augustus Meineke (Leipsic,
1852-3), 654.

Sturlæus: Edda Snorronis Sturlæi (Copenhagen, 1848), 652.

Tacitus: Cornelii Taciti de Origine et Situ Germanorum Liber, edited
by Alfred Holder (Freiburg i. B., and Tübingen, 1882), 271.

Taliesin, a Welsh periodical published at Ruthin in 1859-60, 135-7,

Taliessin: The Book of Taliessin (see Skene), 550, 614-7.

Tegid: Gwaith Bardonol y diwedar barch. John Jones 'Tegid' [also called
Joan Tegid], edited by the Rev. Henry Roberts (Llandovery, 1859), 445.

Triads: [The so-called Historical Triads, referred to in this volume,
are to be found in the Myvyrian Archaiology (London, 1801), series i
and ii in vol. ii, 1-22, and (the later) series iii in the same vol.,
57-80. In the single-volume edition of the Myvyrian (Denbigh, 1870),
they occupy continuously pp. 388-414. Series ii comes from the Red
Book of Hergest, and will be found also in the volume of the Oxford
Mabinogion, pp. 297-309], 170, 281, 326, 382, 429-31, 433, 440, 441,
443-5, 498, 500, 501, 503-9, 565, 569.

Tylor: Primitive Culture, Researches into the Development of Mythology,
Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art, and Custom, by Edward Tylor
(2nd ed., London, 1873), 290, 329, 601, 603, 641, 658.

Twyne: Thomas Twyne's Breuiary of Britayne, a translation of Humfrey
Lhuyd's Fragmentum (London, 1573), 412.

Ulfilas: Ulfilas, Text, Grammar, and Dictionary, elaborated and edited
by F. L. Stamm (Paderborn, 1869), 626.

Vigfusson: An Icelandic Dictionary, enlarged and completed by Gudbrand
Vigfusson (Oxford, 1874), 288, 652.

Vising: see 563.

Waldron: A Description of the Isle of Man, by George Waldron, being
vol. xi of the Manx Society's publications (Douglas, 1865), 290.

Waring: Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams, by Elijah
Waring (London, 1850), 458.

Westermarck: The History of Human Marriage, by Edward Westermarck
(London, 1894), 654.

Weyman: From the Memoirs of a Minister of France, by Stanley Weyman
(London, 1895), 690.

Williams: The English Works of Eliezer Williams, with a memoir of
his life by his son, St. George Armstrong Williams (London, 1840), 493.

Williams: Brut y Tywysogion, or the Chronicle of the Princes, edited
by John Williams Ab Ithel (Rolls Series, London, 1860), 79, 513.

Williams: A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Welshmen, by the
Rev. Robert Williams (Llandovery, 1852), 534.

   ,,   : Y Seint Greal, edited with a translation and glossary by the
Rev. Robert Williams (London, 1876), 438, 514, 580.

Williams: The Doom of Colyn Dolphyn, by Taliesin Williams (London,
1837), 561.

   ,,   : Traethawd ar Gywreined Glynn Ned, by Taliesin Williams: see

Williams: Observations on the Snowdon Mountains, by William Williams
of Llandegai (London, 1802), 48, 673, 674.

Windisch: Irische Texte mit Wörterbuch, by Ernst Windisch (Leipsic,
1880), 501, 657.

   ,,   : Kurzgefasste irische Grammatik (Leipsic, 1879), 291, 501,
502, 531, 546, 547, 603, 613, 618, 691.

   ,,   : Über die irische Sage Noinden Ulad, in the Berichte der
k. sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (phil.-historische Classe,
Dec. 1884), 654.

Woodall: Bye-gones, a periodical reissue of notes, queries, and
replies on subjects relating to Wales and the Borders, published in
the columns of The Border Counties Advertizer, by Messrs. Woodall,
Minshall & Co. of the Caxton Press, Oswestry, 169, 378.

Wood-Martin: Pagan Ireland, by W. G. Wood-Martin (London, 1895), 612.

Worth: A History of Devonshire, with Sketches of its leading Worthies,
by R. N. Worth (London, 1895), 307.

Wright: The English Dialect Dictionary, edited by Professor Joseph
Wright (London and Oxford, 1898-), 66.

Wynne: The History of the Gwydir Family, published by Angharad Llwyd in
the year 1827, and by Askew Roberts at Oswestry in 1878, 490, 491, 670.

Y Cymmrodor, the magazine embodying the transactions of the
Cymmrodorion Society of London (Secretary, E. Vincent Evans, 64
Chancery Lane, W.C.), 374, 384, 480, 510, 513, 520, 600, 610, 690,
693, 694.

Y Drych, a newspaper published at Utica in the United States of North
America, 234.

Y Gordofigion, an extinct Welsh periodical: see p. 450.

Y Gwyliedyd, a magazine of useful knowledge intended for the benefit
of monoglot Welshmen (Bala, 1823-37), 450.

Y Nofelyd, a Welsh periodical published by Mr. Aubrey, of Llannerch
y Med, 396.

Young: Burghead, by H. W. Young (Inverness, 1899), 345.



Gallias utique possedit, et quidem ad nostram memoriam. Namque
Tiberii Cæsaris principatus sustulit Druidas eorum, et hoc genus
vatum medicorumque. Sed quid ego hæc commemorem in arte Oceanum
quoque transgressa, et ad naturæ inane pervecta? Britannia hodieque
eam attonite celebrat tantis cerimoniis, ut dedisse Persis videri
possit. Adeo ista toto mundo consensere, quamquam discordi et sibi
ignoto. Nec satis æstimari potest, quantum Romanis debeatur, qui
sustulere monstra, in quibus hominem occidere religiosissimum erat,
mandi vero etiam saluberrimum.

                                      Pliny, Historia Naturalis, XXX. 4.

Pline fait remarquer que ces pratiques antipathiques au génie grec
sont d'origine médique. Nous les rencontrons en Europe à l'état de
survivances. L'universalité de ces superstitions prouve en effet
qu'elles émanent d'une source unique qui n'est pas européenne. Il
est difficile de les considérer comme un produit de l'esprit aryen;
il faut remonter plus haut pour en trouver l'origine. Si, en Gaule, en
Grande-Bretagne, en Irlande, tant de superstitions relevant de la magie
existaient encore au temps de Pline enracinées dans les esprits à tel
point que le grand naturaliste pouvait dire, à propos de la Bretagne,
qu'il semblait que ce fût elle qui avait donné la magie à la Perse,
c'est qu'en Gaule, en Grande-Bretagne, et en Irlande le fond de la
population était composé d'éléments étrangers à la race aryenne,
comme les faits archéologiques le démontrent, ainsi que le reconnait
notre éminent confrère et ami, M. d'Arbois de Jubainville lui-même.

                Alexandre Bertrand, La Religion des Gaulois, pp. 55, 56.

Une croyance universellement admise dans le monde lettré, en France et
hors de France, fait des Français les fils des Gaulois qui ont pris
Rome en 390 avant Jésus-Christ, et que César a vaincus au milieu du
premier siècle avant notre ère. On croit que nous sommes des Gaulois,
survivant à toutes les révolutions qui depuis tant de siècles ont
bouleversé le monde. C'est une idée préconçue que, suivant moi, la
science doit rejeter. Seuls à peu près, les archéologues ont vu la
vérité.... Les pierres levées, les cercles de pierre, les petites
cabanes construites en gros blocs de pierre pour servir de dernier
asile aux défunts, étaient, croyait-on, des monuments celtiques.... On
donnait à ces rustiques témoignages d'une civilisation primitive des
noms bretons, ou néo-celtiques de France; on croyait naïvement, en
reproduisant des mots de cette langue moderne, parler comme auraient
fait, s'ils avaient pu revenir à la vie, ceux qui ont remué ces
lourdes pierres, ceux qui les ont fixées debout sur le sol ou même
élevées sur d'autres.... Mais ceux qui ont dressé les pierres levées,
les cercles de pierres; ceux qui ont construit les cabanes funéraires
ne parlaient pas celtique et le breton diffère du celtique comme le
français du latin.

                                             H. d'Arbois de Jubainville,
                        Les premiers Habitants de l'Europe, II. xi-xiii.



                                Undine, liebes Bildchen du,
                                Seit ich zuerst aus alten Kunden
                                Dein seltsam Leuchten aufgefunden,
                                Wie sangst du oft mein Herz in Ruh!

                                                     De la Motte Fouqué.

The chief object of this and several of the following chapters is to
place on record all the matter I can find on the subject of Welsh
lake legends: what I may have to say of them is merely by the way
and sporadic, and I should feel well paid for my trouble if these
contributions should stimulate others to communicate to the public bits
of similar legends, which, possibly, still linger unrecorded among
the mountains of Wales. For it should be clearly understood that all
such things bear on the history of the Welsh, as the history of no
people can be said to have been written so long as its superstitions
and beliefs in past times have not been studied; and those who may
think that the legends here recorded are childish and frivolous, may
rest assured that they bear on questions which could not themselves
be called either childish or frivolous. So, however silly a legend
may be thought, let him who knows such a legend communicate it to
somebody who will place it on record; he will then probably find that
it has more meaning and interest than he had anticipated.


I find it best to begin by reproducing a story which has already been
placed on record: this appears desirable on account of its being
the most complete of its kind, and the one with which shorter ones
can most readily be compared. I allude to the legend of the Lady
of Llyn y Fan Fach in Carmarthenshire, which I take the liberty of
copying from Mr. Rees of Tonn's version in the introduction to The
Physicians of Mydvai [1], published by the Welsh Manuscript Society,
at Llandovery, in 1861. There he says that he wrote it down from
the oral recitations, which I suppose were in Welsh, of John Evans,
tiler, of Mydfai, David Williams, Morfa, near Mydfai, who was about
ninety years old at the time, and Elizabeth Morgan, of Henllys Lodge,
near Llandovery, who was a native of the same village of Mydfai; to
this it may be added that he acknowledges obligations also to Joseph
Joseph, Esq., F.S.A., Brecon, for collecting particulars from the
old inhabitants of the parish of Llandeusant. The legend, as given
by Mr. Rees in English, runs as follows, and strongly reminds one in
certain parts of the Story of Undine as given in the German of De la
Motte Fouqué, with which it should be compared:--

'When the eventful struggle made by the Princes of South Wales to
preserve the independence of their country was drawing to its close in
the twelfth century, there lived at Blaensawde [2] near Llandeusant,
Carmarthenshire, a widowed woman, the relict of a farmer who had
fallen in those disastrous troubles.

'The widow had an only son to bring up, but Providence smiled upon her,
and despite her forlorn condition, her live stock had so increased in
course of time, that she could not well depasture them upon her farm,
so she sent a portion of her cattle to graze on the adjoining Black
Mountain, and their most favourite place was near the small lake called
Llyn y Fan Fach, on the north-western side of the Carmarthenshire Fans.

'The son grew up to manhood, and was generally sent by his mother to
look after the cattle on the mountain. One day, in his peregrinations
along the margin of the lake, to his great astonishment, he beheld,
sitting on the unruffled surface of the water, a lady; one of the most
beautiful creatures that mortal eyes ever beheld, her hair flowed
gracefully in ringlets over her shoulders, the tresses of which
she arranged with a comb, whilst the glassy surface of her watery
couch served for the purpose of a mirror, reflecting back her own
image. Suddenly she beheld the young man standing on the brink of
the lake, with his eyes riveted on her, and unconsciously offering
to herself the provision of barley bread and cheese with which he
had been provided when he left his home.

'Bewildered by a feeling of love and admiration for the object
before him, he continued to hold out his hand towards the lady,
who imperceptibly glided near to him, but gently refused the offer
of his provisions. He attempted to touch her, but she eluded his
grasp, saying--

    Cras dy fara;               Hard baked is thy bread!
    Nid hawd fy nala.           'Tis not easy to catch me [3];

and immediately dived under the water and disappeared, leaving the
love-stricken youth to return home, a prey to disappointment and
regret that he had been unable to make further acquaintance with one,
in comparison with whom the whole of the fair maidens of Llandeusant
and Mydfai [4] whom he had ever seen were as nothing.

On his return home the young man communicated to his mother the
extraordinary vision he had beheld. She advised him to take some
unbaked dough or "toes" the next time in his pocket, as there must
have been some spell connected with the hard-baked bread, or "Bara
cras," which prevented his catching the lady.

'Next morning, before the sun had gilded with its rays the peaks of
the Fans, the young man was at the lake, not for the purpose of looking
after his mother's cattle, but seeking for the same enchanting vision
he had witnessed the day before; but all in vain did he anxiously
strain his eyeballs and glance over the surface of the lake, as only
the ripples occasioned by a stiff breeze met his view, and a cloud
hung heavily on the summit of the Fan, which imparted an additional
gloom to his already distracted mind.

'Hours passed on, the wind was hushed, and the clouds which had
enveloped the mountain had vanished into thin air before the powerful
beams of the sun, when the youth was startled by seeing some of his
mother's cattle on the precipitous side of the acclivity, nearly on
the opposite side of the lake. His duty impelled him to attempt to
rescue them from their perilous position, for which purpose he was
hastening away, when, to his inexpressible delight, the object of his
search again appeared to him as before, and seemed much more beautiful
than when he first beheld her. His hand was again held out to her,
full of unbaked bread, which he offered with an urgent proffer of
his heart also, and vows of eternal attachment. All of which were
refused by her, saying--

    Llaith dy fara!             Unbaked is thy bread!
    Ti ni fynna'.               I will not have thee [5].

But the smiles that played upon her features as the lady vanished
beneath the waters raised within the young man a hope that forbade
him to despair by her refusal of him, and the recollection of which
cheered him on his way home. His aged parent was made acquainted
with his ill-success, and she suggested that his bread should next
time be but slightly baked, as most likely to please the mysterious
being of whom he had become enamoured.

'Impelled by an irresistible feeling, the youth left his mother's
house early next morning, and with rapid steps he passed over the
mountain. He was soon near the margin of the lake, and with all the
impatience of an ardent lover did he wait with a feverish anxiety
for the reappearance of the mysterious lady.

'The sheep and goats browsed on the precipitous sides of the Fan;
the cattle strayed amongst the rocks and large stones, some of which
were occasionally loosened from their beds and suddenly rolled down
into the lake; rain and sunshine alike came and passed away; but all
were unheeded by the youth, so wrapped up was he in looking for the
appearance of the lady.

'The freshness of the early morning had disappeared before the sultry
rays of the noon-day sun, which in its turn was fast verging towards
the west as the evening was dying away and making room for the shades
of night, and hope had wellnigh abated of beholding once more the Lady
of the Lake. The young man cast a sad and last farewell look over
the waters, and, to his astonishment, beheld several cows walking
along its surface. The sight of these animals caused hope to revive
that they would be followed by another object far more pleasing; nor
was he disappointed, for the maiden reappeared, and to his enraptured
sight, even lovelier than ever. She approached the land, and he rushed
to meet her in the water. A smile encouraged him to seize her hand;
neither did she refuse the moderately baked bread he offered her; and
after some persuasion she consented to become his bride, on condition
that they should only live together until she received from him three
blows without a cause,

    Tri ergyd diachos.          Three causeless blows.

And if he ever should happen to strike her three such blows she would
leave him for ever. To such conditions he readily consented, and would
have consented to any other stipulation, had it been proposed, as he
was only intent on then securing such a lovely creature for his wife.

'Thus the Lady of the Lake engaged to become the young man's wife,
and having loosed her hand for a moment she darted away and dived
into the lake. His chagrin and grief were such that he determined
to cast himself headlong into the deepest water, so as to end his
life in the element that had contained in its unfathomed depths the
only one for whom he cared to live on earth. As he was on the point
of committing this rash act, there emerged out of the lake two most
beautiful ladies, accompanied by a hoary-headed man of noble mien
and extraordinary stature, but having otherwise all the force and
strength of youth. This man addressed the almost bewildered youth in
accents calculated to soothe his troubled mind, saying that as he
proposed to marry one of his daughters, he consented to the union,
provided the young man could distinguish which of the two ladies
before him was the object of his affections. This was no easy task,
as the maidens were such perfect counterparts of each other that it
seemed quite impossible for him to choose his bride, and if perchance
he fixed upon the wrong one all would be for ever lost.

'Whilst the young man narrowly scanned the two ladies, he could not
perceive the least difference betwixt the two, and was almost giving
up the task in despair, when one of them thrust her foot a slight
degree forward. The motion, simple as it was, did not escape the
observation of the youth, and he discovered a trifling variation in
the mode with which their sandals were tied. This at once put an end
to the dilemma, for he, who had on previous occasions been so taken
up with the general appearance of the Lady of the Lake, had also
noticed the beauty of her feet and ankles, and on now recognizing
the peculiarity of her shoe-tie he boldly took hold of her hand.

'"Thou hast chosen rightly," said her father; "be to her a kind and
faithful husband, and I will give her, as a dowry, as many sheep,
cattle, goats, and horses as she can count of each without heaving or
drawing in her breath. But remember, that if you prove unkind to her
at any time, and strike her three times without a cause, she shall
return to me, and shall bring all her stock back with her."

'Such was the verbal marriage settlement, to which the young man gladly
assented, and his bride was desired to count the number of sheep she
was to have. She immediately adopted the mode of counting by fives,
thus:--One, two, three, four, five--One, two, three, four, five;
as many times as possible in rapid succession, till her breath was
exhausted. The same process of reckoning had to determine the number
of goats, cattle, and horses respectively; and in an instant the full
number of each came out of the lake when called upon by the father.

'The young couple were then married, by what ceremony was not stated,
and afterwards went to reside at a farm called Esgair Llaethdy,
somewhat more than a mile from the village of Mydfai, where they
lived in prosperity and happiness for several years, and became the
parents of three sons, who were beautiful children.

'Once upon a time there was a christening to take place in the
neighbourhood, to which the parents were specially invited. When the
day arrived the wife appeared very reluctant to attend the christening,
alleging that the distance was too great for her to walk. Her husband
told her to fetch one of the horses which were grazing in an adjoining
field. "I will," said she, "if you will bring me my gloves which
I left in our house." He went to the house and returned with the
gloves, and finding that she had not gone for the horse jocularly
slapped her shoulder with one of them, saying, "go! go!" (dos, dos),
when she reminded him of the understanding upon which she consented
to marry him:--That he was not to strike her without a cause; and
warned him to be more cautious for the future.

'On another occasion, when they were together at a wedding, in
the midst of the mirth and hilarity of the assembled guests, who
had gathered together from all the surrounding country, she burst
into tears and sobbed most piteously. Her husband touched her on her
shoulder and inquired the cause of her weeping: she said, "Now people
are entering into trouble, and your troubles are likely to commence,
as you have the second time stricken me without a cause."

'Years passed on, and their children had grown up, and were
particularly clever young men. In the midst of so many worldly
blessings at home the husband almost forgot that there remained
only one causeless blow to be given to destroy the whole of his
prosperity. Still he was watchful lest any trivial occurrence should
take place which his wife must regard as a breach of their marriage
contract. She told him, as her affection for him was unabated, to be
careful that he would not, through some inadvertence, give the last
and only blow, which, by an unalterable destiny, over which she had
no control, would separate them for ever.

'It, however, so happened that one day they were together at a
funeral, where, in the midst of the mourning and grief at the house
of the deceased, she appeared in the highest and gayest spirits, and
indulged in immoderate fits of laughter, which so shocked her husband
that he touched her, saying, "Hush! hush! don't laugh." She said that
she laughed "because people when they die go out of trouble," and,
rising up, she went out of the house, saying, "The last blow has been
struck, our marriage contract is broken, and at an end! Farewell!" Then
she started off towards Esgair Llaethdy, where she called her cattle
and other stock together, each by name. The cattle she called thus:--

    Mu wlfrech, Moelfrech,          Brindled cow, white speckled,
    Mu olfrech, Gwynfrech,          Spotted cow, bold freckled,
    Pedair cae tonn-frech,          The four field sward mottled,
    Yr hen wynebwen,                The old white-faced,
    A'r las Geigen,                 And the grey Geingen,
    Gyda'r Tarw Gwyn                With the white Bull,
    O lys y Brenin;                 From the court of the King;
      A'r llo du bach,                And the little black calf
      Syd ar y bach,                  Tho' suspended on the hook,
    Dere dithau, yn iach adre!      Come thou also, quite well home!

They all immediately obeyed the summons of their mistress. The
"little black calf," although it had been slaughtered, became alive
again, and walked off with the rest of the stock at the command of
the lady. This happened in the spring of the year, and there were
four oxen ploughing in one of the fields; to these she cried:--

    Pedwar eidion glas              The four grey oxen,
    Syd ar y maes,                  That are on the field,
    Denwch chwithan                 Come you also
    Yn iach adre!                   Quite well home!

Away the whole of the live stock went with the Lady across Mydfai
Mountain, towards the lake from whence they came, a distance of above
six miles, where they disappeared beneath its waters, leaving no trace
behind except a well-marked furrow, which was made by the plough the
oxen drew after them into the lake, and which remains to this day as
a testimony to the truth of this story.

'What became of the affrighted ploughman--whether he was left on the
field when the oxen set off, or whether he followed them to the lake,
has not been handed down to tradition; neither has the fate of the
disconsolate and half-ruined husband been kept in remembrance. But of
the sons it is stated that they often wandered about the lake and its
vicinity, hoping that their mother might be permitted to visit the face
of the earth once more, as they had been apprised of her mysterious
origin, her first appearance to their father, and the untoward
circumstances which so unhappily deprived them of her maternal care.

'In one of their rambles, at a place near Dôl Howel, at the Mountain
Gate, still called "Llidiad y Medygon," The Physicians' Gate, the
mother appeared suddenly, and accosted her eldest son, whose name
was Rhiwallon, and told him that his mission on earth was to be a
benefactor to mankind by relieving them from pain and misery, through
healing all manner of their diseases; for which purpose she furnished
him with a bag full of medical prescriptions and instructions for the
preservation of health. That by strict attention thereto he and his
family would become for many generations the most skilful physicians
in the country. Then, promising to meet him when her counsel was most
needed, she vanished. But on several occasions she met her sons near
the banks of the lake, and once she even accompanied them on their
return home as far as a place still called "Pant-y-Medygon," The
dingle of the Physicians, where she pointed out to them the various
plants and herbs which grew in the dingle, and revealed to them
their medicinal qualities or virtues; and the knowledge she imparted
to them, together with their unrivalled skill, soon caused them to
attain such celebrity that none ever possessed before them. And in
order that their knowledge should not be lost, they wisely committed
the same to writing, for the benefit of mankind throughout all ages.'

To the legend Mr. Rees added the following notes, which we reproduce
also at full length:--

'And so ends the story of the Physicians of Mydfai, which has been
handed down from one generation to another, thus:--

Yr hên wr llwyd o'r cornel,        The grey old man in the corner
Gan ci dad a glywod chwedel [6],   Of his father heard a story,
A chan ci dad fe glywod yntau      Which from his father he had heard,
Ac ar ei ôl mi gofiais innau.      And after them I have remembered.

As stated in the introduction of the present work [i.e. the Physicians
of Mydvai], Rhiwallon and his sons became Physicians to Rhys Gryg,
Lord of Llandovery and Dynefor Castles, "who gave them rank, lands,
and privileges at Mydfai for their maintenance in the practice of their
art and science, and the healing and benefit of those who should seek
their help," thus affording to those who could not afford to pay,
the best medical advice and treatment gratuitously. Such a truly
royal foundation could not fail to produce corresponding effects. So
the fame of the Physicians of Mydfai was soon established over the
whole country, and continued for centuries among their descendants.

'The celebrated Welsh Bard, Dafyd ap Gwilym, who flourished in the
following century, and was buried at the Abbey of Tal-y-llychau [7],
in Carmarthenshire, about the year 1368, says in one of his poems,
as quoted in Dr. Davies' dictionary--

Medyg ni wnai mod y gwnaeth     A Physician he would not make
Mydfai, o chai dyn medfaeth.    As Mydfai made, if he had a mead
                                    fostered man.

Of the above lands bestowed upon the Medygon, there are two farms
in Mydfai parish still called "Llwyn Ifan Fedyg," the Grove of Evan
the Physician; and "Llwyn Meredyd Fedyg," the Grove of Meredith the
Physician. Esgair Llaethdy, mentioned in the foregoing legend, was
formerly in the possession of the above descendants, and so was Ty
newyd, near Mydfai, which was purchased by Mr. Holford, of Cilgwyn,
from the Rev. Charles Lloyd, vicar of Llandefalle, Breconshire,
who married a daughter of one of the Medygon, and had the living
of Llandefalle from a Mr. Vaughan, who presented him to the same
out of gratitude, because Mr. Lloyd's wife's father had cured him
of a disease in the eye. As Mr. Lloyd succeeded to the above living
in 1748, and died in 1800, it is probable that the skilful oculist
was John Jones, who is mentioned in the following inscription on a
tombstone at present fixed against the west end of Mydfai Church:--

        Lieth the body of Mr. DAVID JONES, of Mothvey, Surgeon,
            who was an honest, charitable, and skilful man.
            He died September 14th, Anno Dom 1719, aged 61.

                          JOHN JONES, Surgeon,
         Eldest son of the said David Jones, departed this life
              the 25th of November, 1739, in the 44th year
             of his Age, and also lyes interred hereunder.

These appear to have been the last of the Physicians who practised
at Mydfai. The above John Jones resided for some time at Llandovery,
and was a very eminent surgeon. One of his descendants, named John
Lewis, lived at Cwmbran, Mydfai, at which place his great-grandson,
Mr. John Jones, now resides.

'Dr. Morgan Owen, Bishop of Llandaff, who died at Glasallt, parish of
Mydfai, in 1645, was a descendant of the Medygon, and an inheritor
of much of their landed property in that parish, the bulk of which
he bequeathed to his nephew, Morgan Owen, who died in 1667, and was
succeeded by his son Henry Owen; and at the decease of the last of
whose descendants, Robert Lewis, Esq., the estates became, through the
will of one of the family, the property of the late D. A. S. Davies,
Esq., M.P. for Carmarthenshire.

'Bishop Owen bequeathed to another nephew, Morgan ap Rees, son of
Rees ap John, a descendant of the Medygon, the farm of Rhyblid,
and some other property. Morgan ap Rees' son, Samuel Rice, resided
at Loughor, in Gower, Glamorganshire, and had a son, Morgan Rice,
who was a merchant in London, and became Lord of the Manor of Tooting
Graveney, and High Sheriff in the year 1772, and Deputy Lieutenant
of the county of Surrey, 1776. He resided at Hill House, which he
built. At his death the whole of his property passed to his only
child, John Rice, Esq., whose eldest son, the Rev. John Morgan Rice,
inherited the greater portion of his estates. The head of the family is
now the Rev. Horatio Morgan Rice, rector of South Hill with Callington,
Cornwall, and J.P. for the county, who inherited, with other property,
a small estate at Loughor. The above Morgan Rice had landed property in
Llanmadock and Llangenith, as well as Loughor, in Gower, but whether
he had any connexion with Howel the Physician (ap Rhys ap Llywelyn ap
Philip the Physician, and lineal descendant from Einion ap Rhiwallon),
who resided at Cilgwryd in Gower, is not known.

'Amongst other families who claim descent from the Physicians were
the Bowens of Cwmydw, Mydfai; and Jones of Dollgarreg and Penrhock,
in the same parish; the latter of whom are represented by Charles
Bishop, of Dollgarreg, Esq., Clerk of the Peace for Carmarthenshire,
and Thomas Bishop, of Brecon, Esq.

'Rees Williams of Mydfai is recorded as one of the Medygon. His
great-grandson was the late Rice Williams, M.D., of Aberystwyth,
who died May 16, 1842, aged 85, and appears to have been the last,
although not the least eminent, of the Physicians descended from the
mysterious Lady of Llyn y Fan [8].'

This brings the legend of the Lady of the Fan Lake into connexion
with a widely-spread family. There is another connexion between
it and modern times, as will be seen from the following statement
kindly made to me by the Rev. A. G. Edwards, Warden of the Welsh
College at Llandovery, since then appointed Bishop of St. Asaph:
'An old woman from Mydfai, who is now, that is to say in January 1881,
about eighty years of age, tells me that she remembers "thousands and
thousands of people visiting the Lake of the Little Fan on the first
Sunday or Monday in August, and when she was young she often heard
old men declare that at that time a commotion took place in the lake,
and that its waters boiled, which was taken to herald the approach of
the Lake Lady and her Oxen."' The custom of going up to the lake on
the first Sunday in August was a very well known one in years gone by,
as I have learned from a good many people, and it is corroborated by
Mr. Joseph Joseph of Brecon, who kindly writes as follows, in reply
to some queries of mine: 'On the first Sunday in the month of August,
Llyn y Fan Fach is supposed to be boiling (berwi). I have seen scores
of people going up to see it (not boiling though) on that day. I do not
remember that any of them expected to see the Lady of the Lake.' As to
the boiling of the lake I have nothing to say, and I am not sure that
there is anything in the following statement made as an explanation of
the yearly visit to the lake by an old fisherwoman from Llandovery:
'The best time for eels is in August, when the north-east wind blows
on the lake, and makes huge waves in it. The eels can then be seen
floating on the waves.'

Last summer I went myself to the village of Mydfai, to see if I could
pick up any variants of the legend, but I was hardly successful;
for though several of the farmers I questioned could repeat bits of
the legend, including the Lake Lady's call to her cattle as she went
away, I got nothing new, except that one of them said that the youth,
when he first saw the Lake Lady at a distance, thought she was a
goose--he did not even rise to the conception of a swan--but that
by degrees he approached her, and discovered that she was a lady in
white, and that in due time they were married, and so on. My friend,
the Warden of Llandovery College, seems, however, to have found a bit
of a version which may have been still more unlike the one recorded
by Mr. Rees of Tonn: it was from an old man at Mydfai last year,
from whom he was, nevertheless, only able to extract the statement
'that the Lake Lady got somehow entangled in a farmer's "gambo,"
and that ever after his farm was very fertile.' A 'gambo,' I ought to
explain, is a kind of a cart without sides, used in South Wales: both
the name and the thing seem to have come from England, though I cannot
find such a word as gambo or gambeau in the ordinary dictionaries.

Among other legends about lake fairies, there are, in the third
chapter of Mr. Sikes' British Goblins, two versions of this story:
the first of them differs but slightly from Mr. Rees', in that the
farmer used to go near the lake to see some lambs he had bought at
a fair, and that whenever he did so three beautiful damsels appeared
to him from the lake. They always eluded his attempts to catch them:
they ran away into the lake, saying, Cras dy fara, &c. But one day
a piece of moist bread came floating ashore, which he ate, and the
next day he had a chat with the Lake Maidens. He proposed marriage to
one of them, to which she consented, provided he could distinguish
her from her sisters the day after. The story then, so far as I
can make out from the brief version which Mr. Sikes gives of it,
went on like that of Mr. Rees. The former gives another version,
with much more interesting variations, which omit all reference,
however, to the Physicians of Mydfai, and relate how a young farmer
had heard of the Lake Maiden rowing up and down the lake in a golden
boat with a golden scull. He went to the lake on New Year's Eve, saw
her, was fascinated by her, and left in despair at her vanishing out
of sight, although he cried out to her to stay and be his wife. She
faintly replied, and went her way, after he had gazed at her long
yellow hair and pale melancholy face. He continued to visit the lake,
and grew thin and negligent of his person, owing to his longing. But
a wise man, who lived on the mountain, advised him to tempt her with
gifts of bread and cheese, which he undertook to do on Midsummer Eve,
when he dropped into the lake a large cheese and a loaf of bread. This
he did repeatedly, until at last his hopes were fulfilled on New
Year's Eve. This time he had gone to the lake clad in his best suit,
and at midnight dropped seven white loaves and his biggest and finest
cheese into the lake. The Lake Lady by-and-by came in her skiff to
where he was, and gracefully stepped ashore. The scene need not be
further described: Mr. Sikes gives a picture of it, and the story
then proceeds as in the other version.

It is a pity that Mr. Rees did not preserve the Welsh versions out
of which he pieced together the English one; but as to Mr. Sikes,
I cannot discover whence his has been derived, for he seems not to
have been too anxious to leave anybody the means of testing his work,
as one will find on verifying his references, when he gives any. See
also the allusions to him in Hartland's Science of Fairy Tales,
pp. 64, 123, 137, 165, 278.

Since writing the foregoing notes the following communication has
reached me from a friend of my undergraduate days at Jesus College,
Oxford, Mr. Llywarch Reynolds of Merthyr Tydfil. Only the first
part of it concerns the legend of Llyn y Fan Fach; but as the rest
is equally racy I make no apology for publishing it in full without
any editing, except the insertion of the meaning of two or three of
the Welsh words occurring in it:--

'Tell Rhys that I have just heard a sequel to the Medygon Mydfai story,
got from a rustic on Mynyd y Banwen, between Glynnêd and Glyntawë, on
a ramble recently with David Lewis the barrister and Sidney Hartland
the folklorist. It was to the effect that after the disappearance of
the forwn, "the damsel," into the lake, the disconsolate husband and
his friends set to work to drain the lake in order to get at her,
if possible. They made a great cutting into the bank, when suddenly
a huge hairy monster of hideous aspect emerged from the water and
stormed at them for disturbing him, and wound up with this threat:--

    Os na cha'i lonyd yn ym lle,    If I get no quiet in my place,
    Fi foda dre' 'Byrhondu!         I shall drown the town of Brecon!

It was evidently the last braich, "arm," of a Triban Morgannwg,
but this was all my informant knew of it. From the allusion to Tre'
Byrhondu, it struck me that there was here probably a tale of Llyn
Safadon, which had migrated to Llyn y Fan; because of course there
would have to be a considerable change in the "levels" before Llyn
y Fan and the Sawde could put Brecon in any great jeopardy [9].

'We also got another tale about a cwmshurwr, "conjurer," who once
lived in Ystradgyrlais (as the rustic pronounced it). The wizard was
a dyn llaw-harn, "a man with an iron hand"; and it being reported
that there was a great treasure hidden in Mynyd y Drum, the wizard
said he would secure it, if he could but get some plucky fellow
to spend a night with him there. John Gethin was a plucky fellow
(dyn "ysprydol"), and he agreed to join the dyn llaw-harn in his
diablerie. The wizard traced two rings on the sward touching each
other "like a number 8"; he went into one, and Gethin into the other,
the wizard strictly charging him on no account to step out of the
ring. The llaw-harn then proceeded to trafod 'i lyfrau, or "busy
himself with his books"; and there soon appeared a monstrous bull,
bellowing dreadfully; but the plucky Gethin held his ground, and the
bull vanished. Next came a terrible object, a "fly-wheel of fire,"
which made straight for poor Gethin and made him swerve out of the
ring. Thereupon the wheel assumed the form of the diawl, "devil,"
who began to haul Gethin away. The llaw-harn seized hold of him and
tried to get him back. The devil was getting the upper hand, when the
llaw-harn begged the devil to let him keep Gethin while the piece of
candle he had with him lasted. The devil consented, and let go his hold
of Gethin, whereupon the cwmshurwr immediately blew out the candle,
and the devil was discomfited. Gethin preserved the piece of candle
very carefully, stowing it away in a cool place; but still it wasted
away although it was never lighted. Gethin got such a fright that
he took to his bed, and as the candle wasted away he did the same,
and they both came to an end simultaneously. Gethin vanished--and it
was not his body that was put into the coffin, but a lump of clay
which was put in to save appearances! It is said that the wizard's
books are in an oaken chest at Waungyrlais farm house to this day.

'We got these tales on a ramble to see "Maen y Gwediau," on the
mountain near Coelbren Junction Station on the Neath and Brecon Railway
(marked on the Ordnance Map), but we had to turn back owing to the
fearful heat.'

Before dismissing Mr. Reynolds' letter I may mention a story in point
which relates to a lake on the Brecon side of the mountains. It
is given at length by the Rev. Edward Davies in his Mythology and
Rites of the British Druids (London, 1809), pp. 155-7. According to
this legend a door in the rock was to be found open once a year--on
May-day, as it is supposed--and from that door one could make one's
way to the garden of the fairies, which was an island in the middle
of the lake. This paradise of exquisite bliss was invisible, however,
to those who stood outside the lake: they could only see an indistinct
mass in the centre of the water. Once on a time a visitor tried to
carry away some of the flowers given him by the fairies, but he was
thereby acting against their law, and not only was he punished with the
loss of his senses, but the door has never since been left open. It
is also related that once an adventurous person attempted to drain
the water away 'in order to discover its contents, when a terrific
form arose from the midst of the lake, commanding him to desist,
or otherwise he would drown the country.' This form is clearly of
the same species as that which, according to Mr. Reynolds' story,
threatened to drown the town of Brecon. Subsequent inquiries have
elicited more information, and I am more especially indebted to my
friend Mr. Ivor James, who, as registrar of the University of Wales,
has of late years been living at Brecon. He writes to the following
effect:--'The lake you want is Llyn Cwm Llwch, and the legend is very
well known locally, but there are variants. Once on a time men and
boys dug a gully through the dam in order to let the water out. A
man in a red coat, sitting in an armchair, appeared on the surface
of the water and threatened them in the terms which you quote from
Mr. Reynolds. The red coat would seem to suggest that this form of
the legend dates possibly from a time since our soldiers were first
clothed in red. In another case, however, the spectre was that of an
old woman; and I am told that a somewhat similar story is told in
connexion with a well in the castle wall in the parish of Llandew,
to the north of this town--Giraldus Cambrensis' parish. A friend of
mine is employing his spare time at present in an inquiry into the
origin of the lakes of this district, and he tells me that Llyn Cwm
Llwch is of glacial origin, its dam being composed, as he thinks,
of glacial débris through which the water always percolates into
the valley below. But storm water flows over the dam, and in the
course of ages has cut for itself a gully, now about ten feet deep
at the deepest point, through the embankment. The story was possibly
invented to explain that fact. There is no cave to be seen in the
rock, and probably there never was one, as the formation is the Old
Red Sandstone; and the island was perhaps equally imaginary.'

That is the substance of Mr. James' letter, in which he, moreover,
refers to J. D. Rhys' account of the lake in his Welsh introduction
to his Grammar, published in London in 1592, under the title
Cambrobrytannicæ Cymraecæve Linguæ Institutiones et Rudimenta. There
the grammarian, in giving some account of himself, mentions his
frequent sojourns at the hospitable residence of a nobleman, named
M. Morgan Merêdydh, near y Bugeildy ynn Nyphryn Tabhîda o bhywn
Swydh Bhaesybhed, that is, 'near the Beguildy in the Valley of the
Teme within the county of Radnor.' Then he continues to the following
effect:--'But the latter part of this book was thought out under the
bushes and green foliage in a bit of a place of my own called y Clun
Hîr, at the top of Cwm y Llwch, below the spurs of the mountain of
Bannwchdeni, which some call Bann Arthur and others Moel Arthur. Below
that moel and in its lap there is a lake of pretty large size,
unknown depth, and wondrous nature. For as the stories go, no bird
has ever been seen to repair to it or towards it, or to swim on it:
it is wholly avoided, and some say that no animals or beasts of any
kind are wont to drink of its waters. The peasantry of that country,
and especially the shepherds who are wont to frequent these moels
and bans, relate many other wonders concerning it and the exceeding
strange things beheld at times in connexion with this loch. This lake
or loch is called Llyn Cwm y Llwch [10].'


Before dismissing the story of Llyn y Fan Fach I wish to append a
similar one from the parish of Ystrad Dyfodwg in Glamorganshire. The
following is a translation of a version given in Welsh in Cyfaill
yr Aelwyd a'r Frythones, edited by Elfed and Cadrawd, and published
by Messrs. Williams and Son, Llanelly. The version in question is by
Cadrawd, and it is to the following effect--see the volume for 1892,
p. 59:--

'Llyn y Forwyn, "the Damsel's Pool," is in the parish of Ystrad
Tyfodwg: the inhabitants call it also Llyn Nelferch. It lies about
halfway between the farm house of Rhonda Fechan, "Little Rhonda," and
the Vale of Safrwch. The ancient tradition concerning it is somewhat
as follows:--

'Once on a time a farmer lived at the Rhonda Fechan: he was unmarried,
and as he was walking by the lake early one morning in spring he beheld
a young woman of beautiful appearance walking on the other side of
it. He approached her and spoke to her: she gave him to understand that
her home was in the lake, and that she owned a number of milch cows,
that lived with her at the bottom of the water. The farmer fancied her
so much that he fell in love with her over head and ears: he asked
her on the spot for her hand and heart; and he invited her to come
and spend her life with him as his wife at the Rhonda Fechan. She
declined at first, but as he was importunate she consented at last
on the following conditions, namely, that she would bring her cattle
with her out of the lake, and live with him until he and she had three
disputes with one another: then, she said, she and the cattle would
return into the lake. He agreed to the conditions, and the marriage
took place. They lived very happily and comfortably for long years;
but the end was that they fell out with one another, and, when they
happened to have quarrelled for the third time, she was heard early
in the morning driving the cattle towards the lake with these words:--

        Prw dre', prw dre', prw'r gwartheg i dre';
        Prw Milfach a Malfach, pedair Llualfach,
        Alfach ac Ali, pedair Ladi,
        Wynebwen drwynog, tro i'r waun lidiog,
        Trech llyn y waun odyn, tair Pencethin,
        Tair caseg du draw yn yr eithin [11].

And into the lake they went out of sight, and there they live to
this day. And some believed that they had heard the voice and cry of
Nelferch in the whisper of the breeze on the top of the mountain hard
by--many a time after that--as an old story (wedal) will have it.'

From this it will be seen that the fairy wife's name was supposed
to have been Nelferch, and that the piece of water is called after
her. But I find that great uncertainty prevails as to the old name of
the lake, as I learn from a communication in 1894 from Mr. Llewellyn
Williams, living at Porth, only some five miles from the spot, that
one of his informants assured him that the name in use among former
generations was Llyn Alfach. Mr. Williams made inquiries at the Rhonda
Fechan about the lake legend. He was told that the water had long
since been known as Llyn y Forwyn, from a morwyn, or damsel, with a
number of cattle having been drowned in it. The story of the man who
mentioned the name as Llyn Alfach was similar: the maid belonged to
the farm of Penrhys, he said, and the young man to the Rhonda Fechan,
and it was in consequence of their third dispute, he added, that she
left him and went back to her previous service, and afterwards, while
taking the cattle to the water, she sank accidentally or purposely
into the lake, so that she was never found any more. Here it will
be seen how modern rationalism has been modifying the story into
something quite uninteresting but without wholly getting rid of the
original features, such as the three disputes between the husband
and wife. Lastly, it is worth mentioning that this water appears to
form part of a bit of very remarkable scenery, and that its waves
strike on one side against a steep rock believed to contain caves,
supposed to have been formerly inhabited by men and women. At present
the place, I learn, is in the possession of Messrs. Davis and Sons,
owners of the Ferndale collieries, who keep a pleasure boat on the
lake. I have appealed to them on the question of the name Nelferch
or Alfach, in the hope that their books would help to decide as to
the old form of it. Replying on their behalf, Mr. J. Probert Evans
informs me that the company only got possession of the lake and the
adjacent land in 1862, and that 'Llyn y Vorwyn' is the name of the
former in the oldest plan which they have. Inquiries have also been
made in the neighbourhood by my friend, Mr. Reynolds, who found the
old tenants of the Rhonda Fechan Farm gone, and the neighbouring farm
house of Dyffryn Safrwch supplanted by colliers' cottages. But he
calls my attention to the fact, that perhaps the old name was neither
Nelferch nor Alfach, as Elfarch, which would fit equally well, was once
the name of a petty chieftain of the adjoining Hundred of Senghenyd,
for which he refers me to Clark's Glamorgan Genealogies, p. 511. But
I have to thank him more especially for a longer version of the fairy
wife's call to her cattle, as given in Glanffrwd's Plwyf Llanwyno,
'the Parish of Llanwynno' (Pontyprid, 1888), p. 117, as follows:--

                    Prw me, prw me,
                    Prw 'ngwartheg i dre';
                    Prw Melen a Ioco,
                    Tegwen a Rhudo,
                    Rhud-frech a Moel-frech,
                    Pedair Lliain-frech;
                    Lliain-frech ag Eli,
                    A phedair Wen-ladi,
                    Ladi a Chornwen,
                    A phedair Wynebwen;
                    Nepwen a Rhwynog,
                    Tali Lieiniog;
                    Brech yn y Glyn
                    Dal yn dyn;
                    Tair lygeityn,
                    Tair gyffredm,
                Tair Caseg du, draw yn yr eithin,
                Deuwch i gyd i lys y Brenin;
                    Bwla, bwla,
                    Saif yn flaena',
                Saf yn ol y wraig o'r Ty-fry,
                Fyth nis godri ngwartheg i!

The last lines--slightly mended--may be rendered:

                    Bull, bull!
                    Stand thou foremost.
                Back! thou wife of the House up Hill:
                Never shalt thou milk my cows.

This seems to suggest that the quarrel was about another woman, and
that by the time when the fairy came to call her live stock into the
lake she had been replaced by another woman who came from the Ty-fry,
or the House up Hill [12]. In that case this version comes closer
than any other to the story of Undine supplanted by Bertalda as her
knight's favourite.

Mr. Probert Evans having kindly given me the address of an aged farmer
who formerly lived in the valley, my friend, Mr. Llywarch Reynolds,
was good enough to visit him. Mr. Reynolds shall report the result
in his own words, dated January 9, 1899, as follows:--

'I was at Pentyrch this morning, and went to see Mr. David Evans,
formerly of Cefn Colston.

'The old man is a very fine specimen of the better class of Welsh
farmer; is in his eighty-third year; hale and hearty, intelligent,
and in full possession of his faculties. He was born and bred in the
Rhonda Fechan Valley, and lived there until some forty years ago. He
had often heard the lake story from an old aunt of his who lived at
the Maerdy Farm (a short distance north of the lake), and who died
a good many years ago, at a very advanced age. He calls the lake
"Llyn Elferch," and the story, as known to him, has several points in
common with the Llyn y Fan legend, which, however, he did not appear
to know. He could not give me many details, but the following is the
substance of the story as he knows it:--The young farmer, who lived
with his mother at the neighbouring farm, one day saw the lady on
the bank of the lake, combing her hair, which reached down to her
feet. He fell in love at first sight, and tried to approach her; but
she evaded him, and crying out, Dali di dim o fi, crâs dy fara! (Thou
wilt not catch me, thou of the crimped bread), she sank into the
water. He saw her on several subsequent occasions, and gave chase,
but always with the same result, until at length he got his mother
to make him some bread which was not baked (or not baked so hard);
and this he offered to the lady. She then agreed to become his wife,
subject to the condition that if he offended her, or disagreed with
her three times (ar yr ammod, os byssa fa yn 'i chroesi hi dair gwaith)
she would leave him and return into the lake with all her belongings.

'1. The first disagreement (croes) was at the funeral of a neighbour,
a man in years, at which the lady gave way to excessive weeping and
lamentation. The husband expressed surprise and annoyance at this
excessive grief for the death of a person not related to them, and
asked the reason for it; and she replied that she grieved for the
defunct on account of the eternal misery that was in store for him
in the other world.

'2. The second "croes" was at the death of an infant child of the
lady herself, at which she laughed immoderately; and in reply to the
husband's remonstrance, she said she did so for joy at her child's
escape from this wicked world and its passage into a world of bliss.

'3. The third "croes" Mr. Evans was unable to call to mind, but
equally with the other two it showed that the lady was possessed of
preternatural knowledge; and it resulted in her leaving her husband
and returning into the lake, taking the cattle, &c., with her. The
accepted explanation of the name of the lake was Llyn El-ferch [13]
(= Hela 'r ferch), "because of the young man chasing the damsel"
(hela 'r ferch).

'The following is the cattle-call, as given to me by Mr. Evans'
aged housekeeper, who migrated with the family from Rhonda Fechan
to Pentyrch:

                Prw i, prw e [14],
                Prw 'ngwartheg sha [= tua] thre';
                Mil a môl a melyn gwtta;
                Milfach a malfach;
                Petar [= pedair] llearfach;
                Llearfach ag aeli;
                Petar a lafi;
                Lafi a chornwan [= -wèn];
                [...] 'nepwan [= -wèn],
                'Nepwan drwynog;
                Drotwan [= droedwen] litiog;
                Tair Bryncethin;
                Tair gyffretin;
                Tair casag du
                Draw yn yr ithin [= eithin],
                Dewch i gyd i lys y brenin.

'Mr. Evans told me that Dyffryn Safrwch was considered to be a
corruption of Dyffryn Safn yr Hwch, "Valley of the Sow's Mouth";
so that the explanation was not due to a minister with whom I
foregathered on my tramp near the lake the other day, and from whom
I heard it first.'

The similarity between Mr. Evans' version of this legend and that of
Llyn y Fan Fach, tends to add emphasis to certain points which I had
been inclined to treat as merely accidental. In the Fan Fach legend
the young man's mother is a widow, and here he is represented living
with his mother. Here also something depends on the young man's bread,
but it is abruptly introduced, suggesting that a part of the story
has been forgotten. Both stories, however, give one the impression
that the bread of the fairies was regarded as always imperfectly
baked. In both stories the young man's mother comes to his help with
her advice. Mr. Evans' version ascribes supernatural knowledge to the
fairy, though his version fails to support it; and her moralizings
read considerably later than those which the Fan legend ascribes
to the fairy wife. Some of these points may be brought under the
reader's notice later, when he has been familiarized with more facts
illustrative of the belief in fairies.


On returning from South Wales to Carnarvonshire in the summer of
1881, I tried to discover similar legends connected with the lakes
of North Wales, beginning with Geirionyd, the waters of which form a
stream emptying itself into the Conwy, near Trefriw, a little below
Llanrwst. I only succeeded, however, in finding an old man of the
name of Pierce Williams, about seventy years of age, who was very
anxious to talk about 'Bony's' wars, but not about lake ladies. I was
obliged, in trying to make him understand what I wanted, to use the
word morforwyn, that is to say in English, 'mermaid'; he then told
me, that in his younger days he had heard people say that somebody
had seen such beings in the Trefriw river. But as my questions were
leading ones, his evidence is not worth much; however, I feel pretty
sure that one who knew the neighbourhood of Geirionyd better would
be able to find some fragments of interesting legends still existing
in that wild district.

I was more successful at Llanberis, though what I found, at first,
was not much; but it was genuine, and to the point. This is the
substance of it:--An old woman, called Siân [15] Dafyd, lived at
Helfa Fawr, in the dingle called Cwm Brwynog, along the left side of
which you ascend as you go to the top of Snowdon, from the village
of lower Llanberis, or Coed y Dol, as it is there called. She was a
curious old person, who made nice distinctions between the virtues
of the respective waters of the district: thus, no other would do
for her to cure her of the defaid gwylltion [16], or cancerous warts,
which she fancied that she had in her mouth, than that of the spring
of Tai Bach, near the lake called Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas, though she
seldom found it out, when she was deceived by a servant who cherished
a convenient opinion of his own, that a drop from a nearer spring
would do just as well. Old Siân has been dead over thirty-five years,
but I have it, on the testimony of two highly trustworthy brothers,
who are of her family, and now between sixty and seventy years of
age, that she used to relate to them how a shepherd, once on a time,
saw a fairy maiden (un o'r Tylwyth Teg) on the surface of the tarn
called Llyn Du'r Ardu, and how, from bantering and joking, their
acquaintance ripened into courtship, when the father and mother of
the lake maiden appeared to give the union their sanction, and to
arrange the marriage settlement. This was to the effect that the
husband was never to strike his wife with iron, and that she was to
bring her great wealth with her, consisting of stock of all kinds
for his mountain farm. All duly took place, and they lived happily
together until one day, when trying to catch a pony, the husband threw
a bridle to his wife, and the iron in that struck her. It was then
all over with him, as the wife hurried away with her property into
the lake, so that nothing more was seen or heard of her. Here I may
as well explain that the Llanberis side of the steep, near the top of
Snowdon, is called Clogwyn du'r Ardu, or the Black Cliff of the Ardu,
at the bottom of which lies the tarn alluded to as the Black Lake of
the Ardu, and near it stands a huge boulder, called Maen du'r Ardu,
all of which names are curious, as involving the word du, black. Ardu
itself has much the same meaning, and refers to the whole precipitous
side of the summit with its dark shadows, and there is a similar Ardu
near Nanmor on the Merionethshire side of Bedgelert.

One of the brothers, I ought to have said, doubts that the lake here
mentioned was the one in old Siân's tale; but he has forgotten which
it was of the many in the neighbourhood. Both, however, remembered
another short story about fairies, which they had heard another old
woman relate, namely, Mari Domos Siôn, who died some thirty years ago:
it was merely to the effect that a shepherd had once lost his way in
the mist on the mountain on the land of Caeau Gwynion, towards Cwellyn
[17] Lake, and got into a ring where the Tylwyth Teg were dancing:
it was only after a very hard struggle that he was able, at length,
to get away from them.

To this I may add the testimony of a lady, for whose veracity I
can vouch, to the effect that, when she was a child in Cwm Brwynog,
from thirty to forty years ago, she and her brothers and sisters used
to be frequently warned by their mother not to go far away from the
house when there happened to be thick mist on the ground, lest they
should come across the Tylwyth Teg dancing, and be carried away to
their abode beneath the lake. They were always, she says, supposed
to live in the lakes; and the one here alluded to was Llyn Dwythwch,
which is one of those famous for its torgochiaid or chars. The mother
is still living; but she seems to have long since, like others,
lost her belief in the fairies.

After writing the above, I heard that a brother to the foregoing
brothers, namely, Mr. Thomas Davies, of Mur Mawr, Llanberis, remembered
a similar tale. Mr. Davies is now sixty-four, and the persons from
whom he heard the tale were the same Siân Dafyd of Helfa Fawr, and
Mari Domos Siôn of Tyn [18] Gadlas, Llanberis: the two women were
about seventy years of age when he as a child heard it from them. At
my request, a friend of mine, Mr. Hugh D. Jones, of Tyn Gadlas, also
a member of this family, which is one of the oldest perhaps in the
place, has taken down from Mr. Davies' mouth all he could remember,
word for word, as follows:--

Yn perthyn i ffarm Bron y Fedw yr oed dyn ifanc wedi cael ei fagu,
nis gwydent faint cyn eu hamser hwy. Arferai pan yn hogyn fynd i'r
mynyd yn Cwm Drywenyd a Mynyd y Fedw ar ochr orllewinol y Wydfa i
fugeilio, a bydai yn taro ar hogan yn y mynyd; ac wrth fynychu gweld
eu gilyd aethant yn ffrindiau mawr. Arferent gyfarfod eu gilyd mewn
lle neillduol yn Cwm Drywenyd, lle'r oed yr hogan a'r teulu yn byw,
lle y bydai pob danteithion, chwareuydiaethau a chanu dihafal; ond
ni fydai'r hogyn yn gwneyd i fyny a neb ohonynt ond yr hogan.

Diwed y ffrindiaeth fu carwriaeth, a phan soniod yr hogyn am idi
briodi, ni wnai ond ar un amod, sef y bywiai hi hefo fo hyd nes y
tarawai ef hi a haiarn.

Priodwyd hwy, a buont byw gyda'u gilyd am nifer o flynydoed, a bu
idynt blant; ac ar dyd marchnad yn Gaernarfon yr oed y gwr a'r wraig
yn medwl mynd i'r farchnad ar gefn merlod, fel pob ffarmwr yr amser
hwnnw. Awd i'r mynyd i dal merlyn bob un.

Ar waelod Mynyd y Fedw mae llyn o ryw dri-ugain neu gan llath o hyd ac
ugain neu deg llath ar hugain o led, ac y mae ar un ochr ido le têg,
fford y bydai'r ceffylau yn rhedeg.

Daliod y gwr ferlyn a rhoes ef i'r wraig i'w dal heb ffrwyn, tra bydai
ef yn dal merlyn arall. Ar ol rhoi ffrwyn yn mhen ei ferlyn ei hun,
taflod un arall i'r wraig i roi yn mhen ei merlyn hithau, ac wrth ei
thaflu tarawod bit y ffrwyn hi yn ei llaw. Gollyngod y wraig y merlyn,
ac aeth ar ei phen i'r llyn, a dyna diwed y briodas.

'To the farm of Bron y Fedw there belonged a son, who grew up to
be a young man, the women knew not how long before their time. He
was in the habit of going up the mountain to Cwm Drywenyd [19] and
Mynyd y Fedw, on the west side of Snowdon, to do the shepherding,
and there he was wont to come across a lass on the mountain, so that
as the result of frequently meeting one another, he and she became
great friends. They usually met at a particular spot in Cwm Drywenyd,
where the girl and her family lived, and where there were all kinds
of nice things to eat, of amusements, and of incomparable music; but
he did not make up to anybody there except the girl. The friendship
ended in courtship; but when the boy mentioned that she should be
married to him, she would only do so on one condition, namely, that
she would live with him until he should strike her with iron. They
were wedded, and they lived together for a number of years, and had
children. Once on a time it happened to be market day at Carnarvon,
whither the husband and wife thought of riding on ponies, like all
the farmers of that time. So they went to the mountain to catch a
pony each. At the bottom of Mynyd y Fedw there is a pool some sixty
or one hundred yards long by twenty or thirty broad, and on one side
of it there is a level space along which the horses used to run. The
husband caught a pony, and gave it to the wife to hold fast without
a bridle, while he should catch another. When he had bridled his own
pony, he threw another bridle to his wife for her to secure hers;
but as he threw it, the bit of the bridle struck her on one of her
hands. The wife let go the pony, and went headlong into the pool,
and that was the end of their wedded life.'

The following is a later tale, which Mr. Thomas Davies heard from
his mother, who died in 1832: she would be ninety years of age had
she been still living:--

Pan oed hi'n hogan yn yr Hafod, Llanberis, yr oed hogan at ei hoed hi'n
cael ei magu yn Cwmglas, Llanberis, ac arferai dweyd, pan yn hogan a
thra y bu byw, y bydai yn cael arian gan y Tylwyth Teg yn Cwm Cwmglas.

Yr oed yn dweyd y bydai ar foreuau niwliog, tywyll, yn mynd i le
penodol yn Cwm Cwmglas gyda dsygiad o lefrith o'r fuches a thywel
glan, ac yn ei rodi ar garreg; ac yn mynd yno drachefn, ac yn cael
y llestr yn wag, gyda darn deuswllt neu hanner coron ac weithiau fwy
wrth ei ochr.

'When she was a girl, living at Yr Hafod, Llanberis, there was a
girl of her age being brought up at Cwmglas in the same parish. The
latter was in the habit of saying, when she was a girl and so long
as she lived, that she used to have money from the Tylwyth Teg, in
the Cwmglas Hollow. Her account was, that on dark, misty mornings she
used to go to a particular spot in that Hollow with a jugful of sweet
milk from the milking place, and a clean towel, and then place them
on a stone. She would return, and find the jug empty, with a piece
of money placed by its side: that is, two shillings or half a crown,
or at times even more.'

A daughter of that woman lives now at a farm, Mr. Davies observes,
called Plas Pennant, in the parish of Llanfihangel yn Mhennant, in
Carnarvonshire; and he adds, that it was a tale of a kind that was
common enough when he was a boy; but many laughed at it, though the old
people believed it to be a fact. To this I may as well append another
tale, which was brought to the memory of an old man who happened to be
present when Mr. Jones and Mr. Davies were busy with the foregoing. His
name is John Roberts, and his age is seventy-five: his present home
is at Capel Sïon, in the neighbouring parish of Llandeiniolen:--

Yr oed ef pan yn hogyn yn gweini yn Towyn Trewern, yn agos i Gaergybi,
gyda hen wr o'r enw Owen Owens, oed yr adeg honno at ei oed ef yn

Yr oedynt unwaith mewn hen adeilad ar y ffarm; a dywedod yr hen
wr ei fod ef wedi cael llawer o arian yn y lle hwnnw pan yn hogyn,
a buasai wedi cael ychwaneg oni bai ei dad.

Yr oed wedi cudio yr arian yn y ty, ond daeth ei fam o hyd idynt,
a dywedod yr hanes wrth ei dad. Ofnai ei fod yn fachgen drwg, mai
eu lladrata yr oed. Dywedai ei dad y gwnai ido dweyd yn mha le yr
oed yn eu cael, neu y tynnai ei groen tros ei ben; ac aeth allan a
thorod wialen bwrpasol at orchwyl o'r fath.

Yr oed y bachgen yn gwrando ar yr ymdidan rhwng ei dad a'i fam, ac
yr oed yn benderfynol o gadw'r peth yn dirgelwch fel yr oed wedi ei
rybudio gan y Tylwyth Teg.

Aeth i'r ty, a dechreuod y tad ei holi, ac yntau yn gwrthod ateb;
ymbiliai a'i dad, a dywedai eu bod yn berffaith onest ido ef, ac
y cai ef ychwaneg os cadwai'r peth yn dirgelwch; ond os dywedai,
nad oed dim ychwaneg i'w gael. Mod bynnag ni wrandawai y tad ar ei
esgusion na'i resymau, a'r wialen a orfu; dywedod y bachgen mai gan
y Tylwyth Teg yr oed yn eu cael, a hynny ar yr amod nad oed i dweyd
wrth neb. Mawr oed edifeirwch yr hen bobl am lad yr wyd oed yn dodwy.

Aeth y bachgen i'r hen adeilad lawer gwaith ar ol hyn, ond ni chafod
byth ychwaneg o arian yno.

'When a lad, he was a servant at Towyn Trewern, near Holyhead, to
an old man about his own age at present. They were one day in an
old building on the farm, and the old man told him that he had had
much money in that place when he was a lad, and that he would have
had more had it not been for his father. He had hidden the money at
home, where his mother found it and told his father of the affair:
she feared he was a bad boy, and that it was by theft he got it. His
father said that he would make him say where he got it, or else that
he would strip him of the skin of his back, at the same time that he
went out and cut a rod fit for effecting a purpose of the kind. The
boy heard all this talk between his father and his mother, and felt
determined to keep the matter a secret, as he had been warned by the
Tylwyth Teg. He went into the house, and his father began to question
him, while he refused to answer. He supplicatingly protested that
the money was honestly got, and that he should get more if he kept
it a secret, but that, if he did not, there would be no more to be
got. However, the father would give no ear to his excuses or his
reasons, and the rod prevailed; so that the boy said that it was from
the Tylwyth Teg he used to get it, and that on condition of his not
telling anybody. Greatly did the old folks regret having killed the
goose that laid the eggs. The boy went many a time afterwards to the
old building, but he never found any more money there.'


Through the Rev. Daniel Lewis, incumbent of Bettws Garmon, I was
directed to Mr. Samuel Rhys Williams, of the Post Office of that place,
who has kindly given me the result of his inquiries when writing on
the subject of the antiquities of the neighbourhood for a competition
at a literary meeting held there a few years ago. He tells me that he
got the following short tale from a native of Drws y Coed, whose name
is Margaret Williams. She has been living at Bettws Garmon for many
years, and is now over eighty. He does not know whether the story is in
print or not, but he is certain that Margaret Williams never saw it,
even if it be. He further thinks he has heard it from another person,
to wit a man over seventy-seven years of age, who has always lived
at Drws y Coed, in the parish of Bedgelert:--

Y mae hanes am fab i amaethwr a breswyliai yn yr Ystrad [20], Betws
Garmon [21], pan yn dychwelyd adref o daith yn hwyr un noswaith,
darfod ido weled cwmni o'r Tylwyth Teg ynghanol eu hafiaeth a'u
glodest. Syfrdanwyd y llanc yn y fan gan degwch anghymarol un o'r
rhianod hyn, fel y beidiod neidio i ganol y cylch, a chymeryd ei eilun
gydag ef. Wedi idi fod yn trigo gydag ef yn ei gartref am ysbaid,
cafod gandi adaw bod yn wraig ido ar amodau neillduol. Un o'r amodau
hyn ydoed, na bydai ido gyffwrd yndi ag un math o haiarn. Bu yn wraig
ido, a ganwyd idynt dau o blant. Un diwrnod yr oed y gwr yn y maes yn
ceisio dal y ceffyl; wrth ei weled yn ffaelu, aeth y wraig ato i'w
gynorthwyo, a phan oed y march yn carlamu heibio gollyngod yntau y
ffrwyn o'i law, er mwyn ceisio ei atal heibio; a phwy a darawod ond
ei wraig, yr hon a diflannod yn y fan allan o'i olwg?

'The story goes, that the son of a farmer, who lived at the Ystrad
in Bettws Garmon, when returning home from a journey, late in the
evening, beheld a company of fairies in the middle of their mirth and
jollity. The youth was at once bewildered by the incomparable beauty of
one of these ladies, so that he ventured to leap into the circle and
take his idol away with him. After she had tarried awhile with him at
his home, he prevailed on her, on special conditions, to become his
wife. One of these conditions was that he should not touch her with
iron of any description. She became his wife, and two children were
born to them. One day the husband was in the field trying to catch
the horse; seeing him unsuccessful, the wife went to him to help him,
and, when the horse was galloping past him, he let go the bridle at
him in order to prevent him from passing; but whom should he strike
but his wife, who vanished out of his sight on the spot.'

Just as I was engaged in collecting these stories in 1881, a
correspondent sent me a copy of the Ystrad tale as published by
the late bard and antiquary, the Rev. Owen Wyn Jones, better known
in Wales by his bardic name of Glasynys [22], in the Brython [23]
for 1863, p. 193. I will not attempt to translate Glasynys' poetic
prose with all its compound adjectives, but it comes to this in a
few words. One fine sunny morning, as the young heir of Ystrad was
busied with his sheep on the side of Moel Eilio, he met a very pretty
girl, and when he got home he told the folks there of it. A few
days afterwards he met her again, and this happened several times,
when he mentioned it to his father, who advised him to seize her
when he next met her. The next time he met her he proceeded to do
so, but before he could take her away, a little fat old man came to
them and begged him to give her back to him, to which the youth would
not listen. The little man uttered terrible threats, but the heir of
Ystrad would not yield, so an agreement was made between them, that
the latter was to have the girl to wife until he touched her skin
with iron, and great was the joy both of the son and his parents in
consequence. They lived together for many years; but once on a time,
on the evening of the Bettws Fair, the wife's horse became restive,
and somehow, as the husband was attending to the horse, the stirrup
touched the skin of her bare leg, and that very night she was taken
away from him. She had three or four children, and more than one of
their descendants, as Glasynys maintains, were known to him at the
time he wrote in 1863. Glasynys regards this as the same tale which
is given by Williams of Llandegai, to whom we shall refer later;
and he says that he heard it scores of times when he was a lad.

Lastly, I happened to mention these legends last summer among others to
the Rev. Owen Davies, curate of Llanberis, a man who is well versed
in Welsh literature, and thoroughly in sympathy with everything
Welsh. Mr. Davies told me that he knew a tale of the sort from his
youth, as current in the parishes of Llanllechid and Llandegai,
near Bangor. Not long afterwards he visited his mother at his native
place, in Llanllechid, in order to have his memory of it refreshed;
and he also went to the Waen Fawr, on the other side of Carnarvon,
where he had the same legend told him with the different localities
specified. The following is the Waen Fawr version, of which I give
the Welsh as I have had it from Mr. Davies, and as it was related,
according to him, some forty years ago in the valley of Nant y Bettws,
near Carnarvon:--

Ar brydnawngwaith hyfryd yn Hefin, aeth llanc ieuanc gwrol-dewr ac
anturiaethus, sef etifed a pherchennog yr Ystrad, i lan afon Gwyrfai,
heb fod yn nepell o'i chychwyniad o lyn Cawellyn, ac a ymgudiod yno
mewn dyryslwyn, sef ger y fan y bydai poblach y cotiau cochion--y
Tylwyth Teg--yn arfer dawnsio. Yr ydoed yn noswaith hyfryd loergannog,
heb un cwmwl i gau llygaid y Lloer, ac anian yn distaw dawedog,
odigerth murmuriad lledf y Wyrfai, a swn yr awel ysgafndroed yn
rhodio brigau deiliog y coed. Ni bu yn ei ymgudfa ond dros ychydig
amser, cyn cael difyrru o hono ei olygon a dawns y teulu dedwyd. Wrth
syllu ar gywreinrwyd y dawns, y chwim droadau cyflym, yr ymgyniweiriad
ysgafn-droediog, tarawod ei lygaid ar las lodes ieuanc, dlysaf, hardaf,
lunieidiaf a welod er ei febyd. Yr oed ei chwim droadau a lledneisrwyd
ei hagwedion wedi tanio ei serch tu ag ati i'r fath radau, fel ag yr
oed yn barod i unrhyw anturiaeth er mwyn ei hennill yn gydymaith ido
ei hun. O'i ymgudfa dywyll, yr oed yn gwylio pob ysgogiad er mwyn
ei gyfleustra ei hun. Mewn mynud, yn disymwth digon, rhwng pryder
ac ofn, llamneidiod fel llew gwrol i ganol cylch y Tylwyth Teg, ac
ymafaelod a dwylaw cariad yn y fun luniaid a daniod ei serch, a hynny,
pan oed y Tylwyth dedwyd yn nghanol nwyfiant eu dawns. Cofleidiod hi
yn dyner garedig yn ei fynwes wresog, ac aeth a hi i'w gartref--i'r
Ystrad. Ond diflannod ei chyd-dawnsydion fel anadl Gorphennaf, er
ei chroch dolefau am gael ei rhydhau, a'i hymegnion diflino i dianc
o afael yr hwn a'i hoffod. Mewn anwylder mawr, ymdygod y llanc yn
dyner odiaethol tu ag at y fun deg, ac yr oed yn orawydus i'w chadw
yn ei olwg ac yn ei fediant. Llwydod drwy ei dynerwch tu ag ati i
gael gandi adaw dyfod yn forwyn ido yn yr Ystrad. A morwyn ragorol
oed hi. Godrai deirgwaith y swm arferol o laeth odiar bob buwch, ac
yr oed yr ymenyn heb bwys arno. Ond er ei holl daerni, nis gallai
mewn un mod gael gandi dyweud ei henw wrtho. Gwnaeth lawer cais,
ond yn gwbl ofer. Yn damweiniol ryw dro, wrth yrru

        Brithen a'r Benwen i'r borfa,

a hi yn noswaith loergan, efe a aeth i'r man lle yr arferai y Tylwyth
Teg fyned drwy eu campau yng ngoleuni'r Lloer wen. Y tro hwn eto, efe
a ymgudiod mewn dyryslwyn, a chlywod y Tylwyth Teg yn dywedyd y naill
wrth y llall--'Pan oedym ni yn y lle hwn y tro diwedaf, dygwyd ein
chwaer Penelope odiarnom gan un o'r marwolion.' Ar hynny, dychwelod
y llencyn adref, a'i fynwes yn llawn o falchder cariad, o herwyd ido
gael gwybod enw ei hoff forwyn, yr hon a synnod yn aruthr, pan glywod
ei meistr ieuanc yn ei galw wrth ei henw. Ac am ei bod yn odiaethol
dlos, a lluniaid, yn fywiog-weithgar, a medrus ar bob gwaith, a bod
popeth yn llwydo dan ei llaw, cynygiod ei hun idi yn wr--y celai fod yn
feistres yr Ystrad, yn lle bod yn forwyn. Ond ni chydsyniai hi a'i gais
ar un cyfrif; ond bod braid yn bendrist oherwyd ido wybod ei henw. Fod
bynnag, gwedi maith amser, a thrwy ei daerineb diflino, cydsyniod,
ond yn amodol. Adawod dyfod yn wraig ido, ar yr amod canlynol, sef,
'Pa bryd bynnag y tarawai ef hi â haiarn, yr elai ymaith odi wrtho,
ac na dychwelai byth ato mwy.' Sicrhawyd yr amod o'i du yntau gyda
pharodrwyd cariad. Buont yn cyd-fyw a'u gilyd yn hapus a chysurus
lawer o flynydoed, a ganwyd idynt fab a merch, y rhai oedynt dlysaf
a llunieidiaf yn yr holl froyd. Ac yn rhinwed ei medrusrwyd a'i
deheurwyd fel gwraig gall, rinwedol, aethant yn gyfoethog iawn--yn
gyfoethocach na neb yn yr holl wlad. Heblaw ei etifediaeth ei hun--Yr
Ystrad, yr oed yn ffarmio holl ogled-barth Nant y Betws, ac odi yno
i ben yr Wydfa, ynghyd a holl Gwm Brwynog, yn mhlwyf Llanberis. Ond,
ryw diwrnod, yn anffortunus digon aeth y dau i'r dol i dal y ceffyl,
a chan fod y ceffylyn braid yn wyllt ac an-nof, yn rhedeg odi arnynt,
taflod y gwr y ffrwyn mewn gwylltineb yn ei erbyn, er ei atal, ac ar
bwy y disgynnod y ffrwyn, ond ar Penelope, y wraig! Diflannod Penelope
yn y fan, ac ni welod byth mo honi. Ond ryw noswaith, a'r gwynt yn
chwythu yn oer o'r gogled, daeth Penelope at ffenestr ei ystafell wely,
a dywedod wrtho am gymmeryd gofal o'r plant yn y geiriau hyn:

        Rhag bod anwyd ar fy mab,
        Yn rhod rhowch arno gób ei dad;
        Rhag bod anwyd ar liw'r can,
        Rhodwch arni bais ei mham.

Ac yna ciliod, ac ni chlywyd na siw na miw byth yn ei chylch.

For the sake of an occasional reader who does not know Welsh, I add
a summary of it in English.

One fine evening in the month of June a brave, adventurous youth, the
heir of Ystrad, went to the banks of the Gwyrfai, not far from where it
leaves Cwellyn Lake, and hid himself in the bushes near the spot where
the folks of the Red Coats--the fairies--were wont to dance. The moon
shone forth brightly without a cloud to intercept her light; all was
quiet save where the Gwyrfai gently murmured on her bed, and it was
not long before the young man had the satisfaction of seeing the fair
family dancing in full swing. As he gazed on the subtle course of the
dance, his eyes rested on a damsel, the most shapely and beautiful he
had seen from his boyhood. Her agile movements and the charm of her
looks inflamed him with love for her, to such a degree that he felt
ready for any encounter in order to secure her to be his own. From his
hiding place he watched every move for his opportunity; at last, with
feelings of anxiety and dread, he leaped suddenly into the middle of
the circle of the fairies. There, while their enjoyment of the dance
was at its height, he seized her in his arms and carried her away to
his home at Ystrad. But, as she screamed for help to free her from
the grasp of him who had fallen in love with her, the dancing party
disappeared like one's breath in July. He treated her with the utmost
kindness, and was ever anxious to keep her within his sight and in
his possession. By dint of tenderness he succeeded so far as to get
her to consent to be his servant at Ystrad. And such a servant she
turned out to be! Why, she was wont to milk the cows thrice a day,
and to have the usual quantity of milk each time, so that the butter
was so plentiful that nobody thought of weighing it. As to her name,
in spite of all his endeavours to ascertain it, she would never tell
it him. Accidentally, however, one moonlight night, when driving two
of his cows to the spot where they should graze, he came to the place
where the fairies were wont to enjoy their games in the light of the
moon. This time also he hid himself in a thicket, when he overheard one
fairy saying to another, 'When we were last here our sister Penelope
was stolen from us by a man.' As soon as he heard this off he went
home, full of joy because he had discovered the name of the maid that
was so dear to him. She, on the other hand, was greatly astonished to
hear him call her by her own name. As she was so charmingly pretty,
so industrious, so skilled in every work, and so attended by luck in
everything she put her hand to, he offered to make her his wife instead
of being his servant. At first she would in no wise consent, but she
rather gave way to grief at his having found her name out. However,
his importunity at length brought her to consent, but on the condition
that he should not strike her with iron; if that should happen, she
would quit him never to return. The agreement was made on his side
with the readiness of love, and after this they lived in happiness
and comfort together for many years, and there were born to them a
son and a daughter, who were the handsomest children in the whole
country. Owing, also, to the skill and good qualities of the woman,
as a shrewd and virtuous wife, they became very rich--richer, indeed,
than anybody else in the country around; for, besides the husband's own
inheritance of Ystrad, he held all the northern part of Nant y Bettws,
and all from there to the top of Snowdon, together with Cwm Brwynog
in the parish of Llanberis. But one day, as bad luck would have it,
they went out together to catch a horse in the field, and, as the
animal was somewhat wild and untamed, they had no easy work before
them. In his rashness the man threw a bridle at him as he was rushing
past him, but alas! on whom should the bridle fall but on the wife! No
sooner had this happened than she disappeared, and nothing more was
ever seen of her. But one cold night, when there was a chilling wind
blowing from the north, she came near the window of his bedroom,
and told him in these words to take care of the children:--

        Lest my son should find it cold,
        Place on him his father's coat:
        Lest the fair one find it cold,
        Place on her my petticoat.

Then she withdrew, and nothing more was heard of her.

In reply to some queries of mine, Mr. O. Davies tells me that Penelope
was pronounced in three syllables, Pénelôp--so he heard it from his
grandfather: he goes on to say that the offspring of the Lake Lady
is supposed to be represented by a family called Pellings, which was
once a highly respected name in those parts, and that there was a
Lady Bulkeley who was of this descent, not to mention that several
people of a lower rank, both in Anglesey and Arfon, claimed to be of
the same origin. I am not very clear as to how the name got into this
tale, nor have I been able to learn anything about the Pellings; but,
as the word appears to have been regarded as a corrupt derivative
from Penelope, that is, perhaps, all the connexion, so that it may
be that it has really nothing whatever to do with the legend. This
is a point, however, which the antiquaries of North Wales ought to
be able to clear up satisfactorily.

In reply to queries of mine, Mr. O. Davies gave me the following
particulars:--'I am now (June, 1881) over fifty-two years of age, and I
can assure you that I have heard the legend forty years ago. I do not
remember my father, as he died when I was young, but my grandfather
was remarkable for his delight in tales and legends, and it was his
favourite pastime during the winter nights, after getting his short
black pipe ready, to relate stories about struggles with robbers, about
bogies, and above all about the Tylwyth Teg; for they were his chief
delight. He has been dead twenty-six years, and he had almost reached
eighty years of age. His father before him, who was born about the
year 1740, was also famous for his stories, and my grandfather often
mentioned him as his authority in the course of his narration of the
tales. Both he and the rest of the family used to look at Corwrion,
to be mentioned presently, as a sacred spot. When I was a lad and
happened to be reluctant to leave off playing at dusk, my mother or
grandfather had only to say that 'the Pellings were coming,' in order
to induce me to come into the house at once: indeed, this announcement
had the same effect on persons of a much riper age than mine then was.'

Further, Mr. Davies kindly called my attention to a volume, entitled
Observations on the Snowdon Mountains, by Mr. William Williams,
of Llandegai, published in London in 1802. In that work this tale
is given somewhat less fully than by Mr. Davies' informant, but the
author makes the following remarks with regard to it, pp. 37, 40:--'A
race of people inhabiting the districts about the foot of Snowdon,
were formerly distinguished and known by the nickname of Pellings,
which is not yet extinct. There are several persons and even families
who are reputed to be descended from these people.... These children
[Penelope's] and their descendants, they say, were called Pellings,
a word corrupted from their mother's name, Penelope. The late Thomas
Rowlands, Esq., of Caerau, in Anglesey, the father of the late Lady
Bulkeley, was a descendant of this lady, if it be true that the name
Pellings came from her; and there are still living several opulent and
respectable people who are known to have sprung from the Pellings. The
best blood in my own veins is this fairy's.'

Lastly, it will be noticed that these last versions do not distinctly
suggest that the Lake Lady ran into the lake, that is into Cwellyn,
but rather that she disappeared in the same way as the dancing party
by simply becoming invisible like one's breath in July. The fairies
are called in Welsh, Y Tylwyth Teg, or the Fair Family; but the
people of Arfon have been so familiarized with the particular one I
have called the Lake Lady, that, according to one of my informants,
they have invented the term Y Dylwythes Deg, or even Y Dylwythen Deg,
to denote her; but it is unknown to the others, so that the extent
of its use is not very considerable.

This is, perhaps, the place to give another tale, according to which
the man goes to the Lake Maiden's country, instead of her settling
with him at his home. I owe it to the kindness of Mr. William Jones,
of Regent Place, Llangollen, a native of Bedgelert. He heard it from
an old man before he left Bedgelert, but when he sent a friend to
inquire some time afterwards, the old man was gone. According to
Mr. Jones, the details of the tale are, for that reason, imperfect,
as some of the incidents have faded from his memory; but such as he
can still remember the tale, it is here given in his own words:--

Ryw noson lawn lloer ac un o feibion Llwyn On yn Nant y Betws yn
myned i garu i Glogwyn y Gwin, efe a welod y Tylwyth yn ymlodestu a
dawnsio ei hochr hi ar weirglod wrth lan Llyn Cawellyn. Efe a nesaod
tuag atynt; ac o dipyn i beth fe'i llithiwyd gan bereiddra swynol eu
canu a hoender a bywiogrwyd eu chwareu, nes myned o hono tu fewn i'r
cylch; ac yn fuan fe daeth rhyw hud drosto, fel y collod adnabydiaeth
o bobman; a chafod ei hun mewn gwlad hardaf a welod erioed, lle'r oed
pawb yn treulio eu hamser mewn afiaeth a gorfoled. Yr oed wedi bod yno
am saith mlyned, ac eto nid oed dim ond megis breudwyd nos; ond daeth
adgof i'w fedwl am ei neges, a hiraeth yndo am weled ei anwylyd. Felly
efe a ofynod ganiatad i dychwelyd adref, yr hyn a rodwyd ynghyd a llu o
gymdeithion i'w arwain tua'i wlad; ac yn disymwth cafod ei hun fel yn
deffro o freudwyd ar y dol, lle gwelod y Tylwyth Teg yn chwareu. Trod
ei wyneb tuag adref; ond wedi myned yno yr oed popeth wedi newid,
ei rieni wedi meirw, ei frodyr yn ffaelu ei adnabod, a'i gariad wedi
priodi un arall.--Ar ol y fath gyfnewidiadau efe a dorod ei galon,
ac a fu farw mewn llai nag wythnos ar ol ei dychweliad.

'One bright moonlight night, as one of the sons of the farmer who lived
at Llwyn On in Nant y Bettws was going to pay his addresses to a girl
at Clogwyn y Gwin, he beheld the Tylwyth Teg enjoying themselves in
full swing on a meadow close to Cwellyn Lake. He approached them, and
little by little he was led on by the enchanting sweetness of their
music and the liveliness of their playing until he had got within
their circle. Soon some kind of spell passed over him, so that he lost
his knowledge of the place, and found himself in a country, the most
beautiful he had ever seen, where everybody spent his time in mirth
and rejoicing. He had been there seven years, and yet it seemed to
him but a night's dream; but a faint recollection came to his mind of
the business on which he had left home, and he felt a longing to see
his beloved one. So he went and asked for permission to return home,
which was granted him, together with a host of attendants to lead
him to his country; and, suddenly, he found himself, as if waking
from a dream, on the bank where he had seen the fair family amusing
themselves. He turned towards home, but there he found everything
changed: his parents were dead, his brothers could not recognize him,
and his sweetheart was married to another man. In consequence of such
changes he died broken-hearted in less than a week after coming back.'


The Rev. O. Davies regarded the Llanllechid legend as so very like
the one he got about Cwellyn Lake and the Waen Fawr, that he has not
written the former out at length, but merely pointed out the following
differences: (1) Instead of Cwellyn, the lake in the former is the
pool of Corwrion, in the parish of Llandegai, near Bangor. (2) What
the Lake Lady was struck with was not a bridle, but an iron fetter:
the word used is llyfether, which probably means a long fetter
connecting a fore-foot and a hind-foot of a horse together. In Arfon,
the word is applied also to a cord tying the two fore-feet together,
but in Cardiganshire this would be called a hual, the other word,
there pronounced llowethir, being confined to the long fetter. In
books, the word is written llywethair, llefethair and llyffethair
or llyffethar, which is possibly the pronunciation in parts of North
Wales, especially Arfon. This is an interesting word, as it is no other
than the English term 'long fetter,' borrowed into Welsh; as, in fact,
it was also into Irish early enough to call for an article on it in
Cormac's Irish Glossary, where langfiter is described as an English
word for a fetter between the fore and the hind legs: in Anglo-Manx it
is become lanketer. (3) The field in which they were trying to catch
the horse is, in the Llanllechid version, specified as that called
Maes Madog, at the foot of the Llefn. (4) When the fairy wife ran
away, it was headlong into the pool of Corwrion, calling after her
all her milch cows, and they followed her with the utmost readiness.

Before going on to mention bits of information I have received from
others about the Llanllechid legend, I think it best here to finish
with the items given me by Mr. O. Davies, whom I cannot too cordially
thank for his readiness to answer my questions. Among other things,
he expresses himself to the following effect:-- 'It is to this day
a tradition--and I have heard it a hundred times--that the dairy of
Corwrion excelled all other dairies in those parts, that the milk
was better and more plentiful, and that the cheese and butter were
better there than in all the country round, the reason assigned being
that the cattle on the farm of Corwrion had mixed with the breed
belonging to the fairy, who had run away after being struck with the
iron fetter. However that may be, I remember perfectly well the high
terms of praise in which the cows of Corwrion used to be spoken of
as being remarkable for their milk and the profit they yielded; and,
when I was a boy, I used to hear people talk of Tarw Penwyn Corwrion,
or "the White-headed Bull of Corwrion," as derived from the breed of
cattle which had formed the fairy maiden's dowry.'

My next informant is Mr. Hugh Derfel Hughes, of Pendinas, Llandegai
[24], who has been kind enough to give me the version, of which I here
give the substance in English, premising that Mr. Hughes says that
he has lived about thirty-four years within a mile of the pool and
farm house called Corwrion, and that he has refreshed his memory of
the legend by questioning separately no less than three old people,
who had been bred and born at or near that spot. He is a native of
Merioneth, but has lived at Llandegai for the last thirty-seven years,
his age now being sixty-six. I may add that Mr. Hughes is a local
antiquary of great industry and zeal; and that he published a book
on the antiquities of the district, under the title of Hynafiaethau
Llandegai a Llanllechid, that is 'the Antiquities of Llandegai and
Llanllechid' (Bethesda, 1866); but it is out of print, and I have
had some trouble to procure a copy:--

'In old times, when the fairies showed themselves much oftener to
men than they do now, they made their home in the bottomless pool
of Corwrion, in Upper Arllechwed, in that wild portion of Gwyned
called Arfon. On fine mornings in the month of June these diminutive
and nimble folk might be seen in a regular line vigorously engaged
in mowing hay, with their cattle in herds busily grazing in the
fields near Corwrion. This was a sight which often met the eyes
of the people on the sides of the hills around, even on Sundays;
but when they hurried down to them they found the fields empty, with
the sham workmen and their cows gone, all gone. At other times they
might be heard hammering away like miners, shovelling rubbish aside,
or emptying their carts of stones. At times they took to singing
all the night long, greatly to the delight of the people about,
who dearly loved to hear them; and, besides singing so charmingly,
they sometimes formed into companies for dancing, and their movements
were marvellously graceful and attractive. But it was not safe to
go too near the lake late at night, for once a brave girl, who was
troubled with toothache, got up at midnight and went to the brink
of the water in search of the root of a plant that grows there full
of the power to kill all pain in the teeth. But, as she was plucking
up a bit of it, there burst on her ear, from the depths of the lake,
such a shriek as drove her back into the house breathless with fear
and trembling; but whether this was not the doing of a stray fairy,
who had been frightened out of her wits at being suddenly overtaken by
a damsel in her nightdress, or the ordinary fairy way of curing the
toothache, tradition does not tell. For sometimes, at any rate, the
fairies busied themselves in doing good to the men and women who were
their neighbours, as when they tried to teach them to keep all promises
and covenants to which they pledged themselves. A certain man and his
wife, to whom they wished to teach this good habit, have never been
forgotten. The husband had been behaving as he ought, until one day,
as he held the plough, with the wife guiding his team, he broke his
covenant towards her by treating her harshly and unkindly. No sooner
had he done so, than he was snatched through the air and plunged in the
lake. When the wife went to the brink of the water to ask for him back,
the reply she had was, that he was there, and that there he should be.

'The fairies when engaged in dancing allowed themselves to be gazed
at, a sight which was wont greatly to attract the young men of the
neighbourhood, and once on a time the son and heir of the owner of
Corwrion fell deeply in love with one of the graceful maidens who
danced in the fairy ring, for she was wondrously beautiful and pretty
beyond compare. His passion for her ere long resulted in courtship,
and soon in their being married, which took place on the express
understanding, that firstly the husband was not to know her name,
though he might give her any name he chose; and, secondly, that he
might now and then beat her with a rod, if she chanced to misbehave
towards him; but he was not to strike her with iron on pain of her
leaving him at once. This covenant was kept for some years, so that
they lived happily together and had four children, of whom the two
youngest were a boy and a girl. But one day as they went to one of the
fields of Bryn Twrw in the direction of Pennard Gron, to catch a pony,
the fairy wife, being so much nimbler than her husband, ran before
him and had her hand in the pony's mane in no time. She called out
to her husband to throw her a halter, but instead of that he threw
towards her a bridle with an iron bit, which, as bad luck would have
it, struck her. The wife at once flew through the air, and plunged
headlong into Corwrion Pool. The husband returned sighing and weeping
towards Bryn Twrw, "Noise Hill," and when he had reached it, the twrw,
"noise," there was greater than had ever been heard before, namely that
of weeping after "Belenë"; and it was then, after he had struck her
with iron, that he first learnt what his wife's name was. Belenë never
came back to her husband, but the feelings of a mother once brought her
to the window of his bedroom, where she gave him the following order:--

    Os byd anwyd ar fy mab,         If my son should feel it cold,
    Rho'wch am dano gob ei dad;     Let him wear his father's coat;
    Os anwydog a fyd can [25],      If the fair one feel the cold,
    Rho'wch am dani bais ei mam.    Let her wear my petticoat.

'As years and years rolled on a grandson of Belenë's fell in love with
a beautiful damsel who lived at a neighbouring farm house called Tai
Teulwriaid, and against the will of his father and mother they married,
but they had nothing to stock their land with. So one morning what was
their astonishment, when they got up, to see grazing quietly in the
field six black cows and a white-headed bull, which had come up out
of the lake as stock for them from old grannie Belenë? They served
them well with milk and butter for many a long year, but on the day
the last of the family died, the six black cows and the white-headed
bull disappeared into the lake, never more to be seen.'

Mr. Hughes referred to no less than three other versions, as
follows:--(1) According to one account, the husband was ploughing,
with the wife leading the team, when by chance he came across her
and the accident happened. The wife then flew away like a wood-hen
(iar goed) into the lake. (2) Another says that they were in a stable
trying to bridle one of the horses, when the misfortune took place
through inadvertence. (3) A third specifies the field in front of the
house at Corwrion as the place where the final accident took place,
when they were busied with the cows and horses.

To these I would add the following traditions, which Mr. Hughes further
gives. Sometimes the inhabitants, who seem to have been on the whole
on good terms with the fairies, used to heat water and leave it in a
vessel on the hearth overnight for the fairies to wash their children
in it. This they considered such a kindness that they always left
behind them on the hearth a handful of their money. Some pieces are
said to have been sometimes found in the fields near Corwrion, and that
they consisted of coins which were smaller than our halfpennies, but
bigger than farthings, and had a harp on one side. But the tradition
is not very definite on these points.

Here also I may as well refer to a similar tale which I got last year
at Llanberis from a man who is a native of the Llanllechid side of the
mountain, though he now lives at Llanberis. He is about fifty-five
years of age, and remembers hearing in his youth a tale connected
with a house called Hafoty'r Famaeth, in a very lonely situation on
Llanllechid Mountain, and now represented only by some old ruined
walls. It was to the effect that one night, when the man who lived
there was away from home, his wife, who had a youngish baby, washed
him on the hearth, left the water there, and went to bed with her
little one: she woke up in the night to find that the Tylwyth Teg
were in possession of the hearth, and busily engaged in washing their
children. That is all I got of this tale of a well-known type.

To return to Mr. Hughes' communications, I would select from them
some remarks on the topography of the teeming home of the fairies. He
estimated the lake or pool of Corwrion to be about 120 yards long,
and adds that it is nearly round; but he thinks it was formerly
considerably larger, as a cutting was made some eighty or a hundred
years ago to lead water from it to Penrhyn Castle; but even then
its size would not approach that ascribed to it by popular belief,
according to which it was no less than three miles long. In fact
it was believed that there was once a town of Corwrion which was
swallowed up by the lake, a sort of idea which one meets with in
many parts of Wales, and some of the natives are said to be able to
discern the houses under the water. This must have been near the end
which is not bottomless, the latter being indicated by a spot which
is said never to freeze even in hard winters. Old men remember it
the resort of herons, cormorants, and the water-hen (hobi wen). Near
the banks there grew, besides the water-lily, various kinds of rushes
and sedges, which were formerly much used for making mats and other
useful articles. It was also once famous for eels of a large size,
but it is not supposed to have contained fish until Lord Penrhyn placed
some there in recent years. It teemed, however, with leeches of three
different kinds so recently that an old man still living describes to
Mr. Hughes his simple way of catching them when he was a boy, namely,
by walking bare-legged in the water: in a few minutes he landed with
nine or ten leeches sticking to his legs, some of which fetched a
shilling each from the medical men of those days. Corwrion is now a
farm house occupied by Mr. William Griffiths, a grandson of the late
bard Gutyn Peris. When Mr. Hughes called to make inquiries about the
legend, he found there the foundations of several old buildings, and
several pieces of old querns about the place. He thinks that there
belonged to Corwrion in former times, a mill and a fuller's house,
which he seems to infer from the names of two neighbouring houses
called 'Y Felin Hen,' the Old Mill, and 'Pandy Tre Garth,' the Fulling
Mill of Tregarth, respectively. He also alludes to a gefail or smithy
there, in which one Rhys ab Robert used to work, not to mention that
a great quantity of ashes, such as come from a smithy, are found at
the end of the lake furthest from the farm house. The spot on which
Corwrion stands is part of the ground between the Ogwen and another
stream which bears the name of 'Afon Cegin Arthur,' or the River of
Arthur's Kitchen, and most of the houses and fields about have names
which have suggested various notions to the people there: such are the
farms called 'Coed Howel,' whence the belief in the neighbourhood that
Howel Da, King of Wales, lived here. About him Mr. Hughes has a great
deal to say: among other things, that he had boats on Corwrion lake,
and that he was wont to present the citizens of Bangor yearly with 300
fat geese reared on the waters of the same. I am referred by another
man to a lecture delivered in the neighbourhood on these and similar
things by the late bard and antiquary the Rev. Robert Ellis (Cyndelw),
but I have never come across a copy. A field near Corwrion is called
'Cae Stabal,' or the Field of the Stable, which contains the remains
of a row of stables, as it is supposed, and of a number of mangers
where Howel's horses were once fed. In a neighbouring wood, called
'Parc y Gelli' or 'Hopiar y Gelli,' my informant goes on to say,
there are to be seen the foundations of seventeen or eighteen old
hut-circles, and near them some think they see the site of an old
church. About a mile to the south-east of Corwrion is Pendinas,
which Mr. Hughes describes as an old triangular Welsh fortress,
on the bank of the Ogwen; and within two stone's-throws or so of
Corwrion on the south side of it, and a little to the west of Bryn
Twrw mentioned in the legend, is situated Penard Gron, a caer or
fort, which he describes as being, before it was razed in his time,
forty-two yards long by thirty-two wide, and defended by a sort of
rampart of earth and stone several yards wide at the base. It used
to be the resort of the country people for dancing, cock-fighting
[26], and other amusements on Sundays. Near it was a cairn, which,
when it was dug into, was found to cover a kistvaen, a pot, and a
quern: a variety of tales attaching to it are told concerning ghosts,
caves, and hidden treasures. Altogether Mr. Hughes is strongly of
opinion that Corwrion and its immediate surroundings represent a spot
which at one time had great importance; and I see no reason wholly to
doubt the correctness of that conclusion, but it would be interesting
to know whether Penrhyn used, as Mr. Hughes suggests, to be called
Penrhyn Corwrion; there ought, perhaps, to be no great difficulty in
ascertaining this, as some of the Penrhyn estate appears to have been
the subject of litigation in times gone by.

Before leaving Mr. Hughes' notes, I must here give his too brief
account of another thing connected with Corwrion, though, perhaps,
not with the legends here in question. I allude to what he calls the
Lantern Ghost (Ysbryd y Lantar):--'There used to be formerly,' he says,
'and there is still at Corwrion, a good-sized sour apple-tree, which
during the winter half of the year used to be lit up by fire. It
began slowly and grew greater until the whole seemed to be in a
blaze. He was told by an old woman that she formerly knew old people
who declared they had seen it. In the same way the trees in Hopiar y
Gelli appeared, according to them, to be also lit up with fire.' This
reminds me of Mr. Fitzgerald's account of the Irish Bile-Tineadh in
the Revue Celtique, iv. 194.

After communicating to me the notes of which the foregoing are
abstracts, Mr. Hughes kindly got me a version of the legend from
Mr. David Thomas, of Pont y Wern, in the same neighbourhood, but as it
contains nothing which I have not already given from Mr. Hughes' own,
I pass it by. Mr. Thomas, however, has heard that the number of the
houses making up the town of Corwrion some six or seven centuries ago
was about seventy-five; but they were exactly seventy-three according
to my next informant, Mr. David Evan Davies, of Treflys, Bethesda,
better known by his bardic name of Dewi Glan Ffrydlas. Both these
gentlemen have also heard the tradition that there was a church at
Corwrion, where there used to be every Sunday a single service, after
which the people went to a spot not far off to amuse themselves, and
at night to watch the fairies dancing, or to mix with them while they
danced in a ring around a glow-worm. According to Dewi Glan Ffrydlas,
the spot was the Pen y Bonc, already mentioned, which means, among
other things, that they chose a rising ground. This is referred to
in a modern rhyme, which runs thus:--

                A'r Tylwyth Teg yn dawnsio'n sionc
                O gylch magïen Pen y Bonc.

                With the fairies nimbly dancing round
                The glow-worm on the Rising Ground.

Dewi Glan Ffrydlas has kindly gone to the trouble of giving me a brief,
but complete, version of the legend as he has heard it. It will be
noticed that the discovering of the fairy's name is an idle incident
in this version: it is brought in too late, and no use is made of it
when introduced. This is the substance of his story in English:--'At
one of the dances at Pen y Bonc, the heir of Corwrion's eyes fell
on one of the damsels of the fair family, and he was filled with
love for her. Courtship and marriage in due time ensued, but he had
to agree to two conditions, namely, that he was neither to know her
name nor to strike her with iron. By-and-by they had children, and
when the husband happened to go, during his wife's confinement, to a
merry-making at Pen y Bonc, the fairies talked together concerning
his wife, and in expressing their feelings of sympathy for her,
they inadvertently betrayed the mystery of her name by mentioning it
within his hearing. Years rolled on, when the husband and wife went out
together one day to catch a colt of theirs that had not been broken
in, their object being to go to Conway Fair. Now, as she was swifter
of foot than her husband, she got hold of the colt by the mane, and
called out to him to throw her a halter, but instead of throwing her
the one she asked for, he threw another with iron in it, which struck
her. Off she went into the lake. A grandson of this fairy many years
afterwards married one of the girls of Corwrion. They had a large
piece of land, but no means of stocking it, so that they felt rather
distressed in their minds. But lo and behold! one day a white-headed
bull came out of the lake, bringing with him six black cows to their
land. There never were the like of those cows for milk, and great
was the prosperity of their owners, as well as the envy it kindled
in their neighbours' breasts. But when they both grew old and died,
the bull and the cows went back into the lake.'

Now I add the other sayings about the Tylwyth Teg, which Dewi Glan
Ffrydlas has kindly collected for me, beginning with a blurred story
about changelings:--

'Once on a time, in the fourteenth century, the wife of a man at
Corwrion had twins, and she complained one day to a witch, who lived
close by, at Tydyn y Barcud, that the children were not getting on,
but that they were always crying day and night. "Are you sure that
they are your children?" asked the witch, adding that it did not
seem to her that they were like hers. "I have my doubts also," said
the mother. "I wonder if somebody has exchanged children with you,"
said the witch. "I do not know," said the mother. "But why do you not
seek to know?" asked the other. "But how am I to go about it?" said the
mother. The witch replied, "Go and do something rather strange before
their eyes and watch what they will say to one another." "Well, I do
not know what I should do," said the mother. "Well," said the other,
"take an egg-shell, and proceed to brew beer in it in a chamber
aside, and come here to tell me what the children will say about
it." She went home and did as the witch had directed her, when the
two children lifted their heads out of the cradle to find what she
was doing--to watch and to listen. Then one observed to the other,
"I remember seeing an oak having an acorn," to which the other replied,
"And I remember seeing a hen having an egg"; and one of the two added,
"But I do not remember before seeing anybody brew beer in the shell
of a hen's egg." The mother then went to the witch and told her what
the twins had said one to the other; and she directed her to go to a
small wooden bridge, not far off, with one of the strange children
under each arm, and there to drop them from the bridge into the
river beneath. The mother went back home again and did as she had
been directed. When she reached home this time, she found to her
astonishment that her own children had been brought back.'

Next comes a story about a midwife who lived at Corwrion. 'One of
the fairies called to ask her to come and attend on his wife. Off
she went with him, and she was astonished to be taken into a splendid
palace. There she continued to go night and morning to dress the baby
for some time, until one day the husband asked her to rub her eyes
with a certain ointment he offered her. She did so, and found herself
sitting on a tuft of rushes, and not in a palace. There was no baby:
all had disappeared. Some time afterwards she happened to go to the
town, and whom should she there see busily buying various wares,
but the fairy on whose wife she had been attending. She addressed
him with the question, "How are you to-day?" Instead of answering
her, he asked, "How do you see me?" "With my eyes," was the prompt
reply. "Which eye?" he asked. "This one," said the woman, pointing to
it; and instantly he disappeared, never more to be seen by her.' This
tale, as will be seen on comparison later, is incomplete, and probably

Here is another from Mr. D. E. Davies:--'One day Guto, the farmer of
Corwrion, complained to his wife that he lacked men to mow his hay,
when she replied, "Why fret about it? look yonder! There you have
a field full of them at it, and stripped to their shirt-sleeves
(yn llewys eu crysau)." When he went to the spot the sham workmen
of the fairy family had disappeared. This same Guto--or somebody
else--happened another time to be ploughing, when he heard some
person he could not see, calling out to him, "I have got the bins
(that is the vice) of my plough broken." "Bring it to me," said the
driver of Guto's team, "that I may mend it." When they finished the
furrow, they found the broken vice, with a barrel of beer placed
near it. One of the men sat down and mended the vice. Then they
made another furrow, and when they returned to the spot they found
there a two-eared dish filled to the brim with bara a chwrw, or
"bread and beer." The word vice, I may observe, is an English term,
which is applied in Carnarvonshire to a certain part of the plough:
it is otherwise called bins, but neither does this seem to be a Welsh
word, nor have I heard either used in South Wales.

At times one of the fairies was in the habit, as I was told by more
than one of my informants, of coming out of Llyn Corwrion with her
spinning-wheel (troell bach) on fine summer days and betaking herself
to spinning. While at that work she might be heard constantly singing
or humming, in a sort of round tune, the words sìli ffrit. So that sìli
ffrit Leisa Bèla may now be heard from the mouths of the children in
that neighbourhood. But I have not been successful in finding out what
Liza Bella's 'silly frit' exactly means, though I am, on the whole,
convinced that the words are other than of Welsh origin. The last of
them, ffrit, is usually applied in Cardiganshire to anything worthless
or insignificant, and the derivative, ffrityn, means one who has no go
or perseverance in him: the feminine is ffriten. In Carnarvonshire my
wife has heard ffrityn and ffritan applied to a small man and a small
woman respectively. Mr. Hughes says that in Merioneth and parts of
Powys sìli ffrit is a term applied to a small woman or a female dwarf
who happens to be proud, vain, and fond of the attentions of the other
sex (benyw fach neu goraches falch a hunanol a fydai hoff o garu);
but he thinks he has heard it made use of with regard to the gipsies,
and possibly also to the Tylwyth Teg. The Rev. O. Davies thinks the
words sìli ffrit Leisa Bèla to be very modern, and that they refer
to a young woman who lived at a place in the neighbourhood, called
Bryn Bèla or Brymbèla, 'Bella's Hill,' the point being that this Bella
was ahead, in her time, of all the girls in those parts in matters of
taste and fashion. This however does not seem to go far enough back,
and it is possible still that in Bèla, that is, in English spelling,
Bella, we have merely a shortening of some such a name as Isabella
or Arabella, which were once much more popular in the Principality
than they are now: in fact, I do not feel sure that Leisa Bèla is
not bodily a corruption of Isabella. As to sìli ffrit, one might at
first have been inclined to render it by small fry, especially in
the sense of the French 'de la friture' as applied to young men and
boys, and to connect it with the Welsh sil and silod, which mean small
fish; but the pronunciation of silli or sìli being nearly that of the
English word silly, it appears, on the whole, to belong to the host of
English words to be found in colloquial Welsh, though they seldom find
their way into books. Students of English ought to be able to tell us
whether frit had the meaning here suggested in any part of England,
and how lately; also, whether there was such a phrase as 'silly frit'
in use. After penning this, I received the following interesting
communication from Mr. William Jones, of Llangollen:--The term sìli
ffrit was formerly in use at Bedgelert, and what was thereby meant
was a child of the Tylwyth Teg. It is still used for any creature
that is smaller than ordinary. 'Pooh, a silly frit like that!' (Pw,
rhyw sìli ffrit fel yna!). 'Mrs. So-and-So has a fine child.' 'Ha,
do you call a silly frit like that a fine child?' (Mae gan hon a hon
blentyn braf. Ho, a ydych chwi'n galw rhyw sìli ffrit fel hwnna'n
braf?) To return to Leisa Bèla and Belenë, it may be that the same
person was meant by both these names, but I am in no hurry to identify
them, as none of my correspondents knows the latter of them except
Mr. Hughes, who gives it on the authority of the bard Gutyn Peris,
and nothing further so far as I can understand, whereas Bèla will
come before us in another story, as it is the same name, I presume,
which Glasynys has spelled Bella in Cymru Fu.

So I wrote in 1881: since then I have ascertained from Professor
Joseph Wright, who is busily engaged on his great English Dialect
Dictionary, that frit [27] is the same word, in the dialects of
Cheshire, Shropshire, and Pembrokeshire, as fright in literary
English; and that the corresponding verb to frighten is in them
fritten, while a frittenin (= the book English frightening) means a
ghost or apparition. So sìli ffrit is simply the English silly frit,
and means probably a silly sprite or silly ghost, and sìli ffrit Leisa
Bèla would mean the silly ghost of a woman called Liza Bella. But the
silly frit found spinning near Corwrion Pool will come under notice
again, for that fairy belongs to the Rumpelstiltzchen group of tales,
and the fragment of a story about her will be seen to have treated
Silly Frit as her proper name, which she had not intended to reach
the ears of the person of whom she was trying to get the better.

These tales are brought into connexion with the present day in more
ways than one, for besides the various accounts of the bwganod
or bogies of Corwrion frightening people when out late at night,
Mr. D. E. Davies knows a man, who is still living, and who well
remembers the time when the sound of working used to be heard in the
pool, and the voices of children crying somewhere in its depths,
but that when people rushed there to see what the matter was, all
was found profoundly quiet and still. Moreover, there is a family
or two, now numerously represented in the parishes of Llandegai
and Llanllechid, who used to be taunted with being the offspring of
fairy ancestors. One of these families was nicknamed 'Simychiaid' or
'Smychiaid'; and my informant, who is not yet quite forty, says that
he heard his mother repeat scores of times that the old people used to
say, that the Smychiaid, who were very numerous in the neighbourhood,
were descended from fairies, and that they came from Llyn Corwrion. At
all this the Smychiaid were wont to grow mightily angry. Another
tradition, he says, about them was that they were a wandering family
that arrived in the district from the direction of Conway, and that the
father's name was a Simwch, or rather that was his nickname, based on
the proper name Simwnt, which appears to have once been the prevalent
name in Llandegai. The historical order of these words would in that
case have been Simwnt, Simwch, Simychiaid, Smychiaid. Now Simwnt seems
to be merely the Welsh form given to some such English name as Simond,
just as Edmund or Edmond becomes in North Wales Emwnt. The objection to
the nickname seems to lie in the fact, which one of my correspondents
points out to me, that Simwch is understood to mean a monkey, a point
on which I should like to have further information. Pughe gives simach,
it is true, as having the meaning of the Latin simia. A branch of the
same family is said to be called 'y Cowperiaid' or the Coopers, from
an ancestor who was either by name or by trade a cooper. Mr. Hughes'
account of the Smychiaid was, that they are the descendants of one
Simonds, who came to be a bailiff at Bodysgallan, near Deganwy, and
moved from there to Coetmor in the neighbourhood of Corwrion. Simonds
was obnoxious to the bards, he goes on to say, and they described the
Smychiaid as having arrived in the parish at the bottom of a cawell,
'a creel or basket carried on the back,' when chance would have it that
the cawell cord snapped just in that neighbourhood, at a place called
Pont y Llan. That accident is described, according to Mr. Hughes,
in the following doggerel, the origin of which I do not know--

                E dorai 'r arwest, ede wan,
                Brwnt y lle, ar Bont y Llan.

                The cord would snap, feeble yarn,
                At that nasty spot, Pont y Llan.

Curiously enough, the same cawell story used to be said of a widely
spread family in North Cardiganshire, whose surname was pronounced
Massn and written Mason or Mazon: as my mother was of this family,
I have often heard it. The cawell, if I remember rightly, was said,
in this instance, to have come from Scotland, to which were traced
three men who settled in North Cardiganshire. One had no descendants,
but the other two, Mason and Peel--I think his name was Peel, but I am
only sure that it was not Welsh--had so many, that the Masons, at any
rate, are exceedingly numerous there; but a great many of them, owing
to some extent, probably, to the cawell story, have been silly enough
to change their name into that of Jones, some of them in my time. The
three men came there probably for refuge in the course of troubles
in Scotland, as a Frazer and a Francis did to Anglesey. At any rate,
I have never heard it suggested that they were of aquatic origin, but,
taking the cawell into consideration, and the popular account of the
Smychiaid, I should be inclined to think that the cawell originally
referred to some such a supposed descent. I only hope that somebody
will help us with another and a longer cawell tale, which will make
up for the brevity of these allusions. We may, however, assume,
I think, that there was a tendency at one time in Gwyned, if not in
other parts of the Principality, to believe, or pretend to believe,
that the descendants of an Englishman or Scotsman, who settled among
the old inhabitants, were of fairy origin, and that their history was
somehow uncanny, which was all, of course, duly resented. This helps,
to some extent, to explain how names of doubtful origin have got
into these tales, such as Smychiaid, Cowperiaid, Pellings, Penelope,
Leisa Bèla or Isabella, and the like. This association of the lake
legends with intruders from without is what has, perhaps, in a great
measure served to rescue such legends from utter oblivion.

As to a church at Corwrion, the tradition does not seem to be an old
one, and it appears founded on one of the popular etymologies of the
word Corwrion, which treats the first syllable as cor in the sense of
a choir; but the word has other meanings, including among them that
of an ox-stall or enclosure for cattle. Taking this as coming near
the true explanation, it at once suggests itself, that Creuwyryon in
the Mabinogi of Math ab Mathonwy is the same place, for creu or crau
also meant an enclosure for animals, including swine. In Irish the
word is cró, an enclosure, a hut or hovel. The passage in the Mabinogi
[28] relates to Gwydion returning with the swine he had got by dint of
magic and deceit from Pryderi, prince of Dyfed, and runs thus in Lady
Charlotte Guest's translation: 'So they journeyed on to the highest
town of Arllechwed, and there they made a sty (creu) for the swine,
and therefore was the name of Creuwyryon given to that town.' As to
wyryon or wyrion, which we find made into wrion in Corwrion according
to the modern habit, it would seem to be no other word than the usual
plural of wyr, a grandson, formerly also any descendant in the direct
line. If so, the name of an ancestor must have originally followed,
just as one of the places called Bettws was once Betws Wyrion Idon,
'the Bettws of Idon's Descendants'; but it is possible that wyrion
in Creu- or Cor-wyrion was itself a man's name, though I have never
met with it. It is right to add that the name appears in the Record
of Carnarvon (pp. 12, 25, 26) as Creweryon, which carries us back to
the first half of the fourteenth century. There it occurs as the name
of a township containing eight gavels, and the particulars about it
might, in the hand of one familiar with the tenures of that time,
perhaps give us valuable information as to what may have been its
status at a still earlier date.


Here, for the sake of comparison with the Northwalian stories in
which the fairy wife runs away from her husband in consequence of
his having unintentionally touched or hit her with the iron in the
bridle, the fetter, or the stirrup, as on pp. 35, 40, 46, 50, 54,
61. I wish to cite the oldest recorded version, namely from Walter
Mapes' curious miscellany of anecdotes and legends entitled De Nugis
Curialium Distinctiones Quinque. Mapes flourished in the latter part
of the twelfth century, and in Distinctio ii. 11 of Thomas Wright's
edition, published in the year 1850, one reads the following story,
which serves the purpose there of giving the origin of a certain
Trinio, of whom Mapes had more to say:--

Aliud non miraculum sed portentum nobis Walenses referunt. Wastinum
Wastiniauc secus stagnum Brekeinauc [read Brecheinauc], quod in
circuitu duo miliaria tenet, mansisse aiunt et vidisse per tres
claras a luna noctes choreas fæminarum in campo avenæ suæ, et
secutum eum eas fuisse donec in aqua stagni submergerentur, unam
tamen quarta vice retinuisse. Narrabat etiam ille raptor illius quod
eas noctibus singulis post submersionem earum murmurantes audisset
sub aqua et dicentes, 'Si hoc fecisset, unam de nobis cepisset,'
et se ab ipsis edoctum quomodo hanc adepta [read -us] sit, quæ
et consensit et nupsit ei, et prima verba sua hæc ad virum suum,
'Libens tibi serviam, et tota obedientiæ devotione usque in diem illum
prosilire volens ad clamores ultra Lenem [read Leueni] me freno tuo
percusseris.' Est autem Leueni aqua vicina stagno. Quod et factum
est; post plurimæ prolis susceptionem ab eo freno percussa est,
et in reditu suo inventam eam fugientem cum prole, insecutus est,
et vix unum ex filiis suis arripuit, nomine Triunem Uagelauc.

'The Welsh relate to us another thing, not so much a miracle as a
portent, as follows. They say that Gwestin of Gwestiniog dwelt beside
Brecknock Mere, which has a circumference of two miles, and that on
three moonlight nights he saw in his field of oats women dancing,
and that he followed them until they sank in the water of the mere;
but the fourth time they say that he seized hold of one of them. Her
captor further used to relate that on each of these nights he had
heard the women, after plunging into the mere, murmuring beneath the
water and saying, "If he had done so and so, he would have caught
one of us," and that he had been instructed by their own words, as
to the manner in which he caught her. She both yielded and became his
wife, and her first words to her husband were these: "Willingly will
I serve thee, and with whole-hearted obedience, until that day when,
desirous of sallying forth in the direction of the cries beyond the
Llyfni, thou shalt strike me with thy bridle"--the Llyfni is a burn
near the mere. And this came to pass: after presenting him with a
numerous offspring she was struck by him with the bridle, and on
his returning home, he found her running away with her offspring,
and he pursued her, but it was with difficulty that he got hold even
of one of his sons, and he was named Trinio (?) Faglog.'

The story, as it proceeds, mentions Trinio engaged in battle with
the men of a prince who seems to have been no other than Brychan of
Brycheiniog, supposed to have died about the middle of the fifth
century. The battle was disastrous to Trinio and his friends, and
Trinio was never seen afterwards; so Walter Mapes reports the fact
that people believed him to have been rescued by his mother, and that
he was with her living still in the lake. Giraldus calls it lacus
ille de Brecheniauc magnus et famosus, quem et Clamosum dicunt, 'that
great and famous lake of Brecknock which they also call Clamosus,'
suggested by the Welsh Llyn Llefni, so called from the river Llefni,
misinterpreted as if derived from llef 'a cry.' With this lake he
connects the legend, that at the bidding of the rightful Prince of
Wales, the birds frequenting it would at once warble and sing. This
he asserts to have been proved in the case of Gruffud, son of Rhys,
though the Normans were at the time masters of his person and of his
territory [29]. After dwelling on the varying colours of the lake he
adds the following statement:--Ad hæc etiam totus ædificiis consertus,
culturis egregiis, hortis ornatus et pomeriis, ab accolis quandoque
conspicitur, 'Now and then also it is seen by the neighbouring
inhabitants to be covered with buildings, and adorned with excellent
farming, gardens, and orchards.' It is remarkable as one of the few
lakes in Wales where the remains of a crannog have been discovered,
and while Mapes gives it as only two miles round, it is now said to
be about five; so it has sometimes [30] been regarded as a stockaded
island rather than as an instance of pile dwellings.

In the Brython for 1863, pp. 114-15, is to be found what purports to be
a copy of a version of the Legend of Llyn Syfadon, as contained in a
manuscript of Hugh Thomas' in the British Museum. It is to the effect
that the people of the neighbourhood have a story that all the land
now covered by the lake belonged to a princess, who had an admirer
to whom she would not be married unless he procured plenty of gold:
she did not care how. So he one day murdered and robbed a man who
had money, and the princess then accepted the murderer's suit, but
she felt uneasy on account of the reports as to the murdered man's
ghost haunting the place where his body had been buried. So she made
her admirer go at night to interview the ghost and lay it. Whilst he
waited near the grave he heard a voice inquiring whether the innocent
man was not to be avenged, and another replying that it would not be
avenged till the ninth generation. The princess and her lover felt
safe enough and were married: they multiplied and became numerous,
while their town grew to be as it were another Sodom; and the original
pair lived on so astonishingly long that they saw their descendants
of the ninth generation. They exulted in their prosperity, and one
day held a great feast to celebrate it; and when their descendants
were banqueting with them, and the gaiety and mirth were at their
zenith, ancestors and descendants were one and all drowned in a mighty
cataclysm which produced the present lake.

Lastly may be briefly mentioned the belief still lingering in the
neighbourhood, to the effect that there is a town beneath the waters
of the lake, and that in rough weather the bells from the church
tower of that town may be heard ringing, while in calm weather the
spire of the church may be distinctly seen. My informant, writing in
1892, added the remark: 'This story seems hardly creditable to us,
but many of the old people believe it.'

I ought to have mentioned that the fifteenth-century poet Lewis Glyn
Cothi connects with Syfadon [31] Lake an afanc legend; but this will
be easier to understand in the light of the more complete one from
the banks of the river Conwy. So the reader will find Glyn Cothi's
words given in the next chapter.



                            In th'olde dayes of the king Arthour,
                            Of which that Britons speken greet honour,
                            Al was this land fulfild of fayerye.
                            The elf-queen, with hir joly companye,
                            Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede;
                            This was the olde opinion, as I rede.
                            I speke of manye hundred yeres ago.



The best living authority I have found on the folklore of Bedgelert,
Drws y Coed, and the surrounding district, is Mr. William Jones, of
Llangollen. He has written a good deal on the subject in the Brython,
and in essays intended for competition at various literary meetings in
Wales. I had the loan from him of one such essay, and I have referred
to the Brython; and I have also had from Mr. Jones a number of letters,
most of which contain some additional information. In harmony,
moreover, with my usual practice, I have asked Mr. Jones to give
me a little of his own history. This he has been kind enough to do;
and, as I have so far followed no particular order in these jottings,
I shall now give the reader the substance of his letters in English,
as I am anxious that no item should be lost or left inaccessible to
English students of folklore. What is unintelligible to me may not be
so to those who have made a serious study of the subject. Mr. Jones'
words are in substance to the following effect:--

'I was bred and born in the parish of Bedgelert, one of the most
rustic neighbourhoods and least subject to change in the whole
country. Some of the old Welsh customs remained within my memory,
in spite of the adverse influence of the Calvinistic Reformation,
as it is termed, and I have myself witnessed several Knitting Nights
and Nuptial Feasts (Neithiorau), which, be it noticed, are not to
be confounded with weddings, as they were feasts which followed the
weddings, at the interval of a week. At these gatherings song and
story formed an element of prime importance in the entertainment at a
time when the Reformation alluded to had already blown the blast of
extinction on the Merry Nights (Noswyliau Llawen) and Saints' Fêtes
[32] (Gwyliau Mabsant) before the days of my youth, though many of
my aged acquaintances remembered them well, and retained a vivid
recollection of scores of the amusing tales which used to be related
for the best at the last mentioned long-night meetings. I have heard
not a few of them reproduced by men of that generation. As an example
of the old-fashioned habits of the people of Bedgelert in my early
days, I may mention the way in which wives and children used to be
named. The custom was that the wife never took her husband's family
name, but retained the one she had as a spinster. Thus my grandmother
on my mother's side was called Ellen Hughes, daughter to Hugh Williams,
of Gwastad Annas. The name of her husband, my grandfather, was William
Prichard [= W. ab Rhisiart, or Richard's son], son to Richard William,
of the Efail Newyd. The name of their eldest son, my uncle (brother
to my mother), was Hugh Hughes, and the second son's name was Richard
William. The mother had the privilege of naming her first-born after
her own family in case it was a boy; but if it happened to be a girl,
she took her name from the father's family, for which reason my
mother's maiden name was Catharine Williams. This remained her name
to the day of her death: and the old people at Bedgelert persisted
in calling me, so long as I was at home, William Prichard, after my
grandfather, as I was my mother's eldest child.

'Most of the tales I have collected,' says Mr. Jones, 'relate to
the parishes of Bedgelert and Dolwydelen. My kindred have lived for
generations in those two parishes, and they are very numerous: in
fact, it used to be said that the people of Dolwydelen and Bedgelert
were all cousins. They were mostly small farmers, and jealous of
all strangers, so that they married almost without exception from
the one parish into the other. This intermixture helped to carry
the tales of the one parish to the other, and to perpetuate them
on the hearths of their homes from generation to generation, until
they were swept away by another influence in this century. Many of my
ancestors seem to have been very fond of stories, poetry, and singing,
and I have been told that some of them were very skilled in these
things. So also, in the case of my parents, the memory of the past
had a great charm for them on both sides; and when the relatives
from Dolwydelen and Bedgelert met in either parish, there used to
be no end to the recounting of pedigrees and the repeating of tales
for the best. By listening to them, I had been filled with desire to
become an adept in pedigrees and legends. My parents used to let me
go every evening to the house of my grandfather, William ab Rhisiart,
the clerk, to listen to tales, and to hear edifying books read. My
grandfather was a reader "without his rival," and "he used to beat
the parson hollow." Many people used to meet at Pen y Bont in the
evenings to converse together, and the stories of some of them were
now and then exceedingly eloquent. Of course, I listened with eager
ears and open mouth, in order, if I heard anything new, to be able
to repeat it to my mother. She, unwilling to let herself be beaten,
would probably relate another like it, which she had heard from her
mother, her grandmother, or her old aunt of Gwastad Annas, who was
a fairly good verse-wright of the homely kind. Then my father, if
he did not happen to be busy with his music-book, would also give
us a tale which he had heard from his grandmother or grandfather,
the old John Jones, of Tyn Llan Dolwydelen, or somebody else would
do so. That is one source from which I got my knowledge of folklore;
but this ceased when we moved from Bedgelert to Carnarvon in the year
1841. My grandfather died in 1844, aged seventy-eight.

'Besides those,' Mr. Jones goes on to say, 'who used to come to
my grandfather's house and to his workshop to relate stories, the
blacksmith's shop used to be, especially on a rainy day, a capital
place for a story, and many a time did I lurk there instead of going
to school, in order to hear old William Dafyd, the sawyer, who, peace
be to his ashes! drank many a hornful from the Big Quart without ever
breaking down, and old Ifan Owen, the fisherman, tearing away for
the best at their yarns, sometimes a tissue of lies and sometimes
truth. The former was funny, and a great wag, up to all kinds of
tricks. He made everybody laugh, whereas the latter would preserve
the gravity of a saint, however lying might be the tale which he
related. Ifan Owen's best stories were about the Water Spirit, or,
as he called it, Llamhigyn y Dwr, "the Water Leaper." He had not
himself seen the Llamhigyn, but his father had seen it "hundreds of
times." Many an evening it had prevented him from catching a single
fish in Llyn Gwynan, and, when the fisherman got on this theme, his
eloquence was apt to become highly polysyllabic in its adjectives. Once
in particular, when he had been angling for hours towards the close
of the day, without catching anything, he found that something took
the fly clean off the hook each time he cast it. After moving from
one spot to another on the lake, he fished opposite the Benlan Wen,
when something gave his line a frightful pull, "and, by the gallows,
I gave another pull," the fisherman used to say, "with all the
force of my arm: out it came, and up it went off the hook, whilst
I turned round to see, as it dashed so against the cliff of Benlan
that it blazed like a lightning." He used to add, "If that was not
the Llamhigyn, it must have been the very devil himself." That cliff
must be two hundred yards at least from the shore. As to his father,
he had seen the Water Spirit many times, and he had also been fishing
in the Llyn Glâs or Ffynnon Lâs, once upon a time, when he hooked a
wonderful and fearful monster: it was not like a fish, but rather
resembled a toad, except that it had a tail and wings instead of
legs. He pulled it easily enough towards the shore, but, as its head
was coming out of the water, it gave a terrible shriek that was enough
to split the fisherman's bones to the marrow, and, had there not been
a friend standing by, he would have fallen headlong into the lake,
and been possibly dragged like a sheep into the depth; for there is
a tradition that if a sheep got into the Llyn Glâs, it could not be
got out again, as something would at once drag it to the bottom. This
used to be the belief of the shepherds of Cwm Dyli, within my memory,
and they acted on it in never letting their dogs go after the sheep
in the neighbourhood of this lake. These two funny fellows, William
Dafyd and Ifan Owen, died long ago, without leaving any of their
descendants blessed with as much as the faintest gossamer thread of
the story-teller's mantle. The former, if he had been still living,
would now be no less than 129 years of age, and the latter about 120.'

Mr. Jones proceeds to say that he had stories from sources besides
those mentioned, namely, from Lowri Robart, wife of Rhisiart Edwart,
the 'Old Guide'; from his old aunt of Gwastad Annas; from William
Wmffra, husband to his grandmother's sister; from his grandmother, who
was a native of Dolwydelen, but had been brought up at Pwllgwernog,
in Nanmor; from her sister; and from Gruffud Prisiart, of Nanmor,
afterwards of Glan Colwyn, who gave him the legend of Owen Lawgoch of
which I shall have something to say later, and the story of the bogie
of Pen Pwll Coch, which I do not know. 'But the chief story-teller of
his time at Bedgelert,' Mr. Jones goes on to say, 'was Twm Ifan Siams
(pronounced Siams or Shams), brother, I believe, to Dafyd Siôn Siams,
of the Penrhyn, who was a bard and pedigree man. Twm lived at Nanmor,
but I know not what his vocation was; his relatives, however, were
small farmers, carpenters, and masons. It is not improbable that he
was also an artisan, as he was conversant with numbers, magnitude, and
letters, and left behind him a volume forming a pedigree book known
at Nanmor as the Barcud Mawr, or "Great Kite," as Gruffud Prisiart
told me. The latter had been reading it many a time in order to know
the origin of somebody or other. All I can remember of this character
is that he was very old--over 90--and that he went from house to
house in his old age to relate tales and recount pedigrees: great
was the welcome he had from everybody everywhere. I remember, also,
that he was small of stature, nimble, witty, exceedingly amusing,
and always ready with his say on every subject. He was in the habit
of calling on my grandfather in his rambles, and very cordial was the
reception which my parents always gave him on account of his tales
and his knowledge of pedigrees. The story of the afanc, as given in my
collection, is from his mouth. You will observe how little difference
there is between his version [33] and that known to Edward Llwyd in the
year 1695. I had related this story to a friend of mine at Portmadoc,
who was grandson or great-grandson to Dafyd Siôn Siams, of Penrhyn,
in 1858, when he called my attention to the same story in the Cambrian
Journal from the correspondence of Edward Llwyd. I was surprised at
the similarity between the two versions, and I went to Bedgelert to
Gruffud Rhisiart, who was related to Twm Siôn Siams. I read the story
to him, and I found that he had heard it related by his uncle just as
it was by me, and as given in the Cambrian Journal. Twm Ifan Siams
had funny stories about the tricks of Gwrach y Rhibyn, the Bodach
[34] Glas, and the Bwbach Llwyd, which he localized in Nanmor and
Llanfrothen; he had, also, a very eloquent tale about the courtship
between a sailor from Moel y Gest, near Portmadoc, and a mermaid,
of which I retain a fairly good recollection. I believe Twm died in
the year 1835-6, aged about ninety-five.'

So far, I have merely translated Mr. Jones' account of himself and
his authorities as given me in the letter I have already referred to,
dated in June of last year, 1881. I would now add the substance of his
general remarks about the fairies, as he had heard them described, and
as he expressed himself in his essay for the competition on folklore at
the Carnarvon Eistedfod of 1880:--The traditions, he says, respecting
the Tylwyth Teg vary according to the situation of the districts with
which they are connected, and many more such traditions continue to
be remembered among the inhabitants of the mountains than by those of
the more level country. In some places the Tylwyth Teg are described
as a small folk of a thieving nature, living in summer among the fern
bushes in the mountains, and in winter in the heather and gorse. These
were wont to frequent the fairs and to steal money from the farmers'
pockets, where they placed in its stead their own fairy money,
which looked like the coin of the realm, but when it was paid for
anything bought it would vanish in the pockets of the seller. In other
districts the fairies were described as a little bigger and stronger
folk; but these latter were also of a thieving disposition. They
would lurk around people's houses, looking for an opportunity to
steal butter and cheese from the dairies, and they skulked about
the cow-yards, in order to milk the cows and the goats, which they
did so thoroughly that many a morning there was not a drop of milk
to be had. The principal mischief, however, which those used to do,
was to carry away unbaptized infants, and place in their stead their
own wretched and peevish offspring. They were said to live in hidden
caves in the mountains, and he had heard one old man asserting his
firm belief that it was beneath Moel Eilio, also called Moel Eilian,
a mountain lying between Llanberis and Cwellyn, the Tylwyth Teg of
Nant y Bettws lived, whom he had seen many a time when he was a lad;
and, if any one came across the mouth of their cave, he thought that he
would find there a wonderful amount of wealth, 'for they were thieves
without their like.' There is still another species of Tylwyth Teg,
very unlike the foregoing ones in their nature and habits. Not only
was this last kind far more beautiful and comely than the others,
but they were honest and good towards mortals. Their whole nature was
replete with joy and fun, nor were they ever beheld hardly, except
engaged in some merry-making or other. They might be seen on bright
moonlight nights at it, singing and carolling playfully on the fair
meadows and the green slopes, at other times dancing lightly on the
tops of the rushes in the valleys. They were also wont to be seen
hunting in full force on the backs of their grey horses; for this
kind were rich, and kept horses and servants. Though it used to be
said that they were spiritual and immortal beings, still they ate
and drank like human beings: they married and had children. They were
also remarkable for their cleanliness, and they were wont to reward
neat maid-servants and hospitable wives. So housewives used to exhort
their maids to clean their houses thoroughly every night before going
to bed, saying that if the Tylwyth Teg happened to enter, they would
be sure to leave money for them somewhere; but they were to tell no
one in case they found any, lest the Tylwyth should be offended and
come no more. The mistresses also used to order a tinful of water to
be placed at the foot of the stairs, a clean cloth on the table, with
bread and its accompaniments (bara ac enllyn) placed on it, so that, if
the Tylwyth came in to eat, the maids should have their recompense on
the hob as well as unstinted praise for keeping the house clean, or, as
Mr. Jones has it in a couplet from Goronwy Owen's Cywyd y Cynghorfynt--

            Cael eu rhent ar y pentan,
            A llwyr glod o bai llawr glân.

            Finding the fairies' pay on the hob,
            With full credit for a clean floor.

Thus, whether the fairies came or not to pay a visit to them
during their sleep, the house would be clean by the morning, and
the table ready set for breakfast. It appears that the places most
frequently resorted to by this species were rushy combes surrounded
by smooth hills with round tops, also the banks of rivers and the
borders of lakes; but they were seldom seen at any time near rocks
or cliffs. So more tales about them are found in districts of the
former description than anywhere else, and among them may be mentioned
Penmachno, Dolwydelan, the sides of Moel Siabod, Llandegái Mountain,
and from there to Llanberis, to Nantlle Lakes, to Moel Tryfan [35]
and Nant y Bettws, the upper portion of the parish of Bedgelert from
Drws y Coed to the Pennant, and the district beginning from there and
including the level part of Eifion, on towards Celynnog Fawr. I have
very little doubt that there are many traditions about them in the
neighbourhood of the Eifl and in Lleyn; I know but little, however,
about these last. This kind of fairies was said to live underground,
and the way to their country lay under hollow banks that overhung
the deepest parts of the lakes, or the deepest pools in the rivers,
so that mortals could not follow them further than the water, should
they try to go after them. They used to come out in broad daylight,
two or three together, and now and then a shepherd, so the saying
went, used to talk and chat with them. Sometimes, moreover, he fell
over head and ears in love with their damsels, but they did not
readily allow a mortal to touch them. The time they were to be seen
in their greatest glee was at night when the moon was full, when
they celebrated a merry night (noswaith lawen). At midnight to the
minute, they might be seen rising out of the ground in every combe
and valley; then, joining hands, they would form into circles, and
begin to sing and dance with might and main until the cock crew, when
they would vanish. Many used to go to look at them on those nights,
but it was dangerous to go too near them, lest they should lure the
spectator into their circle; for if that happened, they would throw
a charm over him, which would make him invisible to his companions,
and he would be detained by the fairies as long as he lived. At times
some people went too near to them, and got snatched in; and at other
times a love-inspired youth, fascinated by the charms of one of their
damsels, rushed in foolhardily to try to seize one of them, and became
instantly surrounded and concealed from sight. If he could be got
out before the cock crew he would be no worse; but once the fairies
disappeared without his having been released, he would never more be
seen in the land of the living. The way to get the captured man out
was to take a long stick of mountain ash (pren criafol), which two
or more strong men had to hold with one of its ends in the middle of
the circle, so that when the man came round in his turn in the dance
he might take hold of it, for he is there bodily though not visible,
so that he cannot go past without coming across the stick. Then the
others pull him out, for the fairies, no more than any other spirit,
dare touch the mountain ash.

We now proceed to give some of Mr. Jones' legends. The first is
one which he published in the fourth volume of the Brython, p. 70,
whence the following free translation is made of it:--

'In the north-west corner of the parish of Bedgelert there is a
place which used to be called by the old inhabitants the Land of the
Fairies, and it reaches from Cwm Hafod Ruffyd along the slope of the
mountain of Drws y Coed as far as Llyn y Dywarchen. The old people
of former times used to find much pleasure and amusement in this
district in listening every moonlight night to the charming music of
the fair family, and in looking at their dancing and their mirthful
sports. Once on a time, a long while ago, there lived at upper Drws
y Coed a youth, who was joyous and active, brave and determined of
heart. This young man amused himself every night by looking on and
listening to them. One night they had come to a field near the house,
near the shore of Llyn y Dywarchen, to pass a merry night. He went,
as usual, to look at them, when his glances at once fell on one of
the ladies, who possessed such beauty as he had never seen in a human
being. Her appearance was like that of alabaster; her voice was as
agreeable as the nightingale's, and as unruffled as the zephyr in a
flower-garden at the noon of a long summer's day; and her gait was
pretty and aristocratic; her feet moved in the dance as lightly on
the grass as the rays of the sun had a few hours before on the lake
hard by. He fell in love with her over head and ears, and in the
strength of that passion--for what is stronger than love!--he rushed,
when the bustle was at its height, into the midst of the fair crowd,
and snatched the graceful damsel in his arms, and ran instantly with
her to the house. When the fair family saw the violence used by a
mortal, they broke up the dance and ran after her towards the house;
but, when they arrived, the door had been bolted with iron, wherefore
they could not get near her or touch her in any way; and the damsel
had been placed securely in a chamber. The youth, having her now under
his roof, as is the saying, endeavoured, with all his talent, to win
her affection and to induce her to wed. But at first she would on no
account hear of it; on seeing his persistence, however, and on finding
that he would not let her go to return to her people, she consented
to be his servant if he could find out her name; but she would not be
married to him. As he thought that was not impossible, he half agreed
to the condition; but, after bothering his head with all the names
known in that neighbourhood, he found himself no nearer his point,
though he was not willing to give up the search hurriedly. One night,
as he was going home from Carnarvon market, he saw a number of the
fair folks in a turbary not far from his path. They seemed to him
to be engaged in an important deliberation, and it struck him that
they were planning how to recover their abducted sister. He thought,
moreover, that if he could secretly get within hearing, he might
possibly find her name out. On looking carefully around, he saw that
a ditch ran through the turbary and passed near the spot where they
stood. So he made his way round to the ditch, and crept, on all fours,
along it until he was within hearing of the family. After listening
a little, he found that their deliberation was as to the fate of the
lady he had carried away, and he heard one of them crying, piteously,
"O Penelop, O Penelop, my sister, why didst thou run away with a
mortal!" "Penelop," said the young man to himself, "that must be the
name of my beloved: that is enough." At once he began to creep back
quietly, and he returned home safely without having been seen by
the fairies. When he got into the house, he called out to the girl,
saying, "Penelop, my beloved one, come here!" and she came forward
and asked, in astonishment, "O mortal, who has betrayed my name
to thee?" Then, lifting up her tiny folded hands, she exclaimed,
"Alas, my fate, my fate!" But she grew contented with her fate,
and took to her work in earnest. Everything in the house and on the
farm prospered under her charge. There was no better or cleanlier
housewife in the neighbourhood around, or one that was more provident
than she. The young man, however, was not satisfied that she should be
a servant to him, and, after he had long and persistently sought it,
she consented to be married, on the one condition, that, if ever he
should touch her with iron, she would be free to leave him and return
to her family. He agreed to that condition, since he believed that
such a thing would never happen at his hands. So they were married,
and lived several years happily and comfortably together. Two children
were born to them, a boy and a girl, the picture of their mother and
the idols of their father. But one morning, when the husband wanted
to go to the fair at Carnarvon, he went out to catch a filly that was
grazing in the field by the house; but for the life of him he could
not catch her, and he called to his wife to come to assist him. She
came without delay, and they managed to drive the filly to a secure
corner, as they thought; but, as the man approached to catch her,
she rushed past him. In his excitement, he threw the bridle after her;
but, who should be running in the direction of it, but his wife! The
iron bit struck her on the cheek, and she vanished out of sight on the
spot. Her husband never saw her any more; but one cold frosty night, a
long time after this event, he was awakened from his sleep by somebody
rubbing the glass of his window, and, after he had given a response,
he recognized the gentle and tender voice of his wife saying to him:--

            Lest my son should find it cold,
            Place on him his father's coat;
            Lest the fair one find it cold,
            Place on her my petticoat.

It is said that the descendants of this family still continue in
these neighbourhoods, and that they are easy to be recognized by their
light and fair complexion. A similar story is related of the son of
the farmer of Braich y Dinas, in Llanfihangel y Pennant, and it used
to be said that most of the inhabitants of that neighbourhood were
formerly of a light complexion. I have often heard old people saying,
that it was only necessary, within their memory, to point out in
the fair at Penmorfa any one as being of the breed of the Tylwyth,
to cause plenty of fighting that day at least.'

The reader may compare with this tale the following, for which I have
to thank Mr. Samuel Rhys Williams, whose words I give, followed by
a translation:--

Yr oed gwr ieuanc o gymydogaeth Drws y Coed yn dychwelyd adref o
Bedgelert ar noswaith loergan lleuad; pan ar gyfer Llyn y Gader
gwelai nifer o'r bonedigesau a elwir y Tylwyth Teg yn myned trwy eu
chwareuon nosawl. Swynwyd y llanc yn y fan gan brydferthwch y rhianod
hyn, ac yn neillduol un o honynt. Collod y llywodraeth arno ei hunan
i'r fath radau fel y penderfynod neidio i'r cylch a dwyn yn ysbail
ido yr hon oed wedi myned a'i galon mor llwyr. Cyflawnod ei fwriad
a dygod y fonediges gydag ef adref. Bu yn wraig ido, a ganwyd plant
idynt. Yn damweiniol, tra yn cyflawni rhyw orchwyl, digwydod ido ei
tharo a haiarn ac ar amrantiad diflannod ei anwylyd o'i olwg ac nis
gwelod hi mwyach, ond darfod idi dyfod at ffenestr ei ystafell wely
un noswaith ar ol hyn a'i annog i fod yn dirion wrth y plant a'i bod
hi yn aros gerllaw y ty yn Llyny Dywarchen. Y mae y tradodiad hefyd
yn ein hysbysu darfod i'r gwr hwn symud i fyw o Drws y Coed i Ystrad
Betws Garmon.

'A young man, from the neighbourhood of Drws y Coed, was returning
home one bright moonlight night, from Bedgelert; when he came opposite
the lake called Llyn y Gader, he saw a number of the ladies known as
the Tylwyth Teg going through their nightly frolics. The youth was
charmed at once by the beauty of these ladies, and especially by one
of them. He so far lost his control over himself, that he resolved to
leap into the circle and carry away as his spoil the one who had so
completely robbed him of his heart. He accomplished his intention, and
carried the lady home with him. She became his wife, and children were
born to them. Accidentally, while at some work or other, it happened
to him to strike her with iron, and, in the twinkling of an eye, his
beloved one disappeared from his sight. He saw her no more, except that
she came to his bedroom window one night afterwards, and told him to
be tender to the children, and that she was staying, near the house,
in the lake called Llyn y Dywarchen. The tradition also informs us that
this man moved from Drws y Coed to live at Ystrad near Bettws Garmon.'

The name Llyn y Dywarchen, I may add, means the Lake of the Sod or
Turf: it is the one with the floating island, described thus by
Giraldus, ii. 9 (p. 135):--Alter enim insulam habet erraticam,
vi ventorum impellentium ad oppositas plerumque lacus partes
errabundam. Hic armenta pascentia nonnunquam pastores ad longinquas
subito partes translata mirantur. 'For one of the two lakes holds a
wandering island, which strays mostly with the force of the winds
impelling it to the opposite parts of the lake. Sometimes cattle
grazing on it are, to the surprise of the shepherds, suddenly carried
across to the more distant parts.' Sheep are known to get on the
floating islet, and it is still believed to float them away from
the shore. Mr. S. Rhys Williams, it will be noticed, has given the
substance of the legend rather than the story itself. I now proceed
to translate the same tale as given in Welsh in Cymru Fu (pp. 474-7
of the edition published by Messrs. Hughes and Son, Wrexham), in
a very different dress--it is from Glasynys' pen, and, as might be
expected, decked out with all the literary adornments in which he
delighted. The language he used was his own, but there is no reason
to think that he invented any of the incidents:--'The farmer of Drws
y Coed's son was one misty day engaged as a shepherd on the side of
the mountain, a little below Cwm Marchnad, and, as he crossed a rushy
flat, he saw a wonderfully handsome little woman standing under a
clump of rushes. Her yellow and curly hair hung down in ringed locks,
and her eyes were as blue as the clear sky, while her forehead was as
white as the wavy face of a snowdrift that has nestled on the side of
Snowdon only a single night. Her two plump cheeks were each like a red
rose, and her pretty-lipped mouth might make an angel eager to kiss
her. The youth approached her, filled with love for her, and, with
delicacy and affection, asked her if he might converse with her. She
smiled kindly, and reaching out her hand, said to him, "Idol of my
hopes, thou hast come at last!" They began to associate secretly,
and to meet one another daily here and there on the moors around
the banks of Llyn y Gader; at last, their love had waxed so strong
that the young man could not be at peace either day or night, as he
was always thinking of Bella or humming to himself a verse of poetry
about her charms. The yellow-haired youth was now and then lost for
a long while, and nobody could divine his history. His acquaintances
believed that he had been fascinated: at last the secret was found
out. There were about Llyn y Dywarchen shady and concealing copses:
it was there he was wont to go, and the she-elf would always be there
awaiting him, and it was therefore that the place where they used to
meet got to be called Llwyn y Forwyn, the Maiden's Grove. After fondly
loving for a long time, it was resolved to wed; but it was needful
to get the leave of the damsel's father. One moonlight night it was
agreed to meet in the wood, and the appointment was duly kept by the
young man, but there was no sign of the subterranean folks coming,
until the moon disappeared behind the Garn. Then the two arrived,
and the old man at once proceeded to say to the suitor: "Thou shalt
have my daughter on the condition that thou do not strike her with
iron. If thou ever touch her with iron, she will no longer be thine,
but shall return to her own." The man consented readily, and great
was his joy. They were betrothed, and seldom was a handsomer pair
seen at the altar. It was rumoured that a vast sum of money as dowry
had arrived with the pretty lady at Drws y Coed on the evening of her
nuptials. Soon after, the mountain shepherd of Cwm Marchnad passed
for a very rich and influential man. In the course of time they
had children, and no happier people ever lived together than their
parents. Everything went on regularly and prosperously for a number
of years: they became exceedingly wealthy, but the sweet is not to
be had without the bitter. One day they both went out on horseback,
and they happened to go near Llyn y Gader, when the wife's horse got
into a bog and sank to his belly. After the husband had got Bella off
his back, he succeeded with much trouble in getting the horse out, and
then he let him go. Then he lifted her on the back of his own, but,
unfortunately, in trying quickly to place her foot in the stirrup,
the iron part of the same slipped, and struck her--or, rather,
it touched her at the knee-joint. Before they had made good half
their way home, several of the diminutive Tylwyth began to appear
to them, and the sound of sweet singing was heard on the side of the
hill. Before the husband reached Drws y Coed his wife had left him,
and it is supposed that she fled to Llwyn y Forwyn, and thence to the
world below to Faery. She left her dear little ones to the care of
her beloved, and no more came near them. Some say, however, that she
sometimes contrived to see her beloved one in the following manner. As
the law of her country did not permit her to frequent the earth with
an earthly being, she and her mother invented a way of avoiding the
one thing and of securing the other. A great piece of sod was set
to float on the surface of the lake, and on that she used to be for
long hours, freely conversing in tenderness with her consort on shore;
by means of that plan they managed to live together until he breathed
his last. Their descendants owned Drws y Coed for many generations, and
they intermarried and mixed with the people of the district. Moreover,
many a fierce fight took place in later times at the Gwyl-fabsant at
Dolbenmaen or at Penmorfa, because the men of Eifionyd had a habit
of annoying the people of Pennant by calling them Bellisians.'

In a note, Glasynys remarks that this tale is located in many
districts without much variation, except in the names of the places;
this, however, could not apply to the latter part, which suits Llyn
y Dywarchen alone. With this account of the fairy wife frequenting a
lake island to converse with her husband on shore, compare the Irish
story of the Children of Lir, who, though transformed into swans,
were allowed to retain their power of reasoning and speaking, so that
they used to converse from the surface of the water with their friends
on the dry land: see Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, pp. x, 1-36. Now
I return to another tale which was sent me by Mr. William Jones:
unless I am mistaken it has not hitherto been published; so I give
the Welsh together with a free translation of it:--

Yr oed ystori am fab Braich y Dinas a adrodai y diwedar hybarch
Elis Owen o Gefn y Meusyd yn lled debyg i chwedl mab yr Ystrad gan
Glasynys, sef ido hudo un o ferched y Tylwyth Teg i lawr o Foel
Hebog, a'i chipio i mewn i'r ty drwy orthrech; ac wedi hynny efe
a'i perswadiod i ymbriodi ag ef ar yr un telerau ag y gwnaeth mab yr
Ystrad. Ond clywais hen fonediges o'r enw Mrs. Roberts, un o ferched
yr Isallt, oed lawer hyn na Mr. Owen, yn ei hadrod yn wahanol. Yr oed
yr hen wreigan hon yn credu yn nilysrwyd y chwedl, oblegid yr oed hi
'yn cofio rhai o'r teulu, waeth be' deudo neb.' Dirwynnai ei hedau yn
debyg i hyn:--Yn yr amser gynt--ond o ran hynny pan oed hi yn ferch
ifanc--yr oed llawer iawn o Dylwyth Teg yn trigo mewn rhyw ogofau yn y
Foel o Gwm Ystradllyn hyd i flaen y Pennant. Yr oed y Tylwyth hwn yn
llawer iawn hardach na dim a welid mewn un rhan arall o'r wlad. Yr
oedynt o ran maint yn fwy o lawer na'r rhai cyffredin, yn lan eu
pryd tu hwnt i bawb, eu gwallt yn oleu fel llin, eu llygaid yn loyw
leision. Yr oedynt yn ymdangos mewn rhyw le neu gilyd yn chwareu,
canu ac ymdifyru bob nos deg a goleu; a bydai swn eu canu yn denu
y llanciau a'r merched ifainc i fyned i'w gweled; ac os bydent yn
digwyd bod o bryd goleu hwy a ymgomient a hwynt, ond ni adawent i
un person o liw tywyll dod yn agos atynt, eithr cilient ymaith o
fford y cyfryw un. Yrwan yr oed mab Braich y Dinas yn llanc hard,
heini, bywiog ac o bryd glan, goleu a serchiadol. Yr oed hwn yn hoff
iawn o edrych ar y Tylwyth, a bydai yn cael ymgom a rhai o honynt yn
aml, ond yn bennaf ag un o'r merched oed yn rhagori arnynt oll mewn
glendid a synwyr; ac o fynych gyfarfod syrthiod y dau mewn cariad
a'u gilyd, eithr ni fynai hi ymbriodi ag ef, ond adawod fyned i'w
wasanaeth, a chydunod i'w gyfarfod yn Mhant--nid wyf yn cofio yr enw
i gyd--drannoeth, oblegid nid oed wiw idi geisio myned gydag ef yn
ngwyd y lleill. Felly drannoeth aeth i fynu i'r Foel, a chyfarfydod
y rhian ef yn ol ei hadewid, ag aeth gydag ef adref, ac ymgymerod a'r
swyd o laethwraig, a buan y dechreuod popeth lwydo o dan ei llaw: yr
oed yr ymenyn a'r caws yn cynhydu beunyd. Hir a thaer y bu'r llanc
yn ceisio gandi briodi. A hi a adawod, os medrai ef gael allan ei
henw. Ni wydai Mrs. Roberts drwy ba ystryw y llwydod i gael hwnnw,
ond hynny a fu, a daeth ef i'r ty un noswaith a galwod ar 'Sibi,'
a phan glywod hi ei henw, hi a aeth i lewygfa; ond pan daeth ati ei
hun, hi a ymfodlonod i briodi ar yr amod nad oed ef i gyffwrd a hi
a haiarn ac nad oed bollt haiarn i fod ar y drws na chlo ychwaith,
a hynny a fu: priodwyd hwynt, a buont fyw yn gysurus am lawer o
flynydoed, a ganwyd idynt amryw blant. Y diwed a fu fel hyn: yr oed
ef wedi myned un diwrnod i dori baich o frwyn at doi, a tharawod
y cryman yn y baich i fyned adref; fel yr oed yn nesu at y gadlas,
rhedod Sibi i'w gyfarfod, a thaflod ynteu y baich brwyn yn direidus
tu ag ati, a rhag ido dyfod ar ei thraws ceisiod ei atal a'i llaw,
yr hon a gyffyrdod a'r cryman; a hi a diflannod o'r golwg yn y fan
yn nghysgod y baich brwyn: ni welwyd ac ni chlywyd dim odiwrthi mwyach.

'There was a story respecting the son of the farmer of Braich y Dinas,
which used to be told by the late respected Mr. Ellis Owen, of Cefn
y Meusyd, somewhat in the same way as that about the Ystrad youth,
as told by Glasynys; that is to say, the young man enticed one of the
damsels of the fair family to come down from Moel Hebog, and then
he carried her by force into the house, and afterwards persuaded
her to become his wife on the same conditions as the heir of Ystrad
did. But I have heard an old lady called Mrs. Roberts, who had been
brought up at Isallt, and who was older than Mr. Owen, relating it
differently. This old woman believed in the truth of the story, as
"she remembered some of the family, whatever anybody may say." She
used to spin her yarn somewhat as follows:--In old times--but, for
the matter of that, when she was a young woman--there were a great
many of the fair family living in certain caves in the Foel from Cwm
Strállyn [36] down to the upper part of Pennant. This Tylwyth was
much handsomer than any seen in any other part of the country. In
point of stature they were much bigger than the ordinary ones, fair
of complexion beyond everybody, with hair that was as light as flax,
and eyes that were of a clear blue colour. They showed themselves
in one spot or another, engaged in playing, singing, and jollity
every light night. The sound of their singing used to draw the lads
and the young women to look at them; and, should they be of clear
complexion, the fairies would chat with them; but they would let
no person of a dark hue come near them: they moved away from such a
one. Now the young man of Braich y Dinas was a handsome, vigorous,
and lively stripling of fair, clear, and attractive complexion. He
was very fond of looking at the fair family, and had a chat with some
of them often, but chiefly with one of the damsels, who surpassed all
the rest in beauty and good sense. The result of frequently meeting
was that they fell in love with one another, but she would not marry
him. She promised, however, to go to service to him, and agreed to
meet him at Pant y--I have forgotten the rest of the name--the day
after, as it would not do for her to go with him while the others
happened to be looking on. So he went up the next day to the Foel,
and the damsel met him according to her promise, and went with him
home, where she took to the duties of a dairymaid. Soon everything
began to prosper under her hand; the butter and the cheese were daily
growing in quantity. Long and importunately did the youth try to get
her to marry him. She promised to do so provided he could find out
her name. Mrs. Roberts did not know by what manoeuvre he succeeded
in discovering it, but it was done, and he came into the house one
night and called to "Sibi," and when she heard her name she fainted
away. When, however, she recovered her consciousness, she consented
to marry on the condition that he was not to touch her with iron,
and that there was not to be a bolt of iron on the door, or a lock
either. It was agreed, and they were married; they lived together
comfortably many years, and had children born to them. The end came
thus: he had gone one day to cut a bundle of rushes for thatching,
and planted the reaping-hook in the bundle to go home. As he drew
towards the haggard, Sibi ran out to meet him, and he wantonly threw
the bundle of rushes towards her, when she, to prevent its hitting her,
tried to stop it with her hand, which touched the reaping-hook. She
vanished on the spot out of sight behind the bundle of rushes, and
nothing more was seen or heard of her.'

Mr. Ellis Owen, alluded to above, was a highly respected gentleman,
well known in North Wales for his literary and antiquarian tastes. He
was born in 1789 at Cefn y Meusyd near Tremadoc, where he continued
to live till the day of his death, which was January 27, 1868. His
literary remains, preceded by a short biography, were published in
1877 by Mr. Robert Isaac Jones of Tremadoc; but it contains no fairy
tales so far as I have been able to find.

A tale which partially reminds one of that given by Dewi Glan
Ffrydlas respecting the Corwrion midwife, referred to at p. 63 above,
was published by Mr. W. Jones in the fourth volume of the Brython,
p. 251: freely rendered into English, it runs thus:--

'Once on a time, when a midwife from Nanhwynan had newly got to the
Hafodyd Brithion to pursue her calling, a gentleman came to the door
on a fine grey steed and bade her come with him at once. Such was the
authority with which he spoke, that the poor midwife durst not refuse
to go, however much it was her duty to stay where she was. So she
mounted behind him, and off they went, like the flight of a swallow,
through Cwmllan, over the Bwlch, down Nant yr Aran, and over the
Gader to Cwm Hafod Ruffyd, before the poor woman had time even to say
Oh! When they reached there, she saw before her a magnificent mansion,
splendidly lit up with such lamps as she had never seen before. They
entered the court, and a crowd of servants in expensive liveries came
to meet them, and she was at once led through the great hall into a
bed-chamber, the like of which she had never seen. There the mistress
of the house, to whom she had been fetched, was awaiting her. The
midwife got through her duties successfully, and stayed there until
the lady had completely recovered, nor had she spent any part of her
life so merrily, for there nought but festivity went on day and night:
dancing, singing, and endless rejoicing reigned there. But merry
as it was, she found that she must go, and the nobleman gave her a
large purse, with the order not to open it until she had got into her
own house. Then he bade one of his servants escort her the same way
that she had come. When she reached home she opened the purse, and,
to her great joy, it was full of money: she lived happily on those
earnings to the end of her life.'

With this ending of the story one should contrast Dewi Glan Ffrydlas'
tale to which I have already alluded; and I may here refer to
Mr. Sikes' British Goblins, pp. 86-8, for a tale differing from both
Dewi's and Jones', in that the fairies are there made to appear as
devils to the nurse, who had accidentally used a certain ointment which
she was not to place near her own eyes. Instead of being rewarded
for her services she was only too glad to be deposited anyhow near
her home. 'But,' as the story goes on to relate, 'very many years
afterwards, being at a fair, she saw a man stealing something from a
stall, and, with one corner of her eye, beheld her old master pushing
the man's elbow. Unthinkingly she said, "How are you, master? how
are the children?" He said, "How did you see me?" She answered,
"With the corner of my left eye." From that moment she was blind of
her left eye, and lived many years with only her right.' Such is the
end of this tale given by Mr. Sikes.

'But the fair family did not,' Mr. William Jones goes on to say,
'always give mortals the means of good living: sometimes they made no
little fun of them. Once on a time the Drws y Coed man was going home
from Bedgelert Fair, rather merry than sad, along the old road over
the Gader, when he saw, on coming near the top of the Gader, a fine,
handsome house near the road, in which there was a rare merrymaking. He
knew perfectly well that there was no such a building anywhere on his
way, and it made him think that he had lost his way and gone astray;
so he resolved to turn into the house to ask for lodgings, which were
given him. At once, when he entered, he took it to be a nuptial feast
(neithior) by reason of the jollity, the singing, and the dancing. The
house was full of young men, young women, and children, all merry,
and exerting themselves to the utmost. The company began to disappear
one by one, and he asked if he might go to bed, whereupon he was led
to a splendid chamber, where there was a bed of the softest down
with snow-white clothes on it. He stripped at once, went into it,
and slept quietly enough till the morning. The first thing to come
to his mind when he lay half asleep, half awake, was the jollity of
the night before, and the fact of his sleeping in a splendid chamber
in the strange house. He opened his eyes to survey his bedroom, but
it was too wide: he was sleeping on the bare swamp, with a clump of
rushes as his pillow, and the blue sky as his coverlet.'

Mr. Jones mentions that, within his memory, there were still people
in his neighbourhood who believed that the fairies stole unbaptized
children and placed their own in their stead: he gives the following
story about the farmer's wife of Dyffryn Mymbyr, near Capel Curig,
and her infant:--

Yr oed y wraig hon wedi rhodi genedigaeth i blentyn iach a heinif
yn nechreu y cynheuaf ryw haf blin a thymhestlog: ac o herwyd fod y
tydyn getyn o fford odiwrth lan na chapel, a'r hin mor hynod o lawiog,
esgeuluswyd bedydio y plentyn yn yr amser arferol, sef cyn ei fod yn
wyth niwrnod oed. Ryw diwrnod teg yn nghanol y cynheuaf blin aeth y
wraig allan i'r maes gyda'r rhelyw o'r teulu i geisio achub y cynheuaf,
a gadawod y baban yn cysgu yn ei gryd o dan ofal ei nain, yr hon oed
hen a methiantus, ac yn analluog i fyned lawer o gwmpas. Syrthiod yr
hen wreigan i gysgu, a thra yr oed hi felly, daeth y Tylwyth i fewn,
a chymerasant y baban o'r cryd, a dodasant un arall yn ei le. Yn mhen
ennyd dechreuod hwn erain a chwyno nes deffro y nain, ac aeth at y
cryd, lle y gwelod gleiriach hen eidil crebachlyd yn ymstwyrian yn
flin. 'O'r wchw!' ebai hi, 'y mae yr hen Dylwyth wedi bod yma;' ac yn
dioed chwythod yn y corn i alw y fam, yr hon a daeth yno yn diatreg;
a phan glywod y crio yn y cryd, rhedod ato, a chodod y bychan i fynu
heb sylwi arno, a hi a'i cofleidiod, a'i suod ac a'i swcrod at ei
bronnau, ond nid oed dim yn tycio, parhau i nadu yn didor yr oed nes
bron a hollti ei chalon; ac ni wydai pa beth i wneud i'w distewi. O'r
diwed hi a edrychod arno, a gwelod nad oed yn debyg i'w mhebyn hi,
ac aeth yn loes i'w chalon: edrychod arno drachefn, ond po fwyaf yr
edrychai arno, hyllaf yn y byd oed hi yn ei weled; anfonod am ei gwr
o'r cae, a gyrrod ef i ymholi am wr cyfarwyd yn rhywle er mwyn cael ei
gynghor; ac ar ol hir holi dywedod rhywun wrtho fod person Trawsfynyd
yn gyfarwyd yn nghyfrinion yr ysprydion; ac efe a aeth ato, ac archod
hwnnw ido gymeryd rhaw a'i gorchudio a halen, a thori llun croes yn
yr halen; yna ei chymeryd i'r ystafell lle yr oed mab y Tylwyth, ac
ar ol agor y ffenestr, ei rhodi ar y tan hyd nes y llosgai yr halen;
a hwy a wnaethant felly, a phan aeth yr halen yn eiriasboeth fe aeth
yr erthyl croes ymaith yn anweledig idynt hwy, ac ar drothwy y drws
hwy a gawsant y baban arall yn iach a dianaf.

'This woman had given birth to a healthy and vigorous child at the
beginning of the harvest, one wretched and inclement summer. As the
homestead was a considerable distance from church or chapel, and the
weather so very rainy, it was neglected to baptize the child at the
usual [37] time, that is to say, before it was eight days old. One
fine day, in the middle of this wretched harvest, the mother went
to the field with the rest of the family to try to save the harvest,
and left her baby sleeping in its cradle in its grandmother's charge,
who was so aged and decrepit as to be unable to go much about. The
old woman fell asleep, and, while she was in that state, the Tylwyth
Teg came in and took away the baby, placing another in its stead. Very
shortly the latter began to whine and groan, so that the grandmother
awoke: she went to the cradle, where she saw a slender, wizened old
man moving restlessly and peevishly about. "Alas! alas!" said she,
"the old Tylwyth have been here"; and she at once blew in the horn
to call the mother home, who came without delay. As she heard the
crying in the cradle, she ran towards it, and lifted the little one
without looking at him; she hugged him, put him to her breast, and
sang lullaby to him, but nothing was of any avail, as he continued,
without stopping, to scream enough to break her heart; and she knew
not what to do to calm him. At last she looked at him: she saw that
he was not like her dear little boy, and her heart was pierced with
agony. She looked at him again, and the more she examined him the
uglier he seemed to her. She sent for her husband home from the
field, and told him to search for a skilled man somewhere or other;
and, after a long search, he was told by somebody that the parson
of Trawsfynyd was skilled in the secrets of the spirits; so he went
to him. The latter bade him take a shovel and cover it with salt,
and make the figure of the cross in the salt; then to take it to
the chamber where the fairy child was, and, after taking care to
open the window, to place the shovel on the fire until the salt
was burnt. This was done, and when the salt had got white hot, the
peevish abortion went away, seen of no one, and they found the other
baby whole and unscathed at the doorstep.' Fire was also made use of
in Scotland in order to detect a changeling and force him to quit: see
the British Association's Report, 1896, p. 650, where Mr. Gomme refers
to Mr. Gregor's Folk-lore of the North-east of Scotland, pp. 8-9.

In answer to a question of mine with regard to gossamer, which is
called in North Wales edafed gwawn, 'gwawn yarn,' Mr. Jones told me
in a letter, dated April, 1881, that it used to be called Rhaffau'r
Tylwyth Teg, that is to say, the Ropes of the Fair Family, which
were associated with the diminutive, mischievous, and wanton kind
of fairies who dwelt in marshy and rushy places, or among the fern
and the heather. It used to be said that, if a man should lie down
and fall asleep in any such a spot, the fairies would come and bind
him with their ropes so that he could not move, and that they would
then cover him with a sheet made of their ropes, which would make
him invisible. This was illustrated by him by the following tale he
had heard from his mother:--

Clywais fy mam yn adrod chwedl am fab y Ffrid, yr hwn wrth dychwelyd
adref o ffair Bedgelert yn rhywle odeutu Pen Cae'r Gors a welod beth
afrifed o'r Tylwyth Bach yn neidio a phrancio ar bennau y grug. Efe
a eistedod i lawr i edrych arnynt, a daeth hun drosto; ymollyngod i
lawr a chysgod yn drwm. A phan oed felly, ymosodod yr holl lu arno
a rhwymasant ef mor dyn fel na allasai symud; yna hwy a'i cudiasant
ef a'r tuded gwawn fel na allai neb ei weled os digwydai ido lefain
am help. Yr oed ei deulu yn ei disgwyl adref yn gynnar y nos honno,
ac wrth ei weled yn oedi yn hwyr, aethant yn anesmwyth am dano ac
aethpwyd i'w gyfarfod, eithr ni welent dim odiwrtho, ac aed gan
belled a'r pentref, lle en hyspyswyd ei fod wedi myned tuag adref
yn gynnar gyda gwr Hafod Ruffyd. Felly aed tua'r Hafod i edrych a
oed yno; ond dywedod gwr yr Hafod eu bod wedi ymwahanu ar Bont Glan
y Gors, pawb tua'i fan ei hun. Yna chwiliwyd yn fanwl bob ochr i'r
fford odiyno i'r Ffrid heb weled dim odiwrtho. Buwyd yn chwilio yr
holl ardal drwy y dyd drannoeth ond yn ofer. Fod bynnag odeutu yr
un amser nos drannoeth daeth y Tylwyth ac a'i rhydhasant, ac yn fuan
efe a deffrôd wedi cysgu o hono drwy y nos a'r dyd blaenorol. Ar ol
ido deffro ni wydai amcan daear yn mha le yr oed, a chrwydro y bu hyd
ochrau y Gader a'r Gors Fawr hyd nes y canod y ceiliog, pryd yr adnabu
yn mha le yr oed, sef o fewn llai na chwarter milltir i'w gartref.

'I have heard my mother relating a tale about the son of the farmer
of the Ffrid, who, while on his way home from Bedgelert Fair, saw,
somewhere near Pen Cae'r Gors, an endless number of the diminutive
family leaping and capering on the heather tops. He sat him down
to look at them, and sleep came over him; he let himself down on the
ground, and slept heavily. When he was so, the whole host attacked him,
and they bound him so tightly that he could not have stirred; then
they covered him with the gossamer sheet, so that nobody could see him
in case he called for help. His people expected him home early that
evening, and, as they found him delaying till late, they got uneasy
about him. They went to meet him, but no trace of him was seen, and
they went as far as the village, where they were informed that he had
started home in good time with the farmer of Hafod Ruffyd. So they
went to the Hafod to see if he was there; but the farmer told them
that they had parted on Glan y Gors Bridge to go to their respective
homes. A minute search was then made on both sides of the road from
there to the Ffrid, but without finding any trace of him. They kept
searching the whole neighbourhood during the whole of the next day,
but in vain. However, about the same time the following night the
Tylwyth came and liberated him, and he shortly woke up, after sleeping
through the previous night and day. When he woke he had no idea where
on earth he was; so he wandered about on the slopes of the Gader and
near the Gors Fawr until the cock crew, when he found where he was,
namely, less than a quarter of a mile from his home.'

The late Mr. Owen, of Cefn Meusyd, has already been alluded to. I
have not been able to get at much of the folklore with which he was
familiar, but, in reply to some questions of mine, Mr. Robert Isaac
Jones of Tremadoc, his biographer, and the publisher of the Brython,
so long as it existed, has kindly ransacked his memory. He writes to
me in Welsh to the following effect:--

'I will tell you what I heard from Mr. Owen and my mother when I
was a lad, about fifty-seven years ago. The former used to say that
the people of Pennant in Eifionyd had a nickname, to wit, that of
Belsiaid y Pennant, "the Bellisians of the Pennant"; that, when he was
a boy, if anybody called out Belsiaid y Pennant at the Penmorfa Fair,
every man jack of them would come out, and fighting always ensued. The
antiquary used to explain it thus. Some two or three hundred years ago,
Sir Robert of the Nant, one of Sir Richard Bulkeley's ancestors, had a
son and heir who was extravagant and wild. He married a gipsy, and they
had children born to them; but, as the family regarded this marriage
as a disgrace to their ancient stem, it is said that the father, the
next time the vagabonds came round, gave a large sum of money to the
father of the girl for taking her away with him. This having been done,
the rumour was spread abroad that it was one of the fairies the youth
had married, and that she had gone with him to catch a pony, when he
threw the bridle at the beast to prevent it passing, and the iron
of the bridle touched the wife; then that she at once disappeared,
as the fairies always do so when touched with iron. However, the two
children were put out to nurse, and the one of them, who was a girl,
was brought up at Plas y Pennant, and her name was Pelisha [38]; her
descendants remain to this day in the Nant, and are called Bellis,
who are believed there, to this day, to be derived from the Tylwyth
Teg. Nothing offends them more than to be reminded of this.'

Mr. R. I. Jones goes on to relate another tale as follows:--

Dywedir fod lle a elwir yr Hafod Rugog mewn cwm anial yn y mynyd lle
y bydai y Tylwyth Teg yn arferol a mynychu; ac y bydent yn trwblio'r
hen wraig am fenthyg rhywbeth neu gilyd. Dywedod hithau, 'Cewch os
caniatewch dau beth cyntaf--i'r peth cyntaf y cyffyrdaf ag ef wrth y
drws dorri, a'r peth cyntaf y rhof fy llaw arno yn y ty estyn hanner
llath.' Yr oed carreg afael, fel ei gelwir, yn y mur wrth y drws ar
ei fford, ac yr oed gandi defnyd syrcyn gwlanen yn rhy fyr o hanner
llath. Ond yn anffodus wrth dod a'i chawellad mawn i'r ty bu agos idi
a syrthio: rhoes ei llaw ar ben ei chlun i ymarbed a thorod honno,
a chan faint y boen cyffyrdod yny ty a'i thrwyn yr hwn a estynnod
hanner llath.

'It is said that there was a place called Hafod Rugog in a wild
hollow among the mountains, where the fair family were in the habit of
resorting, and that they used to trouble the old woman of Hafod for
the loan of one thing and another. So she said, one day, "You shall
have the loan if you will grant me two first things--that the first
thing I touch at the door break, and that the first thing I put my
hand on in the house be lengthened half a yard." There was a grip
stone (carreg afael), as it is called, in the wall near the door,
which was in her way, and she had in the house a piece of flannel
for a jerkin which was half a yard too short. But, unfortunately,
as she came, with her kreel full of turf on her back, to the house,
she nearly fell down: she put her hand, in order to save herself,
to her knee-joint, which then broke; and, owing to the pain, when she
had got into the house, she touched her nose with her hand, when her
nose grew half a yard longer.'

Mr. Jones went on to notice how the old folks used to believe that the
fairies were wont to appear in the marshes near Cwellyn Lake, not far
from Rhyd-Du, to sing and dance, and that it was considered dangerous
to approach them on those occasions lest one should be fascinated. As
to the above-mentioned flannel and stone a folklorist asks me, why
the old woman did not definitely mention them and say exactly what
she wanted. The question is worth asking: I cannot answer it, but I
mention it in the hope that somebody else will.


Early in the year 1899 [39] I had a small group of stories communicated
to me by the Rev. W. Evans Jones, rector of Dolbenmaen, who tells me
that the neighbourhood of the Garn abounds in fairy tales. The scene
of one of these is located near the source of Afon fach Blaen y Cae,
a tributary of the Dwyfach. 'There a shepherd while looking after
his flock came across a ring of rushes which he accidentally kicked,
as the little people were coming out to dance. They detained him,
and he married one of their number. He was told that he would live
happily with them as long as he would not touch any instrument of
iron. For years nothing happened to mar the peace and happiness of
the family. One day, however, he unknowingly touched iron, with the
consequence that both the wife and the children disappeared.' This
differs remarkably from stories such as have been already mentioned
at pp. 32, 35; but until it is countenanced by stories from other
sources, I can only treat it as a blurred version of a story of the
more usual type, such as the next one which Mr. Evans Jones has sent
me as follows:--

'A son of the farmer of Blaen Pennant married a fairy and they
lived together happily for years, until one day he took a bridle
to catch a horse, which proved to be rather an obstreperous animal,
and in trying to prevent the horse passing, he threw the bridle at
him, which, however, missed the animal and hit the wife so that the
bit touched her, and she at once disappeared. The tradition goes,
that their descendants are to this day living in the Pennant Valley;
and if there is any unpleasantness between them and their neighbours
they are taunted with being of the Tylwyth Teg family.' These are,
I presume, the people nicknamed Belsiaid, to which reference has
already been made.

The next story is about an old woman from Garn Dolbenmaen who was
crossing y Graig Goch, 'the Red Rock,' 'when suddenly she came across a
fairy sitting down with a very large number of gold coins by her. The
old woman ventured to remark how wealthy she was: the fairy replied,
Wele dacw, "Lo there!" and immediately disappeared.' This looks as
if it ought to be a part of a longer story which Mr. Evans Jones has
not heard.

The last bit of folklore which he has communicated is equally short,
but of a rarer description: 'A fairy was in the habit of attending
a certain family in the Pennant Valley every evening to put the
children to bed; and as the fairy was poorly clad, the mistress of
the house gave her a gown, which was found in the morning torn into
shreds.' The displeasure of the fairy at being offered the gown is
paralleled by that of the fenodyree or the Manx brownie, described in
chapter iv. As for the kind of service here ascribed to the Pennant
fairy, I know nothing exactly parallel.


The next four stories are to be found in Cymru Fu at pp. 175-9, whence
I have taken the liberty of translating them into English. They were
contributed by Glasynys, whose name has already occurred so often in
connexion with these Welsh legends, that the reader ought to know more
about him; but I have been disappointed in my attempt to get a short
account of his life to insert here. All I can say is, that I made
his acquaintance in 1865 in Anglesey: at that time he had a curacy
near Holyhead, and he was in the prime of life. He impressed me as an
enthusiast for Welsh antiquities: he was born and bred, I believe,
in the neighbourhood of Snowdon, and his death took place about ten
years ago. It would be a convenience to the student of Welsh folklore
to have a brief biography of Glasynys, but as yet nothing of the kind
seems to have been written.

(1) 'When the people of the Gors Goch one evening had just gone to bed,
they heard a great row and disturbance around the house. One could
not comprehend at all what it was that made a noise at that time
of night. Both the husband and the wife had waked up, quite unable
to make out what it might be. The children also woke, but no one
could utter a word: their tongues had all stuck to the roof of their
mouths. The husband, however, at last managed to move, and to ask,
"Who is there? What do you want?" Then he was answered from without by
a small silvery voice, "It is room we want to dress our children." The
door was opened: a dozen small beings came in, and began to search
for an earthen pitcher with water; there they remained for some hours,
washing and titivating themselves. As the day was breaking, they went
away, leaving behind them a fine present for the kindness they had
received. Often afterwards did the Gors Goch folks have the company
of this family. But once there happened to be there a fine plump and
pretty baby in his cradle. The fair family came, and, as the baby
had not been baptized, they took the liberty of changing him for one
of their own. They left behind in his stead an abominable creature
that would do nothing but cry and scream every day of the week. The
mother was nearly breaking her heart on account of the misfortune,
and greatly afraid of telling anybody about it. But everybody got to
see that there was something wrong at the Gors Goch, which was proved
before long by the mother dying of longing for her child. The other
children died broken-hearted after their mother, and the husband was
left alone with the little elf without any one to comfort them. But
shortly after, one began to resort again to the hearth of the Gors
Goch to dress children, and the gift, which had formerly been silver
money, became henceforth pure gold. In the course of a few years the
elf became the heir of a large farm in North Wales, and that is why
the old people used to say, "Shoe the elf with gold and he will grow"
(Fe daw gwidon yn fawr ond ei bedoli ag aur). That is the legend of
the Gors Goch.'

(2) 'Once when William Ellis, of the Gilwern, was fishing on the bank
of Cwm Silin Lake on a dark misty day, he had seen no living Christian
from the time when he left Nantlle. But as he was in a happy mood,
throwing his line, he beheld over against him in a clump of rushes a
large crowd of people, or things in the shape of people about a foot
in stature: they were engaged in leaping and dancing. He looked on
for hours, and he never heard, as he said, such music in his life
before. But William went too near them, when they threw a kind of
dust into his eyes, and, while he was wiping it away, the little
family took the opportunity of betaking themselves somewhere out of
his sight, so that he neither saw nor heard anything more of them.'

(3) 'There is a similar story respecting a place called Llyn y
Ffynhonnau. There was no end of jollity there, of dancing, harping, and
fiddling, with the servant man of Gelli Ffrydau and his two dogs in the
midst of the crowd, leaping and capering as nimbly as anybody else. At
it they were for three days and three nights, without stopping; and
had it not been for a skilled man, who lived not far off, and came to
know how things were going on, the poor fellow would, without doubt,
have danced himself to death. But he was rescued that time.'

(4) The fourth story is one, of which he says, that he heard it from
his mother; but he has elaborated it in his usual fashion, and the
proper names are undoubtedly his own:--'Once on a time, a shepherd
boy had gone up the mountain. That day, like many a day before and
after, was exceedingly misty. Now, though he was well acquainted
with the place, he lost his way, and walked backwards and forwards
for many a long hour. At last he got into a low rushy spot, where he
saw before him many circular rings. He at once recalled the place,
and began to fear the worst. He had heard, many hundreds of times,
of the bitter experiences, in those rings, of many a shepherd who had
happened to chance on the dancing place or the circles of the fair
family. He hastened away as fast as ever he could, lest he should be
ruined like the rest; but, though he exerted himself to the point of
perspiring and losing his breath, there he was, and there he continued
to be, a long time. At last he was met by an old fat little man, with
merry blue eyes, who asked him what he was doing. He answered that
he was trying to find his way home. "Oh," said he, "come after me,
and do not utter a word until I bid thee." This he did, following him
on and on until they came to an oval stone; and the old fat little
man lifted it, after tapping the middle of it three times with his
walking-stick. There was there a narrow path with stairs visible here
and there; and a sort of whitish light, inclining to grey and blue,
was to be seen radiating from the stones. "Follow me fearlessly,"
said the fat man; "no harm will be done thee." So on the poor youth
went, as reluctantly as a dog to be hanged. But presently a fine,
wooded, fertile country spread itself out before them, with well
arranged mansions dotting it all over, while every kind of apparent
magnificence met the eye and seemed to smile in the landscape; the
bright waters of the rivers meandered in twisted streams, and the
hills were covered with the luxuriant verdure of their grassy growth,
and the mountains with a glossy fleece of smooth pasture. By the time
they had reached the stout gentleman's mansion, the young man's senses
had been bewildered by the sweet cadence of the music which the birds
poured forth from the groves: then there was gold dazzling his eyes,
and silver flashing on his sight. He saw there all kinds of musical
instruments and all sorts of things for playing; but he could discern
no inhabitant in the whole place; and, when he sat down to eat, the
dishes on the table came to their places of themselves, and disappeared
when one had done with them. This puzzled him beyond measure; moreover,
he heard people talking together around him, but for the life of him
he could see no one but his old friend. At length the fat man said
to him: "Thou canst now talk as much as it may please thee;" but,
when he attempted to move his tongue, it would no more stir than if it
had been a lump of ice, which greatly frightened him. At this point,
a fine old lady, with health and benevolence beaming in her face, came
to them and slightly smiled at the shepherd: the mother was followed
by her three daughters, who were remarkably beautiful. They gazed with
somewhat playful looks at him, and at length began to talk to him;
but his tongue would not wag. Then one of the girls came to him, and,
playing with his yellow and curly locks, gave him a smart kiss on his
ruddy lips. This loosened the string that bound his tongue, and he
began to talk freely and eloquently. There he was, under the charm of
that kiss, in the bliss of happiness; and there he remained a year and
a day without knowing that he had passed more than a day among them;
for he had got into a country where there was no reckoning of time. But
by-and-by he began to feel somewhat of a longing to visit his old home,
and asked the stout man if he might go. "Stay a little yet," said he,
"and thou shalt go for awhile." That passed: he stayed on, but Olwen,
for that was the name of the damsel that had kissed him, was very
unwilling that he should depart. She looked sad every time he talked
of going away; nor was he himself without feeling a sort of a cold
thrill passing through him at the thought of leaving her. On condition,
however, of returning, he obtained leave to go, provided with plenty
of gold and silver, of trinkets and gems. When he reached home, nobody
knew who he was: it had been the belief that he had been killed by
another shepherd, who found it necessary to betake himself hastily far
away to America, lest he should be hanged without delay. But here is
Einion Lâs at home, and everybody wonders especially to see that the
shepherd had got to look like a wealthy man: his manners, his dress,
his language, and the treasure he had with him, all conspired to give
him the air of a gentleman. He went back one Thursday night, the first
of the moon of that month, as suddenly as he had left the first time,
and nobody knew whither. There was great joy in the country below when
Einion returned thither, and nobody was more rejoiced at it than Olwen
his beloved. The two were right impatient to get married; but it was
necessary to do that quietly, for the family below hated nothing more
than fuss and noise; so, in a sort of a half-secret fashion, they
were wedded. Einion was very desirous to go once more among his own
people, accompanied, to be sure, by his wife. After he had been long
entreating the old man for leave, they set out on two white ponies,
that were, in fact, more like snow than anything else in point of
colour. So he arrived with his consort in his old home, and it was
the opinion of all that Einion's wife was the handsomest person they
had anywhere seen. Whilst at home, a son was born to them, to whom
they gave the name of Taliessin. Einion was now in the enjoyment
of high repute, and his wife received due respect. Their wealth was
immense, and soon they acquired a large estate; but it was not long
till people began to inquire after the pedigree of Einion's wife: the
country was of opinion that it was not the right thing to be without
a pedigree. Einion was questioned about it, but without giving any
satisfactory answer, and one came to the conclusion that she was one
of the fair family (Tylwyth Teg). "Certainly," replied Einion, "there
can be no doubt that she comes from a very fair family; for she has
two sisters who are as fair as she, and, if you saw them together,
you would admit that name to be a most fitting one." This, then,
is the reason why the remarkable family in the Land of Enchantment
and Glamour (Hud a Lledrith) is called the fair family.'

The two next tales of Glasynys' appear in Cymru Fu, at pp. 478-9;
the first of them is to be compared with one already related (pp. 99,
100), while the other is unlike anything that I can now recall:--

(5) 'Cwmllan was the principal resort of the fair family, and the
shepherds of Hafod Llan used to see them daily in the ages of faith
gone by. Once, on a misty afternoon, one of them had been searching
for sheep towards Nant y Bettws. When he had crossed Bwlch Cwmllan,
and was hastening laboriously down, he saw an endless number of little
folks singing and dancing in a lively and light-footed fashion, while
the handsomest girls he had ever seen anywhere were at it preparing
a banquet. He went to them and had a share of their dainties, and it
seemed to him that he had never in his life tasted anything approaching
their dishes. When the twilight came, they spread their tents, and
the man never before saw such beauty and ingenuity. They gave him
a soft bed of yielding down, with sheets of the finest linen, and
he went to rest as proud as if he had been a prince. But, alas! next
morning, after all the jollity and sham splendour, the poor man, when
he opened his eyes, found that his bed was but a bush of bulrushes,
and his pillow a clump of moss. Nevertheless, he found silver money
in his shoes, and afterwards he continued for a long time to find,
every week, a piece of coined money between two stones near the spot
where he had slept. One day, however, he told a friend of his the
secret respecting the money, and he never found any more.'

(6) 'Another of these shepherds was one day urging his dog at the
sheep in Cwmllan, when he heard a kind of low noise in the cleft
of a rock. He turned to look, when he found there some kind of a
creature weeping plenteously. He approached, and drew out a wee lass;
very shortly afterwards two middle-aged men came to him to thank him
for his kindness, and, when about to part, one of them gave him a
walking-stick, as a souvenir of his good deed. The year after this,
every sheep in his possession had two ewe-lambs; and so his sheep
continued to breed for some years. But he had stayed one evening in
the village until it was rather late, and there hardly ever was a
more tempestuous night than that: the wind howled, and the clouds
shed their contents in sheets of rain, while the darkness was such
that next to nothing could be seen. As he was crossing the river that
comes down from Cwmllan, where its flood was sweeping all before it
in a terrible current, he somehow let go the walking-stick from his
hand; and when one went next morning up the Cwm, it was found that
nearly all the sheep had been swept away by the flood, and that the
farmer's wealth had gone almost as it came--with the walking-stick.'

The shorter versions given by Glasynys are probably more nearly given
as he heard them, than the longer ones, which may be suspected of
having been a good deal spun out by him; but there is probably very
little in any of them of his own invention, though the question whence
he got his materials in each instance may be difficult to answer. In
one this is quite clear, though he does not state it, namely the
story of the sojourn of Elfod the Shepherd in Fairyland, as given
in Cymru Fu, p. 477: it is no other than a second or third-hand
reproduction of that recorded by Giraldus concerning a certain
Eliodorus, a twelfth-century cleric in the diocese of St. David's
[40]. But the longest tale published by Glasynys is the one about
a mermaid: see Cymru Fu, pp. 434-44. Where he got this from I have
not been able to find out, but it has probably been pieced together
from various sources. I feel sure that some of the materials at least
were Welsh, besides the characters known to Welsh mythology as Nefyd
Naf Neifion, Gwyn ab Nud, Gwydion ab Dôn, Dylan, and Ceridwen, who
have been recklessly introduced into it. He locates it, apparently,
somewhere on the coast of Carnarvonshire, the chief scene being
called Ogof Deio or David's Cave, which so far as I know is not an
actual name, but one suggested by 'David Jones' locker' as sailors'
slang for the sea. In hopes that somebody will communicate to me any
bits of this tale that happen to be still current on the Welsh coast,
I give an abstract of it here:--

'Once upon a time, a poor fisherman made the acquaintance of a mermaid
in a cave on the sea-coast; at first she screeched wildly, but, when
she got a little calmer, she told him to go off out of the way of
her brother, and to return betimes the day after. In getting away,
he was tossed into the sea, and tossed out on the land with a rope,
which had got wound about his waist; and on pulling at this he got
ashore a coffer full of treasure, which he spent the night in carrying
home. He was somewhat late in revisiting the cave the next day, and
saw no mermaid come there to meet him according to her promise. But
the following night he was roused out of his sleep by a visit from her
at his home, when she told him to come in time next day. On his way
thither, he learnt from some fishermen that they had been labouring in
vain during the night, as a great big mermaid had opened their nets
in order to pick the best fish, while she let the rest escape. When
he reached the cave he found the mermaid there combing her hair:
she surprised him by telling him that she had come to live among the
inhabitants of the land, though she was, according to her own account,
a king's daughter. She was no longer stark naked, but dressed like a
lady: in one hand she held a diadem of pure gold, and in the other a
cap of wonderful workmanship, the former of which she placed on her
head, while she handed the latter to Ifan Morgan, with the order that
he should keep it. Then she related to him how she had noticed him
when he was a ruddy boy, out fishing in his father's white boat, and
heard him sing a song which made her love him, and how she had tried
to repeat this song at her father's court, where everybody wanted
to get it. Many a time, she said, she had been anxiously listening
if she might hear it again, but all in vain. So she had obtained
permission from her family to come with her treasures and see if he
would not teach it her; but she soon saw that she would not succeed
without appearing in the form in which she now was. After saying
that her name was Nefyn, daughter of Nefyd Naf Neifion, and niece
to Gwyn son of Nud, and Gwydion son of Dôn, she calmed his feelings
on the subject of the humble cottage in which he lived. Presently he
asked her to be his wife, and she consented on the condition that he
should always keep the cap she had given him out of her sight and
teach her the song. They were married and lived happily together,
and had children born them five times, a son and a daughter each time;
they frequently went to the cave, and no one knew what treasures they
had there; but once on a time they went out in a boat pleasuring, as
was their wont, with six or seven of the children accompanying them,
and when they were far from the land a great storm arose; besides
the usual accompaniments of a storm at sea, most unearthly screeches
and noises were heard, which frightened the children and made their
mother look uncomfortable; but presently she bent her head over the
side of the boat, and whispered something they did not catch: to their
surprise the sea was instantly calm. They got home comfortably, but
the elder children were puzzled greatly by their mother's influence
over the sea, and it was not long after this till they so teased
some ill-natured old women, that the latter told them all about the
uncanny origin of their mother. The eldest boy was vexed at this,
and remembered how his mother had spoken to somebody near the boat
at sea, and that he was never allowed to go with his parents to
Ogof Deio. He recalled, also, his mother's account of the strange
countries she had seen. Once there came also to Ifan Morgan's home,
which was now a mansion, a visitor whom the children were not even
allowed to see; and one night, when the young moon had sunk behind
the western horizon, Ifan and his wife went quietly out of the house,
telling a servant that they would not return for three weeks or a
month: this was overheard by the eldest son. So he followed them very
quietly until he saw them on the strand, where he beheld his mother
casting a sort of leather mantle round herself and his father, and
both of them threw themselves into the hollow of a billow that came
to fetch them. The son went home, broke his heart, and died in nine
days at finding out that his mother was a mermaid; and, on seeing her
brother dead, his twin sister went and threw herself into the sea;
but, instead of being drowned, she was taken up on his steed by a
fine looking knight, who then galloped away over the waves as if they
had been dry and level land. The servants were in doubt what to do,
now that Nefyd Morgan was dead and Eilonwy had thrown herself into
the sea; but Tegid, the second son, who feared nothing, said that
Nefyd's body should be taken to the strand, as somebody was likely to
come to fetch it for burial among his mother's family. At midnight a
knight arrived, who said the funeral was to be at three that morning,
and told them that their brother would come back to them, as Gwydion
ab Dôn was going to give him a heart that no weight could break,
that Eilonwy was soon to be wedded to one of the finest and bravest
of the knights of Gwerdonau Llion, and that their parents were with
Gwyn ab Nud in the Gwaelodion. The body was accordingly taken to the
beach, and, as soon as the wave touched it, out of his coffin leaped
Nefyd like a porpoise. He was seen then to walk away arm in arm with
Gwydion ab Dôn to a ship that was in waiting, and most enchanting
music was heard by those on shore; but soon the ship sailed away,
hardly touching the tops of the billows. After a year and a day had
elapsed Ifan Morgan, the father, came home, looking much better and
more gentlemanly than he had ever done before; he had never spoken of
Nefyn, his wife, until Tegid one day asked him what about his mother;
she had gone, he said, in search of Eilonwy, who had run away from her
husband in Gwerdonau Llion, with Glanfryd ab Gloywfraint. She would
be back soon, he thought, and describe to them all the wonders they
had seen. Ifan Morgan went to bed that night, and was found dead in
it in the morning; it was thought that his death had been caused by
a Black Knight, who had been seen haunting the place at midnight for
some time, and always disappearing, when pursued, into a well that
bubbled forth in a dark recess near at hand. The day of Ifan Morgan's
funeral, Nefyn, his wife, returned, and bewailed him with many tears;
she was never more seen on the dry land. Tegid had now the charge of
the family, and he conducted himself in all things as behoved a man
and a gentleman of high principles and great generosity. He was very
wealthy, but often grieved by the thought of his father's murder. One
day, when he and two of his brothers were out in a boat fishing in the
neighbouring bay, they were driven by the wind to the most wonderful
spot they had ever seen. The sea there was as smooth as glass, and
as bright as the clearest light, while beneath it, and not far from
them, they saw a most splendid country with fertile fields and dales
covered with pastures, with flowery hedges, groves clad in their green
foliage, and forests gently waving their leafy luxuriance, with rivers
lazily contemplating their own tortuous courses, and with mansions
here and there of the most beautiful and ingenious description; and
presently they saw that the inhabitants amused themselves with all
kinds of merriment and frolicking, and that here and there they had
music and engaged themselves in the most energetic dancing; in fact,
the rippling waves seemed to have absorbed their fill of the music,
so that the faint echo of it, as gently given forth by the waves,
never ceased to charm their ears until they reached the shore. That
night the three brothers had the same dream, namely that the Black
Knight who had throttled their father was in hiding in a cave on the
coast: so they made for the cave in the morning, but the Black Knight
fled from them and galloped off on the waves as if he had been riding
for amusement over a meadow. That day their sisters, on returning home
from school, had to cross a piece of sea, when a tempest arose and sunk
the vessel, drowning all on board, and the brothers ascribed this to
the Black Knight. About this time there was great consternation among
the fishermen on account of a sea-serpent that twined itself about
the rocks near the caves, and nothing would do but that Tegid and his
brothers should go forth to kill it; but when one day they came near
the spot frequented by it, they heard a deep voice saying to them,
"Do not kill your sister," so they wondered greatly and suddenly went
home. But that night Tegid returned there alone, and called his sister
by her name, and after waiting a long while she crept towards him in
the shape of a sea-serpent, and said that she must remain some time in
that form on account of her having run away with one who was not her
husband; she went on to say that she had seen their sisters walking
with their mother, and their father would soon be in the cave. But all
of a sudden there came the Black Knight, who unsheathed a sword that
looked like a flame of fire, and began to cut the sea-serpent into a
thousand bits, which united, however, as fast as he cut it, and became
as whole as before. The end was that the monster twisted itself in
a coil round his throat and bit him terribly in his breast. At this
point a White Knight comes and runs him through with his spear, so
that he fell instantly, while the White Knight went off hurriedly
with the sea-serpent in a coil round his neck. Tegid ran away for
his life, but not before a monster more terrible than anything he
had ever seen had begun to attack him. It haunted him in all kinds of
ways: sometimes it would be like a sea, but Tegid was able to swim:
sometimes it would be a mountain of ice, but Tegid was able to climb
it: and sometimes it was like a furnace of intense fire, but the heat
had no effect on him. But it appeared mostly as a combination of the
beast of prey and the venomous reptile. Suddenly, however, a young
man appeared, taking hold of Tegid's arm and encouraging him, when
the monster fled away screeching, and a host of knights in splendid
array and on proudly prancing horses came to him: among them he found
his brothers, and he went with them to his mother's country. He was
especially welcome there, and he found all happy and present save
his father only, whom he thought of fetching from the world above,
having in fact got leave to do so from his grandfather. His mother
and his brothers went with him to search for his father's body, and
with him came Gwydion ab Dôn and Gwyn ab Nud, but he would not be
wakened. So Tegid, who loved his father greatly, asked leave to remain
on his father's grave, where he remains to this day. His mother is
wont to come there to soothe him, and his brothers send him gifts,
while he sends his gifts to Nefyd Naf Neifion, his grandfather;
it is also said that his twin-sister, Ceridwen, has long since come
to live near him, to make the glad gladder and the pretty prettier,
and to maintain her dignity and honour in peace and tranquillity.'

The latter part of this tale, the mention of Ceridwen, invoked by
the bards as the genius presiding over their profession, and of
Tegid remaining on his father's grave, is evidently a reference
to Llyn Tegid, or Bala Lake, and to the legend of Taliessin in the
so-called Hanes or history of Taliessin, published at the end of the
third volume of Lady Charlotte Guest's Mabinogion. So the story has
undoubtedly been pieced together, but not all invented, as is proved
by the reference to the curious cap which the husband was to keep
out of the sight of his mermaid wife. In Irish legends this cap has
particular importance attached to it, of which Glasynys cannot have
been aware, for he knew of no use to make of it. The teaching of
the song to the wife is not mentioned after the marriage; and the
introduction of it at all is remarkable: at any rate I have never
noticed anything parallel to it in other tales. The incident of the
tempest, when the mermaid spoke to somebody by the side of the boat,
reminds one of Undine during the trip on the Danube. It is, perhaps,
useless to go into details till one has ascertained how much of the
story has been based on genuine Welsh folklore. But, while I am on
this point, I venture to append here an Irish tale, which will serve
to explain the meaning of the mermaid's cap, as necessary to her
comfort in the water world. I am indebted for it to the kindness of
Dr. Norman Moore, of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, who tells me, in a
letter dated March 7, 1882, that he and the Miss Raynells of Killynon
heard it from an old woman named Mrs. Dolan, who lived on the property
of the late Mr. Cooke of Cookesborough, in Westmeath. The following
was her tale:--'There was a man named Mahon had a farm on the edge of
Loch Owel. He noticed that his corn was trampled, and he sat up all
night to watch it. He saw horses, colts and fillies rather, come up
out of the lake and trample it. He chased them, and they fled into the
lake. The next night he saw them again, and among them a beautiful girl
with a cap of salmon skin on her head, and it shone in the moonlight;
and he caught her and embraced her, and carried her off to his house
and married her, and she was a very good housewife, as all those
lake people are, and kept his house beautifully; and one day in the
harvest, when the men were in the fields, she went into the house,
and there she looked on the hurdle for some lard to make colcannon
[41] for the men, and she saw her old cap of fish skin, and she put
it on her head and ran straight down into the lake and was never seen
any more, and Mahon he was terribly grieved, and he died soon after
of a decline. She had had three children, and I often saw them in
the Mullingar market. They were farmers, too, on Loch Owel.'


Let me now return to the fresh-water fairies of Snowdon and give
a reference to Pennant's Tours in Wales: in the edition published
at Carnarvon in 1883 we are told, ii. 326, how Mr. Pennant learned
'that, in fairy days, those diminutive gentry kept their revels' on the
margins of the Snowdon lake, called Llyn Coch. There is no legend now
extant, so far as I can ascertain, about the Llyn Coch fairies. So
I proceed to append a legend differing considerably from all the
foregoing: I owe it to the kindness of my friend Mr. Howell Thomas,
of the Local Government Board. It was written out by Mr. G. B. Gattie,
and I take the liberty of prefixing to it his letter to Mr. Thomas,
dated Walham Grove, London, S.W., April 27, 1882. The letter runs
as follows:--

'I had quite forgotten the enclosed, which I had jotted down during
my recent illness, and ought to have sent you long ago. Of course, the
wording is very rough, as no care has been taken on that point. It is
interesting, as being another version of a very pretty old legend which
my mother used to repeat. She was descended from a very old north Welsh
family; indeed, I believe my esteemed grandfather went so far as to
trace his descent from the great patriot, Owen Glendower himself! My
mother delighted not only in the ancient folklore legends and fairy
tales of the Principality, with which she was perfectly familiar,
but especially in the lovely national melodies, all of which she
knew by heart; and, being highly accomplished, would never tire of
playing or singing them. You will see the legend is, in the main,
much as related by Professor Rhys, though differing somewhat in the
singular terms of the marriage contract. The scene of the legend,
as related by my late mother, was, of course, a lake, the Welsh name
of which I have, unfortunately, forgotten, but it was somewhere,
I think, near Llanberis, and the hero a stalwart young farmer.'

The legend itself reads as follows:--

'One hot day, the farmer, riding by the lake, took his horse into the
water to drink, and, whilst looking straight down over his horse's
ears into the smooth surface, he became aware of a most lovely face,
just beneath the tide, looking up archly at him. Quite bewildered,
he earnestly beckoned, and by degrees the head and shoulders which
belonged to the face emerged from the water. Overcome with emotion,
and nearly maddened by the blaze of beauty so suddenly put before
him, he leaped from his horse and rushed wildly into the lake to try
to clasp the lovely vision to his heart. As this was a clear case
of "love at first sight," the poor young man was not, of course,
answerable for his actions. But the vision had vanished beneath the
waves, to instantly reappear, however, a yard or two off, with the most
provoking of smiles, and holding out her beautiful white hands towards
her admirer, but slipping off into deep water the moment he approached.

'For many days the young farmer frequented the lake, but without
again seeing the beautiful Naiad, until one day he sat down by the
margin hoping that she would appear, and yet dreading her appearance,
for this latter to him simply meant loss of all peace. Yet he rushed
on his fate, like the love-sick shepherd in the old Italian romance,
who watched the sleeping beauty, yet dreaded her awakening:--Io
perderò la pace, quando si sveglierà!

'The young man had brought the remains of his frugal dinner with
him, and was quietly munching, by way of dessert, an apple of rare
and delicious quality, from a tree which grew upon a neighbouring
estate. Suddenly the lady appeared in all her rare beauty almost
close to him, and begged him to "throw" her one of his apples. This
was altogether too much, and he replied by holding out the tempting
morsel, exhibiting its beautiful red and green sides, saying that,
if she really wanted it, she must fetch it herself. Upon this she
came up quite close, and, as she took the apple from his left hand,
he dexterously seized tight hold of her with his right, and held
her fast. She, however, nothing daunted, bawled lustily, at the top
of her voice, for help, and made such an outrageous noise, that at
length a most respectable looking old gentleman appeared suddenly
out of the midst of the lake. He had a superb white beard, and was
simply and classically attired merely in a single wreath of beautiful
water-lilies wound round his loins, which was possibly his summer
costume, the weather being hot. He politely requested to know what was
the matter, and what the young farmer wanted with his daughter. The
case was thereupon explained, but not without the usual amount of
nervous trepidation which usually happens to love-sick swains when
called into the awful presence of "Papa" to "explain their intentions!"

'After a long parley the lady, at length, agreed to become the young
man's wife on two conditions, which he was to solemnly promise to
keep. These conditions were that he was never to strike her with
steel or clay (earth), conditions to which the young man very readily
assented. As these were primitive days, when people were happy and
honest, there were no lawyers to encumber the Holy Estate with lengthy
settlements, and to fill their own pockets with heavy fees; matters
were therefore soon settled, and the lady married to the young farmer
on the spot by the very respectable old lake deity, her papa.

'The story goes on to say that the union was followed by two sons and
two daughters. The eldest son became a great physician, and all his
descendants after him were celebrated for their great proficiency
in the noble healing art. The second son was a mighty craftsman
in all works appertaining to the manufacture and use of iron and
metals. Indeed it has been hinted that, his little corracle of bull's
hide having become old and unsafe, he conceived the brilliant idea of
making one of thin iron. This he actually accomplished, and, to the
intense amazement of the wondering populace, he constantly used it
for fishing, or other purposes, on the lake, where he paddled about in
perfect security. This important fact ought to be more generally known,
as it gives him a fair claim to the introduction of iron ship-building,
pace the shades of Beaufort and Brunel.

'Of the two daughters, one is said to have invented the small
ten-stringed harp, and the other the spinning-wheel. Thus were
introduced the arts of medicine, manufactures, music, and woollen work.

'As the old ballad says, applying the quotation to the father and

            They lived for more than forty year
              Right long and happilie!

'One day it happened that the wife expressed a great wish for some
of those same delicious apples of which she was so fond, and of
which their neighbour often sent them a supply. Off went the farmer,
like a good husband that he was, and brought back, not only some
apples, but a beautiful young sapling, seven or eight feet high,
bearing the same apple, as a present from their friend. This they
at once proceeded to set, he digging and she holding; but the hole
not being quite deep enough he again set to work, with increased
energy, with his spade, and stooping very low threw out the last
shovelful over his shoulder--alas! without looking--full into the
breast of his wife. She dropped the sapling and solemnly warned him
that one of the two conditions of their marriage contract had been
broken. Accident was pleaded, but in vain; there was the unfortunate
fact--he had struck her with clay! Looking upon the sapling as the
cause of this great trouble he determined to return it forthwith to
his kind neighbour. Taking a bridle in his hand he proceeded to the
field to catch his horse, his wife kindly helping him. They both
ran up, one on each side, and, as the unruly steed showed no signs
of stopping, the husband attempted to throw the bridle over his
head. Not having visited Mexico in his travels, and thereby learned
the use of the lasso, he missed his horse's head and--misfortune
of misfortunes--struck his wife in the face with the iron bit, thus
breaking the second condition. He had struck her with steel. She no
sooner received the blow than--like Esau--she "cried with a great
and exceeding bitter cry," and bidding her husband a last farewell,
fled down the hill with lightning speed, dashed into the lake, and
disappeared beneath the smooth and glassy waters! Thus, it may be
said that, if an apple--indirectly--occasioned the beginning of her
married life, so an apple brought about its sad termination.'

Such is Mr. Gattie's tale, and to him probably is to be traced its
literary trimming; but even when it is stripped of that accessory,
it leaves us with difficulties of somewhat the same order as those
attaching to some of the stories which have passed through the hands
of Glasynys. However, the substance of it seems to be genuine, and
to prove that there has been a Northwalian tradition which traced the
medical art to a lake lady like the Egeria of the Physicians of Mydfai.


Allusion has already been made to the afanc story, and it is convenient
to give it before proceeding any further. The Cambrian Journal for
1859, pp. 142-6, gives it in a letter of Edward Llwyd's dated 1693,
and contributed to that periodical by the late Canon Robert Williams,
of Rhyd y Croesau, who copied it from the original letter in his
possession [42], and here follows a translation into English of the
part of it which concerns Llyn yr Afanc [43], a pool on the river
Conwy, above Bettws y Coed and opposite Capel Garmon:--

'I suppose it very probable that you have heard speak of Llyn yr Afanc,
"the Afanc's Pool," and that I therefore need not trouble to inform
you where it stands. I think, also, that you know, if one may trust
what the country people say, that it was a girl that enticed the
afanc to come out of his abode, namely the pool, so as to be bound
with iron chains, whilst he slumbered with his head on her knees,
and with the grip of one hand on her breast. When he woke from his
nap and perceived what had been done to him, he got up suddenly
and hurried to his old refuge, taking with him in his claw the
breast of his sweetheart. It was then seen that it was well the
chain was long enough to be fastened to oxen that pulled him out of
the pool. Thereupon a considerable dispute arose among some of the
people, each asserting that he had taken a great weight on himself and
pulled far harder than anybody else. "No," said another, "it was I,"
&c. And whilst they were wrangling in this way, the report goes that
the afanc answered them, and silenced their discontent by saying--

            Oni bae y dai ag a dyn
            Ni dactha'r afanc byth o'r llyn.

            Had it not been for the oxen pulling,
            The afanc had never left the pool.

'You must understand that some take the afanc to be a corporeal
demon; but I am sufficiently satisfied that there is an animal of the
same name, which is called in English a bever, seeing that the term
ceillie'r afanc signifies bever stones. I know not what kind of oxen
those in question were, but it is related that they were twins; nor
do I know why they were called Ychain Mannog or Ychain Bannog. But
peradventure they were called Ychain Bannog in reference to their
having had many a fattening, or fattening on fattening (having been
for many a year fattened). Yet the word bannog is not a good, suitable
word to signify fattened, as bannog is nought else than what has been
made exceeding thick by beating [or fulling], as one says of a thick
blanket made of coarse yarn (y gwrthban tew-bannog), the thick bannog
[44] blanket. Whilst I was dawdling behind talking about this, the oxen
had proceeded very far, and I did not find their footmarks as they came
through portions of the parish of Dolyd-Elan (Luedog) until I reached
a pass called ever since Bwlch Rhiw'r Ychen, "the Pass of the Slope
of the Oxen," between the upper parts of Dolydelan and the upper part
of Nanhwynen. In coming over this pass one of the oxen dropped one
of its eyes on an open spot, which for that reason is called Gwaun
Lygad Ych, "the Moor of the Ox's Eye." The place where the eye fell
has become a pool, which is by this time known as Pwll Llygad Ych,
"the Pool of the Ox's Eye," which is at no time dry, though no water
rises in it or flows into it except when rain falls; nor is there any
flowing out of it during dry weather. It is always of the same depth;
that is, it reaches about one's knee-joint, according to those who
have paid attention to that for a considerable number of years. There
is a harp melody, which not all musicians know: it is known as the
Ychain Mannog air, and it has a piteous effect on the ear, being as
plaintive as were the groanings of these Ychain under the weight of
the afanc, especially when one of the pair lost an eye. They pulled
him up to Llyn Cwm Ffynnon Las, "the Lake of the Dingle of the Green
Well," to which he was consigned, for the reason, peradventure, that
some believed that there were in that lake uncanny things already in
store. In fact, it was but fitting that he should be permitted to
go to his kind. But whether there were uncanny things in it before
or not, many think that there is nothing good in it now, as you will
understand from what follows. There is much talk of Llyn Cwm Ffynnon
Las besides the fact that it is always free from ice, except in one
corner where the peat water of clear pools comes into it, and that it
has also a variety of dismal hues. The cause of this is, as I suppose,
to be sought in the various hues of the rocks surrounding it; and the
fact that a whirlwind makes its water mixed, which is enough to give
any lake a disagreeable colour. Nothing swims on it without danger,
and I am not sure that it would be very safe for a bird to fly across
it or not. Throw a rag into its water and it will go to the bottom,
and I have with my own ears heard a man saying that he saw a goat
taking to this lake in order to avoid being caught, and that as soon
as the animal went into the water, it turned round and round, as if
it had been a top, until it was drowned.... Some mention that, as
some great man was hunting in the Snowdon district (Eryri), a stag,
to avoid the hounds when they were pressing on him, and as is the
habit of stags to defend themselves, made his escape into this lake:
the hunters had hardly time to turn round before they saw the stag's
antlers (mwnglws) coming to the surface, but nothing more have they
ever seen.... A young woman has been seen to come out of this lake
to wash clothes, and when she had done she folded the clothes, and
taking them under her arm went back into the lake. One man, whose
brother is still alive and well, beheld in a canoe, on this same lake
still, an angler with a red cap on his head; but the man died within
a few days, having not been in his right mind during that time. Most
people regard this as the real truth, and, as for myself, I cannot
refuse to believe that such a vision might not cause a man to become
so bewildered as to force on a disease ending with his death....'

The name Llyn Cwm Ffynnon Las would have led one to suppose that
the pool meant is the one given in the ordnance maps as Llyn y
Cwm Ffynnon, and situated in the mountains between Pen y Gwryd and
the upper valley of Llanberis; but from the writer on the parish of
Bedgelert in the Brython for 1861, pp. 371-2, it appears that this is
not so, and that the tarn meant was in the upper reach of Cwm Dyli,
and was known as Llyn y Ffynnon Las, 'Lake of the Green Well,' about
which he has a good deal to say in the same strain as that of Llwyd in
the letter already cited. Among other things he remarks that it is a
very deep tarn, and that its bottom has been ascertained to be lower
than the surface of Llyn Llydaw, which lies 300 feet lower. And as
to the afanc, he remarks that the inhabitants of Nant Conwy and the
lower portions of the parish of Dolwydelan, having frequent troubles
and losses inflicted on them by a huge monster in the river Conwy,
near Bettws y Coed, tried to kill it but in vain, as no harpoon, no
arrow or spear made any impression whatsoever on the brute's hide;
so it was resolved to drag it away as in the Llwyd story. I learn from
Mr. Pierce (Elis o'r Nant), of Dolwydelan, that the lake is variously
known as Llyn (Cwm) Ffynnon Las, and Llyn Glas or Glaslyn: this last
is the form which I find in the maps. It is to be noticed that the
Nant Conwy people, by dragging the afanc there, got him beyond their
own watershed, so that he could no more cause floods in the Conwy.

Here, as promised at p. 74, I append Lewis Glyn Cothi's words as to
the afanc in Llyn Syfadon. The bard is dilating in the poem, where
they occur, on his affection for his friend Llywelyn ab Gwilym ab
Thomas Vaughan, of Bryn Hafod in the Vale of Towy, and averring that
it would be as hard to induce him to quit his friend's hospitable home,
as it was to get the afanc away from the Lake of Syfadon, as follows:--

            Yr avanc er ei ovyn
            Wyv yn llech ar vin y llyn;
            O dòn Llyn Syfadon vo
            Ni thynwyd ban aeth yno:
            Ni'm tyn mèn nag ychain gwaith,
            Odiyma hedyw ymaith. [45]

            The afanc am I, who, sought for, bides
            In hiding on the edge of the lake;
            Out of the waters of Syfadon Mere
            Was he not drawn, once he got there.
            So with me: nor wain nor oxen wont to toil
            Me to-day will draw from here forth.

From this passage it would seem that the Syfadon story contemplated
the afanc being taken away from the lake in a cart or waggon drawn by
oxen; but whether driven by Hu, or by whom, one is not told. However,
the story must have represented the undertaking as a failure, and
the afanc as remaining in his lake: had it been otherwise it would
be hard to see the point of the comparison.


The parish of Llanfachreth and its traditions have been the subject
of some contributions to the first volume of the Taliesin published
at Ruthin in 1859-60, pp. 132-7, by a writer who calls himself
Cofiadur. It was Glasynys, I believe, for the style seems to be his:
he pretends to copy from an old manuscript of Hugh Bifan's--both the
manuscript and its owner were fictions of Glasynys' as I am told. These
jottings contain two or three items about the fairies which seem to
be genuine:--

'The bottom of Llyn Cynnwch, on the Nannau estate, is level with the
hearth-stone of the house of Dôl y Clochyd. Its depth was found out
owing to the sweetheart of one of Siwsi's girls having lost his way
to her from Nannau, where he was a servant. The poor man had fallen
into the lake, and gone down and down, when he found it becoming
clearer the lower he got, until at last he alighted on a level spot
where everybody and everything looked much as he had observed on
the dry land. When he had reached the bottom of the lake, a short
fat old gentleman came to him and asked his business, when he told
him how it happened that he had come. He met with great welcome,
and he stayed there a month without knowing that he had been there
three days, and when he was going to leave, he was led out to his
beloved by the inhabitants of the lake bottom. He asserted that the
whole way was level except in one place, where they descended about
a fathom into the ground; but, he added, it was necessary to ascend
about as much to reach the hearth-stone of Dôl y Clochyd. The most
wonderful thing, however, was that the stone lifted itself as he came
up from the subterranean road towards it. It was thus the sweetheart
arrived there one evening, when the girl was by the fire weeping for
him. Siwsi had been out some days before, and she knew all about it
though she said nothing to anybody. This, then, was the way in which
the depth of Llyn Cynnwch came to be known.'

Then he has a few sentences about an old house called
Ceimarch:--'Ceimarch was an old mansion of considerable repute,
and in old times it was considered next to Nannau in point of
importance in the whole district. There was a deep ditch round it,
which was always kept full of water, with the view of keeping off
vagabonds and thieves, as well as other lawless folks, that they
might not take the inmates by surprise. But, in distant ages, this
place was very noted for the frequent visits paid it by the fair
family. They used to come to the ditch to wash themselves, and to
cross the water in boats made of the bark of the rowan-tree [46],
or else birch, and they came into the house to pay their rent for
trampling the ground around the place. They always placed a piece
of money under a pitcher, and the result was that the family living
there became remarkably rich. But somehow, after the lapse of many
years, the owner of the place offended them, by showing disrespect
for their diminutive family: soon the world began to go against him,
and it was not long before he got low in life. Everything turned
against him, and in times past everybody believed that he incurred
all this because he had earned the displeasure of the fair family.'

In the Brython for the year 1862, p. 456, in the course of an essay
on the history of the Lordship of Mawdwy in Merioneth, considered the
best in a competition at an Eistedfod held at Dinas Mawdwy, August
2, 1855, Glasynys gives the following bit about the fairies of that
neighbourhood:--'The side of Aran Fawdwy is a great place for the fair
family: they are ever at it playing their games on the hillsides about
this spot. It is said that they are numberless likewise about Bwlch y
Groes. Once a boy crossed over near the approach of night, one summer
eve, from the Gadfa to Mawdwy, and on his return he saw near Aber
Rhiwlech a swarm of the little family dancing away full pelt. The boy
began to run, with two of the maidens in pursuit of him, entreating
him to stay; but Robin, for that was his name, kept running, and the
two elves failed altogether to catch him, otherwise he would have been
taken a prisoner of love. There are plenty of their dancing-rings to
be seen on the hillsides between Aber Rhiwlech and Bwlch y Groes.'

Here I would introduce two other Merionethshire tales, which I have
received from Mr. E. S. Roberts, master of the Llandysilio School,
near Llangollen. He has learnt them from one Abel Evans, who lives
at present in the parish of Llandysilio: he is a native of the parish
of Llandrillo on the slopes of the Berwyn, and of a glen in the same,
known as Cwm Pennant, so called from its being drained by the Pennant
on its way to join the Dee. Now Cwm Pennant was the resort of fairies,
or of a certain family of them, and the occurrence, related in the
following tale, must have taken place no less than seventy years ago:
it was well known to the late Mrs. Ellen Edwards of Llandrillo:--

Ryw diwrnod aeth dau gyfaill i hela dwfrgwn ar hyd lannau afon Pennant,
a thra yn cyfeirio eu camrau tuagat yr afon gwelsant ryw greadur
bychan lliwgoch yn rhedeg yn gyflym iawn ar draws un o'r dolyd yn
nghyfeiriad yr afon. Ymaeth a nhw ar ei ol. Gwelsant ei fod wedi myned
oditan wraid coeden yn ochr yr afon i ymgudio. Yr oed y dau dyn yn
medwl mae dwfrgi ydoed, ond ar yr un pryd yn methu a deall paham yr
ymdanghosai i'w llygaid yn lliwgoch. Yr oedynt yn dymuno ei dal yn
fyw, ac ymaith yr aeth un o honynt i ffarmdy gerllaw i ofyn am sach,
yr hon a gafwyd, er mwyn rhoi y creadur yndi. Yr oed yno dau dwll
o tan wraid y pren, a thra daliai un y sach yn agored ar un twll
yr oed y llall yn hwthio ffon i'r twll arall, ac yn y man aeth y
creadur i'r sach. Yr oed y dau dyn yn medwl eu bod wedi dal dwfrgi,
yr hyn a ystyrient yn orchest nid bychan. Cychwynasant gartref yn
llawen ond cyn eu myned hyd lled cae, llefarod lletywr y sach mewn
ton drist gan dywedyd--'Y mae fy mam yn galw am danaf, O, mae fy mam
yn galw am danaf,' yr hyn a rodod fraw mawr i'r dau heliwr, ac yn
y man taflasant y sach i lawr, a mawr oed eu rhyfedod a'u dychryn
pan welsant dyn bach mewn gwisg goch yn rhedeg o'r sach tuagat yr
afon. Fe a diflannod o'i golwg yn mysg y drysni ar fin yr afon. Yr
oed y dau wedi eu brawychu yn dirfawr ac yn teimlo mae doethach oed
myned gartref yn hytrach nag ymyrraeth yn mhellach a'r Tylwyth Teg.

'One day, two friends went to hunt otters on the banks of the
Pennant, and when they were directing their steps towards the river,
they beheld some small creature of a red colour running fast across
the meadows in the direction of the river. Off they ran after it,
and saw that it went beneath the roots of a tree on the brink of
the river to hide itself. The two men thought it was an otter, but,
at the same time, they could not understand why it seemed to them
to be of a red colour. They wished to take it alive, and off one of
them went to a farm house that was not far away to ask for a sack,
which he got, to put the creature into it. Now there were two holes
under the roots of the tree, and while one held the sack with its mouth
open over one of them, the other pushed his stick into the other hole,
and presently the creature went into the sack. The two men thought they
had caught an otter, which they looked upon as no small feat. They set
out for home, but before they had proceeded the width of one field,
the inmate of the sack spoke to them in a sad voice, and said, "My
mother is calling for me; oh, my mother is calling for me!" This gave
the two hunters a great fright, so that they at once threw down the
sack; and great was their surprise to see a little man in a red dress
running out of the sack towards the river. He disappeared from their
sight in the bushes by the river. The two men were greatly terrified,
and felt that it was more prudent to go home than meddle any further
with the fair family.' So far as I know, this story stands alone in
Welsh folklore; but it has an exact parallel in Lancashire [47].

The other story, which I now reproduce, was obtained by Mr. Roberts
from the same Abel Evans. He learnt it from Mrs. Ellen Edwards, and
it refers to a point in her lifetime, which Abel Evans fixes at ninety
years ago. Mr. Roberts has not succeeded in recovering the name of the
cottager of whom it speaks; but he lived on the side of the Berwyn,
above Cwm Pennant, where till lately a cottage used to stand, near
which the fairies had one of their resorts:--

Yr oed perchen y bwthyn wedi amaethu rhyw ran fychan o'r mynyd ger llaw
y ty er mwyn plannu pytatws yndo. Felly y gwnaeth. Mewn coeden yn agos
i'r fan canfydod nyth bran. Fe fedyliod mae doeth fuasai ido dryllio y
nyth cyn amlhau o'r brain. Fe a esgynnod y goeden ac a drylliod y nyth,
ac wedi disgyn i lawr canfydod gylch glas (fairy ring) odiamgylch y
pren, ac ar y cylch fe welod hanner coron er ei fawr lawenyd. Wrth
fyned heibio yr un fan y boreu canlynol fe gafod hanner coron yn
yr un man ag y cafod y dyd o'r blaen. Hynna fu am amryw dydiau. Un
diwrnod dywedod wrth gyfaill am ei hap da a dangosod y fan a'r lle
y cawsai yr hanner coron bob boreu. Wel y boreu canlynol nid oed yno
na hanner coron na dim arall ido, oherwyd yr oed wedi torri rheolau
y Tylwythion trwy wneud eu haelioni yn hysbys. Y mae y Tylwythion
o'r farn na dylai y llaw aswy wybod yr hyn a wna y llaw dehau.

'The occupier of the cottage had tilled a small portion of the
mountain side near his home in order to plant potatoes, which he
did. He observed that there was a rook's nest on a tree which was
not far from this spot, and it struck him that it would be prudent
to break the nest before the rooks multiplied. So he climbed the tree
and broke the nest, and, after coming down, he noticed a green circle
(a fairy ring) round the tree, and on this circle he espied, to his
great joy, half a crown. As he went by the same spot the following
morning, he found another half a crown in the same place as before. So
it happened for several days; but one day he told a friend of his
good luck, and showed him the spot where he found half a crown every
morning. Now the next morning there was for him neither half a crown
nor anything else, because he had broken the rule of the fair folks
by making their liberality known, they being of opinion that the left
hand should not know what the right hand does.'

So runs this short tale, which the old lady, Mrs. Edwards, and the
people of the neighbourhood explained as an instance of the gratitude
of the fairies to a man who had rendered them a service, which in this
case was supposed to have consisted in ridding them of the rooks,
that disturbed their merry-makings in the green ring beneath the
branches of the tree.


It would be unpardonable to pass away from Merioneth without alluding
to the stray cow of Llyn Barfog. The story appears in Welsh in
the Brython for 1860, pp. 183-4, but the contributor, who closely
imitates Glasynys' style, says that he got his materials from a paper
by the late Mr. Pughe of Aberdovey, by which he seems to have meant
an article contributed by the latter to the Archæologia Cambrensis,
and published in the volume for 1853, pp. 201-5. Mr. Pughe dwells in
that article a good deal on the scenery of the corner of Merioneth
in the rear of Aberdovey; but the chief thing in his paper is the
legend connected with Llyn Barfog, which he renders into English
as the Bearded Lake [48]. It is described as a mountain lake in a
secluded spot in the upland country behind Aberdovey; but I shall
let Mr. Pughe speak for himself:--

'The lovers of Cambrian lore are aware that the Triads in their record
of the deluge affirm that it was occasioned by a mystic Afanc y Llyn,
crocodile [49] of the lake, breaking the banks of Llyn Llion, the
lake of waters; and the recurrence of that catastrophe was prevented
only by Hu Gadarn, the bold man of power, dragging away the afanc
by aid of his Ychain Banawg, or large horned oxen. Many a lakelet
in our land has put forward its claim to the location of Llyn Llion;
amongst the rest, this lake. Be that as it may, King Arthur and his
war-horse have the credit amongst the mountaineers here of ridding
them of the monster, in place of Hu the Mighty, in proof of which is
shown an impression on a neighbouring rock bearing a resemblance to
those made by the shoe or hoof of a horse, as having been left there by
his charger when our British Hercules was engaged in this redoubtable
act of prowess, and this impression has been given the name of Carn
March Arthur, the hoof of Arthur's horse, which it retains to this
day. It is believed to be very perilous to let the waters out of
the lake, and recently an aged inhabitant of the district informed
the writer that she recollected this being done during a period of
long drought, in order to procure motive power for Llyn Pair Mill,
and that long-continued heavy rains followed. No wonder our bold but
superstitious progenitors, awe-struck by the solitude of the spot--the
dark sepial tint of its waters, unrelieved by the flitting apparition
of a single fish, and seldom visited by the tenants of the air--should
have established it as a canon in their creed of terror that the lake
formed one of the many communications between this outward world of
ours and the inner or lower one of Annwn--the unknown world [50]--the
dominion of Gwyn ap Nud, the mythic king of the fabled realm, peopled
by those children of mystery, Plant Annwn; and the belief is still
current amongst the inhabitants of our mountains in the occasional
visitations of the Gwraged Annwn, or dames of Elfin land, to this upper
world of ours. A shrewd old hill farmer (Thomas Abergraes by name),
well skilled in the folk-lore of the district, informed me that, in
years gone by, though when, exactly, he was too young to remember,
those dames were wont to make their appearance, arrayed in green, in
the neighbourhood of Llyn Barfog, chiefly at eventide, accompanied by
their kine and hounds, and that on quiet summer nights in particular,
these ban-hounds were often to be heard in full cry pursuing their
prey--the souls of doomed men dying without baptism and penance--along
the upland township of Cefnrhosucha. Many a farmer had a sight of
their comely milk-white kine; many a swain had his soul turned to
romance and poesy by a sudden vision of themselves in the guise of
damsels arrayed in green, and radiant in beauty and grace; and many a
sportsman had his path crossed by their white hounds of supernatural
fleetness and comeliness, the Cwn Annwn; but never had any one been
favoured with more than a passing view of either, till an old farmer
residing at Dyssyrnant, in the adjoining valley of Dyffryn Gwyn,
became at last the lucky captor of one of their milk-white kine. The
acquaintance which the Gwartheg y Llyn, the kine of the lake, had
formed with the farmer's cattle, like the loves of the angels for
the daughters of men, became the means of capture; and the farmer
was thereby enabled to add the mystic cow to his own herd, an event
in all cases believed to be most conducive to the worldly prosperity
of him who should make so fortunate an acquisition. Never was there
such a cow, never such calves, never such milk and butter, or cheese,
and the fame of the Fuwch Gyfeiliorn, the stray cow, was soon spread
abroad through that central part of Wales known as the district of
Rhwng y dwy Afon, from the banks of the Mawdach to those of the Dofwy
[51]--from Aberdiswnwy [52] to Abercorris. The farmer, from a small
beginning, rapidly became, like Job, a man of substance, possessed of
thriving herds of cattle--a very patriarch among the mountains. But,
alas! wanting Job's restraining grace, his wealth made him proud, his
pride made him forget his obligation to the Elfin cow, and fearing
she might soon become too old to be profitable, he fattened her for
the butcher, and then even she did not fail to distinguish herself,
for a more monstrously fat beast was never seen. At last the day of
slaughter came--an eventful day in the annals of a mountain farm--the
killing of a fat cow, and such a monster of obesity! No wonder all
the neighbours were gathered together to see the sight. The old farmer
looked upon the preparations in self-pleased importance--the butcher
felt he was about no common feat of his craft, and, baring his arms,
he struck the blow--not now fatal, for before even a hair had been
injured, his arm was paralysed--the knife dropped from his hand, and
the whole company was electrified by a piercing cry that awakened
echo in a dozen hills, and made the welkin ring again; and lo and
behold! the whole assemblage saw a female figure clad in green, with
uplifted arms, standing on one of the craigs overhanging Llyn Barfog,
and heard her calling with a voice loud as thunder:--

                Dere di velen Einion,
                Cyrn Cyveiliorn--braith y Llyn,
                A'r voel Dodin,
                Codwch, dewch adre.

                Come yellow Anvil, stray horns,
                Speckled one of the lake,
                And of the hornless Dodin,
                Arise, come home [53].

And no sooner were these words of power uttered than the original lake
cow and all her progeny, to the third and fourth generations, were
in full flight towards the heights of Llyn Barfog, as if pursued by
the evil one. Self-interest quickly roused the farmer, who followed in
pursuit, till breathless and panting he gained an eminence overlooking
the lake, but with no better success than to behold the green attired
dame leisurely descending mid-lake, accompanied by the fugitive cows
and their calves formed in a circle around her, they tossing their
tails, she waving her hands in scorn as much as to say, "You may
catch us, my friend, if you can," as they disappeared beneath the
dark waters of the lake, leaving only the yellow water-lily to mark
the spot where they vanished, and to perpetuate the memory of this
strange event. Meanwhile the farmer looked with rueful countenance upon
the spot where the Elfin herd disappeared, and had ample leisure to
deplore the effects of his greediness, as with them also departed the
prosperity which had hitherto attended him, and he became impoverished
to a degree below his original circumstances; and, in his altered
circumstances, few felt pity for one who in the noontide flow of
prosperity had shown himself so far forgetful of favours received,
as to purpose slaying his benefactor.'

Mr. Pughe did a very good thing in saving this legend from oblivion,
but it would be very interesting to know how much of it is still
current among the inhabitants of the retired district around Llyn
Barfog, and how the story would look when stripped of the florid
language in which Mr. Pughe thought proper to clothe it. Lastly,
let me add a reference to the Iolo Manuscripts, pp. 85, 475, where
a short story is given concerning a certain Milkwhite Sweet-milk Cow
(y Fuwch Laethwen Lefrith) whose milk was so abundant and possessed
of such virtues as almost to rival the Holy Grail. Like the Holy
Grail also this cow wandered everywhere spreading plenty, until she
chanced to come to the Vale of Towy, where the foolish inhabitants
wished to kill and eat her: the result was that she vanished in their
hands and has never since been heard of.


Here I wish to add some further stories connected with Merionethshire
which have come under my notice lately. I give them chiefly on the
authority of Mr. Owen M. Edwards of Lincoln College, who is a native of
Llanuwchllyn, and still spends a considerable part of his time there;
and partly on that of Hywel's essay on the folklore of the county,
which was awarded the prize at the National Eistedfod of 1898 [54]. A
story current at Llanuwchllyn, concerning a midwife who attends on a
fairy mother, resembles the others of the same group: for one of them
see p. 63 above. In the former, however, one misses the ointment,
and finds instead of it that the midwife was not to touch her eyes
with the water with which she washed the fairy baby. But as might be
expected one of her eyes happened to itch, and she touched it with
her fingers straight from the water. It appears that thenceforth
she was able to see the fairies with that eye; at any rate she
is represented some time afterwards recognizing the father of the
fairy baby at a fair at Bala, and inquiring of him kindly about his
family. The fairy asked with which eye she saw him, and when he had
ascertained this, he at once blinded it, so that she never could see
with it afterwards. Hywel also has it that the Tylwyth Teg formerly
used to frequent the markets at Bala, and that they used to swell
the noise in the market-place without anybody being able to see them:
this was a sign that prices were going to rise.

The shepherds of Ardudwy are familiar, according to Hywel, with a
variant of the story in which a man married a fairy on condition
that he did not touch her with iron. They lived on the Moelfre and
dwelt happily together for years, until one fine summer day, when
the husband was engaged in shearing his sheep, he put the gwelle,
'shears,' in his wife's hand: she then instantly disappeared. The
earlier portions of this story are unknown to me, but they are not
hard to guess.

Concerning Llyn Irdyn, between the western slopes of the Llawllech,
Hywel has a story the like of which I am not acquainted with: walking
near that lake you shun the shore and keep to the grass in order to
avoid the fairies, for if you take hold of the grass no fairy can
touch you, or dare under any circumstances injure a blade of grass.

Lastly, Hywel speaks of several caves containing treasure, as for
instance a telyn aur, or golden harp, hidden away in a cave beneath
Castell Carn Dochan in the parish of Llanuwchllyn. Lewis Morris,
in his Celtic Remains, p. 100, calls it Castell Corndochen, and
describes it as seated on the top of a steep rock at the bottom of
a deep valley: it appears to have consisted of a wall surrounding
three turrets, and the mortar seems composed of cockle-shells: see
also the Archæologia Cambrensis for 1850, p. 204. Hywel speaks also
of a cave beneath Castell Dinas Brân, near Llangollen, as containing
much treasure, which will only be disclosed to a boy followed by a
white dog with llygaid arian, 'silver eyes,' explained to mean light
eyes: every such dog is said to see the wind. So runs this story,
but it requires more exegesis than I can supply. One may compare it
at a distance with Myrdin's arrangement that the treasure buried by
him at Dinas Emrys should only be found by a youth with yellow hair
and blue eyes, and with the belief that the cave treasures of the
Snowdon district belong to the Gwydyl or Goidels, and that Goidels
will eventually find them: see chapter viii.

The next three stories are from Mr. Owen Edwards' Cymru for 1897,
pp. 188-9, where he has published them from a collection made for a
literary competition or local Eistedfod by his friend J. H. Roberts,
who died in early manhood. The first is a blurred version of the
story of the Lake Lady and her dowry of cattle, but enough of the
story remains to show that, had we got it in its original form,
it would be found to differ somewhat on several points from all the
other versions extant. I summarize the Welsh as follows:--In ages gone
by, as the shepherd of Hafod y Garreg was looking after his sheep on
the shores of the Arennig Lake, he came across a young calf, plump,
sleek, and strong, in the rushes. He could not guess whence the beast
could have come, as no cattle were allowed to approach the lake at
that time of the year. He took it home, however, and it was reared
until it was a bull, remarkable for his fine appearance. In time
his offspring were the only cattle on the farm, and never before had
there been such beasts at Hafod y Garreg. They were the wonder and
admiration of the whole country. But one summer afternoon in June,
the shepherd saw a little fat old man playing on a pipe, and then he
heard him call the cows by their names--

                Mulican, Molican, Malen, Mair,
                Dowch adre'r awrhon ar fy ngair.

                Mulican, Molican, Malen and Mair,
                Come now home at my word.

He then beheld the whole herd running to the little man and going
into the lake. Nothing more was heard of them, and it was everybody's
opinion that they were the Tylwyth Teg's cattle.

The next is a quasi fairy tale, the outcome of which recalls the
adventure of the farmer of Drws y Coed on his return from Bedgelert
Fair, p. 99 above. It is told of a young harpist who was making his
way across country from his home at Yspyty Ifan to the neighbourhood
of Bala, that while crossing the mountain he happened in the mist
to lose his road and fall into the Gors Fawr, 'the big bog.' There
he wallowed for hours, quite unable to extricate himself in spite
of all his efforts. But when he was going to give up in despair,
he beheld close to him, reaching him her hand, a little woman who
was wondrous fair beyond all his conception of beauty, and with her
help he got out of the Gors. The damsel gave him a jolly sweet kiss
that flashed electricity through his whole nature: he was at once over
head and ears in love. She led him to the hut of her father and mother:
there he had every welcome, and he spent the night singing and dancing
with Olwen, for that was her name. Now, though the harpist was a mere
stripling, he thought of wedding at once--he was never before in such
a heaven of delight. But next morning he was waked, not by a kiss
from Olwen, but by the Plas Drain shepherd's dog licking his lips:
he found himself sleeping against the wall of a sheepfold (corlan),
with his harp in a clump of rushes at his feet, without any trace to
be found of the family with whom he had spent such a happy night.

The next story recalls Glasynys' Einion Las, as given at pp. 111-5
above: its peculiarity is the part played by the well introduced. The
scene was a turbary near the river called Afon Mynach, so named from
Cwm Tir Mynach, behind the hills immediately north of Bala:--Ages
ago, as a number of people were cutting turf in a place which was
then moorland, and which is now enclosed ground forming part of a
farm called Nant Hir, one of them happened to wash his face in a
well belonging to the fairies. At dinner-time in the middle of the
day they sat down in a circle, while the youth who had washed his
face went to fetch the food, but suddenly both he and the box of
food were lost. They knew not what to do, they suspected that it was
the doing of the fairies; but the wise man (gwr hyspys) came to the
neighbourhood and told them, that, if they would only go to the spot on
the night of full moon in June, they would behold him dancing with the
fairies. They did as they were told, and found the moor covered with
thousands of little agile creatures who sang and danced with all their
might, and they saw the missing man among them. They rushed at him,
and with a great deal of trouble they got him out. But oftentimes was
Einion missed again, until at the time of full moon in another June he
returned home with a wondrously fair wife, whose history or pedigree
no one knew. Everybody believed her to be one of the Tylwyth Teg.


There is a kind of fairy tale of which I think I have hitherto not
given the reader a specimen: a good instance is given in the third
volume of the Brython, at p. 459, by a contributor who calls himself
Idnerth ab Gwgan, who, I learn from the Rev. Chancellor Silvan Evans,
the editor, was no other than the Rev. Benjamin Williams, best known
to Welsh antiquaries by his bardic name of Gwynionyd. The preface
to the tale is also interesting, so I am tempted to render the whole
into English, as follows:--

'The fair family were wonderful creatures in the imaginary world:
they encamped, they walked, and they capered a great deal in former
ages in our country, according to what we learn from some of our old
people. It may be supposed that they were very little folks like the
children of Rhys Dwfn; for the old people used to imagine that they
were wont to visit their hearths in great numbers in ages gone by. The
girls at the farm houses used to make the hearths clean after supper,
and to place a cauldron full of water near the fire; and so they
thought that the fair family came there to play at night, bringing
sweethearts for the young women, and leaving pieces of money on the
hob for them in the morning. Sometimes they might be seen as splendid
hosts exercising themselves on our hills. They were very fond of the
mountains of Dyfed; travellers between Lampeter and Cardigan used to
see them on the hill of Llanwenog, but by the time they had reached
there the fairies would be far away on the hills of Llandyssul, and
when one had reached the place where one expected to see the family
together in tidy array, they would be seen very busily engaged on the
tops of Crug y Balog; when one went there they would be on Blaen Pant
ar Fi, moving on and on to Bryn Bwa, and, finally, to some place or
other in the lower part of Dyfed. Like the soldiers of our earthly
world, they were possessed of terribly fascinating music; and in
the autumnal season they had their rings, still named from them,
in which they sang and danced. The young man of Llech y Derwyd [55]
was his father's only son, as well as heir to the farm; so he was
very dear to his father and his mother, indeed he was the light of
their eyes. Now, the head servant and the son were bosom friends:
they were like brothers together, or rather twin brothers. As the
son and the servant were such friends, the farmer's wife used to get
exactly the same kind of clothes prepared for the servant as for her
son. The two fell in love with two handsome young women of very good
reputation in the neighbourhood. The two couples were soon joined in
honest wedlock, and great was the merry-making on the occasion. The
servant had a suitable place to live in on the farm of Llech y Derwyd;
but about half a year after the son's marriage, he and his friend went
out for sport, when the servant withdrew to a wild and retired corner
to look for game. He returned presently for his friend, but when he
got there he could not see him anywhere: he kept looking around for
some time for him, shouting and whistling, but there was no sign of his
friend. By-and-by, he went home to Llech y Derwyd expecting to see him,
but no one knew anything about him. Great was the sorrow of his family
through the night; and next day the anxiety was still greater. They
went to see the place where his friend had seen him last: it was hard
to tell whether his mother or his wife wept the more bitterly; but
the father was a little better, though he also looked as if he were
half mad with grief. The spot was examined, and, to their surprise,
they saw a fairy ring close by, and the servant recollected that
he had heard the sound of very fascinating music somewhere or other
about the time in question. It was at once agreed that the man had
been unfortunate enough to have got into the ring of the Tylwyth,
and to have been carried away by them, nobody knew whither. Weeks and
months passed away, and a son was born to the heir of Llech y Derwyd,
but the young father was not there to see his child, which the old
people thought very hard. However, the little one grew up the very
picture of his father, and great was his influence over his grandfather
and grandmother; in fact he was everything to them. He grew up to be a
man, and he married a good-looking girl in that neighbourhood; but her
family did not enjoy the reputation of being kind-hearted people. The
old folks died, and their daughter-in-law also. One windy afternoon
in the month of October, the family of Llech y Derwyd beheld a tall
thin old man, with his beard and hair white as snow, coming towards
the house, and they thought he was a Jew. The servant maids stared
at him, and their mistress laughed at the "old Jew," at the same time
that she lifted the children up one after another to see him. He came
to the door and entered boldly enough, asking about his parents. The
mistress answered him in an unusually surly and contemptuous tone,
wondering why the "drunken old Jew had come there," because it was
thought he had been drinking, and that he would otherwise not have
spoken so. The old man cast wondering and anxious looks around on
everything in the house, feeling as he did greatly surprised; but it
was the little children about the floor that drew his attention most:
his looks were full of disappointment and sorrow. He related the
whole of his account, saying that he had been out the day before and
that he was now returning. The mistress of the house told him that
she had heard a tale about her husband's father, that he had been
lost years before her birth while out sporting, whilst her father
maintained that it was not true, but that he had been killed. She
became angry, and quite lost her temper at seeing "the old Jew"
not going away. The old man was roused, saying that he was the owner
of the house, and that he must have his rights. He then went out to
see his possessions, and presently went to the house of the servant,
where, to his surprise, things had greatly changed; after conversing
with an aged man, who sat by the fire, the one began to scrutinize
the other more and more. The aged man by the fire told him what had
been the fate of his old friend, the heir of Llech y Derwyd. They
talked deliberately of the events of their youth, but it all seemed
like a dream; in short, the old man in the corner concluded that his
visitor was his old friend, the heir of Llech y Derwyd, returning
from the land of the Tylwyth Teg after spending half a hundred years
there. The other old man, with the snow-white beard, believed in his
history, and much did they talk together and question one another for
many hours. The old man by the fire said that the master of Llech y
Derwyd was away from home that day, and he induced his aged visitor
to eat some food, but, to the horror of all, the eater fell down dead
on the spot [56]. There is no record that an inquest was held over
him, but the tale relates that the cause of it was, that he ate food
after having been so long in the world of the fair family. His old
friend insisted on seeing him buried by the side of his ancestors;
but the rudeness of the mistress of Llech y Derwyd to her father-in-law
brought a curse on the family that clung to it to distant generations,
and until the place had been sold nine times.'

A tale like this is to be found related of Idwal of Nantclwyd, in
Cymru Fu, p. 85. I said 'a tale like this,' but, on reconsidering
the matter, I should think it is the very same tale passed through
the hands of Glasynys or some one of his imitators. Another of this
kind will be found in the Brython, ii. 170, and several similar
ones also in Wirt Sikes' book, pp. 65-90, either given at length,
or merely referred to. There is one kind of variant which deserves
special notice, as making the music to which the sojourner in Faery
listens for scores of years to be that of a bird singing on a tree. A
story of the sort is located by Howells, in his Cambrian Superstitions,
pp. 127-8, at Pant Shon Shencin, near Pencader, in Cardiganshire. This
latter kind of story leads easily up to another development, namely,
to substituting for the bird's warble the song and felicity of heaven,
and for the simple shepherd a pious monk. In this form it is located at
a place called Llwyn y Nef, or 'Heaven's Grove,' near Celynnog Fawr,
in Carnarvonshire. It is given by Glasynys in Cymru Fu, pp. 183-4,
where it was copied from the Brython, iii. 111, in which he had
previously published it. Several versions of it in rhyme came down
from the eighteenth century, and Silvan Evans has brought together
twenty-six stanzas in point in St. David's College Magazine for 1881,
pp. 191-200, where he has put into a few paragraphs all that is known
about the song of the Hen Wr o'r Coed, or the Old Man of the Wood,
in his usually clear and lucid style.

A tale from the other end of the tract of country once occupied
by a sprinkling, perhaps, of Celts among a population of Picts,
makes the man, and not the fairies, supply the music. I owe it to
the kindness of the Rev. Andrew Clark, Fellow of Lincoln College,
Oxford, who heard it from the late sexton of the parish of Dollar,
in the county of Clackmannan. The sexton died some twelve years ago,
aged seventy: he had learnt the tale from his father. The following
are Mr. Clark's words:--

'Glendevon is a parish and village in the Ochils in County Perth,
about five miles from Dollar as you come up Glen Queich and down by
Gloomhill. Glen Queich is a narrowish glen between two grassy hills--at
the top of the glen is a round hill of no great height, but very neat
shape, the grass of which is always short and trim, and the ferns on
the shoulder of a very marked green. This, as you come up the glen,
seems entirely to block the way. It is called the "Maiden Castle." Only
when you come quite close do you see the path winding round the foot
of it. A little further on is a fine spring bordered with flat stones,
in the middle of a neat, turfy spot, called the "Maiden's Well." This
road, till the new toll-road was made on the other side of the hills,
was the thoroughfare between Dollar and Glendevon.'

The following is the legend, as told by the 'Bethrel':--'A piper,
carrying his pipes, was coming from Glendevon to Dollar in the grey
of the evening. He crossed the Garchel (a little stream running into
the Queich burn), and looked at the "Maiden Castle," and saw only the
grey hillside and heard only the wind soughing through the bent. He had
got beyond it when he heard a burst of lively music: he turned round,
and instead of the dark knoll saw a great castle, with lights blazing
from the windows, and heard the noise of dancing issuing from the open
door. He went back incautiously, and a procession issuing forth at that
moment, he was caught and taken into a great hall ablaze with lights,
and people dancing on the floor. He had to pipe to them for a day or
two, but he got anxious, because he knew his people would be wondering
why he did not come back in the morning as he had promised. The fairies
seemed to sympathize with his anxiety, and promised to let him go
if he played a favourite tune of his, which they seemed fond of,
to their satisfaction. He played his very best, the dance went fast
and furious, and at its close he was greeted with loud applause. On
his release he found himself alone, in the grey of the evening, beside
the dark hillock, and no sound was heard save the purr of the burn and
the soughing of the wind through the bent. Instead of completing his
journey to Dollar, he walked hastily back to Glendevon to relieve his
folk's anxiety. He entered his father's house and found no kent face
there. On his protesting that he had gone only a day or two before,
and waxing loud in his bewildered talk, a grey old man was roused from
a doze behind the fire; and told how he had heard when a boy from
his father that a piper had gone away to Dollar on a quiet evening,
and had never been heard or seen since, nor any trace of him found. He
had been in the "castle" for a hundred years.'

The term Plant Rhys Dwfn has already been brought before the reader:
it means 'the Children of Rhys Dwfn,' and Rhys Dwfn means literally
Rhys the Deep, but the adjective in Welsh connotes depth of character
in the sense of shrewdness or cunning. Nay, even the English deep is
often borrowed for use in the same sense, as when one colloquially says
un dîp iawn yw e, 'he is a very calculating or cunning fellow.' The
following account of Rhys and his progeny is given by Gwynionyd
in the first volume of the Brython, p. 130, which deserves being
cited at length:--'There is a tale current in Dyfed, that there is,
or rather that there has been, a country between Cemmes, the northern
Hundred of Pembrokeshire, and Aberdaron in Lleyn. The chief patriarch
of the inhabitants was Rhys Dwfn, and his descendants used to be
called after him the Children of Rhys Dwfn. They were, it is said,
a handsome race enough, but remarkably small in size. It is stated
that certain herbs of a strange nature grew in their land, so that
they were able to keep their country from being seen by even the most
sharp sighted of invaders. There is no account that these remarkable
herbs grew in any other part of the world excepting on a small spot,
about a square yard in area, in a certain part of Cemmes. If it chanced
that a man stood alone on it, he beheld the whole of the territory
of Plant Rhys Dwfn; but the moment he moved he would lose sight of
it altogether, and it would have been utterly vain for him to look
for his footprints. In another story, as will be seen presently,
the requisite platform was a turf from St. David's churchyard. The
Rhysians had not much land--they lived in towns. So they were wont in
former times to come to market to Cardigan, and to raise the prices
of things terribly. They were seen of no one coming or going, but only
seen there in the market. When prices happened to be high, and the corn
all sold, however much there might have been there in the morning,
the poor used to say to one another on the way home, "Oh! they were
there to-day," meaning Plant Rhys Dwfn. So they were dear friends in
the estimation of Siôn Phil Hywel, the farmer; but not so high in the
opinion of Dafyd, the labourer. It is said, however, that they were
very honest and resolute men. A certain Gruffyd ab Einon was wont to
sell them more corn than anybody else, and so he was a great friend
of theirs. He was honoured by them beyond all his contemporaries by
being led on a visit to their home. As they were great traders like
the Phoenicians of old, they had treasures from all countries under
the sun. Gruffyd, after feasting his eyes to satiety on their wonders,
was led back by them loaded with presents. But before taking leave
of them, he asked them how they succeeded in keeping themselves safe
from invaders, as one of their number might become unfaithful, and go
beyond the virtue of the herbs that formed their safety. "Oh!" replied
the little old man of shrewd looks, "just as Ireland has been blessed
with a soil on which venomous reptiles cannot live, so with our land:
no traitor can live here. Look at the sand on the sea-shore: perfect
unity prevails there, and so among us. Rhys, the father of our race,
bade us, even to the most distant descendant, honour our parents
and ancestors; love our own wives without looking at those of our
neighbours; and do our best for our children and grandchildren. And
he said that if we did so, no one of us would ever prove unfaithful
to another, or become what you call a traitor. The latter is a wholly
imaginary character among us; strange pictures are drawn of him with
his feet like those of an ass, with a nest of snakes in his bosom,
with a head like the devil's, with hands somewhat like a man's, while
one of them holds a large knife, and the family lies dead around the
figure. Good-bye!" When Gruffyd looked about him he lost sight of the
country of Plant Rhys, and found himself near his home. He became very
wealthy after this, and continued to be a great friend of Plant Rhys
as long as he lived. After Gruffyd's death they came to market again,
but such was the greed of the farmers, like Gruffyd before them,
for riches, and so unreasonable were the prices they asked for their
corn, that the Rhysians took offence and came no more to Cardigan to
market. The old people used to think that they now went to Fishguard
market, as very strange people were wont to be seen there.' On the
other hand, some Fishguard people were lately of opinion that it was
at Haverfordwest the fairies did their marketing: I refer to a letter
of Mr. Ferrar Fenton's, in the Pembroke County Guardian of October 31,
1896, in which he mentions a conversation he had with a Fishguard woman
as to the existence of fairies: 'There are fairies,' she asserted,
'for they came to Ha'rfordwest market to buy things, so there must be.'

With this should be compared pp. 9-10 of Wirt Sikes' British Goblins,
where mention is made of sailors on the coast of Pembrokeshire and
Carmarthenshire, 'who still talk of the green meadows of enchantment
lying in the Irish Channel to the west of Pembrokeshire,' and of
men who had landed on them, or seen them suddenly vanishing. The
author then proceeds to abstract from Howells' Cambrian Superstitions,
p. 119, the following paragraph:--'The fairies inhabiting these islands
are said to have regularly attended the markets at Milford Haven and
Laugharne. They made their purchases without speaking, laid down their
money and departed, always leaving the exact sum required, which they
seemed to know without asking the price of anything. Sometimes they
were invisible; but they were often seen by sharp-eyed persons. There
was always one special butcher at Milford Haven upon whom the fairies
bestowed their patronage instead of distributing their favours
indiscriminately. The Milford Haven folk could see the green Fairy
Islands distinctly, lying out a short distance from land; and the
general belief was that they were densely peopled with fairies. It
was also said that the latter went to and fro between the islands and
the shore, through a subterranean gallery under the bottom of the sea.'

Another tale given in the Brython, ii. 20, by a writer who gives
his name as B. Davies [57], will serve to show, short though it be,
that the term Plant Rhys Dwfn was not confined to those honestly
dealing fairies, but was used in a sense wholly synonymous with that
of Tylwyth Teg, as understood in other parts of Wales. The story
runs as follows, and should be compared with the Dyffryn Mymbyr one
given above, pp. 100-3:--'One calm hot day, when the sun of heaven was
brilliantly shining, and the hay in the dales was being busily made by
lads and lasses, and by grown-up people of both sexes, a woman in the
neighbourhood of Emlyn placed her one-year-old infant in the gader,
or chair, as the cradle is called in these parts, and out she went
to the field for a while, intending to return, when her neighbour,
an old woman overtaken by the decrepitude of eighty summers, should
call to her that her darling was crying. It was not long before she
heard the old woman calling to her; she ran hurriedly, and as soon as
she set foot on the kitchen floor she took her little one in her arms
as usual, saying to him, "O my little one! thy mother's delight art
thou! I would not take the world for thee, &c." But to her surprise
he had a very old look about him, and the more the tender-hearted
mother gazed at his face, the stranger it seemed to her, so that at
last she placed him in the cradle and told her trouble and sorrow to
her relatives and acquaintances. And after this one and the other had
given his opinion, it was agreed at last that it was one of Rhys Dwfn's
children that was in the cradle, and not her dearly loved baby. In this
distress there was nothing to do but to fetch a sorcerer, as fast as
the fastest horse could gallop. He said, when he saw the child, that
he had seen his like before, and that it would be a hard job to get
rid of him, though not such a very hard job this time. The shovel was
made red hot in the fire by one of the Cefnarth [58] boys, and held
before the child's face; and in an instant the short little old man
took to his heels, and neither he nor his like was seen afterwards
from Aber Cuch to Aber Bargoed at any rate. The mother, it is said,
found her darling unscathed the next moment. I remember also hearing
that the strange child was as old as the grandfather of the one that
had been lost.'

As I see no reason to make any profound distinction between lake
maidens and sea maidens, I now give Gwynionyd's account of the mermaid
who was found by a fisherman from Llandydoch or St. Dogmael's [59],
near Cardigan: see the Brython, i. 82:--

'One fine afternoon in September, in the beginning of the last century,
a fisherman, whose name was Pergrin [60], went to a recess in the
rock near Pen Cemmes, where he found a sea maiden doing her hair,
and he took the water lady prisoner to his boat.... We know not
what language is used by sea maidens ... but this one, this time at
any rate, talked, it is said, very good Welsh; for when she was in
despair in Pergrin's custody, weeping copiously, and with her tresses
all dishevelled, she called out: 'Pergrin, if thou wilt let me go,
I will give thee three shouts in the time of thy greatest need.' So,
in wonder and fear, he let her go to walk the streets of the deep,
and visit her sweethearts there. Days and weeks passed without
Pergrin seeing her after this; but one hot afternoon, when the sea
was pretty calm, and the fishermen had no thought of danger, behold
his old acquaintance showing her head and locks, and shouting out in a
loud voice: 'Pergrin! Pergrin! Pergrin! take up thy nets, take up thy
nets, take up thy nets!' Pergrin and his companion instantly obeyed
the message, and drew their nets in with great haste. In they went,
past the bar, and by the time they had reached the Pwll Cam the most
terrible storm had overspread the sea, while he and his companion were
safe on land. Twice nine others had gone out with them, but they were
all drowned without having the chance of obeying the warning of the
water lady.' Perhaps it is not quite irrelevant to mention here the
armorial bearings which Drayton ascribes to the neighbouring county
of Cardigan in the following couplet in his Battaile of Agincourt
(London, 1631), p. 23:--

            As Cardigan the next to them that went,
            Came with a Mermayd sitting on a Rock.

A writer in the Brython, iv. 194, states that the people of Nefyn
in Lleyn claim the story of the fisher and the mermaid as belonging
to them, which proves that a similar legend has been current there:
add to this the fact mentioned in the Brython, iii. 133, that a red
mermaid with yellow hair, on a white field, figures in the coat of
arms of the family resident at Glasfryn in the parish of Llangybi,
in Eifionyd or the southern portion of Carnarvonshire; and we have
already suggested that Glasynys' story (pp. 117-25) was made up, to a
certain extent, of materials found on the coasts of Carnarvonshire. A
small batch of stories about South Wales mermaids is given by a writer
who calls himself Ab Nadol [61], in the Brython, iv. 310, as follows:--

'A few rockmen are said to have been working, about eighty years
ago, in a quarry near Porth y Rhaw, when the day was calm and clear,
with nature, as it were, feasting, the flowers shedding sweet scent
around, and the hot sunshine beaming into the jagged rocks. Though an
occasional wave rose to strike the romantic cliffs, the sea was like
a placid lake, with its light coverlet of blue attractive enough to
entice one of the ladies of Rhys Dwfn forth from the town seen by
Daniel Huws off Trefin as he was journeying between Fishguard and
St. David's in the year 1858, to make her way to the top of a stone
and to sit on it to disentangle her flowing silvery hair. Whilst
she was cleaning herself, the rockmen went down, and when they got
near her they perceived that, from her waist upwards, she was like
the lasses of Wales, but that, from her waist downwards, she had the
body of a fish. And, when they began to talk to her, they found she
spoke Welsh, though she only uttered the following few words to them:
"Reaping in Pembrokeshire and weeding in Carmarthenshire." Off she
then went to walk in the depth of the sea towards her home. Another
tale is repeated about a mermaid, said to have been caught by men
below the land of Llanwnda, near the spot, if not on the spot, where
the French made their landing afterwards, and three miles to the west
of Fishguard. It then goes on to say that they carried her to their
home, and kept her in a secure place for some time; before long, she
begged to be allowed to return to the brine land, and gave the people
of the house three bits of advice; but I only remember one of them,'
he writes, 'and this is it: "Skim the surface of the pottage before
adding sweet milk to it: it will be whiter and sweeter, and less of
it will do." I was told that this family follow the three advices to
this day.' A somewhat similar advice to that about the pottage is
said to have been given by a mermaid, under similar circumstances,
to a Manxman.

After putting the foregoing bits together, I was favoured by
Mr. Benjamin Williams with notes on the tales and on the persons from
whom he heard them: they form the contents of two or three letters,
mostly answers to queries of mine, and the following is the substance
of them:--Mr. Williams is a native of the valley of Troed yr Aur
[62], in the Cardiganshire parish of that name. He spent a part of
his youth at Verwig, in the angle between the northern bank of the
Teifi and Cardigan Bay. He heard of Rhys Dwfn's Children first from
a distant relative of his father's, a Catherine Thomas, who came to
visit her daughter, who lived not far from his father's house: that
would now be from forty-eight to fifty years ago. He was very young
at the time, and of Rhys Dwfn's progeny he formed a wonderful idea,
which was partly due also to the talk of one James Davies or Siàms
Mocyn, who was very well up in folklore, and was one of his father's
next-door neighbours. He was an old man, and nephew to the musician,
David Jenkin Morgan. The only spot near Mr. Williams' home, that
used to be frequented by the fairies, was Cefn y Ceirw, 'the Stag's
Ridge,' a large farm, so called from having been kept as a park for
their deer by the Lewises of Aber Nant Bychan. He adds that the late
Mr. Philipps, of Aberglasney, was very fond of talking of things
in his native neighbourhood, and of mentioning the fairies at Cefn
y Ceirw. It was after moving to Verwig that Mr. Williams began to
put the tales he heard on paper: then he came in contact with three
brothers, whose names were John, Owen, and Thomas Evans. They were
well-to-do and respectable bachelors, living together on the large
farm of Hafod Ruffyd. Thomas was a man of very strong common sense,
and worth consulting on any subject: he was a good arithmetician,
and a constant reader of the Baptist periodical, Seren Gomer, from
its first appearance. He thoroughly understood the bardic metres,
and had a fair knowledge of music. He was well versed in Scripture,
and filled the office of deacon at the Baptist Chapel. His death took
place in the year 1864. Now, the eldest of the three brothers, the
one named John, or Siôn, was then about seventy-five years of age,
and he thoroughly believed in the tales about the fairies, as will
be seen from the following short dialogue:--

Siôn: Williams bach, ma'n rhaid i bod nhw'i gâl: yr w i'n cofio yn
amser Bone fod marchnad Aberteifi yn llawn o lafir yn y bore--digon
yno am fis--ond cin pen hanner awr yr ôd y cwbwl wedi darfod. Nid ôd
possib i gweld nhwi: mâ gida nhwi faint a fynnon nhwi o arian.

Williams: Siwt na fyse dynion yn i gweld nhwi ynte, Siôn?

Siôn: O mâ gida nhwi dynion fel ninne yn pryni drostyn nhwi; ag y mâ
nhwi fel yr hen siówmin yna yn gelli gneid pob tric.

John: 'My dear Williams, it must be that they exist: I remember
Cardigan market, in the time of Bonaparte, full of corn in the
morning--enough for a month--but in less than half an hour it was
all gone. It was impossible to see them: they have as much money as
they like.'

Williams: 'How is it, then, that men did not see them, John?'

John: 'Oh, they have men like us to do the buying for them; and they
can, like those old showmen, do every kind of trick.'

At this kind of display of simplicity on the part of his brother,
Thomas used to smile and say: 'My brother John believes such things
as those;' for he had no belief in them himself. Still it is from
his mouth that Mr. Williams published the tales in the Brython, which
have been reproduced here, that of 'Pergrin and the Mermaid,' and all
about the 'Heir of Llech y Derwyd,' not to mention the ethical element
in the account of Rhys Dwfn's country and its people, the product
probably of his mind. Thomas Evans, or as he was really called,
Tommos Ifan, was given rather to grappling with the question of
the origin of such beliefs; so one day he called Mr. Williams out,
and led him to a spot about four hundred yards from Bol y Fron,
where the latter then lived: he pointed to the setting sun, and
asked Mr. Williams what he thought of the glorious sunset before
them. 'It is all produced,' he then observed, 'by the reflection
of the sun's rays on the mist: one might think,' he went on to say,
'that there was there a paradise of a country full of fields, forests,
and everything that is desirable.' And before they had moved away the
grand scene had disappeared, when Thomas suggested that the idea of
the existence of the country of Rhys Dwfn's Children arose from the
contemplation of that phenomenon. One may say that Thomas Evans was
probably far ahead of the Welsh historians who try to extract history
from the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod, 'the Bottom Hundred,' beneath the
waves of Cardigan Bay; but what was seen was probably an instance of
the mirage to be mentioned presently. Lastly, besides Mr. Williams'
contributions to the Brython, and a small volume of poetry, entitled
Briallen glan Ceri, some tales of his were published by Llallawg
in Bygones some years ago, and he had the prize at the Cardigan
Eistedfod of 1866 for the best collection in Welsh of the folklore
of Dyfed: his recollection was that it contained in all thirty-six
tales of all kinds; but since the manuscript, as the property of the
Committee of that Eistedfod, was sold, he could not now consult it:
in fact he is not certain as to who the owner of it may now be,
though he has an idea that it is either the Rev. Rees Williams,
vicar of Whitchurch, near Solva, Pembrokeshire, or R. D. Jenkins,
Esq., of Cilbronnau, Cardiganshire. Whoever the owner may be, he
would probably be only too glad to have it published, and I mention
this merely to call attention to it. The Eistedfod is to be commended
for encouraging local research, and sometimes even for burying the
results in obscurity, but not always.


Before leaving Dyfed I wish to revert to the extract from Mr. Sikes,
p. 161 above. He had been helped partly by the article on Gavran,
in the Cambrian Biography, by William Owen, better known since as
William Owen Pughe and Dr. Pughe, and partly by a note of Southey's
on the following words in his Madoc (London, 1815), i. III:--

        Where are the sons of Gavran? where his tribe,
        The faithful? following their beloved Chief,
        They the Green Islands of the Ocean sought;
        Nor human tongue hath told, nor human ear,
        Since from the silver shores they went their way,
        Hath heard their fortunes.

The Gavran story, I may premise, is based on one of the Welsh
Triads--i. 34, ii. 41, iii. 80--and Southey cites the article in the
Cambrian Biography; but he goes on to give the following statements
without indicating on what sources he was drawing--the reader has,
however, been made acquainted already with the virtue of a blade of
grass, by the brief mention of Llyn Irdyn above, p. 148:--

'Of these Islands, or Green Spots of the Floods, there are some
singular superstitions. They are the abode of the Tylwyth Teg, or
the fair family, the souls of the virtuous Druids, who, not having
been Christians, cannot enter the Christian heaven, but enjoy this
heaven of their own. They however discover a love of mischief, neither
becoming happy spirits, nor consistent with their original character;
for they love to visit the earth, and, seizing a man, inquire whether
he will travel above wind, mid wind, or below wind; above wind is
a giddy and terrible passage, below wind is through bush and brake,
the middle is a safe course. But the spell of security is, to catch
hold of the grass, for these Beings have not power to destroy a blade
of grass. In their better moods they come over and carry the Welsh in
their boats. He who visits these Islands imagines on his return that
he has been absent only a few hours, when, in truth, whole centuries
have passed away. If you take a turf from St. David's churchyard,
and stand upon it on the sea shore, you behold these Islands. A man
once, who thus obtained sight of them, immediately put to sea to find
them; but they disappeared, and his search was in vain. He returned,
looked at them again from the enchanted turf, again set sail, and
failed again. The third time he took the turf into his vessel, and
stood upon it till he reached them.'

A correspondent signing himself 'the Antient Mariner,' and writing,
in the Pembroke County Guardian, from Newport, Pembrokeshire, Oct. 26,
1896, cites Southey's notes, and adds to them the statement, that
some fifty years ago there was a tradition amongst the inhabitants of
Trevine (Trefin) in his county, that these Islands could be seen from
Llan Non, or Eglwys Non, in that neighbourhood. To return to Madoc,
Southey adds to the note already quoted a reference to the inhabitants
of Arran More, on the coast of Galway, to the effect that they think
that they can on a clear day see Hy-Breasail, the Enchanted Island
supposed to be the Paradise of the Pagan Irish: compare the Phantom
City seen in the same sea from the coast of Clare. Then he asks a
question suggestive of the explanation, that all this is due to 'that
very extraordinary phenomenon, known in Sicily by the name of Morgaine
le Fay's works.' In connexion with this question of mirage I venture
to quote again from the Pembroke County Guardian. Mr. Ferrar Fenton,
already mentioned, writes in the issue of Nov. 1, 1896, giving a report
which he had received one summer morning from Captain John Evans,
since deceased. It is to the effect 'that once when trending up the
Channel, and passing Grasholm Island, in what he had always known
as deep water, he was surprised to see to windward of him a large
tract of land covered with a beautiful green meadow. It was not,
however, above water, but just a few feet below, say two or three,
so that the grass waved and swam about as the ripple flowed over it,
in a most delightful way to the eye, so that as watched it made one
feel quite drowsy. You know, he continued, I have heard old people
say there is a floating island off there, that sometimes rises to the
surface, or nearly, and then sinks down again fathoms deep, so that
no one sees it for years, and when nobody expects it comes up again
for a while. How it may be, I do not know, but that is what they say.'

Lastly, Mr. E. Perkins, of Penysgwarne, near Fishguard, wrote on
Nov. 2, 1896, as follows, of a changing view to be had from the top
of the Garn, which means the Garn Fawr, one of the most interesting
prehistoric sites in the county, and one I have had the pleasure of
visiting more than once in the company of Henry Owen and Edward Laws,
the historians of Pembrokeshire:--

'May not the fairy islands referred to by Professor Rhys have
originated from mirages? During the glorious weather we enjoyed
last summer, I went up one particularly fine evening to the top of
the Garn behind Penysgwarne to view the sunset. It would have been
worth a thousand miles' travel to go to see such a scene as I saw
that evening. It was about half an hour before sunset--the bay was
calm and smooth as the finest mirror. The rays of the sun made

            A golden path across the sea,

and a picture indescribable. As the sun neared the horizon the rays
broadened until the sheen resembled a gigantic golden plate prepared
to hold the brighter sun. No sooner had the sun set than I saw a
striking mirage. To the right I saw a stretch of country similar
to a landscape in this country. A farmhouse and out-buildings were
seen, I will not say quite as distinct as I can see the upper part
of St. David's parish from this Garn, but much more detailed. We
could see fences, roads, and gateways leading to the farmyard, but
in the haze it looked more like a panoramic view than a veritable
landscape. Similar mirages may possibly have caused our old tadau to
think these were the abode of the fairies.'

To return to Mr. Sikes, the rest of his account of the Pembrokeshire
fairies and their green islands, of their Milford butcher, and
of the subterranean gallery leading into their home, comes, as
already indicated, for the most part from Howells. But it does not
appear on what authority Southey himself made departed druids of
the fairies. One would be glad to be reassured on this last point,
as such a hypothesis would fit in well enough with what we are told
of the sacrosanct character of the inhabitants of the isles on the
coast of Britain in ancient times. Take, for instance, the brief
account given by Plutarch of one of the isles explored by a certain
Demetrius in the service of the Emperor of Rome: see chapter viii.


Mr. Craigfryn Hughes, the author of a Welsh novelette [63] with its
scene laid in Glamorgan, having induced me to take a copy, I read it
and found it full of local colouring. Then I ventured to sound the
author on the question of fairy tales, and the reader will be able
to judge how hearty the response has been. Before reproducing the
tale which Mr. Hughes has sent me, I will briefly put into English
his account of himself and his authorities. Mr. Hughes lives at the
Quakers' Yard in the neighbourhood of Pontyprid, in Glamorganshire. His
father was not a believer [64] in tales about fairies or the like,
and he learned all he knows of the traditions about them in his
father's absence, from his grandmother and other old people. The old
lady's name was Rachel Hughes. She was born at Pandy Pont y Cymmer,
near Pontypool, or Pont ap Hywel as Mr. Hughes analyses the name,
in the year 1773, and she had a vivid recollection of Edmund Jones of
the Tranch, of whom more anon, coming from time to time to preach to
the Independents there. She came, however, to live in the parish of
Llanfabon, near the Quakers' Yard, when she was only twelve years
of age; and there she continued to live to the day of her death,
which took place in 1864, so that she was about ninety-one years of
age at the time. Mr. Hughes adds that he remembers many of the old
inhabitants besides his grandmother, who were perfectly familiar with
the story he has put on record; but only two of them were alive when
he wrote to me in 1881, and these were both over ninety years old,
with their minds overtaken by the childishness of age; but it was
only a short time since the death of another, who was, as he says,
a walking library of tales about corpse candles, ghosts, and Bendith
y Mamau [65], or 'The Mothers' Blessing,' as the fairies are usually
called in Glamorgan. Mr. Hughes' father tried to prevent his children
being taught any tales about ghosts, corpse candles, or fairies;
but the grandmother found opportunities of telling them plenty, and
Mr. Hughes vividly describes the effect on his mind when he was a
boy, how frightened he used to feel, how he pulled the clothes over
his head in bed, and how he half suffocated himself thereby under
the effects of the fear with which the tales used to fill him. Then,
as to the locality, he makes the following remarks:--'There are few
people who have not heard something or other about the old graveyard
of the Quakers, which was made by Lydia Phil, a lady who lived at a
neighbouring farm house, called Cefn y Fforest. This old graveyard lies
in the eastern corner of the parish of Merthyr Tydfil, on land called
Pantannas, as to the meaning of which there is much controversy. Some
will have it that it is properly Pant yr Aros, or the Hollow of the
Staying, because travellers were sometimes stopped there overnight
by the swelling of the neighbouring river; others treat it as Pant
yr Hanes, the Hollow of the Legend, in allusion to the following
story. But before the graveyard was made, the spot was called
Rhyd y Grug, or the Ford of the Heather, which grows thereabouts in
abundance. In front of the old graveyard towards the south the rivers
Taff and Bargoed, which some would make into Byrgoed or Short-Wood,
meet with each other, and thence rush in one over terrible cliffs of
rock, in the recesses of which lie huge cerwyni or cauldron-like pools,
called respectively the Gerwyn Fach, the Gerwyn Fawr, and the Gerwyn
Ganol, where many a drowning has taken place. As one walks up over
Tarren y Crynwyr, "the Quakers' Rift," until Pantannas is reached,
and proceeds northwards for about a mile and a half, one arrives at a
farm house called Pen Craig Daf [66], "the Top of the Taff Rock." The
path between the two houses leads through fertile fields, in which
may be seen, if one has eyes to observe, small rings which are greener
than the rest of the ground. They are, in fact, green even as compared
with the greenness around them--these are the rings in which Bendith
y Mamau used to meet to sing and dance all night. If a man happened
to get inside one of these circles when the fairies were there, he
could not be got out in a hurry, as they would charm him and lead
him into some of their caves, where they would keep him for ages,
unawares to him, listening to their music. The rings vary greatly in
size, but in point of form they are all round or oval. I have heard
my grandmother,' says Mr. Hughes, 'reciting and singing several of the
songs which the fairies sang in these rings. One of them began thus:--

                Canu, canu, drwy y nos,
                Dawnsio, dawnsio, ar Waen y Rhos
                Y' ngoleuni'r lleuad dlos:
                        Hapus ydym ni!

                Pawb ohonom syd yn llon
                Heb un gofid dan ei fron:
                Canu, dawnsio, ar y ton [67]--
                        Dedwyd ydym ni!

                Singing, singing, through the night,
                Dancing, dancing with our might,
                Where the moon the moor doth light,
                        Happy ever we!

                One and all of merry mien,
                Without sorrow are we seen,
                Singing, dancing on the green,
                        Gladsome ever we!

Here follows, in Mr. Hughes' own Welsh, a remarkable story of revenge
exacted by the fairies:--

Yn un o'r canrifoed a aethant heibio, preswyliai amaethwr yn nhydyn
Pantannas, a'r amser hwnnw yr oed bendith y mamau yn ymwelwyr aml ag
amryw gaeau perthynol ido ef, a theimlai yntau gryn gasineb yn ei
fynwes at yr 'atras fwstrog, leisiog, a chynllwynig,' fel y galwai
hwynt, a mynych yr hiraethai am allu dyfod o hyd i ryw lwybr er cael
eu gwared odiyno. O'r diwed hysbyswyd ef gan hen reibwraig, fod y
fford i gael eu gwared yn digon hawd, ac ond ido ef rodi godro un
hwyr a boreu idi hi, yr hysbysai y fford ido gyrraed yr hyn a fawr
dymunai. Bodlonod i'w thelerau a derbyniod yntau y cyfarwydyd, yr
hyn ydoed fel y canlyn:--Ei fod i aredig yr holl gaeau i ba rai yr
oed eu hoff ymgyrchfan, ac ond idynt hwy unwaith golli y ton glas,
y digient, ac na deuent byth mwy i'w boeni drwy eu hymweliadau a'r lle.

Dilynod yr amaethwr ei chyfarwydyd i'r llythyren, a choronwyd ei waith
a llwydiant. Nid oed yr un o honynt i'w weled odeutu y caeau yn awr;
ac yn lle sain eu caniadau soniarus, a glywid bob amser yn dyrchu
o Waen y Rhos, nid oed dim ond y distawrwyd trylwyraf yn teyrnasu o
gylch eu hen a'u hoff ymgyrchfan.

Hauod yr amaethwr wenith, &c., yn y caeau, ac yr oed y gwanwyn gwyrdlas
wedi gwthio y gauaf odiar ei sed, ac ymdangosai y maesyd yn arderchog
yn eu llifrai gwyrdleision a gwanwynol.

Ond un prydnawn, ar ol i'r haul ymgilio i yst felloed y gorllewin,
tra yr oed amaethwr Pantannas yn dychwelyd tua ei gartref cyfarfydwyd
ag ef gan fod bychan ar ffurf dyn, yn gwisgo hugan goch; a phan daeth
gyferbyn ag ef dadweiniod ei gled bychan, gan gyfeirio ei flaen at
yr amaethwr, a dywedyd,

            Dial a daw,
            Y mae gerllaw.

Ceisiod yr amaethwr chwerthin, ond yr oed rhywbeth yn edrychiad sarrug
a llym y gwr bychan ag a barod ido deimlo yn hynod o annymunol.

Ychydig o nosweithiau yn diwedarach, pan oed y teulu ar ymneillduo i'w
gorphwysleoed, dychrynwyd hwy yn fawr iawn gan drwst, fel pe bydai y
ty yn syrthio i lawr bendramwnwgl, ac yn union ar ol i'r twrf beidio,
clywent y geiriau bygythiol a ganlyn--a dim yn rhagor--yn cael eu
parablu yn uchel,

            Daw dial.

Pan oed yr yd wedi cael ei fedi ac yn barod i gael ei gywain i'r
ysgubor, yn sydyn ryw noswaith llosgwyd ef fel nad oed yr un dywysen
na gwelltyn i'w gael yn un man o'r caeau, ac nis gallasai neb fod
wedi gosod yr yd ar dan ond Bendith y Mamau.

Fel ag y mae yn naturiol i ni fedwl teimlod yr amaethwr yn fawr
oherwyd y tro, ac edifarhaod yn ei galon darfod ido erioed wrando
a gwneuthur yn ol cyfarwydyd yr hen reibwraig, ac felly dwyn arno
digofaint a chasineb Bendith y Mamau.

Drannoeth i'r noswaith y llosgwyd yr yd fel yr oed yn arolygu y difrod
achoswyd gan y tan, wele'r gwr bychan ag ydoed wedi ei gyfarfod
ychydig o diwrnodau yn flaenorol yn ei gyfarfod eilwaith a chyda
threm herfeidiol pwyntiod ei gledyf ato gan dywedyd,

            Nid yw ond dechreu.

Trod gwyneb yr amaethwr cyn wynned a'r marmor, a safod gan alw y gwr
bychan yn ol, ond bu y còr yn hynod o wydn ac anewyllysgar i droi ato,
ond ar ol hir erfyn arno trod yn ei ol gan ofyn yn sarrug beth yr oed
yr amaethwr yn ei geisio, yr hwn a hysbysod ido ei fod yn berffaith
fodlon i adael y caeau lle yr oed eu hoff ymgyrchfan i dyfu yn don
eilwaith, a rhodi caniatad idynt i dyfod idynt pryd y dewisent,
ond yn unig idynt beidio dial eu llid yn mhellach arno ef.

'Na,' oed yr atebiad penderfynol, 'y mae gair y brenin wedi ei roi
y byd ido ymdial arnat hyd eithaf ei allu ac nid oes dim un gallu ar
wyneb y greadigaeth a bair ido gael ei dynnu yn ol.'

Dechreuod yr amaethwr wylo ar hyn, ond yn mhen ychydig hysbysod y gwr
bychan y bydai ido ef siarad a'i bennaeth ar y mater, ac y cawsai
efe wybod y canlyniad ond ido dyfod i'w gyfarfod ef yn y fan honno
amser machludiad haul drennyd.

Adawod yr amaethwr dyfod i'w gyfarfod, a phan daeth yr amser
apwyntiedig o amgylch ido i gyfarfod a'r bychan cafod ef yno yn
ei aros, ac hysbysod ido fod y pennaeth wedi ystyried ei gais yn
difrifol, ond gan fod ei air bob amser yn anghyfnewidiol y buasai y
dialed bygythiedig yn rhwym o gymeryd lle ar y teulu, ond ar gyfrif
ei edifeirwch ef na chawsai digwyd yn ei amser ef nac eido ei blant.

Llonydod hynny gryn lawer ar fedwl terfysglyd yr amaethwr, a dechreuod
Bendith y Mamau dalu eu hymweliadau a'r lle eilwaith a mynych y clywid
sain eu cerdoriaeth felusber yn codi o'r caeau amgylchynol yn ystod
y nos.

Pasiod canrif heibio heb i'r dialed bygythiedig gael ei gyflawni,
ac er fod teulu Pantannas yn cael eu hadgofio yn awr ac eilwaith,
y buasai yn sicr o digwyd hwyr neu hwyrach, eto wrth hir glywed y waed,

            Daw dial,

ymgynefinasant a hi nes eu bod yn barod i gredu na fuasai dim yn
dyfod o'r bygythiad byth.

Yr oed etifed Pantannas yn caru a merch i dirfediannyd cymydogaethol
a breswyliai mewn tydyn o'r enw Pen Craig Daf. Yr oed priodas y
par dedwyd i gymeryd lle yn mhen ychydig wythnosau ac ymdangosai
rhieni y cwpl ieuanc yn hynod o fodlon i'r ymuniad teuluol ag oed ar
gymeryd lle.

Yr oed yn amser y Nadolig--a thalod y darpar wraig ieuanc ymweliad a
theulu ei darpar wr, ac yr oed yno wled o wyd rostiedig yn baratoedig
gogyfer a'r achlysur.

Eistedai y cwmni odeutu y tan i adrod rhyw chwedlau difyrrus er mwyn
pasio yr amser, pryd y cawsant eu dychrynu yn fawr gan lais treidgar
yn dyrchafu megis o wely yr afon yn gwaedi

            Daeth amser ymdïal.

Aethant oll allan i wrando a glywent y lleferyd eilwaith, ond nid oed
dim i'w glywed ond brochus drwst y dwfr wrth raiadru dros glogwyni
aruthrol y cerwyni. Ond ni chawsant aros i wrando yn hir iawn cyn
idynt glywed yr un lleferyd eilwaith yn dyrchafu i fyny yn uwch na
swn y dwfr pan yn bwrlymu dros ysgwydau y graig, ac yn gwaedi,

            Daeth yr amser.

Nis gallent dyfalu beth yr oed yn ei arwydo, a chymaint ydoed eu
braw a'u syndod fel nad allent lefaru yr un gair a'u gilyd. Yn mhen
ennyd dychwelasant i'r ty a chyn idynt eisted credent yn dios fod yr
adeilad yn cael ei ysgwyd id ei sylfeini gan ryw dwrf y tu allan. Pan
yr oed yr oll wedi cael eu parlysio gan fraw, wele fenyw fechan yn
gwneuthur ei hymdangosiad ar y bwrd o'u blaen, yr hwn oed yn sefyll
yn agos i'r ffenestr.

'Beth yr wyt yn ei geisio yma, y peth bychan hagr?' holai un o'r

'Nid oes gennyf unrhyw neges a thi, y gwr hir dafod,' oed atebiad y
fenyw fechan. 'Ond yr wyf wedi cael fy anfon yma i adrod rhyw bethau
ag syd ar digwyd i'r teulu hwn, a theulu arall o'r gymydogaeth ag a
dichon fod o dydordeb idynt, ond gan i mi derbyn y fath sarhad odiar
law y gwr du ag syd yn eisted yn y cornel, ni fyd i mi godi y llen
ag oed yn cudio y dyfodol allan o'u golwg.'

'Atolwg os oes yn dy fediant ryw wybodaeth parth dyfodol rhai o
honom ag a fydai yn dydorol i ni gael ei glywed, dwg hi allan,'
ebai un arall o'r gwydfodolion.

'Na wnaf, ond yn unig hysbysu, fod calon gwyryf fel llong ar y traeth
yn methu cyrraed y porthlad oherwyd digalondid y pilot.'

A chyda ei bod yn llefaru y gair diwedaf diflannod o'u gwyd, na wydai
neb i ba le na pha fod!

Drwy ystod ci hymweliad hi, peidiod y waed a godasai o'r afon, ond
yn fuan ar ol idi diflannu, dechreuod eilwaith a chyhoedi

            Daeth amser dial,

ac ni pheidiod am hir amser. Yr oed y cynulliad wedi cael eu mediannu
a gormod o fraw i fedru llefaru yr un gair, ac yr oed llen o brudder
yn daenedig dros wyneb pob un o honynt. Daeth amser idynt i ymwahanu,
ac aeth Rhyderch y mab i hebrwng Gwerfyl ei gariadferch tua Phen
Craig Daf, o ba siwrnai ni dychwelod byth.

Cyn ymadael a'i fun dywedir idynt dyngu bythol ffydlondeb i'w gilyd,
pe heb weled y naill y llall byth ond hynny, ac nad oed dim a allai
beri idynt anghofio eu gilyd.

Mae yn debygol i'r llanc Rhyderch pan yn dychwelyd gartref gael ei
hun odifewn i un o gylchoed Bendith y Mamau, ac yna idynt ei hud-denu
i mewn i un o'u hogofau yn Nharren y Cigfrain, ac yno y bu.

Y mae yn llawn bryd i ni droi ein gwynebau yn ol tua Phantannas a Phen
Craig Daf. Yr oed rhieni y bachgen anffodus yn mron gwallgofi. Nid
oed gandynt yr un drychfedwl i ba le i fyned i chwilio am dano, ac
er chwilio yn mhob man a phob lle methwyd yn glir a dyfod o hyd ido,
na chael gair o'i hanes.

Ychydig i fyny yn y cwm mewn ogof dandaearol trigfannai hen feudwy
oedrannus, yr hwn hefyd a ystyrrid yn dewin, o'r enw Gweiryd. Aethant
yn mhen ychydig wythnosau i ofyn ido ef, a fedrai rodi idynt ryw
wybodaeth parthed i'w mab colledig--ond i ychydig bwrpas. Ni wnaeth
yr hyn a adrodod hwnnw wrthynt ond dyfnhau y clwyf a rhoi golwg fwy
anobeithiol fyth ar yr amgylchiad. Ar ol idynt ei hysbysu ynghylch
ymdangosiad y fenyw fechan ynghyd a'r llais wylofus a glywsent
yn dyrchafu o'r afon y nos yr aeth ar goll, hysbysod efe idynt
mai y farn fygythiedig ar y teulu gan Fendith y Mamau oed wedi
godiwedid y llanc, ac nad oed o un diben idynt fedwl cael ei weled
byth mwyach! Ond feallai y gwnelai ei ymdangosiad yn mhen oesau,
ond dim yn eu hamser hwy.

Pasiai yr amser heibio, a chwydod yr wythnosau i fisoed, a'r misoed
i flynydoed, a chasglwyd tad a mam Rhyderch at eu tadau. Yr oed y
lle o hyd yn parhau yr un, ond y preswylwyr yn newid yn barhaus,
ac yr oed yr adgofion am ei golledigaeth yn darfod yn gyflym, ond
er hynny yr oed un yn disgwyl ei dychweliad yn ol yn barhaus, ac
yn gobeithio megis yn erbyn gobaith am gael ei weled eilwaith. Bob
boreu gyda bod dorau y wawr yn ymagor dros gaerog fynydoed y dwyrain
gwelid hi bob tywyd yn rhedeg i ben bryn bychan, a chyda llygaid yn
orlawn o dagrau hiraethlon syllai i bob cyfeiriad i edrych a ganfydai
ryw argoel fod ei hanwylyd yn dychwelyd; ond i dim pwrpas. Canol dyd
gwelid hi eilwaith yn yr un man, a phan ymgollai yr haul fel pelen
eiriasgoch o dân dros y terfyngylch, yr oed hi yno.

Edrychai nes yn agos bod yn dall, ac wylai ei henaid allan o dyd i
dyd ar ol anwyldyn ei chalon. O'r diwed aeth y rhai syd yn edrych
drwy y ffenestri i omed eu gwasanaeth idi, ac yr oed y pren almon
yn coroni ei phen a'i flagur gwyryfol, ond parhai hi i edrych, ond
nid oed neb yn dod. Yn llawn o dydiau ac yn aedfed i'r bed rhodwyd
terfyn ar ei holl obeithion a'i disgwyliadau gan angeu, a chludwyd
ei gwedillion marwol i fynwent hen Gapel y Fan.

Pasiai blynydoed heibio fel mwg, ac oesau fel cysgodion y boreu, ac
nid oed neb yn fyw ag oed yn cofio Rhyderch, ond adrodid ei golliad
disymwyth yn aml. Dylasem fynegu na welwyd yr un o Fendith y Mamau
odeutu y gymydogaeth wedi ei golliad, a pheidiod sain eu cerdoriaeth
o'r nos honno allan.

Yr oed Rhyderch wedi cael ei hud-denu i fyned gyda Bendith y Mamau--ac
aethant ag ef i ffwrd i'w hogof. Ar ol ido aros yno dros ychydig o
diwrnodau fel y tybiai, gofynnod am ganiatad i dychwelyd, yr hyn a rwyd
ganiatawyd ido gan y brenin. Daeth allan o'r ogof, ac yr oed yn ganol
dyd braf, a'r haul yn llewyrchu odiar fynwes ffurfafen digwmwl. Cerdod
yn mlaen o Darren y Cigfrain hyd nes ido dyfod i olwg Capel y Fan,
ond gymaint oed ei syndod pan y gwelod nad oed yr un capel yno! Pa
le yr oed wedi bod, a pha faint o amser? Gyda theimladau cymysgedig
cyfeiriod ei gamrau tua Phen Craig Daf, cartref-le ei anwylyd, ond
nid oed hi yno, ac nid oed yn adwaen yr un dyn ag oed yno chwaith. Ni
fedrai gael gair o hanes ei gariad a chymerod y rhai a breswylient
yno mai gwallgofdyn ydoed.

Prysurod eilwaith tua Phantannas, ac yr oed ei syndod yn fwy fyth
yno! Nid oed yn adwaen yr un o honynt, ac ni wydent hwythau dim am dano
yntau. O'r diwed daeth gwr y ty i fewn, ac yr oed hwnnw yn cofio clywed
ei dad cu yn adrod am lanc ag oed wedi myned yn disymwyth i goll er ys
peth cannoed o flynydoed yn ol, ond na wydai neb i ba le. Rywfod neu
gilyd tarawod gwr y ty ei ffon yn erbyn Rhyderch, pa un a diflannod
mewn cawod o lwch, ac ni chlywyd air o son beth daeth o hono mwyach.

'In one of the centuries gone by, there lived a husbandman on the farm
of Pantannas; and at that time the fairies used to pay frequent visits
to several of the fields which belonged to him. He cherished in his
bosom a considerable hatred for the "noisy, boisterous, and pernicious
tribe," as he called them, and often did he long to be able to discover
some way to rid the place of them. At last he was told by an old witch
that the way to get rid of them was easy enough, and that she would
tell him how to attain what he so greatly wished, if he gave her one
evening's milking [68] on his farm, and one morning's. He agreed to her
conditions, and from her he received advice, which was to the effect
that he was to plough all the fields where they had their favourite
resorts, and that, if they found the green sward gone, they would take
offence, and never return to trouble him with their visits to the spot.

'The husbandman followed the advice to the letter, and his work was
crowned with success. Not a single one of them was now to be seen
about the fields, and, instead of the sound of their sweet music,
which used to be always heard rising from the Coarse Meadow Land,
the most complete silence now reigned over their favourite resort.

'He sowed his land with wheat and other grain; the verdant spring had
now thrust winter off its throne, and the fields appeared splendid
in their vernal and green livery.

'But one evening, when the sun had retired to the chambers of the west,
and when the farmer of Pantannas was returning home, he was met by
a diminutive being in the shape of a man, with a red coat on. When
he had come right up to him, he unsheathed his little sword, and,
directing the point towards the farmer, he said:--

            Vengeance cometh,
            Fast it approacheth.

'The farmer tried to laugh, but there was something in the surly
and stern looks of the little fellow which made him feel exceedingly

'A few nights afterwards, as the family were retiring to rest, they
were very greatly frightened by a noise, as though the house was
falling to pieces; and, immediately after the noise, they heard a
voice uttering loudly the threatening words--and nothing more:--

            Vengeance cometh.

'When, however, the corn was reaped and ready to be carried to the
barn, it was, all of a sudden, burnt up one night, so that neither
an ear nor a straw of it could be found anywhere in the fields;
and now nobody could have set the corn on fire but the fairies.

'As one may naturally suppose, the farmer felt very much on account
of this event, and he regretted in his heart having done according
to the witch's direction, and having thereby brought upon him the
anger and hatred of the fairies.

'The day after the night of the burning of the corn, as he was
surveying the destruction caused by the fire, behold the little
fellow, who had met him a few days before, met him again, and, with
a challenging glance, he pointed his sword towards him, saying:--

            It but beginneth.

The farmer's face turned as white as marble, and he stood calling the
little fellow to come back; but the dwarf proved very unyielding and
reluctant to turn to him; but, after long entreaty, he turned back,
asking the farmer, in a surly tone, what he wanted, when he was told
by the latter that he was quite willing to allow the fields, in which
their favourite resorts had been, to grow again into a green sward,
and to let them frequent them as often as they wished, provided they
would no further wreak their anger on him.

'"No," was the determined reply, "the word of the king has been given,
that he will avenge himself on thee to the utmost of his power;
and there is no power on the face of creation that will cause it to
be withdrawn."

'The farmer began to weep at this, and, after a while, the little
fellow said that he would speak to his lord on the matter, and that
he would let him know the result, if he would come there to meet him
at the hour of sunset on the third day after.

'The farmer promised to meet him; and, when the time appointed for
meeting the little man came, he found him awaiting him, and he was told
by him that his lord had seriously considered his request, but that,
as the king's word was ever immutable, the threatened vengeance was
to take effect on the family. On account, however, of his repentance,
it would not be allowed to happen in his time or that of his children.

'That calmed the disturbed mind of the farmer a good deal. The fairies
began again to pay frequent visits to the place, and their melodious
singing was again heard at night in the fields around.

'A century passed by without seeing the threatened vengeance carried
into effect; and, though the Pantannas family were reminded now and
again that it was certain sooner or later to come, nevertheless,
by long hearing the voice that said--

            Vengeance cometh,

they became so accustomed to it, that they were ready to believe that
nothing would ever come of the threat.

'The heir of Pantannas was paying his addresses to the daughter of a
neighbouring landowner who lived at the farm house called Pen Craig
Daf, and the wedding of the happy pair was to take place in a few
weeks, and the parents on both sides appeared exceedingly content
with the union that was about to take place between the two families.

'It was Christmas time, and the intended wife paid a visit to the
family of her would-be husband. There they had a feast of roast goose
prepared for the occasion.

'The company sat round the fire to relate amusing tales to pass the
time, when they were greatly frightened by a piercing voice, rising,
as it were, from the bed of the river [69], and shrieking:--

            The time for revenge is come.

'They all went out to listen if they could hear the voice a second
time, but nothing was to be heard save the angry noise of the water as
it cascaded over the dread cliffs of the kerwyni; they had not long,
however, to wait till they heard again the same voice rising above the
noise of the waters, as they boiled over the shoulders of the rock,
and crying:--

            The time is come.

'They could not guess what it meant, and so great was their fright
and astonishment, that no one could utter a word to another. Shortly
they returned to the house, when they believed that beyond doubt
the building was being shaken to its foundations by some noise
outside. When all were thus paralysed by fear, behold a little woman
made her appearance on the table, which stood near the window.

'"What dost thou, ugly little thing, want here?" asked one of those

'"I have nothing to do with thee, O man of the meddling tongue," said
the little woman, "but I have been sent here to recount some things
that are about to happen to this family and another family in the
neighbourhood, things that might be of interest to them; but, as I have
received such an insult from the black fellow that sits in the corner,
the veil that hides them from their sight shall not be lifted by me."

'"Pray," said another of those present, "if thou hast in thy possession
any knowledge with regard to the future of any one of us that would
interest us to hear, bring it forth."

'"No, I will but merely tell you that a certain maiden's heart is
like a ship on the coast, unable to reach the harbour because the
pilot has lost heart."

'As soon as she had cried out the last word, she vanished, no one
knew whither or how.

'During her visit, the cry rising from the river had stopped, but
soon afterwards it began again to proclaim:--

            The time of vengeance is come;

nor did it cease for a long while. The company had been possessed by
too much terror for one to be able to address another, and a sheet
of gloom had, as it were, been spread over the face of each. The
time for parting came, and Rhyderch the heir went to escort Gwerfyl,
his lady-love, home towards Pen Craig Daf, a journey from which he
never returned.

'Before bidding one another "Good-bye," they are said to have sworn
to each other eternal fidelity, even though they should never see one
another from that moment forth, and that nothing should make the one
forget the other.

'It is thought probable that the young man Rhyderch, on his way back
towards home, got into one of the rings of the fairies, that they
allured him into one of their caves in the Ravens' Rift, and that
there he remained.

'It is high time for us now to turn back towards Pantannas and
Pen Craig Daf. The parents of the unlucky youth were almost beside
themselves: they had no idea where to go to look for him, and, though
they searched every spot in the place, they failed completely to find
him or any clue to his history.

'A little higher up the country, there dwelt, in a cave underground, an
aged hermit called Gweiryd, who was regarded also as a sorcerer. They
went a few weeks afterwards to ask him whether he could give them any
information about their lost son; but it was of little avail. What that
man told them did but deepen the wound and give the event a still more
hopeless aspect. When they had told him of the appearance of the little
woman, and the doleful cry heard rising from the river on the night
when their son was lost, he informed them that it was the judgement
threatened to the family by the fairies that had overtaken the youth,
and that it was useless for them to think of ever seeing him again:
possibly he might make his appearance after generations had gone by,
but not in their lifetime.

'Time rolled on, weeks grew into months, and months into years, until
Rhyderch's father and mother were gathered to their ancestors. The
place continued the same, but the inhabitants constantly changed,
so that the memory of Rhyderch's disappearance was fast dying
away. Nevertheless there was one who expected his return all the while,
and hoped, as it were against hope, to see him once more. Every morn,
as the gates of the dawn opened beyond the castellated heights of the
east, she might be seen, in all weathers, hastening to the top of a
small hill, and, with eyes full of the tears of longing, gazing in
every direction to see if she could behold any sign of her beloved's
return; but in vain. At noon, she might be seen on the same spot again;
she was also there at the hour when the sun was wont to hide himself,
like a red-hot ball of fire, below the horizon. She gazed until she
was nearly blind, and she wept forth her soul from day to day for
the darling of her heart. At last they that looked out at the windows
began to refuse their service, and the almond tree commenced to crown
her head with its virgin bloom. She continued to gaze, but he came
not. Full of days, and ripe for the grave, death put an end to all
her hopes and all her expectations. Her mortal remains were buried
in the graveyard of the old Chapel of the Fan [70].

'Years passed away like smoke, and generations like the shadows of
the morning, and there was no longer anybody alive who remembered
Rhyderch, but the tale of his sudden missing was frequently in
people's mouths. And we ought to have said that after the event no
one of the fairies was seen about the neighbourhood, and the sound
of their music ceased from that night.

'Rhyderch had been allured by them, and they took him away into their
cave. When he had stayed there only a few days, as he thought, he asked
for permission to return, which was readily granted him by the king. He
issued from the cave when it was a fine noon, with the sun beaming
from the bosom of a cloudless firmament. He walked on from the Ravens'
Rift until he came near the site of the Fan Chapel; but what was his
astonishment to find no chapel there! Where, he wondered, had he been,
and how long away? So with mixed feelings he directed his steps towards
Pen Craig Daf, the home of his beloved one, but she was not there nor
any one whom he knew either. He could get no word of the history of
his sweetheart, and those who dwelt in the place took him for a madman.

'He hastened then to Pantannas, where his astonishment was still
greater. He knew nobody there, and nobody knew anything about him. At
last the man of the house came in, and he remembered hearing his
grandfather relating how a youth had suddenly disappeared, nobody
knew whither, some hundreds of years previously. Somehow or other the
man of the house chanced to knock his walking-stick against Rhyderch,
when the latter vanished in a shower of dust. Nothing more was ever
heard of him.'

Before leaving Glamorgan, I may add that Mr. Sikes associates fairy
ladies with Crymlyn Lake, between Briton Ferry and Swansea; but,
as frequently happens with him, he does not deign to tell us whence
he got the legend. 'It is also believed,' he says at p. 35, 'that a
large town lies swallowed up there, and that the Gwraged Annwn have
turned the submerged walls to use as the superstructure of their fairy
palaces. Some claim to have seen the towers of beautiful castles
lifting their battlements beneath the surface of the dark waters,
and fairy bells are at times heard ringing from those towers.' So
much by the way: we shall return to Crymlyn in chapter vii.


The other day, as I was going to Gwent, I chanced to be in the Golden
Valley in Herefordshire, where the names in the churchyards seem
largely to imply a Welsh population, though the Welsh language has
not been heard there for ages. Among others I noticed Joneses and
Williamses in abundance at Abbey Dore, Evanses and Bevans, Morgans,
Prossers and Prices, not to mention Sayces--that is to say, Welshmen of
English extraction or education--a name which may also be met with in
Little England in Pembrokeshire, and probably on other English-Welsh
borders. Happening to have to wait for a train at the Abbey Dore
station, I got into conversation with the tenants of a cottage hard
by, and introduced the subject of the fairies. The old man knew
nothing about them, but his wife, Elizabeth Williams, had been a
servant girl at a place called Pen Pôch, which she pronounced with
the Welsh guttural ch: she said that it is near Llandeilo Cressenny
in Monmouthshire. It was about forty years ago when she served at
Pen Pôch, and her mistress' name was Evans, who was then about fifty
years of age. Now Mrs. Evans was in the habit of impressing on her
servant girls' minds, that, unless they made the house tidy before
going to bed, and put everything in its place overnight, the little
people--the fairies, she thinks she called them--would leave them
no rest in bed at night, but would come and 'pinch them like.' If
they put everything in its place, and left the house 'tidy like,' it
would be all right, and 'nobody would do anything to them like.' That
is all I could get from her without prompting her, which I did at
length by suggesting to her that the fairies might leave the tidy
servants presents, a shilling 'on the hearth or the hob like.' Yes,
she thought there was something of that sort, and her way of answering
me suggested that this was not the first time she had heard of the
shilling. She had never been lucky enough to have had one herself,
nor did she know of anybody else that 'had got it like.'

During a brief but very pleasant sojourn at Llanover in May, 1883,
I made some inquiries about the fairies, and obtained the following
account from William Williams, who now, in his seventieth year, works
in Lady Llanover's garden:--'I know of a family living a little way
from here at ----, or as they would now call it in English ----,
whose ancestors, four generations ago, used to be kind to Bendith
y Mamau, and always welcomed their visits by leaving at night a
basinful of bread and milk for them near the fire. It always used to
be eaten up before the family got up in the morning. But one night
a naughty servant man gave them instead of milk a bowlful of urine
[71]. They, on finding it out, threw it about the house and went
away disgusted. But the servant watched in the house the following
night. They found him out, and told him that he had made fools of
them, and that in punishment for his crime there would always be a
fool, i.e. an idiot, in his family. As a matter of fact, there was
one among his children afterwards, and there is one in the family
now. They have always been in a bad way ever since, and they never
prosper. The name of the man who originally offended the fairies
was ----; and the name of the present fool among his descendants is
----.' For evident reasons it is not desirable to publish the names.

Williams spoke also of a sister to his mother, who acted as servant
to his parents. There were, he said, ten stepping stones between his
father's house and the well, and on every one of these stones his
aunt used to find a penny every morning, until she made it known to
others, when, of course, the pennies ceased coming. He did not know
why the fairies gave money to her, unless it was because she was a
most tidy servant.

Another Llanover gardener remembered that the fairies used to
change children, and that a certain woman called Nani Fach in that
neighbourhood was one of their offspring; and he had been told that
there were fairy rings in certain fields not far away in Llanover

A third gardener, who is sixty-eight years of age, and is likewise in
Lady Llanover's employ, had heard it said that servant girls about
his home were wont to sweep the floor clean at night, and to throw
crumbs of bread about on it before going to bed.

Lastly, Mrs. Gardner of Ty Uchaf Llanover, who is ninety years of age,
remembers having a field close to Capel Newyd near Blaen Afon, in
Llanover Uchaf, pointed out to her as containing fairy rings; and she
recollects hearing, when she was a child, that a man had got into one
of them. He remained away from home, as they always did, she said, a
whole year and a day; but she has forgotten how he was recovered. Then
she went on to say that her father had often got up in the night to
see that his horses were not taken out and ridden about the fields
by Bendith y Mamau; for they were wont to ride people's horses late
at night round the four corners of the fields, and thereby they often
broke the horses' wind. This, she gave me to understand, was believed
in the parish of Llanover and that part of the country generally. So
here we have an instance probably of confounding fairies with witches.

I have not the means at my command of going at length into the folklore
of Gwent, so I will merely mention where the reader may find a good
deal about it. I have already introduced the name of the credulous
old Christian, Edmund Jones of the Tranch: he published at Trefecca
in the year 1779 a small volume entitled, A Geographical, Historical,
and Religious Account of the Parish of Aberystruth in the County of
Monmouth, to which are added Memoirs of several Persons of Note who
lived in the said Parish. In 1813, by which time he seems to have left
this world for another, where he expected to understand all about the
fairies and their mysterious life, a small volume of his was published
at Newport, bearing the title, A Relation of Apparitions of Spirits
in the County of Monmouth and the Principality of Wales, with other
notable Relations from England, together with Observations about
them, and Instructions from them, designed to confute and to prevent
the Infidelity of denying the Being and Apparition of Spirits, which
tends to Irreligion and Atheism. By the late Rev. Edmund Jones, of the
Tranch. Naturally those volumes have been laid under contribution by
Mr. Sikes, though the tales about apparitions in them are frequently
of a ghastly nature, and sometimes loathsome: on the whole, they
remind me more than anything else I have ever read of certain Breton
tales which breathe fire and brimstone: all such begin to be now out
of fashion in Protestant countries. I shall at present only quote a
passage of quite a different nature from the earlier volume, p. 72--it
is an interesting one, and it runs thus:--'It was the general opinion
in times past, when these things were very frequent, that the fairies
knew whatever was spoken in the air without the houses, not so much
what was spoken in the houses. I suppose they chiefly knew what
was spoken in the air at night. It was also said that they rather
appeared to an uneven number of persons, to one, three, five, &c.;
and oftener to men than to women. Thomas William Edmund, of Havodavel,
an honest pious man, who often saw them, declared that they appeared
with one bigger than the rest going before them in the company.' With
the notion that the fairies heard everything uttered out of doors
may be compared the faculty attributed to the great magician king,
Math ab Mathonwy, of hearing any whisper whatsoever that met the wind:
see the Oxford Mabinogion, p. 60, and Guest's Mabinogion, iii. 219; see
also respectively pp. 94, 96, and pp. 308, 310, as to the same faculty
belonging to the fairy people of the Corannians, and the strange
precautions taken against them by the brothers Llûd and Llevelys.



                            Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy!


In the previous chapters, the fairy lore of the Principality was
hastily skimmed without any method; and I fear that, now I have to
reproduce some of the things which I gleaned somewhat later, there
will be, if possible, still less method. The general reader, in case
he chances on these pages, will doubtless feel that, as soon as he
has read a few of the tales, the rest seem to be familiar to him,
and exceedingly tiresome. It may be, however, presumed that all men
anxious to arrive at an idea as to the origin among us of the belief
in fairies, will agree that we should have as large and exhaustive a
collection as possible of facts on which to work. If we can supply
the data without stint, the student of anthropology may be trusted
in time to discover their value for his inductions, and their place
in the history of the human race.


In the course of the summer of 1882 [72] I was a good deal in Wales,
especially Carnarvonshire, and I made notes of a great many scraps
of legends about the fairies, and other bits of folklore. I will now
string some of them together as I found them. I began at Trefriw [73],
in Nant Conwy, where I came across an old man, born and bred there,
called Morris Hughes. He appears to be about seventy years of age:
he formerly worked as a slater, but now he lives at Llanrwst, and
tries to earn a livelihood by angling. He told me that fairies came a
long while ago to Cowlyd Farm, near Cowlyd Lake, with a baby to dress,
and asked to be admitted into the house, saying that they would pay
well for it. Their request was granted, and they used to leave money
behind them. One day the servant girl accidentally found they had
also left some stuff they were in the habit of using in washing their
children. She examined it, and, one of her eyes happening to itch, she
rubbed it with the finger that had touched the stuff; so when she went
to Llanrwst Fair she saw the same fairy folks there stealing cakes from
a standing, and asked them why they did that. They inquired with what
eye she saw them: she put her hand to the eye, and one of the fairies
quickly rubbed it, so that she never saw any more of them. They were
also very fond of bringing their children to be dressed in the houses
between Trefriw and Llanrwst; and on the flat land bordering on the
Conwy they used to dance, frolic, and sing every moonlight night. Evan
Thomas of Sgubor Gerrig used to have money from them. He has been dead,
Morris Hughes said, over sixty years: he had on his land a sort of
cowhouse where the fairies had shelter, and hence the pay.

Morris, when a boy, used to be warned by his parents to take care
lest he should be stolen by the fairies. He knew Thomas Williams
of Bryn Syllty, or, as he was commonly called, Twm Bryn Syllty, who
was a changeling. He was a sharp, small man, afraid of nothing. He
met his death some years ago by drowning near Eglwys Fach, when he
was about sixty-three years of age. There are relatives of his about
Llanrwst still: that is, relatives of his mother, if indeed she was
his mother (os oed hi'n fam ido fo, ynté). Lastly, Morris had a tale
about a mermaid cast ashore by a storm near Conway. She entreated
the fishermen who found her to help her back into her native element;
and on their refusing to comply she prayed them to place her tail at
least in the water. A very crude rhyme describes her dying of exposure
to the cold, thus:--

            Y forforwyn ar y traeth,
            Crio gwaedu'n arw wnaeth,
            Ofn y deuai drycin drannoeth:
            Yr hin yn oer a rhewi wnaeth.

            The stranded mermaid on the beach
            Did sorely cry and sorely screech,
            Afraid to bide the morrow's breeze:
            The cold it came, and she did freeze.

But before expiring, the mermaid cursed the people of Conway to be
always poor, and Conway has ever since, so goes the tale, laboured
under the curse; so that when a stranger happens to bring a sovereign
there, the Conway folk, if silver is required, have to send across
the water to Llansanffraid for change.

My next informant was John Duncan Maclaren, who was born in 1812,
and lives at Trefriw. His father was a Scotsman, but Maclaren is in
all other respects a Welshman. He also knew the Sgubor Gerrig people,
and that Evan Thomas and Lowri his wife had exceeding great trouble to
prevent their son Roger from being carried away by the fairies. For
the fairy maids were always trying to allure him away, and he was
constantly finding fairy money. The fairy dance, and the playing
and singing that accompanied it, used to take place in a field in
front of his father's house; but Lowri would never let her son go
out after the sun had gone to his battlements (ar ol i'r haul fyn'd
i lawr i gaera). The most dangerous nights were those when the moon
shone brightly, and pretty wreaths of mist adorned the meadows by the
river. Maclaren had heard of a man, whom he called Siôn Catrin of Tyn
Twll, finding a penny every day at the pistyll or water-spout near
the house, when he went there to fetch water. The flat land between
Trefriw and Llanrwst had on it a great many fairy rings, and some of
them are, according to Maclaren, still to be seen. There the fairies
used to dance, and when a young man got into one of the rings the
fairy damsels took him away; but he could be got out unharmed at the
end of a year and a day, when he would be found dancing with them in
the same ring: he must then be dexterously touched by some one of his
friends with a piece of iron and dragged out at once. This is the
way in which a young man whom my notes connect with a place called
Bryn Glas was recovered. He had gone out with a friend, who lost him,
and he wandered into a fairy ring. He had new shoes on at the time,
and his friends brought him out at the end of the interval of a year
and a day; but he could not be made to understand that he had been away
more than five minutes, until he was asked to look at his new shoes,
which were by that time in pieces. Maclaren had also something to
say concerning the history and habitat of the fairies. Those of Nant
Conwy dress in green; and his mother, who died about sixty-two years
ago, aged forty-seven, had told him that they lived seven years on
the earth, seven years in the air, and seven years underground. He
also had a mermaid tale, like that of Pergrin from Dyfed, p. 163. A
fisherman from Llandrillo yn Rhos, between Colwyn and Llandudno,
had caught a mermaid in his net. She asked to be set free, promising
that she would, in case he complied, do him a kindness. He consented,
and one fine day, a long while afterwards, she suddenly peeped out
of the water near him, and shouted: Siôn Ifan, cwyd dy rwyda' a thyn
tua'r lan, 'John Evans, take up thy nets and make for the shore.' He
obeyed, and almost immediately there was a terrible storm, in which
many fishermen lost their lives. The river Conwy is the chief haunt of
the mysterious afanc, already mentioned, p. 130, and Maclaren stated
that its name used to be employed within his memory to frighten girls
and children: so much was it still dreaded. Perhaps I ought to have
stated that Maclaren is very fond of music, and that he told me of
a gentleman at Conway who had taken down in writing a supposed fairy
tune. I have made inquiries of the latter's son, Mr. Hennessy Hughes
of Conway; but his father's papers seem to have been lost, so that
he cannot find the tune in question, though he has heard of it.

Whilst on this question of music let me quote from the Llwyd letter
in the Cambrian Journal for 1859, pp. 145-6, on which I have already
drawn, pp. 130-3, above. The passage in point is to the following

'I will leave these tales aside whilst I go as far as the Ogo Du,
"the Black Cave," which is in the immediate vicinity of Crigcieth [74],
and into which the musicians entered so far that they lost their way
back. One of them was heard to play on his pipe, and another on his
horn, about two miles from where they went in; and the place where
the piper was heard is called Braich y Bib, and where the man with
the horn was heard is called Braich y Cornor. I do not believe that
even a single man doubts but that this is all true, and I know not
how the airs called Ffarwel Dic y Pibyd, "Dick the Piper's Farewell,"
and Ffarwel Dwm Bach, "Little Tom's Farewell," had those names, unless
it was from the musicians above mentioned. Nor do I know that Ned Puw
may not have been the third, and that the air called Ffarwel Ned Puw,
"Ned Pugh's Farewell," may not have been the last he played before
going into the cave. I cannot warrant this to be true, as I have only
heard it said by one man, and he merely held it as a supposition,
which had been suggested by this air of Ffarwel Dic y Pibyd.'

A story, however, mentioned by Cyndelw in the Brython for 1860, p. 57,
makes Ned Pugh enter the cave of Tal y Clegyr, which the writer in
his article identifies with Ness Cliff, near Shrewsbury. In that
cave, which was regarded as a wonderful one, he says the musician
disappeared, while the air he was playing, Ffarwel Ned Puw, "Ned Pugh's
Farewell," was retained in memory of him. Some account of the departure
of Ned Pugh and of the interminable cave into which he entered, will be
found given in a rambling fashion in the Cambrian Quarterly Magazine
(London, 1829), vol. i, pp. 40-5, where the minstrel's Welsh name
is given as Iolo ap Huw. There we are told that he was last seen in
the twilight of a misty Halloween, and the notes of the tune he was
last heard to play are duly given. One of the surmises as to Iolo's
ultimate fate is also recorded, namely, that in the other world he has
exchanged his fiddle for a bugle, and become huntsman-in-chief to Gwyn
ab Nûd, so that every Halloween he may be found cheering Cwn Annwn,
'the Hounds of the Other World,' over Cader Idris [75].

The same summer I fell in with Mr. Morris Evans, of Cerrig Mân, near
Amlwch. He is a mining agent on the Gwydir Estate in the Vale of Conwy,
but he is a native of the neighbourhood of Parys Mountain, in Anglesey,
where he acquired his knowledge of mining. He had heard fairy tales
from his grandmother, Grace Jones, of Llwyn Ysgaw near Mynyd Mechell,
between Amlwch and Holyhead. She died, nearly ninety years of age,
over twenty years ago. She used to relate how she and others of her
own age were wont in their youth to go out on bright moonlight nights
to a spot near Llyn y Bwch. They seldom had to wait there long before
they would hear exquisite music and behold a grand palace standing
on the ground. The diminutive folks of fairyland would then come
forth to dance and frolic. The next morning the palace would be found
gone, but the grandmother used to pick up fairy money on the spot,
and this went on regularly so long as she did not tell others of her
luck. My informant, who is himself a man somewhat over fifty-two,
tells me that at a place not far from Llyn y Bwch there were plenty
of fairy rings to be seen in the grass; and it is in them the fairies
were supposed to dance [76].

From Llanrwst I went up to see the bard and antiquary, Mr. Gethin
Jones. His house was prettily situated on the hillside on the left
of the road as you approach the village of Penmachno. I was sorry to
find that his memory had been considerably impaired by a paralytic
stroke from which he had suffered not long before. However, from his
room he pointed out to me a spot on the other side of the Machno,
called Y Werdon, which means 'The Green Land,' or more literally,
'The Greenery,' so to say. It was well known for its green, grassy
fairy rings, formerly frequented by the Tylwyth Teg; and he said he
could distinguish some of the rings even then from where he stood. The
Werdon is on the Bennar, and the Bennar is the high ground between
Penmachno and Dolwydelan. The spot in question is on the part nearest
to the Conwy Falls. This name, Y Werdon, is liable to be confounded
with Iwerdon, 'Ireland,' which is commonly treated as if it began with
the definite article, so that it is made into Y Werdon and Werdon. The
fairy Werdon, in the radical form Gwerdon, not only recalls to my mind
the Green Isles called Gwerdonau Llïon, but also the saying, common
in North Wales, that a person in great anxiety 'sees Y Werdon.' Thus,
for instance, a man who fails to return to his family at the hour
expected, and believes his people to be in great anxiety about him,
expresses himself by saying that they will have 'seen the Werdon on my
account' (mi fydan' wedi gwel'd y Werdon am dana'i). Is that Ireland,
or is it the land of the fairies, the other world, in fact? If the
latter, it might simply mean they will have died of anxiety; but I
confess I have not so far been able to decide. I am not aware that
the term occurs in any other form of expression than the one I have
given; if it had, and if the Werdon were spoken of in some other way,
that might possibly clear up the difficulty. If it refers to Ireland,
it must imply that sighting Ireland is equivalent to going astray at
sea, meaning in this sort of instance, getting out of one's senses;
but the Welsh are not very much given to nautical expressions. It
reminds me somewhat of Gerald Griffin's allusion to the Phantom City,
and the penalty paid by those who catch a glimpse of its turrets as
the dividing waves expose them for a moment to view on the western
coast of Ireland:--

        Soon close the white waters to screen it,
        And the bodement, they say, of the wonderful sight,
        Is death to the eyes that have seen it.

The Fairy Glen above Bettws y Coed is called in Welsh Ffos 'Nodyn,
'the Sink of the Abyss'; but Mr. Gethin Jones told me that it was
also called Glyn y Tylwyth Teg, which is very probable, as some
such a designation is required to account for the English name, 'the
Fairy Glen.' People on the Capel Garmon side used to see the Tylwyth
playing there, and descending into the Ffos or Glen gently and lightly
without occasioning themselves the least harm. The Fairy Glen was,
doubtless, supposed to contain an entrance to the world below. This
reminds one of the name of the pretty hollow running inland from the
railway station at Bangor. Why should it be called Nant Uffern, or
'The Hollow of Hell'? Can it be that there was a supposed entrance
to the fairy world somewhere there? In any case, I am quite certain
that Welsh place-names involve allusions to the fairies much oftener
than has been hitherto supposed; and I should be inclined to cite, as
a further example, Moel Eilio [77] or Moel Eilian, from the personal
name Eilian, to be mentioned presently. Moel Eilian is a mountain under
which the fairies were supposed to have great stores of treasure. But
to return to Mr. Gethin Jones, I had almost forgotten that I have
another instance of his in point. He showed me a passage in a paper
which he wrote in Welsh some time ago on the antiquities of Yspyty
Ifan. He says that where the Serw joins the Conwy there is a cave,
to which tradition asserts that a harpist was once allured by the
Tylwyth Teg. He was, of course, not seen afterwards, but the echo of
the music made by him and them on their harps is still to be heard
a little lower down, under the field called to this day Gweirglod y
Telynorion, 'The Harpers' Meadow': compare the extract from Edward
Llwyd's correspondence at p. 202 above.

Mr. Gethin Jones also spoke to me of the lake called Llyn Pencraig,
which was drained in hopes of finding lead underneath it, an
expectation not altogether doomed to disappointment, and he informed
me that its old name was Llyn Llifon; so the moor around it was called
Gwaen Llifon. It appears to have been a large lake, but only in wet
weather, and to have no deep bed. The names connected with the spot
are now Nant Gwaen Llifon and the Gwaith (or Mine) of Gwaen Llifon:
they are, I understand, within the township of Trefriw. The name Llyn
Llifon is of great interest when taken in connexion with the Triadic
account of the cataclysm called the Bursting of Llyn Llifon. Mr. Gethin
Jones, however, believed himself that Llyn Llïon was no other than
Bala Lake, through which the Dee makes her way.


One day in August of the same year, I arrived at Dinas Station, and
walked down to Llandwrog in order to see Dinas Dinlle, and to ascertain
what traditions still existed there respecting Caer Arianrhod,
Llew Llawgyffes, Dylan Eilton, and other names that figure in the
Mabinogi of Math ab Mathonwy. I called first on the schoolmaster,
and he kindly took me to the clerk, Hugh Evans, a native of the
neighbourhood of Llangefni, in Anglesey. He had often heard people
talk of some women having once on a time come from Tregar Anthreg
to Cae'r 'Loda', a place near the shore, to fetch food or water, and
that when they looked back they beheld the town overflowed by the sea:
the walls can still be seen at low water. Gwennan was the name of one
of the women, and she was buried at the place now called Bed Gwennan,
or Gwennan's Grave. He had also heard the fairy tales of Waen Fawr
and Nant y Bettws, narrated by the antiquary, Owen Williams of the
former place. For instance, he had related to him the tale of the man
who slept on a clump of rushes, and thought he was all the while in
a magnificent mansion; see p. 100, above. Now I should explain that
Tregar Anthreg is to be seen at low water from Dinas Dinlle as a
rock not far from the shore. The Caranthreg which it implies is one
of the modern forms to which Caer Arianrhod has been reduced; and to
this has been prefixed a synonym of caer, namely, tref, reduced to
tre', just as Carmarthen is frequently called Tre' Gaerfyrdin. Cae'r
'Loda' is explained as Cae'r Aelodau', 'The Field of the Limbs'; but
I am sorry to say that I forgot to note the story explanatory of the
name. It is given, I think, to a farm, and so is Bed Gwennan likewise
the name of a farm house. The tenant of the latter, William Roberts,
was at home when I visited the spot. He told me the same story,
but with a variation: three sisters had come from Tregan Anrheg to
fetch provisions, when their city was overflowed. Gwen fled to the
spot now called Bed Gwennan, Elan to Tydyn Elan, or Elan's Holding,
and Maelan to Rhos Maelan, or Maelan's Moor; all three are names of
places in the immediate neighbourhood.

From Dinas Dinlle I was directed across Lord Newborough's grounds at
Glynllifon to Pen y Groes Station; but on my way I had an opportunity
of questioning several of the men employed at Glynllifon. One of
these was called William Thomas Solomon, an intelligent middle-aged
man, who works in the garden there. He said that the three women
who escaped from the submerged city were sisters, and that he had
learned in his infancy to call them Gwennan bi Dôn, Elan bi Dôn,
and Maelan bi Dôn. Lastly, the name of the city, according to him,
was Tregan Anthrod. I had the following forms of the name that
day:--Tregar Anrheg, Tregar Anthreg, Tregan Anrheg, Tregan Anthreg,
and Tregan Anthrod. All these are attempts to reproduce what might
be written Tre'-Gaer-Arianrhod. The modification of nrh into nthr
is very common in North Wales, and Tregar Anrheg seems to have been
fashioned on the supposition that the name had something to do with
anrheg, 'a gift.' Tregan Anthrod is undoubtedly the Caer Arianrhod,
or 'fortress of Arianrhod,' in the Mabinogi, and it is duly marked
as such in a map of Speede's at the spot where it should be. Now the
Arianrhod of the Mabinogi of Math could hardly be called a lady of
rude virtue, and it is the idea in the neighbourhood that the place
was inundated on account of the wickedness of the inhabitants. So
it would appear that Gwennan, Elan, and Maelan, Arianrhod's sisters,
were the just ones allowed to escape. Arianrhod was probably drowned as
the principal sinner in possession; but I did not find, as I expected,
that the crime which called for such an expiation was in this instance
that of playing cards on Sunday. In fact, this part of the legend
does not seem to have been duly elaborated as yet.

I must now come back to Solomon's bi Dôn, which puzzles me not
a little. Arianrhod was daughter of Dôn, and so several other
characters in the same Mabinogi were children of Dôn. But what is bi
Dôn? I have noticed that all the Welsh antiquaries who take Don out
of books invariably call that personage Dòn or Donn with a short o,
which is wrong, and this has saved me from being deceived once or
twice: so I take it that bi Dôn is, as Solomon asserted, a local
expression of which he did not know the meaning. I can only add,
in default of a better explanation, that bi Dôn recalled to my mind
what I had shortly before heard on my trip from Aberdaron to Bardsey
Island. My wife and I, together with two friends, engaged, after much
eloquent haggling, a boat at the former place, but one of the men who
were to row us insinuated a boy of his, aged four, into the boat, an
addition which did not exactly add to the pleasures of that somewhat
perilous trip amidst incomprehensible currents. But the Aberdaron
boatmen always called that child bi Donn, which I took to have been
a sort of imitation of an infantile pronunciation of 'baby John,' for
his name was John, which Welsh infants as a rule first pronounce Donn:
I can well remember the time when I did. This, applied to Gwennan bi
Dôn, would imply that Solomon heard it as a piece of nursery lore when
he was a child, and that it meant simply--Gwennan, baby or child of
Dôn. Lastly, the only trace of Dylan I could find was in the name of
a small promontory, called variously by the Glynllifon men Pwynt Maen
Tylen, which was Solomon's pronunciation, and Pwynt Maen Dulan. It is
also known, as I was given to understand, as Pwynt y Wig: I believe
I have seen it given in maps as Maen Dylan Point.

Solomon told me the following fairy tale, and he was afterwards kind
enough to have it written out for me. I give it in his own words,
as it is peculiar in some respects:--

Mi'r oed gwr a gwraig yn byw yn y Garth Dorwen [78] ryw gyfnod maith yn
ol, ag aethant i Gaer'narfon i gyflogi morwyn ar dyd ffair G'langaeaf,
ag yr oed yn arferiad gan feibion a merched y pryd hynny i'r rhai oed
yn sefyll allan am lefyd aros yn top y maes presennol wrth boncan las
oed yn y fan y lle saif y Post-office presennol; aeth yr hen wr a'r
hen wraig at y fan yma a gwelent eneth lan a gwallt melyn yn sefyll
'chydig o'r neilldu i bawb arall; aeth yr hen wraig ati a gofynnod i'r
eneth oed arni eisiau lle. Atebod fod, ag felly cyflogwyd yr eneth
yn dioed a daeth i'w lle i'r amser penodedig. Mi fydai yn arferiad
yr adeg hynny o nydu ar ol swper yn hirnos y gauaf, ag fe fydai y
forwyn yn myn'd i'r weirglod i nydu wrth oleu y lloer; ag fe fydai
tylwyth teg yn dwad ati hi i'r weirglod i ganu a dawnsio. A ryw bryd
yn y gwanwyn pan esdynnod y dyd diangod Eilian gyd a'r tylwythion teg
i ffwrd, ag ni welwyd 'mo'ni mwyach. Mae y cae y gwelwyd hi diwethaf
yn cael ei alw hyd y dyd hedyw yn Gae Eilian a'r weirglod yn Weirglod
y Forwyn. Mi'r oed hen wraig y Garth Dorwen yn arfer rhoi gwraged yn
eu gwlâu, a bydai pawb yn cyrchu am dani o bob cyfeiriad; a rhyw bryd
dyma wr bonedig ar ei geffyl at y drws ar noswaith loergan lleuad,
a hithau yn glawio 'chydig ag yn niwl braid, i 'nol yr hen wreigan at
ei wraig; ag felly aeth yn sgil y gwr dïarth ar gefn y march i Ros y
Cowrt. Ar ganol y Rhos pryd hynny 'r oed poncan lled uchel yn debyg i
hen amdiffynfa a llawer o gerrig mawrion ar ei phen a charned fawr o
gerrig yn yr ochor ogledol idi, ag mae hi i'w gwel'd hyd y dyd hedyw
dan yr enw Bryn y Pibion. Pan gyrhaedasan' y lle aethan' i ogo' fawr
ag aethan' i 'stafell lle'r oed y wraig yn ei gwely, a'r lle crandia'
a welod yr hen wraig yrioed. Ag fe roth y wraig yn ei gwely ag aeth at
y tan i drin y babi; ag ar ol idi orphen dyna y gwr yn dod a photel
i'r hen wraig i hiro llygaid y babi ag erfyn arni beidio a'i gyffwr'
a'i llygaid ei hun. Ond ryw fod ar ol rhoi y botel heibio fe daeth
cosfa ar lygaid yr hen wraig a rhwbiod ei llygaid â'r un bys ag oed
wedi bod yn rhwbio llygaid y baban a gwelod hefo 'r llygad hwnnw
y wraig yn gorfed ar docyn o frwyn a rhedyn crinion mewn ogo' fawr
o gerrig mawr o bob tu idi a 'chydig bach o dan mewn rhiw gornel,
a gwelod mai Eilian oed hi, ei hen forwyn, ag hefo'r llygad arall yn
gwel'd y lle crandia' a welod yrioed. Ag yn mhen ychydig ar ol hynny
aeth i'r farchnad i Gaer'narfon a gwelod y gwr a gofynnod ido--'Pa
sud mae Eilian?' 'O y mae hi yn bur da,' medai wrth yr hen wraig: 'a
pha lygad yr ydych yn fy ngwel'd?' 'Hefo hwn,' medai hithau. Cymerod
babwyren ag a'i tynod allan ar unwaith.

'An old man and his wife lived at the Garth Dorwen in some period
a long while ago. They went to Carnarvon to hire a servant maid at
the Allhallows' [79] fair; and it was the custom then for young men
and women who stood out for places to station themselves at the top
of the present Maes, by a little green eminence which was where the
present Post-office stands. The old man and his wife went to that
spot, and saw there a lass with yellow hair, standing a little apart
from all the others; the old woman went to her and asked her if she
wanted a place. She replied that she did, and so she hired herself at
once and came to her place at the time fixed. In those times it was
customary during the long winter nights that spinning should be done
after supper. Now the maid servant would go to the meadow to spin by
the light of the moon, and the Tylwyth Teg used to come to her to sing
and dance. But some time in the spring, when the days had grown longer,
Eilian escaped with the Tylwyth Teg, so that she was seen no more. The
field where she was last seen is to this day called Eilian's Field,
and the meadow is known as the Maid's Meadow. The old woman of Garth
Dorwen was in the habit of putting women to bed, and she was in great
request far and wide. Some time after Eilian's escape there came a
gentleman on horseback to the door one night when the moon was full,
while there was a slight rain and just a little mist, to fetch the
old woman to his wife. So she rode off behind the stranger on his
horse, and came to Rhos y Cowrt. Now there was at that time, in the
centre of the rhos, somewhat of a rising ground that looked like an
old fortification, with many big stones on the top, and a large cairn
of stones on the northern side: it is to be seen there to this day,
and it goes by the name of Bryn y Pibion, but I have never visited the
spot. When they reached the spot, they entered a large cave, and they
went into a room where the wife lay in her bed; it was the finest place
the old woman had seen in her life. When she had successfully brought
the wife to bed, she went near the fire to dress the baby; and when she
had done, the husband came to the old woman with a bottle of ointment
[80] that she might anoint the baby's eyes; but he entreated her not
to touch her own eyes with it. Somehow after putting the bottle by,
one of the old woman's eyes happened to itch, and she rubbed it with
the same finger that she had used to rub the baby's eyes. Then she
saw with that eye how the wife lay on a bundle of rushes and withered
ferns in a large cave, with big stones all round her, and with a little
fire in one corner; and she saw also that the lady was only Eilian,
her former servant girl, whilst, with the other eye, she beheld the
finest place she had ever seen. Not long afterwards the old midwife
went to Carnarvon to market, when she saw the husband, and said to
him, "How is Eilian?" "She is pretty well," said he to the old woman,
"but with what eye do you see me?" "With this one," was the reply;
and he took a bulrush and put her eye out at once.'

That is exactly the tale, my informant tells me, as he heard it from
his mother, who heard it from an old woman who lived at Garth Dorwen
when his mother was a girl, about eighty-four years ago, as he guessed
it to have been; but in his written version he has omitted one thing
which he told me at Glynllifon, namely, that, when the servant girl
went out to the fairies to spin, an enormous amount of spinning used to
be done. I mention this as it reminds me of the tales of other nations,
where the girl who cannot spin straw into gold is assisted by a fairy,
on certain conditions which are afterwards found very inconvenient. It
may be guessed that in the case of Eilian the conditions involved her
becoming a fairy's wife, and that she kept to them. Lastly, I should
like the archæologists of Carnarvonshire to direct their attention to
Bryn y Pibion; for they might be expected to come across the remains
there of a barrow or of a fort.


The same summer I happened to meet the Rev. Robert Hughes, of Uwchlaw'r
Ffynnon, near Llanaelhaearn, a village on which Tre'r Ceiri, or the
Town of the Keiri, looks down in its primitive grimness from the
top of one of the three heights of the Eifl, or Rivals as English
people call them. The district is remarkable for the longevity of its
inhabitants, and Mr. Hughes counted fifteen farmers in his immediate
neighbourhood whose average age was eighty-three; and four years
previously the average age of eighteen of them was no less than
eighty-five. He himself was, when I met him, seventy-one years of
age, and he considered that he represented the traditions of more
than a century and a half, as he was a boy of twelve when one of his
grandfathers died at the age of ninety-two: the age reached by one
of his grandmothers was all but equal, while his father died only a
few years ago, after nearly reaching his ninety-fifth birthday.

Story-telling was kept alive in the parish of Llanaelhaearn by the
institution known there as the pilnos, or peeling night, when the
neighbours met in one another's houses to spend the long winter
evenings dressing hemp and carding wool, though I guess that a
pilnos was originally the night when people met to peel rushes for
rushlights. When they left these merry meetings they were ready, as
Mr. Hughes says, to see anything. In fact, he gives an instance of some
people coming from a pilnos across the mountain from Nant Gwrtheyrn
to Llithfaen, and finding the fairies singing and dancing with all
their might: they were drawn in among them and found themselves left
alone in the morning on the heather. Indeed, Mr. Hughes has seen the
fairies himself: it was on the Pwllheli road, as he was returning in
the grey of the morning from the house of his fiancée when he was
twenty-seven. The fairies he saw came along riding on wee horses:
his recollection is that he now and then mastered his eyes and
found the road quite clear, but the next moment the vision would
return, and he thought he saw the diminutive cavalcade as plainly
as possible. Similarly, a man of the name of Solomon Evans, when,
thirty years ago, making his way home late at night through Glynllifon
Park, found himself followed by quite a crowd of little creatures,
which he described as being of the size of guinea pigs and covered
with red and white spots. He was an ignorant man, who knew no better
than to believe to the day of his death, some eight or nine years
ago, that they were demons. This is probably a blurred version of
a story concerning Cwn Annwn, 'Hell hounds,' such as the following,
published by Mr. O. M. Edwards in his Cymru for 1897, p. 190, from
Mr. J. H. Roberts' essay mentioned above at p. 148:--'Ages ago as
a man who had been engaged on business, not the most creditable in
the world, was returning in the depth of night across Cefn Creini,
and thinking in a downcast frame of mind over what he had been
doing, he heard in the distance a low and fear-inspiring bark; then
another bark, and another, and then half a dozen and more. Ere long
he became aware that he was being pursued by dogs, and that they were
Cwn Annwn. He beheld them coming: he tried to flee, but he felt quite
powerless and could not escape. Nearer and nearer they came, and he
saw the shepherd with them: his face was black and he had horns on
his head. They had come round him and stood in a semicircle ready to
rush upon him, when he had a remarkable deliverance: he remembered
that he had in his pocket a small cross, which he showed them. They
fled in the greatest terror in all directions, and this accounts for
the proverb, Mwy na'r cythraul at y groes (Any more than the devil
to the cross).' That is Mr. Roberts' story; but several allusions
have already been made to Cwn Annwn. It would be right probably to
identify them in the first instance with the pack with which Arawn,
king of Annwn, is found hunting by Pwyll, king of Dyfed, when the
latter happens to meet him in Glyn Cuch in his own realm. Then in a
poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen we find Gwyn ab Nûd with a pack
led by Dormarth, a hound with a red snout which he kept close to the
ground when engaged in the chase; similarly in the story of Iolo ab
Huw the dogs are treated as belonging to Gwyn. But on the whole the
later idea has more usually been, that the devil is the huntsman,
that his dogs give chase in the air, that their quarry consists of
the souls of the departed, and that their bark forebodes a death,
since they watch for the souls of men about to die. This, however,
might be objected to as pagan; so I have heard the finishing touch
given to it in the neighbourhood of Ystrad Meurig, by one who, like
Mr. Pughe, explained that it is the souls only of notoriously wicked
men and well-known evil livers. With this limitation the pack [81]
seems in no immediate danger of being regarded as poaching.

To return to Llanaelhaearn, it is right to say that good spirits too,
who attend on good Calvinists, are there believed in. Morris Hughes,
of Cwm Corryn, was the first Calvinistic Methodist at Llanaelhaearn;
he was great-grandfather to Robert Hughes' wife; and he used to be
followed by two pretty little yellow birds. He would call to them,
'Wryd, Wryd!' and they would come and feed out of his hand, and
when he was dying they came and flapped their wings against his
window. This was testified to by John Thomas, of Moelfre Bach, who
was present at the time. Thomas died some twenty-five years ago, at
the age of eighty-seven. I have heard this story from other people,
but I do not know what to make of it, though I may add that the little
birds are believed to have been angels. In Mr. Rees' Welsh Saints,
pp. 305-6, Gwryd is given as the name of a friar who lived about the
end of the twelfth century, and has been commemorated on November 1;
and the author adds a note referring to the Cambrian Register for
1800, vol. iii. p. 221, where it is said that Gwryd relieved the bard
Einion ab Gwalchmai of some oppression, probably mental, which had
afflicted him for seven years. Is one to suppose that Gwryd sent two
angels in the form of little birds to protect the first Llanaelhaearn
Methodist? The call 'Wryd, Wryd,' would seem to indicate that the
name was not originally Gwryd, but Wryd, to be identified possibly
with the Pictish name Uoret in an inscription at St. Vigean's,
near Arbroath, and to be distinguished from the Welsh word gwryd,
'valour,' and from the Welsh name Gwriad, representing what in its
Gaulish form was Viriatus. We possibly have the name Wryd in Hafod
Wryd, a place in the Machno Valley above Bettws y Coed; otherwise one
would have expected Hafod y Gwryd, making colloquially, Hafod Gwryd.

Mr. Hughes told me a variety of things about Nant Gwrtheyrn, one of the
spots where the Vortigern story is localized. The Nant is a sort of a
cul de sac hollow opening to the sea at the foot of the Eifl. There is
a rock there called Y Farches, and the angle of the sea next to the
old castle, which seems to be merely a mound, is called Y Llynclyn,
or 'The Whirlpool'; and this is perhaps an important item in the
localizing of Vortigern's city there. I was informed by Mr. Hughes
that the grave of Olfyn is in this Nant, with a razed church close by:
both are otherwise quite unknown to me. Coming away from this weird
spot to the neighbourhood of Celynnog, one finds that the Pennard
of the Mabinogi of Math is now called Pennarth, and has on it a
well-known cromlech. Of course, I did not leave Mr. Hughes without
asking him about Caer Arianrhod, and I found that he called it Tre'
Gaer Anrheg: he described it as a stony patch in the sea, and it can,
he says, be reached on foot when the ebb is at its lowest in spring
and autumn. The story he had heard about it when he was a boy at school
with David Thomas, better known by his bardic name of Dafyd Du Eryri,
was the following:--

'Tregaer Anrheg was inhabited by a family of robbers, and among
other things they killed and robbed a man at Glyn Iwrch, near the
further wall of Glynnllifon Park: this completed the measure of
their lawlessness. There was one woman, however, living with them at
Tregaer Anrheg, who was not related to them, and as she went out one
evening with her pitcher to fetch water, she heard a voice crying out,
Dos i ben y bryn i wel'd rhyfedod, that is, Go up the hill to see a
wonder. She obeyed, and as soon as she got to the top of the hill,
whereby was meant Dinas Dinlle, she beheld Tregaer Anrheg sinking in
the sea.'

As I have wandered away from the fairies I may add the following
curious bit of legend which Mr. Hughes gave me:--'When St. Beuno
lived at Celynnog, he used to go regularly to preach at Llandwyn on
the opposite side of the water, which he always crossed on foot. But
one Sunday he accidentally dropped his book of sermons into the water,
and when he had failed to recover it a gylfin-hir, or curlew, came
by, picked it up, and placed it on a stone out of the reach of the
tide. The saint prayed for the protection and favour of the Creator
for the gylfin-hir: it was granted, and so nobody ever knows where
that bird makes its nest.'


One day in August of the same summer I went to have another look
at the old inscribed stone at Gesail Gyfarch [82], near Tremadoc,
and, instead of returning the same way, I walked across to Criccieth
Station; but on my way I was directed to call at a farm house called
Llwyn y Mafon Uchaf, where I was to see Mr. Edward Llewelyn, a bachelor
then seventy-six years of age. He is a native of the neighbourhood,
and has always lived in it; moreover, he has now been for some time
blind. He had heard a good many fairy tales. Among others he mentioned
John Roberts, a slater from the Garn, that is Carn Dolbenmaen, as
having one day, when there was a little mist and a drizzling rain,
heard a crowd of fairies talking together in great confusion, near
a sheepfold on Llwytmor Mountain; but he was too much afraid to look
at them. He also told me of a man at Ystum Cegid, a farm not far off,
having married a fairy wife on condition that he was not to touch her
with any kind of iron on pain of her leaving him for ever. Then came
the usual accident in catching a horse in order to go to a fair at
Carnarvon, and the immediate disappearance of the wife. At this point
Mr. Llewelyn's sister interposed to the effect that the wife did once
return and address her husband in the rhyme, Os byd anwyd ar fy mab,
&c.: see pp. 44, 55 above. Then Mr. Llewelyn enumerated several people
who are of this family, among others a girl, who is, according to him,
exactly like the fairies. This made me ask what the fairies are like,
and he answered that they are small unprepossessing creatures, with
yellow skin and black hair. Some of the men, however, whom he traced
to a fairy origin are by no means of this description. The term there
for men of fairy descent is Belsiaid, and they live mostly in the
neighbouring parish of Pennant, where it would never do for me to
go and collect fairy tales, as I am told; and Mr. Llewelyn remembers
the fighting that used to take place at the fairs at Penmorfa if the
term Belsiaid once began to be heard. Mr. Llewelyn was also acquainted
with the tale of the midwife that went to a fairy family, and how the
thieving husband had deprived her of the use of one eye. He also spoke
of the fairies changing children, and how one of these changelings,
supposed to be a baby, expressed himself to the effect that he had
seen the acorn before the oak, and the egg before the chick, but
never anybody who brewed ale in an egg-shell: see p. 62 above. As to
modes of getting rid of the changelings, a friend of Mr. Llewelyn's
mentioned the story that one was once dropped into the Glaslyn river,
near Bedgelert. The sort of children the fairies liked were those
that were unlike their own; that is, bairns whose hair was white, or
inclined to yellow, and whose skin was fair. He had a great deal to say
of a certain Elis Bach of Nant Gwrtheyrn, who used to be considered
a changeling. With the exception of this changing of children the
fairies seemed to have been on fairly good terms with the inhabitants,
and to have been in the habit of borrowing from farm houses a padell
and gradell for baking. The gradell is a sort of round flat iron,
on which the dough is put, and the padell is the patella or pan put
over it: they are still commonly used for baking in North Wales. Well,
the fairies used to borrow these two articles, and by way of payment
to leave money on the hob at night. All over Lleyn the Tylwyth are
represented as borrowing padell a gradell. They seem to have never
been very strong in household furniture, especially articles made of
iron. Mr. Llewelyn had heard that the reason why people do not see
fairies nowadays is that they have been exorcised (wedi eu hoffrymu)
for hundreds of years to come.

About the same time I was advised to try the memory of Miss Jane
Williams, who lives at the Graig, Tremadoc: she was then, as I was
told, seventy-five, very quick-witted, but by no means communicative
to idlers. The most important information she had for me was to the
effect that the Tylwyth Teg had been exorcised away (wedi 'ffrymu)
and would not be back in our day. When she was about twelve she served
at the Gelli between Tremadoc and Pont Aberglaslyn. Her master's
name was Siôn Ifan, and his wife was a native of the neighbourhood
of Carnarvon; she had many tales to tell them about the Tylwyth,
how they changed children, how they allured men to the fairy rings,
and how their dupes returned after a time in a wretched state, with
hardly any flesh on their bones. She heard her relate the tale of
a man who married a fairy, and how she left him; but before going
away from her husband and children she asked the latter by name which
they would like to have, a dirty cow-yard (buches fudur) or a clean
cow-yard (buches lân). Some gave the right answer, a dirty cow-yard,
but some said a clean cow-yard: the lot of the latter was poverty,
for they were to have no stock of cattle. The same question is asked in
a story recorded by the late Rev. Elias Owen, in his Welsh Folk-lore,
p. 82 [83]: his instance belongs to the neighbourhood of Pentrevoelas,
in Denbighshire.


When I was staying at Pwllheli the same summer, I went out to the
neighbouring village of Four Crosses, and found a native of the place,
who had heard a great many curious things from his mother. His name
was Lewis Jones: he was at the time over eighty, and he had formerly
been a saddler. Among other things, his mother often told him that her
grandmother had frequently been with the fairies, when the latter was
a child. She lived at Plâs Du, and once she happened to be up near Carn
Bentyrch when she saw them. She found them resembling little children,
and playing in a brook that she had to cross. She was so delighted with
them, and stayed so long with them, that a search was made for her,
when she was found in the company of the fairies. Another time, they
met her as she was going on an errand across a large bog on a misty
day, when there was a sort of a drizzle, which one might call either
dew or rain, as it was not decidedly either, but something between the
two, such as the Welsh would call gwlithlaw, 'dew-rain.' She loitered
in their company until a search was made for her again. Lewis Jones
related to me the story of the midwife--he pronounced it in Welsh
'midwaith'--who attended on a fairy. As in the other versions,
she lost the sight of one eye in consequence of her discovering
the gentleman fairy thieving; but the fair at which this happened
was held in this instance at Nefyn. He related also how a farmer at
Pennant had wedded a fairy called Bella. This tale proceeded like the
other versions, and did not even omit the fighting at Penmorfa: see
pp. 89, 93, 220. He had likewise the tale about the two youths who had
gone out to fetch some cattle, and came, while returning about dusk,
across a party of fairies dancing. The one was drawn into the circle,
and the other was suspected at length of having murdered him, until,
at the suggestion of a wizard, he went to the same place at the end
of a year and a day: then he found him dancing, and managed to get
him out. He had been reduced to a mere skeleton, but he inquired at
once if the cattle he was driving were far ahead. Jones had heard of
a child changed by the fairies when its mother had placed it in some
hay while she worked at the harvest. She discovered he was not her
own by brewing in an egg-shell, as usual. Then she refused to take any
notice of him, and she soon found her own baby returned; but the latter
looked much the worse for its sojourn in the land of the Tylwyth Teg.

My informant described to me Elis Bach of Nant Gwrtheyrn, already
mentioned, p. 221, who died somewhat more than forty years ago. His
father was a farmer there, and his children, both boys and girls,
were like ordinary folks, excepting Elis, who was deformed, his legs
being so short that his body seemed only a few inches from the ground
when he walked. His voice was also small and squeaky. However, he was
very sharp, and could find his way among the rocks pretty well when
he went in quest of his father's sheep and goats, of which there used
to be plenty there formerly. Everybody believed Elis to have been a
changeling, and one saying of his is still remembered in that part of
the country. When strangers visited Nant Gwrtheyrn, a thing which did
not frequently happen, and when his parents asked them to their table,
and pressed them to eat, he would squeak out drily, Buta 'nynna buta'r
cwbwl, that is to say, 'Eating that means eating all we have.'

He told me further that the servant girls used formerly to take care
to bring a supply of water indoors at the approach of night, that the
fairies might find plenty in which to bathe their children, for fear
that they might use the milk instead, if water was wanting. Moreover,
when they had been baking, they took care to leave the fairies both
padell and gradell, that they might do their baking in the night. The
latter used to pay for this kindness by leaving behind them a cake of
fairy bread and sometimes money on the hob. I have, however, not been
able to learn anything about the quality or taste of this fairy food.

He had also a great deal to say about the making of bonfires about the
beginning of winter. A bonfire was always kindled on the farm called
Cromlech on the eve of the Winter Calends or Nos Galan Gaeaf, as it
is termed in Welsh; and the like were to be seen in abundance towards
Llithfaen, Carnguwch, and Llanaelhaearn, as well as on the Merioneth
side of the bay. Besides fuel, each person present used to throw into
the fire a small stone, with a mark whereby he should know it again. If
he succeeded in finding the stone on the morrow, the year would be a
lucky one for him, but the contrary if he failed to recover it. Those
who assisted at the making of the bonfire watched until the flames were
out, and then somebody would raise the usual cry, when each ran away
for his life, lest he should be found last. This cry, which is a sort
of equivalent, well known over Carnarvonshire, of the English saying,
'The devil take the hindmost,' was in the Welsh of that county--

            Yr hwch du gwta [84] A gipio'r ola';

that is to say, 'May the black sow without a tail seize the hindmost.'

The cutty black sow is often alluded to nowadays to frighten children
in Arfon, and it is clearly the same creature that is described in
some parts of North Wales as follows:--

        Hwch du gwta                A cutty black sow
        Ar bob camfa                On every stile,
        Yn nydu a chardio           Spinning and carding
        Bob nos G'langaea'.         Every Allhallows' Eve.

In Cardiganshire this is reduced to the words:--

        Nos Galan Gaea',            On Allhallows' Eve
        Bwbach ar bob camfa.        A bogie on every stile.

Welsh people speak of only three Calends--Calan-mai, or the first of
May; Calan-gaeaf, the Calends of Winter, or Allhallows; and Y Calan,
or The Calends par excellence, that is to say, the first day of
January, which last is probably not Celtic but Roman. The other two
most certainly are, and it is one of their peculiarities that all
uncanny spirits and bogies are at liberty the night preceding each
of them. The Hwch du gwta is at large on Allhallows' Eve, and the
Scottish Gaels have the name 'Samhanach' for any Allhallows' demon,
formed from the word Samhain, Allhallows. The eve of the first of May
may be supposed to have been the same, as may be gathered from the
story of Rhiannon's baby and of Teyrnon's colt, both of which were
stolen by undescribed demons that night--I allude to the Mabinogi of
Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed.


At Nefyn, in Lleyn [85], I had some stories about the Tylwyth Teg from
Lowri Hughes, the widow of John Hughes, who lives in a cottage at Pen
Isa'r Dref, and is over seventy-four years of age. An aunt of hers,
who knew a great many tales, had died about six years before my visit,
at the advanced age of ninety-six. She used to relate to Lowri how the
Tylwyth were in the habit of visiting Singrug, a house now in ruins
on the land of Pen Isa'r Dref, and how they had a habit of borrowing
a padell and gradell for baking: they paid for the loan of them by
giving their owners a loaf. Her grandmother, who died not long ago
at a very advanced age, remembered a time when she was milking in a
corner of the land of Carn Bodüan, and how a little dog came to her
and received a blow from her that sent it rolling away. Presently,
she added, the dog reappeared with a lame man playing on a fiddle;
but she gave them no milk. If she had done so, there was no knowing,
she said, how much money she might have got. But, as it was, such
singing and dancing were indulged in by the Tylwyth around the lame
fiddler that she ran away as fast as her feet could carry her. Lowri's
husband had also seen the Tylwyth at the break of day, near Madrun
Mill, where they seem to have been holding a sort of conversazione;
but presently one of them observed that he had heard the voice of the
hen's husband, and off they went instantly then. The fairies were in
the habit also of dancing and singing on the headland across which lie
the old earthworks called Dinllaen. When they had played and enjoyed
themselves enough, they used to lift a certain bit of sod and descend
to their own land. My informant had also heard the midwife story,
and she was aware that the fairies changed people's children; in
fact, she mentioned to me a farm house not far off where there was a
daughter of this origin then, not to mention that she knew all about
Elis Bach. Another woman whom I met near Porth Dinllaen said, that the
Dinllaen fairies were only seen when the weather was a little misty.

At Nefyn, Mr. John Williams (Alaw Lleyn) got from his mother the
tale of the midwife. It stated that the latter lost the sight of her
right eye at Nefyn Fair, owing to the fairy she there recognized,
pricking her eye with a green rush. During my visit to Aberdaron,
my wife and I went to the top of Mynyd Anelog, and on the way up
we passed a cottage, where a very illiterate woman told us that the
Tylwyth Teg formerly frequented the mountain when there was mist on
it; that they changed people's children if they were left alone on the
ground; and that the way to get the right child back was to leave the
fairy urchin without being touched or fed. She also said that, after
baking, people left the gradell for the fairies to do their baking:
they would then leave a cake behind them as pay. As for the fairies
just now, they have been exorcised (wedi'ffrymu) for some length of
time. Mrs. Williams, of Pwll Defaid, told me that the rock opposite,
called Clip y Gylfinir, on Bodwydog mountain, a part of Mynyd y Rhiw,
was the resort of the Tylwyth Teg, and that they revelled there
when it was covered with mist; she added that a neighbouring farm,
called Bodermud Isa', was well known at one time as a place where
the fairies came to do their baking. But the most remarkable tale I
had in the neighbourhood of Aberdaron was from Evan Williams, a smith
who lives at Yr Ard Las, on Rhos Hirwaen. If I remember rightly, he
is a native of Llaniestin, and what he told me relates to a farmer's
wife who lived at the Nant, in that parish. Now this old lady was
frequently visited by a fairy who used to borrow padell a gradell from
her. These she used to get, and she returned them with a loaf borne
on her head in acknowledgement. But one day she came to ask for the
loan of her troell bach, or wheel for spinning flax. When handing her
this, the farmer's wife wished to know her name, as she came so often,
but she refused to tell her. However, she was watched at her spinning,
and overheard singing to the whir of the wheel:--

        Bychan a wyda' hi           Little did she know
        Mai Sìli go Dwt             That Silly go Dwt
        Yw f'enw i.                 Is my name.

This explains to some extent the sìli ffrit sung by a Corwrion fairy
when she came out of the lake to spin: see p. 64 above. At first I
had in vain tried to make out the meaning of that bit of legend; but
since then I have also found the Llaniestin rhyme a little varied
at Llanberis: it was picked up there, I do not exactly know how,
by my little girls this summer. The words as they have them run thus:--

                        Bychan a wyda' hi
                        Mai Trwtyn-Tratyn
                        Yw f'enw i.

Here, instead of Sìli go Dwt or Sìli ffrit, the name is Trwtyn-Tratyn,
and these doggerels at once remind one of the tale of Rumpelstiltzchen;
but it is clear that we have as yet only the merest fragments of the
whole, though I have been thus far unable to get any more. So one
cannot quite say how far it resembled the tale of Rumpelstiltzchen:
there is certainly one difference, which is at once patent, namely,
that while the German Rumpelstiltzchen was a male fairy, our Welsh Sìli
ffrit or Sìli go Dwt is of the other sex. Probably, in the Llaniestin
tale, the borrowing for baking had nothing to do with the spinning,
for all fairies in Lleyn borrow a padell and a gradell, while they
do not usually appear to spin. Then may we suppose that the spinning
was in this instance done for the farmer's wife on conditions which
she was able to evade by discovering the fairy helper's name? At
any rate one expects a story representing the farmer's wife laid
under obligation by the fairy, and not the reverse. I shall have an
opportunity of returning to this kind of tale in chapter x.

The smith told me another short tale, about a farmer who lived not long
ago at Deunant, close to Aberdaron. The latter used, as is the wont
of country people, to go out a few steps in front of his house every
night to ---- before going to bed; but once on a time, while he was
standing there, a stranger stood by him and spoke to him, saying that
he had no idea how he and his family were annoyed by him. The farmer
asked how that could be, to which the stranger replied that his house
was just below where they stood, and if he would only stand on his
foot he would see that what he said was true. The farmer complying,
put his foot on the other's foot, and then he could clearly see that
all the slops from his house went down the chimney of the other's
house, which stood far below in a street he had never seen before. The
fairy then advised him to have his door in the other side of his house,
and that if he did so his cattle would never suffer from the clwy' byr
[86]. The result was that the farmer obeyed, and had his door walled
up and another made in the other side of the house: ever after he was
a most prosperous man, and nobody was so successful as he in rearing
stock in all that part of the country. To place the whole thing beyond
the possibility of doubt, Evan Williams assured me that he had often
seen the farmer's house with the front door in the back. I mention this
strange story in order to compare it, in the matter of standing on the
fairy's foot, with that of standing with one's foot just inside a fairy
ring. Compare also standing on a particular sod in Dyfed in order to
behold the delectable realm of Rhys Dwfn's Children: see p. 158 above.


Soon afterwards I went to the neighbourhood of Aber Soch and Llanengan,
where I was lucky enough to find Professor Owen of St. David's College,
Lampeter, since appointed Bishop of St. David's, on a visit to his
native place. He took me round to those of the inhabitants who were
thought most likely to have tales to tell; but I found nothing about
the fairies except the usual story of their borrowing padell a gradell,
and of their changing children. However, one version I heard of the
process of recovering the stolen child differs from all others known
to me: it was given us by Margaret Edwards, of Pentre Bach, whose
age was then eighty-seven. It was to the effect that the mother,
who had been given a fairy infant, was to place it on the floor,
and that all those present in the house should throw a piece of iron
at it. This she thought was done with the view of convincing the
Tylwyth Teg of the intention to kill the changeling, and in order to
induce them to bring the right child back. The plan was, we are told,
always successful, and it illustrates, to my thinking, the supposed
efficacy of iron against the fairies.

On the way to Aber Soch I passed by an old-fashioned house which
has all the appearance of having once been a place of considerable
importance; and on being told that its name is Castellmarch, I began
thinking of March ab Meirchion mentioned in the Triads. He, I had long
been convinced, ought to be the Welsh reflex of Labhraidh Lorc, or the
Irish king with horse's ears; and the corresponding Greek character
of Midas with ass's ears is so well known that I need not dwell on
it. So I undertook to question various people in the neighbourhood
about the meaning of the name of Castellmarch. Most of them analysed
it into Castell y March, the 'Castle of the Steed,' and explained
that the knight of the shire or some other respectable obscurity kept
his horses there. This treatment of the word is not very decidedly
countenanced by the pronunciation, which makes the name into one word
strongly accented on the middle syllable. It was further related to me
how Castellmarch was once upon a time inhabited by a very wicked and
cruel man, one of whose servants, after being very unkindly treated
by him, ran away and went on board a man-of-war. Some time afterwards
the man-of-war happened to be in Cardigan Bay, and the runaway servant
persuaded the captain of the vessel to come and anchor in the Tudwal
Roads. Furthermore he induced him to shell his old master's mansion;
and the story is regarded as proved by the old bullets now and then
found at Castellmarch. It has since been suggested to me that the
bullets are evidence of an attack on the place during the Civil War,
which is not improbable. But having got so far as to find that there
was a wicked, cruel man associated with Castellmarch, I thought I
should at once hear the item of tradition which I was fishing for;
but not so: it was not to be wormed out in a hurry. However, after
tiring a very old blacksmith, whose memory was far gone, with my
questions, and after he had in his turn tired me with answers of the
kind I have already described, I ventured to put it to him at last
whether he had never heard some very silly tale about the lord of
Castellmarch, to the effect that he was not quite like other men. He
at once admitted that he had heard it said that he had horse's ears,
but that he would never have thought of repeating such nonsense to
me. This is not a bad instance of the difficulty which one has in
eliciting this sort of tradition from the people. It is true that, as
far as regards Castellmarch, nothing, as it happens, would have been
lost if I had failed at Aber Soch, for I got the same information later
at Sarn Fyllteyrn; not to mention that after coming back to my books,
and once more turning over the leaves of the Brython, I was delighted
to find the tale there. It occurs at p. 431 of the volume for 1860. It
is given with several other interesting bits of antiquity, and at the
end the editor has put 'Edward Llwyd, 1693'; so I suppose the whole
comes from letters emanating from the great Lhwyd, for so, or rather
Lhuyd, he preferred to write his name. It is to the following effect:--

One of Arthur's warriors, whose name was March (or Parch) Amheirchion
[87], was lord of Castellmarch in Lleyn. This man had horse's ears
(resembling Midas), and lest anybody should know it, he used to kill
every man he sought to shave his beard, for fear lest he should not
be able to keep the secret; and on the spot where he was wont to
bury the bodies there grew reeds, one of which somebody cut to make
a pipe. The pipe would give no other sound than 'March Amheirchion
has horse's ears.' When the warrior heard this, he would probably
have killed the innocent man on that account, if he had not himself
failed to make the pipe produce any other sound. But after hearing
where the reed had grown, he made no further effort to conceal either
the murders or his ears. This story of Edward Llwyd's clearly goes
back to a time when some kind of a pipe was the favourite musical
instrument in North Wales, and not the harp.


Some time ago I was favoured with a short but interesting tale
by Mr. Evan Lloyd Jones, of Dinorwig, near Llanberis. Mr. Lloyd
Jones, I may here mention, published not long ago, in Llais y Wlad
(Bangor, North Wales), and in the Drych (Utica, United States of
North America), a series of articles entitled Llen y Werin yn Sir
Gaernarfon, or the Folklore of Carnarvonshire. I happened to see
it at a friend's house, and I found at once that the writer was
passionately fond of antiquities, and in the habit of making use
of the frequent opportunities he has in the Dinorwig quarries for
gathering information as to what used to be believed by the people of
Arfon and Anglesey. The tale about to be given relates to a lake called
Marchlyn Mawr, or the Great Horse-lake, for there are two lakes called
Marchlyn: they lie near one another, between the Fronllwyd, in the
parish of Llandegai, and the Elidyr, in the parishes of Llandeiniolen
and Llanberis. Mr. Lloyd Jones shall tell his tale in his own words:--

Amgylchynir y Marchlyn Mawr gan greigiau erchyll yr olwg arnynt;
a dywed tradodiad darfod i un o feibion y Rhiwen [88] unwaith tra yn
cynorthwyo dafad oed wedi syrthio i'r creigiau i dod odiyno, darganfod
ogof anferth: aeth i fewn idi a gwelod ei bod yn llawn o drysorau ac
arfau gwerthfawr; ond gan ei bod yn dechreu tywyllu, a dringo i fynu yn
orchwyl anhawd hyd yn nod yn ngoleu'r dyd, aeth adref y noswaith honno,
a boreu drannoeth ar lasiad y dyd cychwynnod eilwaith i'r ogof, ac heb
lawer o drafferth daeth o hyd idi: aeth i fewn, a dechreuod edrych o'i
amgylch ar y trysorau oed yno:--Ar ganol yr ogof yr oed bwrd enfawr
o aur pur, ac ar y bwrd goron o aur a pherlau: deallod yn y fan mai
coron a thrysorau Arthur oedynt--nesaod at y bwrd, a phan oed yn estyn
ei law i gymeryd gafael yn y goron dychrynwyd ef gan drwst erchyll,
trwst megys mil o daranau yn ymrwygo uwch ei ben ac aeth yr holl le
can dywylled a'r afagdu. Ceisiod ymbalfalu odiyno gynted ag y gallai;
pan lwydod i gyrraed i ganol y creigiau taflod ei olwg ar y llyn,
yr hwn oed wedi ei gynhyrfu drwydo a'i donnau brigwynion yn cael eu
lluchio trwy daned ysgythrog y creigiau hyd y man yr oed efe yn sefyll
arno; ond tra yr oed yn parhau i syllu ar ganol y llyn gwelai gwrwgl
a thair o'r benywod prydferthaf y disgynod llygad unrhyw dyn arnynt
erioed yndo yn cael ei rwyfo yn brysur tuag at enau yr ogof. Ond
och! yr oed golwg ofnadwy yr hwn oed yn rhwyfo yn digon i beri iasau
o fraw trwy y dyn cryfaf. Gallod y llanc rywfod dianc adref ond ni
fu iechyd yn ei gyfansodiad ar ol hynny, a bydai hyd yn nod crybwyll
enw y Marchlyn yn ei glywedigaeth yn digon i'w yrru yn wallgof.

'The Marchlyn Mawr is surrounded by rocks terrible to look at, and
tradition relates how one of the sons of the farmer of Rhiwen, once
on a time, when helping a sheep that had fallen among the rocks to
get away, discovered a tremendous cave there; he entered, and saw
that it was full of treasures and arms of great value; but, as it
was beginning to grow dark, and as clambering back was a difficult
matter even in the light of day, he went home that evening, and next
morning with the grey dawn he set out again for the cave, when he
found it without much trouble. He entered, and began to look about
him at the treasures that were there. In the centre of the cave stood
a huge table of pure gold, and on the table lay a crown of gold and
pearls. He understood at once that they were the crown and treasures
of Arthur. He approached the table, and as he stretched forth his
hand to take hold of the crown he was frightened by an awful noise,
the noise, as it were, of a thousand thunders bursting over his head,
and the whole place became as dark as Tartarus. He tried to grope
and feel his way out as fast as he could. When he had succeeded in
reaching to the middle of the rocks, he cast his eye on the lake,
which had been stirred all through, while its white-crested waves
dashed through the jagged teeth of the rocks up to the spot on which
he stood. But as he continued looking at the middle of the lake he
beheld a coracle containing three women, the fairest that the eye of
man ever fell on. They were being quickly rowed to the mouth of the
cave; but the dread aspect of him who rowed was enough to send thrills
of horror through the strongest of men. The youth was able somehow to
escape home, but no health remained in his constitution after that,
and even the mere mention of the Marchlyn in his hearing used to be
enough to make him insane.'

Mr. Lloyd Jones appends to the tale a note to the following
effect:--There is a small eminence on the shore of the Marchlyn
Mawr, in the parish of Llandegai, called Bryn Cwrwgl, or the 'Hill
of the Coracle'; and Ogof y Marchlyn, or the 'Marchlyn Cave,' is a
name familiar enough to everybody in these neighbourhoods. There
were some--unless he ought to say that there still are some--who
believed that there was abundance of treasure in the cave. Several
young men from the quarries, both of the Cae and of Dinorwig, have
been in the midst of the Marchlyn rocks, searching for the cave,
and they succeeded in making their way into a cave. They came away,
however, without the treasures. One old man, Robert Edwards (Iorwerth
Sardis), used to tell him that he and several others had brought
ropes from the quarry to go into the cave, but that they found no
treasure. So far, I have given the substance of Mr. Jones' words,
to which I would add the following statement, which I have from a
native of Dinorwig:--About seventy years ago, when the gentry were
robbing the poor of these districts of their houses and of the lands
which the latter had enclosed out of the commons, an old woman called
Siân William of the Garned was obliged to flee from her house with
her baby--the latter was known later in life as the Rev. Robert Ellis,
of Ysgoldy--in her arms. It was in one of the Marchlyn caves that she
found refuge for a day and night. Another kind of tale connected with
the Marchlyn Mawr is recorded in the Powys-land Club's Collections,
Hist. and Arch., vol. xv. p. 137, by the Rev. Elias Owen, to the effect
that 'a man who was fishing in the lake found himself enveloped in the
clouds that had descended from the hills to the water. A sudden gust
of wind cleared a road through the mist that hung over the lake, and
revealed to his sight a man busily engaged in thatching a stack. The
man, or rather the fairy, stood on a ladder. The stack and ladder
rested on the surface of the lake.'


Mr. E. S. Roberts, of Llandysilio School, near Llangollen (p. 138),
has sent me more bits of legends about the fairies. He heard the
following from Mr. Thomas Parry, of Tan y Coed Farm, who had heard
it from his father, the late Evan Parry, and the latter from Thomas
Morris, of Eglwyseg, who related it to him more than once:--Thomas
Morris happened to be returning home from Llangollen very late on one
Saturday night in the middle of the summer, and by the time he reached
near home the day had dawned, when he saw a number of the Tylwyth
Teg with a dog walking about hither and thither on the declivity of
the Eglwyseg Rocks, which hung threateningly overhead. When he had
looked at them for some minutes, he directed his steps towards them;
but as they saw him approaching they hid themselves, as he thought,
behind a large stone. On reaching the spot, he found under the stone
a hole by which they had made their way into their subterranean
home. So ends the tale as related to Mr. Roberts. It is remarkable
as representing the fairies looking rather like poachers; but there
are not wanting others which speak of their possessing horses and
greyhounds, as all gentlemen were supposed to.

One of Mr. Roberts' tales is in point: he had it from Mr. Hugh
Francis [89], of Holyhead House, Ruthin, and the latter heard it
from Robert Roberts, of Amlwch, who has now been dead about thirty
years:--About 105 years ago there lived in the parish of Llandyfrydog,
near Llannerch y Med, in Anglesey, a man named Ifan Gruffyd, whose cow
happened to disappear one day. Ifan Gruffyd was greatly distressed,
and he and his daughter walked up and down the whole neighbourhood
in search of her. As they were coming back in the evening from their
unsuccessful quest, they crossed the field called after the Dyfrydog
thief, Cae Lleidr Dyfrydog, where they saw a great number of little
men on ponies quickly galloping in a ring. They both drew nigh to
look on; but Ifan Gruffyd's daughter, in her eagerness to behold the
little knights more closely, got unawares within the circle in which
their ponies galloped, and did not return to her father. The latter
now forgot all about the loss of the cow, and spent some hours in
searching for his daughter; but at last he had to go home without her,
in the deepest sadness. A few days afterwards he went to Mynadwyn to
consult John Roberts, who was a magician of no mean reputation. That
'wise man' told Ifan Gruffyd to be no longer sad, since he could get
his daughter back at the very hour of the night of the anniversary of
the time when he lost her. He would, in fact, then see her riding round
in the company of the Tylwyth Teg whom he had seen on that memorable
night. The father was to go there accompanied by four stalwart men,
who were to aid him in the rescue of his daughter. He was to tie a
strong rope round his waist, and by means of this his friends were to
pull him out of the circle when he entered to seize his daughter. He
went to the spot, and in due time he beheld his daughter riding round
in great state. In he rushed and snatched her, and, thanks to his
friends, he got her out of the fairy ring before the little men had
time to think of it. The first thing Ifan's daughter asked him was,
if he had found the cow, for she had not the slightest reckoning of
the time she had spent with the fairies.

Whilst I am about it, I may as well go through Mr. Roberts'
contributions. The next is also a tale related to him by Mr. Hugh
Francis, and, like the last, it comes from Anglesey. Mr. Francis'
great-grandfather was called Robert Francis, and he had a mill at
Aberffraw about 100 years ago; and the substance of the following tale
was often repeated in the hearing of Mr. Roberts' informant by his
father and his grandfather:--In winter Robert Francis used to remain
very late at work drying corn in his kiln. As it was needful to keep
a steady fire going, he used to go backwards and forwards from the
house, looking after it not unfrequently until it was two o'clock
in the morning. Once on a time he happened to leave a cauldron full
of water on the floor of the kiln, and great was his astonishment on
returning to find two little people washing themselves in the water. He
abstained from entering to disturb them, and went back to the house to
tell his wife of it. 'Oh,' said she, 'they are fairies.' He presently
went back to the kiln and found that they were gone. He fancied they
were man and wife. However, they had left the place very clean, and
to crown all, he found a sum of money left by them to pay him, as he
supposed, for the water and the use of the kiln. The ensuing night many
more fairies came to the kiln, for the visitors of the previous night
had brought their children with them; and the miller found them busy
bathing them and looking very comfortable in the warm room where they
were. The pay that night was also more considerable than the night
before, as the visitors were more numerous. After this the miller
never failed to leave a vessel full of water in the kiln every night,
and the fairies availed themselves of it for years, until, in fact,
they took offence at the miller telling the neighbours of the presents
of money which had been left him in the kiln. Thenceforth no fairies
were known to frequent the kiln belonging to the Aberffraw mill.

The last tale communicated to me by Mr. Roberts is the following,
which he elicited from Margaret Davies, his housekeeper, by reading
to her some of the fairy legends published in the Cymmrodor a short
while ago--probably the Corwrion series, one of which bears great
resemblance to hers. Mrs. Davies, who is sixty-one years of age, says
that when her parents, Edward and Ann Williams, lived at Rhoslydan,
near Bryneglwys, in Yale, some seventy-five years ago, the servant
man happened one day in the spring to be ploughing in a field near
the house. As he was turning his team back at one end of the field,
he heard some one calling out from the other end, Y mae eisieu hoelen
yn y pìl, or 'The peel wants a nail'; for pìl is the English peel,
a name given to a sort of shovel provided with a long handle for
placing loaves in an oven, and for getting them out again. When at
length the ploughman had reached the end of the field whence he guessed
the call to have proceeded, he there saw a small peel, together with
a hammer and a nail, under the hedge. He saw that the peel required
a nail to keep it together, and as everything necessary for mending
it were there ready to hand, he did as it had been suggested. Then
he followed at the plough-tail until he came round again to the same
place, and there he this time saw a cake placed for him on the spot
where he had previously found the peel and the other things, which
had now disappeared. When the servant related this to his master, he
told him at once that it was one of the Tylwyth Teg of that locality
that had called out to him. With this should be compared the story
of the man who mended a fairy's plough vice: see p. 64 above.


Early this year I had occasion to visit the well-known Hengwrt Library
at Peniarth, and during my stay there Mr. Wynne very kindly took
me to see such of the Llanegryn people as were most likely to have
somewhat to say about the fairies. Many of the inhabitants had heard
of them, but they had no long tales about them. One man, however,
told me of a William Pritchard, of Pentre Bach, near Llwyngwryl,
who died at sixty, over eighty years ago, and of a Rhys Williams, the
clerk of Llangelynin, how they were going home late at night from a
cock-fight at Llanegryn, and how they came across the fairies singing
and dancing on a plot of ground known as Gwastad Meirionyd, 'the Plain
of Merioneth,' on the way from Llwyngwryl to Llanegryn. It consists,
I am told by Mr. Robert Roberts of Llanegryn, of no more than some
twenty square yards, outside which one has a good view of Cardigan
Bay and the heights of Merioneth and Carnarvonshire, while from the
Gwastad itself neither sea nor mountain is visible. On this spot,
then, the belated cockfighters were surrounded by the fairies. They
swore at the fairies and took to their heels, but they were pursued
as far as Clawd Du. Also I was told that Elen Egryn, the authoress,
some sixty years ago, of some poetry called Telyn Egryn, had also seen
fairies in her youth, when she used to go up the hills to look after
her father's sheep. This happened near a little brook, from which she
could see the sea when the sun was in the act of sinking in it; then
many fairies would come out dancing and singing, and also crossing
and re-crossing the little brook. It was on the side of Rhiwfelen,
and she thought the little folks came out of the brook somewhere. She
had been scolded for talking about the fairies, but she firmly believed
in them to the end of her life. This was told me by Mr. W. Williams,
the tailor, who is about sixty years of age; and also by Mr. Rowlands,
the ex-bailiff of Peniarth, who is about seventy-five. I was moreover
much interested to discover at Llanegryn a scrap of kelpie story,
which runs as follows, concerning Llyn Gwernen, situated close to
the old road between Dolgelley and Llanegryn:--

As a man from the village of Llanegryn was returning in the dusk of
the evening across the mountain from Dolgelley, he heard, when hard
by Llyn Gwernen, a voice crying out from the water:--

            Daeth yr awr ond ni daeth y dyn!

            The hour is come but the man is not!

As the villager went on his way a little distance, what should meet
him but a man of insane appearance, and with nothing on but his
shirt. As he saw the man making full pelt for the waters of the lake,
he rushed at him to prevent him from proceeding any further. But as
to the sequel there is some doubt: one version makes the villager
conduct the man back about a mile from the lake to a farm house
called Dyffrydan, which was on the former's way home. Others seem to
think that the man in his shirt rushed irresistibly into the lake,
and this I have no doubt comes nearer the end of the story in its
original form. Lately I have heard a part of a similar story about
Llyn Cynnwch, which has already been mentioned, p. 135, above. My
informant is Miss Lucy Griffith, of Glynmalden, near Dolgelley,
a lady deeply interested in Welsh folklore and Welsh antiquities
generally. She obtained her information from a Dolgelley ostler,
formerly engaged at the Ship Hotel, to the effect that on Gwyl Galan,
'the eve of New Year's Day,' a person is seen walking backwards and
forwards on the strand of Cynnwch Lake, crying out:--

            Mae'r awr wedi dyfod a'r dyn heb dyfod!

            The hour is come while the man is not!

The ostler stated also that lights are to be seen on Cader Idris
on the eve of New Year's Day, whatever that statement may mean. The
two lake stories seem to suggest that the Lake Spirit was entitled
to a victim once a year, whether the sacrifice was regarded as the
result of accident or design. By way of comparison, one may mention
the notion, not yet extinct, that certain rivers in various parts
of the kingdom regularly claim so many victims: for some instances
at random see an article by Mr. J. M. Mackinlay, on Traces of River
Worship in Scottish Folklore, a paper published in the Proceedings
of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1895-6, pp. 69-76. Take
for example the following rhyme:--

                Blood-thirsty Dee
                Each year needs three;

                But bonny Don
                She needs none.

Or this:--

                Tweed said to Till
                'What gars ye rin sae still?'
                Till said to Tweed
                'Though ye rin wi' speed

                An' I rin slaw,
                Yet whar ye droon ae man
                I droon twa.'


In the neighbourhood of Ystrad Meurig, between the Teifi and the
Ystwyth basins, almost everybody can relate tales about the fairies,
but not much that is out of the ordinary run of such stories
elsewhere. Among others, Isaac Davies, the smith living at Ystrad
Meurig, had heard a great deal about fairies, and he said that there
were rings belonging to them in certain fields at Tan y Graig and
at Llanafan. Where the rings were, there the fairies danced until
the ground became red and bare of grass. The fairies were, according
to him, all women, and they dressed like foreigners, in short cotton
dresses reaching only to the knee-joint. This description is somewhat
peculiar, as the idea prevalent in the country around is, that the
fairy ladies had very long trains, and that they were very elegantly
dressed; so that it is a common saying there, that girls who dress
in a better or more showy fashion than ordinary look like Tylwyth
Teg, and the smith confessed he had often heard that said. Similarly
Howells, pp. 113, 121-2, finds the dresses of the fairies dancing
on the Freni, in the north-east of Pembrokeshire, represented as
indescribably elegant and varying in colour; and those who, in the
month of May, used to frequent the prehistoric encampment of Moedin
[90] or Moydin--from which a whole cantred takes its name in Central
Cardiganshire--as fond of appearing in green; while blue petticoats
are said, he says, to have prevailed in the fairy dances in North Wales

Another showed me a spot on the other side of the Teifi, where the
Tylwyth Teg had a favourite spot for dancing; and at the neighbouring
village of Swyd Ffynnon, another meadow was pointed out as their resort
on the farm of Dôl Bydyë. According to one account I had there, the
fairies dressed themselves in very long clothes, and when they danced
they took hold of one another's enormous trains. Besides the usual
tales concerning men enticed into the ring and retained in Faery for a
year and a day, and concerning the fairies' dread of pren cerdingen or
mountain ash, I had the midwife tale in two or three forms, differing
more or less from the versions current in North Wales. For the most
complete of them I am indebted to one of the young men studying at
the Grammar School, Mr. D. Lledrodian Davies. It used to be related
by an old woman who died some thirty years ago at the advanced age of
about 100. She was Pàli, mother of old Rachel Evans, who died seven or
eight years ago, when she was about eighty. The latter was a curious
character, who sometimes sang maswed, or rhymes of doubtful propriety,
and used to take the children of the village to see fairy rings. She
also used to see the Tylwyth, and had many tales to tell of them. But
her mother, Pàli, had actually been called to attend at the confinement
of one of them. The beginning of the tale is not very explicit; but,
anyhow, Pàli one evening found herself face to face with the fairy
lady she was to attend upon. She appeared to be the wife of one of
the princes of the country. She was held in great esteem, and lived
in a very grand palace. Everything there had been arranged in the
most beautiful and charming fashion. The wife was in her bed with
nothing about her but white, and she fared sumptuously. In due time,
when the baby had been born, the midwife had all the care connected
with dressing it and serving its mother. Pàli could see or hear nobody
in the whole place but the mother and the baby. She had no idea who
attended on them, or who prepared all the things they required, for
it was all done noiselessly and secretly. The mother was a charming
person, of an excellent temper and easy to manage. Morning and evening,
as she finished washing the baby, Pàli had a certain ointment given
her to rub the baby with. She was charged not to touch it but with
her hand, and especially not to put any near her eyes. This was
carried out for some time, but one day, as she was dressing the baby,
her eyes happened to itch, and she rubbed them with her hand. Then
at once she saw a great many wonders she had not before perceived;
and the whole place assumed a new aspect to her. She said nothing,
and in the course of the day she saw a great deal more. Among other
things, she observed small men and small women going in and out,
following a variety of occupations. But their movements were as light
as the morning breeze. To move about was no trouble to them, and they
brought things into the room with the greatest quickness. They prepared
dainty food for the confined lady with the utmost order and skill,
and the air of kindness and affection with which they served her
was truly remarkable. In the evening, as she was dressing the baby,
the midwife said to the lady, 'You have had a great many visitors
to-day.' To this she replied, 'How do you know that? Have you been
putting the ointment to your eyes?' Thereupon she jumped out of bed,
and blew into her eyes, saying, 'Now you will see no more.' She never
afterwards could see the fairies, however much she tried, nor was
the ointment entrusted to her after that day. According, however,
to another version which I heard, she was told, on being found out,
not to apply the ointment to her eyes any more. She promised she
would not; but the narrator thought she broke that promise, as she
continued to see the fairies as long as she lived.

Mr. D. Ll. Davies has also a version like the North Wales ones. He
obtained it from a woman of seventy-eight at Bronnant, near
Aberystwyth, who had heard it from one of her ancestors. According to
her, the midwife went to the fair called Ffair Rhos, which was held
between Ystrad Meurig and Pont Rhyd Fendigaid [92]. There she saw a
great many of the Tylwyth very busily engaged, and among others the
lady she had been attending upon. That being so, she walked up to
her and saluted her. The fairy lady angrily asked how she saw her,
and spat in her face, which had the result of putting an end for ever
to her power of seeing her or anybody of her race.

The same aged woman at Bronnant has communicated to Mr. D. Ll. Davies
another tale which differs from all those of the same kind that I
happen to know of. On a certain day in spring the farmer living at ----
(Mr. Davies does not remember the name of the farm) lost his calves;
and the servant man and the servant girl went out to look for them,
but as they were both crossing a marshy flat, the man suddenly missed
the girl. He looked for her, and as he could not see her he concluded
that she was playing a trick on him. However, after much shouting and
searching about the place, he began to think that she must have found
her way home, so he turned back and asked if the girl had come in,
when he found to his surprise that nobody had seen her come back. The
news of her being lost caused great excitement in the country around,
since many suspected that he had for some reason put an end to her
life: some accounted for it in this way, and some in another. But as
nothing could be found out about her, the servant man was taken into
custody on the charge of having murdered her. He protested with all
his heart, and no evidence could be produced that he had killed the
girl. Now, as some had an idea that she had gone to the fairies, it
was resolved to send to 'the wise man' (Y dyn hysbys). This was done,
and he found out that the missing girl was with the fairies: the trial
was delayed, and he gave the servant man directions of the usual kind
as to how to get her out. She was watched at the end of the period of
twelve months and a day coming round in the dance in the fairy ring
at the place where she was lost, and she was successfully drawn out
of the ring; but the servant man had to be there in the same clothes
as he had on when she left him. As soon as she was released and saw
the servant she asked about the calves. On the way home she told her
master, the servant man, and the others, that she would stay with them
until her master should strike her with iron, but they went their way
home in great joy at having found her. One day, however, when her
master was about to start from home, and whilst he was getting the
horse and cart ready, he asked the girl to assist him, which she did
willingly; but as he was bridling the horse, the bit touched the girl
and she disappeared instantly, and was never seen from that day forth.

I cannot explain this story, unless we regard it as made up of pieces
of two different stories which had originally nothing to do with
one another; consistency, however, is not to be expected in such
matters. Mr. D. Ll. Davies has kindly given me two more tales like
the first part of the one I have last summarized, also one in which
the missing person, a little boy sent by his mother to fetch some barm
for her, comes home of himself after being away a year or more playing
with the Tylwyth Teg, whom he found to be very nice, pleasant people;
they had been exceedingly kind to him, and they even allowed him to
take the bottle with the barm home at the last. This was somewhere
between Swyd Ffynnon and Carmarthen.

Mr. D. Ll. Davies finds, what I have not found anywhere else,
that it was a common idea among the old people in Cardiganshire,
that once you came across one of the fairies you could not easily be
rid of him; since the fairies were little beings of a very devoted
nature. Once a man had become friendly with one of them, the latter
would be present with him almost everywhere he went, until it became
a burden to him. However, popular belief did not adopt this item of
faith without another to neutralize it if necessary: so if one was
determined to get rid of the fairy companion, one had in the last
resort only to throw a piece of rusty iron at him to be quit of him
for ever. Nothing was a greater insult to the fairies. But though they
were not difficult to make friends of, they never forgave those who
offended them: forgiveness was not an element in their nature. The
general account my informant gives of the outward appearance of the
fairies as he finds them in the popular belief, is that they were
a small handsome race, and that their women dressed gorgeously in
white, while the men were content with garments of a dark grey colour,
usually including knee-breeches. As might be expected, the descriptions
differ very much in different neighbourhoods, and even in different
tales from the same neighbourhood: this will surprise no one. It was
in the night they came out, generally near water, to sing and dance,
and also to steal whatever took their fancy; for thieving was always
natural to them; but no one ever complained of it, as it was supposed
to bring good luck.


Mr. Richard L. Davies, teacher of the Board School at Ystalyfera, in
the Tawë Valley, has been kind enough to write out for me a budget of
ideas about the Cwm Tawë Fairies, as retailed to him by a native who
took great delight in the traditions of his neighbourhood, John Davies
(Shôn o'r Bont), who was a storekeeper at Ystalyfera. He died an old
man about three years ago. I give his stories as transmitted to me by
Mr. Davies, but the reader will find them a little hazy now and then,
as when the fairies are made into ordinary conjurer's devils:--

Rhywbeth rhyfed yw yr hen Gastell yna (gan olygu Craig Ynys Geinon):
yr wyf yn cofio yr amser pan y bydai yn dychryn gan bobl fyned yn
agos ato--yn enwedig y nos: yr oed yn dra pheryglus rhag i dyn gael
ei gymeryd at Bendith eu Mamau. Fe dywedir fod wmred o'r rheiny yna,
er na wn i pa le y maent yn cadw. 'R oed yr hen bobl yn arferol o
dweyd fod pwll yn rhywle bron canol y Castell, tua llathen o led,
ac yn bump neu chwech llath o dyfnder, a charreg tua thair tynnell o
bwysau ar ei wyneb e', a bod fford dan y daear gandynt o'r pwll hynny
bob cam i ogof Tan yr Ogof, bron blaen y Cwm (yn agos i balas Adelina
Patti, sef Castell Craig y Nos), mai yno y maent yn treulio eu hamser
yn y dyd, ac yn dyfod lawr yma i chwareu eu pranciau yn y nos.

Mae gandynt, mede nhw, ysgol aur, o un neu dwy ar hugain o ffyn; ar
hyd honno y maent yn tramwy i fyny ac i lawr. Mae gandynt air bach,
a dim ond i'r blaenaf ar yr ysgol dywedyd y gair hynny, mae y garreg
yn codi o honi ei hunan; a gair arall, ond i'r olaf wrth fyned i lawr
ei dywedyd, mae yn cauad ar eu hol.

Dywedir i was un o'r ffermyd cyfagos wrth chwilio am wningod yn y
graig, dygwyd dyweyd y gair pan ar bwys y garreg, idi agor, ac ido
yntau fyned i lawr yr ysgol, ond am na wydai y gair i gauad ar ei ol,
fe adnabu y Tylwyth wrth y draught yn diffod y canwyllau fod rhywbeth o
le, daethant am ei draws, cymerasant ef atynt, a bu gyda hwynt yn byw
ac yn bod am saith mlyned; ymhen y saith mlyned fe diangod a llon'd
ei het o guineas gando.

Yr oed efe erbyn hyn wedi dysgu y dau air, ac yn gwybod llawer am eu
cwtches nhw. Fe dywedod hwn y cwbl wrth ffarmwr o'r gymdogaeth, fe
aeth hwnnw drachefn i lawr, ac yr oed rhai yn dyweyd ido dyfod a thri
llon'd cawnen halen o guineas, hanner guineas, a darnau saith-a-chwech,
odiyno yr un diwrnod. Ond fe aeth yn rhy drachwantus, ac fel llawer
un trachwantus o'i flaen, bu ei bechod yn angeu ido.

Canys fe aeth i lawr y bedwared waith yngwyll y nos, ond fe daeth y
Tylwyth am ei ben, ac ni welwyd byth o hono. Dywedir fod ei bedwar
cwarter e' yn hongian mewn ystafell o dan y Castell, ond pwy fu yno
i'w gwel'd nhw, wn i dim.

Mae yn wir ei wala i'r ffarmwr crybwylledig fyned ar goll, ac na
chlybuwyd byth am dano, ac mor wir a hynny i'w dylwyth dyfod yn abl
iawn, bron ar unwaith yr amser hynny. A chi wydoch gystal a finnau,
eu bod nhw yn dywedyd fod ffyrd tandaearol gandynt i ogofau Ystrad
Fellte, yn agos i Benderyn. A dyna y Garn Goch ar y Drum (Onllwyn yn
awr) maent yn dweyd fod canoed o dynelli o aur yn stôr gandynt yno;
a chi glywsoch am y stori am un o'r Gethings yn myned yno i glodio yn
y Garn, ac ido gael ei drawsffurfio gan y Tylwyth i olwyn o dân, ac ido
fethu cael llonyd gandynt, hyd nes ido eu danfon i wneyd rhaff o sand!

Fe fu gynt hen fenyw yn byw mewn ty bychan gerllaw i Ynys Geinon,
ac yr oed hi yn gallu rheibo, mede nhw, ac yr oed sôn ei bod yn
treulio saith diwrnod, saith awr, a saith mynyd gyda y Tylwyth Teg
bob blwydyn yn Ogof y Castell. Yr oed y gred yn lled gyffredinol
ei bod hi yn cael hyn a hyn o aur am bob plentyn a allai hi ladrata
idynt hwy, a dodi un o'i hen grithod hwy yn ei le: 'doed hwnnw byth
yn cynydu. Y fford y bydai hi yn gwneyd oed myned i'r ty dan yr esgus
o ofyn cardod, a hen glogyn llwyd-du mawr ar ei chefn, ac o dan hwn,
un o blant Bendith y Mamau; a bob amser os bydai plentyn bach gwraig
y ty yn y cawell, hi gymerai y swyd o siglo y cawell, a dim ond i'r
fam droi ei chefn am fynyd neu dwy, hi daflai y lledrith i'r cawell,
ai ymaith a'r plentyn yn gyntaf byth y gallai hi. Fe fu plentyn gan dyn
o'r gym'dogaeth yn lingran am flynydau heb gynydu dim, a barn pawb oed
mai wedi cael ei newid gan yr hen wraig yr oed; fe aeth tad y plentyn
i fygwth y gwr hysbys arni: fe daeth yr hen wraig yno am saith niwrnod
i esgus bado y bachgen bach mewn dwfr oer, a'r seithfed bore cyn ei
bod yn oleu, hi a gas genad i fyned ag ef dan rhyw bistyll, mede hi,
ond medai'r cym'dogion, myned ag ef i newid a wnaeth. Ond, beth bynag,
fe wellod y plentyn fel cyw yr wyd o hynny i maes. Ond gorfu i fam e'
wneyd cystal a llw wrth yr hen wraig, y gwnai ei dwco mewn dwfr oer
bob bore dros gwarter blwydyn, ac yn mhen y chwarter hynny 'doed dim
brafach plentyn yn y Cwm.

'That is a wonderful thing, that old castle there, he would say,
pointing to the Ynys Geinon Rock. I remember a time when people would
be terrified to go near it, especially at night. There was considerable
danger that one might be taken to Bendith eu Mamau. It is said that
there are a great many of them there, though I know not where they
abide. The old folks used to say that there was a pit somewhere about
the middle of the Castle, about a yard wide and some five or six yards
deep, with a stone about three tons in weight over the mouth of it,
and that they had a passage underground from that pit all the way
to the cave of Tan yr Ogof, near the top of the Cwm, that is, near
Adelina Patti's residence at Craig y Nos Castle: there, it was said,
they spent their time during the day, while they came down here to
play their tricks at night. They have, they say, a gold ladder of
one or two and twenty rungs, and it is along that they pass up and
down. They have a little word; and it suffices if the foremost on
the ladder merely utters that word, for the stone to rise of itself;
while there is another word, which it suffices the hindmost in going
down to utter so that the stone shuts behind him. It is said that a
servant from one of the neighbouring farms, when looking for rabbits
in the rock, happened to say the word as he stood near the stone,
that it opened for him, and that he went down the ladder; but that
because he was ignorant of the word to make it shut behind him,
the fairies discovered by the draught putting out their candles that
there was something wrong. So they found him out and took him with
them. He remained living with them for seven years, but at the end
of the seven years he escaped with his hat full of guineas. He had by
this time learnt the two words, and got to know a good deal about the
hiding places of their treasures. He told everything to a farmer in
the neighbourhood, so the latter likewise went down, and some used to
say that he brought thence thrice the fill of a salt-chest of guineas,
half-guineas, and seven-and-sixpenny pieces in one day. But he got too
greedy, and like many a greedy one before him his crime proved his
death; for he went down the fourth time in the dusk of the evening,
when the fairies came upon him, and he was never seen any more. It
is said that his four quarters hang in a room under the Castle;
but who has been there to see them I know not. It is true enough
that the above-mentioned farmer got lost, and that nothing was heard
respecting him; and it is equally true that his family became very
well to do almost at once at that time. You know as well as I do that
they say, that the fairies have underground passages to the caves of
Ystradfellte, near Penderyn. There is the Garn Goch also on the Drum
(now called Onllwyn); they say there are hundreds of tons of gold
accumulated by them there, and you have heard the story about one of
the Gethings going thither to dig in the Garn, and how he [sic] was
transformed by the fairies into a wheel of fire, and that he could
get no quiet from them until he sent them to manufacture a rope of
sand!'--A more intelligible version of this story has been given at
pp. 19-20 above.

'There was formerly an old woman living in a small house near Ynys
Geinon; and she had the power of bewitching, people used to say:
there was a rumour that she spent seven days, seven hours, and seven
minutes with the fairies every year in the cave at the Castle. It
was a pretty general belief that she got such and such a quantity of
gold for every child she could steal for them, and that she put one
of those old urchins of theirs in its place: the latter never grew
at all. The way she used to do it was to enter people's houses with
the excuse of asking for alms, having a large dark-grey old cloak on
her back, and the cloak concealed one of the children of Bendith eu
Mamau. Whenever she found the little child of the good woman of the
house in its cradle, she would take upon herself to rock the cradle,
so that if the mother only turned her back for a minute or two, she
would throw the sham child into the cradle and hurry away as fast
as she could with the baby. A man in the neighbourhood had a child
lingering for years without growing at all, and it was the opinion of
all that it had been changed by the old woman. The father at length
threatened to call in the aid of "the wise man," when the old woman
came there for seven days, pretending that it was in order to bathe the
little boy in cold water; and on the seventh day she got permission
to take him, before it was light, under a certain spout of water: so
she said, but the neighbours said it was to change him. However that
was, the boy from that time forth got on as fast as a gosling. But
the mother had all but to take an oath to the old woman, that she
would duck him in cold water every morning for three months, and by
the end of that time there was no finer infant in the Cwm.'

Mr. Davies has given me some account also of the annual pilgrimage
to the Fan mountains to see the Lake Lady: these are his words on
the subject--they recall pp. 15-16 above:--

'It has been the yearly custom (for generations, as far as I can find)
for young as well as many people further advanced in years to make a
general excursion in carts, gambos, and all kinds of vehicles, to Llyn
y Fan, in order to see the water nymph (who appeared on one day only,
viz. the first Sunday in August). This nymph was said to have the
lower part of her body resembling that of a dolphin, while the upper
part was that of a beautiful lady: this anomalous form appeared on
the first Sunday in August (if the lake should be without a ripple)
and combed her tresses on the reflecting surface of the lake. The
yearly peregrination to the abode of the Fan deity is still kept up in
this valley--Cwmtawë; but not to the extent that it used to formerly.'


Mr. Craigfryn Hughes has sent me another tale about the fairies: it
has to do with the parish of Llanfabon, near the eastern border of
Glamorganshire. Many traditions cluster round the church of Llanfabon,
beginning with its supposed building by Saint Mabon, but which of the
Mabons of Welsh legend he was, is not very certain. Not very far is
a place called Pant y Dawns, or the Dance Hollow, in allusion to the
visits paid to the spot by Bendith y Mamau, as the fairies are there
called. In the same neighbourhood stand also the ruins of Castell
y Nos, or the Castle of the Night [93], which tradition represents
as uninhabitable because it had been built of stones from Llanfabon
Church, and on account of the ghosts that used to haunt it. However,
one small portion of it was usually tenanted formerly by a 'wise man'
or by a witch. In fact, the whole country round Llanfabon Church
teemed with fairies, ghosts, and all kinds of uncanny creatures:--

Mewn amaethdy ag syd yn aros yn y plwyf a elwir y Berth Gron,
trigiannai gwedw ieuanc a'i phlentyn bychan. Yr oed wedi colli ei gwr,
a'i hunig gysur yn ei hamdifadrwyd a'i hunigrwyd oed Gruff, ei mab. Yr
oed ef yr amser hwn odeutu tair blwyd oed, ac yn blentyn braf ar ei
oedran. Yr oed y plwyf, ar y pryd, yn orlawn o 'Fendith y Mamau'; ac,
ar amser llawn lloer, bydent yn cadw dynion yn effro a'u cerdoriaeth
hyd doriad gwawr. Rhai hynod ar gyfrif eu hagrwch oed 'Bendith'
Llanfabon, ac yr un mor hynod ar gyfrif eu castiau. Lladrata plant
o'r cawellau yn absenoldeb eu mamau, a denu dynion trwy eu swyno
a cherdoriaeth i ryw gors afiach a diffaith, a ymdangosai yn gryn
difyrrwch idynt. Nid rhyfed fod y mamau beunyd ar eu gwyliadwriaeth
rhag ofn colli eu plant. Yr oed y wedw o dan sylw yn hynod ofalus am
ei mab, gymaint nes tynnu rhai o'r cymydogion i dywedyd wrthi ei bod
yn rhy orofalus, ac y bydai i ryw anlwc ordiwes ei mab. Ond ni thalai
unrhyw sylw i'w dywediadau. Ymdangosai fod ei holl hyfrydwch a'i chysur
ynghyd a'i gobeithion yn cydgyfarfod yn ei mab. Mod bynnag, un diwrnod,
clywod ryw lais cwynfannus yn codi o gymydogaeth y beudy; a rhag bod
rhywbeth wedi digwyd i un o'r gwartheg rhedod yn orwyllt tuag yno,
gan adael y drws heb ei gau, a'i mab bychan yn y ty. Ond pwy a fedr
desgrifio ei gofid ar ei gwaith yn dyfod i'r ty wrth weled eisiau ei
mab? Chwiliod bob man am dano, ond yn aflwydiannus. Odeutu machlud
haul, wele lencyn bychan yn gwneuthur ei ymdangosiad o'i blaen, ac
yn dywedyd, yn groyw, 'Mam!' Edrychod y fam yn fanwl arno, a dywedod
o'r diwed, 'Nid fy mhlentyn i wyt ti!' 'Ië, yn sicr,' atebai y bychan.

Nid ymdangosai y fam yn fodlon, na'i bod yn credu mai ei phlentyn hi
ydoed. Yr oed rhywbeth yn sisial yn barhaus wrthi mai nid ei mab hi
ydoed. Ond beth bynnag, bu gyda hi am flwydyn gyfan, ac nid ymdangosai
ei fod yn cynydu dim, tra yr oed Gruff, ei mab hi, yn blentyn cynydfawr
iawn. Yr oed gwr bychan yn myned yn fwy hagr bob dyd hefyd. O'r diwed
penderfynod fyned at y 'dyn hysbys,' er cael rhyw wybodaeth a goleuni
ar y mater. Yr oed yn digwyd bod ar y pryd yn trigfannu yn Nghastell y
Nos, wr ag oed yn hynod ar gyfrif ei ymwybydiaeth drwyadl o 'gyfrinion
y fall.' Ar ol idi osod ei hachos ger ei fron, ac yntau ei holi,
sylwod, 'Crimbil ydyw, ac y mae dy blentyn di gyd a'r hen Fendith
yn rhywle; ond i ti dilyn fy nghyfarwydiadau i yn ffydlon a manwl,
fe adferir dy blentyn i ti yn fuan. Yn awr, odeutu canol dyd y foru,
tor wy yn y canol, a thafl un hanner ymaith odiwrthyt, a chadw y
llall yn dy law, a dechreu gymysg ei gynwysiad yn ol a blaen. Cofia
fod y gwr bychan gerllaw yn gwneuthur sylw o'r hyn ag a fydi yn ei
wneuthur. Ond cofia di a pheidio galw ei sylw--rhaid ennill ei sylw
at y weithred heb ei alw: ac odid fawr na ofynna i ti beth fydi yn
ei wneuthur. A dywed wrtho mai cymysg pastai'r fedel yr wyt. A rho
wybod i mi beth fyd ei ateb.'

Dychwelod y wraig, a thrannoeth dilynod gyfarwydyd y 'dyn cynnil'
i'r llythyren. Yr oed y gwr bychan yn sefyll yn ei hymyl, ac yn
sylwi arni yn fanwl. Ym mhen ychydig, gofynnod, 'Mam, beth 'i ch'i
'neuthur?' 'Cymysg pastai'r fedel, machgen i.' 'O felly. Mi glywais
gan fy nhad, fe glywod hwnnw gan ei dad, a hwnnw gan ei dad yntau, fod
mesen cyn derwen, a derwen mewn dâr [94]; ond ni chlywais i na gweled
neb yn un man yn cymysg pastai'r fedel mewn masgal wy iar.' Sylwod y
wraig ei fod yn edrych yn hynod o sarug arni pan yn siarad, ac yr oed
hynny yn ychwanegu at ei hagrwch, nes ei wneuthur yn wrthun i'r pen.

Y prydnawn hwnnw aeth y wraig at y 'dyn cynnil' er ei hysbysu o'r hyn
a lefarwyd gan y còr. 'O,' ebai hwnnw, 'un o'r hen frid ydyw!' 'Yn awr,
byd y llawn lloer nesaf ym mhen pedwar diwrnod; mae yn rhaid i ti fyned
i ben y pedair heol syd yn cydgyfarfod wrth ben Rhyd y Gloch; am deudeg
o'r gloch y nos y byd y lleuad yn llawn. Cofia gudio dy hun mewn man
ag y cei lawn olwg ar bennau y croesffyrd, ac os gweli rywbeth a bair
i ti gynhyrfu, cofia fod yn llonyd, ac ymatal rhag rhodi ffrwyn i'th
deimladau, neu fe distrywir y cynllun, ac ni chei dy fab yn ol byth.'

Nis gwydai y fam anffodus beth oed i'w deall wrth ystori ryfed y
'dyn cynnil.' Yr oed mewn cymaint o dywyllwch ag erioed. O'r diwed
daeth yr amser i ben; ac ar yr awr apwyntiedig yr oed yn ymgudio yn
ofalus tu cefn i lwyn mawr yn ymyl, o ba le y caffai olwg ar bob peth o
gylch. Bu am hir amser yno yn gwylio heb dim i'w glywed na'i weled--dim
ond distawrwyd dwfn a phrudglwyfus yr hanner nos yn teyrnasu. O'r diwed
clywai sain cerdoriaeth yn dynesu ati o hirbell. Nês, nês yr oed y sain
felusber yn dyfod o hyd; a gwrandawai hithai gyda dydordeb arni. Cyn
hir yr oed yn ei hymyl, a deallod mai gorymdaith o 'Fendith y Mamau'
oedynt yn myned i rywle. Yr oedynt yn gannoed mewn rhif. Tua chanol
yr orymdaith canfydod olygfa ag a drywanod ei chalon, ac a berod i'w
gwaed sefyll yn ei rhedwelïau. Yn cerded rhwng pedwar o'r 'Bendith'
yr oed ei phlentyn bychan anwyl ei hun. Bu bron a llwyr anghofio
ei hun, a llamu tuag ato er ei gipio ymaith odiarnynt trwy drais os
gallai. Ond pan ar neidio allan o'i hymgudfan i'r diben hwnnw medyliod
am gynghor y 'dyn cynnil,' sef y bydai i unrhyw gynhyrfiad o'i heido
distrywio y cwbl, ac na bydai idi gael ei phlentyn yn ol byth.

Ar ol i'r orymdaith dirwyn i'r pen, ac i sain eu cerdoriaeth distewi
yn y pellder, daeth allan o'i hymgudfan, gan gyfeirio ei chamrau tua
'i chartref. Os oed yn hiraethol o'r blaen ar ol ei mab, yr oed yn
llawer mwy erbyn hyn; a'i hadgasrwyd at y còr bychan oed yn hawlio
ei fod yn fab idi wedi cynydu yn fawr iawn, waith yr oed yn sicr yn
awr yn ei medwl mai un o'r hen frid ydoed. Nis gwydai pa fod i'w odef
am fynud yn hwy yn yr un ty a hi, chwaithach godef ido alw 'mam' arni
hi. Ond beth bynnag, cafod digon o ras ataliol i ymdwyn yn wedaid at y
gwr bychan hagr oed gyda hi yn y ty. Drannoeth aeth ar ei hunion at y
'dyn cynnil' i adrod yr hyn yr oed wedi bod yn llygad dyst o hono y
noson gynt, ac i ofyn am gyfarwydyd pellach. Yr oedd y 'gwr cynnil'
yn ei disgwyl, ac ar ei gwaith yn dyfod i'r ty adnabydod wrthi ei
bod wedi gweled rhywbeth oed wedi ei chyffroi. Adrodod wrtho yr hyn
ag oed wedi ei ganfod ar ben y croesffyrd; ac wedi ido glywed hynny,
agorod lyfr mawr ag oed gando, ac wedi hir syllu arno hysbysod hi
'fod yn angenrheidiol idi cyn cael ei phlentyn yn ol gael iâr du heb
un plufyn gwyn nac o un lliw arall arni, a'i llad; ac ar ol ei lladd,
ei gosod o flaen tan coed, pluf a chwbl, er ei phobi. Mor gynted ag
y buasai yn ei gosod o flaen y tan, idi gau pob twll a mynedfa yn
yr adeilad ond un, a pheidio a dal sylw manwl ar ol y 'crimbil,' hyd
nes bydai y iâr yn digon, a'r pluf i syrthio ymaith oddiarni bob un,
ac yna i edrych ym mha le yr oed ef.

Er mor rhyfed oed cyfarwydyd y 'gwr,' penderfynod ei gynnyg;
a thrannoeth aeth i chwilio ym mhlith y ieir oed yno am un o'r
desgrifiad angenrheidiol; ond er ei siomedigaeth method a chael yr
un. Aeth o'r naill ffermdy i'r llall i chwilio, ond ymdangosai ffawd
fel yn gwgu arni--waith method a chael yr un. Pan ym mron digaloni
gan ei haflwydiant daeth ar draws un mewn amaethdy yng nghwr y plwyf a
phrynod hi yn dioedi. Ar ol dychwelyd adref gosodod y tan mewn trefn,
a lladod yr iâr, gan ei gosod o flaen y tan disglaer a losgai ar yr
alch. Pan yn edrych arni yn pobi, anghofiod y 'crimbil' yn hollol,
ac yr oed wedi syrthio i rywfath o brudlewyg, pryd y synnwyd hi gan
sain cerdoriaeth y tu allan i'r ty, yn debyg i'r hyn a glywod ychydig
nosweithiau cyn hynny ar ben y croesffyrd. Yr oed y pluf erbyn hyn wedi
syrthio ymaith odiar y iâr, ac erbyn edrych yr oed y 'crimbil' wedi
diflannu. Edrychai y fam yn wyllt o'i deutu, ac er ei llawenyd clywai
lais ei mab colledig yn galw arni y tu allan. Rhedod i'w gyfarfod,
gan ei gofleidio yn wresog; a phan ofynod ym mha le yr oed wedi bod
cyhyd, nid oed gando gyfrif yn y byd i'w rodi ond mai yn gwrando ar
ganu hyfryd yr oed wedi bod. Yr oed yn deneu a threuliedig iawn ei
wed pan adferwyd ef. Dyna ystori 'Y Plentyn Colledig.'

'At a farm house still remaining in the parish of Llanfabon, which
is called the Berth Gron, there lived once upon a time a young widow
and her infant child. After losing her husband her only comfort in
her bereavement and solitary state was young Griff, her son. He was
about three years old and a fine child for his age. The parish was
then crammed full of Bendith y Mamau, and when the moon was bright
and full they were wont to keep people awake with their music till
the break of day. The fairies of Llanfabon were remarkable on account
of their ugliness, and they were equally remarkable on account of the
tricks they played. Stealing children from their cradles during the
absence of their mothers, and luring men by means of their music into
some pestilential and desolate bog, were things that seemed to afford
them considerable amusement. It was no wonder then that mothers used
to be daily on the watch lest they should lose their children. The
widow alluded to was remarkably careful about her son, so much so,
that it made some of the neighbours say that she was too anxious about
him and that some misfortune would overtake her child. But she paid no
attention to their words, as all her joy, her comfort, and her hopes
appeared to meet together in her child. However, one day she heard a
moaning voice ascending from near the cow-house, and lest anything had
happened to the cattle, she ran there in a fright, leaving the door
of the house open and her little son in the cradle. Who can describe
her grief on her coming in and seeing that her son was missing? She
searched everywhere for him, but it was in vain. About sunset, behold
a little lad made his appearance before her and said to her quite
distinctly, "Mother." She looked minutely at him, and said at last,
"Thou art not my child." "I am truly," said the little one. But the
mother did not seem satisfied about it, nor did she believe it was
her child. Something whispered to her constantly, as it were, that
it was not her son. However, he remained with her a whole year, but
he did not seem to grow at all, whereas Griff, her son, was a very
growing child. Besides, the little fellow was getting uglier every
day. At last she resolved to go to the "wise man," in order to have
information and light on the matter. There happened then to be living
at Castell y Nos, "Castle of the Night," a man who was remarkable for
his thorough acquaintance with the secrets of the evil one. When she
had laid her business before him and he had examined her, he addressed
the following remark to her: "It is a crimbil [95], and thy own child
is with those old Bendith somewhere or other: if thou wilt follow
my directions faithfully and minutely thy child will be restored to
thee soon. Now, about noon to-morrow cut an egg through the middle;
throw the one half away from thee, but keep the other in thy hand, and
proceed to mix it backwards and forwards. See that the little fellow
be present paying attention to what thou art doing, but take care not
to call his attention to it--his attention must be drawn to it without
calling to him--and very probably he will ask what thou wouldst be
doing. Thou art to say that it is mixing a pasty for the reapers that
thou art. Let me know what he will then say." The woman returned,
and on the next day she followed the cunning man's [96] advice to
the letter: the little fellow stood by her and watched her minutely;
presently he asked, "Mother, what are you doing?" "Mixing a pasty for
the reapers, my boy." "Oh, that is it. I heard from my father--he had
heard it from his father and that one from his father--that an acorn
was before the oak, and that the oak was in the earth; but I have
neither heard nor seen anybody mixing the pasty for the reapers in an
egg-shell." The woman observed that he looked very cross as he spoke,
and that it so added to his ugliness that it made him highly repulsive.

'That afternoon the woman went to the cunning man in order to inform
him of what the dwarf had said. "Oh," said he, "he is of that old
breed; now the next full moon will be in four days--thou must go where
the four roads meet above Rhyd y Gloch [97], at twelve o'clock the
night the moon is full. Take care to hide thyself at a spot where
thou canst see the ends of the cross-roads; and shouldst thou see
anything that would excite thee take care to be still and to restrain
thyself from giving way to thy feelings, otherwise the scheme will
be frustrated and thou wilt never have thy son back." The unfortunate
mother knew not what to make of the strange story of the cunning man;
she was in the dark as much as ever. At last the time came, and by the
appointed hour she had concealed herself carefully behind a large bush
close by, whence she could see everything around. She remained there
a long time watching; but nothing was to be seen or heard, while the
profound and melancholy silence of midnight dominated over all. At
last she began to hear the sound of music approaching from afar;
nearer and nearer the sweet sound continued to come, and she listened
to it with rapt attention. Ere long it was close at hand, and she
perceived that it was a procession of Bendith y Mamau going somewhere
or other. They were hundreds in point of number, and about the middle
of the procession she beheld a sight that pierced her heart and made
the blood stop in her veins--walking between four of the Bendith she
saw her own dear little child. She nearly forgot herself altogether,
and was on the point of springing into the midst of them violently to
snatch him from them if she could; but when she was on the point of
leaping out of her hiding place for that purpose, she thought of the
warning of the cunning man, that any disturbance on her part would
frustrate all, so that she would never get her child back. When the
procession had wound itself past, and the sound of the music had died
away in the distance, she issued from her concealment and directed
her steps homewards. Full of longing as she was for her son before,
she was much more so now; and her disgust at the little dwarf who
claimed to be her son had very considerably grown, for she was now
certain in her mind that he was one of the old breed. She knew not
how to endure him for a moment longer under the same roof with her,
much less his addressing her as "mother." However, she had enough
restraining grace to behave becomingly towards the ugly little fellow
that was with her in the house. On the morrow she went without delay
to the "wise man" to relate what she had witnessed the previous night,
and to seek further advice. The cunning man expected her, and as she
entered he perceived by her looks that she had seen something that had
disturbed her. She told him what she had beheld at the cross-roads,
and when he had heard it he opened a big book which he had; then, after
he had long pored over it, he told her, that before she could get her
child back, it was necessary for her to find a black hen without a
single white feather, or one of any other colour than black: this she
was to place to bake before a wood [98] fire with its feathers and all
intact. Moreover, as soon as she placed it before the fire, she was to
close every hole and passage in the walls except one, and not to look
very intently after the crimbil until the hen was done enough and the
feathers had fallen off it every one: then she might look where he was.

'Strange as the advice of the wise man sounded, she resolved to try
it; so she went the next day to search among the hens for one of the
requisite description; but to her disappointment she failed to find
one. She then walked from one farm house to another in her search;
but fortune appeared to scowl at her, as she seemed to fail in her
object. When, however, she was nearly disheartened, she came across
the kind of hen she wanted at a farm at the end of the parish. She
bought it, and after returning home she arranged the fire and killed
the hen, which she placed in front of the bright fire burning on
the hearth. Whilst watching the hen baking she altogether forgot the
crimbil; and she fell into a sort of swoon, when she was astonished
by the sound of music outside the house, similar to the music she had
heard a few nights before at the cross-roads. The feathers had by this
time fallen off the hen, and when she came to look for the crimbil
he had disappeared. The mother cast wild looks about the house, and
to her joy she heard the voice of her lost son calling to her from
outside. She ran to meet him, and embraced him fervently. But when
she asked him where he had been so long, he had no account in the
world to give but that he had been listening to pleasant music. He
was very thin and worn in appearance when he was restored. Such is
the story of the Lost Child.'

Let me remark as to the urchin's exclamation concerning the cooking
done in the egg-shell, that Mr. Hughes, as the result of further
inquiry, has given me what he considers a more correct version;
but it is no less inconsequent, as will be seen:--

    Mi glywais gan fy nhad ac yntau gan ei dad, a hwnnw gan ei
                                                              dad yntau,
    Fod mesen cyn derwen a'i phlannu mwn dár:
    Ni chlywais yn unman am gymysg y bastai yn masgal wy iâr.

    I heard from my father and he from his father, and that one from
                                                             his father,
    That the acorn exists before the oak and the planting of it in
                                                             the ground:
    Never anywhere have I heard of mixing the pasty in the shell of
                                                            a hen's egg.

In Dewi Glan Ffrydlas' story from the Ogwen Valley, in Carnarvonshire,
p. 62 above, it is not the cooking of a pasty but the brewing of beer
in an egg-shell. However what is most remarkable is that the egg-shell
is similarly used in stories from other lands. Mr. Hartland cites one
from Mecklenburg and another from Scandinavia. He also mentions stories
in which the imp measures his own age by the number of forests which
he has seen growing successively on the same soil, the formula being
of the following kind: 'I have seen the Forest of Ardennes burnt seven
times,' 'Seven times have I seen the wood fall in Lessö Forest,' or
'I am so old, I was already in the world before the Kamschtschen Wood
(in Lithuania) was planted, wherein great trees grew, and that is
now laid waste again [99].' From these and the like instances it is
clear that the Welsh versions here in question are partially blurred,
as the fairy child's words should have been to the effect that he
was old enough to remember the oak when it was yet but an acorn;
and an instance of this explicit kind is given by Howells--it comes
from Llandrygarn in Anglesey--see p. 139, where his words run thus:
'I can remember yon oak an acorn, but I never saw in my life people
brewing in an egg-shell before.' I may add that I have been recently
fortunate enough to obtain from Mr. Llywarch Reynolds another kind
of estimate of the fairy urchin's age. He writes that his mother
remembers a very old Merthyr woman who used to tell the story of the
egg-shell cookery, but in words differing from all the other versions
known to him, thus:--

                Wy'n hén y dyd hedy,
                Ag yn byw cyn 'y ngeni:
                Eriôd ni welas i ferwi
                Bwyd i'r fedal mwn cwcwll [100] wy iâr.

                I call myself old this day,
                And living before my birth:
                Never have I seen food boiled
                For the reapers in an egg-shell.

As to the urchin's statement that he was old and had lived before, it
is part of a creed of which we may have something to say in a later
chapter. At this point let it suffice to call attention to the same
idea in the Book of Taliessin, poem ix:--

                Hynaf uyd dyn pan anher
                A ieu ieu pop amser.

                A man is wont to be oldest when born,
                And younger and younger all the time.


Before closing this chapter, I wish to touch on the question of the
language of the fairies, though fairy tales hardly ever raise it,
as they usually assume the fairies to speak the same language as the
mortals around them. There is, however, one well-known exception,
namely, the story of Eliodorus, already mentioned, p. 117, as recorded
by Giraldus Cambrensis, who relates how Eliodorus, preferring at the
age of twelve to play the truant to undergoing a frequent beating
by his teacher, fasted two days in hiding in the hollow of a river
bank, and how he was then accosted by two little men who induced
him to follow them to a land of sports and other delights. There he
remained long enough to be able, years later, to give his diocesan,
the second Menevian bishop named David [101], a comprehensive account
of the people and realm of Faery. After Eliodorus had for some time
visited and revisited that land of twilight, his mother desired him
to bring her some of the gold of the fairies. So one day he tried to
bring away the gold ball with which the fairy king's son used to play;
but he was not only unsuccessful, but subjected to indignities also,
and prevented from evermore finding his way back to fairyland. So he
had to go again to school and to the studies which he so detested;
but in the course of time he learned enough to become a priest;
and when, stricken in years, he used to be entreated by Bishop
David to relate this part of his early history, he never could be
got to unfold his tale without shedding tears. Among other things
which he said of the fairies' mode of living, he stated that they
ate neither flesh nor fish, but lived for the most part on various
kinds of milk food cooked after the fashion of stirabout, flavoured
as it were with saffron [102]. But one of the most curious portions
of Eliodorus' yarn was that relating to the language of the fairies;
for he pretended to have learnt it and to have found it to resemble his
own Britannica Lingua, 'Brythoneg, or Welsh.' In the words instanced
Giraldus perceived a similarity to Greek [103], which he accounted for
by means of the fabulous origin of the Welsh from the Trojans and the
supposed sojourn made in Greece by those erring Trojans on their way
to Britain. Giraldus displays quite a pretty interest in comparative
philology, and talks glibly of the Lingua Britannica; but one never
feels certain that he knew very much more about it than the author
of the Germania, the first to refer to it under that name. Tacitus,
however, had the excuse that he lived at a distance and some eleven
centuries before the advent of Gerald the Welshman.

Giraldus' words prove, on close examination, to be of no help to us
on the question of language; but on the other hand I have but recently
begun looking out for stories bearing on it. It is my impression that
such are not plentiful; but I proceed to subjoin an abstract of a
phantom funeral tale in point from Ystên Sioned (Aberystwyth, 1882),
pp. 8-16. Ystên Sioned, I ought to explain, consists of a number of
stories collected and edited in Welsh by the Rev. Chancellor Silvan
Evans, though he has not attached his name to it:--The harvest of 1816
was one of the wettest ever known in Wales, and a man and his wife who
lived on a small farm in one of the largest parishes in the Hundred
of Moedin (see p. 245 above) in the Demetian part of Cardiganshire
went out in the evening of a day which had been comparatively dry
to make some reaped corn into sheaves, as it had long been down. It
was a beautiful night, with the harvest moon shining brightly, and
the field in which they worked had the parish road passing along
one of its sides, without a hedge or a ditch to separate it from the
corn. When they had been busily at work binding sheaves for half an
hour or more, they happened to hear the hum of voices, as if of a
crowd of people coming along the road leading into the field. They
stopped a moment, and looking in the direction whence the sounds
came, they saw in the light of the moon a number of people coming
into sight and advancing in their direction. They bent then again to
their work without thinking much about what they had seen and heard;
for they fancied it was some belated people making for the village,
which was about a mile off. But the hum and confused sounds went on
increasing, and when the two binders looked up again, they beheld a
large crowd of people almost opposite and not far from them. As they
continued looking on they beheld quite clearly a coffin on a bier
carried on the shoulders of men, who were relieved by others in turns,
as usual in funeral processions in the country. 'Here is a funeral,'
said the binders to one another, forgetting for the moment that it was
not usual for funerals to be seen at night. They continued looking
on till the crowd was right opposite them, and some of them did not
keep to the road, but walked over the corn alongside of the bulk
of the procession. The two binders heard the talk and whispering,
the noise and hum as if of so many real men and women passing by,
but they did not understand a word that was said: not a syllable
could they comprehend, not a face could they recognize. They
kept looking at the procession till it went out of sight on the
way leading towards the parish church. They saw no more of them,
and now they began to feel uneasy and went home leaving the corn
alone as it was; but further on the funeral was met by a tailor at a
point in the road where it was narrow and bounded by a fence (clawd)
on either side. The procession filled the road from hedge to hedge,
and the tailor tried to force his way through it, but such was the
pressure of the throng that he was obliged to get out of their way by
crossing the hedge. He also failed to understand a word of the talk
which he heard. In about three weeks after this sham funeral [104],
there came a real one down that way from the upper end of the parish.

Such, in brief, is the story so charmingly told by Silvan Evans,
which he got from the mouths of the farmer and his wife, whom he
considered highly honest and truthful persons, as well as comparatively
free from superstition. The last time they talked to him about the
incident they were very advanced in years, and both died within a
few weeks of one another early in the year 1852. Their remains,
he adds, lie in the churchyard towards which they had seen the
toeli slowly making its way. For toeli is the phonetic spelling in
Ystên Sioned of the word which is teulu in North Cardiganshire and
in North Wales, for Old Welsh toulu. The word now means 'family,'
though literally it should mean 'house-army' or 'house-troops,'
and it is practically a synonym for tylwyth, 'family or household,'
literally 'house-tribe.' Now the toeli or toulu is such an important
institution in Demetian Cardiganshire and some parts of Dyfed proper,
that the word has been confined to the phantom, and for the word
family in its ordinary significations one has there to have recourse
to the non-dialect form teulu [105]. In North Cardiganshire and North
Wales the toeli is called simply a cladedigaeth, 'burial,' or anglad,
'funeral'; in the latter also cynhebrwng is a funeral. I may add that
when I was a child in the neighbourhood of Ponterwyd, on the upper
course of the Rheidol, hardly a year used to pass without somebody
or other meeting a phantom funeral. Sometimes one got entangled in
the procession, and ran the risk of being carried off one's feet by
the throng. There is, however, one serious difference between our
phantom funerals and the Demetian toeli, namely, that we recognize
our neighbours' ghosts as making up the processions, and we have no
trouble in understanding their talk. At this point a question of some
difficulty presents itself as to the toeli, namely, what family does it
mean?--is it the family and friends of the departed on his way to the
grave, or does it mean the family in the sense of Tylwyth Teg, 'Fair
Family,' as applied to the fairies? I am inclined to the latter view,
but I prefer thinking that the distinction itself does not penetrate
very deeply, seeing that a certain species of the Tylwyth Teg, or
fairies, may, in point of origin, be regarded as deceased friends and
ancestors of the tylwyth, in the ordinary sense of the word. In fact
all this kind of rehearsal of events seems to have been once looked
at as friendly to the men and women whom it concerned. This will be
seen, for instance, in the Demetian account of the canwyll gorff, or
corpse candle, as granted through the intercession of St. David to the
people of his special care, as a means of warning each to get ready
in time for his death; that is to say, to prevent death finding him
unprepared. It is hard to guess why it was assumed that the canwyll
gorff was unknown in other parts of Wales. One or two instances in
point occur in Owen's Welsh Folklore, pp. 298-301; and I have myself
heard of them being seen in Anglesey, while they were quite well known
to members of Mrs. Rhys' mother's family, who lived in the parish
of Waen Fawr, in the neighbourhood of Carnarvon. Nor does it appear
that phantom funerals were at all confined to South Wales. Proof to
the contrary is supplied to some extent in Owen's Folklore, p. 301;
but there is no doubt that in recent times the belief in them, as
well as in the canwyll gorff, has been more general and more vivid
in South Wales than in North Wales, especially Gwyned.

I have not been fortunate enough to come across anything systematic
or comprehensive on the origin and meaning of ghostly rehearsals
like the Welsh phantom funeral or coffin making. But the subject
is an interesting one which deserves the attention of our leading
folklore philosophers, as does also the cognate one of second sight,
by which it is widely overlapped.

Quite recently--at the end of 1899 in fact--I received three brief
stories, for which I am indebted to the further kindness of Alaw Lleyn
(p. 228), who lives at Bynhadlog near Edern in Lleyn, and two out of
the three touch on the question of language. But as the three belong
to one and the same district, I give the substance of all in English
as follows:--

(1) There were at a small harbour belonging to Nefyn some houses in
which several families formerly lived; the houses are there still,
but nobody lives in them now. There was one family there to which
a little girl belonged: they used to lose her for hours every day;
so her mother was very angry with her for being so much away. 'I must
know,' said she, 'where you go for your play.' The girl answered that
it was to Pin y Wig, 'The Wig Point,' which meant a place to the west
of the Nefyn headland: it was there, she said, she played with many
children. 'Whose children?' asked the mother. 'I don't know,' she
replied; 'they are very nice children, much nicer than I am.' 'I must
know whose children they are,' was the reply; and one day the mother
went with her little girl to see the children: it was a distance of
about a quarter of a mile to Pin y Wig, and after climbing the slope
and walking a little along the top they came in sight of the Pin. It
is from this Pin that the people of Pen yr Allt got water, and it
is from there they get it still. Now after coming near the Pin the
little girl raised her hands with joy at the sight of the children. 'O
mother,' said she, 'their father is with them to-day: he is not with
them always, it is only sometimes that he is.' The mother asked the
child where she saw them. 'There they are, mother, running down to
the Pin, with their father sitting down.' 'I see nobody, my child,'
was the reply, and great fear came upon the mother: she took hold of
the child's hand in terror, and it came to her mind at once that they
were the Tylwyth Teg. Never afterwards was the little girl allowed to
go to Pin y Wig: the mother had heard that the Tylwyth Teg exchanged
people's children.

Such is the first story, and it is only remarkable, perhaps, for its
allusion to the father of the fairy children.

(2) There used to be at Edern an old woman who occupied a small
farm called Glan y Gors: the same family lives there still. One day
this old woman had gone to a fair at Criccieth, whence she returned
through Pwllheli. As she was getting above Gors Geirch, which was then
a turbary and a pretty considerable bog, a noise reached her ears:
she stopped and heard the sound of much talking. By-and-by she beheld
a great crowd of men and women coming to meet her. She became afraid
and stepped across the fence to let them go by. There she remained
a while listening to their chatter, and when she thought that they
had gone far enough she returned to the road and began to resume
her way home. But before she had gone many steps she heard the same
sort of noise again, and saw again the same sort of crowd coming;
so she recrossed the fence in great fear, saying to herself, 'Here
I shall be all night!' She remained there till they also had gone,
and she wondered what they could be, and whether they were people who
had been to visit Plas Madrun--afterwards, on inquiry, she found that
no such people had been there that day. Now the old woman was near
enough to the passers-by to hear them talking (clebran) and chattering
(bregliach), but not a word could she understand of what they uttered:
it was not Welsh and she did not think that it was English--it is,
however, not supposed that she knew English. She related further that
the last crowd shouted all together to the other crowd in advance of
them Wi, and that the latter replied Wi Wei or something like that.

This account Alaw Lleyn has got, he says, from a great-granddaughter
of the old woman, and she heard it all from her father, Bard Llechog,
who always had faith in the fairies, and believed that they will
come again to be seen of men and women. For he thought that they had
their periods, a belief which I have come across elsewhere, and more
especially in Carnarvonshire [106]. Now what are we to make of such a
story? I recollect reading somewhere of a phantom wedding in Scotland,
but in Wales we seem to have nothing more closely resembling this
than a phantom funeral. Nevertheless what the old woman of Glan y Gors
thought she saw looks by no means unlike a Welsh wedding marching on
foot, especially when, as I have seen done, one party tried--seemingly
in good earnest--to escape the other and to take the bride away from
it. Moreover, that the figures making up the two crowds in her story
are to be regarded as fairies is rendered probable by the next story,
which describes the phantoms therein expressly as little men and
little women.

(3) The small farm of Perth y Celyn in Edern used to be held by an
old man named Griffith Griffiths. In his best days he stood six foot,
and he has left behind him a double reputation for bodily strength
and great piety. My informant can well remember him walking to chapel
with the aid of his two sticks. The story goes that one day, when
he was in his prime, he set out from Perth y Celyn at two in the
morning to walk to Carnarvon to pay his rent: there was no talk in
those days of a carriage for anybody. After passing through Nefyn and
Pistyll, he came in due time to Bwlch Trwyn Swncwl [107]: he writes
this name also Bwlch Drws Wncwl, with the suggestion that it ought to
be Bwlch Drws Encil, and that the place must have been of importance
in the wars of the ancient Kymry. The high-road, he goes on to say,
runs through the Bwlch, and as Griffith was entering this gap what
should he hear but a great deal of talking. He stopped and listened,
when to his surprise he saw coming towards him, devoid of all fear,
a crowd of little men and little women. They talked aloud, but he could
not understand a single word they said: he thought that it was neither
Welsh nor English. They passed by him on the road, but he moved aside
to the ditch lest they should knock against him; but no feeling of fear
came upon him. The old man believed them to have been the Tylwyth Teg.

In the story of the Moedin funeral the language of the toeli was
not intelligible to the farmer and his wife, or to the tailor, and
here in two stories from Lleyn we have it clearly stated that it was
neither Welsh nor, probably, English. Since the fairies are always
represented as old-fashioned in their ways, it is quite possible
that they were once regarded as talking a more ancient language of
the country. Which was it? An early version of these legends might
perhaps have supplied the answer, and told us that it was Gwydelig
or Goidelic, if not an earlier idiom, to wit that of the Aborigines
before they learnt Goidelic from the Celts of the first wave of Aryan
invasion, whether it was in the region of the Eifl or in the Demetian
half of Keredigion. As to the former it is worthy of note that when
Griffith had reached Bwlch Trwyn Swncwl he was in the outskirts of
the Eifl Mountains, on one of whose heights, not very far off, is
the extensive prehistoric fortress of Tre'r Ceiri, or the Town of the
Keiri, a vocable which may be provisionally rendered by 'giants.' In
any case it dissociates that stronghold from the Brythonic people of
Wales. We shall find, however, that a Goidel, or Pict, buried in a
cairn on Snowdon, is known as Rhita Gawr, 'Rhita the Giant'; and it is
possible that in the Keiri of Tre'r Ceiri we have no other race than
that of mixed Goidels and Picts whom the encroaching Brythons found
in possession of the west of our island. Nay, one may say that this
is rendered probable by the use made of the word ceiri in medieval
Welsh: thus in some poetry composed by a certain Dafyd Offeiriad,
and copied by Thomas Williams of Trefriw, we have a line alluding to
Britain in the words:--

                Coron ynys y Ceûri [108].

                The Crown of the Giants' Island.

Here Ynys y Ceûri inevitably recalls the fact that Britain is called
Ynys y Kedyrn, or Island of the Mighty, in the Mabinogion, and also,
in effect, in the story of Kulhwch and Olwen. But such stories as
these, which enabled Geoffrey to say, i. 16, when he introduced his
banal brood of Trojans, that up to that time Britain had only been
inhabited by a few giants, are the legends, as will be pointed out
later, of the Brythonicized Goidels of Wales. So one may infer that
their ancestors had given this country the name of the Island of the
Mighty, unless it should prove more accurate to suppose them to have
somehow derived the term from the Aborigines.

This last surmise is countenanced by the fact that in the Kulhwch
story, the British Isles as a group are called Islands of the
Mighty. The words are Teir ynys y kedyrn ae their rac ynys; that is,
the Three Islands of the Mighty and their Three outpost Islands. That
is not all, for in the same story the designation is varied thus:
Teir ynys prydein ae their rac ynys [109], or Prydain's Three Islands
and Prydain's Three outpost Islands; and the substantial antiquity of
the designation 'the Islands of Prydain,' is proved by its virtual
identity with that used by ancient Greek authors like Ptolemy, who
calls both Britain and Ireland a nêsos Pretanikê, where Pretanic and
Prydain are closely related words. Now our Prydain had in medieval
Welsh the two forms Prydein and Prydyn. But some time or other there
set in a tendency to desynonymize them, so as to make Ynys Prydein,
'the Picts' Island,' mean Great Britain, and Prydyn mean the Pictland
of the North. But just as Cymry meant the plural Welshmen and the
singular Wales, so Prydyn meant Picts [110] and the country of the
Picts. Now the plural Prydyn has its etymological Goidelic equivalent
in the vocable Cruithni, which is well known to have meant the Picts
or the descendants of the Picti of Roman historians. Further, this
last name cannot be severed from that of the Pictones [111] in Gaul,
and it is usually supposed to have referred to their habit of tattooing
themselves. At all events this agrees with the apparent meaning of the
names Prydyn and Cruithni, from pryd and cruth, the words in Welsh and
Irish respectively for form or shape, the designation being supposed
to refer to the forms or pictures of various animals punctured on the
skins of the Picts. So much as to the practical identity of the terms
Prydyn, Cruithni, and the Greeks' Pretanic; but how could Cedyrn and
Prydein correspond in the terms Ynys y Kedyrn and Ynys Prydein? This
one is enabled to understand by means of ceûri or ceiri as a middle
term. Now cadarn means strong or valiant, and makes the plural cedyrn;
but there is another Welsh word cadr [112] which has also the meaning
of valiant or powerful, and may have yielded some such a medieval form
as ceidyr in the plural. Now this cadr is proved by its cognates [113]
not to have always had the meaning of valiant or strong: its original
signification was more nearly 'fine, beautiful, or beautified.' Thus
what seems to have happened is, that cadarn, 'strong, powerful,
mighty,' influenced the meaning of cadr, 'beautiful,' and eventually
usurped its place in the name of the island, which from being Ynys
y Ceidyr became Ynys y Cedyrn. But the former meant the 'Island of
the fine or beautiful men,' which was closely enough the meaning
also of the words Prydain, Cruithni, and Picts, as names of a people
who delighted to beautify their persons by tattooing their skins and
making themselves distingué in that savage fashion. That is not all,
for on examination it turns out that the word ceiri, which has been
treated up to this point as meaning giants, is but a double, so to
say, of the word cadr in the plural, both as to etymology and original
meaning of beautiful. It is a word in constant use in Carnarvonshire,
where it is ironically applied to pretentious men fond of showing
themselves off, especially in the matter of clothes. 'D ydi nhw
'n geiri! 'Aren't they swells!' Dyna i ch'i gawr! 'There's a fine
fellow for you!' and so also with the feminine cawres. Of course the
cawr of standard Welsh is familiar enough in the sense of giant to
Carnarvonshire people, so the meaning can be best ascertained in the
case of the plural ceiri, which they hardly ever meet with in print;
and, so far as I have been able to ascertain, by ceiri they mean--in an
ironical sense it is true--fine fellows, with reference not to great
stature or strength but to their get-up. Thus one arrives at the true
interpretation of the name Tre'r Ceiri as the Town of the Prydyn or
Cruithni; that is to say, the Town of the Picts or the Aborigines, who
showed themselves off decorated with pictures. So far also from Ynys
y Ceiri being an echo of Ynys y Cedyrn, it turns out to be really the
more original of the two. Such names, when they are closely examined,
are apt to prove old beyond all hastily formed expectation.



Be it remembrid that one Manaman Mack Clere, a paynim, was the first
inhabitour of the ysle of Man, who by his Necromancy kept the same,
that when he was assaylid or invaded he wold rayse such mystes by land
and sea that no man might well fynde owte the ysland, and he would make
one of his men seeme to be in nombre a hundred.--The Landsdowne MSS.

The following paper exhausts no part of the subject: it simply
embodies the substance of my notes of conversations which I have
had with Manx men and Manx women, whose names, together with such
other particulars as I could get, are in my possession. I have mostly
avoided reading up the subject in printed books; but those who wish to
see it exhaustively treated may be directed to Mr. Arthur W. Moore's
book on The Folklore of the Isle of Man, to which may now be added
Mr. C. Roeder's Contributions to the Folklore of the Isle of Man in
the Lioar Manninagh for 1897, pp. 129-91.

For the student of folklore the Isle of Man is very fairly stocked
with inhabitants of the imaginary order. She has her fairies and her
giants, her mermen and brownies, her kelpies and water-bulls.

The water-bull or tarroo ushtey, as he is called in Manx, is a creature
about which I have not been able to learn much, but he is described
as a sort of bull disporting himself about the pools and swamps. For
instance, I was told at the village of Andreas, in the flat country
forming the northern end of the island, and known as the Ayre, that
there used to be a tarroo ushtey between Andreas and the sea to the
west: it was before the ground had been drained as it is now. And an
octogenarian captain at Peel related to me how he had once when a boy
heard a tarroo ushtey: the bellowings of the brute made the ground
tremble, but otherwise the captain was unable to give me any very
intelligible description. This bull is by no means of the same breed as
the bull that comes out of the lakes of Wales to mix with the farmers'
cattle, for there the result used to be great fertility among the
stock, and an overflow of milk and dairy produce, but in the Isle of
Man the tarroo ushtey only begets monsters and strangely formed beasts.

The kelpie, or, rather, what I take to be a kelpie, was called by my
informants a glashtyn; and Kelly, in his Manx Dictionary, describes
the object meant as 'a goblin, an imaginary animal which rises out of
the water.' One or two of my informants confused the glashtyn with
the Manx brownie. On the other hand, one of them was very definite
in his belief that it had nothing human about it, but was a sort of
grey colt, frequenting the banks of lakes at night, and never seen
except at night.

Mermen and mermaids disport themselves on the coasts of Man, but
I have to confess that I have made no careful inquiry into what is
related about them; and my information about the giants of the island
is equally scanty. To confess the truth, I do not recollect hearing
of more than one giant, but that was a giant: I have seen the marks
of his huge hands impressed on the top of two massive monoliths. They
stand in a field at Balla Keeill Pherick, on the way down from the
Sloc to Colby. I was told there were originally five of these stones
standing in a circle, all of them marked in the same way by the same
giant as he hurled them down there from where he stood, miles away on
the top of the mountain called Cronk yn Irree Laa. Here I may mention
that the Manx word for a giant is foawr, in which a vowel-flanked
m has been spirited away, as shown by the modern Irish spelling,
fomhor. This, in the plural in old Irish, appears as the name of
the Fomori, so well known in Irish legend, which, however, does
not always represent them as giants, but rather as monsters. I have
been in the habit of explaining the word as meaning submarini; but no
more are they invariably connected with the sea. So another etymology
recommends itself, namely, one which comes from Dr. Whitley Stokes,
and makes the mor in fomori to be of the same origin as the mare in
the English nightmare, French cauchemar, German mahr, 'an elf,' and
cognate words. I may mention that with the Fomori of mythic origin have
doubtless been confounded and identified certain invaders of Ireland,
especially the Dumnonians from the country between Galloway and the
mouth of the Clyde, some of whom may be inferred to have coasted
the north of Ireland and landed in the west, for example in Erris,
the north-west of Mayo, called after them Irrus (or Erris) Domnann.

The Manx brownie is called the fenodyree, and he is described as a
hairy and apparently clumsy fellow, who would, for instance, thrash
a whole barnful of corn in a single night for the people to whom he
felt well disposed; and once on a time he undertook to bring down for
the farmer his wethers from Snaefell. When the fenodyree had safely
put them in an outhouse, he said that he had some trouble with the
little ram, as it had run three times round Snaefell that morning. The
farmer did not quite understand him, but on going to look at the
sheep, he found, to his infinite surprise, that the little ram was
no other than a hare, which, poor creature, was dying of fright and
fatigue. I need scarcely point out the similarity between this and
the story of Peredur, who, as a boy, drove home two hinds with his
mother's goats from the forest: he owned to having had some trouble
with the goats that had so long run wild as to have lost their horns,
a circumstance which had greatly impressed him [114]. To return to the
fenodyree, I am not sure that there were more than one in Man--I have
never heard him spoken of in the plural; but two localities at least
are assigned to him, namely, a farm called Ballachrink, in Colby,
in the south, and a farm called Lanjaghan, in the parish of Conchan,
near Douglas. Much the same stories, however, appear to be current
about him in the two places, and one of the most curious of them is
that which relates how he left. The farmer so valued the services
of the fenodyree, that one day he took it into his head to provide
clothing for him. The fenodyree examined each article carefully,
and expressed his idea of it, and specified the kind of disease it
was calculated to produce. In a word, he found that the clothes would
make head and foot sick, and he departed in disgust, saying to the
farmer, 'Though this place is thine, the great glen of Rushen is
not.' Glen Rushen is one of the most retired glens in the island,
and it drains down through Glen Meay to the coast, some miles to
the south of Peel. It is to Glen Rushen, then, that the fenodyree
is supposed to be gone; but on visiting that valley in 1890 [115] in
quest of Manx-speaking peasants, I could find nobody there who knew
anything of him. I suspect that the spread of the English language
even there has forced him to leave the island altogether. Lastly,
with regard to the term fenodyree, I may mention that it is the word
used in the Manx Bible of 1819 for satyr in Isaiah xxxiv. 14 [116],
where we read in the English Bible as follows: 'The wild beasts of
the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and
the satyr shall cry to his fellow.' In the Vulgate the latter clause
reads: et pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum. The term fenodyree has
been explained by Cregeen in his Manx Dictionary to mean one who
has hair for stockings or hose. That answers to the description of
the hairy satyr, and seems fairly well to satisfy the phonetics of
the case, the words from which he derives the compound being fynney
[117], 'hair,' and oashyr, 'a stocking'; but as oashyr seems to come
from the old Norse hosur, the plural of hosa, 'hose or stocking,'
the term fenodyree cannot date before the coming of the Norsemen;
and I am inclined to think the idea more Teutonic than Celtic. At any
rate I need not point out to the English reader the counterparts of
this hairy satyr in the hobgoblin 'Lob lie by the Fire,' and Milton's
'Lubber Fiend,' whom he describes as one that

                Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
                And crop-full out of doors he flings,
                Ere the first cock his matin rings.

Lastly, I may mention that Mr. Roeder has a great deal to say about
the fenodyree under the name of glashtyn; for it is difficult to
draw any hard and fast line between the glashtyn and the fenodyree,
or even the water-bull, so much alike do they seem to have been
regarded. Mr. Roeder's items of folklore concerning the glashtyns
(see the Lioar Manninagh, iii. 139) show that there were male and
female glashtyns, and that the former were believed to have been too
fond of the women at Ballachrink, until one evening some of the men,
dressed as women, arranged to receive some youthful glashtyns. Whether
the fenodyree is of Norse origin or not, the glashtyn is decidedly
Celtic, as will be further shown in chapter vii. Here it will suffice
to mention one or two related words which are recorded in Highland
Gaelic, namely, glaistig, 'a she-goblin which assumes the form of
a goat,' and glaisrig, 'a female fairy or a goblin, half human,
half beast.'

The fairies claim our attention next, and as the only other fairies
tolerably well known to me are those of Wales, I can only compare or
contrast the Manx fairies with the Welsh ones. They are called in Manx,
sleih beggey, or little people, and ferrishyn, from the English word
fairies, as it would seem. Like the Welsh fairies, they kidnap babies;
and I have heard it related how a woman in Dalby had a struggle with
the fairies over her baby, which they were trying to drag out of the
bed from her. Like Welsh fairies, also, they take possession of the
hearth after the farmer and his family are gone to bed. A man in Dalby
used to find them making a big fire in his kitchen: he would hear
the crackling and burning of the fire when nobody else could have
been there except the fairies and their friends. I said 'friends,'
for they sometimes take a man with them, and allow him to eat with
them at the expense of others. Thus, some men from the northern-most
parish, Kirk Bride, went once on a time to Port Erin, in the south,
to buy a supply of fish for the winter, and with them went a Kirk
Michael man who had the reputation of being a persona grata to the
fairies. Now one of the Port Erin men asked a man from the north who
the Michael man might be: he was curious to know his name, as he had
seen him once before, and on that occasion the Michael man was with
the fairies at his house--the Port Erin man's house--helping himself
to bread and cheese in company with the rest. As the fairies were
regaling themselves in this instance on ordinary bread and cheese
at a living Manxman's expense, the story may perhaps be regarded as
not inconsistent with one mentioned by Cumming [118] to the following
effect:--A man attracted one night as he was crossing the mountains,
by fairy music, entered a fairy hall where a banquet was going on. He
noticed among them several faces which he seemed to know, but no act
of mutual recognition took place till he had some drink offered him,
when one of those whom he seemed to know warned him not to taste of
the drink if he had any wish to make his way home again. If he partook
of it he would become like one of them. So he found an opportunity for
spilling it on the ground and securing the cup; whereupon the hall and
all its inmates instantaneously vanished. On this I may remark that
it appears to have been a widely spread belief, that no one who had
partaken of the food for spirits would be allowed to return to his
former life, and some instances will be found mentioned by Professor
Tylor in his Primitive Culture, ii. 50-2.

Like the Welsh fairies, the Manx ones take men away with them and
detain them for years. Thus a Kirk Andreas man was absent from his
people for four years, which he spent with the fairies. He could not
tell how he returned, but it seemed as if, having been unconscious,
he woke up at last in this world. The other world, however, in which
he was for the four years was not far away, as he could see what his
brothers and the rest of the family were doing every day, although
they could not see him. To prove this, he mentioned to them how they
were occupied on such and such a day, and, among other things, how
they took their corn on a particular day to Ramsey. He reminded them
also of their having heard a sudden sharp crack as they were passing
by a thorn bush he named, and how they were so startled that one of
them would have run back home. He asked them if they remembered that,
and they said they did, only too well. He then explained to them the
meaning of the noise, namely, that one of the fairies with whom he
had been galloping the whole time was about to let fly an arrow at
his brothers, but that as he was going to do this, he (the missing
brother) raised a plate and intercepted the arrow: that was the sharp
noise they had heard. Such was the account he had to give of his
sojourn in Faery. This representation of the world of the fairies,
as contained within the ordinary world of mortals, is very remarkable;
but it is not a new idea, as we seem to detect it in the Irish story
of the abduction of Conla Rúad [119]: the fairy who comes to fetch
him tells him that the folk of Tethra, whom she represents, behold
him every day as he takes part in the assemblies of his country and
sits among his friends. The commoner way of putting it is simply to
represent the fairies as invisible to mortals at will; and one kind
of Welsh story relates how the mortal midwife accidentally touches
her eyes, while dressing a fairy baby, with an ointment which makes
the fairy world visible to her: see pp. 63, 213, above.

Like Welsh fairies, the Manx ones had, as the reader will have seen,
horses to ride; they had also dogs, just as the Welsh ones had. This
I learn from another story, to the effect that a fisherman, taking a
fresh fish home, was pursued by a pack of fairy dogs, so that it was
only with great trouble he reached his own door. Then he picked up
a stone and threw it at the dogs, which at once disappeared; but he
did not escape, as he was shot by the fairies, and so hurt that he lay
ill for fully six months from that day. He would have been left alone
by the fairies, I was told, if he had only taken care to put a pinch
of salt in the fish's mouth before setting out, for the Manx fairies
cannot stand salt or baptism. So children that have been baptized are,
as in Wales, less liable to be kidnapped by these elves than those
that have not. I scarcely need add that a twig of cuirn [120] or rowan
is also as effective against fairies in Man as it is in Wales. Manx
fairies seem to have been musical, like their kinsmen elsewhere; for
I have heard of an Orrisdale man crossing the neighbouring mountains
at night and hearing fairy music, which took his fancy so much that
he listened, and tried to remember it. He had, however, to return,
it is said, three times to the place before he could carry it away
complete in his mind, which he succeeded in doing at last just as the
day was breaking and the musicians disappearing. This air, I am told,
is now known by the name of the Bollan Bane, or White Wort. As to
certain Welsh airs similarly supposed to have been derived from the
fairies, see pages 201-2 above.

So far I have pointed out next to nothing but similarities between
Manx fairies and Welsh ones, and I find very little indicative of a
difference. First, with regard to salt, I am unable to say anything
in this direction, as I do not happen to know how Welsh fairies
regard salt: it is not improbable that they eschew salt as well as
baptism, especially as the Church of Rome has long associated salt
with baptism. There is, however, one point, at least, of difference
between the fairies of Man and of Wales: the latter are, so far as I
can call to mind, never supposed to discharge arrows at men or women,
or to handle a bow [121] at all, whereas Manx fairies are always
ready to shoot. May we, therefore, provisionally regard this trait
of the Manx fairies as derived from a Teutonic source? At any rate
English and Scotch elves were supposed to shoot, and I am indebted
to the kindness of my colleague, Professor Napier, for calling my
attention to the Leechdoms of Early England [122] for cases in point.

Now that most of the imaginary inhabitants of Man and its coasts have
been rapidly passed in review before the reader, I may say something
of others whom I regard as semi-imaginary--real human beings to whom
impossible attributes are ascribed: I mean chiefly the witches, or,
as they are sometimes called in Manx English, butches [123]. That
term I take to be a variant of the English word witch, produced
under the influence of the verb bewitch, which was reduced in Manx
English to a form butch, especially if one bear in mind the Cumbrian
and Scottish pronunciation of these words, as wutch and bewutch. Now
witches shift their form, and I have heard of one old witch changing
herself into a pigeon; but that I am bound to regard as exceptional,
the regular form into which Manx witches pass at their pleasure being
that of the hare, and such a swift and thick skinned hare that no
greyhound, except a black one without a single white hair, can catch
it, and no shot, except a silver coin, penetrate its body. Both these
peculiarities are also well known in Wales. I notice a difference,
however, between Wales and Man with regard to the hare witches:
in Wales only the women can become hares, and this property runs,
so far as I know, in certain families. I have known many such, and my
own nurse belonged to one of them, so that my mother was reckoned to
be rather reckless in entrusting me to y Gota, or 'the Cutty One,' as
she might run away at any moment, leaving her charge to take care of
itself. But I have never heard of any man or boy of any such family
turning himself into a hare, whereas in the Isle of Man the hare
witches may belong, if I may say so, to either sex. I am not sure,
however, that a man who turns himself into a hare would be called a
wizard or witch; and I recollect hearing in the neighbourhood of Ramsey
of a man nicknamed the gaaue mwaagh, that is to say, 'the hare smith,'
the reason being that this particular smith now and then assumed the
form of a hare. I am not quite sure that gaaue mwaagh is the name of
a class, though I rather infer that it is. If so, it must be regarded
as a survival of the magic skill associated with smiths in ancient
Ireland, as evidenced, for instance, in St. Patrick's Hymn in the
eleventh or twelfth century manuscript at Trinity College, Dublin,
known as the Liber Hymnorum, in which we have a prayer--

    Fri brichta ban ocus goband ocus druad.

    Against the spells of women, of smiths and magicians [124].

The persons who had the power of turning themselves into hares were
believed to be abroad and very active, together with the whole demon
world, on the eve of May-day of the Old Style. And a middle-aged
man from the parish of Andreas related to me how he came three or
four times across a woman reputed to be a witch, carrying on her
evil practices at the junction of cross-roads, or the meeting of
three boundaries. This happened once very early on Old May morning,
and afterwards he met her several times as he was returning home from
visiting his sweetheart. He warned the witch that if he found her again
he would kick her: that is what he tells me. Well, after a while he
did surprise her again at work at four cross-roads, somewhere near
Lezayre. She had a circle, he said, as large as that made by horses
in threshing, swept clean around her. He kicked her and took away her
besom, which he hid till the middle of the day. Then he made the farm
boys fetch some dry gorse, and he put the witch's besom on the top of
it. Thereupon fire was set to the gorse, and, wonderful to relate,
the besom, as it burned, crackled and made reports like guns going
off. In fact, the noise could be heard at Andreas Church--that is
to say, miles away. The besom had on it 'seventeen sorts of knots,'
he stated, and the woman herself ought to have been burned: in fact,
he added that she did not long survive her besom. The man who related
this to me is hale and strong, living now in the parish of Michael,
and not in that of Andreas, where he was born.

There is a tradition at St. John's, which is overlooked by the mountain
called Slieau Whallian, that witches used at one time to be punished
by being set to roll down the steep side of the mountain in spiked
barrels; but, short of putting them to death, there were various ways
of rendering the machinations of witches innocuous, or of undoing the
mischief done by them; for the charmers supply various means of meeting
them triumphantly, and in case an animal is the victim, the burning of
it always proves an effective means of bringing the offender to book:
I shall have occasion to return to this under another heading. There
is a belief that if you can draw blood, however little, from a witch,
or one who has the evil eye, he loses his power of harming you;
and I have been told that formerly this belief was sometimes acted
upon. Thus, on leaving church, for instance, the man who fancied
himself in danger from another would sidle up to him or walk by his
side, and inflict on him a slight scratch, or some other trivial wound,
which elicited blood; but this must have been a course always attended
with more or less danger.

The persons able to undo the witches' work, and remove the malignant
influence of the evil eye, are known in Manx English as charmers,
and something must now be said of them. They have various ways of
proceeding to their work. A lady of about thirty-five, living at Peel,
related to me how, when she was a child suffering from a swelling
in the neck, she had it charmed away by an old woman. This charmer
brought with her no less than nine pieces of iron, consisting of
bits of old pokers, old nails, and other odds and ends of the same
metal, making in all nine pieces. After invoking the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Ghost, she began to rub the girl's neck with the old
irons; nor was she satisfied with that, for she rubbed the doors,
the walls, and the furniture likewise, with the metal. The result, I
was assured, was highly satisfactory, as she has never been troubled
with a swelling in the throat since that day. Sometimes a passage
from the Bible is made use of in charming, as, for instance, in the
case of bleeding. One of the verses then pronounced is Ezekiel xvi. 6,
which runs thus:--'And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in
thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live;
yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.' This was
told me by a Laxey man, who is over seventy years of age. The methods
of charming away warts are various. A woman from the neighbourhood
of St. John's explained to me how a charmer told her to get rid of
the warts on her hands. She was to take a string and make a knot on
it for every wart she had, and then tie the string round her hand,
or fingers--I forget which; and I think my informant, on her part,
forgot to tell me a vital part of the formula, namely, that the string
was to be destroyed. But however that may be, she assured me that the
warts disappeared, and have never returned since. A lady at Andreas has
a still simpler method of getting rid of warts. She rubs a snail on the
warts, and then places the snail on one of the points of a blackthorn,
and, in fact, leaves the snail to die, transfixed by the thorn; and
as the snail dies the warts disappear. She has done this in the case
of her niece with complete success, so far as the wart was concerned;
but she had forgotten to notice whether the snail had also succumbed.

The lady who in this case applied the remedy cannot be in any sense
called a charmer, however much one may insist on calling what she
did a charm. In fact, the term charmer tends to be associated with a
particular class of charm involving the use of herbs. Thus there used
to be at one time a famous charmer living near Kirk Michael, to whom
the fishermen were in the habit of resorting, and my informant told
me that he had been deputed more than once by his fellow fishermen to
go to him in consequence of their lack of success in the fishing. The
charmer gave him a packet of herbs, cut small, with directions that
they should be boiled, and the water mixed with some spirits--rum,
I think--and partly drunk in the boat by the captain and the crew,
and partly sprinkled over the boat and everything in it. The charmer
clearly defined his position in the matter to my informant. 'I cannot,'
he said, 'put the fish in your nets for you; but if there is any
mischief in the way of your luck, I can remove that for you.' The
fishermen themselves had, however, more exaggerated notions of the
charmer's functions, for once on a time my informant spent on drink
for his boon companions the money which he was to give the charmer,
and then he collected herbs himself--it did not much matter what
herbs--and took them to his captain, who, with the crew, went through
the proper ritual, and made a most successful haul that night. In
fact, the only source of discontent was the charmer's not having
distributed the fish over two nights, instead of endangering their
nets by an excessive haul all in one night. They regarded him as able
to do almost anything he liked in the matter.

A lady at Andreas gave me an account of a celebrated charmer who
lived between there and the coast. He worked on her husband's farm,
but used to be frequently called away to be consulted. He usually cut
up wormwood for the people who came to him, and if there was none to
be had, he did not scruple to rob the garden of any small sprouts
it contained of cabbage or the like. He would chop them small,
and give directions about boiling them and drinking the water. He
usually charged any one leaving him to speak to nobody on the way,
lest he break the charm, and this mysteriousness was evidently an
important element in his profession. But he was, nevertheless, a
thriftless fellow, and when he went to Peel, and sent the crier round
to announce his arrival, and received a good deal of money from the
fishermen, he seldom so conducted himself as to bring much of his
earnings home. He died miserably some seven or eight years ago at
Ramsey, and left a widow in great poverty. As to the present day,
the daughter of a charmer now dead is married to a man living in a
village on the southern side of the island, and she appears to have
inherited her father's reputation for charming, as the fishermen from
all parts are said to flock to her for luck. Incidentally, I have
heard in the south more than once of her being consulted in cases of
sudden and dangerous illness, even after the best medical advice has
been obtained: in fact, she seems to have a considerable practice.

In answer to my question, how the charmer who died at Ramsey used
to give the sailors luck in the fishing, my informant at Andreas
could not say, except that he gave them herbs as already described,
and she thought also that he sold them wisps to place under their
pillows. I gather that the charms were chiefly directed to the removal
of supposed impediments to success in the fishing, rather than to any
act of a more positive nature. So far as I have been able to ascertain,
charming is hereditary, and they say that it descends from father
to daughter, and then from daughter to son, and so on--a remarkable
kind of descent, on which I should be glad to learn the opinion of
anthropologists. One of the best Manx scholars in the island related
to me how some fishermen once insisted on his doing the charmer for
them because of his being of such and such a family, and how he made
fools of them. It is my impression that the charming families are
comparatively few in number, and this looks as if they descended from
the family physicians or druids of one or two chieftains in ancient
times. It is very likely a question which could be cleared up by a
local man familiar with the island and all that tradition has to say
on the subject of Manx pedigrees.

In the case of animals ailing, the herbs were also resorted to;
and, if the beasts happened to be milch cows, the herbs had to be
boiled in some of their milk. This was supposed to produce wonderful
results, described as follows by a man living at a place on the way
from Castletown up South Barrule:--A farmer in his parish had a cow
that milked blood, as he described it, and this in consequence of a
witch's ill-will. He went to the charmer, who gave him some herbs,
which he was to boil in the ailing cow's milk, and the charmer charged
him, whatever he did, not to quit the concoction while it was on the
fire, in spite of any noises he might hear. The farmer went home and
proceeded that night to boil the herbs as directed, but he suddenly
heard a violent tapping at the door, a terrible lowing of the cattle
in the cow-house, and stones coming down the 'chumley': the end of it
was that he suddenly fled and sprang into bed to take shelter behind
his wife. He went to the charmer again, and related to him what had
happened: he was told that he must have more courage the next time,
unless he wished his cow to die. He promised to do his best, and
this time he stood his ground in spite of the noises and the creaking
of the windows--until, in fact, a back window burst into pieces and
bodily let a witch in, who craved his pardon, and promised nevermore
to molest him or his. This all happened at the farm in question
in the time of the present farmer's grandfather. The boiling of
the charmer's herbs in milk always produces a great commotion and
lowing among the cattle, and it invariably cures the ailing ones:
this is firmly believed by respectable farmers whom I could name,
in the north of the island in particular, and I am alluding to men
whom one might consider fairly educated members of their class.

In the last mentioned instance not only is the requisite cure
effected, but the witch who caused the mischief is brought on the
spot. I have recently heard of a parallel to this in a belief which
appears to be still prevalent in the Channel Islands, more especially
Guernsey. The following incidents have been communicated to me by an
ardent folklorist, who has friends in the islands:--

An old woman in Torteval became ill, and her two sons were told that
if they tried one of the charms of divination, such as boiling certain
weeds in a pot, the first person to come to the house would prove
to be the one who had cast a spell over their mother. Accordingly
they made their bouillederie, and who should come to the door but
a poor, unoffending Breton onion seller, and as he was going away
he was waylaid by the two sons, who beat him within an inch of his
life. They were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment;
but the charming did not come out in the evidence, though it was
generally known to have been the reason for the assault. This account
was given my informant in 1898, and the incident appears to have
happened not very long before. Another is related thus:--A certain
family suffered from a plague of lice, which they regarded as the
consequence of a spell. They accordingly made their boiling of herbs
and looked for the first comer. He turned out to be a neighbour of
theirs who wished to buy some turnip seeds. The family abused him
roundly. He went away, but he was watched and caught by two of the
sons of the house, who beat him cruelly. They, on being prosecuted,
had to pay him £5 damages. This took place in the summer of 1898,
in the narrator's own parish, in Guernsey. I have also another case
of recent date, to the effect that a young woman, whose churning was
so unsuccessful that the butter would not come, boiled herbs in the
prescribed way. She awaited the first comer, and, being engaged, her
intended husband was not unnaturally the first to arrive. She abused
him so unsparingly that he broke off the engagement. These instances
go far enough to raise the question why the boiling of herbs should
be supposed to bring the culprit immediately on the spot, but they
hardly go any further, namely, to help us to answer it.

Magic takes us back to a very primitive and loose manner of thinking;
so the marvellously easy way in which it identifies any tie of
association, however flimsy, with the insoluble bond of relationship
which educated men and women regard as connecting cause and effect,
renders even simpler means than I have described quite equal to the
undoing of the evils resulting from the activity of the evil eye. Thus,
let us suppose that a person endowed with the evil eye has just passed
by the farmer's herd of cattle, and a calf has suddenly been seized
with a serious illness, the farmer hurries after the man of the evil
eye to get the dust from under his feet. If he objects, the farmer
may, as has sometimes been actually done, throw him down by force,
take off his shoes, and scrape off the dust adhering to their soles,
and carry it back to throw over the calf. Even that is not always
necessary, as it appears to be quite enough if he takes up dust where
he of the evil eye has just trod the ground. There are innumerable
cases on folk-record of both means proving entirely efficacious,
and they remind one of a story related in the Itinerarium Kambriæ,
i. 11, by Giraldus, as to the archbishop when he was preaching in the
neighbourhood of Haverfordwest. A certain woman had lost her sight,
but had so much faith in that holy man that she sent her son to try and
procure the least bit of the fringe of his clothing. The youth, unable
to make his way through the crowd that surrounded the preacher, waited
till it dispersed, and then took home to his mother the sod on which
he had stood and on which his feet had left their mark. That earth was
applied by her to her face and eyes, with the result that she at once
recovered her sight. A similar question of psychology presents itself
in a practice intended as a preservative against the evil eye rather
than as a cure. I allude to what I have heard about two maiden ladies
living in a Manx village which I know very well: they are natives
of a neighbouring parish, and I am assured that whenever a stranger
enters their house they proceed, as soon as he goes away, to strew a
little dust or sand over the spot where he stood. That is understood
to prevent any malignant influence resulting from his visit. This
tacit identifying of a man with his footprints may be detected in a
more precarious and pleasing form in a quaint conceit familiar to me
in the lyrics of rustic life in Wales, when, for example, a coy maiden
leaves her lovesick swain hotly avowing his perfect readiness to cusanu
ol ei thraed, that is, to do on his knees all the stages of her path
across the meadow, kissing the ground wherever it has been honoured
with the tread of her dainty foot. Let me take another case, in which
the cord of association is not so inconceivably slender, namely,
when two or more persons standing in a close relation to one another
are mistakenly treated a little too much as if mutually independent,
the objection is heard that it matters not whether it is A or B, that
it is, in fact, all the same, as they belong to the same concern. In
Welsh this is sometimes expressed by saying, Yr un yw Huw'r Glyn a'i
glocs, that is, 'Hugh of the Glen and his clogs are all one.' Then,
when you speak in English of a man 'standing in another's shoes,'
I am by no means certain, that you are not employing an expression
which meant something more to those who first used it than it does to
us. Our modern idioms, with all their straining after the abstract,
are but primitive man's mental tools adapted to the requirements of
civilized life, and they often retain traces of the form and shape
which the neolithic worker's chipping and polishing gave them.

It is difficult to arrange these scraps under any clearly classified
headings, and now that I have led the reader into the midst of matters
magical, perhaps I may just as well go on to the mention of a few
more: I alluded to the boiling of the herbs according to the charmer's
orders, with the result, among other things, of bringing the witch to
the spot. This is, however, not the only instance of the importance
and strange efficacy of fire. For when a beast dies on a farm, of
course it dies, according to the old-fashioned view of things as I
understand it, from the influence of the evil eye or the interposition
of a witch. So if you want to know to whom you are indebted for the
loss of the beast, you have simply to burn its carcase in the open
air and watch who comes first to the spot or who first passes by:
that is the criminal to be charged with the death of the animal,
and he cannot help coming there--such is the effect of the fire. A
Michael woman, who is now about thirty, related to me how she watched
while the carcase of a bewitched colt was burning, how she saw the
witch coming, and how she remembers her shrivelled face, with nose
and chin in close proximity. According to another native of Michael,
a well informed middle-aged man, the animal in question was oftenest
a calf, and it was wont to be burnt whole, skin and all. The object,
according to him, is invariably to bring the bewitcher on the spot,
and he always comes; but I am not clear what happens to him when
he appears. My informant added, however, that it was believed that,
unless the bewitcher got possession of the heart of the burning beast,
he lost all his power of bewitching. He related, also, how his father
and three other men were once out fishing on the west coast of the
island, when one of the three suddenly expressed his wish to land. As
they were fishing successfully some two or three miles from the shore,
they would not hear of it. He, however, insisted that they must put him
ashore at once, which made his comrades highly indignant; but they soon
had to give way, as they found that he was determined to leap overboard
unless they complied. When he got on shore they watched him hurrying
away towards where a beast was burning in the corner of a field.

Manx stories merge this burning in a very perplexing fashion with what
may be termed a sacrifice for luck. The following scraps of information
will make it clear what I mean:--A respectable farmer from Andreas
told me that he was driving with his wife to the neighbouring parish of
Jurby some years ago, and that on the way they beheld the carcase of a
cow or an ox burning in a field, with a woman engaged in stirring the
fire. On reaching the village to which they were going, they found
that the burning beast belonged to a farmer whom they knew. They
were further told it was no wonder that the said farmer had one of
his cattle burnt, as several of them had recently died. Whether this
was a case of sacrifice or not I cannot say. But let me give another
instance: a man whom I have already mentioned, saw at a farm nearer
the centre of the island a live calf being burnt. The owner bears
an English name, but his family has long been settled in Man. The
farmer's explanation to my informant was that the calf was burnt to
secure luck for the rest of the herd, some of which were threatening
to die. My informant thought there was absolutely nothing the matter
with them, except that they had too little food. Be that as it may,
the one calf was sacrificed as a burnt offering to secure luck for
the rest of the cattle. Let me here also quote Mr. Moore's note in
his Manx Surnames, p. 184, on the place-name Cabbal yn Oural Losht,
or the 'Chapel of the Burnt Sacrifice.' 'This name,' he says, 'records
a circumstance which took place in the nineteenth century, but which,
it is to be hoped, was never customary in the Isle of Man. A farmer,
who had lost a number of his sheep and cattle by murrain, burned a calf
as a propitiatory offering to the Deity on this spot, where a chapel
was afterwards built. Hence the name.' Particulars, I may say, of time,
place, and person, could be easily added to Mr. Moore's statement,
excepting, perhaps, as to the deity in question: on that point I have
never been informed, but Mr. Moore was probably right in the use of
the capital d, as the sacrificer was, according to all accounts, a
devout Christian. I have to thank Sir Frederick Pollock for calling my
attention to a parallel this side of the sea: he refers me to Worth's
History of Devonshire (London, 1886), p. 339, where one reads the
following singular passage:--'Living animals have been burnt alive in
sacrifice within memory to avert the loss of other stock. The burial
of three puppies "brandise-wise" in a field is supposed to rid it
of weeds.' The second statement is very curious, and the first seems
to mean that preventive sacrifices have been performed in Devonshire
within the memory of men living in the author's time.

One more Manx instance: an octogenarian woman, born in the parish of
Bride, and now living at Kirk Andreas, saw, when she was a 'lump of
a girl' of ten or fifteen years of age, a live sheep being burnt in
a field in the parish of Andreas, on May-day, whereby she meant the
first of May reckoned according to the Old Style. She asserts [125]
very decidedly that it was son oural, 'for a sacrifice,' as she put
it, and 'for an object to the public': those were her words when she
expressed herself in English. Further, she made the statement that
it was a custom to burn a sheep on Old May-day for a sacrifice. I was
fully alive to the interest of this evidence, and cross-examined her
so far as her age allows of it, and I find that she adheres to her
statement with all firmness, but I distinguish two or three points in
her evidence: 1. I have no doubt that she saw, as she was passing by
a certain field on the borders of Andreas parish, a live sheep being
burnt on Old May-day. 2. But her statement that it was son oural, or
as a sacrifice, was probably only an inference drawn by her, possibly
years afterwards, on hearing things of the kind discussed. 3. Lastly,
I am convinced that she did hear the May-day sacrifice discussed, both
in Manx and in English: her words, 'for an object to the public,' are
her imperfect recollection of a phrase used in her hearing by somebody
more ambitious of employing English abstract terms than she is; and
the formal nature of her statement in Manx, that it was customary
on May-day to burn as a sacrifice one head of sheep (Laa Boaldyn va
cliaghtey dy lostey son oural un baagh keyrragh), produces the same
impression on my mind, that she is only repeating somebody else's
words. I mention this more especially as I have failed to find anybody
else in Andreas or Bride, or indeed in the whole island, who will
now confess to having ever heard of the sheep sacrifice on Old May-day.

The time assigned to the sheep sacrifice, namely May-day, leads
me to make some remarks on the importance of that day among the
Celts. The day meant is, as I have already said, Old May-day, in Manx
Shenn Laa Boaldyn, the belltaine of Cormac's Glossary, Scotch Gaelic
bealtuinn. This was a day when systematic efforts were made to protect
man and beast against elves and witches; for it was then that people
carried crosses of rowan in their hats and placed May flowers over
the tops of their doors and elsewhere as preservatives against all
malignant influences. With the same object in view crosses of rowan
were likewise fastened to the tails of the cattle, small crosses
which had to be made without the help of a knife: I exhibited a tiny
specimen at one of the meetings of the Folk-Lore Society. Early on May
morning one went out to gather the dew as a thing of great virtue,
as in other countries. At Kirk Michael one woman, who had been out
on this errand years ago, told me that she washed her face with the
dew in order to secure luck, a good complexion, and safety against
witches. The break of this day is also the signal for setting the
ling or the gorse on fire, which is done in order to burn out the
witches wont to take the form of the hare; and guns, I am told,
were freely used to shoot any game met with on that morning. With the
proper charge some of the witches were now and then hit and wounded,
whereupon they resumed the human form and remained cripples for the
rest of their lives. Fire, however, appears to have been the chief
agency relied on to clear away the witches and other malignant beings;
and I have heard of this use of fire having been carried so far that
a practice was sometimes observed--as, for example, in Lezayre--of
burning gorse, however little, in the hedge of each field on a farm
in order to drive away the witches and secure luck.

The man who told me this, on being asked whether he had ever heard
of cattle being driven through fire or between two fires on May-day,
replied that it was not known to him as a Manx custom, but that it was
an Irish one. A cattle-dealer whom he named used on May-day to drive
his cattle through fire so as to singe them a little, as he believed
that would preserve them from harm. He was an Irishman, who came to
the island for many years, and whose children are settled in the island
now. On my asking him if he knew whence the dealer came, he answered,
'From the mountains over there,' pointing to the Mourne Mountains
looming faintly in the mists on the western horizon. The Irish custom
known to my Manx informant is interesting both as throwing light on
the Manx custom, and as being the continuation of a very ancient rite
mentioned by Cormac. That writer, or somebody in his name, says that
belltaine, May-day, was so called from the 'lucky fire,' or the 'two
fires,' which the druids of Erin used to make on that day with great
incantations; and cattle, he adds, used to be brought to those fires,
or to be driven between them, as a safeguard against the diseases of
the year. Cormac [126] says nothing, it will be noticed, as to one of
the cattle or the sheep being sacrificed for the sake of prosperity
to the rest. However, Scottish [127] May-day customs point to a
sacrifice having been once usual, and that possibly of human beings,
and not of sheep as in the Isle of Man. I have elsewhere [128] tried
to equate these Celtic May-day practices with the Thargelia [129]
of the Athenians of antiquity. The Thargelia were characterized by
peculiar rites, and among other things then done, two adult persons
were led about, as it were scapegoats, and at the end they were
sacrificed and burnt, so that their ashes might be dispersed. Here
we seem to be on the track of a very ancient Aryan practice, although
the Celtic season does not quite coincide with the Greek one. Several
items of importance for comparison here will be found passed under
careful review in a most suggestive paper by Mr. Lawrence Gomme, 'On
the Method of determining the Value of Folklore as Ethnological Data,'
in the Fourth Report of the Ethnographical Survey Committee [130].

It is probably in some ancient May-day custom that we are to look
for the key to a remarkable place-name occurring several times in
the island: I allude to that of Cronk yn Irree Laa, which probably
means the Hill of the Rise of Day. This is the name of one of the
mountains in the south of the island, but it is also borne by one
of the knolls near the eastern end of the range of low hills ending
abruptly on the coast between Ramsey and Bride parish, and quite a
small knoll bears the name, near the church of Jurby [131]. I have
heard of a fourth instance, which, as I learn from Mr. Philip Kermode,
editor of the Lioar Manninagh, is on Clay Head, near Laxey. It has
been attempted to explain it as meaning the Hill of the Watch by Day,
in reference to the old institution of Watch and Ward on conspicuous
places in the island; but that explanation is inadmissible as doing
violence to the phonetics of the words in question [132]. I am rather
inclined to think that the name everywhere refers to an eminence to
which the surrounding inhabitants resorted for a religious purpose
on a particular day in the year. I should suggest that it was to
do homage to the rising sun on May morning, but this conjecture is
offered only to await a better explanation.

The next great day in the pagan calendar of the Celts is called in
Manx Laa Lhunys, in Irish Lugnassad, the assembly or fair, which was
associated with the name of the god Lug. This should correspond to
Lammas, but, reckoned as it is according to the Old Style, it falls
on the twelfth of August, which used to be a great day for business
fairs in the Isle of Man as in Wales. But for holiday making the
twelfth only suited when it happened to be a Sunday: when that was
not the case, the first Sunday after the twelfth was fixed upon. It is
known, accordingly, as the first Sunday of Harvest, and it used to be
celebrated by crowds of people visiting the tops of the mountains. The
kind of interference to which I have alluded with regard to an ancient
holiday, is one of the regular results of the transition from Roman
Catholicism to a Protestant system with only one fixed holiday, namely,
Sunday. The same shifting has partly happened in Wales, where Lammas
is Gwyl Awst, or the festival of Augustus, since the birthday of
Augustus, auspiciously for him and the celebrity of his day, fell in
with the great day of the god Lug in the Celtic world. Now the day
for going up the Fan Fach mountain in Carmarthenshire was Lammas,
but under a Protestant Church it became the first Sunday in August;
and even modified in that way it could not long survive under a
vigorous sabbatarian régime either in Wales or Man. As to the latter
in particular, I have heard it related by persons who were present,
how the crowds on the top of South Barrule on the first Sunday of
Harvest were denounced as pagans by a preacher called William Gick,
some seventy years ago; and how another man called Paric Beg, or
Little Patrick, preaching to the crowds on Snaefell in milder terms,
used to wind up the service with a collection, which appears to have
proved a speedier method of reducing the dimensions of these meetings
on the mountain tops. Be that as it may, they seem to have dwindled
since then to comparative insignificance.

If you ask the reason for this custom now, for it is not yet quite
extinct, you are told, first, that it is merely to gather ling
berries; but now and then a quasi-religious reason is given, namely,
that it is the day on which Jephthah's daughter went forth to bewail
her virginity 'upon the mountains': somehow some Manx people make
believe that they are doing likewise. That is not all, for people
who have never themselves thought of going up the mountains on the
first Sunday of harvest or any other, will be found devoutly reading
at home about Jephthah's daughter on that day. I was told this first
in the south by a clergyman's wife, who, finding a woman in the parish
reading the chapter in question on that day, asked the reason for her
fixing on that particular portion of the Bible. She then had the Manx
view of the matter fully explained to her, and she has since found
more information about it, and so have I. It is needless for me to
say that I do not quite understand how Jephthah's daughter came to be
introduced: perhaps it is vain to look for any deeper reason than that
the mention, of the mountains may have served as a sort of catch-word,
and that as the Manx people began to cease from visiting the tops of
the mountains annually, it struck the women as the next best thing
for them to read at home of one who did 'go up and down upon the
mountains': they are great readers of the Bible generally. In any case
we have here a very curious instance of a practice, originally pagan,
modifying itself profoundly to secure a new lease of life.

Between May-day and November eve, there was a day of considerable
importance in the island; but the fixing on it was probably
due to influence other than Celtic: I mean Midsummer Eve, or
St. John's. However, some practices connected with it would seem to
have been of Celtic origin, such as 'the bearing of rushes to certain
places called Warrefield and Mame on Midsummer Even.' Warrefield was
made in Manx into Barrule, but Mame, 'the jugum, or ridge,' has not
been identified. The Barrule here in question was South Barrule, and it
is to the top of that mountain the green rushes were carried, according
to Manx tradition, as the only rent or tax which the inhabitants paid,
namely, to Manannán mac Lir (called in Welsh Manawydan ab Llyr),
whom the same tradition treats as father and founder, as king and
chief wizard of the Isle of Man, the same Manannán who is quaintly
referred to in the illiterate passage at the head of this chapter
[133]. As already stated, the payment of the annual rent of rushes is
associated with Midsummer Eve; but it did not prevent the top of South
Barrule from being visited likewise later in the year. Perhaps it may
also be worth while mentioning, with regard to most of the mountains
climbed on the first Sunday of Harvest, that they seem to have near the
summit of each a well of some celebrity, which appears to be the goal
of the visitors' peregrinations. This is the case with South Barrule,
the spring near the top of which cannot, it is said, be found when
sought a second time; also with Snaefell and with Maughold Head, which
boasts one of the most famous springs in the island. When I visited
it last summer in company with Mr. Kermode, we found it to contain
a considerable number of pins, some of which were bent, and many
buttons. Some of the pins were not of a kind usually carried by men,
and most of the buttons decidedly belonged to the dress of the other
sex. Several people who had resorted many years ago to St. Maughold's
Well, told me that the water is good for sore eyes, and that after
using it on the spot, or filling a bottle with it to take home, one
was wont to drop a pin or bead or button into the well. But it had
its full virtue only when visited the first Sunday of Harvest, and
that only during the hour when the books were open at church, which,
shifted back to Roman Catholic times, means doubtless the hour when
the priest was engaged in saying Mass. Compare the passage in the
Mabinogi of Math, where it is said that the spear required for the
slaying of Llew Llawgyffes had to be a whole year in the making: the
work was to be pursued only so long as one was engaged at the sacrifice
on Sunday (ar yr aberth duw sul): see the Oxford Mabinogion, p. 76.
To return to Man, the restriction, as might be expected, is not
peculiar to St. Maughold's Well: I have heard of it in connexion
with other wells, such as Chibbyr Lansh in Lezayre parish, and with
a well on Slieau Maggyl, in which some Kirk Michael people have a
great belief. But even sea water was believed to have considerable
virtues if you washed in it while the books were open at church, as I
was told by a woman who had many years ago repeatedly taken her own
sister to divers wells and to the sea during the service on Sunday,
in order to have her eyes cured of a chronic weakness.

The remaining great day in the Celtic year is called Sauin or Laa
Houney: in Irish, Samhain, genitive Samhna. The Manx call it in
English Hollantide, a word derived from the English All hallowen tide,
'the Season of All Saints [134].' This day is also reckoned in Man
according to the Old Style, so that it is our twelfth of November. That
is the day when the tenure of land terminates, and when servant men
go to their places. In other words, it is the beginning of a new year;
and Kelly, in his Manx-English Dictionary, has, under the word blein,
'year,' the following note:--'Vallancey says the Celts began their
year with January; yet in the Isle of Man the first of November is
called New Year's day by the Mummers, who, on the eve, begin their
petition in these words: To-night is New Year's night, Hog-unnaa [135],
&c.' It is a pity that Kelly, whilst he was on this subject, did not
give the rhyme in Manx, and all the more so, as the mummers of the
present day, if he is right, must have changed their words into Noght
oie Houney, that is to say, To-night is Sauin Night or Halloween. So
I had despaired of finding anybody who could corroborate Kelly in his
statement, when I happened last summer to find a man at Kirk Michael
who was quite familiar with this way of treating the year. I asked
him if he could explain Kelly's absurd statement--I put my question
designedly in that form. He said he could, but that there was nothing
absurd in it. He then told me how he had heard some old people talk of
it: he is himself now about sixty-seven. He had been a farm servant
from the age of sixteen till he was twenty-six to the same man, near
Regaby, in the parish of Andreas, and he remembers his master and a
near neighbour of his discussing the term New Year's Day as applied to
the first of November, and explaining to the younger men that it had
always been so in old times. In fact, it seemed to him natural enough,
as all tenure of land ends at that time, and as all servant men begin
their service then. I cross-examined him, without succeeding in any
way in shaking his evidence. I should have been glad a few years ago
to have come across this piece of information, or even Kelly's note,
when I was discussing the Celtic year and trying to prove [136] that
it began at the beginning of winter, with May-day as the beginning
of its second half.

One of the characteristics of the beginning of the Celtic year with
the commencement of winter was the belief that indications can be
obtained on the eve of that day regarding the events of the year; but
with the calendar year gaining ground it would be natural to expect
that the Calends of January would have some of the associations of the
Calends of Winter transferred to them, and vice versa. In fact, this
can, as it were, be watched now going on in the Isle of Man. First,
I may mention that the Manx mummers used to go about singing, in
Manx, a sort of Hogmanay song [137], reminding one of that usual in
Yorkshire and other parts of Great Britain, and now known to be of
Romance origin [138]. The time for it in this country was New Year's
Eve, according to the ordinary calendar, but in the Isle of Man it
has always been Hollantide Eve, according to the Old Style, and this
is the night when boys now go about continuing the custom of the old
mummers. There is no hesitation in this case between Hollantide Eve
and New Year's Eve. But with the prognostications for the year it
is different, and the following practices have been usual. I may,
however, premise that as a rule I have abstained from inquiring too
closely whether they still go on, but here and there I have had the
information volunteered that they do.

1. I may mention first a salt prognostication, which was described
to me by a farmer in the north, whose wife practises it once a year
regularly. She carefully fills a thimble with salt in the evening
and upsets it in a neat little heap on a plate: she does that for
every member of the family, and every guest, too, if there happen to
be any. The plate is then left undisturbed till the morning, when
she examines the heaps of salt to see if any of them have fallen;
for whoever is found represented by a fallen heap will die during
the year. She does not herself, I am assured, believe in it, but she
likes to continue a custom which she has learned from her mother.

2. Next may be mentioned the ashes being carefully swept to the
open hearth, and nicely flattened down by the women just before
going to bed. In the morning they look for footmarks on the hearth,
and if they find such footmarks directed towards the door, it means,
in the course of the year, a death in the family, and if the reverse,
they expect an addition to it by marriage [139].

3. Then there is an elaborate process of eavesdropping recommended
to young women curious to know their future husbands' names: a girl
would go with her mouth full of water and her hands full of salt
to the door of the nearest neighbour's house, or rather to that
of the nearest neighbour but one--I have been carefully corrected
more than once on that point. There she would listen, and the first
name she caught would prove to be that of her future husband. Once
a girl did so, as I was told by a blind fisherman in the south, and
heard two brothers quarrelling inside the house at whose door she
was listening. Presently the young men's mother exclaimed that the
devil would not let Tom leave John alone. At the mention of that triad
the girl burst into the house, laughing and spilling the mouthful of
water most incontinently. The end of it was that before the year was
out she married Tom, the second person mentioned: the first either
did not count or proved an unassailable bachelor.

4. There is also a ritual for enabling a girl to obtain other
information respecting her future husband: vessels placed about the
room have various things put into them, such as clean water, earth,
meal, a piece of a net, or any other article thought appropriate. The
candidate for matrimony, with her eyes bandaged, feels her way about
the house until she puts her hand in one of the aforesaid vessels. If
what she lays her hand on is the clean water, her husband will be a
handsome man [140]; if it is the earth, he will be a farmer; if the
meal, a miller; if the net, a fisherman; and so on into as many of
the walks of life as may be thought worthy of consideration.

5. Lastly, recourse may be had to a ritual of the same nature as that
observed by the druid of ancient Erin, when, burdened with a heavy
meal of the flesh of a red pig, he laid him down for the night in
order to await a prophetic dream as to the manner of man the nobles of
Erin assembled at Tara were to elect to be their king. The incident
is given in the story of Cúchulainn's Sick-bed; and the reader,
doubtless, knows the passage about Brian and the taghairm in the
fourth Canto of Scott's Lady of the Lake. But the Manx girl has only
to eat a salt herring, bones and all, without drinking or uttering
a word, and to retire backwards to bed. When she sleeps and dreams,
she will behold her future husband approaching to give her drink.

Probably none of the practices which I have enumerated, or similar
ones mentioned to me, are in any sense peculiar to the Isle of Man;
but what interests me in them is the divided opinion as to the proper
night for them in the year. I am sorry to say that I have very
little information as to the blindman's-buff ritual (No. 4); what
information I have, to wit, the evidence of two persons in the south,
fixes it on Hollantide Eve. But as to the others (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5),
they are observed by some on that night, and by others on New Year's
Eve, sometimes according to the Old Style [141] and sometimes the
New. Further, those who are wont to practise the salt heap ritual,
for instance, on Hollantide Eve, would be very indignant to hear
that anybody should think New Year's Eve the proper night, and vice
versa. So by bringing women bred and born in different parishes
to compare notes on this point, I have witnessed arguing hardly
less earnest than that which characterized the ancient controversy
between British and Italian ecclesiastics as to the proper time for
keeping Easter. I have not been able to map the island according to
the practices prevalent at Hollantide and the beginning of January,
but local folklorists could probably do it without much difficulty. My
impression, however, is that January is gradually acquiring the upper
hand. In Wales this must have been decidedly helped by the influence
of Roman rule and Roman ideas; but even there the adjuncts of the
Winter Calends have never been wholly transferred to the Calends
of January. Witness, for instance, the women who used to congregate
in the parish church to discover who of the parishioners would die
during the year [142]. That custom, in the neighbourhoods reported
to have practised it, continued to attach itself to the last, so
far as I know, to the beginning of November. In the Isle of Man
the fact of the ancient Celtic year having so firmly held its own,
seems to point to the probability that the year of the Pagan Norsemen
pretty nearly coincided with that of the Celts [143]. For there are
reasons to think, as I have endeavoured elsewhere to show, that the
Norse Yule was originally at the end of summer or the commencement
of winter, in other words, the days afterwards known as the Feast
of the Winter Nights. This was the favourite date in Iceland for
listening to soothsayers prophesying with regard to the winter then
beginning. The late Dr. Vigfusson had much to say on this subject,
and how the local sibyl, resuming her elevated seat at the opening
of each successive winter, gave the author of the Volospá his plan of
that remarkable poem, which has been described by the same authority
as the highest spiritual effort of the heathen muse of the North.



            Emoi de hai sai megalai eutychiai ouk areskousi,
            to theion epistamenô hôs esti phthoneron..--Herodotus.

The last chapter is hardly such as to call for a recapitulation of
its principal contents, and I venture to submit instead of any such
repetition an abstract of some very pertinent notes on it by Miss
M. G. W. Peacock, who compares with the folklore of the Isle of Man
the old beliefs which survive in Lincolnshire among the descendants
of Norse ancestors [144]. She was attracted by the striking affinity
which she noticed between them, and she is doubtless right in regarding
that affinity as due in no small degree to the Scandinavian element
present in the population alike of Man and the East of England. She
is, however, not lavish of theory, but gives us interesting items of
information from an intimate acquaintance with the folklore of the
district of which she undertakes to speak, somewhat in the following

1. Whether the water-bull still inhabits the streams of Lincolnshire
she regards as doubtful, but the deep pools formed, she says, by the
action of the down-flowing water at the bends of the country becks
are still known as bull-holes.

2. As to the glashtyn, or water-horse, she remarks that the
tatter-foal, tatter-colt, or shag-foal, as he is variously called,
is still to be heard of, although his visits take place less often
than before the fens and carrs were drained and the open fields and
commons enclosed. She describes the tatter-foal as a goblin of the
shape and appearance of a small horse or yearling foal in his rough,
unkempt coat. He beguiles lonely travellers with his numberless tricks,
one of which is to lure them to a stream, swamp, or water-hole. When
he has succeeded he vanishes with a long outburst of mockery, half
neigh, half human laughter.

3. The fenodyree, one is told, has in Lincolnshire a cousin, but he
is diminutive; and, like the Yorkshire Hob or Robin Round-Cap, and the
Danish Niss, he is used to befriend the house in which he dwells. The
story of his driving the farmer's sheep home is the same practically
as in the Isle of Man, even to the point of bringing in with them the
little grey sheep, as he called the fine hare that had given him more
trouble than all the rest of the flock: see pp. 286-7 above.

4. The story of this manikin's clothing differs considerably from
that of the fenodyree. The farmer gives him in gratitude for his
services a linen shirt every New Year's Eve; and this went on for
years, until at last the farmer thought a hemp shirt was good enough
to give him. When the clock struck twelve at midnight the manikin
raised an angry wail, saying:--

            Harden, harden, harden hemp!
            I will neither grind nor stamp!
            Had you given me linen gear,
            I would have served you many a year!

He was no more seen or heard: he vanished for ever. The Cornish
counterpart of this brownie reasons in the opposite way; for when,
in gratitude for his help in threshing, a new suit of clothes is
given him, he hurries away, crying [145]:--

            Pisky new coat, and pisky new hood,
            Pisky now will do no more good.

Here, also, one should compare William Nicholson's account of the
brownie of Blednoch [146], in Galloway, who wore next to no clothing:--

            Roun' his hairy form there was naething seen,
            But a philabeg o' the rushes green.

So he was driven away for ever by a newly married wife wishing him
to wear an old pair of her husband's breeches:--

            But a new-made wife, fu' o' rippish freaks,
            Fond o' a' things feat for the first five weeks,
            Laid a mouldy pair o' her ain man's breeks
                  By the brose o' Aiken-drum.

            Let the learned decide, when they convene,
            What spell was him and the breeks between:
            For frae that day forth he was nae mair seen,
                  And sair missed was Aiken-drum!

The only account which I have been able to find of a Welsh counterpart
will be found in Bwca'r Trwyn, in chapter x: he differs in some
important respects from the fenodyree and the brownie.

5. A twig of the rowan tree, or wicken, as it is called, was effective
against all evil things, including witches. It is useful in many ways
to guard the welfare of the household, and to preserve both the live
stock and the crops, while placed on the churn it prevents any malign
influence from retarding the coming of the butter. I may remark that
Celts and Teutons seem to have been generally pretty well agreed
as to the virtues of the rowan tree. Bits of iron also are lucky
against witches.

6. Fairies are rare, but witches and wizards abound, and some of them
have been supposed to change themselves into dogs to worry sheep and
cattle, or into toads to poison the swine's troughs. But they do not
seem to change themselves into hares, as in Man and other Celtic lands.

7. Witchcraft, says Miss Peacock, is often hereditary, passing most
frequently from mother to daughter; but when a witch has no daughter
her power may appear in a son, and then revert to the female line. This
appears far more natural than the Manx belief in its passing from
father to daughter and from daughter to son. But another kind of
succession is mentioned in the Welsh Triads, i. 32, ii. 20, iii. 90,
which speak of Math ab Mathonwy teaching his magic to Gwydion,
who as his sister's son was to succeed him in his kingdom; and of a
certain Rhudlwm Dwarf teaching his magic to Coll, son of Collfrewi,
his nephew. Both instances seem to point to a state of society which
did not reckon paternity but only birth.

8. Only three years previous to Miss Peacock's writing an old man died,
she says, who had seen blood drawn from a witch because she had, as
was supposed, laid a spell on a team of horses: as soon as she was
struck so as to bleed the horses and their load were free to go on
their way again. Possibly no equally late instance could be specified
in the Isle of Man: see p. 296 above.

9. Traces of animal sacrifice may still be found in Lincolnshire,
for the heart of a small beast, or of a bird, is necessary, Miss
Peacock says, for the efficient performance of several counter-charms,
especially in torturing a witch by the reversal of her spells, and
warding off evil from houses or other buildings. Apparently Miss
Peacock has not heard of so considerable a victim as a sheep or a
calf being sacrificed, as in the Isle of Man, but the objects of the
sacrifices may be said to be the same.

10. Several pin and rag wells are said to exist in Lincolnshire,
their waters being supposed to possess healing virtues, especially
as regards eye ailments.

11. Love-spells and prognostications are mentioned, some of them as
belonging to Allhallows, as they do partly in the Isle of Man: she
mentions the making of dumb cake, and the eating of the salt herring,
followed by dreams of the future husband bringing the thirsting
lass drink in a jug, the quality of which indicates the bearer's
position in life. But other Lincolnshire practices of the kind seem
to oscillate between Allhallows and St. Mark's Eve, while gravitating
decidedly towards the latter date. Here it is preferable to give Miss
Peacock's own words:--'Professor Rhys' mention of the footmark in the
ashes reminds me of a love-spell current in the Wapentake of Manley in
North Lincolnshire. Properly speaking, it should be put in practice
on St. Mark's E'en, that eerie spring-tide festival when those who
are skilled may watch the church porch and learn who will die in the
ensuing twelvemonth; but there is little doubt that the charm is also
used at Hallow E'en, and at other suitable seasons of the year. The
spell consists in riddling ashes on the hearthstone, or beans on the
floor of the barn, with proper ceremonies and at the proper time,
with the result that the girl who works her incantation correctly
finds the footprint of the man she is to marry clearly marked on the
sifted mass the following morning. It is to be supposed that the spirit
of the lover is responsible for the mark, as, according to another
folk-belief, any girl who watches her supper on St. Mark's E'en will
see the spirit of the man she will wed come into the room at midnight
to partake of the food provided. The room must be one with the door
and windows in different walls, and both must be open. The spirit
comes in by the door (and goes out by the window?). Each girl who
undertakes to keep watch must have a separate supper and a separate
candle, and all talking is to end before the clock goes twelve,
for there must not be any speaking before the spirits. From these
superstitions, and from the generally received idea that the spirits
of all the parishioners are to be observed entering the church on
St. Mark's E'en, it may be inferred that the Manx footprint is made
by the wraith of the person doomed to death.' Compare pp. 318-9 above.

What Miss Peacock alludes to as watching the church porch was formerly
well known in Wales [147], and may be illustrated from a district so
far east as the Golden Valley, in Herefordshire, by the following
story told me in 1892 by Mrs. Powell of Dorstone, on the strength
of what she had learnt from her mother-in-law, the late Mrs. Powell,
who was a native of that parish:--

'On Allhallows Eve at midnight, those who are bold enough to look
through the church windows will see the building lighted with an
unearthly light, and the pulpit occupied by his Satanic majesty clothed
in a monk's habit. Dreadful anathemas are the burden of his preaching,
and the names of those who in the coming year are to render up their
souls may be heard by those who have courage to listen. A notorious
evil liver, Jack of France, once by chance passed the church at this
awful moment: looking in he saw the lights and heard the voice, and
his own name in the horrid list; and, according to some versions of
the story, he went home to die of fright. Others say that he repented
and died in good repute, and so cheated the evil one of his prey.'

I have no list of places in Wales and its marches which have this
sort of superstition associated with them, but it is my impression
that they are mostly referred to Allhallows, as at Dorstone, and that
where that is not the case they have been shifted to the beginning
of the year as at present reckoned; for in Celtic lands, at least,
they seem to have belonged to what was reckoned the beginning of the
year. The old Celtic year undoubtedly began at Allhallows, and the day
next in importance after the Calends of Winter (in Welsh Calangáeaf)
was, among the Celts, the beginning of the summer half of the year,
or the Calends of May (in Welsh Calánmai), which St. Mark's Eve
approaches too nearly for us to regard it as accidental. With this
modified agreement between the Lincolnshire date and the Celtic one
contrast the irreconcilable English date of St. John's Eve; and see
Tylor's Primitive Culture, i. 440, where one reads as follows of 'the
well-known superstition,' 'that fasting watchers on St. John's Eve
may see the apparitions of those doomed to die during the year come
with the clergyman to the church door and knock; these apparitions
are spirits who come forth from their bodies, for the minister has
been noticed to be much troubled in his sleep while his phantom was
thus engaged, and when one of a party of watchers fell into a sound
sleep and could not be roused, the others saw his apparition knock
at the church door.' With an unerring instinct for the intelligent
colligation of facts, Miss Peacock finds the nearest approach to the
yearly review of the moritures, if I may briefly so call them, in the
wraith's footprint in the ashes. Perhaps a more systematic examination
of Manx folklore may result in the discovery of a more exact parallel.

For want of knowing where else to put it, I may mention here in
reference to the dead, a passage which has been copied for me by
my friend Mr. Gwenogvryn Evans, from Manuscript 163 in the Peniarth
Collection. I understand it to be of the earlier part of the sixteenth
century, and p. 10 has the following passage:--

Yn yr ynys honn [Manaw] y kair gweled liw dyd bobyl a vvessynt veirw /
Rrai gwedi tori penav / eraill gwedi torri i haelode / Ac os dieithred
a dissyfynt i gweled hwynt / Sengi ar draed gwyr or tir ac velly
hwynt a gaent weled yr hyn a welssynt hwyntav.

'In this island [Man] one beholds in the light of day people who have
died, some with their heads cut off and others with their limbs cut
off. And if strangers desire to see them, they have to stand on the
feet of the natives of the land, and in that way they would see what
the latter had seen.'

A similar instance of the virtue of standing on the feet of another
person has been mentioned in reference to the farmer of Deunant, at
p. 230 above; the foot, however, on which he had to stand in order
to get a glimpse of the fairy world, was a fairy's own foot.

Lastly, the passage in the Peniarth Manuscript has something more to
say of the Isle of Man, as follows:--

Mawr oed arfer o swynion a chyvaredion gynt yn yr ynys honn / Kanys
gwraged a vydynt yno yn gwnevthvr gwynt i longwyr gwedir gav mewn tri
chwlm o edav aphan vai eissie gwynt arnynt dattod kwlm or edav anaynt.

'Great was the practice formerly of spells and sorceries in this
island; for there used to be there women making wind for sailors,
which wind they confined within three knots made on a thread. And
when they had need of wind they would undo a knot of the thread.'

This was written in the sixteenth century, and based probably
on Higden's Polychronicon, book I, chap. xliv. (= I. 42-3), but
the same practice of wind making goes on to this day, one of the
principal practitioners being the woman to whom reference was made
at p. 299. She is said to tie the breezes in so many knots which
she makes on the purchasing sailor's pocket-handkerchief. This
reminds one of the sibyl of Warinsey, or the Island of Guernsey,
who is represented by an ancient Norse poet as 'fashioning false
prophecies.' See Vigfusson and Powell's Corpus Poeticum Boreale,
i. 136; also Mela's first-century account of the virgins of the island
of Sena, which runs to the following effect:--'Sena, in the Britannic
Sea, opposite the coast of the Osismi, is famous for its oracle of a
Gaulish god, whose priestesses, living in the holiness of perpetual
virginity, are said to be nine in number. They call them Gallizenæ,
and they believe them to be endowed with extraordinary gifts to rouse
the sea and the wind by their incantations, to turn themselves into
whatsoever animal form they may choose, to cure diseases which among
others are incurable, to know what is to come and to foretell it. They
are, however, devoted to the service of voyagers only who have set out
on no other errand than to consult them [148].' It is probable that
the sacrosanct [149] inhabitants of the small islands on the coasts of
Gaul and Britain had wellnigh a monopoly of the traffic in wind [150].

In the last chapter I made allusion to several wells of greater or less
celebrity in the Isle of Man; but I find that I have a few remarks to
add. Mr. Arthur Moore, in his book on Manx Surnames and Place-Names,
p. 200, mentions a Chibber Unjin, which means the Well of the Ash-tree,
and he states that there grew near it 'formerly a sacred ash-tree,
where votive offerings were hung.' The ash-tree calls to his mind
Scandinavian legends respecting the ash, but in any case one may
suppose the ash was not the usual tree to expect by a well in the Isle
of Man, otherwise this one would scarcely have been distinguished as
the Ash-tree Well. The tree to expect by a sacred well is doubtless
some kind of thorn, as in the case of Chibber Undin in the parish of
Malew. The name means Foundation Well, so called in reference probably
to the foundations of an ancient cell, or keeill as it is called in
Manx, which lie close by, and are found to measure twenty-one feet
long by twelve feet broad. The following is Mr. Moore's account of
the well in his book already cited, p. 181:--'The water of this well
is supposed to have curative properties. The patients who came to it,
took a mouthful of water, retaining it in their mouths till they had
twice walked round the well. They then took a piece of cloth from a
garment which they had worn, wetted it with the water from the well,
and hung it on the hawthorn tree which grew there. When the cloth
had rotted away, the cure was supposed to be effected.'

I visited the spot a few years ago in the company of the
Rev. E. B. Savage of St. Thomas' Parsonage, Douglas, and we found
the well nearly dried up in consequence of the drainage of the field
around it; but the remains of the old cell were there, and the thorn
bush had strips of cloth or calico tied to its branches. We cut off
one, which is now in the Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford. The account
Mr. Savage had of the ritual observed at the well differed a little
from that given by Mr. Moore, especially in the fact that it made the
patient who had been walking round the well with water from the well
in his mouth, empty that water finally into a rag from his clothing:
the rag was then tied to a branch of the thorn. It does not appear that
the kind of tree mattered much; nay, a tree is not, it seems to me,
essential. At any rate, St. Maughold's Well has no tree growing near
it now; but it is right to say, that when Mr. Kermode and I visited
it, we could find no rags left near the spot, nor indeed could we
expect to find any, as there was nothing to which they might be tied
on that windy headland. The absence of the tree does not, however,
prove that the same sort of ritual was not formerly observed at
St. Maughold's Well as at Chibber Undin; and here I must mention
another well which I have visited in the island more than once. It
is on the side of Bradda Hill, a little above the village of Bradda,
and in the direction of Fleshwick: I was attracted to it by the fact
that it had, as I had been told by Mr. Savage, formerly an old cell
or keeill near it, and the name of the saint to which it belonged may
probably be gathered from the name of the well, which, in the Manx of
the south of the island, is Chibbyrt Valtane, pronounced approximately
Chuvurt Voltáne or Oldáne. The personal name would be written in
modern Manx in its radical form as Boltane, and if it occurred in
the genitive in Ogam inscriptions I should expect to find it written
Boltagni or Baltagni [151]. It is, however, unknown to me, though to
be placed possibly by the side of the name of the saint after whom the
parish of Santon is called in the south-east of the island. This is
pronounced in Manx approximately [152] Santane or Sandane, and would
have yielded an early inscriptional nominative SANCTANVS, which,
in fact, occurs on an old stone near Llandudno on the Welsh coast:
see some notes of mine in point in the Archæologia Cambrensis, 1897,
pp. 140-2. To return to the well, it would seem to have been associated
with an old cell, but it has no tree growing by. Mr. Savage and I were
told, nevertheless, that a boy who had searched the well a short time
previously had got some coins out of it, quite recent ones, consisting
of halfpennies or pennies, so far as I remember. On my observing to
one of the neighbours that I saw no rags there, I was assured that
there had been some; and, on my further saying that I saw no tree
there to which they could be tied, I was told that they used to be
attached to the brambles, which grew there in great abundance. Thus
it appears that, in the Isle of Man at any rate, a tree to bear the
rags was not an essential adjunct of a holy well.

Before leaving these well superstitions the reader may wish to know
how they were understood in Ireland not long ago: so I venture to
quote a passage from a letter by the late Mr. W. C. Borlase on Rag
Offerings and Primitive Pilgrimages in Ireland, as follows:--

'Among the MSS. of the late Mr. Windele, of Cork, ... I find a passage
which cannot fail to interest students of folk-lore. It relates to the
custom of affixing shreds of rag to the hawthorn tree, which almost
invariably stands by the brink of the typical Irish "holy well," and
it gives us the meaning of the custom as understood, some half-century
since, by the inhabitants of certain localities in the province of
Munster. The idea is, says the writer, that the putting up these rags
is a putting away of the evils impending or incurred by sin, an act
accompanied by the following ritual words: Air impide an Tiarna mo
chuid teinis do fhagaint air an ait so; i. e. By the intercession of
the Lord I leave my portion of illness on this place. These words, he
adds, should be uttered by whoever performs the round, and they are,
no doubt, of extreme antiquity. Mr. Windele doubtless took down the
words as he heard them locally pronounced, though, to be correct, for
Tiarna should be read Tigerna; for teinis, tinneas; and for fhagaint,
fhagaim [153].'

From the less known saints Boltane and Santane I wish to pass to the
mention of a more famous one, namely, St. Catherine, and this because
of a fair called after her, and held on the sixth day of December at
the village of Colby in the south of the island. When I heard of this
fair in 1888, it was in temporary abeyance on account of a lawsuit
respecting the plot of ground on which the fair is wont to be held;
but I was told that it usually begins with a procession, in which a
live hen is carried about: this is called St. Catherine's hen. The next
day the hen is carried about dead and plucked, and a rhyme pronounced
at a certain point in the proceedings contemplates the burial of the
hen, but whether that ever takes place I know not. It runs thus:--

                Kiark Catrina marroo:
                Gows yn kione as goyms ny cassyn,
                As ver mayd ee fo'n thalloo.

                Catherine's hen is dead:
                The head take thou and I the feet,
                We shall put her under the ground.

A man who is found to be not wholly sober after the fair is locally
said to have plucked a feather from the hen (T'eh er goaill fedjag
ass y chiark); so it would seem that there must be such a scramble to
get at the hen, and to take part in the plucking, that it requires
a certain amount of drink to allay the thirst of the over zealous
devotees of St. Catherine. But why should this ceremony be associated
with St. Catherine? and what were the origin and meaning of it? These
are questions on which I should be glad to have light shed.

Manx has a word quaail (Irish comhdháil), meaning a 'meeting,' and
from it we have a derivative quaaltagh or qualtagh, meaning, according
to Kelly's Dictionary, 'the first person or creature one meets going
from home,' whereby the author can have only meant the first met by
one who is going from home. Kelly goes on to add that 'this person is
of great consequence to the superstitious, particularly to women the
first time they go out after lying-in.' Cregeen, in his Dictionary,
defines the qualtagh as 'the first person met on New Year's Day,
or on going on some new work, &c.' Before proceeding to give the
substance of my notes on the qualtagh of the present day I may as
well finish with Cregeen, for he adds the following information:--'A
company of young lads or men generally went in old times on what they
termed the qualtagh, at Christmas or New Year's Day, to the houses
of their more wealthy neighbours; some one of the company repeating
in an audible voice the following rhyme:--

            Ollick ghennal erriu as bleïn feer vie,
            Seihll as slaynt da'n slane lught thie;
            Bea as gennallys en bio ry-cheilley,
            Shee as graih eddyr mrane as deiney;
            Cooid as cowryn, stock as stoyr,
            Palchey phuddase, as skaddan dy-liooar,
            Arran as caashey, eeym as roayrt;
            Baase, myr lugh, ayns uhllin ny soalt;
            Cadley sauchey tra vees shiu ny lhie,
            As feeackle y jargan, nagh bee dy mie.'

It may be loosely translated as follows:--

            A merry Christmas, a happy new year,
            Long life and health to all the household here.
            Food and mirth to you dwelling together,
            Peace and love to all, men and women;
            Wealth and distinction, stock and store,
            Potatoes enough, and herrings galore;
            Bread and cheese, butter and gravy;
            Die like a mouse in a barn or haggard;
            In safety sleep while you lie to rest,
            And by the flea's tooth be not distressed.

At present New Year's Day is the time when the qualtagh is of general
interest, and in this case he is, outside the members of one's own
household, practically the first person one sees on the morning of
that day, whether that person meets one out of doors or comes to
one's house. The following is what I have learnt by inquiry as to
the qualtagh: all are agreed that he must not be a woman or girl,
and that he must not be spaagagh or splay footed, while a woman from
the parish of Marown told me that he must not have red hair. The
prevalent belief, however, is that he should be a dark haired man
or boy, and it is of no consequence how rough his appearance may be,
provided he be black haired. However, I was told by one man in Rushen
that the qualtagh or 'first-foot' need not be a black haired person:
he must be a man or boy. But this less restricted view is not the one
held in the central and northern parts of the island, so far as I could
ascertain. An English lady living in the neighbourhood of Castletown
told me that her son, whom I know to be, like his mother, a blond,
not being aware what consequences might be associated with his visit,
called at a house in Castletown on the morning of New Year's Day, and
he chanced to be the qualtagh. The mistress of the house was horrified,
and expressed to the English lady her anticipation of misfortunes; and
as it happened that one of the children of the house died in the course
of the year, the English lady has been reminded of it since. Naturally
the association of these events are not pleasant to her; but, so far
as I can remember, they date only some eight or nine years ago [154].

By way of bringing Wales into comparison with Man, I may mention
that, when I was a very small boy, I used to be sent very early on
New Year's morning to call on an old uncle of mine, because, as I
was told, I should be certain to receive a calennig or a calends'
gift from him, but on no account would my sister be allowed to go,
as he would only see a boy on such an occasion as that. I do not
recollect anything being said as to the colour of one's hair or the
shape of one's foot; but that sort of negative evidence is of very
little value, as the qualtagh was fast passing out of consideration.

The preference here given to a boy over a girl looks like one of the
widely spread superstitions which rule against the fair sex; but, as
to the colour of the hair, I should be predisposed to think that it
possibly rests on racial antipathy, long ago forgotten; for it might
perhaps be regarded as going back to a time when the dark haired
race reckoned the Aryan of fair complexion as his natural enemy,
the very sight of whom brought with it thoughts calculated to make
him unhappy and despondent. If this idea proved to be approximately
correct, one might suggest that the racial distinction in question
referred to the struggles between the inhabitants of Man and their
Scandinavian conquerors; but to my thinking it is just as likely that
it goes much further back.

Lastly, what is one to say with regard to the spaagagh or splay footed
person, now more usually defined as flat footed or having no instep? I
have heard it said in the south of the island that it is unlucky to
meet a spaagagh in the morning at any time of the year, and not on New
Year's Day alone; but this does not help us in the attempt to find
the genesis of this belief. If it were said that it was unlucky to
meet a deformed person, it would look somewhat more natural; but why
fix on the flat footed especially? For my part I have not been trained
to distinguish flat footed people, so I do not recollect noticing any
in the Isle of Man; but, granting there may be a small proportion of
such people in the island, does it not seem strange that they should
have their importance so magnified as this superstition would seem
to imply? I must confess that I cannot understand it, unless we have
here also some supposed racial characteristic, let us say greatly
exaggerated. To explain myself I should put it that the non-Aryan
aborigines were a small people of great agility and nimbleness, and
that their Aryan conquerors moved more slowly and deliberately, whence
the former, of springier movements, might come to nickname the latter
the flat footed. It is even conceivable that there was some amount of
foundation for it in fact. If I might speak from my own experience,
I might mention a difficulty I have often had with shoes of English
make, namely, that I have always found them, unless made to measure,
apt to have their instep too low for me. It has never occurred to me to
buy ready-made shoes in France or Germany, but I know a lady as Welsh
as I am, who has often bought shoes in France, and her experience is,
that it is much easier for her to get shoes there to fit her than
in England, and for the very reason which I have already suggested,
namely, that the instep in English shoes is lower than in French ones.

Again, I may mention that one day last term [155], having to address a
meeting of Welsh undergraduates on folklore, I ventured to introduce
this question. They agreed with me that English shoes did not,
as a rule, fit Welsh feet, and this because they are made too low
in the instep: I ought to have said that they all agreed except one
undergraduate, who held his peace. He is a tall man, powerful in the
football field, but of no dark complexion, and I have never dared
to look in the direction of his feet since, lest he should catch
me carrying my comparisons to cruel extremes. Perhaps the flatness
of the feet of the one race is not emphasized so much as the height
of the instep in those of the other. At any rate I find this way of
looking at the question somewhat countenanced by a journalist who
refers his readers to Wm. Henderson's notes on the Folklore of the
Northern Counties, p. 74. The passage relates more particularly to
Northumberland, and runs as follows:--'In some districts, however,
special weight is attached to the "first-foot" being that of a
person with a high-arched instep, a foot that "water runs under." A
flat-footed person would bring great ill-luck for the coming year.'

These instances do not warrant the induction that Celts are higher
in the instep than Teutons, and that they have inherited that
characteristic from the non-Aryan element in their ancestry. Perhaps
the explanation is, at least in part, that the dwellers in hilly
regions tend to be more springy and to have higher insteps than
the inhabitants of flatter lands. The statement of Dr. Karl Blind
on this point does not help one to a decision when he speaks as
follows in Folk-Lore for 1892, p. 89:--'As to the instep, I can speak
from personal experience. Almost every German finds that an English
shoemaker makes his boots not high enough in the instep. The northern
Germans (I am from the south) have perhaps slightly flatter feet than
the southern Germans.' The first part of the comparison is somewhat
of a surprise to me, but not so the other part, that the southern
Germans inhabiting a hillier country, and belonging to a different
race, may well be higher in the instep than the more northern speakers
of the German language. But on the whole the more one examines the
qualtagh, the less clearly one sees how he can be the representative
of a particular race. More data possibly would enable one to arrive
at greater probability.

There is one other question which I should like to ask before leaving
the qualtagh, namely, as to the relation of the custom of New Year's
gifts to the belief in the qualtagh. I have heard it related in
the Isle of Man that women have been known to keep indoors on New
Year's Day until the qualtagh comes, which sometimes means their being
prisoners for the greater part of the day, in order to avoid the risk
of first meeting one who is not of the right sex and complexion. On the
other hand, when the qualtagh is of the right description, considerable
fuss is made of him; to say the least, he has to accept food and drink,
possibly more permanent gifts. Thus a tall, black haired native of
Kirk Michael described to me how he chanced on New Year's Day, years
ago, to turn into a lonely cottage in order to light his pipe, and
how he found he was the qualtagh: he had to sit down to have food,
and when he went away it was with a present and the blessings of
the family. Now New Year's Day is the time for gifts in Wales, as
shown by the name for them, calennig, which is derived from calan,
the Welsh form of the Latin calendæ, New Year's Day being in Welsh
Y Calan, 'the Calends.' The same is the day for gifts in Scotland
and in Ireland, except in so far as Christmas boxes have been making
inroads from England: I need not add that the Jour de l'An is the
day for gifts also in France. My question then is this: Is there any
essential connexion of origin between the institution of New Year's
Day gifts and the belief in the first-foot?

Now that it has been indicated what sort of a qualtagh it is unlucky
to have, I may as well proceed to mention the other things which I
have heard treated as unlucky in the island. Some of them scarcely
require to be noticed, as there is nothing specially Manx about them,
such as the belief that it is unlucky to have the first glimpse of the
new moon through glass. That is a superstition which is, I believe,
widely spread, and, among other countries, it is quite familiar in
Wales, where it is also unlucky to see the moon for the first time
through a hedge or over a house. What this means I cannot guess,
unless it be that it was once considered one's duty to watch the first
appearance of the new moon from the highest point in the landscape
of the district in which one dwelt. Such a point would in that case
become the chief centre of a moon worship now lost in oblivion.

It is believed in Man, as it used to be in Wales and Ireland, that
it is unlucky to disturb antiquities, especially old burial places
and old churches. This superstition is unfortunately passing away
in all three countries, but you still hear of it, especially in the
Isle of Man, mostly after mischief has been done. Thus a good Manx
scholar told me how a relative of his in the Ronnag, a small valley
near South Barrule, had carted away the earth from an old burial
ground on his farm and used it as manure for his fields, and how his
beasts died afterwards. The narrator said he did not know whether
there was any truth in it, but everybody believed that it was the
reason why the cattle died; and so did the farmer himself at last:
so he desisted from completing his disturbance of the old site. It
is possibly for a similar reason that a house in ruins is seldom
pulled down, or the materials used for other buildings. Where that has
been done misfortunes have ensued; at any rate, I have heard it said
so more than once. I ought to have stated that the non-disturbance
of antiquities in the island is quite consistent with their being
now and then shamefully neglected as elsewhere. This is now met by
an excellent statute recently enacted by the House of Keys for the
preservation of the public monuments of the island.

Of the other and more purely Manx superstitions I may mention
one which obtains among the Peel fishermen of the present day:
no boat is willing to be third in the order of sailing out from
Peel harbour to the fisheries. So it sometimes happens that after
two boats have departed, the others remain watching each other for
days, each hoping that somebody else may be reckless enough to break
through the invisible barrier of 'bad luck.' I have often asked for
an explanation of this superstition, but the only intelligible answer
I have had was that it has been observed that the third boat has done
badly several years in succession; but I am unable to ascertain how
far that represents the fact. Another of the unlucky things is to
have a white stone in the boat, even in the ballast, and for that I
never could get any explanation at all; but there is no doubt as to
the fact of this superstition, and I may illustrate it from the case
of a clergyman's son on the west side, who took it into his head to
go out with some fishermen several days in succession. They chanced
to be unsuccessful each time, and they gave their Jonah the nickname
of Clagh Vane, or 'White Stone.' Now what can be the origin of this
tabu? It seems to me that if the Manx had once a habit of adorning the
graves of the departed with white stones, that circumstance would be
a reasonable explanation of the superstition in question. Further,
it is quite possible they did, and here Manx archæologists could
probably help as to the matter of fact. In the absence, however,
of information to the point from Man, I take the liberty of citing
some relating to Scotland. It comes from Mr. Gomme's presidential
address to the Folk-Lore Society: see Folk-Lore for 1893, pp. 13-4:--

'Near Inverary, it is the custom among the fisher-folk, and has been
so within the memory of the oldest, to place little white stones or
pebbles on the graves of their friends. No reason is now given for
the practice, beyond that most potent and delightful of all reasons
in the minds of folk-lore students, namely, that it has always been
done. Now there is nothing between this modern practice sanctioned
by traditional observance and the practice of the stone-age people
in the same neighbourhood and in others, as made known to us by their
grave-relics. Thus, in a cairn at Achnacrie opened by Dr. Angus Smith,
on entering the innermost chamber "the first thing that struck the eye
was a row of quartz pebbles larger than a walnut; these were arranged
on the ledge of the lower granite block of the east side." Near Crinan,
at Duncraigaig and at Rudie, the same characteristic was observed,
and Canon Greenwell, who examined the cairns, says the pebbles "must
have been placed there with some intention, and probably possessed a
symbolic meaning."' See also Burghead, by Mr. H. W. Young (Inverness,
1899), p. 10, where we read that at Burghead the 'smooth white pebbles,
sometimes five or seven of them, but never more,' have been usually
arranged as crosses on the graves which he has found under the fallen
ramparts. Can this be a Christian superstition with the white stones
of the Apocalypse as its foundation?

Here I may mention a fact which I do not know where else to put,
namely, that a fisherman on his way in the morning to the fishing,
and chancing to pass by the cottage of another fisherman who is not
on friendly terms with him, will pluck a straw from the thatch of the
latter's dwelling. Thereby he is supposed to rob him of his luck in the
fishing for that day. One would expect to learn that the straw from
the thatch served as the subject of an incantation directed against
the owner of the thatch. I have never heard anything suggested to
that effect; but I conclude that the plucking of the straw is only
a partial survival of what was once a complete ritual for bewitching
one's neighbour, unless getting possession of the straw was supposed
to carry with it possession of everything belonging to the other man,
including his luck in fishing for that day.

Owing to my ignorance as to the superstitions of other fishermen than
those of the Isle of Man, I will not attempt to classify the remaining
instances to be mentioned, such as the unluckiness of mentioning a
horse or a mouse on board a fishing-boat: I seem, however, to have
heard of similar tabus among Scottish fishermen; and, according to
Dr. Blind, Shetland fishermen will not mention a church or a clergyman
when out at sea, but use quite other names for both when on board a
ship (Folk-Lore for 1892, p. 89). Novices in the Manx fisheries have
to learn not to point to anything with one finger: they have to point
with the whole hand or not at all. This looks as if it belonged to a
code of rules as to the use of the hand, such as prevail among the
Neapolitans and other peoples whose chief article of faith is the
belief in malign influences: see Mr. Elworthy's volume on The Evil Eye.

Whether the Manx are alone in thinking it unlucky to lend salt from one
boat to another when they are engaged in the fishing, I know not: such
lending would probably be inconvenient, but why it should be unlucky,
as they believe it to be, does not appear. The first of May is a day
on which it is unlucky to lend anything, and especially to give anyone
fire [156]. This looks as if it pointed back to some druidic custom of
lighting all fires at that time from a sacred hearth, but, so far as is
known, this only took place at the beginning of the other half-year,
namely, Sauin or Allhallows, which is sometimes rendered into Manx as
Laa 'll mooar ny Saintsh, 'the Day of the great Feast of the Saints.'

Lastly, I may mention that it is unlucky to say that you are very well:
at any rate, I infer that it is regarded so, as you will never get a
Manxman to say that he is feer vie, 'very well.' He usually admits that
he is 'middling'; and if by any chance he risks a stronger adjective,
he hastens to qualify it by adding 'now,' or 'just now,' with an
emphasis indicative of his anxiety not to say too much. His habits
of speech point back to a time when the Manx mind was dominated by
the fear of awaking malignant influences in the spirit world around
him. This has had the effect of giving the Manx peasant's character
a tinge of reserve and suspicion, which makes it difficult to gain
his confidence: his acquaintance has, therefore, to be cultivated
for some time before you can say that you know the workings of his
heart. The pagan belief in a Nemesis has doubtless passed away, but not
without materially affecting the Manx idea of a personal devil. Ever
since the first allusion made in my hearing by Manxmen to the devil,
I have been more and more deeply impressed that for them the devil
is a much more formidable being than Englishmen or Welshmen picture
him. He is a graver and, if I may say so, a more respectable being,
allowing no liberties to be taken with his name, so you had better
not call him a devil, the evil one, or like names, for his proper
designation is Noid ny Hanmey, 'the Enemy of the Soul,' and in ordinary
Anglo-Manx conversation he is commonly called 'the Enemy of Souls.' I
well remember getting one day into a conversation with an old soldier
in the south of the island. He was, as I soon discovered, labouring
under a sort of theological monomania, and his chief question was
concerning the Welsh word for 'the Enemy of Souls.' I felt at once
that I had to be careful, and that the reputation of my countrymen
depended on how I answered. As I had no name anything like the one he
used for the devil, I explained to him that the Welsh, though not a
great nation, were great students of theology, and that they had by
no means neglected the great branch of it known as satanology. In
fact that study, as I went on to say, had left its impress on the
Welsh language: on Sunday the ministers of all denominations, the
deacons and elders, and all self-respecting congregations spoke of the
devil trisyllabically as diafol, while on the other days of the week
everybody called him more briefly and forcibly diawl, except bards
concocting an awdl for an Eistedfod, where the devil must always be
called diafl, and excepting also sailors, farm servants, post-boys and
colliers, together with country gentlemen learning Welsh to address
their wouldn't-be constituents--for all these the regulation form
was jawl, with an English j. Thus one could, I pointed out to him,
fix the social standing of a Welshman by the way he named 'the Enemy
of Souls,' as well as appreciate the superiority of Welsh over Greek,
seeing that Welsh, when it borrowed diabolos from Greek, quadrupled
it, while Greek remained sterile. He was so profoundly impressed
that I never was able to bring his attention back to the small fry,
spiritually speaking, of the Isle of Man, to wit, the fairies and
the fenodyree, or even the witches and the charmers, except that he
had some reserve of faith in witches, since the witch of Endor was in
the Bible and had ascribed to her a 'terr'ble' great power of raising
spirits: that, he thought, must be true. I pointed out to him that a
fenodyree (see p. 288) was also mentioned in his Bible: this display
of ready knowledge on my part made a deep impression on his mind.

The Manx are, as a rule, a sober people, and highly religious;
as regards their tenets, they are mostly members of the Church
of England or Wesleyan Methodists, or else both, which is by no
means unusual. Religious phrases are not rare in their ordinary
conversation; in fact, they struck me as being of more frequent
occurrence than in Wales, even the Wales of my boyhood; and here and
there this fondness for religious phraseology has left its traces
on the native vocabulary. Take, for example, the word for 'anybody,
a person, or human being,' which Cregeen writes py'agh or p'agh:
he rightly regards it as the colloquial pronunciation of peccagh,
'a sinner.' So, when one knocks at a Manx door and calls out, Vel
p'agh sthie? he literally asks, 'Is there any sinner indoors?' The
question has, however, been explained to me, with unconscious irony,
as properly meaning, 'Is there any Christian indoors?' and care
is now taken in reading to pronounce the middle consonants of the
word peccagh, 'sinner,' so as to distinguish it from the word for a
Christian 'anybody': but the identity of origin is unmistakable.

Lastly, the fact that a curse is a species of prayer, to wit, a prayer
for evil to follow, is well exemplified in Manx by the same words,
gwee [157], plural gwecaghyn, meaning both kinds of prayer. Thus I
found myself stumbling several times, in reading through the Psalms in
Manx, from not bearing in mind the sinister meaning of these words;
for example in Psalm xiv. 6, where we have Ta 'n beeal oc lane dy
ghweeaghyn as dy herriuid, which I mechanically construed to mean
'Their mouth is full of praying and bitterness,' instead of 'cursing
and bitterness'; and so in other cases, such as Ps. x. 7, and cix. 27.

It occurred to me on various occasions to make inquiries as to the
attitude of religious Manxmen towards witchcraft and the charmer's
vocation. Nobody, so far as I know, accuses them of favouring
witchcraft in any way whatsoever; but as to the reality of witches
and witchcraft they are not likely to have any doubts so long as they
dwell on the Biblical account of the witch of Endor, as I have already
mentioned in the case of the old Crimean soldier. Then as to charmers
I have heard it distinctly stated that the most religious men are
they who have most confidence in charmers and their charms; and a lay
preacher whom I know has been mentioned to me as now and then doing
a little charming in cases of danger or pressing need. On the whole,
I think the charge against religious people of consulting charmers is
somewhat exaggerated; but I believe that recourse to the charmer is
more usual and more openly had than, for example, in Wales, where those
who consult a dyn hyspys or 'wise man' have to do it secretly, and at
the risk of being expelled by their co-religionists from the Seiet or
'Society.' There is somewhat in the atmosphere of Man to remind one
rather of the Wales of a past generation--Wales as it was at the time
when the Rev. Edmund Jones could write a Relation of Apparitions of
Spirits in the County of Monmouth and the Principality of Wales, as
a book 'designed to confute and to prevent the infidelity of denying
the being and apparition of spirits, which tends to irreligion and
atheism': see pp. 174, 195 above.

The Manx peasantry are perhaps the most independent and prosperous in
the British Isles; but their position geographically and politically
has been favourable to the continuance of ideas not quite up to the
level of the latest papers on Darwinism and Evolution read at our
Church Congresses in this country. This may be thought to be here wide
of the mark; but, after giving, in the previous chapter, specimens of
rather ancient superstitions as recently known in the island, it is but
right that one should form an idea of the surroundings in which they
have lingered into modern times. Perhaps nothing will better serve to
bring this home to the reader's mind than the fact, for which there
is proof, that old people still living remember men and women clad
in white sheets doing penance publicly in the churches of Man.

The following is the evidence which I was able to find, and I may state
that I first heard in 1888 of the public penance from Mr. Joughin,
who was an aged man and a native of Kirk Bride. He related how a
girl named Mary Dick gave an impertinent answer to the clergyman
when he was catechizing her class, and how she had to do penance
for it at church. She took her revenge on the parson by singing,
while attending in a white sheet, louder than everybody else in the
congregation. This, unless I am mistaken, Mr. Joughin gave me to
understand he had heard from his father. I mentioned the story to a
clergyman, who was decidedly of opinion that no one alive now could
remember anything about public penance. Not long after, however, I got
into conversation with a shoemaker at Kirk Michael, named Dan Kelly,
who was nearly completing his eighty-first year. He was a native of
Ballaugh, and stated that he remembered many successive occupants of
the episcopal see. A long time ago the official called the sumner had,
out of spite he said, appointed him to serve as one of the four of the
chapter jury. It was, he thought, when he was about twenty-five. During
his term of office he saw four persons, of whom two were married
men and two unmarried women, doing penance in the parish church of
Ballaugh for having illegitimate children. They stood in the alley
of the church, and the sumner had to throw white sheets over them;
on the fourth Sunday of their penance they stood inside the chancel
rails, but not to take the communion. The parson, whose name was
Stowell or Stowall, made them thoroughly ashamed of themselves on the
fourth Sunday, as one of the men afterwards admitted. Kelly mentioned
the names of the women and of one of the men, and he indicated to
me some of their descendants as well known in the neighbourhood. I
cross-examined him all the more severely, as I had heard the other
view of the remoteness of the date. But nothing could shake Kelly,
who added that soon after the date of the above mentioned cases the
civil functionary, known as the vicar-general, put an end to the
chapter jury and to public penance: according to his reckoning the
penance he spoke of must have taken place about 1832. Another old
man, named Kewley, living now near Kirk Michael, but formerly in the
parish of Lezayre, had a similar story. He thinks that he was born
in the sixth year of the century, and when he was between eighteen
and twenty he saw a man doing public penance, in Lezayre Church, I
presume, but I have no decided note on that point. However that may
be, he remembered that the penitent, when he had done his penance,
had the audacity to throw the white sheet over the sumner, who, the
penitent remarked, might now wear it himself, as he had had enough
of it. Kewley would bring the date only down to about 1825.

Lastly, I was in the island again in 1891, and spent the first part of
the month of April at Peel, where I had conversations with a retired
captain who was then about seventy-eight. He is a native of the parish
of Dalby, but he was only 'a lump of a boy' when the last couple of
immorals were forced to do penance in white sheets at church. He gave
me the guilty man's name, and the name of his home in the parish,
and both the captain and his daughter assured me that the man had
only been dead six or seven years; that is, the penitent seems to have
lived till about the year 1884. I may here mention that the parish of
Dalby is the subject of many tales, which go to show that its people
were more old-fashioned in their ways than those of the rest of the
island. It appears to have been the last, also, to be reached by a
cart road; and I was amused by a native's description of the men at
Methodist meetings in Dalby pulling the tappag, or forelock, at the
name of Jesus, while the women ducked a curtsy in a dangerously abrupt
fashion. He and his wife appeared to be quite used to it: the husband
was an octogenarian named Quirc, who was born on the coast near the
low-lying peninsula called the Niarbyl, that is to say 'the Tail.'

To return to the public penance, it seems to us in this country to
belong, so to say, to ancient history, and it transports us to a state
of things which we find it hard to realize. The lapse of years has
brought about profounder changes in our greater Isle of Britain than
in the smaller Isle of Man, while we ourselves, helpless to escape
the pervading influence of those profounder changes, become living
instances of the comprehensive truth of the German poet's words,

                Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.



                         ... Iuvat integros accedere fontes.--Lucretius.

It is only recently [158] that I heard for the first time of Welsh
instances of the habit of tying rags and bits of clothing to the
branches of a tree growing near a holy well. Since then I have obtained
several items of information in point: the first is a communication
received in June, 1892, from Mr. J. H. Davies, of Lincoln College,
Oxford--since then of Lincoln's Inn--relating to a Glamorganshire holy
well, situated near the pathway leading from Coychurch to Bridgend. It
is the custom there, he states, for people suffering from any malady
to dip a rag in the water, and to bathe the affected part of the
body, the rag being then placed on a tree close to the well. When
Mr. Davies passed that way, some three years previously, there were,
he adds, hundreds of such shreds on the tree, some of which distinctly
presented the appearance of having been very recently placed there. The
well is called Ffynnon Cae Moch, 'Swine-field Well,' which can hardly
have been its old name; and a later communication from Mr. Davies
summarizes a conversation which he had about the well, on December 16,
1892, with Mr. J. T. Howell, of Pencoed, near Bridgend. His notes run
thus:--'Ffynnon Cae Moch, between Coychurch and Bridgend, is one mile
from Coychurch, one and a quarter from Bridgend, near Tremains. It
is within twelve or fifteen yards of the high-road, just where the
pathway begins. People suffering from rheumatism go there. They
bathe the part affected with water, and afterwards tie a piece of
rag to the tree which overhangs the well. The rag is not put in the
water at all, but is only put on the tree for luck. It is a stunted,
but very old tree, and is simply covered with rags.' A little less
than a year later, I had an opportunity of visiting this well in the
company of Mr. Brynmor-Jones; and I find in my notes that it is not
situated so near the road as Mr. Howell would seem to have stated to
Mr. Davies. We found the well, which is a powerful spring, surrounded
by a circular wall. It is overshadowed by a dying thorn tree, and
a little further back stands another thorn which is not so decayed:
it was on this latter thorn we found the rags. I took off a twig with
two rags, while Mr. Brynmor-Jones counted over a dozen other rags on
the tree; and we noticed that some of them had only recently been
suspended there: among them were portions undoubtedly of a woman's
clothing. At one of the hotels at Bridgend, I found an illiterate
servant who was acquainted with the well, and I cross-examined him
on the subject of it. He stated that a man with a wound, which he
explained to mean a cut, would go and stand in the well within the
wall, and there he would untie the rag that had been used to tie up
the wound and would wash the wound with it: then he would tie up the
wound with a fresh rag and hang the old one on the tree. The more
respectable people whom I questioned talked more vaguely, and only of
tying a rag to the tree, except one who mentioned a pin being thrown
into the well or a rag being tied to the tree.

My next informant is Mr. D. J. Jones, a native of the Rhonda Valley,
in the same county of Glamorgan. He was an undergraduate of Jesus
College, Oxford, when I consulted him in 1892. His information was to
the effect that he knows of three interesting wells in the county. The
first is situated within two miles of his home, and is known as Ffynnon
Pen Rhys, or the Well of Pen Rhys. The custom there is that the person
who wishes his health to be benefited should wash in the water of the
well, and throw a pin into it afterwards. He next mentions a well at
Llancarvan, some five or six miles from Cowbridge, where the custom
prevails of tying rags to the branches of a tree growing close at
hand. Lastly, he calls my attention to a passage in Hanes Morganwg,
'The History of Glamorgan,' written by Mr. D. W. Jones, known in Welsh
literature as Dafyd Morganwg. In that work, p. 29, the author speaks of
Ffynnon Marcros, 'the Well of Marcros,' to the following effect:--'It
is the custom for those who are healed in it to tie a shred of linen
or cotton to the branches of a tree that stands close by; and there
the shreds are, almost as numerous as the leaves.' Marcros is, I may
say, near Nash Point, and looks on the map as if it were about eight
miles distant from Bridgend. Let me here make it clear that so far
we have had to do with four different wells [159], three of which are
severally distinguished by the presence of a tree adorned with rags by
those who seek health in those waters; but they are all three, as the
reader will have doubtless noticed, in the same district, namely, the
part of Glamorganshire near the main line of the Great Western Railway.

There is no reason, however, to think that the custom of tying rags
to a well tree was peculiar to that part of the Principality. One
day, in looking through some old notes of mine, I came across an
entry bearing the date of August 7, 1887, when I was spending a few
days with my friend, Chancellor Silvan Evans, at Llanwrin Rectory,
near Machynlleth. Mrs. Evans was then alive and well, and took a
keen interest in Welsh antiquities and folklore. Among other things,
she related to me how she had, some twenty years before, visited
a well in the parish of Llandrillo yn Rhos, namely Ffynnon Eilian,
or Elian's Well, between Abergele and Llandudno, when her attention
was directed to some bushes near the well, which had once been covered
with bits of rags left by those who frequented the well. This was told
Mrs. Evans by an old woman of seventy, who, on being questioned by
Mrs. Evans concerning the history of the well, informed her that the
rags used to be tied to the bushes by means of wool. She was explicit
on the point, that wool had to be used for the purpose, and that even
woollen yarn would not do: it had to be wool in its natural state. The
old woman remembered this to have been the rule ever since she was
a child. Mrs. Evans noticed corks, with pins stuck in them, floating
in the well, and her informant remembered many more in years gone by;
for Elian's Well was once in great repute as a ffynnon reibio, or a
well to which people resorted for the kindly purpose of bewitching
those whom they hated. I infer, however, from what Mrs. Evans was
told of the rags, that Elian's Well was visited, not only by the
malicious, but also by the sick and suffering. My note is not clear on
the point whether there were any rags on the bushes by the well when
Mrs. Evans visited the spot, or whether she was only told of them by
the caretaker. Even in the latter case it seems evident that this
habit of tying rags to trees or bushes near sacred wells has only
ceased in that part of Denbighshire within this century. It is very
possible that it continued in North Wales more recently than this
instance would lead one to suppose; indeed, I should not be in the
least surprised to learn that it is still practised in out of the way
places in Gwyned, just as it is in Glamorgan: we want more information.

I cannot say for certain whether it was customary in any of the cases
to which I have called attention to tie rags to the well tree as
well as to throw pins or other small objects into the well; but I
cannot help adhering to the view, that the distinction was probably
an ancient one between two orders of things. In other words, I am
inclined to believe that the rag was regarded as the vehicle of the
disease of which the ailing visitor to the well wished to be rid,
and that the bead, button, or coin deposited by him in the well, or in
a receptacle near the well, formed alone the offering. In opposition
to this view Mr. Gomme has expressed himself as follows in Folk-Lore,
1892, p. 89:--'There is some evidence against that, from the fact that
in the case of some wells, especially in Scotland at one time, the
whole garment was put down as an offering. Gradually these offerings
of clothes became less and less till they came down to rags. Also
in other parts, the geographical distribution of rag-offerings
coincides with the existence of monoliths and dolmens.' As to the
monoliths and dolmens, I am too little conversant with the facts to
risk any opinion as to the value of the coincidence; but as to the
suggestion that the rag originally meant the whole garment, that will
suit my hypothesis admirably. In other words, the whole garment was,
as I take it, the vehicle of the disease: the whole was accursed,
and not merely a part. But Mr. Gomme had previously touched on the
question in his presidential address (Folk-Lore for 1892, p. 13);
and I must at once admit that he succeeded then in proving that a
certain amount of confusion occurs between things which I should
regard as belonging originally to distinct categories: witness the
inimitable Irish instance which he quotes:--'To St. Columbkill--I
offer up this button, a bit o' the waistband o' my own breeches, an'
a taste o' my wife's petticoat, in remimbrance of us havin' made this
holy station; an' may they rise up in glory to prove it for us in the
last day.' Here not only the button is treated as an offering, but also
the bits of clothing; but the confusion of ideas I should explain as
being, at least in part, one of the natural results of substituting a
portion of a garment for the entire garment; for thereby a button or
a pin becomes a part of the dress, and capable of being interpreted
in two senses. After all, however, the ordinary practices have not,
as I look at them, resulted in effacing the distinction altogether:
the rag is not left in the well; nor is the bead, button, or pin
attached to a branch of the tree. So, in the main, it seemed to me
easier to explain the facts, taken altogether, on the supposition that
originally the rag was regarded as the vehicle of the disease, and the
bead, button, or coin as the offering. My object in calling attention
to this point was to have it discussed, and I am happy to say that I
have not been disappointed; for, since my remarks were published [160],
a paper entitled Pin-wells and Rag-bushes was read before the British
Association by Mr. Hartland, in 1893, and published in Folk-Lore
for the same year, pp. 451-70. In that paper the whole question is
gone into with searching logic, and Mr. Hartland finds the required
explanation in one of the dogmas of magic. For 'if an article of my
clothing,' he says, 'in a witch's hands may cause me to suffer, the
same article in contact with a beneficent power may relieve my pain,
restore me to health, or promote my general prosperity. A pin that has
pricked my wart ... has by its contact, by the wound it has inflicted,
acquired a peculiar bond with the wart; the rag that has rubbed the
wart has by that friction acquired a similar bond; so that whatever
is done to the pin or the rag, whatever influences the pin or the rag
may undergo, the same influences are by that very act brought to bear,
upon the wart. If, instead of using a rag, or making a pilgrimage to a
sacred well, I rub my warts with raw meat and then bury the meat, the
wart will decay and disappear with the decay and dissolution of the
meat.... In like manner my shirt or stocking, or a rag to represent
it, placed upon a sacred bush, or thrust into a sacred well--my name
written upon the walls of a temple--a stone or a pellet from my hand
cast upon a sacred image or a sacred cairn--is thenceforth in continual
contact with divinity; and the effluence of divinity, reaching and
involving it, will reach and involve me.' Mr. Hartland concludes from
a large number of instances, that as a rule 'where the pin or button is
dropped into the well, the patient does not trouble about the rag, and
vice versa.' This wider argument as to the effluence of the divinity
of a particular spot of special holiness seems to me conclusive. It
applies also, needless to say, to a large category of cases besides
those in question between Mr. Gomme and the present writer.

So now I would revise my position thus:--I continue to regard the
rag much as before, but treat the article thrown into the well as
the more special means of establishing a beneficial relation with the
well divinity: whether it could also be viewed as an offering would
depend on the value attached to it. Some of the following notes may
serve as illustrations, especially those relating to the wool and
the pin:--Ffynnon Gwynwy, or the Well of Gwynwy, near Llangelynin,
on the river Conwy, appears to be partly in point; for it formerly
used to be well stocked with crooked pins, which nobody would touch
lest he might get from them the warts supposed to attach to them,
whence it would appear that a pin might be regarded as the vehicle
of the disease. There was a well of some repute at Cae Garw, in the
parish of Pistyll, near the foot of Carnguwch, in Lleyn, or West
Carnarvonshire. The water possessed virtues to cure one of rheumatism
and warts; but, in order to be rid of the latter, it was requisite to
throw a pin into the well for each individual wart. For these two items
of information, and several more to be mentioned presently, I have
to thank Mr. John Jones, better known in Wales by his bardic name of
Myrdin Fard, and as an enthusiastic collector of Welsh antiquities,
whether in the form of manuscript or of unwritten folklore. On
the second day of the year 1893 I paid him a visit at Chwilog, on
the Carnarvon and Avon Wen Railway, and asked him many questions:
these he not only answered with the utmost willingness, but he also
showed me the unpublished materials which he had collected. I come
next to a competition on the folklore of North Wales at the London
Eistedfod in 1887, in which, as one of the adjudicators, I observed
that several of the competitors mentioned the prevalent belief, that
every well with healing properties must have its outlet towards the
south (i'r dê). According to one of them, if you wished to get rid of
warts, you should, on your way to the well, look for wool which the
sheep had lost. When you had found enough wool you should prick each
wart with a pin, and then rub the wart well with the wool. The next
thing was to bend the pin and throw it into the well. Then you should
place the wool on the first whitethorn you could find, and as the wind
scattered the wool, the warts would disappear. There was a well of the
kind, the writer went on to say, near his home; and he, with three or
four other boys, went from school one day to the well to charm their
warts away. For he had twenty-three on one of his hands; so that he
always tried to hide it, as it was the belief that if one counted the
warts they would double their number. He forgets what became of the
other boys' warts, but his own disappeared soon afterwards; and his
grandfather used to maintain that it was owing to the virtue of the
well. Such were the words of this writer, whose name is unknown to me;
but I guess him to have been a native of Carnarvonshire, or else of one
of the neighbouring districts of Denbighshire or Merionethshire. To
return to Myrdin Fard, he mentioned Ffynnon Cefn Lleithfan, or the
Well of the Lleithfan Ridge, on the eastern slope of Mynyd y Rhiw,
in the parish of Bryncroes, in the west of Lleyn. In the case of
this well it is necessary, when going to it and coming from it, to be
careful not to utter a word to anybody, or to turn to look back. What
one has to do at the well is to bathe the warts with a rag or clout
which has grease on it. When that is done, the clout with the grease
has to be carefully concealed beneath the stone at the mouth of the
well. This brings to my mind the fact that I noticed more than once,
years ago, rags underneath stones in the water flowing from wells
in Wales, and sometimes thrust into holes in the walls of wells,
but I had no notion how they came there.

On the subject of pin-wells I had in 1893, from Mr. T. E. Morris,
of Portmadoc, barrister-at-law, some account of Ffynnon Faglan,
or Baglan's Well, in the parish of Llanfaglan, near Carnarvon. The
well is situated in an open field to the right of the road leading
towards the church, and close to it. The church and churchyard form an
enclosure in the middle of the same field, and the former has in its
wall the old stone reading FILI LOVERNII ANATEMORI. My friend derived
information from Mrs. Roberts, of Cefn y Coed, near Carnarvon, as
follows:--'The old people who would be likely to know anything about
Ffynnon Faglan have all died. The two oldest inhabitants, who have
always lived in this parish of Llanfaglan, remember the well being
used for healing purposes. One told me his mother used to take him
to it, when he was a child, for sore eyes, bathe them with the water,
and then drop in a pin. The other man, when he was young, bathed in it
for rheumatism; and until quite lately people used to fetch away the
water for medicinal purposes. The latter, who lives near the well, at
Tan y Graig, said that he remembered it being cleaned out about fifty
years ago, when two basinfuls of pins were taken out, but no coin of
any kind. The pins were all bent, and I conclude the intention was to
exorcise the evil spirit supposed to afflict the person who dropped
them in, or, as the Welsh say, dadwitsio. No doubt some ominous words
were also used. The well is at present nearly dry, the field where it
lies having been drained some years ago, and the water in consequence
withdrawn from it. It was much used for the cure of warts. The wart
was washed, then pricked with a pin, which, after being bent, was
thrown into the well. There is a very large and well-known well of
the kind at C'lynnog, Ffynnon Beuno, "St. Beuno's Well," which was
considered to have miraculous healing powers; and even yet, I believe,
some people have faith in it. Ffynnon Faglan is, in its construction,
an imitation, on a smaller scale, of St. Beuno's Well at C'lynnog.'

In the cliffs at the west end of Lleyn is a wishing-well called
Ffynnon Fair, or St. Mary's Well, to the left of the site of Eglwys
Fair, and facing Ynys Enlli, or Bardsey. Here, to obtain your wish,
you have to descend the steps to the well and walk up again to the
top with your mouth full of the water; and then you have to go round
the ruins of the church once or more times with the water still in
your mouth. Viewing the position of the well from the sea, I should
be disposed to think that the realization of one's wish at that price
could not be regarded as altogether cheap. Myrdin Fard also told me
that there used to be a well near Criccieth Church. It was known as
Ffynnon y Saint, or the Saints' Well, and it was the custom to throw
keys or pins into it on the morning of Easter Sunday, in order to
propitiate St. Catherine, who was the patron of the well. I should
be glad to know what this exactly meant.

Lastly, a few of the wells in that part of Gwyned may be grouped
together and described as oracular. One of these, the big well in
the parish of Llanbedrog in Lleyn, as I learn from Myrdin Fard,
required the devotee to kneel by it and avow his faith in it. When
this had been duly done, he might proceed in this wise: to ascertain,
for instance, the name of the thief who had stolen from him, he had
to throw a bit of bread into the well and name the person whom he
suspected. At the name of the thief the bread would sink; so the
inquirer went on naming all the persons he could think of until the
bit of bread sank, when the thief was identified. How far is one to
suppose that we have here traces of the influences of the water ordeal
common in the Middle Ages? Another well of the same kind was Ffynnon
Saethon, in Llanfihangel Bachellaeth parish, also in Lleyn. Here it was
customary, as he had it in writing, for lovers to throw pins (pinnau)
into the well; but these pins appear to have been the points of the
blackthorn. At any rate, they cannot well have been of any kind of
metal, as we are told that, if they sank in the water, one concluded
that one's lover was not sincere in his or her love.

Next may be mentioned a well, bearing the remarkable name of Ffynnon
Gwyned, or the Well of Gwyned, which is situated near Mynyd Mawr,
in the parish of Abererch: it used to be consulted in the following
manner:--When it was desired to discover whether an ailing person would
recover, a garment of his would be thrown into the well, and according
to the side on which it sank it was known whether he would live or die.

Ffynnon Gybi, or St. Cybi's Well, in the parish of Llangybi, was the
scene of a somewhat similar practice; for there, girls who wished to
know their lovers' intentions would spread their pocket-handkerchiefs
on the water of the well, and, if the water pushed the handkerchiefs
to the south--in Welsh i'r dê--they knew that everything was right--in
Welsh o dê--and that their lovers were honest and honourable in their
intentions; but, if the water shifted the handkerchiefs northwards,
they concluded the contrary. A reference to this is made by a modern
Welsh poet, as follows:--

                Ambell dyn, gwaeldyn, a gyrch
                I bant gorís Moel Bentyrch,
                Mewn gobaith mai hen Gybi
                Glodfawr syd yn llwydaw'r lli.

                Some folks, worthless [161] folks, visit
                A hollow below Moel Bentyrch,
                In hopes that ancient Kybi
                Of noble fame blesses the flood.

The spot is not far from where Myrdin Fard lives; and he mentioned,
that adjoining the well is a building which was probably intended
for the person in charge of the well: it has been tenanted within
his memory. Not only for this but also for several of the foregoing
items of information am I indebted to Myrdin; and now I come to
Mrs. Williams-Ellis, of Glasfryn Uchaf, who tells me that one day not
long ago, she met at Llangybi a native who had not visited the place
since his boyhood: he had been away as an engineer in South Wales
nearly all his life, but had returned to see an aged relative. So the
reminiscences of the place filled his mind, and, among other things,
he said that he remembered very well what concern there was one day
in the village at a mischievous person having taken a very large
eel out of the well. Many of the old people, he said, felt that much
of the virtue of the well was probably taken away with the eel. To
see it coiling about their limbs when they went into the water was
a good sign: so he gave one to understand. As a sort of parallel I
may mention that I have seen the fish living in Ffynnon Beris, not
far from the parish church of Llanberis. It is jealously guarded
by the inhabitants, and when it was once or twice taken out by a
mischievous stranger he was forced to put it back again. However,
I never could get the history of this sacred fish, but I found that
it was regarded as very old [162]. I may add that it appears the
well called Ffynnon Fair, 'Mary's Well,' at Llandwyn, in Anglesey,
used formerly to have inhabiting it a sacred fish, whose movements
indicated the fortunes of the love-sick men and maidens who visited
there the shrine of St. Dwynwen [163]. Possibly inquiry would result
in showing that such sacred fish have been far more common once in
the Principality than they are now.

The next class of wells to claim our attention consists of what I
may call fairy wells, of which few are mentioned in connexion with
Wales; but the legends about them are of absorbing interest. One of
them is in Myrdin Fard's neighbourhood, and I questioned him a good
deal on the subject: it is called Ffynnon Grassi, or Grace's Well,
and it occupies, according to him, a few square feet--he has measured
it himself--of the south-east corner of the lake of Glasfryn Uchaf,
in the parish of Llangybi. It appears that it was walled in, and
that the stone forming its eastern side has several holes in it,
which were intended to let water enter the well and not issue from
it. It had a door or cover on its surface; and it was necessary to
keep the door always shut, except when water was being drawn. Through
somebody's negligence, however, it was once on a time left open:
the consequence was that the water of the well flowed out and formed
the Glasfryn Lake, which is so considerable as to be navigable for
small boats. Grassi is supposed in the locality to have been the name
of the owner of the well, or at any rate of a lady who had something
to do with it. Grassi, or Grace, however, can only be a name which a
modern version of the legend has introduced. It probably stands for
an older name given to the person in charge of the well; to the one,
in fact, who neglected to shut the door; but though the name must be
comparatively modern, the story, as a whole, does not appear to be
at all modern, but very decidedly the contrary.

So I wrote in 1893; but years after my conversation with Myrdin Fard,
my attention was called to the fact that the Glasfryn family, of which
the Rev. J. C. Williams-Ellis is the head, have in their coat of arms
a mermaid, who is represented in the usual way, holding a comb in her
right hand and a mirror in her left. I had from the first expected
to find some kind of Undine or Liban story associated with the well
and the lake, though I had abstained from trying the risky effects of
leading questions; but when I heard of the heraldic mermaid I wrote
to Mr. Williams-Ellis to ask whether he knew her history. His words,
though not encouraging as regards the mermaid, soon convinced me that
I had not been wholly wrong in supposing that more folklore attached
to the well and lake than I had been able to discover. Since then
Mrs. Williams-Ellis has taken the trouble of collecting on the spot
all the items of tradition which she could find: she communicated them
to me in the month of March, 1899, and the following is an abstract
of them, preceded by a brief description of the ground:--

The well itself is at the foot of a very green field-bank at the
head of the lake, but not on the same level with it, as the lake
has had its waters lowered half a century or more ago by the outlet
having been cut deeper. Adjoining the field containing the well is
a larger field, which also slopes down to the lake and extends in
another direction to the grounds belonging to the house. This larger
field is called Cae'r Ladi, 'the Lady's Field,' and it is remarkable
for having in its centre an ancient standing stone, which, as seen
from the windows of the house, presents the appearance of a female
figure hurrying along, with the wind slightly swelling out her veil
and the skirt of her dress. Mr. Williams-Ellis remembers how when
he was a boy the stone was partially white-washed, and how an old
bonnet adorned the top of this would-be statue, and he thinks that
an old shawl used to be thrown over the shoulders.

Now as to Grassi, she is mostly regarded as a ghostly person somehow
connected with the lake and the house of Glasfryn. One story is to
the effect, that on a certain evening she forgot to close the well,
and that when the gushing waters had formed the lake, poor Grassi,
overcome with remorse, wandered up and down the high ground of Cae'r
Ladi, moaning and weeping. There, in fact, she is still at times to
be heard lamenting her fate, especially at two o'clock in the early
morning. Some people say that she is also to be seen about the lake,
which is now the haunt of some half a dozen swans. But on the whole
her visits appear to have been most frequent and troublesome at
the house itself. Several persons still living are mentioned, who
believe that they have seen her there, and two of them, Mrs. Jones
of Talafon, and old Sydney Griffith of Tydyn Bach, agree in the main
in their description of what they saw, namely, a tall lady with well
marked features and large bright eyes: she was dressed in white silk
and a white velvet bonnet. The woman, Sydney Griffith, thought that
she had seen the lady walking several times about the house and in
Cae'r Ladi. This comes, in both instances, from a young lady born
and bred in the immediate neighbourhood, and studying now at the
University College of North Wales; but Mrs. Williams-Ellis has had
similar accounts from other sources, and she mentions tenants of
Glasfryn who found it difficult to keep servants there, because they
felt that the place was haunted. In fact one of the tenants himself
felt so unsafe that he used to take his gun and his dog with him to
his bedroom at night; not to mention that when the Williams-Ellises
lived themselves, as they do still, in the house, their visitors have
been known to declare that they heard the strange plaintive cry out
of doors at two o'clock in the morning.

Traces also of a very different story are reported by
Mrs. Williams-Ellis, to the effect that when the water broke forth to
form the lake, the fairies seized Grassi and changed her into a swan,
and that she continued in that form to live on the lake sixscore years,
and that when at length she died, she loudly lamented her lot: that cry
is still to be heard at night. This story is in process apparently of
being rationalized; at any rate the young lady student, to whom I have
referred, remembers perfectly that her grandfather used to explain
to her and the other children at home that Grassi was changed into
a swan as a punishment for haunting Glasfryn, but that nevertheless
the old lady still visited the place, especially when there happened
to be strangers in the house. At the end of September last Mrs. Rhys
and I had the pleasure of spending a few days at Glasfryn, in the hope
of hearing the plaintive wail, and of seeing the lady in white silk
revisiting her familiar haunts. But alas! our sleep was never once
disturbed, nor was our peace once troubled by suspicions of anything
uncanny. This, however, is negative, and characterized by the usual
weakness of all such evidence.

It is now time to turn to another order of facts: in the first place
may be mentioned that the young lady student's grandmother used to
call the well Ffynnon Grâs Siôn Gruffud, as she had always heard that
Grâs was the daughter of a certain Siôn Gruffyd, 'John Griffith,'
who lived near the well; and Mrs. Williams-Ellis finds that Grâs was
buried, at a very advanced age, on December 14, 1743, at the parish
church of Llangybi, where the register describes her as Grace Jones,
alias Grace Jones Griffith. She had lived till the end at Glasfryn,
but from documents in the possession of the Glasfryn family it is
known that in 1728 Hugh Lloyd of Trallwyn purchased the house and
estate of Glasfryn from a son of Grace's, named John ab Cadwaladr,
and that Hugh Lloyd of Trallwyn's son, the Rev. William Lloyd,
sold them to Archdeacon Ellis, from whom they have descended to the
Rev. J. C. Williams-Ellis. In the light of these facts there is no
reason to connect the old lady's name very closely with the well or
the lake. She was once the dominant figure at Glasfryn, that is all;
and when she died she was as usual supposed to haunt the house and
its immediate surroundings; and if we might venture to suppose that
Glasfryn was sold by her son against her will, though subject to
conditions which enabled her to remain in possession of the place to
the day of her death, we should have a further explanation, perhaps,
of her supposed moaning and lamentation.

In the background, however, of the story, one detects the possibility
of another female figure, for it may be that the standing stone in
Cae'r Ladi represents a woman buried there centuries before Grace
ruled at Glasfryn, and that traditions about the earlier lady have
survived to be inextricably mixed with those concerning the later
one. Lastly, those traditions may have also associated the subject of
them with the well and the lake; but I wish to attach no importance
to this conjecture, as we have in reserve a third figure of larger
possibilities than either Grace or the stone woman. It needs no better
introduction than Mrs. Williams-Ellis' own words: 'Our younger boys
have a crew of three little Welsh boys who live near the lake, to
join them in their boat sailing about the pool and in camping on the
island, &c. They asked me once who Morgan was, whom the little boys
were always saying they were to be careful against. An old man living
at Tal Llyn, "Lake's End," a farm close by, says that as a boy he was
always told that "naughty boys would be carried off by Morgan into
the lake." Others tell me that Morgan is always held to be ready to
take off troublesome children, and somehow Morgan is thought of as a
bad one.' Now as Morgan carries children off into the pool, he would
seem to issue from the pool, and to have his home in it. Further, he
plays the same part as the fairies against whom a Snowdonian mother
used to warn her children: they were on no account to wander away
from the house when there was a mist, lest the fairies should carry
them to their home beneath Llyn Dwythwch. In other words, Morgan may
be said to act in the same way as the mermaid, who takes a sailor
down to her submarine home; and it explains to my mind a discussion
which I once heard of the name Morgan by a party of men and women
making hay one fine summer's day in the neighbourhood of Ponterwyd,
in North Cardiganshire. I was a child, but I remember vividly how
they teased one of their number whose 'style' was Morgan. They hinted
at dreadful things associated with the name; but it was all so vague
that I could not gather that his great unknown namesake was a thief,
a murderer, or any kind of ordinary criminal. The impression left
on my mind was rather the notion of something weird, uncanny, or
non-human; and the fact that the Welsh version of the Book of Common
Prayer calls the Pelagians Morganiaid, 'Morgans,' does not offer an
adequate explanation. But I now see clearly that it is to be sought
in the indistinct echo of such folklore as that which makes Morgan
a terror to children in the neighbourhood of the Glasfryn Lake.

The name, however, presents points of difficulty which require some
notice: the Welsh translators of Article IX in the Prayer Book were
probably wrong in making Pelagians into Morganiaid, as the Welsh
for Pelagius seems to have been rather Morien [164], which in its
oldest recorded form was Morgen, and meant sea-born, or offspring of
the sea. In a still earlier form it must have been Morigenos, with
a feminine Morigena, but when the endings came to be dropped both
vocables would become Morgen, later Morien. I do not remember coming
across a feminine Morgen in Welsh, but the presumption is that it
did exist. For, among other things, I may mention that we have it
in Irish as Muirgen, one of the names of the lake lady Liban, who,
when the waters of the neglected well rushed forth to form Lough
Neagh, lived beneath that lake until she desired to be changed into
a salmon. The same conclusion may be drawn from the name Morgain or
Morgan, given in the French romances to one or more water ladies;
for those names are easiest to explain as the Brythonic Morgen
borrowed from a Welsh or Breton source, unless one found it possible
to trace it direct to the Goidels of Wales. No sooner, however, had
the confusion taken place between Morgen and the name which is so
common in Wales as exclusively a man's name, than the aquatic figure
must also become male. That is why the Glasfryn Morgan is now a male,
and not a female like the other characters whose rôle he plays. But
while the name was in Welsh successively Morgen and Morien, the man's
name was Morcant, Morgant, or Morgan [165], so that, phonologically
speaking, no confusion could be regarded as possible between the
two series. Here, therefore, one detects the influence, doubtless,
of the French romances which spoke of a lake lady Morgain, Morgan,
or Morgue. The character varied: Morgain le Fay was a designing
and wicked person; but Morgan was also the name of a well disposed
lady of the same fairy kind, who took Arthur away to be healed at
her home in the Isle of Avallon. We seem to be on the track of the
same confusing influence of the name, when it occurs in the story of
Geraint and Enid; for there the chief physician of Arthur's court is
called Morgan Tut or Morgant Tut, and the word tut has been shown
by M. Loth to have meant the same sort of non-human being whom an
eleventh-century Life of St. Maudez mentions as quidam dæmon quem
Britones Tuthe appellant. Thus the name Morgan Tut is meant as the
Welsh equivalent of the French Morgain le Fay or Morgan la Fée [166];
but so long as the compiler of the story of Geraint and Enid employed
in his Welsh the form Morgan, he had practically no choice but to treat
the person called Morgan as a man, whether that was or was not the sex
in the original texts on which he was drawing. Of course he could have
avoided the difficulty in case he was aware of it, if he had found
some available formula in use like Mary-Morgant, said to be a common
name for a fairy on the island of Ouessant, off the coast of Brittany.

Summarizing the foregoing notes, we seem to be right in drawing the
following conclusions:--(1) The well was left in the charge of a woman
who forgot to shut it, and when she saw the water bursting forth,
she bewailed her negligence, as in the case of her counterpart in
the legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod. (2) The original name of the Glasfryn
'Morgan' was Morgen, later Morien. (3) The person changed into a swan
on the occasion of the Glasfryn well erupting was not Grassi, but most
probably Morgen. And (4) the character was originally feminine, like
that of the mermaid or the fairies, whose rôle the Glasfryn Morgan
plays; and more especially may one compare the Irish Muirgen, the
Morgen more usually called Líban. For it is to be noticed that when
the neglected well burst forth she, Muirgen or Líban, was not drowned
like the others involved in the calamity, but lived in her chamber at
the bottom of the lake formed by the overflowing well, until she was
changed into a salmon. In that form she lived on some three centuries,
until in fact she was caught in the net of a fisherman, and obtained
the boon of a Christian burial. However, the change into a swan is also
known on Irish ground: take for instance the story of the Children of
Lir, who were converted into swans by their stepmother, and lived in
that form on Loch Dairbhreach, in Westmeath, for three hundred years,
and twice as long on the open sea, until their destiny closed with
the advent of St. Patrick and the first ringing of a Christian bell
in Erin [167].

The next legend was kindly communicated to me by Mr. Wm. Davies already
mentioned at p. 147 above: he found it in Cyfaill yr Aelwyd [168],
"The Friend of the Hearth," where it is stated that it belonged to
David Jones' Storehouse of Curiosities, a collection which does
not seem to have ever assumed the form of a printed book. David
Jones, of Trefriw, in the Conwy Valley, was a publisher and poet
who wrote between 1750 and 1780. This is his story: 'In 1735 I had a
conversation with a man concerning Tegid Lake. He had heard from old
people that near the middle of it there was a well opposite Llangower,
and the well was called Ffynnon Gywer, "Cower's Well," and at that
time the town was round about the well. It was obligatory to place a
lid on the well every night. (It seems that in those days somebody
was aware that unless this was done it would prove the destruction
of the town.) But one night it was forgotten, and by the morning,
behold the town had subsided and the lake became three miles long
and one mile wide. They say, moreover, that on clear days some
people see the chimneys of the houses. It is since then that the
town was built at the lower end of the lake. It is called Y Bala
[169], and the man told me that he had talked with an old Bala man
who had, when he was a youth, had two days' mowing of hay [170]
between the road and the lake; but by this time the lake had spread
over that land and the road also, which necessitated the purchase of
land further away for the road; and some say that the town will yet
sink as far as the place called Llanfor--others call it Llanfawd,
"Drown-church," or Llanfawr, "Great-church," in Penllyn.... Further,
when the weather is stormy water appears oozing through every floor
within Bala, and at other times anybody can get water enough for the
use of his house, provided he dig a little into the floor of it.'

In reference to the idea that the town is to sink, together with
the neighbouring village of Llanfor, the writer quotes in a note the
couplet known still to everybody in the neighbourhood as follows:--

                Y Bala aeth, a'r Bala aiff,
                A Llanfor aiff yn Llyn.

                Bala old the lake has had, and Bala new
                The lake will have, and Llanfor too.

This probably implies that old Bala is beneath the lake, and that the
present Bala is to meet the like fate at some time to come. This kind
of prophecy is not very uncommon: thus there has been one current
as to the Montgomeryshire town of Pool, called, in Welsh, Trallwng
or Trallwm, and in English, Welshpool, to distinguish it from the
English town of Pool. As to Welshpool, a very deep water called Llyn
Du, lying between the town and the Castell Coch or Powys Castle,
and right in the domain of the castle, is suddenly to spread itself,
and one fine market day to engulf the whole place [171]. Further, when
I was a boy in North Cardiganshire, the following couplet was quite
familiar to me, and supposed to have been one of Merlin's prophecies:--

                Caer Fyrdin, cei oer fore;
                Daear a'th lwnc, dw'r i'th le.

                Carmarthen, a cold morn awaits thee;
                Earth gapes, and water in thy place will be.

In regard to the earlier half of the line, concerning Bala gone,
the story of Ffynnon Gywer might be said to explain it, but there is
another which is later and far better known. It is of the same kind
as the stories related in Welsh concerning Llynclys and Syfadon; but
I reserve it with these and others of the same sort for chapter vii.

For the next legend belonging here I have to thank the Rev. J. Fisher,
a native of the parish of Llandybïe, who, in spite of his name, is a
genuine Welshman, and--what is more--a Welsh scholar. The following are
his words:--'Llyn Llech Owen (the last word is locally sounded w-en,
like oo-en in English, as is also the personal name Owen) is on Mynyd
Mawr, in the ecclesiastical parish of Gors Lâs, and the civil parish of
Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire. It is a small lake, forming the source of
the Gwendraeth Fawr. I have heard the tradition about its origin told
by several persons, and by all, until quite recently, pretty much in
the same form. In 1884 I took it down from my grandfather, Rees Thomas
(b. 1809, d. 1892), of Cil Coll Llandebïe--a very intelligent man,
with a good fund of old-world Welsh lore--who had lived all his life
in the neighbouring parishes of Llandeilo Fawr and Llandybïe.

'The following is the version of the story (translated) as I had
it from him:--There was once a man of the name of Owen living on
Mynyd Mawr, and he had a well, "ffynnon." Over this well he kept a
large flag ("fflagen neu lech fawr": "fflagen" is the word in common
use now in these parts for a large flat stone), which he was always
careful to replace over its mouth after he had satisfied himself or
his beast with water. It happened, however, that one day he went on
horseback to the well to water his horse, and forgot to put the flag
back in its place. He rode off leisurely in the direction of his home;
but, after he had gone some distance, he casually looked back, and,
to his great astonishment, he saw that the well had burst out and
was overflowing the whole place. He suddenly bethought him that he
should ride back and encompass the overflow of the water as fast as
he could; and it was the horse's track in galloping round the water
that put a stop to its further overflow. It is fully believed that,
had he not galloped round the flood in the way he did, the well would
have been sure to inundate the whole district and drown all. Hence
the lake was called the Lake of Owen's Flag, "Llyn Llech Owen."

'I have always felt interested in this story, as it resembled that
about the formation of Lough Neagh, &c.; and, happening to meet the
Rev. D. Harwood Hughes, B.A., the vicar of Gors Lâs (St. Lleian's),
last August (1892), I asked him to tell me the legend as he had
heard it in his parish. He said that he had been told it, but in
a form different from mine, where the "Owen" was said to have been
Owen Glyndwr. This is the substance of the legend as he had heard
it:--Owen Glyndwr, when once passing through these parts, arrived here
of an evening. He came across a well, and, having watered his horse,
placed a stone over it in order to find it again next morning. He then
went to lodge for the night at Dyllgoed Farm, close by. In the morning,
before proceeding on his journey, he took his horse to the well to give
him water, but found to his surprise that the well had become a lake.'

Mr. Fisher goes on to mention the later history of the lake: how,
some eighty years ago, its banks were the resort on Sunday afternoons
of the young people of the neighbourhood, and how a Baptist preacher
put an end to their amusements and various kinds of games by preaching
at them. However, the lake-side appears to be still a favourite spot
for picnics and Sunday-school gatherings. Mr. Fisher was quite right in
appending to his own version that of his friend; but, from the point of
view of folklore, I must confess that I can make nothing of the latter:
it differs from the older one as much as chalk does from cheese. It
would be naturally gratifying to the pride of local topography to be
able to connect with the pool the name of Owen Glyndwr; but it is
worthy of note that this highly respectable attempt to rationalize
the legend wholly fails, as it does not explain why there is now a
lake where there was once but a well. In other words, the euhemerized
story is itself evidence corroborative of Mr. Fisher's older version,
which is furthermore kept in countenance by Howells' account, p. 104,
where we are told who the Owen in question was, namely, Owen Lawgoch,
a personage dear, as we shall see later, to the Welsh legend of the
district. He and his men had their abode in a cave on the northern
side of Mynyd Mawr, and while there Owen used, we are informed, to
water his steed at a fine spring covered with a large stone, which it
required the strength of a giant to lift. But one day he forgot to
replace it, and when he next sought the well he found the lake. He
returned to his cave and told his men what had happened. Thereupon
both he and they fell into a sleep, which is to last till it is
broken by the sound of a trumpet and the clang of arms on Rhiw Goch:
then they are to sally forth to conquer.

Now the story as told by Howells and Fisher provokes comparison,
as the latter suggests, with the Irish legend of the formation of
Lough Ree and of Lough Neagh in the story of the Death of Eochaid
McMaireda [172]. In both of these legends also there is a horse, a
kind of water-horse, who forms the well which eventually overflows and
becomes Lough Ree, and so with the still larger body of water known
as Lough Neagh. In the latter case the fairy well was placed in the
charge of a woman; but she one day left the cover of the well open,
and the catastrophe took place--the water issued forth and overflowed
the country. One of Eochaid's daughters, named Líban, however, was
not drowned, but only changed into a salmon as already mentioned at
p. 376 above. In my Arthurian Legend, p. 361, I have attempted to show
that the name Líban may have its Welsh equivalent in that of Llïon,
occurring in the name of Llyn Llïon, or Llïon's Lake, the bursting
of which is described in the latest series of Triads, iii. 13, 97,
as causing a sort of deluge. I am not certain as to the nature of
the relationship between those names, but it seems evident that the
stories have a common substratum, though it is to be noticed that
no well, fairy or otherwise, figures in the Llyn Llïon legend, which
makes the presence of the monster called the afanc the cause of the
waters bursting forth. So Hu the Mighty, with his team of famous oxen,
is made to drag the afanc out of the lake.

There is, however, another Welsh legend concerning a great overflow in
which a well does figure: I allude to that of Cantre'r Gwaelod, or the
Bottom Hundred, a fine spacious country supposed to be submerged in
Cardigan Bay. Modern euhemerism treats it as defended by embankments
and sluices, which, we are told, were in the charge of the prince
of the country, named Seithennin, who, being one day in his cups,
forgot to shut the sluices, and thus brought about the inundation,
which was the end of his fertile realm. This, however, is not the
old legend: that speaks of a well, and lays the blame on a woman--a
pretty sure sign of antiquity, as the reader may judge from other old
stories which will readily occur to him. The Welsh legend to which I
allude is embodied in a short poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen
[173]: it consists of eight triplets, to which is added a triplet
from the Englynion of the Graves. The following is the original with
a tentative translation:--

            Seithenhin sawde allan.
            ac edrychuirde varanres mor.
            maes guitnev rytoes.

            Boed emendiceid y morvin
            aehellygaut guydi cvin.
            finaun wenestir [174] mor terruin.

            Boed emendiceid y vachteith.
            ae . golligaut guydi gueith.
            finaun wenestir mor diffeith.

            Diaspad mererid y ar vann caer.
            hid ar duu y dodir.
            gnaud guydi traha trangc hir.

            Diaspad mererid . y ar van kaer hetiv.
            hid ar duu y dadoluch.
            gnaud guydi traha attreguch.

            Diaspad mererid am gorchuit heno.
            ac nimhaut gorlluit.
            gnaud guydi traha tramguit.

            Diaspad mererid y ar gwinev kadir
            kedaul duv ae gorev.
            gnaud guydi gormot eissev.

            Diaspad mererid . am kymhell heno
            y urth uyistauell.
            gnaud guydi traha trangc pell.

            Bet seithenhin synhuir vann
            rug kaer kenedir a glan.
            mor maurhidic a kinran.

            Seithennin, stand thou forth
            And see the vanguard of the main:
            Gwydno's plain has it covered.

            Accursed be the maiden
            Who let it loose after supping,
            Well cup-bearer of the mighty main.

            Accursed be the damsel
            Who let it loose after battle,
            Well minister of the high sea.

            Mererid's cry from a city's height,
            Even to God is it directed:
            After pride comes a long pause.

            Mererid's cry from a city's height to-day,
            Even to God her expiation:
            After pride comes reflection.

            Mererid's cry o'ercomes me to-night,
            Nor can I readily prosper:
            After pride comes a fall.

            Mererid's cry over strong wines,
            Bounteous God has wrought it:
            After excess comes privation.

            Mererid's cry drives me to-night
            From my chamber away:
            After insolence comes long death.

            Weak-witted Seithennin's grave is it
            Between Kenedyr's Fort and the shore,
            With majestic Mor's and Kynran's.

The names in these lines present great difficulties: first comes
that of Mererid, which is no other word than Margarita, 'a pearl,'
borrowed; but what does it here mean? Margarita, besides meaning
a pearl, was used in Welsh, e.g. under the form Marereda [175], as
the proper name written in English Margaret. That is probably how
it is to be taken here, namely, as the name given to the negligent
guardian of the fairy well. It cannot very well be, however, the
name belonging to the original form of the legend; and we have the
somewhat parallel case of Ffynnon Grassi, or Grace's Well; but what
old Celtic name that of Mererid has replaced in the story, I cannot
say. In the next place, nobody has been able to identify Caer Kenedyr,
and I have nothing to say as to Mor Maurhidic, except that a person of
that name is mentioned in another of the Englynion of the Graves. It
runs thus in the Black Book, fol. 33a:--

            Bet mor maurhidic diessic unben.
            post kinhen kinteic.
            mab peredur penwetic.

            The grave of Mor the Grand, ... prince,
            Pillar of the ... conflict,
            Son of Peredur of Penwedig.

The last name in the final triplet of the poem which I have attempted
to translate is Kinran, which is otherwise unknown as a Welsh name;
but I am inclined to identify it with that of one of the three
who escaped the catastrophe in the Irish legend. The name there is
Curnán, which was borne by the idiot of the family, who, like many
later idiots, was at the same time a prophet. For he is represented
as always prophesying that the waters were going to burst forth,
and as advising his friends to prepare boats. So he may be set,
after a fashion, over against our Seithenhin synhuir vann, 'S. of
the feeble mind.' But one might perhaps ask why I do not point out
an equivalent in Irish for the Welsh Seithennin, as his name is now
pronounced. The fact is that no such equivalent occurs in the Irish
story in question, nor exactly, so far as I know, in any other.

That is what I wrote when penning these notes; but it has occurred to
me since then, that there is an Irish name, an important Irish name,
which looks as if related to Seithenhin, and that is Setanta Beg, 'the
little Setantian,' the first name of the Irish hero Cúchulainn. The nt,
I may point out, makes one suspect that Setanta is a name of Brythonic
origin in Irish; and I have been in the habit of associating it with
that of the people of the Setantii [176], placed by Ptolemy on the
coast of what is now Lancashire. Whether any legend has ever been
current about a country submerged on the coast of Lancashire I cannot
say, but the soundings would make such a legend quite comprehensible. I
remember, however, reading somewhere as to the Plain of Muirthemhne,
of which Cúchulainn, our Setanta Beg, had special charge, that it
was so called because it had once been submarine and become since the
converse, so to say, of Seithennin's country. The latter is beneath
Cardigan Bay, while the other fringed the opposite side of the sea,
consisting as it did of the level portion of County Louth. On the
whole, I am not altogether indisposed to believe that we have here
traces of an ancient legend of a wider scope than is represented by
the Black Book triplets, which I have essayed to translate. I think
that I am right in recognizing that legend in the Mabinogi of Branwen,
daughter of Llyr. There we read that, when Brân and his men crossed
from Wales to Ireland, the intervening sea consisted merely of two
navigable rivers, called Lli and Archan. The story-teller adds words
to the effect, that it is only since then the sea has multiplied its
realms [177] between Ireland and Ynys y Kedyrn, or the Isle of the
Keiri, a name which has already been discussed: see pp. 279-83.

These are not all the questions which such stories suggest; for
Seithennin is represented in later Welsh literature as the son of
one Seithyn, associated with Dyfed; and the name Seithyn leads off
to the coast of Brittany. For I learn from a paper by the late M. le
Men, in the Revue Archéologique for 1872 (xxiii. 52), that the Île
de Sein is called in Breton Enez-Sun, in which Sun is a dialectic
shortening of Sizun, which is also met with as Seidhun. That being so,
one would seem to be right in regarding Sizun as nearly related to
our Seithyn. That is not all--the tradition reminds one of the Welsh
legend: M. le Men refers to the Vie du P. Maunoir by Boschet (Paris,
1697) p. 126, and adds that, in his own time, the road ending on
the Pointe du Raz opposite the Île de Sein passed 'pour être l'ancien
chemin qui conduisait à la ville d'Is (Kaer-a-Is, la ville de la partie
basse).' It is my own experience, that nobody can go about much in
Brittany without hearing over and over again about the submerged city
of Is. There is no doubt that we have in these names distant echoes of
an inundation story, once widely current in both Britains and perhaps
also in Ireland. With regard to Wales we have an indication to that
effect in the fact, that Gwydno, to whom the inundated region is
treated as having belonged, is associated not only with Cardigan Bay,
but also with the coast of North Wales, especially the part of it
situated between Bangor and Llandudno [178]. Adjoining it is supposed
to lie submerged a once fertile district called Tyno Helig, a legend
about which will come under notice later. This brings the inundation
story nearer to the coast where Ptolemy in the second century located
the Harbour of the Setantii, about the mouth of the river Ribble,
and in their name we seem to have some sort of a historical basis for
that of the drunken Seithennin [179]. I cannot close these remarks
better than by appending what Professor Boyd Dawkins has recently
said with regard to the sea between Britain and Ireland:--

'It may be interesting to remark further that during the time of
the Iberian dominion in Wales, the geography of the seaboard was
different to what it is now. A forest, containing the remains of their
domestic oxen that had run wild, and of the indigenous wild animals
such as the bear and the red deer, united Anglesey with the mainland,
and occupied the shallows of Cardigan Bay, known in legend as "the
lost lands of Wales." It extended southwards from the present sea
margin across the estuary of the Severn, to Somerset, Devon, and
Cornwall. It passed northwards across the Irish Sea off the coast
of Cheshire and Lancashire, and occupied Morecambe Bay with a dense
growth of oak, Scotch fir, alder, birch, and hazel. It ranged seawards
beyond the ten-fathom line, and is to be found on most shores beneath
the sand-banks and mud-banks, as for example at Rhyl and Cardiff. In
Cardigan Bay it excited the wonder of Giraldus de Barri [180].'

To return to fairy wells, I have to confess that I cannot decide what
may be precisely the meaning of the notion of a well with a woman set
carefully to see that the door or cover of the well is kept shut. It
will occur, however, to everybody to compare the well which Undine
wished to have kept shut, on account of its affording a ready access
from her subterranean country to the residence of her refractory knight
in his castle above ground. And in the case of the Glasfryn Lake, the
walling and cover that were to keep the spring from overflowing were,
according to the story, not water-tight, seeing that there were holes
made in one of the stones. This suggests the idea that the cover was
to prevent the passage of some such full-grown fairies as those with
which legend seems to have once peopled all the pools and tarns of
Wales. But, in the next place, is the maiden in charge of the well
to be regarded as priestess of the well? The idea of a priesthood in
connexion with wells in Wales is not wholly unknown.

I wish, however, before discussing these instances, to call attention
to one or two Irish ones which point in another direction. Foremost
may be mentioned the source of the river Boyne, which is now
called Trinity Well, situated in the Barony of Carbury, in County
Kildare. The following is the Rennes Dindsenchas concerning it, as
translated by Dr. Stokes, in the Revue Celtique, xv. 315-6:--'Bóand,
wife of Nechtán son of Labraid, went to the secret well which was
in the green of Síd Nechtáin. Whoever went to it would not come from
it without his two eyes bursting, unless it were Nechtán himself and
his three cup-bearers, whose names were Flesc and Lám and Luam. Once
upon a time Bóand went through pride to test the well's power,
and declared that it had no secret force which could shatter her
form, and thrice she walked withershins round the well. (Whereupon)
three waves from the well break over her and deprive her of a thigh
[? wounded her thigh] and one of her hands and one of her eyes. Then
she, fleeing her shame, turns seaward, with the water behind her as
far as Boyne-mouth, (where she was drowned).' This is to explain why
the river is called Bóand, 'Boyne.' A version to the same effect in
the Book of Leinster, fol. 191a, makes the general statement that no
one who gazed right into the well could avoid the instant ruin of
his two eyes or otherwise escape with impunity. A similar story is
related to show how the Shannon, in Irish Sinann, Sinand, or Sinend,
is called after a woman of that name. It occurs in the same Rennes
manuscript, and the following is Stokes' translation in the Revue
Celtique, xv. 457:--'Sinend, daughter of Lodan Lucharglan son of Ler
out of Tir Tairngire (Land of Promise, Fairyland), went to Connla's
Well, which is under sea, to behold it. That is a well at which are
the hazels and inspirations (?) of wisdom, that is, the hazels of the
science of poetry, and in the same hour their fruit and their blossom
and their foliage break forth, and these fall on the well in the same
shower, which raises on the water a royal surge of purple. Then the
salmon chew the fruit, and the juice of the nuts is apparent on their
purple bellies. And seven streams of wisdom spring forth and turn there
again. Now Sinend went to seek the inspiration, for she wanted nothing
save only wisdom. She went with the stream till she reached Linn Mna
Feile, "the Pool of the Modest Woman," that is Bri Ele--and she went
ahead on her journey; but the well left its place, and she followed it
[181] to the banks of the river Tarr-cáin, "Fair-back." After this
it overwhelmed her, so that her back (tarr) went upwards, and when
she had come to the land on this side (of the Shannon) she tasted
death. Whence Sinann and Linn Mna Feile and Tarr-cain.'

In these stories the reader will have noticed that the foremost
punishment on any intruder who looked into the forbidden well was
the instant ruin of his two eyes. One naturally asks why the eyes
are made the special objects of the punishment, and I am inclined to
think the meaning to have originally been that the well or spring was
regarded as the eye of the divinity of the water. Should this prove
well founded it looks natural that the eyes, which transgressed by
gazing into the eye of the divinity, should be the first objects of
that divinity's vengeance. This is suggested to me by the fact that
the regular Welsh word for the source of a river is llygad, Old Welsh
licat, 'eye,' as for instance in the case of Licat Amir mentioned by
Nennius, § 73; of Llygad Llychwr, 'the source of the Loughor river'
in the hills behind Carreg Cennen Castle; and of the weird lake in
which the Rheidol [182] rises near the top of Plinlimmon: it is called
Llyn Llygad y Rheidol, 'the Lake of the Rheidol's Eye.' By the way,
the Rheidol is not wholly without its folklore, for I used to be told
in my childhood, that she and the Wye and the Severn sallied forth
simultaneously from Plinlimmon one fine morning to run a race to the
sea. The result was, one was told, that the Rheidol won great honour
by reaching the sea three weeks before her bigger sisters. Somebody
has alluded to the legend in the following lines:--

            Tair afon gynt a rifwyd
            Ar dwyfron Pumlumon lwyd,
            Hafren a Gwy'n hyfryd ei gwed,
            A'r Rheidol fawr ei hanrhyded.

            Three rivers of yore were seen
            On grey Plinlimmon's breast,
            Severn, and Wye of pleasant mien,
            And Rheidol rich in great renown.

To return to the Irish legends, I may mention that Eugene O'Curry
has a good deal to say of the mysterious nuts and 'the salmon of
knowledge,' the partaking of which was synonymous with the acquisition
of knowledge and wisdom: see his Manners and Customs of the Ancient
Irish, ii. 142-4. He gives it as his opinion that Connla's Well was
situated somewhere in Lower Ormond; but the locality of this Helicon,
with the seven streams of wisdom circulating out of it and back again
into it, is more intelligible when regarded as a matter of fairy
geography. A portion of the note appended to the foregoing legend by
Stokes is in point here: he traces the earliest mention of the nine
hazels of wisdom, growing at the heads of the chief rivers of Ireland,
to the Dialogue of the Two Sages in the Book of Leinster, fol. 186b,
whence he cites the poet Néde mac Adnai saying whence he had come,
as follows:--a caillib .i. a nói collaib na Segsa ... a caillib
didiu assa mbenaiter clessa na súad tanacsa, 'from hazels, to wit,
from the nine hazels of the Segais ... from hazels out of which are
obtained the feats of the sages, I have come.' The relevancy of this
passage will be seen when I add, that Segais was one of the names
of the mound in which the Boyne rises; so it may be safely inferred
that Bóand's transgression was of the same nature as that of Sinand,
to wit, that of intruding on sacred ground in quest of wisdom and
inspiration which was not permitted their sex: certain sources of
knowledge, certain quellen, were reserved for men alone.

Before I have done with the Irish instances I must append one in the
form it was told me in the summer of 1894: I was in Meath and went
to see the remarkable chambered cairns on the hill known as Sliabh na
Caillighe, 'the Hag's Mountain,' near Oldcastle and Lough Crew. I had
as my guide a young shepherd whom I picked up on the way. He knew all
about the hag after whom the hill was called except her name: she was,
he said, a giantess, and so she brought there, in three apronfuls,
the stones forming the three principal cairns. As to the cairn on
the hill point known as Belrath, that is called the Chair Cairn from
a big stone placed there by the hag to serve as her seat when she
wished to have a quiet look on the country round. But usually she
was to be seen riding on a wonderful pony she had: that creature was
so nimble and strong that it used to take the hag at a leap from one
hill-top to another. However, the end of it all was that the hag rode
so hard that the pony fell down, and that both horse and rider were
killed. The hag appears to have been Cailleach Bhéara, or Caillech
Bérre, 'the Old Woman of Beare,' that is, Bearhaven, in County Cork
[183]. Now the view from the Hag's Mountain is very extensive, and
I asked the shepherd to point out some places in the distance. Among
other things we could see Lough Ramor, which he called the Virginia
Water, and more to the west he identified Lough Sheelin, about which
he had the following legend to tell:--A long, long time ago there
was no lake there, but only a well with a flagstone kept over it,
and everybody would put the flag back after taking water out of the
well. But one day a woman who fetched water from it forgot to replace
the stone, and the water burst forth in pursuit of the luckless woman,
who fled as hard as she could before the angry flood. She continued
until she had run about seven miles--the estimated length of the
lake at the present day. Now at this point a man, who was busily
mowing hay in the field through which she was running, saw what
was happening and mowed the woman down with his scythe, whereupon
the water advanced no further. Such was the shepherd's yarn, which
partly agrees with the Boyne and Shannon stories in that the woman
was pursued by the water, which only stopped where she died. On
the other hand, it resembles the Llyn Llech Owen legend and that
of Lough Neagh in placing to the woman's charge only the neglect to
cover the well. It looks as if we had in these stories a confusion
of two different institutions, one being a well of wisdom which no
woman durst visit without fatal vengeance overtaking her, and the
other a fairy well which was attended to by a woman who was to keep
it covered, and who may, perhaps, be regarded as priestess of the
spring. If we try to interpret the Cantre'r Gwaelod story from these
two points of view we have to note the following matters:--Though it is
not said that the moruin, or damsel, had a lid or cover on the well,
the word golligaut or helligaut, 'did let run,' implies some such an
idea as that of a lid or door; for opening the sluices, in the sense
of the later version, seems to me out of the question. In two of the
Englynion she is cursed for the action implied, and if she was the
well minister or well servant, as I take finaun wenestir to mean,
we might perhaps regard her as the priestess of that spring. On the
other hand, the prevailing note in the other Englynion is the traha,
'presumption, arrogance, insolence, pride,' which forms the burden
of four out of five of them. This would seem to point to an attitude
on the part of the damsel resembling that of Bóand or Sinand when
prying into the secrets of wells which were tabu to them. The seventh
Englyn alludes to wines, and its burden is gormod, 'too much, excess,
extravagance,' whereby the poet seems to lend countenance to some
such a later story as that of Seithennin's intemperance.

Lastly, the question of priest or priestess of a sacred well has
been alluded to once or twice, and it may be perhaps illustrated on
Welsh ground by the history of Ffynnon Eilian, or St. Elian's Well,
which has been mentioned in another context, p. 357 above. Of that
well we read as follows, s. v. Llandrillo, in the third edition of
Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales:--'Fynnon Elian, ... even in
the present age, is frequently visited by the superstitious, for the
purpose of invoking curses upon the heads of those who have grievously
offended them, and also of supplicating prosperity to themselves;
but the numbers are evidently decreasing. The ceremony is performed by
the applicant standing upon a certain spot near the well, whilst the
owner of it reads a few passages of the sacred Scriptures, and then,
taking a small quantity of water, gives it to the former to drink,
and throws the residue over his head, which is repeated three times,
the party continuing to mutter imprecations in whatever terms his
vengeance may dictate.' Rice Rees, in his Essay on the Welsh Saints
(London, 1836), p. 267, speaks of St. Elian as follows: 'Miraculous
cures were lately supposed to be performed at his shrine at Llanelian,
Anglesey; and near to the church of Llanelian, Denbighshire, is a
well called Ffynnon Elian, which is thought by the peasantry of the
neighbourhood to be endued with miraculous powers even at present.'

Foulkes, s. v. Elian, in his Enwogion Cymru, published in Liverpool
in 1870, expresses the opinion that the visits of the superstitious
to the well had ceased for some time. The last person supposed to have
had charge of the well was a certain John Evans, but some of the most
amusing stories of the shrewdness of the caretaker refer to a woman
who had charge of the well before Evans' time. A series of articles on
Ffynnon Eilian appeared in 1861 in a Welsh periodical called Y Nofelyd,
printed by Mr. Aubrey at Llanerch y Med, in Anglesey. The articles
in question were afterwards published, I am told, as a shilling book,
which I have not seen, and they dealt with the superstition, with the
history of John Evans, and with his confessions and conversion. I
have searched in vain for any account in Welsh of the ritual
followed at the well. When Mrs. Silvan Evans visited the place,
the person in charge of the well was a woman, and Peter Roberts,
in his Cambrian Popular Antiquities, published in London in 1815,
alludes to her or a predecessor of hers in the following terms,
p. 246:--'Near the Well resided some worthless and infamous wretch,
who officiated as priestess.' He furthermore gives one to understand
that she kept a book in which she registered the name of each evil
wisher for a trifling sum of money. When this had been done, a pin was
dropped into the well in the name of the victim. This proceeding looks
adequate from the magical point of view, though less complicated than
the ritual indicated by Lewis. This latter writer calls the person who
took charge of the well the owner; and I have always understood that,
whether owner or not, he or she used to receive gifts, not only for
placing in the well the names of men who were to be cursed, but also
from those men for taking their names out again, so as to relieve them
from the malediction. In fact, the trade in curses seems to have been
a very thriving one: its influence was powerful and widespread.

Here there is, I think, very little doubt that the owner or guardian of
the well was, so to say, the representative of an ancient priesthood
of the well. That priesthood dated its origin probably many centuries
before a Christian church was built near the well, and coming down
to later times we have unfortunately no sufficient data to show how
the right to such priesthood was acquired, whether by inheritance or
otherwise; but we know that a woman might have charge of St. Elian's

Let me cite another instance, which I unexpectedly discovered
some years ago in the course of a ramble in quest of
early inscriptions. Among other places which I visited was
Llandeilo Llwydarth, near Maen Clochog, in the northern part of
Pembrokeshire. This is one of the many churches bearing the name of
St. Teilo in South Wales: the building is in ruins, but the churchyard
is still used, and contains two of the most ancient post-Roman
inscriptions in the Principality. If you ask now for 'Llandeilo'
in this district, you will be understood to be inquiring after the
farm house of that name, close to the old church; and I learnt from
the landlady that her family had been there for many generations,
though they have not very long been the proprietors of the land. She
also told me of St. Teilo's Well, a little above the house: she
added that it was considered to have the property of curing the
whooping-cough. I asked if there was any rite or ceremony necessary
to be performed in order to derive benefit from the water. Certainly,
I was told: the water must be lifted out of the well and given to the
patient to drink by some member of the family. To be more accurate, I
ought to say that this must be done by somebody born in the house. Her
eldest son, however, had told me previously, when I was busy with the
inscriptions, that the water must be given to the patient by the heir,
not by anybody else. Then came my question how the water was lifted,
or out of what the patient had to drink, to which I was answered
that it was out of the skull. 'What skull?' said I. 'St. Teilo's
skull,' was the answer. 'Where do you get the saint's skull?' I
asked. 'Here it is,' was the answer, and I was given it to handle
and examine. I know next to nothing about skulls; but it struck me
that it was the upper portion of a thick, strong skull, and it called
to my mind the story of the three churches which contended for the
saint's corpse. That story will be found in the Book of Llan Dâv,
pp. 116-7, and according to it the contest became so keen that it
had to be settled by prayer and fasting. So, in the morning, lo and
behold! there were three corpses of St. Teilo--not simply one--and so
like were they in features and stature that nobody could tell which
were the corpses made to order and which the old one. I should have
guessed that the skull which I saw belonged to the former description,
as not having been much thinned by the owner's use of it; but this I
am forbidden to do by the fact that, according to the legend, this
particular Llandeilo was not one of the three contending churches
which bore away in triumph a dead Teilo each. The reader, perhaps,
would like to take another view, namely, that the story has been
edited in such a way as to reduce a larger number of Teilos to three,
in order to gratify the Welsh weakness for triads.

Since my visit to the neighbourhood I have been favoured with an
account of the well as it is now current there. My informant is
Mr. Benjamin Gibby of Llangolman Mill, who writes mentioning, among
other things, that the people around call the well Ffynnon yr Ychen,
or the Oxen's Well, and that the family owning and occupying the
farm house of Llandeilo have been there for centuries. Their name,
which is Melchior (pronounced Melshor), is by no means a common one in
the Principality, so far as I know; but, whatever may be its history
in Wales, the bearers of it are excellent Kymry. Mr. Gibby informs
me that the current story solves the difficulty as to the saint's
skull as follows:--The saint had a favourite maid servant from the
Pembrokeshire Llandeilo: she was a beautiful woman, and had the
privilege of attending on the saint when he was on his death-bed. As
his end was approaching he gave his maid a strict and solemn command
that in a year's time from the day of his burial at Llandeilo Fawr,
in Carmarthenshire, she was to take his skull to the other Llandeilo,
and to leave it there to be a blessing to coming generations of men,
who, when ailing, would have their health restored by drinking water
out of it. So the belief prevailed that to drink out of the skull
some of the water of Teilo's Well ensured health, especially against
the whooping-cough. The faith of some of those who used to visit
the well was so great in its efficacy, that they were wont to leave
it, he says, with their constitutions wonderfully improved; and he
mentions a story related to him by an old neighbour, Stifyn Ifan,
who has been dead for some years, to the effect that a carriage,
drawn by four horses, came once, more than half a century ago, to
Llandeilo. It was full of invalids coming from Pen Clawd, in Gower,
Glamorganshire, to try the water of the well. They returned, however,
no better than they came; for though they had drunk of the well, they
had neglected to do so out of the skull. This was afterwards pointed
out to them by somebody, and they resolved to make the long journey
to the well again. This time they did the right thing, we are told,
and departed in excellent health.

Such are the contents of Mr. Gibby's Welsh letter; and I would now
only point out that we have here an instance of a well which was
probably sacred before the time of St. Teilo: in fact, one would
possibly be right in supposing that the sanctity of the well and its
immediate surroundings was one of the causes why the site was chosen by
a Christian missionary. But consider for a moment what has happened:
the well paganism has annexed the saint, and established a belief
ascribing to him the skull used in the well ritual. The landlady and
her family, it is true, neither believe in the efficacy of the well,
nor take gifts from those who visit the well; but they continue, out
of kindness, as they put it, to hand the skull full of water to any
one who perseveres in believing in it. In other words, the faith in
the well continues in a measure intact, while the walls of the church
have long fallen into utter decay. Such is the great persistence of
some primitive beliefs; and in this particular instance we have a
succession which seems to point unmistakably to an ancient priesthood
of a sacred spring.


[1] As to the spelling of Welsh names, it may be pointed out for the
benefit of English readers that Welsh f has the sound of English v,
while the sound of English f is written ff (and ph) in Welsh, and
however strange it may seem to them that the written f should be
sounded v, it is borrowed from an old English alphabet which did
so likewise more or less systematically. Th in such English words
as thin and breath is written th, but the soft sound as in this and
breathe is usually printed in Welsh dd and written in modern Welsh
manuscript sometimes like a small Greek delta: this will be found
represented by d in the Welsh extracts edited by me in this
volume.--J. R.

[2] 'Blaensawde, or the upper end of the river Sawde, is situate about
three-quarters of a mile south-east from the village of Llandeusant. It
gives its name to one of the hamlets of that parish. The Sawde has
its source in Llyn y Fan Fach, which is nearly two miles distant from
Blaensawde House.'

[3] The rendering might be more correctly given thus: 'O thou of the
crimped bread, it is not easy to catch me.'--J. R.

[4] 'Mydfai parish was, in former times, celebrated for its fair
maidens, but whether they were descendants of the Lady of the Lake
or otherwise cannot be determined. An old pennill records the fact
of their beauty thus:--

            Mae eira gwyn
            Ar ben y bryn,
            A'r glasgoed yn y Ferdre,
            Mae bedw mân
            Ynghoed Cwm-brân,
            A merched glân yn Mydfe.

Which may be translated,

            There is white snow
            On the mountain's brow,
            And greenwood at the Verdre,
            Young birch so good
            In Cwm-brân wood,
            And lovely girls in Mydfe.'

[5] Similarly this should be rendered: 'O thou of the moist bread,
I will not have thee.'--J. R.

[6] In the best Demetian Welsh this word would be hwedel, and in the
Gwentian of Glamorgan it is gwedel, mutated wedel, as may be heard
in the neighbourhood of Bridgend.--J. R.

[7] This is not generally accepted, as some Welsh antiquarians
find reasons to believe that Dafyd ap Gwilym was buried at Strata
Florida.--J. R.

[8] This is not quite correct, as I believe that Dr. C. Rice Williams,
who lives at Aberystwyth, is one of the Medygon. That means the year
1881, when this chapter was written, excepting the portions concerning
which the reader is apprised of a later date.--J. R.

[9] Later it will be seen that the triban in the above form was meant
for neither of the two lakes, though it would seem to have adapted
itself to several. In the case of the Fan Fach Lake the town meant
must have been Carmarthen, and the couplet probably ran thus:

            Os na cha'i lonyd yn ym lle,
            Fi foda dre' Garfyrdin.

[10] Llwch is the Goidelic word loch borrowed, and Llyn Cwm y Llwch
literally means the Lake of the Loch Dingle.

[11] I make no attempt to translate these lines, but I find that
Mr. Llewellyn Williams has found a still more obscure version of them,
as follows:--

            Prw med, prw med, prw'r gwartheg i dre',
            Prw milfach a malfach, pedair llualfach,
            Llualfach ac Acli, pedair lafi,
            Lafi a chromwen, pedair nepwen,
            Nepwen drwynog, brech yn llyn a gwaun dodyn,
            Tair bryncethin, tair cyffredin,
            Tair caseg du, draw yn yr eithin;
            Dewch i gyd i lys y brenin.

[12] The Ty-fry is a house said to be some 200 years old, and situated
about two miles from Rhonda Fechan: more exactly it is about one-fourth
of a mile from the station of Ystrad Rhonda, and stands at the foot
of Mynyd yr Eglwys on the Treorky side. It is now surrounded by the
cottages of colliers, one of whom occupies it. For this information
I have to thank Mr. Probert Evans.

[13] It is to be borne in mind that the sound of h is uncertain
in Glamorgan pronunciation, whether the language used is Welsh or
English. The pronunciation indicated, however, by Mr. Evans comes
near enough to the authentic form written Elfarch.

[14] In the Snowdon district of Gwyned the call is drwi, drwi, drw-i
bach, while in North Cardiganshire it is trwi, trwi, trw-e fach, also
pronounced sometimes with a surd r, produced by making the breath cause
both lips to vibrate--tR'wi, tR'wi, which can hardly be distinguished
from pR'wi, pR'wi. For the more forcibly the lips are vibrated the
more difficult it becomes to start by closing them to pronounce p:
so the tendency with R' is to make the preceding consonant into some
kind of a t.

[15] This is the Welsh form of the borrowed name Jane, and its
pronunciation in North Cardiganshire is Siân, with si pronounced
approximately like the ti of such French words as nation and the
like; but of late years I find the si made into English sh under
the influence, probably, to some extent of the English taught at
school. This happens in North Wales, even in districts where there
are still plenty of people who cannot approach the English words
fish and shilling nearer than fiss and silling. Siôn and Siân
represent an old importation of English John and Jane, but they are
now considered old-fashioned and superseded by John and Jane, which
I learned to pronounce Dsiòn and Dsiên, except that Siôn survives
as a family name, written Shone, in the neighbourhood of Wrexham.

[16] This term dafad (or dafaden), 'a sheep,' also used for 'a wart,'
and dafad (or dafaden) wyllt, literally 'a wild sheep,' for cancer
or epithelioma, raises a question which I am quite unable to answer:
why should a wart have been likened to a sheep?

[17] The name is probably a shortening of Cawellyn, and that perhaps
of Cawell-lyn, 'Creel or Basket Lake.' Its old name is said to have
been Llyn Tardenni.

[18] Tyn is a shortening of tydyn, which is not quite forgotten in
the case of Tyn Gadlas or Tyn Siarlas (for Tydyn Siarlys), 'Charles'
Tenement,' in the immediate neighbourhood. Similarly the Anglesey
Farm of Tyn yr Onnen used at one time to be Tydyn yr Onnen in the
books of Jesus College, Oxford, to which it belongs.

[19] That is the pronunciation which I have learnt at Llanberis,
but there is another, which I have also heard, namely Derwenyd.

[20] Ystrad is the Welsh corresponding to Scotch strath, and it is
nearly related to the English word strand. It means the flat land
near a river.

[21] Betws (or Bettws) Garmon seems to mean Germanus's Bede-hus or
House of Prayer, but Garmon can hardly have come down in Welsh from
the time of the famous saint in the fifth century, as it would then
have probably yielded Gerfon and not Garmon: it looks as if it had
come through the Goidelic of this country.

[22] One of the rare merits of our Welsh bards is their habit of
assuming permanent noms de plume, by means of which they prevent a
number of excellent native names from falling into utter oblivion
in the general chaos of Anglo-Hebrew ones, such as Jones, Davies,
and Williams, which cover the Principality. Welsh place-names have
similarly been threatened by Hebrew names of chapels, such as Bethesda,
Rehoboth, and Jerusalem, but in this direction the Jewish mania has
only here and there effected permanent mischief.

[23] The Brython was a valuable Welsh periodical published by
Mr. Robert Isaac Jones, at Tremadoc, in the years 1858-1863, and
edited by the Rev. Chancellor Silvan Evans, who was then the curate
of Llangïan in Lleyn: in fact he was curate for fourteen years! His
excellent work in editing the Brython earned for him his diocesan's
displeasure, but it is easier to imagine than to describe how hard it
was for him to resign the honorarium of £24 derived from the Brython
when his stipend as a clergyman was only £92, at the same time that
he had dependent on him a wife and six children. However much some
people affect to laugh at the revival of the national spirit in Wales,
we have, I think, got so far as to make it, for some time to come,
impossible for a Welsh clergyman to be snubbed on account of his
literary tastes or his delight in the archæology of his country.

[24] This parish is called after a saint named Tegái or Tygái, like
Tyfaelog and Tysilio, and though the accent rests on the final syllable
nothing could prevent the grammarian Huw Tegai and his friends from
making it into Tégai in Huw's name.

[25] For can they now usually put Ann, and Mr. Hughes remembers
hearing it so many years ago.

[26] I remember seeing a similar mound at Llanfyrnach, in
Pembrokeshire; and the last use made of the hollow on the top of this
also is supposed to have been for cock-fights.

[27] My attention has also been called to freit, frete, freet,
fret, 'news, inquiry, augury,' corresponding to Anglo-Saxon freht,
'divination.' But the disparity of meaning seems to stand in the way
of our ffrit being referred to this origin.

[28] The Oxford Mabinogion, p. 63; Guest, iii. 223.

[29] See the Itinerarium Kambriæ, i. 2 (pp. 33-5), and Celtic Britain,
p. 64.

[30] As for example in the Archæologia Cambrensis for 1870, pp. 192-8;
see also 1872, pp. 146-8.

[31] Howells has also an account of Llyn Savadhan, as he writes it:
see his Cambrian Superstitions, pp. 100-2, where he quaintly says that
the story of the wickedness of the ancient lord of Syfadon is assigned
as the reason why 'the superstitious little river Lewenny will not mix
its water with that of the lake.' Lewenny is a reckless improvement
of Mapes' Leueni (printed Lenem); and Giraldus' Clamosum implies
an old spelling Llefni, pronounced the same as the later spelling
Llyfni, which is now made into Llynfi or Llynvi: the river so called
flows through the lake and into the Wye at Glasbury. As to Safadan
or Syfadon, it is probably of Goidelic origin, and to be identified
with such an Irish name as the feminine Samthann: see Dec. 19 in the
Martyrologies. To keep within our data, we are at liberty to suppose
that this was the name of the wicked princess in the story, and that
she was the ancestress of a clan once powerful on and around the lake,
which lies within a Goidelic area indicated by its Ogam inscriptions.

[32] These were held, so far as I can gather from the descriptions
usually given of them, exactly as I have seen a kermess or kirchmesse
celebrated at Heidelberg, or rather the village over the Neckar
opposite that town. It was in 1869, but I forget what saint it was with
whose name the kermess was supposed to be connected: the chief features
of it were dancing and beer drinking. It was by no means unusual for
a Welsh Gwyl Fabsant to bring together to a rural neighbourhood far
more people than could readily be accommodated; and in Carnarvonshire
a hurriedly improvised bed is to this day called gwely g'l'absant,
as it were 'a bed (for the time) of a saint's festival.' Rightly
or wrongly the belief lingers that these merry gatherings were
characterized by no little immorality, which made the better class
of people set their faces against them.

[33] Since the editing of this volume was begun I have heard that it
is intended to publish the Welsh collection which Mr. Jones has made:
so I shall only give a translation of the Edward Llwyd version of
the afanc story: see section v. of this chapter.

[34] This word is not in Welsh dictionaries, but it is Scotch and
Manx Gaelic, and is possibly a remnant of the Goidelic once spoken
in Gwyned.

[35] Our charlatans never leave off trying to make this into Tryfaen so
as to extract maen, 'stone,' from it. They do not trouble themselves
to find out whether it ever was Tryfaen or not: in fact they rather
like altering everything as much as they can.

[36] Ystrádllyn, with the accent on the penult, is commonly pronounced
Strállyn, and means 'the strand of the lake,' and the hollow is
named after it Cwm Strállyn, and the lake in it Llyn Cwm Strállyn,
which literally means 'the Lake of the Combe of the Strand of the
Lake'--all seemingly for the luxury of forgetting the original name
of the lake, which I have never been able to ascertain.

[37] So Mr. Jones puts it: I have never heard of any other part of
the Principality where the children are usually baptized before they
are eight days old.

[38] I cannot account for this spelling, but the ll in Bellis is
English ll, not the Welsh ll, which represents a sound very different
from that of l.

[39] Where not stated otherwise, as in this instance, the reader is
to regard this chapter as written in the latter part of the year 1881.

[40] See Giraldus' Itinerarium Kambriæ, i. 8 (pp. 75-8); some
discussion of the whole story will be found in chapter iii of this

[41] Dr. Moore explains this to be cabbages and potatoes, pounded
and mixed with butter or lard.

[42] It would be interesting to know what has become of this letter
and others of Llwyd's once in the possession of the canon, for it is
not to be supposed that the latter ever took the trouble to make an
accurate copy of them any more than he did of any other MSS.

[43] There is also a Sarn yr Afanc, 'the Afanc's Stepping Stones,'
on the Ogwen river in Nant Ffrancon: see Pennant's Tours in Wales,
iii. 101.

[44] The oxen should accordingly have been called Ychain Pannog;
but the explanation is not to be taken seriously. These oxen will
come under the reader's notice again, to wit in chapter x.

[45] The lines are copied exactly as given at p. 189 (I. vi. 25-30)
of The Poetical Works of Lewis Glyn Cothi, edited for the Cymmrodorion
by Gwallter Mechain and Tegid, and printed at Oxford in the year 1837.

[46] This, I should say, must be a mistake, as it contradicts all
the folklore which makes the rowan an object of dread to the fairies.

[47] See Choice Notes from 'Notes and Queries' (London, 1859), p. 147.

[48] It is more likely that it is a shortening of Llyn y Barfog,
meaning the Lake of the Bearded One, Lacus Barbati as it were, the
Bearded One being somebody like the hairy monster of another lake
mentioned at p. 18 above, or him of the white beard pictured at p. 127.

[49] So far from afanc meaning a crocodile, an afanc is represented in
the story of Peredur as a creature that would cast at every comer a
poisoned spear from behind a pillar standing at the mouth of the cave
inhabited by it; see the Oxford Mabinogion, p. 224. The corresponding
Irish word is abhac, which according to O'Reilly means 'a dwarf,
pigmy, manikin; a sprite.'

[50] I should not like to vouch for the accuracy of Mr. Pughe's
rendering of this and the other Welsh names which he has introduced:
that involves difficult questions.

[51] The writer meant the river known as Dyfi or Dovey; but he would
seem to have had a water etymology on the brain.

[52] This involves the name of the river called Disynni, and Diswnwy
embodies a popular etymology which is not worth discussing.

[53] It would, I think, be a little nearer the mark as follows:--

            Come thou, Einion's Yellow One,
            Stray-horns, the Particoloured Lake Cow,
            And the Hornless Dodin:
            Arise, come home.

But one would like to know whether Dodin ought not rather to be
written Dodyn, to rhyme with Llyn.

[54] Hywel's real name is William Davies, Tal y Bont, Cardiganshire. As
adjudicator I became acquainted with several stories which Mr. Davies
has since given me permission to use, and I have to thank him for
clues to several others.

[55] Or Llech y Deri, as Mr. Williams tells me in a letter, where
he adds that he does not know the place, but that he took it to be
in the Hundred of Cemmes, in North-west Pembrokeshire. I take Llech
y Derwyd to be fictitious; but I have not succeeded in finding any
place called by the other name either.

[56] Perhaps the more usual thing is for the man returning from Faery
to fall into dust on the spot: see later in this chapter the Curse of
Pantannas, which ends with an instance in point, and compare Howells,
pp. 142, 146.

[57] B. Davies, that is, Benjamin Davies, who gives this tale, was,
as I learn from Gwynionyd, a native of Cenarth. He was a schoolmaster
for about twelve years, and died in October, 1859, at Merthyr, near
Carmarthen: he describes him as a good and intelligent man.

[58] This is ordinarily written Cenarth, the name of a parish on
the Teifi, where the three counties of Cardigan, Pembroke, and
Carmarthen meet.

[59] The name Llan Dydoch occurs in the Bruts, A.D. 987 and 1089,
and is the one still in use in Welsh; but the English St. Dogmael's
shows that it is derived from that of Dogfael's name when the mutation
consonant f or v was still written m. In Welsh the name of the saint
has been worn down to Dogwel, as in St. Dogwell's near Fishguard, and
Llandogwel in Llanrhudlad parish in Anglesey: see Reece's Welsh Saints,
p. 211. It points back to an early Brythonic form Doco-maglos, with
doco of the same origin as Latin dux, ducis, 'a leader,' and maglo-s =
Irish mal, 'a lord or prince.' Dogfael's name assumes in Llan Dydoch a
Goidelic form, for Dog-fael would have to become in Irish Doch-mhal,
which, cut down to Doch with the honorific prefix to, has yielded
Ty-doch; but I am not clear why it is not Ty-doch. Another instance of
a Goidelic form of a name having the local preference in Wales to this
day offers itself in Cyfelach and Llan Gyfelach in Glamorganshire. The
Welsh was formerly Cimeliauc (Reece, p. 274). Here may also be
mentioned St. Cyngar, otherwise called Docwinnus (Reece, p. 183),
but the name occurs in the Liber Landavensis in the genitive both as
Docunn-i and Docguinni, the former of which seems easily explained as
Goidelic for an early form of Cyngar, namely Cuno-caros, from which
would be formed To-chun or Do-chun. This is what seems to underlie the
Latin Docunnus, while Docguinni is possibly a Goidelic modification
of the written Docunni, unless some such a name as Doco-vindo-s has
been confounded with Docunnus. In one instance the Book of Llan Dâv
has instead of Abbas Docunni or Docguinni, the shorter designation,
Abbas Dochou (p. 145), which one must not unhesitatingly treat as
Dochon, seeing that Dochou would be in later book Welsh Dochau,
and in the dialect of the district Docha; and that this occurs in
the name of the church of Llandough near Cardiff, and Llandough near
Cowbridge. The connexion of a certain saint Dochdwy with these churches
does not appear at all satisfactorily established, but more light is
required to help one to understand these and similar church names.

[60] This name which may have come from Little England below Wales,
was once not uncommon in South Cardiganshire, as Mr. Williams
informs me, but it is now mostly changed as a surname into Davies and
Jones! Compare the similar fortunes of the name Mason mentioned above,
p. 68.

[61] I have not succeeded in discovering who the writer was, who used
this name.

[62] This name as it is now written should mean 'the Gold's Foot,'
but in the Demetian dialect aur is pronounced oer, and I learn from
the rector, the Rev. Rhys Jones Lloyd, that the name has sometimes
been written Tref Deyrn, which I regard as some etymologist's futile
attempt to explain it. More importance is to be attached to the name
on the communion cup, dating 1828, and reading, as Mr. Lloyd kindly
informs me, Poculum Eclyseye de Tre-droyre. Beneath Droyre some
personal name possibly lies concealed.

[63] Y Ferch o Gefn Ydfa ('The Maid of Cefn Ydfa'), by Isaac Craigfryn
Hughes, published by Messrs. Daniel Owen, Howell & Co., Cardiff, 1881.

[64] In a letter dated February 9, 1899, he states, however, that as
regards folklore the death of his father at the age of seventy-six,
in the year 1889, had been a great loss to him; for he adds that he
was perfectly familiar with the traditions of the neighbourhood and
had associated with older men. Among the latter he had been used to
talk with an old man whose father remembered Cromwell passing on his
way to destroy the Iron Works of Pant y Gwaith, where the Cavaliers
had had a cannon cast, which was afterwards used in the engagement
at St. Fagan's.

[65] This term is sometimes represented as being Bendith eu Mamau,
'their Mother's Blessing,' as if each fairy were such a delightful
offspring as to constitute himself or herself a blessing to his or her
mother; but I have not found satisfactory evidence to the currency
of Bendith eu Mamau, or, as it would be pronounced in Glamorgan,
Béndith i Máma. On the whole, therefore, perhaps one may regard the
name as pointing back to the Celtic goddesses known in Gaul in Roman
times as the Mothers.

[66] On Pen Craig Daf Mr. Hughes gives the following note:--It
was the residence of Dafyd Morgan or 'Counsellor Morgan,' who, he
says, was executed on Kennington Common for taking the side of the
Pretender. He had retreated to Pen y Graig, where his abode was,
in order to conceal himself; but he was discovered and carried away
at night. Here follows a verse from an old ballad about him:--

    Dafyd Morgan ffel a ffol,       Taffy Morgan, sly and daft,
    Fe aeth yn ol ei hyder:         He did his bent go after:
    Fe neidod naid at rebel haid    He leaped a leap to a rebel swarm,
    Pan drod o blaid Pretender.     To arm for a Pretender.

[67] A tòn is any green field that is used for grazing and not meant to
be mown, land which has, as it were, its skin of grassy turf unbroken
for years by the plough.

[68] On this Mr. Hughes has a note to the effect that the whole of
one milking used to be given in Glamorgan to workmen for assistance
at the harvest or other work, and that it was not unfrequently enough
for the making of two cheeses.

[69] Since this was first printed I have learnt from Mr. Hughes that
the first cry issued from the Black Cauldron in the Taff (o'r Gerwyn
Du ar Daf), which I take to be a pool in that river.

[70] The Fan is the highest mountain in the parish of Merthyr Tydfil,
Mr. Hughes tells me: he adds that there was on its side once a chapel
with a burial ground. Its history seems to be lost, but human bones
have, as he states, been frequently found there.

[71] The above, I am sorry to say, is not the only instance of this
nasty trick associating itself with Gwent, as will be seen from the
story of Bwca'r Trwyn in chapter x.

[72] This chapter, except where a later date is suggested, may be
regarded as written in the summer of 1883.

[73] Trefriw means the town of the slope or hillside, and stands for
Tref y Riw, not tref y Rhiw, which would have yielded Treffriw, for
there is a tendency in Gwyned to make the mutation after the definite
article conform to the general rule, and to say y law, 'the hand,'
and y raw, 'the spade,' instead of what would be in books y llaw and
y rhaw from yr llaw and yr rhaw.

[74] Why the writer spells the name Criccieth in this way I cannot
tell, except that he was more or less under the influence of the more
intelligible spelling Crugcaith, as where Lewis Glyn Cothi. I. xxiv,

            Rhys ab Sion â'r hysbys iaith,
            Gwr yw acw o Grugcaith.

This spelling postulates the interpretation Crug-Caith, earlier Crug
y Ceith, 'the mound or barrow of the captives,' in reference to some
forgotten interment; but when the accent receded to the first syllable
the second was slurred almost out of recognition, so that Crug-ceith,
or Cruc-ceith, became Crúceth, whence Crúcieth and Cricieth. The Bruts
have Crugyeith the only time it occurs, and the Record of Carnarvon
(several times) Krukyth.

[75] Out of excessive fondness for our Arthur English people translate
this name into Arthur's Seat instead of Idris' Seat; but Idris was
also somebody: he was a giant with a liking for the study of the
stars. But let that be: I wish to say a word concerning his name:
Idris may be explained as meaning 'War-champion,' or the like;
and, phonologically speaking, it comes from Iud-rys, which was made
successively into Id-rys, Idris. The syllable iud meant battle or
fight, and it undergoes a variety of forms in Welsh names. Thus before
n, r, l, and w, it becomes id, as in Idnerth, Idloes, and Idwal, while
Iud-hael yields Ithel, whence Ab Ithel, anglicized Bethel. At the end,
however, it is yd or ud, as in Gruffud or Gruffyd, from Old Welsh
Grippiud, and Maredud or Meredyd for an older Marget-iud. By itself
it is possibly the word which the poets write ud, and understand to
mean lord; but if these forms are related, it must have originally
meant rather a fighter, soldier, or champion.

[76] There is a special similarity between this and an Anglesey story
given by Howells, p. 138: it consists in the sequence of seeing the
fairies dance and finding money left by them. Why was the money left?

[77] It was so called by the poet D. ab Gwilym, cxcii. 12, when
he sang:

      I odi ac i luchio          To bring snow and drifting flakes
    Odiar lechwed Moel Eilio.    From off Moel Eilio's slope.

[78] This is commonly pronounced 'Y Gath Dorwen,' but the people of the
neighbourhood wish to explain away a farm name which could, strangely
enough, only mean 'the white-bellied cat'; but y Garth Dorwen,
'the white-bellied garth or hill,' is not a very likely name either.

[79] The hiring time in Wales is the beginning of winter and of
summer; or, as one would say in Welsh, at the Calends of Winter and
the Calends of May respectively. In North Cardiganshire the great
hiring fair was held at the former date when I was a boy, and so,
as I learn from my wife, it was in Carnarvonshire.

[80] In a Cornish story mentioned in Choice Notes, p. 77, we have,
instead of ointment, simply soap. See also Mrs. Bray's Banks of
the Tamar, pp. 174-7, where she alludes to H. Cornelius Agrippa's
statement how such ointment used to be made--the reference must,
I think, be to his book De Occulta Philosophia Libri III (Paris,
1567), i. 45 (pp. 81-2).

[81] See the Mabinogion, pp. 1-2; Evans' Facsimile of the Black Book
of Carmarthen, fol. 49b-50a; Rhys' Arthurian Legend, pp. 155-8; Edmund
Jones' Spirits in the County of Monmouth, pp. 39, 71, 82; and in this
volume, pp. 143, 203, above. I may mention that the Cornish also have
had their Cwn Annwn, though the name is a different one, to wit in the
phrase, 'the Devil and his Dandy-dogs': see Choice Notes, pp. 78-80.

[82] As it stands now this would be unmutated Césel Gýfarch, 'Cyfarch's
Nook,' but there never was such a name. There was, however, Elgýfarch
or Aelgýfarch and Rhygýfarch, and in such a combination as Césel
Elgýfarch there would be every temptation to drop one unaccented el.

[83] Owing to some oversight he has 'a clean or a dirty cow' instead
of cow-yard or cow-house, as I understand it.

[84] Cwta makes cota in the feminine in North Cardiganshire; the
word is nevertheless only the English cutty borrowed. Du, 'black,'
has corresponding to it in Irish, dubh. So the Welsh word seems to
have passed through the stages dyv, dyw, before yw was contracted
into û, which was formerly pronounced like French û, as proved by
the grammar already mentioned (p. 22) of J. D. Rhys, published in
London in 1592; see p. 33, to which my attention has been called
by Prof. J. Morris Jones. In Old or pre-Norman Welsh m did duty
for m and v, so one detects dyv as dim in a woman's name Penardim,
'she of the very black head'; there was also a Penarwen, 'she of the
very blonde head.' The look of Penardim having baffled the redactor
of the Branwen, he left the spelling unchanged: see the (Oxford)
Mabinogion, p. 26. The same sort of change which produced du has
produced cnu, 'a fleece,' as compared with cneifio, 'to fleece';
lluarth, 'a kitchen garden,' as compared with its Irish equivalent
lubhghort. Compare also Rhiwabon, locally pronounced Rhuabon, and
Rhiwallon, occurring sometimes as Rhuallon. But the most notable rôle
of this phonetic process is exemplified by the verbal nouns ending in
u, such as caru, 'to love,' credu, 'to believe,' tyngu, 'to swear,'
in which the u corresponds to an m termination in Old Irish, as in
sechem, 'to follow,' cretem, 'belief,' sessam or sessom, 'to stand.'

[85] In medieval Welsh poetry this name was still a dissyllable;
but now it is pronounced Llyn, in conformity with the habit of
the Gwyndodeg, which makes into porfyd what is written porfeyd,
'pastures,' and pronounced porféid in North Cardiganshire. So in the
Lleyn name Sarn Fyllteyrn the second vocable represents Maelteyrn,
in the Record of Carnarvon (p. 38) Mayltern: it is now sounded
Mylltyrn with the second y short and accented. Lleyn is a plural of
the people (genitive Llaën in Porth Dinllaën), used as a singular of
their country, like Cymru = Cymry, and Prydyn. The singular is llain,
'a spear,' in the Book of Aneurin: see Skene, ii. 64, 88, 92.

[86] It is also called dolur byr, or the 'short disease'; I believe
I have been told that it is the disease known to 'the vet.' as anthrax.

[87] Here the writer seems to have been puzzled by the mh of
Amheirchion, and to have argued back to a radical form Parch;
but he was on the wrong tack--Amheirchion comes from Ap-Meirchion,
where the p helped to make the m a surd, which, with the syllabic
accent on the succeeding vowel, became fixed as mh, while the p
disappeared by assimilation. We have, later on, a similar instance
in Owen y Mhaxen for Owen Amhacsen = O. ap Macsen. Another instance
will be found at the opening of the Mabinogi of Branwen, to wit,
in the word prynhawngweith, 'once on an afternoon,' from prynhawn,
'afternoon,' for which our dictionaries substitute prydnawn,
with the accent on the ultima, though D. ab Gwilym used pyrnhawn,
as in poem xl. 30. But the ordinary pronunciation continues to be
prynháwn or pyrnháwn, sometimes reduced in Gwyned to pnawn. Let me
add an instance which has reached me since writing the above: In the
Archæologia Cambrensis for 1899, pp. 325-6, we have the pedigree of
the Ameridiths from the Visitation of Devonshire in 1620: in the course
of it one finds that Iuan ap Merydeth has a son Thomas Amerideth, who,
knowing probably no Welsh, took to writing his patronymic more nearly
as it was pronounced. The line is brought down to Ames Amerideth,
who was created baronet in 1639. Amerideth of course = Ap Meredyd,
and the present member of the family who writes to the Archæologia
Cambrensis spells his patronymic more correctly, Ameridith; but if
it had survived in Wales it might have been Amheredyd. For an older
instance than any of these see the Book of Taliessin, poem xlix (=
Skene, ii. 204), where one reads of Beli Amhanogan, 'B. ab Mynogan.'

[88] This is pronounced Rhiwan, though probably made up of Rhiw-wen,
for it is the tendency of the Gwyndodeg to convert e and ai of
the unaccented ultima into a, and so with e in Glamorgan; see such
instances as Cornwan and casag, p. 29 above. It is possibly a tendency
inherited from Goidelic, as Irish is found to proceed in the same way.

[89] I may mention that some of the Francises of Anglesey are supposed
to be descendants of Frazers, who changed their name on finding
refuge in the island in the time of the troubles which brought there
the ancestor of the Frazer who, from time to time, claims to be the
rightful head of the Lovat family.

[90] According to old Welsh orthography this would be written Moudin,
and in the book Welsh of the present day it would have to become
Meudin. Restored, however, to the level of Gallo-Roman names, it would
be Mogodunum or Magodunum. The place is known as Castell Moedin, and
includes within it the end of a hill about halfway between Llannarth
and Lampeter.

[91] For other mentions of the colours of fairy dress see pp. 44,
139 above, where red prevails, and contrast the Lake Lady of Llyn
Barfog clad in green, p. 145.

[92] This name means the Bridge of the Blessed Ford, but how the
ford came to be so called I know not. The word bendigaid, 'blessed,'
comes from the Latin verb benedico, 'I bless,' and should, but for
the objection to nd in book Welsh, be bendigaid, which, in fact,
it is approximately in the northern part of the county, where it is
colloquially sounded Pont Rhyd Fyndiged, Fydiged, or even Fdiged, also
Pont Rhyd mdiged, which represents the result of the unmutated form
Bdiged coming directly after the d of rhyd. Somewhat the same is
the case with the name of the herb Dail y Fendigaid, literally 'the
Leaves of the Blessed' (in the feminine singular without any further
indication of the noun to be supplied). This name means, I find,
'hypericum androsæmum, tutsan,' and in North Cardiganshire we call
it Dail y Fyndiged or Fdiged, but in Carnarvonshire the adjective
is made to qualify dail, so that it sounds Dail Bydigad or Bdigad,
'Blessed Leaves.'

[93] I am far from certain what y nos, 'the night,' may mean in
such names as this and Craig y Nos, 'the Rock of the Night' (p. 254
above), to which perhaps might be added such an instance as Blaen Nos,
'the Point of (the?) Night,' in the neighbourhood of Llandovery, in
Carmarthenshire. Can the allusion be merely to thickly overshadowed
spots where the darkness of night might be said to lurk in defiance
of the light of day? I have never visited the places in point,
and leading questions addressed to local authorities are too apt to
elicit misleading answers: the poetic faculty is dangerously rampant
in the Principality.

[94] Dâr is a Glamorgan pronunciation, metri gratiâ of what is written
daear, 'earth': compare d'ar-fochyn in Glamorgan for a badger,
literally 'an earth pig.' The dwarf's answer was probably in some
sort of verse, with dâr and iâr to rhyme.

[95] Applied in Glamorgan to a child that looks poorly and does
not grow.

[96] In Cardiganshire a conjurer is called dyn hysbys, where hysbys
(or, in older orthography, hyspys) means 'informed': it is the
man who is informed on matters which are dark to others; but the
word is also used of facts--Y mae 'r peth yn hysbys, 'the thing
is known or manifest.' The word is divisible into hy-spys, which
would be in Irish, had it existed in the language, so-scese for an
early su-squestia-s, the related Irish words being ad-chiu, 'I see,'
pass. preterite ad-chess, 'was seen,' and the like, in which ci and ces
have been equated by Zimmer with the Sanskrit verb caksh, 'to see,'
from a root quas. The adjective cynnil applied to the dyn hyspys in
Glamorgan means now, as a rule, 'economical' or 'thrifty,' but in
this instance it would seem to have signified 'shrewd,' 'cunning,' or
'clever,' though it would probably come nearer the original meaning of
the word to render it by 'smart,' for it is in Irish conduail, which
is found applied to ingenious work, such as the ornamentation on the
hilt of a sword. Another term for a wizard or conjurer is gwr cyfarwyd,
with which the reader is already familiar. Here cyfarwyd forms a link
with the kyvarwyd of the Mabinogion, where it usually means a
professional man, especially one skilled in story and history; and what
constituted his knowledge was called kyvarwydyt, which included,
among other things, acquaintance with boundaries and pedigrees, but
it meant most frequently perhaps story; see the (Oxford) Mabinogion,
pp. 5, 61, 72, 93. All these terms should, strictly speaking, have
gwr--gwr hyspys, gwr cynnil, and gwr cyfarwyd--but for the fact
that modern Welsh tends to restrict gwr to signify 'a husband' or
'a married man,' while dyn, which only signifies a mortal, is made
to mean man, and provided with a feminine dynes, 'woman,' unknown
to good Welsh literature. Thus the spoken language is in this matter
nearly on a level with English and French, which have quite lost the
word for vir and anêr.

[97] Rhyd y Gloch means 'the Ford of the Bell,' in allusion, as
the story goes, to a silver bell that used in former ages to be
at Llanwonno Church. The people of Llanfabon took a liking to it,
and one night a band of them stole it; but as they were carrying it
across the Taff the moon happened to make her appearance suddenly,
and they, in their fright, taking it to be sunrise, dropped the bell
in the bed of the river, so that nothing has ever been heard of it
since. But for ages afterwards, and even at the present day indeed,
nothing could rouse the natives of Llanfabon to greater fury than to
hear the moon spoken of as haul Llanfabon, 'the sun of Llanfabon.'

[98] It was peat fires that were usual in those days even in Glamorgan.

[99] See Hartland's Science of Fairy Tales, pp. 112-6.

[100] In no other version has Mr. Reynolds heard cwcwll wy iâr,
but either plisgyn or cibyn wy iâr, to which I may add masgal from
Mr. Craigfryn Hughes' versions. The word cwcwll usually means a cowl,
but perhaps it is best here to treat cwcwll as a distinct word derived
somehow from conchylium or the French coquille, 'a shell.'

[101] The whole passage will be found in the Itinerarium Kambriæ,
i. 8 (pp. 75-8), and Giraldus fixes the story a little before his time
somewhere in the district around Swansea and Neath. With this agrees
closely enough the fact that a second David, Dafyd ab Geralld or David
Fitzgerald, appears to have been consecrated Bishop of St. David's
in 1147, and to have died in 1176.

[102] The words in the original are: Nec carne vescebantur, nec pisce;
lacteis plerumque cibariis utentes, et in pultis modum quasi croco

[103] Perhaps it is this also that suggested the name Eliodorus, as
it were Hêliodôros; for the original name was probably the medieval
Welsh one of Elidyr = Irish Ailithir, ailither, 'a pilgrim': compare
the Pembrokeshire name Pergrin and the like. It is curious that Elidyr
did not occur to Glasynys and prevent him from substituting Elfod,
which is quite another name, and more correctly written Elfod for
the earlier El-fodw, found not only as Elbodu but also Elbodug-o,
Elbodg, Elbot and Elfod: see p. 117 above.

[104] For one or two more instances from Wales see Howells,
pp. 54-7. Brittany also is a great country for death portents: see
A. Le Braz, Légende de la Mort en Basse-Bretagne (Paris, 1893), also
Sébillot's Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute-Bretagne (Paris,
1882), i. pp. 270-1. For Scotland see The Ghost Lights of the West
Highlands by Dr. R. C. Maclagan in Folk-Lore for 1897, pp. 203-256,
and for the cognate subject of second sight see Dalyell's Darker
Superstitions of Scotland, pp. 466-88.

[105] Another word for the toeli is given by Silvan Evans as used
in certain parts of South Wales, namely, tolaeth or dolath, as to
which he mentions the opinion that it is a corruption of tylwyth,
a view corroborated by Howells using, p. 31, the plural tyloethod;
but it could not be easily explained except as a corruption through
the medium of English. Elias Owen, p. 303, uses the word in reference
to the hammering and rapping noise attending the joinering of a
phantom coffin for a man about to die, a sort of rehearsal well known
throughout the Principality to every one who has ears spiritually
tuned. Unfortunately I have not yet succeeded in locating the use
of the word tolaeth, except that I have been assured by a Carmarthen
man that it is current in Welsh there as toleth, and by a native of
Pumsant that it is in use from Abergwili up to Llanbumsant.

[106] See, for instance, pp. 200, 221, 228.

[107] Mrs. Williams-Ellis of Glasfryn writes to me that the place is
now called Bwlch Trwyn Swncwl, that it is a gap on the highest part
of the road crossing from Llanaelhaearn to Pistyll, and that it is
quite a little mountain pass between bleak heather-covered hillsides,
in fact a very lonely spot in the outskirts of the Eifl, and with
Carnguwch blocking the horizon in the direction of Cardigan Bay.

[108] For this I am indebted to Mr. Gwenogvryn Evans' Report on
MSS. in the Welsh Language, i. 585 k. The words were written by
Williams about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and his û
does not mean w. He was, however, probably thinking of cawr, cewri,
and such instances as tawaf, 'taceo,' and tau, 'tacet.' At all events
there is no trace of u in the local pronunciation of the name Tre'r
Ceiri. I have heard it also as Tre' Ceiri without the definite article;
but had this been ancient one would expect it softened into Tre' Geiri.

[109] See the Oxford Mabinogion, pp. 110, 113, and 27-9, 36-41, 44,
also 309, where a Triad explains that the outposts were Anglesey, Man,
and Lundy. But the other Triads, i. 3 = iii. 67, make them Orkney,
Man, and Wight, for which we have the older authority of Nennius. §
8. The designation Tair Ynys Brydain, 'The Three Isles of Prydain,'
was known to the fourteenth-century poet, Iolo Goch: see his works
edited by Ashton, p. 669.

[110] For Prydyn in the plural see Skene's Four Ancient Books of Wales,
ii. 209, also 92, where Pryden is the form used. In modern Welsh the
two senses of Cymry are distinguished in writing as Cymry and Cymru,
but the difference is merely one of spelling and not very ancient.

[111] So Geoffrey (i. 12-15) brings his Trojans on their way to
Britain into Aquitania, where they fight with the Pictavienses,
whose king he calls Goffarius Pictus.

[112] Cadarn and cadr postulate respectively some such early forms
as catrno-s and cadro-s, which according to analogy should become
cadarn and cadr. Welsh, however, is not fond of dr; so here begins a
bifurcation: (1) retaining the d unchanged cadro-s yields cadr, or (2)
dr is made into dr, and other changes set in resulting in the ceir
of ceiri, as in Welsh aneirif, 'numberless,' from eirif, 'number,'
of the same origin as Irish áram from *ad-rim = *ad-rima, and Welsh
eiliw, 'species, colour,' for ad-liw, in both of which i follows d
combinations; but that is not essential, as shown by cader, cadair,
for Old Welsh cateir, 'a chair,' from Latin cat[h]edra. The word that
serves as our singular, namely cawr, is far harder to explain; but on
the whole I am inclined to regard it as of a different origin, to wit,
the Goidelic word caur, 'a giant or hero,' borrowed. The plural cewri
or cawri is formed from the singular cawr, which means a giant, though,
associated in the plural with ceiri, it has sometimes to follow suit
with that vocable in connoting dress.

[113] The most important of these are the old Breton kazr, now kaer,
'beautiful or pretty,' and old Cornish caer of the same meaning;
elsewhere we have, as in Greek, the Doric kekadmai and kekadmenos,
to be found used in reference to excelling or distinguishing one's
self; also kosmos, 'good order, ornament,' while in Sanskrit there is
the theme çad, 'to excel or surpass.' The old meaning of 'beautiful,'
'decorated,' or 'loudly dressed,' is not yet lost in the case of ceiri.

[114] For the text see the Oxford Mabinogion, pp. 193-4, and for
comparisons of the incident see Nutt's Holy Grail, p. 154 et seq.;
and Rhys' Arthurian Legend, pp. 75-6. A more exact parallel, however,
is to be mentioned in the next chapter.

[115] This chapter was written mostly in 1891.

[116] The spelling there used is phynnodderee, to the perversity of
which Cregeen calls attention in his Dictionary. In any case the
pronunciation is always approximately fun-ó-dur-i or fun-ód-ri,
with the accent on the second syllable.

[117] I am inclined to think that the first part of the word fenodyree
is not fynney, the Manx word for 'hair,' but the Scandinavian word
which survives in the Swedish fjun, 'down.' Thus fjun-hosur (for the
fjun-hosa suggested by analogy) would explain the word fenodyree,
except its final ee, which is obscure. Compare also the magic
breeks called finn-brækr, as to which see Vigfusson's Icelandic
Dict. s. v. finnar.

[118] Cumming's Isle of Man (London, 1848), p. 30, where he refers his
readers to Waldron's Description of the Isle of Man: see pp. 28, 105.

[119] See Windisch's Irische Grammatik, p. 120.

[120] The Manx word for the rowan tree, incorrectly called a mountain
ash, is cuirn, which is in Mod. Irish caorthann, genitive caorthainn,
Scotch Gaelic caorunn; but in Welsh books it is cerdin, singular
cerdinen, and in the spoken language mostly cerdin, cerding, singular
cerdinen, cerdingen. This variation seems to indicate that these
words have possibly been borrowed by the Welsh from a Goidelic source;
but the berry is known in Wales by the native name of criafol, from
which the wood is frequently called, especially in North Wales, coed
criafol, singular coeden griafol or pren criafol. The sacredness of the
rowan is the key to the proper names Mac-Cáirthinn and Der-Cháirthinn,
with which the student of Irish hagiology is familiar. They mean the
Son and the Daughter of the Rowan respectively, and the former occurs
as Maqui Cairatini on an Ogam inscribed stone recently discovered in
Meath, not very far from the Boyne.

[121] I am sorry to say that it never occurred to me to ask whether
the shooting was done with such modern things as guns. But Mr. Arthur
Moore assures me that it is always understood to be bows and arrows,
not guns.

[122] Edited by Oswald Cockayne for the Master of the Rolls (London,
1864-6): see more especially vol. ii. pp. 156-7, 290-1, 401;
vol. iii. pp. 54-5.

[123] Mr. Moore is not familiar with this term, but I heard it at
Surby, in the south; and I find buidseach and buidseachd given as
Highland Gaelic words for a witch and witchcraft respectively.

[124] See Stokes' Goidelica, p. 151.

[125] This chapter was written in 1891, except the portions of it
which refer to later dates indicated.

[126] See the Stokes-O'Donovan edition of Cormac (Calcutta, 1868),
pp. 19, 23.

[127] Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, xi. 620;
Pennant's Tour in Scotland in 1769 (3rd edition, Warrington, 1774),
i. 97, 186, 291; Thomas Stephens' Gododin, pp. 124-6; and Dr. Murray
in the New English Dictionary, s. v. Beltane.

[128] In my Hibbert Lectures on Celtic Heathendom, pp. 517-21.

[129] As to the Thargelia and Delia, see Preller's Griechische
Mythologie, i. 260-2, and A. Mommsen's Heortologie, pp. 414-25.

[130] See section H of the Report of the Liverpool Meeting of the
British Association in 1896, pp. 626-56.

[131] It is my impression that it is crowned with a small tumulus,
and that it forms the highest ground in Jurby, which was once an
island by itself. The one between Ramsey and Bride is also probably
the highest point of the range. But these are questions which I should
like to see further examined, say by Mr. Arthur Moore or Mr. Kermode.

[132] Cronk yn Irree Laa, despite the gender, is the name as pronounced
by all Manxmen who have not been misled by antiquarians. To convey the
other meaning, referring to the day watch, the name would have to be
Cronk ny Harrey Laa; in fact, a part of the Howe in the south of the
island is called Cronk ny Harrey, 'the Hill of the Watch.' Mr. Moore
tells me that the Jurby cronk was one of the eminences for 'Watch and
Ward'; but he is now of opinion that the high mountain of Cronk yn
Irree Laa in the south was not. As to the duty of the inhabitants to
keep 'Watch and Ward' over the island, see the passage concerning it
extracted from the Manx Statutes (vol. i. p. 65) by Mr. Moore in his
Manx Surnames, pp. 183-3; also my preface to the same work, pp. v-viii.

[133] Quoted from Oliver's Monumenta de Insula Manniæ, vol. i. (Manx
Society, vol. iv) p. 84: see also Cumming's Isle of Man, p. 258.

[134] See the New English Dictionary, s. v. 'Allhallows.'

[135] This comes near the pronunciation usual in Roxburghshire and
the south of Scotland generally, which is, as Dr. Murray informs
me, Hunganay without the m occurring in the other forms to be
mentioned presently. But so far as I have been able to find, the Manx
pronunciation is now Hob dy naa, which I have heard in the north,
while Hob ju naa is the prevalent form in the south.

[136] See my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 514-5; and as to hiring fairs in
Wales see pp. 210-2 above.

[137] See Robert Bell's Early Ballads (London, 1877), pp. 406-7,
where the following is given as sung at Richmond in Yorkshire:--

    To-night it is the New-Year's night, to-morrow is the day,
    And we are come for our right, and for our ray,
    As we used to do in old King Henry's day.
                            Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.
    If you go to the bacon-flick, cut me a good bit;
    Cut, cut and low, beware of your maw;
    Cut, cut and round, beware of your thumb,
    That me and my merry men may have some.
                            Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.
    If you go to the black-ark bring me X mark;
    Ten mark, ten pound, throw it down upon the ground,
    That me and my merry men may have some.
                            Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.

[138] The subject is worked out in Nicholson's Golspie, pp. 100-8, also
in the New English Dictionary, where mention is made of a derivation
involving calendæ, which reminds me of the Welsh call for a New-Year's
Gift--Calennig! or C'lennig! in Arfon 'Y Ngh'lennig i! 'My Calends
gift if you please!'

[139] On being asked, after reading this paper to the Folk-Lore
Society, who was supposed to make the footmarks in the ashes, I had
to confess that I had been careless enough never to have asked the
question. I have referred it to Mr. Moore, who informs me that nobody,
as I expected, will venture on any explanation by whom the footmarks
are made.

[140] This seems to imply the application of the same adjective, some
time or other, to clean water and a handsome man, just as we speak
in North Cardiganshire of dwr glân, 'clean water,' and bachgen glân,
'a handsome boy.'

[141] In Phillips' Book of Common Prayer this is called Lá nolick y
biggy, 'Little Nativity Day,' and Lá ghian blieny, 'The Day of the
Year's End,' meaning, of course, the former end of the year, not the
latter: see pp. 55, 62, 66.

[142] See my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 514-5, and the Brython, ii. 20,
120: an instance in point occurs in the next chapter.

[143] This has been touched upon in my Hibbert Lectures, p. 676; but
to the reasons there briefly mentioned should be added a reference to
the position allotted to intercalary months in the Norse calendar,
namely, at the end of the summer half, that is, as I think, at the
end of the ancient Norse year.

[144] My paper was read before the Folk-Lore Society in April or May,
1891, and Miss Peacock's notes appeared in the journal of the Society
in the following December: see pp. 509-13.

[145] See Choice Notes, p. 76.

[146] See the third edition of Wm. Nicholson's Poetical Works
(Castle-Douglas, 1878), pp. 78, 81.

[147] See p. 321 above and the references there given; also Howells'
Cambrian Superstitions, p. 58.

[148] Pomponius Mela De Chorographia, edited by Parthey, iii, chap. 6
(p. 72); see also my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 195-6, where, however,
the identification of the name Sena with that of Sein should be
cancelled. Sein seems to be derived from the Breton Seidhun, otherwise
modified into Sizun and Sun: see chap. vi below.

[149] See my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 195-7; also my Arthurian Legend,
pp. 367-8, where a passage in point is cited at length from Plutarch
De Defectu Oraculorum, xviii. (= the Didot edition of Plutarch's
works, iii. 511); the substance of it will be found given likewise
in chap. viii below.

[150] For an allusion to the traffic in winds in Wales see Howells,
p. 86, where he speaks as follows:--'In Pembrokeshire there was a
person commonly known as the cunning man of Pentregethen, who sold
winds to the sailors, after the manner of the Lapland witches, and
who was reverenced in the neighbourhood in which he dwelt, much more
than the divines.'

[151] This may turn out to be all wrong; for I learn from the
Rev. John Quine, vicar of Malew, in Man, that there is a farm called
Balthane or Bolthane south of Ballasalla, and that in the computus
(of 1540) of the Abbey Tenants it is called Biulthan. This last,
if originally a man's name, would seem to point back to some such a
compound as Beo-Ultán. In his Manx Names, p. 138, Mr. Moore suggests
the possibility of explaining the name as bwoailtyn, 'folds or pens';
but the accentuation places that out of the question. See also the
Lioar Manninagh, iii. 167, where Mr. C. Roeder, referring to the
same computus passage, gives the name as Builthan in the boundary
inter Cross Jvar Builthan. This would be read by Mr. Quine as inter
Cross Ivar et Biulthan, 'between Cross-Ivar and Bolthane.' For the
text of the boundary see Johnstone's edition of the Chronicon Manniæ
(Copenhagen, 1786), p. 48, and Oliver's Monumenta de Insula Manniæ,
vol. i. p. 207; see also Mr. Quine's paper on the Boundary of Abbey
Lands in the Lioar Manninagh, iii. 422-3.

[152] I say 'approximately,' as, more strictly speaking, the ordinary
pronunciation is Sndaen, almost as one syllable, and from this arises
a variant, which is sometimes written Stondane, while the latest
English development, regardless of the accentuation of the Anglo-Manx
form, which is Santon, pronounced Sántn, makes the parish into a
St. Ann's! For the evidence that it was the parish of a St. Sanctán
see Moore's Names, p. 209.

[153] The Athenæum for April 1, 1893, p. 415. I may here remark that
Mr. Borlase's note on do fhagaint is, it seems to me, unnecessary: let
do fhagaint stand, and translate, not 'I leave' but 'to leave.' The
letter should be consulted for curious matter concerning Croagh
Patrick, its pagan stations, cup-markings, &c.

[154] Since this paper was read to the Folk-Lore Society a good deal
of information of one kind or another has appeared in its journal
concerning the first-foot: see more especially Folk-Lore for 1892,
pp. 253-64, and for 1893, pp. 309-21.

[155] This was written at the beginning of the year 1892.

[156] With this compare what Mr. Gomme has to say of a New Year's
Day custom observed in Lanarkshire: see p. 633 of the Ethnographic
Report referred to at p. 103 above, and compare Henderson, p. 74.

[157] Old-fashioned grammarians and dictionary makers are always
delighted to handle Mrs. Partington's broom: so Kelly thinks he has
done a fine thing by printing guee, 'prayer,' and gwee, 'cursing.'

[158] This was written at the end of 1892, and read to a joint meeting
of the Cymmrodorion and Folk-Lore Societies on January 11, 1893.

[159] Some account of them was given by me in Folk-Lore for 1892,
p. 380; but somehow or other my contribution was printed unrevised,
with results more peculiar than edifying.

[160] In Folk-Lore for 1893, pp. 58-9.

[161] In the neighbourhood I find that the word gwaeldyn in this verse
is sometimes explained to mean not a worthless but an ailing person,
on the strength of the fact that the adjective gwael is colloquially
used both for vile and for ailing.

[162] Since writing the above remarks the following paragraph,
purporting to be copied from the Liverpool Mercury for November 18,
1896, appeared in the Archæologia Cambrensis for 1899, p. 334:--'Two
new fishes have just been put in the "Sacred Well," Ffynnon y Sant,
at Tyn y Ffynnon, in the village of Nant Peris, Llanberis. Invalids
in large numbers came, during the last century and the first half of
the present century, to this well to drink of its "miraculous waters";
and the oak box, where the contributions of those who visited the spot
were kept, is still in its place at the side of the well. There have
always been two "sacred fishes" in this well; and there is a tradition
in the village to the effect that if one of the Tyn y Ffynnon fishes
came out of its hiding-place when an invalid took some of the water
for drinking or for bathing purposes, cure was certain; but if the
fishes remained in their den, the water would do those who took it
no good. Two fishes only are to be put in the well at a time, and
they generally live in its waters for about half a century. If one
dies before the other, it would be of no use to put in a new fish,
for the old fish would not associate with it, and it would die. The
experiment has been tried. The last of the two fishes put in the well
about fifty years ago died last August. It had been blind for some
time previous to its death. When taken out of the water it measured
seventeen inches, and was buried in the garden adjoining the well. It
is stated in a document of the year 1776 that the parish clerk was to
receive the money put in the box of the well by visitors. This money,
together with the amount of 6s. 4d., was his annual stipend.' Tyn y
Ffynnon means 'the Tenement of the Well,' tyn being a shortened form
of tydyn, 'a tenement,'as mentioned at p. 33 above; but the mapsters
make it into ty'n = ty yn, 'a house in,' so that the present instance,
Ty'n y Ffynnon, could only mean 'the House in the Well,' which,
needless to say, it is not. But one would like to know whether the
house and land were once held rent-free on condition that the tenant
took care of the sacred fish.

[163] See Ashton's Iolo Goch, p. 234, and Lewis' Top. Dict.

[164] See my Hibbert Lectures, p. 229, and the Iolo MSS., pp. 42-3,

[165] A curious note bearing on this name occurs in the Jesus
College MS. 20 (Cymmrodor, viii. p. 86) in reference to the name
Morgannwg, 'Glamorgan':--O enw Morgant vchot y gelwir Morgannwc.
Ereill a dyweit. Mae o en&wwelsh; Mochteyrn Predein. 'It is from
the name of the above Morgan that Morgannwg is called. Others say
that it is from the name of the mochdeyrn of Pictland.' The
mochteyrn must have been a Pictish king or mórmáer called Morgan.
The name occurs in the charters from the Book of Deer in Stokes'
Goidelica. pp. 109, 111, as Morcunt, Morcunn, and Morgunn undeclined,
also with Morgainn for genitive; and so in Skene's Chronicles of the
Picts and Scots, pp. 77, 317, where it is printed Morgaind; see also
Stokes' Tigernach, in the Revue Celtique, xvii. 198. Compare
Geoffrey's story, ii. 15, which introduces a northern Marganus to
account for the name Margan, now Margam, in Morgannwg.

[166] M. Loth's remarks in point will be found in the Revue Celtique,
xiii. 496-7, where he compares with tut the Breton teuz, 'lutin,
génie malfaisant ou bienfaisant'; and for the successive guesses on
the subject of the name Morgan tut one should also consult Zimmer's
remarks in Foerster's Introduction to his Erec, pp. xxvii-xxxi, and
my Arthurian Legend, p. 391, to which I should add a reference to the
Book of Ballymote, fo. 360a, where we have o na bantuathaib, which
O'Curry has rendered 'on the part of their Witches' in his Manners and
Customs of the Ancient Irish, iii. 526-7. Compare dá bhantuathaigh,
'two female sorcerers,' in Joyce's Keating's History of Ireland,
pp. 122-3.

[167] For all about the Children of Lir, and about Liban and Lough
Neagh, see Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, pp. 4-36, 97-105.

[168] On my appealing to Cadrawd, one of the later editors, he
has found me the exact reference, to wit, volume ix of the Cyfaill
(published in 1889), p. 50; and he has since contributed a translation
of the story to the columns of the South Wales Daily News for February
15, 1899, where he has also given an account of Crymlyn, which is to
be mentioned later.

[169] Judging from the three best-known instances, y bala meant the
outlet of a lake: I allude to this Bala at the outlet of Llyn Tegid;
Pont y Bala, 'the Bridge of the bala,' across the water flowing from
the Upper into the Lower Lake at Llanberis; and Bala Deulyn, 'the bala
of two lakes,' at Nantlle. Two places called Bryn y Bala are mentioned
s. v. Bala in Morris' Celtic Remains, one near Aberystwyth, at a spot
which I have never seen, and the other near the lower end of the Lower
Lake of Llanberis, as to which it has been suggested to me that it is
an error for Bryn y Bela. It is needless to say that bala has nothing
to do with the Anglo-Irish bally, of such names as Ballymurphy or
Ballynahunt: this vocable is in English bailey, and in South Wales
beili, 'a farm yard or enclosure,' all three probably from the late
Latin balium or ballium, 'locus palis munitus et circumseptus.' Our
etymologists never stop short with bally: they go as far as Balaklava
and, probably, Ballarat, to claim cognates for our Bala.

[170] Cadrawd here gives the Welsh as '2 bladur ... 2 dyd o wair,'
and observes that the lacuna consists of an illegible word of three
letters. If that word was either sef, 'that is,' or neu, 'or,' the
sense would be as given above. In North Cardiganshire we speak of a
day's mowing as gwaith gwr, 'a man's work for a day,' and sometimes
of a gwaith gwr bach, 'a man's work for a short day.'

[171] See By-Gones for May 24, 1899. The full name of Welshpool in
Welsh is Trallwng Llywelyn, so called after a Llywelyn descended from
Cuneda, and supposed to have established a religious house there;
for there are other Trallwngs, and at first sight it would seem as if
Trallwng had something to do with a lake or piece of water. But there
is a Trallwng, for instance, near Brecon, where there is no lake to
give it the name; and my attention has been called to Thos. Richards'
Welsh-English Dictionary, where a trallwng is said to be 'such a soft
place on the road (or elsewhere) as travellers may be apt to sink into,
a dirty pool.' So the word seems to be partly of the same derivation
as go-llwng, 'to let go, to give way.' The form of the word in use
now is Trallwm, not Trallwng or Trallwn.

[172] See the Book of the Dun Cow, fo. 39a-41b and Joyce's Old Celtic
Romances, pp. 97-105; but the story may now be consulted in O'Grady's
Silva Gadelica, i. 233-7, translated in ii. 265-9. On turning over
the leaves of this great collection of Irish lore, I chanced, i. 174,
ii. 196, on an allusion to a well which, when uncovered, was about to
drown the whole locality but for a miracle performed by St. Patrick to
arrest the flow of its waters. A similar story of a well bursting and
forming Lough Reagh, in County Galway, will be found told in verse in
the Book of Leinster; fo. 202b: see also fo. 170a, and the editor's
notes, pp. 45, 53.

[173] See Evans' autotype edition of the Black Book of Carmarthen,
fos. 53b, 54a, also 32a: the punctuation is that of the MS. In the
seventh triplet kedaul is written keadaul, which seems to mean kadaul
corrected into kedaul; but the a is not deleted, so other readings
are possible.

[174] In the Iolo MSS., p. 89, finaun wenestir is made into
Ffynon-Wenestr and said to be one of the ornamental epithets of the
sea; but I am convinced that it should be rather treated as ffynnon
fenestr with wenestir or fenestr mutated from menestr, which meant
a servant, attendant, cup-bearer: for one or two instances see
Pughe's Dictionary. The word is probably, as suggested by M. Loth
in his Mots Latins, p. 186. the old French menestre, 'cup-bearer,'
borrowed. Compare the mention of Nechtán's men having access to the
secret well in Sid Nechtáin, p. 390 below, and note that they were
his three menestres or cup-bearers.

[175] See the Cymmrodor, viii. 88 (No. xxix), where a Marereda is
mentioned as a daughter of Madog son of Meredyd brother to Rhys Gryg.

[176] There is another reading which would make them into Segantii,
and render it irrelevant--to say the least of it--to mention them here.

[177] See the Mabinogion, p. 35: the passage has been mistranslated
in Lady Charlotte Guest's Mabinogion, iii. 117.

[178] See my Arthurian Legend, pp. 263-4.

[179] I do not profess to see my way through the difficulties which
the probable etymological connexion between the names Setantii,
Setanta, Seithyn, and Seithennin implies. But parts of the following
string of guesses may be found to hold good:--Seithyn is probably
more correct than Seithin, as it rhymes with cristin = Cristyn (in
Cristynogaeth: see Silvan Evans' Geiriadur, s. v., and Skene's Four
Ancient Books, ii. 210); and it might be assumed to be from the same
stem as Seizun; but, supposing it to represent an earlier Seithynt,
it would equate phonologically with Setanta, better Setinte, of which
the genitive Setinti actually occurs, as a river name, in the Book of
the Dun Cow, fo. 125b: see my Hibbert Lectures, p. 455, and see also
the Revue Celtique, xi. 457. It would mean some such an early form
Setntio-s, and Seithenhin, another derivative from the same stem,
Setntino-s. But the retention of n before t in Setinte proves it
not to be unconnected with Seithyn, but borrowed from some Brythonic
dialect when the latter was pronounced Seithntio-s. If this
be anywhere nearly right one has to assume that the manuscripts of
Ptolemy giving the genitive plural as Setantiôn or Segantiôn should
have read Sektantiôn, unless one should rather conjecture Segtantiôn
with cht represented by gt as in Ogams in Pembrokeshire: witness
Ogtene and Maqui Quegte. This conjecture as to the original reading
would suggest that the name was derived from the seventh numeral
sechtn, just as that of the Galloway people of the Novantæ seems to
be from the ninth numeral. Ptolemy's next entry to the Harbour of the
Setantii is the estuary of the Belisama, supposed to be the Mersey;
and next comes the estuary of the Seteia or Segeia, supposed to be
the Dee. Now the country of the Setantii, when they had a country,
may have reached from their harbour near the mouth of the Ribble
to the Seteia or the Dee without the name Seteia or Segeia having
anything to do with their own, except that it may have influenced
the latter in the manuscripts of Ptolemy's text. Then we possibly
have a representative of Seteia or Segeia in the Saidi or Seidi,
sometimes appended to Seithyn's name. In that case Seithyn Saidi,
in the late Triad iii. 37, would mean Seithyn of Seteia, or the
Dee. A Mab Saidi occurs in the Kulhwch story (Mabinogion, p. 106),
also Cas, son of Saidi (ib. 110); and in Rhonabwy's Dream Kadyrieith,
son of Saidi (ib. 160); but the latter vocable is Seidi in Triad ii. 26
(ib. 303). It is to be borne in mind that Ptolemy does not represent
the Setantii as a people in his time: he only mentions a harbour
called after the Setantii. So it looks as if they then belonged to the
past--that in fact they were, as I should put it, a Goidelic people
who had been conquered and partly expelled by Brythonic tribes, to
wit, by the Brigantes, and also by the Cornavii in case the Setantii
had once extended southwards to the Dee. This naturally leads one to
think that some of them escaped to places on the coast, such as Dyfed,
and that some made for the opposite coast of Ireland, and that, by the
time when the Cúchulainn stories came to be edited as we have them,
the people in question were known to the redactors of those stories
only by the Brythonic form of their name, which underlies that of
Setanta Beg, or the Little Setantian. Those of them who found a home
on the coast of Cardigan Bay may have brought with them a version
of the inundation story with Seithennin, son of Seithyn, as the
principal figure in it. So in due time he had to be attached to some
royal family, and in the Iolo MSS., pp. 141-2, he is made to descend
from a certain Plaws Hen, king of Dyfed, while the saints named as
his descendants seem to have belonged chiefly to Gwyned and Powys.

[180] See the Professor's Address on the Place of a University in the
History of Wales, delivered at Bangor at the opening ceremony of the
Session of 1899-1900 (Bangor, 1900), p. 6. The reference to Giraldus
is to his Itin. Kambriæ, i. 13 (p. 100), and the Expugnatio Hibernica,
i. 36 (p. 284).

[181] Instead of 'she followed it' one would have expected 'it followed
her'; but the style is very loose and rough.

[182] As a 'Cardy' I have here two grievances, one against my
Northwalian fellow countrymen, that they insist on writing Rheidiol
out of sheer weakness for the semivowel i; and the other against
the compilers of school books on geography, who give the lake
away to the Wye or the Severn. I am told that this does not matter,
as our geographers are notoriously accurate about Natal and other
distant lands; so I ought to rest satisfied.

[183] Professor Meyer has given a number of extracts concerning
her in his notes to his edition of The Vision of Mac Conglinne
(London, 1892), pp. 131-4, 208-10, and recently he has published
The Song of the Old Woman of Beare in the Otia Merseiana (London,
1899), pp. 119-28, from the Trinity College codex, H. 3, 18, where
we are told, among other things, that her name was Digdi, and that
she belonged to Corcaguiny. The name Béara, or Bérre, would seem to
suggest identification with that of Bera, daughter of Eibhear, king
of Spain, and wife of Eoghan Taidhleach, in the late story of The
Courtship of Moméra, edited by O'Curry in his Battle of Magh Leana
(Dublin, 1855); but the other name Digdi would seem to stand in the
way. However none of the literature in point has yet been discovered
in any really old manuscript, and it may be that the place-name Berre,
in Caillech Bérri, has usurped the place of the personal name Béra,
whose antiquity in some such a form as Béra or Méra is proved by
its honorific form Mo-mera: see O'Curry's volume, p. 166, and his
Introduction, p. xx.

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