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 1 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 1, 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 oedd hi'n fam iddo 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 gwaeddu'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 haulfyn'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 TwIt, 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. Hehadnewshoesonatthe 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. A fisherman from Mandrifto 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 Ian, '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, 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 effect:--
'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 1, 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 Die y Pibydd, " Dick the Piper's Farewell," and Ffarwel Dwm Bach, " Little Tom's Farewell," had those names, unle4s 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 Die y Pibydd.'
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 lolo 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 Nudd, so that every Halloween he may be found cheering Cwn Annwn, 'the Hounds of the Other World,' over Cader ldris 1
The same summer I fell in with Mr. Morris Evans, of Cerrig Man, 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 Mynydd Mechelt, 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 1.
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 Werddon, 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 Bermar is the high ground between Penmachno and Dolwydelan. The spot in question is on the part nearest to the Conwy Falls. This name, Y Werddon, is liable to be confounded with Iwerddon, 'Ireland,' which is commonly treated as if it began with the definite article, so that it is made into Y Werddon and Werddon. The fairy Werddon, in the radical form Gwerddon, not only recalls to my mind the Green Isles called Gwerddonau Llïon, but also the saying, common in North Wales, that a person in great anxiety 'sees Y Werddon.' 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 Wercton on my account' (mi fyddan' wedi gwel'd y Werddon am dana'i). Is that Ireland, or is it the land of the fairies, the other world, in fact?
[paragraph continues] 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 Werddon 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 'Noddyn, '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 1, or Moel Ellian, 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 Gweirglodd y Telynorion, 'The Harpers' Meadow': compare the extract from Edward Llwyd's correspondence 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 Lli[f]on. Mr. Gethin Jones, however, believed himself that Llyn
[paragraph continues] 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' Gaefyrddin. 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 Bedd 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 Bedd Gwennan, Elan to Tyddyn 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 Glynillifon 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 Don, Elan bi Don, 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 Don, and so several other characters in the same Mabinogi were children of Don. But what is bi Dîôn? I have noticed that all the Welsh antiquaries who take Don out of books invariably call that personage Don 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 Don. 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 oedd gwr a gwraig yn byw yn y Garth Dorwen 1 ryw gyfnod maith yn ol, ag aethant i Gaer'narfon i gyflogi morwyn ar ddydd ffair Glangaeaf, ag yr oedd yn arferiad gan feibion a merched y pryd hynny i'r rhai oedd yn sefyll allan am lefydd aros yn top y maes presennol wrth boncan las oedd 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 gofynnodd i'r eneth oedd arni eisiau lle. Atebodd fod, ag felly cyflogwyd yr eneth yn ddioed a daeth i'w lle i'r amser penodedig. Mi fyddai yn arferiad yr adeg hynny o nyddu ar ol swper yn hirnos y gauaf, ag fe fyddai y forwyn yn myn'd i'r weirglodd i nyddu wrth oleu y lloer; ag fe fyddai tylwyth teg yn dwad ati hi i'r weirglodd i ganu a dawnsio. A ryw bryd yn y gwanwyn pan esdynnod y dydd diangodd Eilian gyd a'r tylwythion teg i ffwrdd, ag ni welwyd 'mo'ni mwyach. Mae y cae y gwelwyd hi diwethaf yn cael ei alw hyd y dydd heddyw yn Gae Eilian a'r weirglodd yn Weirglodd y Forwyn. Mi'r oedd hen
wraig y Garth Dorwen yn arfer rhoi gwragedd yn eu gwlâu, a byddai pawb yn cyrchu am dani o bob cyfeiriad; a rhyw bryd dyma wr boneddig ar ei geffyl at y drws ar noswaith loergan lleuad, a hithau yn glawio 'chydig ag yn niwl braidd,' 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 oedd poncan lled uchel yn debyg i hen amddiffynfia a llawer o gerrig mawrion ar ei phen a charnedd fawr o gerrig yn yr ochor ogleddol iddi, ag mae hi i'w gwel'd hyd y dydd heddyw dan yr enw Bryn y Pibion. Pan gyrhaeddasan' y lle aethan' i ogo' fawr ag aethan' i 'stafell lle'r oedd y wraig yn ei gwely, a'r lle crandia' a welodd yr hen wraig yrioed. Ag fe roth y wraig yn ei gwely ag aeth at y tan i drin y babi; ag ar ol iddi orphen dyna y gwr yn dod a photel i'r hen wraig i hiro llygaid y babi ag erfyn arni beidio a'i gwffwr' a' i llygaid ei hun. Ond ryw fodd ar ol rhoi y botel heibio fe ddaeth cosfa ar lygaid yr hen wraig a rhwbiodd ei llygaid â'r un bys ag oedd wedi bod yn rhwbio llygad y baban a gwelodd hefo 'r llygad hwnnw y wraig yn gorfedd ar docyn o frwyn a rhedyn crinion mewn ogo' fawr o gerrig mawr o bob tu iddi a 'chydik bach o dan mewn rhiw gornel, a gwelodd mai Eilian oedd hi, ei hen forwyn, ag hefo'r llygad arall yn gwel'd y lle crandia' a welodd yrioed. Ag yn mhen ychydik ar ol hynny aeth i'r farchnad i Gaer'narfon a gwelodd y gwr a gofynnodd iddo--'Pa sud mae Edian?' 'O Y mae hi yn bur dda,' medd'ai wrth yr hen wraig: 'a pha lygad yr ydych yn fy ngwel'd?' 'Hefo hwn,' meddai hithau. Cymerodd babwyren ag a'i tynodd 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 1 fair;
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 pight 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 1 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.
[paragraph continues] 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 archaeologists 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 tilhos 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 Pwylt, 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 Nudd 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 lolo 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.
[paragraph continues] With this limitation the pack 1 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; hewas greatgrandfather 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 twentyfive 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:t; 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 Pennardd 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 Dafydd Ddu 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 GlynnItifon 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 wefd rhyfeddod, 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 Dintle, 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 gylfn-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 1, 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
[paragraph continues] 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 bydd anwyd arfy 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 Carnavon; 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 1: his instance belongs to the neighbourhood of Pentrevoelas, in Denbighshire.
When I was staying at Pwlltheli 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 Plas 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.
[paragraph continues] 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 eqqivalent, well known over Carnarvonshire, of the English saying, 'The devil take the hindmost,'was in the Welsh of that county--
Yr hwch, ddu gwta 1
A gipio'ir 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 ddu gwta
Ar bob camfa
Yn nyddu a chardio
Bob nos G'langaea'.
A cutty black sow
On every stile,
Spinning and carding
Every Allhallows' Eve.
In Cardiganshire this is reduced to the words:--
Nos Galan Gaea',
Bwbach ar bob camfa.
On Allhallows' Eve
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 ddu 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 1, I had some stories about the Tylwyth Teg from Lowri Hughes, the widow of John
[paragraph continues] 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 Boduan, 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 the 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 Dintlaen said, that the Dintlaen 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 Pwtt 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 Arcl 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 wydda' hi
Mai Sili go Dwt
Yw f'enw i.
Little did she know
That Silly go Dwt
Is my name,
This explains to some extent the sili 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 wydda' hi
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 Sili ffrit or Sili 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 1. 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 Ddwfn'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 1, 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, publisfied 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 Gaernaarfon 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 Fronttwyd, in the parish of Llandegai, and the Elidyr, in the parishes
of Llanddeiniolen and Llanberis. Mr. Lloyd Jones shall tell his tale in his own words:--
Amgylchynir y Marchlyn Mawr gan greigian erchyll yr olwg arnynt; a dywed tradodiad d'arfod i un o feibion y Rhiwen 1 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 ffawn 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 cychwvnnodd eilwaith i'r ogof, ac heb lawer o drafferth daeth o hyd idi: aeth i jewn, a dechreuod edrych o'i amgylch ar y trysorau oedd yno:--Ar ganol yr ogof yr oedd bwrd enfawr o aur pur, ac ar y bwrdd, goron o aur a pherlau: deallod yn y fan mai coron a thrysorau Arthur oedynt--nesaodd at y bwrd, a phan oect yn estyn ei law i gymeryd gafal 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 ymbafalu odiyno gynted ag y gallai; pan lwydod i gyrraedd i ganol y creigiau taflod ei olwg ar y llyn, yr hwn oed wedi ei gynhyfu drwydo di donnau brigwynion yn cael eu lluchio trwy dand ysgythrog y creigiau hyd y man yr oed efe yn sefyll arno; ond tra yr oedd yn parhau i syllu ar ganol y llyn gwelai gwrwgl a thair o'r benywod prydferthaf y disgynod llygad unrhyw dyn arnynt eriod yndo yn cad 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 trewy y dyn cryfaf. Gallodd y llanc rywfodd dianc adref ond ni fu
iechyd yn ei gyfansoddiad 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 forthe 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 thore 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 teU 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 whic h the latter had enclosed Out of the commons, an old wornan called Sian 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 thatshe 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 Llangolten, 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:--Thornas 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 1 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. Han Gruffydd 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 Han GruffyTs 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 Han Gruffyct 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, I 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 frtquent 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 sixtyone 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 pil, or 'The peel wants a nail'; for pil 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 too 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 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 soomewhat to say abouf 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 Llwyngwr3rl 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 neitheir 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 recrossing 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 Dolgetley and Llanegryn:--
As a man from the village of Llanegryn was returning in the dusk of the evening across the mountain from Dolgettey, he heard, when hard by Llyn Gwernen, a voice crying out from the water:--
Daeth yr awr ond ni itheth 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 Dolgeltey, a lady deeply interested in Welsh folklore and Welsh antiquities generally. She obtained her information from a Dolgettey 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 ttyfod!
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 Proceeding-s of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 31895-6, pp. 69-76. Take for example the following rhyme:--
Each year needs three;
But bonny Don
She needs none.
Tweed said to Till,
'What gars ye rin sae still?'
Till said to Tweed I droon twa.'
'Though ye tin 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 Moeddin 1 or Modin--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 2.
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 Swydd Ffynnon, another meadow was pointed out as their resort on the farm of Dol Bydye. 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 maswedd, 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 seventyeight 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 1 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.
[paragraph continues] 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 reasou 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 awaya year or more playingwith 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 Swydd Ffynnon and Carmarthen.
Mr. D. IL. 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 Tawe Valley, has been kind enough to write out for me a budget of ideas about the Cwm Tawe 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 byda'i 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 ipa le y meant 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 ffordd 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 Castel? Craig y Nos), mai yno y maent yn treulio eu
hamser yn y dyd, ac yn dyfod lawr yma i chwareu eu tranciau yx y nos.
Mae gandynt, mede nhw, ysgol aur, o un neu dwy ar hugain o ff;; 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 ffermydd cyfagos wrth chwilio am wningod yn y graig, dygwydd 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 mlynedd; ymhen y saith mlyned fe diangod a llon'd ei het o guineas gando.
Yr oedd 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 oedd 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 aeth yn rhy drachwantus, ac fel llawer un trachwantus o'i flaen, bu ei bechod yn angeu ido.
Canys fe aeth i lawr y bedwaredd waith ynguyll 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 Caslell, ond pwy fu yno iw gwel'd nhw, wn i dim.
Mae yn wir ei wala i'r ffarmwr crykoylledig fyned ar goll, ac na chlybwyd byth am dano, ac mor wir a hynny i'w dylwyth dyfody abl iawn, bron ar unwaith yr amser hynny. A chi wydoch gystal a finnau, eu bod nhw yn dywedyd fod ffyrrd tandaearol gandynt i ogofau
[paragraph continues] Ystrad Fellie, yn agos i Benderyn. A dyna y Garn Goch ar y Drum (Onllwyn yn awr) maent yn dweyd fod cannoedd o dynelli o aur yn stor ganddynt 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 olvyn o dan, ac ido' fethu caell 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 oedd hi yn gallu rheibo, mede nhw, ac yr oedd son 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: 'doedd 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 maw 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 gvmerai y swyd o siglo y cawell, a dim ond I'r fam droi ei chefin 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 gynyddu dim, a barn pawb oed mai wedi cael ei newid gan yr hen wraig yr oedd; fe aeth lad y plentyn i fygwth y gwr hysbys arni: fe da'eth yr hen wraig yno am saith niwrnod i esgus bado y bachgen bach mewn dwfir oer, a'r seithfed bore cyn ei bod yn oleu, hi a gas genad i fyned ag ef dan rhyw bistyll, mede hi, ond medair gm'dogion, myned ag ef i newid a wnaeth. Ond, beth bynag, fe wett loddy plen!~vn fel cyw yr uydd o hynny i maes. Ond gorfu i fam e' wneyd cystal a ffw wrth yr hen wraig, y gwnai ei dwco mewn dwfir 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 Ystraffelle, near Penderyn. There is the Garn Goch also on the Drum (now called Ollwyn); 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 darkgrey 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 1, 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 sydd yn aros yn y plwyf a elwir y Berth Gron, trigiannai gweddw ieuanc a'i phlentyn
bychan. Yr oedd wedi colli ei gwr, a'i hunig gysur yn ei hamddifadrwydd a'i hunigrwydd oedd Gruff, ei mab. Yr oedd ef yr amser hwn oddeutu tair blwydd oed, ac yn blentyn braf ar ei oedran. Yr oedd y plwyf, ar y pryd, yn orlawn o 'Fendith y Mamau'; ac, ar amser llawn lloer, bydent yn cadw dynion yn effro a'u cerddoriaeth hyd doriad gwawr. Rhai hynod ar gyfrif eu hagrwch oedd '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 chereddoriaeth i ryw gors afiach a diffaith, a ymddangosai yn gryn ddifyrrwch idynt. Nid rhyfedd fod y mamau beunydd ar eu gwyliadwriaeth rhag ofn colli eu plant. Yr oedd y wedw o dan sylw yn hynod ofalus am ei mab, gymaint nes tynnu rhai o'r cmydogion i dywedyd wrthi ei bod yn rhy orofalus, ac y byddai i ryw anlwc orddiwes ei mab. Ond ni thalai unrhyw sylw i'w dywediadau. Ymddan-gosai fod ei holl hyfrydwch a'i chysur ynghyd a'i gobeithion yn cydgyfarfod yn ei mab. Modd bynnag, un diwrnod, clywodd ryw lais cwynfannus yn codi o gymydogaeth y beudy; a rhag bod rhywbeth wedi digvydd i un o'r gwartheg rhedodd yn tuag yno, gan adael y drws heb ei gau, a'i mab bychan yn y ty. Ond pwy a fedr desgnfio ei gofid ar ei gwaith yn dyfod Pr b, wrth weled eisiau ei mab? Chwiliodd bob man am dano, ond yn aflwydiannus. Odeutu machlud haul, wele lencyn bychan yn gwneuthur ei ymddangosiad o'i blaen, ac yn dywedyd, yn groyw, 'Mam!' Edrychodd y fam yn janwl arno, a dywedod o'r diwed, 'Nid fy mhlentyn i wyt ti!' 'Le, yn sicr,' atebai y bychan.
Nid ymdangosai y fam yn fodlon, na'i bod yn credu mai ei phlentyn hi ydoedd. Yr oedd rhywbeth yn sisial yn barhaus wrthi mai nid ei mab hi ydoedd Ond beth bynnag, bu gyda hi am flwyddyn gyfan, ac nid ymdangosai ei fod yn cnydu dim, tra yr oedd Gruff, ei mab hi, yn
blenlyn cynydfawr iawn. Yr oedd y gwr bychan yn myned yn fwy hagr bob dydd hefyd. O'r diwedd penderfynodd fyned at y 'dyn hysbys,' er cael rhyw wybodaeth a goleuni ar y mater. Yr oedd yn dikwydd bod ar y pryd yn trigfannu yn Nghastell y Nos, wr ag oedd yn hynod ar gyfrif ei ymwybydiaeth drwyadl o 'gyfrinion y fall' Ar ol idi osod ei hachos ger ei fron, ac ynlau ei holi, sylwodd, 'Crimbil ydyw, ac y mae dy blentyn di gyd a'r hen Fendith yn rhywle; ond i ti d'ilyn fy nghyfarwyddiadau i yn ffyddlon a manwl, fe adferir dy blentyn i ti yn fuan. Yn awr, oddeutu canol dydd y foru, tor wy yn y canol, a thafl un hanner ymaith oddiwrrthyd, 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 fyddi 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 fydd ei ateb.'
Dychwelodd y wraik, a thrannoeth dilynodd gyfarwyddyd y 'dyn cynnil' I'r llythyren. Yr oedd y gwr bychan yn sefyll yn ei hymyl, ac yn sy/wi arn i yw fanwl. Ym mhen ychydig, gofynnodd, 'Mam, beth "i ch'i 'neuthur?' 'Cymysg pastai'r fedel, machgen I! ' O felly. Mi glywais gan fy nhad, fe glywodd hwnnw gan ei dad, a hwnnw gan ei dad ynlau, fod mesen cyn derwen, a derwen mewn dar 1; ond ni chlywais i na gweled neb yn un man yn cymysg pastai'r fedel mewn masgal wy iar.' Sylwodd y wraig ei fod yn edrych yn hynod o sarug arni pan yn siarad, ac yr oedd hynny yn ychwanegu at ei hagrwch, nes ei wneuthur wrthun i'r pen.
Y prydnawn hwnnw al y wraig at y 'dyn cynnil'
er ei hysbysu o'r hyn a lefarwyd gan y cor. ' O,' ebai hwnnw, 'un o'r hen frid ydyw! ' 'Yn awr, bydd Mawn fiber nesafym mhen pedwar diwrnod; mae yn rhaid i ti fyned i ben y pedair heol sydd cydgyfarfod wrth ben Rhyd y Gloch; am deudeg o'r glock y nos y bydd y lleuad yn llawn. Cofia guddio dy hun mewn man ag y cei lawn olwg ar bennau y croesffyrdd, ac os gweli rywbeth a bair i ti gynhyrfu, cofia fod yn ffonydd, ac ymatal rhag rhocti ffrwyn?th deimladau, neu fe ddisbywir y cnyllun, ac ni chei dy fab yn ol byth.'
Nis gwydai y fam anffodus beth oedd I'w deall wrth ystori ryfedd y 'dyn cynnil.' Yr oedd mewn cymaint o dywyllwch ag erioed. O'r diwedd daeth yr amser i ben; ac aryr awr a payntiedik yr oeddyn ymgudio yn ofalus lu cefn i luyn mawr yn ymyl, o ba le y caffai olwg ar bob beth o gylch. Bu am hir amser yno yn gwylio heb ddim i'w glywed na'i weled--dim ond distawrwyet dwfn a phruddglwyfus yr hanner nos yn teyrnasu. O'r diwedd dwai sain cerddoriaelh yn dynesu ati o hirbett. Nis, nis yr oetty sain felusber yn dyfod o hyd; a gwrandawai hithai gyda dyclbrdeb arni. Cyn hir yr oedd yn ei hymyl a deallodd mai gorymdaith o 'Fendith y Mamau' oeddynt yn myned i rywle. Yr oeddynt yn gannoedd mewn rhif. Tua chanol yr orymdaith canfyddodd olygfa ag a drywanodd ei chalon, ac a berodd i'w gwaed sefyll yn ei rhedweliau. Yn cerded rhwng pedwar o'r 'Bendith' yr oedd ei phlentyn bychan anwyl ei hun. Bu bron a llwyr anghofio ei hun, a llamu tuag ato er ei gipio ymaith oddiarnynt truy drais os gaffai. Ond pan ar neidio allan di hymguctfan i'r diben hwnnw meddyliodd am gynghor y 'dyn cynnil,' sef y bydai i unrhyw gynhyrfiad o'i heido ddistrywio y cwbl, ac na byclai idi gad ei fihlenbn yn ol byth.
Ar ol i'rorymdaith ddirwyn i'r pen, ac i sain eu cerddoriaeth ddistewi yn y peffder, daeth aflan o'i hym-gudf'an,
gan gyfeirio ei chamrau tua 'i chartref. Os oedd yn hiraethol o'r blaen ar ol ei mab, yr oedd yn llawer mwy erbyn hyn; a'I hadgasrzvydd at y cor bychan oedd yn hawlio ei fod yn fab idi wedi cynyddu yn fawr iawn, waith yr oedd yn sicr yn awr yn ei meddwl mai un o'r henfrid ydoed. Nis gwyddai pa fodd i'w oddef am fynud yn hwy yn yr un ty a hi, chwaithach goddef ido alw i 'mam' arni hi. Ond beth bynnag, cafodd digon o ras ataliol i ymddwyn yn wed'aidd at y gwr bychan hagr oect gyda hi yn ty. Drannoeth aeth ar ei hunion at y 'dyn cynnil' i adrodd yr hyn yr oedd wedi bod yn llygad dyst o hono y noson gynt, ac i ofyn am gyfarwyddyd pellach. Yr oedd y 'gwr cynnil' yn ei disguyl, ac ar ei gwaith yn dyfod i'r ty adnabyddodd wrthi ei bod wedi gweled rhywbeth oedd wedi ei chyffrot. Adroddodd wrtho yr hyn ag oedd wedi ei ganfod ar ben y croesffyrdd; ac wedi ido glywed hynny, agorodd lyfr mawr ag oedd gando, ac wedi hir syllu arno hysbysodd hi 'fod yn angenrheidiol idi cyn cael ei phlentyn yn ol gael idr d'u heb un plufyn guyn nac o un lliw arall arni, di lladd; 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 myneddfa yn yr adeilad ond un, a theidio a dal sylw manwl ar ol y 'crimbil,' hyd -nes byddai y iir yn digon, a'r pluf i syrthio ymaith odiarni bob un, ac yna i edrych ym mha le yr oedd ef.
Er mor rhyfedd oedd cyfarwyddyd y 'gwr,' penderfynodd et gynnyg; a thrannoeth aeth i chwilio ym mhlith y ieir oedd yno am un o'r desgrifiad angenrheidiol; ond er ei siomedigaeth methodd a chad yr un. Aeth o'r naill ffermdy i'r llall i chwilio, ond ymddangosai ffawdfel yn,azvgu arni-waith method'a chad yr un. Pan ym mron digaloni gan ei haflwyddiant daeth ar draws un mewn amaethdy yng nghwr y pliv f, a phrynod hi yn ddioedi. Ar ol dychwelyd adref, gosododd y tan mewn trefn, a
lladdodd yr idr, gan ei gosod o flaen y tan disglaer a losgai ar yr alch. Pan yn edrych arni yn pobi, anghofiocty 'crimbil' yn hoffol, ac yr oedd wedi syrthio i rywfath o bruaddlewyg, pryd y synnwyd hi gan sain cerd'oriaelh y tu altan t'r ty, yn debyg I'r hyn a glywoct whydik nosweithiazi cyn hynny ar ben y croesffyrd. Yr oeddy pluf erbyn hyn wedi syrthio ymaith oddiar y iar, ac erbyn edrych yr oeddy 'crtinbil' wedi diflannu. Edrychai y fam yn wyfft o'i deutu, ac er ei ffaweigd'clywai lais ei mab coftedik yn ga1w arni y tu affan. Rhedodd i'w rfod, gan ei gofleidio yn wresog; a phan ofynoddym Mha le yr oedd wedi bod cyhyd, nid oedd ganddo gyfrif yn y byd Pw rodi ond mai yn gwrando ar ganit hyfryd yr oedd wedi bod. Yr oedd yn deneu a threulieudig iawn ei wedd 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 dayThe 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' 1 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.
[paragraph continues] 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 1 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 1, 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 crossroads; 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 1 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 f~ont of the bright fire burning on the hearth. Whilst watchinor 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 crossroads. 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 denven a'i phlannu mwn ddr:
Ni chlywais yn unman am gymysg y bastai yn masgal wy itir.
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, 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 Lesso 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 1. 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 Llandrygam in Anglesey--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 hin y dyd hedy,
Ag yn byw cyn 'y ngmi:
Eriod ni welas ferwi
Bwyd I'r fedal mwn cwcwll 1 wy idr.
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 int 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, 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 1, 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 2. But one of the most curious portions of Eliodoru s'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 3, 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 Ysten 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 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 them again to their work without thinking much about what theyhad 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 (clawdd) 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 1, 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 truthfill 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 Ystn 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 2. In North Cardiganshire and North Wales the
toeli is called simply a cladledigaeth, '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 friendlv to the men and women whom it concerned. This will be seen, for instance, in the Demetian account of the
canwyll gorf 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. 30l:; but there is no doubt that in recent times the belief in them, as well as in the canwyllgorff, 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.
[paragraph continues] 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. I 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 'Lop they came in sight of the Pin. It is from this Pin that the people of Pen yr Allt got water, and it is fr-om. 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
[paragraph continues] Pwllheli. As she was getting above Gors Geirch, which was then a turbary and a pretty considerable bog, a noise reached her ears: she sto,pped 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, Bardd 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 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 Pistylt, he came in due time to Bwlch Trwyn Swncwll 1: he writes this name also Bwlch Drws Wncwl, with the suggestion that it ought to be BwIch 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 BwIch 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 fi.nd, 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 Dafydd Offeiriad, and copied by Thomas Williams of Trefriw, we have a line alluding to Britain in the words:--
Coy-on ynys y Cesiri 1.
The Crown of the Giants' Island.
Here Ynys y Cefiri 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 2, or
[paragraph continues] Prydain's Three Islands and Prydain's Three outpost Islands; and the substantial antiquity of the designation I 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 νῆσος Πρετανική, 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 Prj,dein, 'the Picts' Island,' mean Great Britain, and Prydyn mean the Pictland of the North. But just as Cyniry meant the plural Welshmen and the singular Wales, so Prydyn meant Picts 1 and the country of the Picts. Now the plural Prydyn has its etymological Goidelic equivalent in the vocable Critithni, 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 2 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 bryd and cruth, the words in Welsh and Irish respectively for form or shaft, 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
Cedyrrn and Prydein correspond in the terms Ynys y Kedyrn and Ynys Prydein? This one is enabled to understand by means of ceuri or ceiri as a middle term. Now cadarn means strong or valiant, and makes the plural cedyrn; but there is another Welsh word cadr 1 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 2 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.
196:1 This chapter, except where a later date is suggested, may be regarded as written in the summer of 1883.
198:1 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 Gwynedd 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.
201:1 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 Crugcailh, as where Lewis Glyn Cothi, I. xxiv, sang
Rhys ab Sion â'r hysbys iaith,
Gwr yw acw o Grugcaith.
This spelling postulates the interpretation Crag-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-ceilth, or Cruc-ceith, became Crúeth, whence Crúcieth and Cricieth. The Bruts have Crugyeith the only time it occurs, and the Record of Carnarvon (several times) Krukyth.
203:1 Out of excessive fondness for our Arthur English people translate this name into Arthur's Seat instead of ldris' 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: ldris may be explained as meaning 'War-champion,'or the like; and, phonologically speaking, it comes from Iudd-rys, which was made successively into Id-rys, Idris. The syllable iudd 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 Iudd-hael yields Ithel, whence Ab Ithel anglicized Bethel. At the end, however, it is ydd or udd, as in Gruffudd or Gruffydd, from Old Welsh Grippiudd, and Maredudd or Meredydd for an older Marget-iudd. By itself it is possibly the word which the poets write udd, and understand to mean lord; but if these forms are related, it must have originally meant rather a fighter, soldier, or champion.
204:1 'There is a special similarity between this and an Anglesey story given by Howells: It consists in the sequence of seeing the fairies dance and finding money left by them. Why was the money left?
206:1 It was so called by the poet D. ab Gwilym, cxcii. 12 when he sang:
I odi ac i luchio
Oddiar lechwdd Moel Eilo.
To bring snow and drifting flakes
From off Moel Eilio's slope.
210:1 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 Dorzwn, 'the white-bellied garth or hill,' is not a very likely name either.
211:1 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 p. 212[paragraph continues] 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.
213:1 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 Philisophica Libri III (Paris, 1567), i. 45 (pp. 81-2).
217:1 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, I may mention that the Cornish also have had their Cam 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.
219:1 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.
222:1 Owing to some oversight he has 'a clean or a dirty cow' instead of cow-yard or cow-house, as I understand it.
225:1 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 u, 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 cneifo, '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 role 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.'
226:1 In medieval Welsh poetry this name was still a dissyllable; but now it is pronounced Llŷnn, in conformity with the habit of the Gwyndodeg, which makes into porfŷdd what is written porfeydd, 'pastures,' and pronounced porféidd in North Cardiganshire. So in the Leyn name Sarn Fyllteyrn the second vocable represents Maelteyrn, in the Record of Carnarvon (p. 38) Maylterñ: 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.
230:1 A 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.
233:1 Here the writer seems to have been puzzled by the mh ofAmheirchion, and to have argued back to a radical form Parch; but he was on the wrong tack--Amheirrhibn 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 pryháwn, sometimes reduced in Gwynedd 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 luan 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 Ameriddh, who was created baronet in 1639. Amerideth of course = Ap Meredydd, 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 Amheredydd. 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'.
235:1 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, above. It is possibly a tendency inherited from Goidelic. as Irish is found to proceed in the same way.
238:1 may mention that some of the Francises of Anglesey are supposed to be descendants of Frazers, who changed their name on finding refuge in p. 239 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.
245:1 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 Lannarth and Lampeter.
245:2 For other mentions of the colours of fairy dress above, where red prevails, and contrast the Lake Lady of Lyn Barfog clad in green, p. 145.
248:1 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 tatt 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 Fyntfiged, 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 androsarmum, tutsan,' and in North Cardiganshire we call it Dail y Fydiged or Fdiged, but in Carnarvonshire the adjective is made to qualify dail, so that it sounds Dail Bydigad or Bdigad. ' Blessed Leaves.'
257:1 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', to which perhaps might be added such an instance as Blaen Nos, 'the Point of (the?) Night,' in the neighbourhood of Randovery, 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.
259:1 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 dwarfs answer was probably in some sort of verse, with dâr and iâr to rhyme.
263:1 Applied in Glamorgan to a child that looks poorly and does not grow.
264:1 In Cardiganshire a conjurer is called dyn hybys, 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 factsY mae 'r Peth yn hysbys, I 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 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 cyfanvyd, with which the reader is already familiar. Here cyfarwyd forms a link with the kyvar6yd of the Mabinogion, where it usually means a professional man, especially one skilled in story and history; and what constituted his knowledge was called kyvar6ydyl, which included among other things acquaintance with boundaries and pedigrees, but it meant most frequently perhaps story; see the (Oxford) Mabinogion, pp. 51 61, 72, 93. All these terms should, strictly speaking, have gwr-gwr kyspys, 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, I 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 ἀνήρ.
265:1 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 Llanfobon 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.'
267:1 It was peat fires that were usual in those days even in Glamorgan.
268:1 See Hartland's Science of Fairy Tales, pp. 112--6.
269:1 In no other version has Mr. Reynolds heard cwcwll wy iar, but either phsgyn or cibyn wy iar, 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.'
270:1 The whole passage will be found in the Itinerarium Kambriae, 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 Gerallid or David Fitzgerald, appears to have been consecrated Bishop of St. David's in 1147, and to have died in 1176.
270:2 The words in the original are: Nec carne vescebantur, nec pisce; lateis plerumque cibariis utentes, et in pultis modum quasi croco confectis.
270:3 Perhaps it is this also that suggested the name Eliodorus, as it were Ἡλιόδωρος for the original name was probably the medieval Welsh one of p. 271 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 Elfodd, which is quite another name, and more correctly written El-fodw found not only as Elbodu but also Elbodug- o, Elboag, Elbot and Elfod; see above.
273:1 For one or two more instances from Wales see Howells, 131). 54-7. Brittany also is a great country for death portents: see A. Le Braz, Légende do la Mort on Basse-Bretagne (Paris, 1893), also Sébillot's Traditions of Superstitions do 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.
273:2 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 p. 274 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 ssured 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.
278:1 Mrs. Williams-Ellis of Glasfryn writes to me that the place is now called Bwlch Trwyn Swnewl, that it is a gap on the highest part of the road crossing from Lanaelhaearn to Pistyll, and that it is quite a little mountain pass between bleak hcather-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.
280:1 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 u 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.
280:2 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. p. 281[paragraph continues] 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 poetp Iolo Goch: see his works edited by Ashton, p. 669.
281:1 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 Cynyry are distinguished in writing as Cymry and Cymru, but the difference is merely one of spelling and not very ancient.
281:2 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.
282:1 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 and aneirif, 'numberless,' from eirif, 'number,'of the same origin as Irish áram from *ad-rim = *ad-rimd, 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. Ile plural crumi or cawri is formed from the singular cawr, which means a giant, though, associated in the plural with aiii, it has sometimes to follow suit with that vocable in connoting dress.
282:2 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 κέκαδμαύ and, κεκαδένος to be found used in reference to excelling or distinguishing one's self; also κόρμος, 'good order, ornament,' while in Sanskrit there is the theme çad, "to excel or surpass.' The old meaning of 'beautiful,' 'decorated,' or 'loudly dressecd' is not yet lost in the case of ceirs.