|Welsh Fairy tales
THE LONG-LIVED ANCESTORS.
Eagle of Gwernabwy had been long married to his female, and had by her
many children; she died, and he continued a long time a widower; but at
length be proposed a marriage with the Owl of Cwm Cwmlwyd; but afraid
of her being young, so as to have children by her, and thereby degrade
his own family, he first of all went to inquire about her age amongst
the aged of the world. Accordingly he applied to the Stag of Rhedynfre,
whom he found lying close to the trunk of an old oak, and requested to
know the Owl's age.
"I have seen," said the Stag, "this oak an
acorn, which is now fallen to the ground through age, without either
bark or leaves, and never suffered any hurt or strain except from my
rubbing myself against it once a day, after getting up on my legs; but
I never remember to have seen the Owl you mention younger or older than
she seems to be at this day. But there is one older than I am, and that
is the Salmon of Glynllifon."
The Eagle then applied to the Salmon
for the age of the Owl. The Salmon answered, "I am as many years old as
there are scales upon my skin, and particles of spawn within my belly;
yet never saw I the Owl you mention but the same in appearance. But
there is one older than I am, and that is the Blackbird of Cilgwri."
Eagle next repaired to the Blackbird of Cilgwri, whom he found perched
upon a small stone, and enquired of him the Owl's age.
see this stone upon which I sit," said the Blackbird, "which is now no
bigger than what a man can carry in his hand? I have seen this very
stone of such weight as to be a sufficient load for a hundred oxen to
draw, which has suffered neither rubbing nor wearing, save that I rub
my bill on it once every evening, and touch the tips of my wings on it
every morning, when I expand them to fly; yet I have not seen the Owl
either older or younger than she appears to be at this day. But there
is one older than I am, and that is the Frog of Mochno Bog, and if he
does not know her age, there is not a creature living that does know
The Eagle went last of all to the Frog and desired to know the
Owl's age. He answered, "I never ate anything but the dust from the
spot which I inhabit, and that very sparingly, and dost thou see these
great hills that surround and overawe this bog where I lie? They are
formed only of the excrements from my body since I have inhabited this
place, yet I never remember to have seen the Owl but an old hag, making
that hideous noise, Too, hoo, hoo! always frightening the children in
So the Eagle of Gwernabwy, the Stag of
Rhedynfre, the Salmon of Glynllifon, the Blackbird of Cilgwri, the Frog
of Mochno Bog, and the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd are the oldest creatures in
the whole world!