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The land of King Arthur,
Wales is one of only six remaining Celtic nations and is home to some of the most fantastic fairies and wonderful fairy tales.

Welsh and Manx Folklore


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


such dimensions, that it seems best to leave it to
those who make it their special study.

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


not much less rich in their yield. The anglicizing
counties in particular are apt to be disregarded both
from the Welsh and the English points of view, in
folklore just as in some other things; and in this
connexion I cannot help mentioning the premature
death of the Rev. Elias Owen as a loss which Welsh
folklorists will not soon cease to regret.

My information has been obtained partly viva voce,
partly by letter. In the case of the stories written
down for me in Welsh, I may mention that in some
instances the language is far from good ; but it has not
been thought expedient to alter it in any way, beyond
introducing some consistency into the speUing. In the
case of the longest specimen of the written stories,
Mr. J. C. Hughes' Curse of Pantannas, it is worthy of
notice in passing, that the rendering of it into English
was followed by a version in blank verse by Sir Lewis
Morris, who pubUshed it in his Songs of Britain. With
regard to the work generally, my original intention was
to publish the materials, obtained in the way described,
with such stories already in print as might be deemed
necessary by way of setting for them; and to let any
theories or deductions in which I might be disposed to
indulge follow later. In this way the first six chapters
and portions of some of the others appeared from time
to time in the publications of the Honourable Society of
Cymmrodorion and in those of the Folk- Lore Society.
This would have allowed me to divide the present work
into the two well marked sections of materials and
deductions. But, when the earlier part came to be
edited, I found that I had a good deal of fresh material
at my disposal, so that the chapters in question had
in some instances to be considerably lengthened and in
some others modified in other ways. Then as to the
deductive half of the work, it may be mentioned that


certain portions of the folklore, though ever apt to repeat
themselves, were found when closely scrutinized to show
serious lacunge, which had to be filled in the course
of the reasoning suggested by the materials in hand.
Thus the idea of the whole consisting of two distinctly
defined sections had to be given up or else allowed to
wait till I should find time to recast it. But I could
no more look forward to any such time than to the
eventual possibility of escaping minor inconsistencies by
quietly stepping through the looking-glass and beginning
my work with the index instead of resting content to
make it in the old-fashioned way at the end. There
was, however, a third course, which is only mentioned to
be rejected, and that was to abstain from all further
publication ; but what reader of books has ever known
any of his authors to adopt that !

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


I venture to become my own expositor and to append
the following summary: —

The materials crowded into the earlier chapters mark
out the stories connected with the fairies, whether of
the lakes or of the dry land, as the richest lode to
be exploited in the mine of Celtic folklore. That work
is attempted in the later chapters ; and the analysis of
what may briefly be described as the fairy lore given in
the earlier ones carries with it the means of forcing the
conviction, that the complex group of ideas identified
with the little people is of more origins than one ; in
other words, that it is drawn partly from history and
fact, and partly from the world of imagination and myth.
The latter element proves on examination to be insepa-
rably connected with certain ancient beliefs in divinities
and demons associated, for instance, with lakes, rivers, and
floods. Accordingly, this aspect of fairy lore has been
dealt with in chapters vi and vii : the former is devoted
largely to the materials themselves, while the latter
brings the argument to a conclusion as to the intimate
connexion of the fairies with the water-world. Then
comes the turn of the other kind of origin to be discussed,
namely, that which postulates the historical existence of
the fairies as a real race on which have been lavishly
superinduced various impossible attributes. This opens
up a considerable vista into the early ethnology of these
islands, and it involves a variety of questions bearing
on the fortunes here of other races. In the series
which suggests itself the fairies come first as the oldest
and lowest people : then comes that which I venture
to call Pictish, possessed of a higher civilization and of
warlike instincts. Next come the earlier Celts of the
Goidelic branch, the traces, linguistic and other, of
whose presence in Wales have demanded repeated
notice ; and last of all come the other Celts, the linguistic


ancestors of the Welsh and all the other speakers of
Brythonic. The development of these; theses, as far
as folklore supplies materials, occupies practically the
remaining five chapters. Among the subsidiary ques-
tions raised may be instanced those of magic and
the origin of druidism; not to mention a neglected
aspect of the Arthurian legend, the intimate association
of the Arthur of Welsh folklore and tradition with
Snowdon, and Arthur's attitude towards the Goidelic
population in his time.

Lastly, I have the pleasant duty of thanking all
those who have helped me, whether by word of
mouth or by letter, whether by reference to already
printed materials or by assistance in any other way:
the names of many of them will be found recorded
in their proper places. As a rule my inquiries met
with prompt replies, and I am not aware that any diffi-
culties were purposely thrown in my way. Neverthe-
less I have had difficulties in abundance to encounter,
such as the natural shyness of some of those whom
I wished to examine on the subject of their recollec-
tions, and above all the unavoidable difficulty of cross-
questioning those whose information reached me by
post. For the precise value of any evidence bearing
on Celtic folklore is almost impossible to ascertain,
unless it can be made the subject of cross-examination.
This arises from the fact that we Celts have a knack
of thinking ourselves in complete accord with what we
fancy to be in the inquirer's mind, so that we are quite
capable of misleading him in perfect good faith. A
most apposite instance, deserving of being placed on
record, came under my notice many years ago. In the
summer of 1868 I spent several months in Paris, where
I met the historian Henri Martin more than once. On
being introduced to him he reminded me that he had


visited South Wales not long before, and that he
had been delighted to find the peasantry there still
believing in the transmigration of souls. I expressed
my surprise, and remarked that he must be joking.
Nothing of the kind, he assured me, as he had questioned
them himself: the fact admitted of no doubt. I expressed
further surprise, but as I perceived that he was proud
of the result of his friendly encounters with my country-
men I never yentured to return to the subject, though
I always wondered what in the world it could mean.
A few years ago, however, I happened to converse
with one of the most charming and accomplished of
Welsh ladies, when she chanced to mention Henri
Martin's advent : it turned out that he had visited
Dr. Charles Williams, then the Principal of Jesus
College, and that Dr. Williams introduced him to
his friends in South Wales. So M. Martin arrived
among the hospitable friends of the lady talking to me,
who had in fact to act as his interpreter: I never
understood that he could talk much English or any
Welsh. Now I have no doubt that M. Martin, with
his fixed ideas about the druids and their teaching,
propounded palpably leading questions for the Welsh
people whom he wished to examine. His fascinating
interpreter put them into terse Welsh, and the whole
thing was done. I could almost venture to write out
the dialogue, which gave back to the great French-
man his own exact notions from the lips of simple
peasants in that subtle non-Aryan syntax, which no
Welsh barrister has ever been able to explain to the
satisfaction of a bewildered English judge trying to
administer justice among a people whom he cannot
wholly comprehend.

This will serve to illustrate one of the difficulties
with which the collector of folklore in Wales has


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


Jesus College, Oxford,
Christmas, 1900.





Undine's Kymric Sisters i

I. The legend of ILyn y Fan Fach 2

II. The legend of ILyn y Forwyn 23

in. Some Snowdon lake legends 30

IV. The heir of Ystrad 38

V. ILandegai and ILanltechid 50

VI. Mapes' story of ILyn Syfatfon 70


The Fairies' Revenge 75

I. Beflgelert and its environs 75

II. The Pennant Valley 107

III. Glasynys' yarns 109

IV. An apple story 125

v. The Conwy afanc 130

VI. The Berwyn and Aran Fawdwy . . . . 135

VII. The hinterland of Aberdovey 141

VIII. Some more Merioneth stories 146

IX. The Children of Rhys Dwfn 151

X. Southey and the Green Isles of the Sea . . . 169

XI. The curse of Pantannas 173

XII. More fairy displeasure 192




Fairy Ways and Words ^97

I. The folklore of Nant Conwy i97

II, Scenes of the Mabinogi of Math 207

III. Celynnog Fawr and ILanaelhaearn .... 214

IV. The blind man's folklore 219

V. The old saddler's recollections 222

VI. Traces of Tom Tit Tot 226

VII. March and his horse's ears 231

VIII. The story of the Marchlyn Mawr 234

IX. The faiiy ring of Cae ILeidr Dyfrydog .... 238

X. A Cambrian kelpie 242

XI. Sundry traits of fairy character 244

XII. Ynys Geinon and its fairy treasures .... 251

XIII. The aged infant 257

XIV. Fairy speech 269


Manx Folklore

The fenodyree or Manx brownie .
The sleih beggey or little people
The hutches or witches and the hare
Charmers and their methods .
Comparisons from the Channel Islands
Magic and ancient modes of thought
The efficacy of fire to detect the witch
Burnt sacrifices ....
Laa Boaldyn or May-day
Laa Lhunys or the beginning of harvest
Laa Houney or HoUantide beginning the j'ear
Sundry prognostications and the time for them








The Fenodyree and his Friends .
Lincolnshire parallels


The brownie of Blednoch and Bwca'r Tnvyn

Prognostication parallels from Lincolnshire

The traffic in wind and the Gallizenae .

Wells with rags and pins ....

St. Catherine's hen plucked at Colby

The qualtagh or the first-foot and the question of race

Sundry instances of things unlucky

Manx reserve and the belief in the Enemy of Souls

The witch of Endor's influence and the respecta-
bility of the charmer's vocation

Public penance enforced pretty recently






The Folklore of the Wells .

Rag wells in Wales

The question of distinguishing between offerings and

vehicles of disease

Mr. Hartland's decision

The author's view revised and illustrated
T. E. Morris' account of the pin well of ILanfaglan
Other wishing and divining wells .
The sacred fish of ILanberis and ILangybi .
Ffynnon prassi producing the Glasfryn lake
.^The Morgan of that lake and his name .
Ffynnon G3rwer producing Bala Lake .
Bala and other towns doomed to submersion







The legend of ILyn ILech Owen .

The parallels of Lough Neagh and Lough Ree

Seithennin's realm overwhelmed by the sea .

Seithennin's name and its congeners . ,

Prof Dawkins on the Lost Lands of Wales .

Certain Irish wells not visited with impunity

The Lough Sheelin legend compared with that of


The priesthood of the wells of St. Elian and St. Teilo







Triumphs of the Water-world

The sea encroaching on the coast of Glamorgan .

The Kenfig tale of crime and vengeance

The Crymlyn story and its touch of fascination .

Nennius' description of Oper Linn Liguan compared

The vengeance legend of Bala Lake

Legends about the ILjmclys Pool ....

The fate of Tyno Helig

The belief in cities submerged intact

The phantom city and the bells of Aberdovey

The ethics of the foregoing legends discussed

The limits of the delay of punishment

Why the fairies delay their vengeance

Non-ethical legends of the eruption of water

Cutting the green sward a probable violation of

ancient tabu avenged by water divinities
The lake afanc's r5le in this connexion .
The pigmies of the water-world ....
The Conwy afanc and the Highland water-horse .
The equine features of March and Labraid Lore .
Mider and the Mac Oc's well horses
The Gilla Decair's horse and Du March Moro
March ab Meirchion associated with Mona .






The Welsh deluge Triads

Names of the Dee and other rivers in North Wales
The Lydney god Nudons, Nuada, and ILud .
The fairies associated in various ways with water
The cyhiraeth and the Welsh banshee
Ancestress rather than ancestor ....




Welsh Cave Legends 456

The question of classification 456

The fairy cave of the Arennig Fawr .... 456

The cave of Mynya y Cnwc 457

Waring's version of lolo's legend of Craig y Dinas 458

Craigfryn Hughes' Monmouthshire tale . . . 462

The story of the cave occupied by Owen Lawgoch . 464

How London Bridge came to figure in that story . . 466

Owen Lawgoch in Ogo'r Dinas 467

Dinas Emrys with the treasure hidden by Merlin . 469

Snowdonian treasure reserved for the Goidel . . 470

Arthur's death on the side of Snowdon .... 473

The graves of Arthur and Rhita 474

Elis o'r Nant's story of ILanciau Eryri's cave . . 476

The top of Snowdon nanied after Rhita .... 477

Drystan's cairn 480

The hairy man's cave 481

Returning heroes for comparison with Arthur and

Owen Lawgoch 481

The baledwyr's Owen to return as Henry the Ninth 484

Owen a historical man =Froissart's Yvain de Gales . 487

Froissart's account of him and the questions it raises . 488

Owen ousting Arthur as a cave-dweller . . . 493
Arthur previously supplanting a divinity of the class

of the sleeping Cronus of Demetrius . , . 493

Arthur's original sojourn located in Faery . . . 495





Place-name Stories 49^

The "f riad of the Swineherds of the Isle of Prydain . 499

The former importance of swine's flesh as food . . 501

The Triad clause about Cott's straying sow . . ■ 503

CoH's wanderings arranged to explain place-names . 508
The Kulhwch account of Arthur's hunt of Twrch

Trwyth in Ireland 509

^ A parley with the boars 5^'^

- The hunt resumed "in Pembrokeshire .... 512

The boars reaching the Loughor Valley . . . 514

Their separation 5^5

One killed by the Men of ILydaw in Ystrad Yw . . 516
Ystrad Yw defined and its name explained . . . 516
Twrch Trwyth escaping to Cornwall after an en-
counter in the estuary of the Severn . . . 519
The comb, razor, and shears of Twrch Trwyth . . 519

The name Twrch Trwyth 521

Some of the names evidence of Goidelic speech . . 523

The story about Gwydion and his swine compared . 525

Place-name explanations blurred or effaced . . . 526

Enumeration of Arthur's losses in the hunt . . . 529

The Men of ILydaw's identity and their Syfadon home 531

Further traces of Goidelic names 536

A Twrch Trwyth incident mentioned by Nennius . 537

The place-name Cam Cabal discussed .... 538
Duplicate names with the Goidelic form preferred in

Wales 541

The same phenomenon in the Mabinogion . . . 543
The relation between the families of ILyr, D6n, and

PwyH 548

The elemental associations of ILyr and Lir . . . 549

Matthew Arnold's idea of Medieval Welsh story . . 551

BrSn, the Tricephal, and the Letto-SIavic Triglaus . 55a

Summary remarks as to the Goidels in Wales . . 553



Difficulties of the Folklorist

" The terrors of superstition and magic .

" The folklorist's activity no fostering of superstition

Folklore a portion of history

The difficulty of separating story and history
Arthur and the Snowdon Goidels as an illustration
Rhita Gawr and the mad kings Nynio and Peibio
Malory's version and the name Rhita, Ritho, Ryons
Snowdon stories about Owen Ymhacsen and Cai
Goidelic topography in Gwyned ....
The Goidels becoming Compatriots or Kymry
The obscurity of certain superstitions a difficulty
Difficulties arising from their apparent absurdity

illustrated by the March and Labraid stories .
Difficulties from careless record illustrated by Howells

Ychen Bannog

Possible survival of traditions about the urus
A brief review of the lake legends and the iron tabu
The scrappiness of the Welsh Tom Tit Tot stories
The story of the widow of Kittlerumpit compared
Items to explain the names SUi Ffrit and Slli go Dwt
Bwca'r Trwyn both brownie and bogie in one
That bwca a fairy in service, like the Pennant nurse
The question of fairies concealing their names
Magic identifying the name with the person
Modryb Mari regarding cheese-baking as disastrous to

the flock

Her story about the reaper's little black soul
Gwenogvryn Evans' lizard version
Diseases regarded as also material entities .
The difficulty of realizing primitive modes of thought













Folklore Philosophy 607

The soul as a pigmy or a lizard, and the word enaid . 607

A different notion in the Mabinogi of Math . . . 608

— Thebeliefin the persistenceofthebody through changes 610

- Shape-shifting and rebirth in Gwion's transformations 612
Tuan mac Cairill, Amairgen, and Taliessin . . . 615
D'Arbois de Jubainville's view of Erigena's teaching . 617
The druid master of his own transformations . . 620
Death not a matter of course so much as of magic . 620
This incipient philosophy as Gaulish druidism . . 622
The Gauls not all of one and the same beliefs . . 623

The name and the man 624

Enw, 'name,' and the idea of breathing . . . 625

The exact nature oi the association still obscure . . 627
The Celts not distinguishing between names and

things 628

A Celt's name on him, not by him or with him . . 629

The druid's method of name-giving non- Aryan . . 631

— Magic requiring metrical formulae 632

The professional man's curse producing blisters . . 632

A natural phenomenon arguing a thin-skinned race . 633

Cursing of no avail without the victim's name . . 635

Magic and kingship linked in the female line . . 636

Race in Folklore and Myth . . . .
Glottology and comparative mythology.

The question of the feminine in Welsh syntax
The Irish goddess Danu and the Welsh Don
Tynghed or destiny in the Kulhwch story .
Traces of a Welsh confarreatio in the same context
Jjokk in the Balder story compared with tynghed
Questions of mythology all the harder owing to race

mixture 652




Whether the picture of Ciichulainn in a rage be

Aryan or not 653

Ctichulainn exempt from the Ultonian couvade . . 654
Ciichulainn racially a Celt in a society reckoning

descent by birth 656

Ciichulainn as a rebirth of Lug paralleled in Lapland . 657

Doubtful origin of certain legends about Lug . . 658

The historical element in fairy stories and lake legends 659

The notion of the fairies being all women . . . 661

An illustration from Central Australia .... 662

Fairy counting by fives evidence of a non-Celtic raee . 663

The Basque numerals as an illustration .... 665

Prof. Sayce on Irishmen and Berbers .... 665

Dark-complexioned people and fairy changelings . 666

The blond fairies of the Pennant district exceptional . 668

A summary of fairy life from previous chapters . . 668

Sir John Wynne's instance of men taken for fairies . 670

Some of the Brythonic names for fairies . . . 671

Dwarfs attached to the fortunes of their masters . . 672

The question of fairy cannibalism 673

The fairy Corannians and the historical Coritani . . 674

St. Guthlac at Croyland in the Fens .... 676

The Irish sfd, side, and the Welsh Caer Sidi . . 677

The mound dwellings of Pechts and Irish fairies . . 679
Prof J. Morris Jones explaining the non- Aryan syntax

of neo-Celtic by means of Egyptian and Berber . 681

The Picts probably the race that introduced it . . 682

The first pre-Celtic people here 683

Probably of the same race as the neolithic dwarfs

of the Continent 683

The other pre-Celtic race, the Picts and the people

of the Mabinogion 684

A word or two by way of epilogue 686

Additions and Corrections 689

Index 695

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

Charles Lamb's Essays of Elia.






Aberffraw : E. S. Roberts (after Hugh Francis), 240, 241.
ELandyfrydog : E. S. Roberts (after Robert Roberts), 239, 240.
ILyn yr Wyth EiDioN : (no particulars), 429.
Mynyb y Cnwc : A writer in the Brython for 1859, 457, 458.
Mynyb Mecheil : Morris Evans (from his grandmother), 203, 204.
TowYN Trewern : John Roberts, 36-8.

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


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

„ : „ „ (after J. Davies), 251-6.

ILangorse : Giraldus, in his Itinerarium Katnbrice, 72.

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

? : The Brython for 1863, 73, 74.

ILVN CwM ILWCH NEIGHBOURHOOD : Ivor JamCS, 31, 430, 445.

? : Ed. Davies, in his Mythology and Rites, 20, 31.


Atpar : John Rhys (from Joseph Powell), 648, 649.
Bronnant : D. IL. Davies, 248, 249.
Cadabowew : J. Gwenogvryn Evans, 603, 604.
ILanwenog : „ „ 648.

ILyn Eibwen : J. E. Rogers of Abermeurig, 578.
MoEBiN : Howells, in his Cambrian Superstitions, 245.
„ : D. Silvan Evans, in his Ystfn Sioned, 271-3.
PoNTERWYD : John Rhys, 294, 338, 378, 391, 392.

„ : Mary Lewis (Modryb Man), 601, 602.

SwYs Ffynnon : D. IL. Davies, 246, 247, 250.


Cardiganshire (continued).
Tregaron and neighbourhood : John Rhys (from John Jones and

others), 577-9-
Troed yr Aur ) : Benjamin Williams (Gwynionyd), 166-8.

AND [ : Gwynionyd, in the Brython for 1858 and i860,

Verwig ? ' 151-5. 158-60, 163, 164, 464-6.
Ystrad Meurig : Isaac Davies, 245.
„ „ : A farmer, 601.

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


Cenarth : B. Davies, in the Brython, 1858, 161, 162.
ILandeilo : D. ILeufer Thomas, in Y Geninen for 1896, 469.

„ : Mr. Stepney-Gulston, in the Arch. Camb. for 1893, 468.
ILandybie : John Fisher, 379, 380.

„ : Howells, in his Cambrian Superstitions, 381.
„ : John Fisher and J. P. Owen, 468.
Mybfai : Wm. Rees of Tonn, in the Physicians of Mydvai, 2-15.
„ : The Bishop of St. Asaph, 15, 16.
„ : John Rhys, 16.
? : Joseph Joseph of Brecon, 16.
? : Wirt Sikes, in his British Goblins, 17, 18.
Mynyb y Banwen : ILywarch Reynolds, 18, 19, 428-30.


I. Craigfryn Hughes, 487.


Aber Soch : Margaret Edwards, 231.

„ : A blacksmith in the neighbourhood, 232.

? : Edward ILwyd : see the Brython for i860, 233, 234.

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

Aberdaron : Mrs. Williams and another, 228.

? : Evan Williams of Rhos Hirwaen, 230.

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

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

„ : The Brython for 1861, 470, 473, 474.
Bethesda : David Evan Davies (Dewi Glan Ffrydlas), 60-4, 66.
Bettws y Coed : Edward ILwyd : see the Cambrian Journal for

1859, 130-3.
Criccieth neighbourhood : Edward ILewelyn, 219-21.

? : Edward ILwyd: seethe Ca6.yoMra/fori859,2oi,202.
Dinorwig : E. Lloyd Jones, 234-7.
DoLBENMAEN : W. Evans Jones, 107-9.
DoLWYfiELAN : sec Bebgelert.
„ : see Gwybrnant.


Drws y Coed : S. R.Williams (from M.Williams and another),3&-4o.

? : „ 89,90.

Edern : John Williams (Alaw ILeyn), 275-9.
Four Crosses : Lewis Jones, 222-5.
Glasfryn Uchaf : John Jones (MyrSin Farft), 367, 368.

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

Glynilifon : Wm. Thomas Solomon, 208-14.
GwYBRNANT : Ellis Pierce (Elis o'r Nant), 476-9.
ILanaelhaearn : R. Hughes of Uwchlaw'r Ffynnon, 214, 315, 217-9.
ILanberis: Mrs. Rhys and her relatives, 31-6, 604.

„ : M. and O. Rhys, 229.

„ : A correspondent in the Liverpool Mercury, 366, 367.
? : Howell Thomas (from G. B. Gattie), 125-30.
1 : Pennant, in his Tours in Wales, 125.
ILandegai : H. Derfel Hughes, 52-60, 68.

„ : „ „ in his Antiquities, 471, 472.

„ : E. Owen, in the Powysland Club's Collections, 237, 338.
ILandwrog : Hugh Evans and others, 207.
ILanfaglan : T. E. Morris (from Mrs. Roberts), 362, 363.
ILangybi : John Jones (MyrSin Fard), 366.

„ : Mrs. Williams-Ellis, 366, 471.
ILaniestin : Evan Williams, 228, 229, 584.
ILanilechid : Owen Davies (Eos JLechid), 41-6, 50-2.
Nefyn : Lowri Hughes and another woman, 226, 227.
„ : John Williams (Alaw ILeyn), 228.
„ : A writer in the Brython for i860, 164.
Penmachno : Gethin Jones, sa\-ti.
Rhyd Du : Mrs. Rhys, 604.
Trefriw : Morris Hughes and J. D, Maclaren, 198-201.

„ : Pierce Williams, 30.
Tremadoc : Jane Williams, 221, 222.

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

„ : Ellis Owen (cited by Wm. Jones), 95.
Waen Fawr : Owen Davies, 41.

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

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

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

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

1 : Owen Jones (quoted in the Brython for 1861), 414, 415.
YsPYTTY Ifan ? : A Liverpool Eistedfod (1900) competitor, 692.


Bryneglwys : E. S. Roberts (from Mrs. Davies), 241, 242.
Eglwyseg : E. S. Roberts (after Thomas Morris), 238.
Ffynnon Lilian : Mrs. Silvan Evans, 357.

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


Denbighshire {continued).

Ffynnon Eilian : Lewis, in his Topographical' Dictionaty, 395, 396.

„ „ : P. Roberts, in his Catnb. Popular Antiquities, 396.

„ ,, : A writer in Y No/ely^, 3g6.

ILangoilen : Hywel (Wm. Davies), 148.
Pentre Voelas : Elias Owen, in his fVelsfi Folk-Lore, 222.



Bridgend : J. H. Davies, D. Brynmor-Jones, J. Rhys, 354, 355.
Crymlyn : Cadrawd, in the South Wales Daily News, 405, 406.

? : Wirt Sikes, in his British Goblins, 191, 192, 405.
Kenfig : lolo Morganwg, in the lolo MSS., 403, 404.

? : David Davies, 402.
ILanfabon : I. Craigfiyn Hughes, 257-268.
ILanwynno : Glanffrwd, in his Plwyf Llanwyno, 26.
Merthyr Tydfil : ILywarch Reynolds (from his mother), 269.
Quakers' Yard : I. Craigfryn Hughes, 173-91.
Rhonba Fechan : ILewellyn Williams, 24, 25.

„ „ : J. Probert Evans, 25, 27.

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

Rhonba Valley : D. J. Jones, 3515.


: Dafyd Morganwg, in his Hanes Morganwg, 356.

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


Aberdovey : J. Pughe, in the Arch. Catnb. for 1853, 142-6, 428.
„ : Mrs. Prosser Powell, 416.
? : M. B., in the Monthly Packet for 1859, 416, 417.
Ardudwy : Hywel (Wm. Davies), 147, 148.
Bala : David Jones of Trefriw : see Cy/aiityr Aelwyd, 376, 377.
„ : Wm. Davies and Owen M. Edwards, 378.
? : Humphreys' Ey/r Gwybodaeth Gyffredinol, 408-10.
? : J. H. Roberts, in Edwards' Cymru for 1897, 148-51-
Dolgeiley : Lucy Griffith (from a Dolgettey man), 243, 244.
ILandrhlo : E. S. Roberts (from A. Evans and Mrs. Edwards),

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

„ : A ILanegryn man (after Wm. Pritchard), 242.
„ : Another ILanegryn man, 24a, 243.


ILanuwchilyn : Owen M. Edwards, 147.

? : J. H. Roberts, in Edwards' Cytnru for 1897, 215-7, 457.
Glasynys, in the Brython for 1862, 137.

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


Aberystruth : Edm. Jones, in his Parish of Aberystruth, 195, 196.
ILandeilo Cressenny : Elizabeth Williams, 192, 193.
JLanover : Wm. Williams and other gardeners there, 193, 194.

„ : Mrs. Gardner of Ty Uchaf ILanover, 194, 195.

„ : Professor Sayce, 602.
RiscA ? : I. Craigfryn Hughes (from hearsay in the district between
ILanfabon and Caerleon), 462-4, 487, 593-6.

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


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

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

ILandeilo ILwydarth : The Melchior family, 398.
„ „ : Benjamin Gibby, 399, 400.

Nevern : J. Thomas of Bancau Bryn Berian, 689.
Trevine : ' Ancient Mariner,' in the Pembroke County Guardian, 171.

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

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

? : Southey, in his Madoc, 170.



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


Ab Gwilym : Baritoniaeih Da/yd ab Gwilym, edited by Cyndelw
(Liverpool, 1873), 206, 233, 439, 444, 671.

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

Agrippa : H. Cornelius Agrippa De Occulta Philosophia (Paris,
1567). 213-

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

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

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

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

Atkinson : The Book of Ballymote, a collection of pieces (prose
and verse) in the Irish language, compiled about the
beginning of the fifteenth century, published by the Royal
Irish Academy, with introduction, analysis of contents, and
index by Robert Atkinson (Dublin, 1887), 375.
„ : The Book of Leinster, sometimes called the Book of
Glendalough, a collection of pieces (prose and verse) in
the Irish language, compiled, in part, about the middle of the
twelfth century, published by the Royal Irish Academy, vrith
introduction, analysis of contents, and index by Robert
Atkinson (Dublin, 1880), 381, 390, 392, 528, 531, 616, 618,

635. 657-
Aubrey : Miscellanies collected by John Aubrey (London, 1696)
[the last chapter is on second-sighted persons in Scotland],

Bastian : Zeitschrift fUr Ethnologic, edited by A. Bastian and

others (Berlin, 1869-), 684.
Bathurst : Roman Antiquities at Lydney Park : see 445, 446.
Behrens : Zeitschrift fiir franzdsische Sprache und Liiteratur, edited

by D. Behrens (Oppeln and Leipsic, 1879-), 480.


Bell: Early Ballads, edited by Robert Bell (London, 1877), 317.
Bertrand : La Religion des Gaulois, les Druides et le Druidisme,

by Alexandre Bertrand (Paris, 1897), 552, 622, 623.
Bible: The Holy Bible, revised version (Oxford, 1885), 583.
„ : The Manx Bible, printed for the British and Foreign Bible

Society (London, 1819), 288, 297, 348.
BoscHET : La Vie du Pere Maunoir, by Boschet (Paris, 1697), 386.
BouRKE : The Bull ' Ineffabilis' in four Languages, translated and

edited by the Rev. Ulick J. Bourke (Dubhn, 1868), 606. .
Boyd Dawkins : Professor Boyd Dawkins' Address on the Place of-

a University in the History of Wales (Bangor, 1900), 388, 389.
Bray : The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy, their Natural

History, Manners, Customs, Superstitions, &c., in a series of

letters to the late Robert Southey, by Mrs. Bray (new ed.,

London, 1879), 213.
Braz : La L^gende de la Mart en Basse-Bretagne, Crqyances,

Traditions et Usages des Bretons Amtoricains, by A. le Braz

(Paris, 1892), 273.
British Archaeological Association, the Journal of the : see 674.
British Association for the Advancement of Science, Report of

the (John Murray, London, 1833-), 103, 310, 346, 590.
Brynmor-Jones : The Welsh People, by John Rhys and David

Brynmor-Jones (London, 1900), 421, 448, 454, 488,548, 554,

613, 656, 661.
Btython, Y: see Silvan Evans.

Cambrian : The Cambrian Biography : see Owen.

„ : The Cambrian Journal, published under the auspices of
the Cambrian Institute [the first volume appeared in 1854
in London, and eventually the publication was continued at
Tenby by R. Mason, who went on with it till the year 1864],
81, 130, 201, 202, 480, 564.
„ : The Cambrian newspaper, published at Swansea, 468.
„ : The Cambrian Popular Antiquities : see Roberts.
„ : The Cambrian Quarterly Magazine (London, 1829-33), 202.
„ : The Cambrian Register, printed for E. and T. WilUams
(London, 1796-1818), 217.
Campbell : Popular Tales of the West Highlands, with a translation,

by J. F. Campbell (Edinburgh, 1860-2), 433, 434, 69a
Caradoc : The Gwentian Chronicle of Caradoc of JLancarvan, 404.
„ : The History of Wales written originally in British by
Caradoc of Lhancaruan, Englished by Dr. Powell and aug-
mented by W. Wynne (London, 1774), 476, 480.
Carmarthen : The Black Book of Carmarthen (see Skene), 543.
Carnarvon : Registrum vulgariter nuncupatum ' The Record of
Carnarvon,' c Codice ms'" Descriptum (London, 1838), 70, 201,
488, 567-9, 693.


Carrington : Report of the Royal Commission on Land in IVales

and Monmouthshire, Chairman, the Earl of Carrington

(London, 1896), 488.
Chambers : Popular Rhymes of Scotland, by Robert Chambers

(Edinburgh, 1841, 1858), 585.
Charencey, H. de, in the Bulletin de la Socim de Linguistique de

Paris, 664.
Chaucer : The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from

numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Prof. Skeat (Oxford,

1894), 75-
Chretien : Erec und Enide von Christian von Trqyes, published by

Wendelin Foerster (Halle, 1890), 375, 672.
Cicero : CEuvres Computes de Ciciron (the Didot ed., Paris, 1875), 652.
Clark : Limbus Patrum Morganice et Glamorganice, being the

genealogies of the older families of the lordships of Morgan

and Glamorgan, by George T. Clark (London, 1886), 26.
Clodd : Tom Tit Tot,~an essay on savage philosophy in folklore,

by Edward Clodd (London, 1898), 584, 598, 607, 627, 628, 630.
60CHRANE : The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of

Ireland, Robert Cochrane, Secretary (Hodges, Figg^is & Co.,

Dublin), 546.
Cockayne : Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Siarcraft of early England,

by the Rev. Oswald Cockayne (Rolls Series, London, 1864-6),

Cormac: Cormads Glossary, translated and annotated by John

O'Donovan, edited with notes and indices by Whitley Stokes

(Calcutta, 1868), 51, 310, 521, 629, 632.
CoRNEiLLE : Le Cid, by P. Corneille, edited by J. Bu6 (London,

1889), 655.
Cosquin: Contes populaires de Lorraine, by Emmanuel Cosquin

(Paris, 1886), 520.
CoTHi : The Poetical Works of Lewis Glyn Cothi, a Welsh bard

who flourished in the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV,

Richard III, and Henry VII, edited for the Cymmrodorion

Society by the Rev. John Jones ' Tegid,' and the Rev. Walter

Davies 'Gwattter Mechain' (Oxford, 1837), 74, 134, 135, 201.
CouLANGES : La CM antique, by N. D. Fustel de Coulanges (Paris,

1864), 649, 650.
CoURSON : Cartulaire de tAhbaye de Redon en Bretagne, published

by M. Aur^lien de Courson (Paris, 1863), 544.
Craigfryn : Y Ferch o Gefn Ydfa, by Isaac Craigfryn Hughes

(Cardiff, 1881), 173.
Cregeen : A Dictionary of the Manks Language, by Archibald

Cregeen (Douglas, 1835), 288.
Gumming : The Isle of Man, its History, Physical, Ecclesiastical,

Civil, and Legendary, by Joseph George Gumming (London,

1848), 314.


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

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

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

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

Davies : Antiquce Linguae BritanniccB et Linguce Latince Dictiona-
rium Duplex, by Dr. John Davies (London, 1632), 13.

Derfel Hughes : Hynafiaethau ILandegai a Hanitechid {Antiqui-
ties of ILandegai and ILanitechid), by Hugh Derfel Hughes
(Bethesda, 1866), 52, 480.

DioNYSius: Dionysii Halicamassensis Antiquitatum Romanorum
quae supersunt (the Didot edition, Paris, 1886), 650.

Domesday : Facsimile of Domesday Book, the Cheshire volume,
in'cluding a part of Flintshire and Leicestershire (South-
ampton, 1861-5), 563.

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

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

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

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

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

Elfed : Cyfaittyr Aelwyd a'r Fryihones, edited by Elfed (the
Rev. H. Elvet Lewis) and Cadrawd (Mr. T. C. Evans), and
published by Williams & Son, L-aneHy, 23, 376, 418.

Elton : Origins of English History, by Charles Elton (London,
1882), 615.

Elworthy : The Evil Eye, an Account of this undent and wide-
spread Superstition, by Frederick Thomas Elworthy (London,
1895). 346.

Evans : The Beauties of England and Wales [published in London
in 1801-15, and comprising two volumes (xvii and xviii)


devoted to Wales, the former of which (by the Rev. J.
Evans ; published in London in 1812) treats of North Wales],

Folk- Lore: Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society (published by

David Nutt, 270 Strand, London), 273, 338, 341, 344, 346, 356,

358-60, 584, 585, 593, 608.
FouLKEs : Geirlyfr Bywgraffiadol o Enwogion Cymru, published

and printed by Isaac Foulkes (Liverpool, 1870), 396.
FouQUii : Undine, eine Ersdhlung von Friedrich Baron de la Motte

Fouqu^ (nth ed., Berlin, 1859), i, 2, 27, 437, 661.
Frazer : The Golden Bough, a study in comparative religion, by

Dr. J. G. Frazer (London, 1890), 638, 662.
„ : The Origin of Totemism (in the Fortnightly Review for

April, 1899), 662, 663.
Froissart: CEuvres de Froissart, Chroniques, edited by Kervyn

de Lettenhove (Brussels, 1870-7), 489.
„ : Chroniques de J. Froissart, published for the ' Soci^t6 de

I'Histoire de France,' by Sim6on Luce (Paris, 1869-), 489-91.
„ : Lord Bemers' translation (in black letter), published in

London in 1525, and Thomas Johnes', in 1805-6, 490.

Gaidoz: Revue Celtique, 'fondle par M. Henri Gaidoz,' 1870-85
[since then it has been edited by H. d'Arbois de Jubain-
ville, and it is now published by Bouillon in Paris (67 Rue
de Richelieu)], 60, 374, 375, 387, 389, 390, 427, 432, 435, 480,
Si9> 546, 573> 580, 581, 603, 618, 619, 629, 631, 649.

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

Gilbert : Leabhar na h-Uidhri, a collection of pieces in prose and
verse in the Irish language, compiled and transcribed
about A. D. 1 100 by Moelmuiri mac Ceileachar, published
by the Royal Irish Academy, and printed from a litho-
graph of the original by O' Longman & O'Looney (preface
signed by J. T. Gilbert, DubUn, 1870), 381, 387, 414, 424,
435. 498, 537. 547. 611, 613, 618, 620, 624, 654, 657, 661.

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

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

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

GoTTiNGEN : GdtttMgische gelehrte Aneeigen, unter der Aufsicht der
kSnigl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaflen (Gottingen, 1890), 544.
C a


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

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

Grober : Grundriss der rotnanischen Philologie, unter Mitwirkung
von 23 Fachgenossen, edited by Gustav Grober (Strassburg,
1886), 563.
„ : Zeitschrift fur romanische Philologie, edited by Gustav
Grober (Halle, 1877-), 563.

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

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

GwENOGVRYN : Facsimile of the Black Book of Carmarthen,
reproduced by the autotype mechanical process, with a
palaeographical note by J. Gwenogvryn Evans (Oxford,
1888), 216, 217, 383, 384, 413, 432, 478, 513, 527, 543, 545, 563,
565, 619, 621.
„ : Report on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language, published by
the Historical MSS. Commission (vol. i, London, 1898-9),
280, 330, 487, 573.
„ : The Text of the Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest, edited
by John Rhys and J. Gwenogvryn Evans (Oxford, 1890),
163, 201, 442, 506, 5x2, 562.
„ : The Text of the 'Mabinogion' and other Welsh Tales from
the Red Book of Hergest, edited by John Rhys and
J. Gwenogyryn Evans (Oxford, 1887), 69, 142, 196, 207, 208,
217, 218, 225, 226, 233, 264, 280, 287, 315, 386, 388, 425, 430,
439. 440. 442, 498, 500, 502, 506, 507, 509-16, 519-27, 529-34,
536, 537. 543. 546-8, 550, 551, 553, 560, 561, 565, 580, 608-10,
613, 619, 620, 622, 628-30, 636, 637, 644, 645, 647, 649, 657, 672.
„ : The Text of the Book of ILan Dav, reproduced from the
Gwysaney manuscript by J. G. Evans, with the co-operation
of John Rhys (Oxford, 1893) [this is also known as the
Liber Landavensis], 163, 398, 476,478, 528, 531,568, 691.

Hancock : Senchus Mdr, vol. i, prefaced by W. Neilson Hancock

(Dublin, 1865), 617.
Hardy : Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating to the History of

Great Britain and Ireland, by Thos. Duffus Hardy (vol. i,

London, 1862), 476.
Hartland : The Legend of Perseus, a study of tradition in story,

custom, and belief, by Edwin Sidney Hartland (London,

1894-6), 662.


Hartland: 7%eSeq/!FaVj'7a/s,aninquiryintofairyin3rthology,
by Edwin Sidney Hartland (London, 1891), 18, 268, 583.

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

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

1879). 340. 346.
Herbord : Herbordi Vita Ottonis Ep. Bambergensis, in vol. xiv of

Pertz' Monumenfa Germanice Historica Scriptorum [ = Script.

vol. xii], edited by G. H. Pertz (Hanover, 1826-85), 553.
Hergest: The Red Book of Hergest: see Guest, Gwenqgvryn,

Heywood : The Dramatic Works of Thomas Heywood (London,

1874), 694.
Hidden : Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis,

together with the English translations of John Trevisa

and an unknown writer of the fifteenth century, edited by

Ch. Babington (Rolls Series, London, 1865-86), 330, 331.
Holder : Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, by Alfred Holder (Leipsic,

1896-), 533, 622, 659.
Howells: Cambrian Superstitions, comprising ghosts, omens,

witchcraft, and traditions, by W. Howells (Tipton, 1831),

74. 155, 160, 173, 204, 245, 268, 331, 424, 453, 469, 576-9.
HiJBNER : Das Heiligtum des Nodon : see 446.

„ : Inscriptiones Britannice Latinos, edited by iEmilius Hflbner

and published by the Berlin Academy (Berlin, 1873), 535.
Humphreys : Golud yr Oes, a Welsh magazine published by

H. Humphreys (vol. i, Carnarvon, 1863), 493.
„ : ILyfr Gwybodaeth Gyffredinol, a collection of Humphreys'

penny series (Carnarvon, no date), 408.

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

loLO GocH : Gweithiau lolo Goch gyda Nodiadau hanesydol a beir-
niadol, by Charles Ashton, published for the Cymmrodorion
Society (Oswestry, 1896), a8i, 367.

Jacobs : Celtic Fairy Tales, selected and edited by Joseph Jacobs

(London, 1892), 567. •
Jamieson : An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, by

John Jamieson (new ed., Paisley, 1881-2), 591.
Jamieson : Popular Ballads and Songs, by Robert Jamieson

(Edinburgh, 1806), 592.


Jenkins : Be^ Gelert, its Facts, Fairies, and Folk-Lore, by D. E.

Jenkins (Portmadoc, 1899), 450, 453, 469, 533, 567.
Johnstone : Antiquitates Celto-NormanniccB, containing the Chronicle

of Man and the Isles, abridged by Camden, edited by James

Johnstone (Copenhagen, 1786), 334.
Jones: see p. 195 for Edmund Jones' Account of the Parish of

Aberystruth (Trevecka, 1779), 195, 196.
„ : see p. 195 as to his Spirits in the County of Monmouth

(Newport, 1813), 195, 217, 350.
Jones : The Elucidarium and other tracts in Welsh from ILyvyrAgkyr

ILandewivrevi, a. d. 1346 (Jesus College MS. 119), edited by

J. Morris Jones and John Rhys (Oxford, 1894), 529, 693.
Jones: The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, collected out of

ancient manuscripts, by Owen Jones 'Myvyr,' Edward

Williams, and William Owen (London, 1801 ; reprinted in

one volume by Thomas Gee, Denbigh, 1870), 441, 469,* 529,

560, 610, 619.
Jones : A History of the County of Brecknock, by the Rev.

Theophilus Jones (Brecknock, 1805, 1809), 516-8.
Joyce : Old Celtic Romances, translated from the Gaelic by P. W.

Joyce (London, 1879), 94, 376, 381, 437, 662.
JUBAiNViLLE : Le Cycle mythologique irlandais et la Mythologie

celtique, by H. d'Arbois de Jubainville (Paris, 1884), 616,

617, 620.
„ : Essai d'un Catalogue de la Litterature ipique de I'lrlande,

by H. d'Arbois de Jubainville (Paris, 1883), 549, 616, 617, 620.

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

Keating : Forus Feasa air Eirinn, Keating's History of Ireland,

book i, part i, edited, with a literal translation, by P. W.

Joyce (Dublin, 1880), 375.
Kelly : Fockleyr Manninagh as Baarlagh, a Manx-English Dic-
tionary by John Kelly, edited by William Gill, and printed

for the Manx Society (Douglas, 1866), 316, 349.
Kermode : Yn Lioar Manninagh, the Journal of the Isle of Man

Natural History and Antiquarian Society, edited by P. M. C.

Kermode (Douglas, 1889-), 284, 289, 311, 334, 434.
Kuhn : Beitrdge zur vergkichenden Sprachforschung aufdem Gebiete

der arischen, celtischen und slawischen Sprachen, edited by

Kuhn and others (Berlin, 1858-76), 629.
„ : Zeitschriftfiir vergleichende Sprachforschung aufdem Gebiete

der indogermanischen Sprachen, edited by Kuhn and others

(Berlin, 1854-), 625.

Lampeter : The Magazine of St. David's College, Lampeter, 156.
Leem : .Canuti Leemii de Lapponibus Finmarchice Commentatio
(Copenhagen, 1767), 658, 663.


Leger: Cyrille et Mithode, jttude historique sur la Conversion des

Slaves att Christianisme, by Louis Leger (Paris, 1868), 553.
Lewis : A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, by Samuel Lewis

(3rd ed., London, 1844), 395, 397, 470.
Leyden: The Poetical Works of John Leyden (Edinburgh, 1875),

Lhuyd : Commentarioli Britannicce Descriptionts Fragmentunt, by

Humfrey Lhuyd (Cologne, 1572), 412.
Lindsay : The Latin Language, an historical account of Latin

sounds, stems, and flexions, by Wallace Martin Lindsay

(Oxford, 1894), 629.
Loth : Les Mots latins dans les langues brittoniques, by J. Loth

(Paris, 1892), 383.
ILaisy Wlad, a newspaper published at Bangor, N. Wales, 234.

Mabinogion : see Guest and Gwenogvryn.

Macbain : The Celtic Magazine, edited by Alexander Macbain

(Inverness, 1866-), 520.
Malmesbury : De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum Libri Quinque,

edited by N. E. S. A. Hamilton (Rolls Series, London, 1870),

Malory : Le Morfe Darthur, by Syr Thomas Malory, the original
Caxton edition reprinted and edited with an introduction
and glossary by H. Oskar Sommer (Nutt, London, 1889),
476, 562.
„ : Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, with a preface by
John Rhys, published by J. M. Dent & Co. (London, 1893),

543, 565-
Mapes : Gualteri Mapes de Nugis Curialium Distinctiones Quinque,

edited by Thomas Wright and printed for the Camden

Society, 1850 [at the last moment a glance at the original

Bodley MS. 851 forced me to deviate somewhat from

Wright's reading owing to its inaccuracy], 70-2, 496.
Marquardt : Das Privatleben der ROmer, by J. Marquardt (Leipsic,

1886), 650.
Martin : A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, by

M. Martin (London, 1703), 615, 691, 692.
Maspero : see 682.
Maximus : Valerii Maxitni factorum dictorumque memorabilium

Libri novem ad Tiberium Ccesarem Augustum (the Didot ed.,

Paris, 1871), 623.
Mela : Pomponii Melee de Chorographia Libri Tres, ed. Gustavus

Parthey (Berlin, 1867), 331, 550.
Meyer : Festschrift Whitley Stokes, dedicated by Kuno Meyer and

others (Leipsic, 1900), 645.
„ : The Vision of MacConglinne, edited with a translation by

Kuno Meyer (London, 1892), 393, 501.


Meyer : Zeitschrift fiir celttsche Philologie, edited by Kuno Meyer

and L. C. Stern (Halle, 1897-), 500.
Meyer : Romania, Recueil trimestriel consacre'a P Etude des Langues

et des LitUratures romanes, edited by Paul Meyer and Gaston

Paris (vol. xxviii. Paris, 1899), 690, 693, 694.
Meyrick : The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardigan,

by Samuel Rush Meyrick (London, 1808), 579.
Milton : English Poems, by John Milton, 288.
Mind, a quarterly review of psychology and philosophy, edited

by G. F. Stout (London, 1876-), 633.
MoMMSEN : Heortologie, antiquariscke Untersuchungen uber die stddt-

ischen Feste der Athener, by August Mommsen (Leipsic,

1864), 310.
Monthly Packet, the, now edited by C. R. Coleridge and Arthur

Innes (London, 1851-), 416, 417.
Moore : The Folk-Lore of the Isle of Man, by A. W. Moore

(London, 1891), 284.
„ : The Surnames and Place-names of the Isle of Man, by

A. W. Moore (London, 1890), 311, 332, 334.
Morgan : An Antiquarian Survey of East Gower, Glamorganshire,

by W. IL. Morgan (London, 1899), 404.
MoRGANWG : Hanes Morganwg, by Dafyd Morganwg [D. W.

Jones, F.G.S.] (Aberdare, 1874) [an octavo volume issued

to subscribers, and so scarce now that I had to borrow a

copy], 356-
Morris : CelUc Remains, by Lewis Morris, edited by Silvan Evans

and printed for the Cambrian Archaeological Association

(London, 1878), 148, 413, 564, 566, 694.
Myrbin : Prophwydoliaeth Myrdin Wyttt: see 485.

Nennius: Nennius und Gildas, edited by San-Marte (Berlin,

1844), 281, 406, 407, 537-9, 570.
New English Dictionary, edited by Dr. James H. Murray and

Henry Bradley (London and Oxford, 1884-), 317.
Nicholson: Golspie, contributions to its folklore, collected and

edited by Edward W. B. Nicholson (London, 1897), 317.
Nicholson : The Poetical Works of Wm. Nicholson (3rd ed.. Castle

Douglas, 1878), 325.
Notes and Queries (Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, E.C.), 563.
„ : Choice Notes from 'Notes and Queries,' consisting of

folklore (London, 1859), 140, 213, 217, 325, 418, 453, 454, 494,

596, 601, 611, 612.
NuTT : The Voyage of Bran son of Febal to the Land of the Living,

by Kuno Meyer and Alfred Nutt (London, 1895, 1897), 618;

620, 622, 657, 662.
„ : Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail, by Alfred Nutt

(London, 1888), 287, 438, 54a


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

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

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

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

Oliver : Monumenta de Insula Mannice, being vol. iv of the publi-
cations of the Manx Society, by J. R. Oliver (Douglas, i860),

314. 334-
Owen : Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, edited by Aneurin

Owen for the Public Records Commission (London, 1841), 421.
Owen : Welsh Folk-Lore, a collection of the folk-tales and

legends of North Wales, being the prize essay of the

National Eistedfod in 1887, by the Rev. Elias Owen

(Oswestry and Wrexham, 1896), 222, 275, 690.
Owen : The Poetical Works of the Rev. Goronwy Owen, with his

life and correspondence, edited by the Rev. Robert Jones

(London, 1876), 84.
Owen : The Description of Pembrokeshire, by George Owen of

Henltys, edited with notes and an appendix by Henry

Owen (London, 1892), 506, 513, 515.
Owen : The Cambrian Biography, or Historical Notices of celebrated

men among the Ancient Britons, by William Owen (London,

1803), 169, 170.

Paris : Merlin, Roman en Prose du XIIP Siecle, edited by Gaston

Paris and Jacob Ulrich (Paris, 1886), 563.
Parthey : Itinerarium Antonini Augusti et Hierosolymitanum ex

Libris manu scriptis, edited by G. Parthey and M. Pinder

(Berlin, 1848), 514.
Pembroke County Guardian, the, a newspaper owned and edited

by H. W. Williams and published at Solva, 160, 171, 172.
Pennant : A Tour in Scotland, by Thomas Pennant (Warrington,

1774). 310-
„ : A Tour in Scotland and a Voyage to the Hebrides,

MDCCLXXII, by Thomas Pennant (Chester, 1774), 692.
„ : Tours in Wales, by Thomas Pennant, edited by J. Rhys

(Carnarvon, 1883), 125, 130, 532.
Phillimore : Annates Cambrics and Old-Welsh Genealogies front

Harleian MS. 3859, edited by Egerton Phillimore, in vol. ix

of the Cymmrodor, 408, 476, 480, 551, 570.


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

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

Plutarch : De Defectu Oraculorum (the Didot ed., Paris, 1870),

331. 456, 493. 494-

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

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

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

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

PuGHE : The Physicians of Myivai {Meiygon MySfai), translated
by John Pughe of Aberdovey, and edited by the Rev. John
Williams Ab Ithel (ILandovery, 1861) [this volume has
an introduction consisting of the Legend of ILyn y Fan
Fach, contributed by Mr. Wilham Rees of Tonn, who col-
lected it, in the year 1841, from various sources named], 2, 12.

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

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

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

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

Rennes : Annates de Bretagne publiees par la Faculte' des Lettres de

Rennes (Rennes, 1886-), 500.
Revue Arche'ologique (new series, vol. xxiii, Paris, 1800-), 386.
Rhys : Celtic Britain, by John Rhys (2nd ed., London, 1884), 72.
„ : Lectures on Welsh Philology, by John Rhys (2nd ed.,

London, 1879), 566.
„ : Hibbert Lectures, 1886, on the origin and growth of religion

as illustrated by Celtic heathendom, by John Rhys (London,

1888), 310, 321, 328, 331, 373, 387, 432, 435, 444, 447, sii, 542,

570, 613, 654, 657, 694.


Rhys : Studies in the Arthurian Legend, by John Rhys (Oxford,

1891), 217, 287, 331, 375, 382, 387, 435, 438-41, 466, 494, 496,

561. 573. 610, 613.
Rhys: Cambrobrytannicoe Cymraecceve Linguae Institutiones et

Rudimenta . . . conscripta a Joanne Dauide Rhceso, Monensi

Lanuaethlceo Cambrobrytanno, Medico Senensi (London, 1592),

22, 225.
Richard : The Poetical Works of the Rev. Edward Richard

(London, 1811), 577.
Richards : A Welsh and English Dictionary, by Thomas Richards

(Trefriw, 1815) 378.
Roberts : The Cambrian Popular Antiquities, by Peter Roberts,

(London, 1815), 396.
RosELLiNi : see 682.
Rymer; Fcedera, Conventiones, Literal et cujuscunque Generis Acta

publica inter Reges Anglice et alios quosvis Imperatores, Reges,

Pontifices, Principes, vel Communitates, edited by Thomas

Rymer (vol. viii, London, 1709), 490.

Sale : The Koran, translated into English with explanatory notes

and a preliminary discourse, by George Sale (London, 1877),

Sampson : Otia Merseiana, the publication of the Arts Faculty of

University College, Liverpool, edited by John Sampson

(London), 393, 451.
San-Marte : Beitrdge zur bretonischen und celtisch-germanischen

Heldensage, by San-Marte (Quedlinburg, 1847), 611.
Schwan: Grammatik des AltfranzOsischen, by Eduard Schwan

(Leipsic, 1888), 563.
Scotland : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

(Edinburgh), 244.
Scott : the Works of Sir Walter Scott, 320, 643, 689.
Sebillot: Traditions et Superstitions de la Haute-Bretagne, by

Paul Sebillot (Paris, 1882), 273,
Shakespeare : The Plays and Poems of Shakespeare, 197, 636, 694.
SiKES : British Goblins, Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends

and Traditions, by Wirt Sikes (London, 1880), 17, 18, 99, 155,

160, 173, 191, 192.
Silvan Evans: Dictionary of the Welsh Language (Geiriadur

Cymraeg), by D. Silvan Evans (Carmarthen, 1888-), 387,

431. 539. 580, 620, 621.
„ : Y Btython, a periodical in Welsh for Welsh antiquities

and folklore, edited by the Rev. D. S. Evans, and published

by Robert Isaac Jones at Tremadoc (in quarto for 1858 and

1859, in octavo for 1860-2), 40, 73, 86, 98, 134, 137, 141,

151-5. 158-60, 202, 321, 413, 442, 456, 464, 470, 481, 690.
„ : ys/^MSiowrf, by D. Silvan Evans (Aberystwyth, 1882), 271-3.


SiMROCK : Die Edda, die dltere und juHgere, nebst den mythischen

Erzdhlungen der Skalda, translated and explained by Karl

Simrock (Stuttgart, 1855), 652.
Sinclair: The Statistical Account of Scotland, drawn up from the

communications of the ministers of the different parishes,

by Sir John Sinclair (Edinburgh, 1794), 310.
Skene : Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots, and other

Memorials of Scottish History, edited by Wm. F. Skene

(Edinburgh, 1867), 374.
Skene : The Four Ancient Books of Wales, by Wm. F. Skene

(Edinburgh, 1868) [vol. ii contains, besides notes and

illustrations, the text of the Black Book of Carmarthen,

3-61 ; the Book of Aneurin, 62-107 ; the Book of Taliessin,

108-217 ; and some of the poetry in the Red Book of Hergest,

218-308. These four texts are to be found translated in

vol. i], 226, 233, 269, 281, 387, 442, 541, 543, 550, 614-7.
South Wales Daily News (Duncan, Cardiff), 376.
Southey: Madoc, a poem by Robert Southey (London, 1815),

Speed : The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, by John Speed

[not Speede] (London, 1611), 208.
Steinmeyer : Die althochdeutschen Glossen, collected and elaborated

by Elias Steinmeyer and Eduard Sievers (Berlin, 1879-98),

Stengel: Li Romans de Durmart le Galois, altfransosisches

Rittergedicht, published for the first time by Edmund

Stengel (Tubingen, 1873), 438.
Stephens: The Gododin of Aneurin Gwawdryd, with an English

translation and copious notes, by Thomas Stephens ; edited

by Professor Powel, and printed for the Cymmrodorion

Society (London, 1888), 310, 543, 647.
Stevenson : The Scottish Antiquary or Northern Notes and Queries,

edited by J. H. Stevenson (Edinburgh, 1886-), 693.
Stokes : Cormacfs Glossary : see Cormac.

„ : Goidelica, Old and Early-Middle-Irish Glosses, Prose and

Verse, edited by Whitley Stokes (2nd ed., London, 1872),

295. 374-
„ : Irische Texte mil Uebersetzungen und Wdrterbuch, edited

by Whitley Stokes and E. Windisch (3rd series, Leipsic,

1891), 631.
„ : The Tripartite Life of Patrick, edited, with translations and

indexes, by Whitley Stokes (Rolls Series, London, 1887), 535.
„ : Urkeltischer Sprachschatss von Whitley Stokes, iibersetst,

iiberarbeitet und herausgegeben von Adalbert Bezsenberger,

forming the second part of the fourth edition of Fick's

VergUichendes WSrterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen

(Gottingen, 1894), 671.


Strabo : Strabonis Geographica recognovit Augustus Meineke

(Lelpsic, 1852-3), 654.
SxuRLiEus : Edda Snorronis Sturlcei (Copenhagen, 1848), 652.

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

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

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

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

Triads : [The so-called Historical Triads, referred to in this volume,
are to be found in the Myvyrian Archaiology (London, 1801),
series i and ii in vol. ii, 1-22, and (the later) series iii in
the same vol., 57-80. In the single-volume edition of the
Myvyrian (Denbigh, i87o),they occupy continuously pp. 388-
414. Series ii comes from the Red Book of Hergest, and will
be found also in the volume of the Oxford Mabinogion,
pp. 297-309], 170, 281, 326, 382, 429-31, 433, 440, 441, 443-5,
498, 500, 501, 503-9, 565, 569.

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

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

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

ViGFUSsoN : An Icelandic Dictionary, enlarged and completed by

Gudbrand Vigfusson (Oxford, 1874), 288, 652.
Vising : see 563.

Waldron : A Description of the Isle of Man, by George Waldron,

being vol. xi of the Manx Society's publications (Douglas,

1865), 290.
Waring : Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams, by

Elijah Waring (London, 1850), 458.
Westermarck : The History of Human Marriage, by Edward

Westermarck (London, 1894), 654.
Weyman : From the Memoirs of a Minister of France, by Stanley

Weyman (London, 1895), 690.
Williams : The English Works of Eliezer Williams, with a memoir

of his life by his son, St. George Armstrong Williams

(London, 1840), 493.


Williams : Brut y Tywysogion, or the Chronicle of the Princes,

edited by John Williams Ab Ithel (Rolls Series, London,
i860), 79, 513.
Williams : A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Welshmen, by the

Rev. Robert Williams ^ILandovery, 185a), 534.
„ : y Seint Great, edited with a translation and glossary by

the Rev. Robert Williams (London, 1876), 438, 514, 580.
Williams : The Doom of Colyn Dolphyn, by Taliesin Williams

(London, 1837), 561,
„ : Traethawd ar Gywreined Glynn Nei, by Taliesin Williams :

see 439.
Williams: Observations on the Snowdon Mountains, by WiUiam

Williams of ILandegai (London, 1802), 48, 673, 674.
Windisch: Irische Texte mit Worterlmch, by Ernst Windisch

(Leipsic, 1880), 501, 657. .
„ : Kursgefasste irische Grammatik (Leipsic, 1879), 291, 501,

502,. 531. 546, 547. 603, 613, 618, 691.
„ : tjber die irische Sage Noinden Ulad, in the Berichte der k.

sdchs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (phil.-historische Classe,

Dec. 1884), 654.
WooDALL : Bye-gones, a periodical reissue of notes, queries, and

replies on subjects relating to Wales and the Borders,

published in the columns of The Border Counties Advertieer,

by Messrs. Woodall, Minshall & Co. of the Caxton Press,

Oswestry, 169, 378.
Wood-Martin : Pagan Ireland, by W. G. Wood-Martin (London,

1895), 612.
Worth : A History of Devonshire,with Sketches of its leading Worthies,

by R. N. Worth (London, 1895), 307.
Wright: The English Dialect Dictionary, edited by Professor

Joseph Wright (London and Oxford, 1898-), 66.
Wynne : The History of the Gwydir Family, published by Angharad

ILwyd in the year 1827, and by Askew Roberts at

Oswestry in 1878, 490, 491, 670.

Y Cymmrodor, the magazine embodying the transactions of the

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

Y Drych, a newspaper published at Utica in the United States of

North America, 234.

Y Gordofi^on, an extinct Welsh periodical : see p. 450.

Y Gwyliedyd, a magazine of useful knowledge intended for the

benefit of monoglot Welshmen (Bala, 1823-37), 450.

Y Nofelyit, a Welsh periodical published by Mr. Aubrey, of

ILannerch y Med, 396.
Young : Burghead, by H. W. Young (Inverness, 1899), 345.



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

Pliny, Historia Naturalis, xxx. 4.

Pline fait remarquer que ces pratiques antipathiques au genie grec sont
d'origine m^dique. Nous les rencontrons en Europe a I'etat de survivances.
L'universalite de ces superstitions prouve en effet qu'elles dmanent d'une
source unique qui n'est pas europ^enne. II est difficile de les consid^rer
comma un produit de I'esprit aryen ; il faut remonter plus haut pour en
trouver I'origine. Si, en Gaule, en Grande-Bretagne, en Irlande, tant de
superstitions relevant de la magie existaient encore au temps de Pline en-
racinSes dans les esprits a tel point que le grand naturaliste pouvait dire,
a propos de la Bretagne, qull semblait que ce fiit elle qui avait donn6 la
magie a la Perse, c'est qu'en Gaule, en Grande-Bretagne, et en Irlande le
fond de la population 6tait compost d'eldments etrangers a la race aryenne,
comme les faits archgologiques le demontrent, ainsi que le reconnait notre
Eminent confrere et ami, M. d'Arbois de Jubainville lui-meme.

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

Une croyance universellement admise dans le monde lettr^, en France et
hors de France, fait des Franfais les fils des Gaulois qui ont pris Rome en
390 avant J^sus-Christ, et que Cesar a vaincus au milieu du premier sifecle
avant notre fere. On croit que nous sommes des Gaulois, survivant a toutes
les revolutions qui depuis tant de sifecles ont bouleverse le monde. C'est
une idde prSconfue que, suivant moi, la science doit rejeter. Seuls a peu
prfes, les arch^ologues ont vu la v^ritd. . . . Les pierres levies, les cercles
de pierre, les petites cabanes construites en gros blocs de pierre pour servir
de dernier asile aux defunts, etaient, croyait-on, des monuments celtiques.
. . . On donnait k ces rustiques tfemoignages d'une civilisation primitive des
noms bretons, ou ndo-celtiques de France ; on croyait nalvement, en repro-
duisant des mots de cette langue moderne, parler comme auraient feit, s'ils
avaient pu revenir a la vie, ceux qui ont remue ces lourdes pierres, ceux

qui les ont fixees debout sur le sol ou m6me elevSes sur d'autres Mais

ceux qui ont dressS les pierres levies, les cercles de pierres ; ceux qui ont
construit les cabanes funSraires ne parlaient pas celtique et le breton diflfere
du celtique comme le franfais du latin.

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


Undine's Kymric Sisters

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

De la Motte Fouqu^.

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


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

'When the eventful struggle made by the Princes
of South Wales to preserve the independence of their
country was drawing to its close in the twelfth cen-

' As to the spelling of Welsh names, it may be pointed out for the benefit
of English readers that Welsh /has the sound of English v, while the sound
of English / is written ff (and ph) in Welsh, and however strange it may
seem to them that the written /should be sounded v, it is borrowed from an
old English alphabet which did so likewise more or less sjrstematically.
Th in such English words as ihin and breath is written th, but the soft sound
as in this and breathe is usually printed in Welsh rfrf and written in modern
Welsh manuscript sometimes 8, like a small Greek delta : this will be found
represented by tt in the Welsh extracts edited by me in this volume. — J. R.


tury, there lived at Blaensawde^ near ILandeusant,
Carmarthenshire, a widowed woman, the relict of a
farmer who had fallen in those disastrous troubles.

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

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

' Bewildered by a feeling of love and admiration for
the object before him, he continued to hold out his
hand towards the lady, who imperceptibly glided near
to him, but gently refused the offer of his provisions.

' ' Blaensawffe, or the upper end of the river Sawde, is situate about
three-quarters of a mile south-east from the village of ILandeusant. It gives
its name to one of the hamlets of that parish. The Sawde has its source
in tt-yn y Fan Fach, which is nearly two miles distant from Blaensawde

B 2


He attempted to touch her, but she eluded his grasp,

Cras dy fara ; Hard baked is thy bread !

Nid hawi fy nala. 'Tis not easy to catch me*;

and immediately dived under the water and disappeared,
leaving the love-stricken youth to return home, a prey
to disappointment and regret that he had been unable
to make further acquaintance with one, in comparison
with whom, the whole of the fair maidens of ILandeu-
sant and Mydfai ^ whom he had ever seen were as

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

' Next morning, before the sun had gilded with its
rays the peaks of the Fans, the young man was at the
lake, not for the purpose of looking after his mother's
cattle, but seeking for the same enchanting vision he

' The rendering might be more correctly given thus : ' O thou of the
crimped bread, it is not easy to catch me.' — J. R.

' ' Myiffai parish was, in former times, celebrated for its fair maidens, but
whether they were descendants of the Lady of the Lake or otherwise
cannot be determined. An old pennitt records the fact of their beauty
thus : —

Mae eira gvuyn

Ar ben y bryn,

A'r glasgoed yn y Ferdre,

Mae bedw man

Ynghoed Cwm-brdn,

A merched gldn yn Myife.
Which may be translated,

There is white snow

On the mountain's brow,

And greenwood at the Verdre,

Young birch so good

In Cwm-bran wood,

And lovely girls in Mydfe.'


had witnessed the day before; but all in vain did he
anxiously strain his eyeballs and glance over the sur-
face of the lake, as only the ripples occasioned by a stiff
breeze met his view, and a cloud hung heavily on the
summit of the Fan, which imparted an additional gloom
to his already distracted mind.

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

ILaith dy fara I Unbaked is thy bread !

Ti ni fynna'. I will not have thee '.

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

' Similarly this should be rendered : ■ O thou of the moist bread, I will
not have thee.' — J. R.


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

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

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

Tri ergyd diachos. Three causeless blows.

And if he ever should happen to strike her three such


blows she would leave him for ever. To such condi-
tions he readily consented, and would have consented
to any other stipulation, had it been proposed, as he
was only intent on then securing such a lovely creature
for his wife.

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

'Whilst the young man narrowly scanned the two
ladies, he could not perceive the least difference betwixt
the two, and was almost giving up the task in despair,
when one of them thrust her foot a slight degree for-
ward. The motion, simple as it was, did not escape the
observation of the youth, and he discovered a trifling
variation in the mode with which their sandals were
tied. This at once put an end to the dilemma, for he.


who had on previous occasions been so taken up with
the general appearance of the Lady of the Lake, had
also noticed the beauty of her feet and ankles, and on
now recognizing the peculiarity of her shoe-tie he boldly
took hold of her hand.

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

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

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

'Once upon a time there was a christening to take
place in the neighbourhood, to which the parents were
specially invited. When the day arrived the wife
appeared very reluctant to attend the christening,


alleging that the distance was too great for her to
walk. Her husband told her to fetch one of the horses
which were grazing in an adjoining field. " I will," said
she, " if you will bring me my gloves which I left in our
house." He went to the house and returned with the
gloves, and finding that she had not gone for the horse
jocularly slapped her shoulder with one of them, saying,
"go! go!" (dos, dos), when she reminded him of the
understanding upon which she consented to marry
him : — That he was not to strike her without a cause ;
and warned him to be more cautious for the future.

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

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

' It, however, so happened that one day they were
together at a funeral, where, in the midst of the mourn-
ing and grief at the house of the deceased, she appeared


in the highest and gayest spirits, and indulged in im-
moderate fits of laughter, which so shocked her husband
that he touched her, saying, "Hush! hush! don't laugh."
She said that she laughed " because people when they
die go out of trouble," and, rising up, she went out of
the house, saying, " The last blow has been struck, our
marriage contract is broken, and at an end ! Fare-
well ! " Then she started off towards Esgair ILaethdy,
where she called her cattle and other stock together,
each by name. The cattle she called thus : —

Mu wlfrech, Moelfrech, Brindled cow, white speckled,

Mu olfrech, Gwynfrech, Spotted cow, bold freckled,

Pedair cae tonn-frech. The four field sward mottled,

Yr hen wynebwen. The old white-faced,

A'r las Geigm, And the grey Geingen,

Gyda'r Tarw Gwyn With the white Bull,

O lys y Brenin ; From the court of the King ;
A'r tlo du bach. And the litUe black calf

Sy^ ar y bach, Tho' suspended on the hook,

Dere dithau, yn iach adre! Come thou also, quite well home !

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

Pedwar eidion glas The four grey oxen,

SyS ar y maes, That are on the field,

Deuwch chwithau Come you also

Yn iach adre ! Quite well home !

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


which remains to this day as a testimony to the truth of
this story.

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

' In one of their rambles, at a place near Dol Howel,
at the Mountain Gate, still called " ILidiad y Medygon,"
The Physicians' Gate, the mother appeared suddenly,
and accosted her eldest son, whose name was Rhi-
walton, and told him that his mission on earth was to
be a benefactor to mankind by relieving them from
pain and misery, through healing all manner of their
diseases ; for which purpose she furnished him with
a bag full of medical prescriptions and instructions for
the preservation of health. That by strict attention
thereto he and his family would become for many
generations the most skilful physicians in the country.
Then, promising to meet him when her counsel was
most needed, she vanished. But on several occasions
she met her sons near the banks of the lake, and once
she even accompanied them on their return home as
far as a place still called " Pant-y-Medygon," The dingle
of the Physicians, where she pointed out to them the
various plants and herbs which grew in the dingle,
and revealed to them their medicinal qualities or
virtues; and the knowledge she imparted to them,



together with their unrivalled skill, soon caused them
to attain such celebrity that none ever possessed
before them. And in order that their knowledge
should not be lost, they wisely committed the same
to writing, for the benefit of mankind throughout
all ages.'

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

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

Yr henwr tlwyd oV cornel, The grey old man in the comer

Gan ei dad a glywoct chwedel ', Of his father heard a story,

A chan ei dadfe glywoSyntau Which from his father he had heard,

Ac ar ei 61 mi gofiais innau. And after them I have remembered.

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

'The celebrated Welsh Bard, Dafyd ap Gwilym,
who flourished in the following century, and was buried
at the Abbey of Tal-y-ttychau ^, in Carmarthenshire,

' In the best Demetian Welsh this word would be hweSel, and in the
Gwentian of Glamorgan it is gwectel, mutated we^el, as may be heard in the
neighbourhood of Bridgend. — J. R.

" This is not generally accepted, as some Welsh antiquarians find reasons
to believe that Dafyd ap Gwilym was buried at Strata Florida. — J. R.


about the year 1368, says in one of his poems, as
quoted in Dr. Davies' dictionary —

MeSyg ni wnai moS y gwnaeth

Mydfai, chat Syn meifaeth.

A Physician he would not make

As Myitfai made, if he had a mead fostered man.

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

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

JOHN JONES, Surgeon,

Eldest son of the said David Jones, departed this life

the asth of November, 1739, '" '^e 44th year

of his Age, and also lyes interred hereunder.

These appear to have been the last of the Physicians
who practised at Mydfai. The above John Jones
resided for some time at ILandovery, and was a very
eminent surgeon. One of his descendants, named



John Lewis, lived at Cwmbran, Mydfai, at which place
his great-grandson, Mr. John Jones, now resides.

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

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


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

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

This brings the legend of the Lady of the Fan Lake
into connexion with a widely-spread family. There
is another connexion between it and modern times,
as will be seen from the following statement kindly
made to me by the Rev. A. G. Edwards, Warden of
the Welsh College at ILandovery, since then appointed
Bishop of St. Asaph: 'An old woman from Mydfai,
who is now, that is to say in January 1881, about eighty
years of age, tells me that she remembers " thousands
and thousands of people visiting the Lake of the
Little Fan on the first Sunday or Monday in August,
and when she was young she often heard old men
declare that at that time a commotion took place in the
lake, and that its waters boiled, which was taken to
herald the approach of the Lake Lady and her Oxen." '
The custom of going up to the lake on the first Sunday
in August was a very well known one in years gone
by, as I have learned from a good many people, and
it is corroborated by Mr. Joseph Joseph of Brecon,
who kindly writes as follows, in reply to some queries

' This is not quite correct, as I believe that Dr. C. Rice Williams, who
lives at Aberystwyth, is one of the Medygon. That means the year 1881,
when this chapter was written, excepting the portions concerning which the
reader is apprised of a later date. — J. R.


of mine : ' On the first Sunday in the month of August,
ILyn y Fan Fach is supposed to be boiling {berwi).
I have seen scores of people going up to see it (not
boiling though) on that day. I do not remember that
any of them expected to see the Lady of the Lake.'
As to the boiling of the lake I have nothing to say,
and I am not sure that there is anything in the
following statement made as an explanation of the
yearly visit to the lake by an old fisherwoman from
ILandovery : ' The best time for eels is in August,
when the north-east wind blows on the lake, and makes
huge waves in it. The eels can then be seen floating
on the waves.'

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


though I cannot find such a word as gambo or gambeau
in the ordinary dictionaries.

Among other legends about lake fairies, there are, in
the third chapter of Mr. Sikes' British Goblins, two
versions of this story : the first of them differs but
slightly from Mr. Rees', in that the farmer used to go
near the lake to see some lambs he had bought at
a fair, and that whenever he did so three beautiful
damsels appeared to him from the lake. They always
eluded his attempts to catch them : they ran away
into the lake, saying, Cras dy fara, &c. But one day
a piece of moist bread came floating ashore, which
he ate, and the next day he had a chat with the Lake
Maidens. He proposed marriage to one of them, to
which she consented, provided he could distinguish
her from her sisters the day after. The story then,
so far as I can make out from the brief version which
Mr. Sikes gives of it, went on like that of Mr. Rees.
The former gives another version, with much more
interesting variations, which omit all reference, how-
ever, to the Physicians of Mydfai, and relate how a
young farmer had heard of the Lake Maiden rowing
up and down the lake in a golden boat with a golden
scull. He went to the lake on New Year's Eve, saw
her, was fascinated by her, and left in despair at her
vanishing out of sight, although he cried out to her
to stay and be his wife. She faintly replied, and went
her way, after he had gazed at her long yellow hair
and pale melancholy face. He continued to visit the
lake, and grew thin and negligent of his person, owing
to his longing. But a wise man, who hved on the
mountain, advised him to tempt her with gifts of bread
and cheese, which he undertook to do on Midsummer
Eve, when he dropped into the lake a large cheese and
a loaf of bread. This he did repeatedly, until at last


his hopes were fulfilled on New Year's Eve. This
time he had gone to the lake clad in his best suit, and
at midnight dropped seven white loaves and his biggest
and finest cheese into the lake. The Lake Lady by-
and-by came in her skiff to where he was, and grace-
fully stepped ashore. The scene need not be further
described: Mr. Sikes gives a picture of it, and the
story then proceeds as in the other version.

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

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

'Tell Rhys that I have just heard a sequel to the
Medygon Mydfai story, got from a rustic on Mynyd'
y Banwen, between Glynned and Glyntawe, on a ramble
recently with David Lewis the barrister and Sidney
Hartland the folklorist. It was to the effect that
after the disappearance o{ the forwn, "the damsel," into
the lake, the disconsolate husband and his friends set
to work to drain the lake in order to get at her, if
possible. They made a great cutting into the bank,
when suddenly a huge hairy monster of hideous aspect


emerged from the water and stormed at them for dis-
turbing him, and wound up with this threat :—

Os na ch<ii lonyS yn ym He, If I get no quiet in my place,

Fi foda dr^ 'Byrhonitu I I shall drown the town of Brecon!

It was evidently the last braich, "arm," of a Triban
Morgannwg, but this was all my informant knew of it.
From the allusion to Tr^ Byrhonctu, it struck me that
there was here probably a tale of R.yn Safadbn, which
had migrated to K,yn y Fan ; because of course there
would have to be a considerable change in the " levels "
before JLyny Fan and the Sawde could put Brecon in
any great jeopardy ^.

'We also got another tale about a cwmshurwr, "con-
jurer," who once lived in Ystradgyrlais (as the rustic
pronounced it). The wizard was a dyn ttaw-harn, "a
man with an iron hand " ; and it being reported that
there was a great treasure hidden in Mynyd y Drum,
the wizard said he would secure it, if he could but get
some plucky fellow to spend a night with him there.
John Gethin was a plucky fellow (dyn "ysprydol"), and
he agreed to join the dyn ttaw-harn in his diablerie.
The wizard traced two rings on the sward touching
each other '' like a number 8 " ; he went into one, and
Gethin into the other, the wizard strictly charging him
on no account to step out of the ring. The ttaw-harn
then proceeded to trafod 'i lyfrau, or "busy himself
with his books" ; and there soon appeared a monstrous
bull, bellowing dreadfully ; but the plucky Gethin held
his ground, and the bull vanished. Next came a

' Later it will be seen that the Iriban in the above form was meant for
neither of the two lakes, though it would seem to have adapted itself to
several. In the case of the Fan Fach Lake the town meant must have been
Carmarthen, and the couplet probably ran thus :

Os iia cha'i lonyi yn ym ife,
Fi foda dre Garfyrdin.
C 2



terrible object, a "fly-wheel of fire," which made
straight for poor Gethin and made him swerve out of
the ring. Thereupon the wheel assumed the form of
the diawl, "devil," who began to haul Gethin awa}'.
The ttaw-harn seized hold of him and tried to get him
back. The devil was getting the upper hand, when
the Itaw-harn begged the devil to let him keep Gethin
while the piece of candle he had with him lasted. The
devil consented, and let go his hold of Gethin, where-
upon the cwmshurwr immediately blew out the candle,
and the devil was discomfited. Gethin preserved the
piece of candle very carefully, stowing it away in a
cool place; but still it wasted away although it was
never lighted. Gethin got such a fright that he took
to his bed, and as the candle wasted away he did the
same, and they both came to an end simultaneously.
Gethin vanished — and it was not his body that was put
into the coffin, but a lump of clay which was put in to save
appearances ! It is said that the wizard's books are in
an oaken chest at Waungyrlais farm house to this day.

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

Before dismissing Mr. Reynolds' letter I may men-
tion a story in point which relates to a lake on the
Brecon side of the mountains. It is given at length
by the Rev. Edward Davies in his Mythology and
Rites of the British Druids (London, i8og), pp. 155-7.
According to this legend a door in the rock was to
be found open once a year — on May-day, as it is
supposed — and from that door one could make one's
way to the garden of the fairies, which was an
island in the middle of the lake. This paradise of


exquisite bliss was invisible, however, to those who
stood outside the lake : they could only see an indis-
tinct mass in the centre of the water. Once on a time
a visitor tried to carry away some of the flowers given
him by the fairies, but he was thereby acting against
their law, and not only was he punished with the loss of
his senses, but the door has never since been left open.
It is also related that once an adventurous person
attempted to drain the water away 'in order to dis-
cover its contents, when a terrific form arose from
the midst of the lake, commanding him to desist, or
otherwise he would drown the country.' This form is
clearly of the same species as that which, according to
Mr. Reynolds' story, threatened to drown the town of
Brecon. Subsequent inquiries have elicited more in-
formation, and I am more especially indebted to my
friend Mr. Ivor James, who, as registrar of the Univer-
sity of Wales, has of late years been living at Brecon.
He writes to the following effect : — ' The lake you want
is ILyn Cwm ILwch, and the legend is very well known
locally, but there are variants. Once on a time men
and boys dug a gully through the dam in order to let
the water out. A man in a red coat, sitting in an
armchair, appeared on the surface of the water and
threatened them in the terms which you quote from
Mr. Reynolds. The red coat would seem to suggest
that this form of the legend dates possibly from a
time since our soldiers were first clothed in red. In
another case, however, the spectre was that of an old
woman ; and I am told that a somewhat similar story is
told in connexion with a well in the castle wall in the
parish of ILandew, to the north of this town — Giraldus
Cambrensis' parish. A friend of mine is employing
his spare time at present in an inquiry into the origin
of the lakes of this distriet, and he tells me that ILyn


Cwm ILwch is of glacial origin, its dam being composed,
as he thinks, of glacial debris through which the water
always percolates into the valley below. But storm
water flows over the dam, and in the course of ages
has cut for itself a gully, now about ten feet deep at the
deepest point, through the embankment. The story
was possibly invented to explain that fact. There is no
cave to be seen in the rock, and probably there never
was one, as the formation is the Old Red Sandstone ;
and the island was perhaps equally imaginary.'

That is the substance of Mr. James' letter, in which
he, moreover, refers to J. D. Rhys' account of the lake
in his Welsh introduction to his Grammar, published
in London in 1592, under the title Cambrobrytannicce
Cymraecceve Linguce Institutiones et Rudimenta. There
the grammarian, in giving some account of himself,
mentions his frequent sojourns at the hospitable resi-
dence of a nobleman, named M. Morgan Merfidydh,
near jv Bugeildy ynn Nyphryn Tabhtda o bhywn Swydh
Bhaesybhed, that is, ' near the Beguildy in the Valley of
the Teme within the county of Radnor.' Then he con-
tinues to the following effect : — ' But the latter part of
this book was thought out under the bushes and green
foUage in a bit of a place of my own called y Clun Hir,
at the top of Cwm y ILwch, below the spurs of the
mountain of Bannwchdeni, which some call Bann Arthur
and others Moel Arthur. Below that moel and in its
lap there is a lake of pretty large size, unknown depth,
and wondrous nature. For as the stories go, no bird
has ever been seen to repair to it or towards it, or to
swim on it : it is wholly avoided, and some say that no
animals or beasts of any kind are wont to drink of its
waters. The peasantry of that country, and especially
the shepherds who are wont to frequent these ntoels
and bans, relate many other wonders concerning it and


the exceeding strange things beheld at times in con-
nexion with this loch. This lake or loch is called ILyn
Cwm y ILwch \'


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

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

'Once on a time a farmer lived at the Rhonda Fechan:
he was unmarried, and as he was walking by the
lake early one morning in spring he beheld a young
woman of beautiful appearance walking on the other
side of it. He approached her and spoke to her:
she gave him to understand that her home was in the
lake, and that she owned a number of milch cows, that
lived with her at the bottom of the water. The farmer
fancied her so much that he fell in love with her over
head and ears : he asked her on the spot for her hand
and heart; and he invited her to come and spend her
life with him as his wife at the Rhonda Fechan. She
declined at first, but as he was importunate she con-

' ILwch is the Goidelic word loch borrowed, and K,yn Cwm y ILwch
literally means the Lake of the Loch Dingle.


sented at last on the following conditions, namely, that
she would bring her cattle with her out of the lake,
and live with him until he and she had three disputes
with one another : then, she said, she and the cattle
would return into the lake. He agreed to the con-
ditions, and the marriage took place. They lived very
happily and comfortably for long years; but the end
was that they fell out with one another, and, when they
happened to have quarrelled for the third time, she was
heard early in the morning driving the cattle towards
the lake with these words : —

Prw dri, prw dr^, prmW gwartheg i dre' ;
Prw Milfach a Malfach, pedair ILualfach,
Alfach ac Ali, pedair Ladi,
Wynebwen drwynog, tro fr waun lidiog,
Trech ifyn y waun odyn, tair Pencethin,
Tair caseg du draw yn yr eithin ^

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

From this it will be seen that the fairy wife's name
was supposed to have been Nelferch, and that the
piece of water is called after her. But I find that
great uncertainty prevails as to the old name of the
lake, as I learn from a communication in 1894 from

' I make no attempt to translate these lines, but I find that Mr. ILewellyn
Williams has found a still more obscure version of them, as follows : —
Prw med, prw tned, prwr gwartheg i dre',
Prw milfach a malfach, pedair tfualfach,
E^ualfach ac Aeli, pedair lafi,
Lafi a chromwen, pedair nepwen,
Nepwen drwynog, brech yn ttyn a gwaun dodyn,
Tair bryncethin, tair cyffredin,
Tair caseg du, draw yn yr eithin ;
Dewch i gyd i lys y brenin.


Mr. ILewellyn Williams, living at Forth, only some five
miles from the spot, that one of his informants assured
him that the name in use among former generations
was JLyn Alfach. Mr. Williams made inquiries at the
Rhonda Fechan about the lake legend. He was told
that the water had long since been known as ILyn
y Forwyn, from a morwyn, or damsel, with a number
of cattle having been drowned in it. The story of the
man who mentioned the name as ILyn Alfach was
similar: the maid belonged to the farm of Penrhys,
he said, and the young man to the Rhonda Fechan, and
it was in consequence of their third dispute, he added,
that she left him and went back to her previous service,
and afterwards, while taking the cattle to the water,
she sank accidentally or purposely into the lake, so
that she was never found any more. Here it will be
seen how modern rationalism has been modifying the
story into something quite uninteresting but without
wholly getting rid of the original features, such as the
three disputes between the husband and wife. Lastly,
it is worth mentioning that this water appears to
form part of a bit of very remarkable scenery, and that
its waves strike on one side against a steep rock
believed to contain caves, supposed to have been
formerly inhabited by men and women. At present the
place, I learn, is in the possession of Messrs. Davis and
Sons, owners of the Ferndale collieries, who keep
a pleasure boat on the lake. I have appealed to them
on the question of the name Nelferch or Alfach, in the
hope that their books would help to decide as to the old
form of it. Replying on their behalf, Mr. J. Probert
Evans informs me that the company only got possession
of the lake and the adjacent land in 1862, and that
' ILyn y Vorwyn ' is the name of the former in the oldest
plan which they have. Inquiries have also been made


in the neighbourhood by my friend, Mr. Reynolds, who
found the old tenants of the Rhonda Fechan Farm
gone, and the neighbouring farm house of Dyffryn Saf-
rwch supplanted by colliers' cottages. But he calls my
attention to the fact, that perhaps the old name was
neither Nelferch nor Alfach, as Elfarch, which would
fit equally well, was once the name of a petty chieftain
of the adjoining Hundred of Senghenyd, for which
he refers me to Clark's Glamorgan Genealogies, p. 511.
But I have to thank him more especially for a longer
version of the fairy wife's call to her cattle, as given
in Glanflfrwd's Plwyf ILanwyno, 'the Parish of ILan-
wynno ' (Pontyprid, 1888), p. 117, as follows: —

Prw me, prw me,

Prw ''ngmartheg i dre ;

Prw Melen a loco,

Tegwen a RhuSb,

RhuS-frech a Moel-frech,

Pedair ILiain-firech ;

ILiain-frech ag Eli,

A phedair Wen-ladi,

Ladi a Chomwen,

A phedair IVynebwen ;

Nepwen a Rhtvynog,

Tali Lieiniog;

Brech yn y Glytt

Dal yn dyn ;

Tair lygeityn,

Tair gyjffredm,
Tair Caseg d^u, draw yn yr eithin,
Deuwch i gyd i lys y Brenin ;

Btvta, bwla,

Saif yn flaena',
Saf yn ol y wraig oV Ty-fry,
Fyth nis godri ngwartheg i!

The last lines — slightly mended — may be rendered :

Bull, bull !

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

This seems to suggest that the quarrel was about


another woman, and that by the time when the fairy
came to call her live stock into the lake she had been
replaced by another woman who came from the Ty-fry,
or the House up Hill ^ In that case this version comes
closer than any other to the story of Undine sup-
planted by Bertalda as her knight's favourite.

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

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

' The old man is a very fine specimen of the better
class of Welsh farmer ; is in his eighty-third year ; hale
and hearty, intelligent, and in full possession of his
faculties. He was born and bred in the Rhonda Fechan
Valley, and lived there until some forty years ago. He
had often heard the lake story from an old aunt of his
who lived at the Maerdy Farm (a short distance north
of the lake), and who died a good many years ago, at
a very advanced age. He calls the lake " ILyn Elferch,"
and the story, as known to him, has several points in
common with the ILyn y Fan legend, which, however,
he did not appear to know. He could not give me
many details, but the following is the substance of the
story as he knows it: — The young farmer, who lived
with his mother at the neighbouring farm, one day saw
the lady on the bank of the lake, combing her hair,
which reached down to her feet. He fell in love at

' The Ty-fry is a house said to be some 200 years old, and situated about
two miles from RboniTa Fechan : more exactly it is about one-fourth of a mile
from the station of Ystrad Rhonda, and stands at the foot of Mynydyr Eglwys
on the Treorky side. It is now surrounded by the cottages of colliers, one of
whom occupies it. For this information I have to thank Mr. Probert Evans.


first sight, and tried to approach her ; but she evaded
him, and crying out, Dali di Mm o fi, eras dy fara !
(Thou wilt not catch me, thou of the crimped bread),
she sank into the water. He saw her on several subse-
quent occasions, and gave chase, but always with the
same result, until at length he got his mother to make
him some bread which was not baked (or not baked so
hard) ; and this he offered to the lady. She then agreed
to become his wife, subject to the condition that if he
offended her, or disagreed with her three times {ar yr
ammod, os hyssa fa yn 'i chroesi hi dair gwaith) she
would leave him and return into the lake with all her

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

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

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

' It is to be borne in mind that the sound of A is uncertain in Glamorgan


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

Prw i, prw ',

Prw 'ngwarlheg ska [ = tua] thre ;

Mil a mol a melyn gvotta;

Milfach a malfach;

Petar [ ^pedair] llearfach ;

Llearfach ag aeli ;

Petar a lafi ;

Lafi a chomwan [ = -wen] ;

[ . . . ] 'nepwan [ = -],

'Nepwan drwynog;

Drolwan [ = droedwen] litiog ;

Tair Bryncethin ;

Tair gyffretin ;

Tair casag du

Draw yn yr Hhin [ = eithin\,

Dewch I gyd i lys y brenin.

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

The similarity between Mr. Evans' version of this
legend and that of ILyn y Fan Fach, tends to add
emphasis to certain points which I had been inclined to
treat as merely accidental. In the Fan Fach legend
the young man's mother is a widow, and here he is
represented living with his mother. Here also some-
pronunciation, whether the language used is Welsh or English. The pro-
nunciation indicated, however, by Mr. Evans comes near enough to the
authentic form written El/arch.

'In the Snowdon district of Gwyneil the call is drwi, drwi, dri-i bach, while
in North Cardiganshire it is trwi, trwi, trw-efach, also pronounced sometimes
with u surd r, produced by making the breath cause both lips to vibrate —
tR'wi, tR'wi, which can hardly be distinguished from pR'wi, pR'wi. For the
more forcibly the lips are vibrated the more diBcult it becomes to start by
closing them to pronounce p : so the tendency with R' is to make the
preceding consonant into some kind of a /.



thing depends on the young man's bread, but it is
abruptly introduced, suggesting that a part of the story
has been forgotten. Both stories, however, give one
the impression that the bread of the fairies vi^as re-
garded as always imperfectly baked. In both stories
the young man's mother comes to his help with her
advice.- Mr. Evans' version ascribes supernatural
knowledge to the fairy, though his version fails to sup-
port it ; and her moralizings read considerably later
than those which the Fan legend ascribes to the fairy
wife. Some of these points may be brought under the
reader's notice later, when he has been familiarized with
more facts illustrative of the belief in fairies.


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


I was more successful at ILanberis, though what
I found, at first, was not much ; but it was genuine,
and to the point. This is the substance of it :— An old
woman, called Sian ^ Dafyd, lived at Helfa Fawr, in the
dingle called Cwm Brwynog, along the left side of
which you ascend as you go to the top of Snowdon,
from the village of lower ILanberis, or Coed y Dol,
as it is there called. She was a curious old person,
who made nice distinctions between the virtues of
the respective waters of the district: thus, no other
would do for her to cure her of the defaid gwytttion ^,
or cancerous warts, which she fancied that she had
in her mouth, than that of the spring of Tai Bach,
near the lake called ILyn Ffynnon y Gwas, though
she seldom found it out, when she was deceived by
a servant who cherished a convenient opinion of his
own, that a drop from a nearer spring would do just
as well. Old Sian has been dead over thirty-five years,
but I have it, on the testimony of two highly trustworthy
brothers, who are of her family, and now between sixty
and seventy years of age, that she used to relate to
them how a shepherd, once on a time, saw a fairy
maiden {un o'r Tylwyth Teg) on the surface of the tarn
called ILyn Du'r Ardu, and how, from bantering and

' This is the Welsh form of the borrowed name Jane, and its pronuncia-
tion in North Cardiganshire is SiSn, with si pronounced approximately
like the ti of such French words as nation and the like ; but of late years
I find the s\ made into English sh under the influence, probably, to some
extent of the English taught at school. This happens in North Wales, even
in districts where there are still plenty of people who cannot approach the
English viorisfish and shilling nearer thanytss and silling. Si6n and Sian
represent an old importation of Enghsh John and Jane, but they are now
considered old-fashioned and superseded by John and Jane, which I learned
to pronounce Dsidn and Dsifin, except that SiOn survives as a family name,
written Shone, in the neighbourhood of Wrexham.

' This term da/ad (or dafaden), ' a sheep,' also used for ' a wart,' and da/ad
(or da/aden) wytti, literally ' a wild sheep,' for cancer or epithelioma, raises
a question which I am quite unable to answer : why should a wart have
been likened to a sheep ?



joking, their acquaintance ripened into courtship, when
the father and mother of the lake maiden appeared
to give the union their sanction, and to arrange the
marriage settlement. This was to the effect that the
husband was never to strike his wife with iron, and
that she was to bring her great wealth with her, con-
sisting of stock of all kinds for his mountain farm. All
duly took place, and they lived happily together until
one day, when trying to catch a pony, the husband
threw a bridle to his wife, and the iron in that struck
her. It was then all over with him, as the wife hurried
away with her property into the lake, so that nothing
more was seen or heard of her. Here I may as well
explain that the ILanberis side of the steep, near
the top of Snowdon, is called Clogwyn du'r Ardu,
or the Black Cliff of the Ardu, at the bottom of which
lies the tarn alluded to as the Black Lake of the Ardu,
and near it stands a huge boulder, called Maen du'r
Ardu, all of which names are curious, as involving the
word du, black. Ardu itself has much the same meaning,
and refers to the whole precipitous side of the summit
with its dark shadows, and there is a similar Ardu near
Nanmor on the Merionethshire side of Bedgelert.

One of the brothers, I ought to have said, doubts
that the lake here mentioned was the one in old Sian's
tale; but he has forgotten which it was of the many
in the neighbourhood. Both, however, remembered
another short story about fairies, which they had
heard another old woman relate, namely, Mari Domos
SiOn, who died some thirty years ago : it was merely
to the effect that a shepherd had once lost his way
in the mist on the mountain on thef land of Caeau
Gwynion, towards Cwellyn ^ Lake, and got into a ring

' The name is probably a shortening of Cawettyn, and that perhaps of
Caweit-lyn, ' Creel or Basket Lake.' Its old name is said to have been E,yn


where the TylTuyth Teg were dancing: it was only
after a very hard struggle that he was able, at length,
to get away from them.

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

After writing the above, I heard that a brother to
the foregoing brothers, namely, Mr. Thomas Davies,
of Mur Mawr, ILanberis, remembered a similar tale.
Mr. Davies is now sixty-four, and the persons from
whom he heard the tale were the same Sian Dafyd
of Helfa Fawr, and Mari Domos Si6n of Tyn^ Gadlas,
ILanberis: the two women were about seventy years
of age when he as a child heard it from them. At
my request, a friend of mine, Mr. Hugh D. Jones,
of Tyn Gadlas, also a member of this family, which
is one of the oldest perhaps in the place, has taken
down from Mr. Davies' mouth all he could remember,
word for word, as follows: —

Yn perthyn i ffarm Bron y Fedw yr oeS dyn ifanc

' Tyn is a shortening of tydyn, which is not quite forgotten in the case of
Tyn Gadlas or Tyn Siarias (for Tyityii Siarlys), ' Charles' Tenement,' in the
immediate neighbourhood. Similarly the Anglesey Farm of Tyn yr Onnm
used at one time to be TyiynyrOnnen in the books of Jesus College, Oxford,
to which it belongs.



wedi cael ei fagu, nis gwySent faint cyn eu hamser
hwy. Arferai pan yn hogyn fynd i'r mynyd: yn Cwm
Drywenyct a Mynycty Fedw ar ochr oritewmol y Wydfa
i fugeilio, a bydai yn taro ar hogan yn y mynyd'; ac
wrth fynychu gweld eu gilyd' aethant yn ffrindiau mawr.
Arferent gyfarfod eu gilyS mewn tte neittduol yn
Cwm Drywenyd', tie'r oeS yr hogan aV teulu yn byw, tte
y bySai pob danteithion, chwareuySiaethau a chanu
dihafal : ond ni fydai'r hogyn yn gwneyd i fyny a neb
ohonynt ond yr hogan.

DiweS y ffrindiaeth fu carwriaeth, a phan soniod^yr
hogyn am id'i briodi, ni wnai ond ar un amod, sef y
bywiai hi hefo fo hyd nes y tarawai ef hi a haiam.

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

Ar waelod MynySy Fedw mae ttyn o ryw dri-ugain
neu gan ttath o hyd ac ugain neu deg ttath ar hugain o
led, ac y mae ar un ochr idb le teg, fford" y bydai'r
ceffylau yn rhedeg.

DalioSy gwr ferlyn a rhoes ef i'r wraig i'w dal heb
ffrwyn, tra bydai ef yn dal merlyn aratt. Ar ol rhoi
ffrwyn yn mhen ei ferlyn ei hun, taflo$ un aratt i'r wraig
i roi yn mhen ei merlyn hithau, ac wrth ei thaflu
tarawod bit y ffrwyn hi yn ei ttaw. GottyngoSy wraig
y merlyn, ac aeth ar ei phen i'r ttyn, a dyna Siwed" y

' To the farm of Bron y Fedw there belonged a son,
who grew up to be a young man, the women knew not
how long before their time. He was in the habit of
going up the mountain to Cwm Drywenyd^ and Mynyd

' That is the pronunciation which I have learnt at ILanberis, but there is
another, which I have also heard, namely DerwenyS.


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

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

Pan oeS hi'n hogan yn yr Hafod, Lanberis, yr
oect hogan at ei hoed hi'n cael ei magu yn Cwmglas,

D 2


Lanheris, ac arferai disoeyd, pan yn hogan a thra y bu
byw, y bydai yn cael avian gan y Tylwyth Teg yn Cwm

Yr oeSyn dweyd y bydai arforeuau niwliog, tywytt,yH
mynd i le penodolyn Cwm Cwmglas gyda dsygiad o lefriih
o'r fuches a thywel glan, ac yn ei rodi ar garreg ; ac yn
myndyno drachefn, acyn cael y ttestr yn wag, gyda dam
deuswttt neu hanner coron ac weithiaufwy wrth ei ochr.

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

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

Yr oed ef pan yn hogyn yn gweini yn Towyn Tmvem,
yn agos i Gaergybi, gyda hen wr o'r enw Owen Owens,
oedyr adeg konno at ci oed efyn bresennol.


Yr oedynt unwaith mewn hen adeilad ar y ffarm ; a
dywedod'yr hen wr ei fod efwedi cael ttawer arian yn y
tte hwnnwpanyn hogyn, a buasai wedi cael ychwaneg oni
bai ei dad.

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

Yr oed' y bachgen yn gwrando aryrymdiddn rhwng ei
dad a'i fam, ac yr oect yn benderfynol gadw'r peth
yn dirgelwch fel yr oed" wedi ei rybudio gan y Tylwyth

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

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

' When a lad, he was a servant at Towyn Trewern,
near Holyhead, to an old man about his own age at
present. They were one day in an old building on the
farm, and the old man told him that he had had much
money in that place when he was a lad, and that he
would have had more had it not been for his father.
He had hidden the money at home, where his mother
found it and told his father of the affair : she feared he
was a bad boy, and that it was by theft he got it. His
father said that he would make him say where he got it.


or else that he would strip him of the skin of his back,
at the same time that he went out and cut a rod fit for
effecting a purpose of the kind. The boy heard all this
talk between his father and his mother, and felt deter-
mined to keep the matter a secret, as he had been
warned by the Tylwyth Teg. He went into the house,
and his father began to question him, while he refused
to answer. He supplicatingly protested that the money
was honestly got, and that he should get more if he
kept it a secret, but that, if he did not, there would be
no more to be got. However, the father would give no
ear to his excuses or his reasons, and the rod pre-
vailed ; so that the boy said that it was from the Ty-
lwyth Teg he used to get it, and that on condition of his
not telling anybody. Greatly did the old folks regret
having killed the goose that laid the eggs. The boy
went many a time afterwards to the old building, but he
never found any more money there.'


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


of age, who has always lived at Drws y Coed, in the
parish of Bedgelert :~-

Y mae hanes am fab i amaethwr a breswyliai yn yr

Ysirad^, Betws Garmon ^, pan yn dychwelyd adref daith

yn hwyr un noswaith, darfod ido weled cwmni o'r Tylwyth

Teg ynghanol eu hafiaeth a'u glodest. Syfrdanwydy Itanc

ynyfan gan degwch anghyntarol un o'r rhianod hyn, fel

y beidiod neidio i ganoly cylch, a chymeryd ei eilun gydag

ef. Wedi idi fod yn trigo gydag ef yn ei gartref am

ysbaid, cafoS gandi adaw bod yn wraig ido ar amodau

neittduol. Un o'r amodau hyn ydoed, na bydai ido

gyffwrd" yndi ag tin math haiam. Bu yn wraig ido,

a ganwyd idynt dau blant. Un diwrnod yr oedy gwr

yn y maes yn ceisio dal y ceffyl; wrth ei weled yn ffaelu,

aeth y wraig ato i'w gynorthwyo, a phan oedy march yn

carlamu heibio goUyngod yntau yffrwyn o'i law, er mwyn

ceisio ei atal heibio; a phwy a darawoct ond ei wraig, yr

hon a dijlannod yn y fan attan o'i olwg?

' The story goes, that the son of a farmer, who lived
at the Ystrad in Bettws Garmon, when returning home
from a journey, late in the evening, beheld a company
of fairies in the middle of their mirth and jollity. The
youth was at once bewildered by the incomparable
beauty of one of these ladies, so that he ventured to
leap into the circle and take his idol away with him.
After she had tarried awhile with him at his home, he
prevailed on her, on special conditions, to become his
wife. One of these conditions was that he should not
touch her with iron of any description. She became

' Ystrad is the Welsh corresponding to Scotch strath, and it is nearly
related to the English word strand. It means the flat land near a river.

' Betws (or Bettws) Garmon seems to mean Germanus's Bede-hus or
House of Prayer, but Garmon can hardly have come down in Welsh from
the time of the famous saint in the fifth century, as it would then have
probably yielded Gerfon and not Garmon : it looks as if it had come through
the Goidelic of this country.



his wife, and two children were born to them. One
day the husband was in the field trying to catch the
horse ; seeing him unsuccessful, the wife went to him
to help him, and, when the horse was galloping past
him, he let go the bridle at him in order to prevent him
from passing ; but whom should he strike but his wife,
who vanished out of his sight on the spot.'

Just as I was engaged in collecting these stories in
1881, a correspondent sent me a copy of the Ystrad tale
as published by the late bard and antiquary, the Rev.
Owen Wyn Jones, better known in Wales by his bardic
name of Glasynys ^, in the Brython ^ for 1863, p. 193.
I will not attempt to translate Glasynys' poetic prose
with all its compound adjectives, but it comes to this in
a few words. One fine sunny morning, as the young
heir of Ystrad was busied with his sheep on the side of
Moel Eilio, he met a very pretty girl, and when he got
home he told the folks there of it. A few days after-
wards he met her again, and this happened several
times, when he mentioned it to his father, who advised

' One of the rare merits of our Welsh bards is their habit of assuming
permanent noms de plume, by means of which they prevent a number of
excellent native names from falling into utter oblivion in the general chaos
of Anglo-Hebrew ones, such as Jones, Davies, and Williams, which cover
the Principality. Welsh place-names have similarly been threatened by
Hebrew names of chapels, such as Bethesda, Rehoboth, and Jerusalem,
but in this direction the Jewish mania has only here and there effected
permanent mischief.

" The Brython was a valuable Welsh periodical published by Mr. Robert
Isaac Jones, at Tremadoc, in the years 1858-1863, and edited by the
Rev. Chancellor Silvan Evans, who was then the curate of ILanglan in
ILeyn : in fact he was curate for fourteen years ! His excellent work in
editing the Brython earned for him his diocesan's displeasure, but it is easier
to imagine than to describe how hard it was for him to resign the honorarium
of 24 derived from the Brython when his stipend as a clergyman was only
(,ga, at the same time that he had dependent on him a wife and six children.
However much some people affect to laugh at the revival of the national
spirit in Wales, we have, I think, got so far as to make it, for some time to
come, impossible for a Welsh clergyman to be snubbed on account of his
literary tastes or his delight in the archaeology of his country.


him to seize her when he next met her. The next time
he met her he proceeded to do so, but before he could
take her away, a little fat old man came to them and
begged him to give her back to him, to which the youth
would not listen. The little man uttered terrible
threats, but the heir of Ystrad would not yield, so an
agreement was made between them, that the latter was
to have the girl to wife until he touched her skin with
iron, and great was the joy both of the son and his
parents in consequence. They lived together for many
years ; but once on a time, on the evening of the Bettws
Fair, the wife's horse became restive, and somehow, as
the husband was attending to the horse, the stirrup
touched the skin of her bare leg, and that very night
she was taken away from him. She had three or four
children, and more than one of their descendants, as
Glasynys maintains, were known to him at the time he
wrote in 1863. Glasynys regards this as the same tale
which is given by Williams of ILandegai, to whom we
shall refer later ; and he says that he heard it scores of
times when he was a lad.

Lastly, I happened to mention these legends last
summer among others to the Rev. Owen Davies,
curate of ILanberis, a man who is well versed in Welsh
literature, and thoroughly in sympathy with everything
Welsh. Mr. Davies told me that he knew a tale of
the sort from his youth, as current in the parishes of
ILanttechid and ILandegai, near Bangor. Not long
afterwards he visited his mother at his native place,
in ILanttechid, in order to have his memory of it re-
freshed ; and he also went to the Waen Fawr, on the
other side of Carnarvon, where he had the same legend
told him with the different localities specified. The fol-
lowing is the Waen Fawr version, of which I give the
Welsh as I have had it from Mr. Davies, and as it was



related, according to him, some forty years ago in the
valley of Nant y Bettws, near Carnarvon : —

Ar brydnawngwaith hyfryd yn Hefin, aeth ttanc ieuanc
gwrolSewr ac anturiaethus, sef etifeS a pherchennog yr
Ystrad, i Ian afon Gwyrfai, hebfodyn nepettdi chychwyn-
iad o lyn Cawettyn, ac a ymguSioSyno mewn dyryslwyn,
se/ger yfan y byddz poblachy cotiau cochion—y Tylwyth
Teg—yn arfer dawnsio. Yr ydoed' yn noswaith hyfryd
loergannog, heb un cwmwl i gau ftygaid y E^oer, ac anian
yn distaw dawedog, odigerth murmuriad IteSfy Wyrfai,
a swnyr awel ysgafndroed yn rhodio brigau deiliogy coed.
Ni bu yn ei ymgudfa ond dros ychydig amser, cyn cael
difyrru o hono ei olygon a dawns y teulu dedwyd". Wrth
syttu ar gyzvret'nrwyd' y dawns, y chwim, droadau cyflym,
yr ymgyniweiriad ysgafn-droediog, tarawod ei lygaid ar
las lodes ieuanc, dlysaf, hardaf, lunieidiaf a welod^ er ei
febyd. Yr oed' ei chwim droadau a ttedneisrwyS ei hag-
wedion wedi tanio ei serch tu ag ati i'r fath radau, fel ag
yr oedyn barod i unrhyw anturiaeth er mwyn ei hennittyn
gydymaith ido ei hun. O'i ymgudfa dywytt, yr oed'yn
gwylio pob ysgogiad er mwyn ei gyfleustra ei hun. Mewn
mynud, yn disymwth Sigon, rhwng pryder ac ofn, ttam-
neidiod' fel ttew gwrol i ganol cylch y Tylwyth Teg, ac
ymafaelod' a dwylaw cariad yn y fun luniaiS a daniod' ei
serch, a hynny, pan oed y Tylwyth dedwyd^ yn nghanol
nwyfiant eu dawns. Cofleidiod hi yn dyner garedig yn ei
fynwes wresog, ac aeth a hi i'w gartref—i'r Ystrad. Ond
diflannod ei chyd-dawttsydion fel anadl Gorphennaf er ei
chroch dblefau am gael ei rhydhau, a'i hymegnion diflino
i dianc a afael yr hwn a'i hoffod:. Mewn anwylder mawr,
ymdygody ttanc yn dyner odiaethol tu ag at y fun deg, ac
yr oed yn orawydus i'w chadw yn ei olwg ac yn eifediant.
ILwydoS drwy ci dynerwch tu ag ati i gael gand'i aSaw
dyfod yn forwyn ido yn yr Ystrad. A morwyn ragorol
oed hi. Godrai deirgwaith y swm arferol o laeth odiar


bob buwch, ac yr oect yr ymenyn heb bwys arno. Ond er
ei holt daerni, nis gattai mevm un mod" gael gandi dyweud
ei henw wrtho. Gwnaeth lawer cats, ond yn gwbl ofer.
Yn disimweiniol ryw dro, wrth yrru

Brithen a'r Benwen Cr botfa,

a hi yn noswaith loergan, efe a aeth Hr man tte yr arferai

y Tylwyth Teg fyned drwy eu campau yng ngoleuni'r

Loer wen. Y tro hwn eto, efe a ymgudioS mewn dyrys-

Iwyn, a chlywoSy Tylwyth Teg yn dywedyd y naitt wrth

y ttatt—' Pan oedym niyny tte hwny tro diwedaf, dygwyd

ein chwaer Penelope odiarnom gan un oV marwolion.'

Ar hynny, dychwelody ttencyn adref, a'i fynwes yn ttawn

o falchder cariad, o herwyd ido gael gwybod enw ei hoff

forwyn, yr hon a synnod'yn aruthr, pan glywod' ei meistr

ieuancyn ei galw wrth ei henw. Ac am ei bodyn odiaethol

dlos, a ttuniaiS, yn fywiog-weithgar, a medrus ar bob

gwaith, a bod popeth yn ttwydb dan ei ttaw, cynygiod ei

hun idiyn wr—y celai fod yn feistres yr Ystrad,yn tte bod

yn forwyn. Ond ni chydsyniai hi a'i gais ar un cyfrif;

ond bod braid' yn bendrist oherwyS ido wybod ei henw.

FoS bynnag, gwedi maith amser, a thrwy ei daerineb

diflino, cydsynioct, ond yn amodol. Adawod" dyfod yn

wraig ido, ar yr amod canlynol, sef ^ Pa bryd bynnag

y tarawai efhi a haiarn, yr elai ymaith odi wrtho, ac na

dychwelai byth ato mwy.' Sicrhawyd yr amod o'i du

yntau gyda pharodrwyS cariad. Buont yn cydfyw ahi

gilyS yn hapus a chysurus lawer flynydoed, a ganwyd

idyntfab a merch,y rhai oedynt dlysaf a ttunieidiaf yn yr

hott froyct. Ac yn rhinwed' ei medrusrwyd a'i deheurwyd

fel gwraig gatt, rinwedol, aethant yn gyfoethog iawn—yn

gyfoethocach na nebynyr hottwlad. Heblaw ci etifediaeth

ei hun — Yr Ystrad, yr oed yn ffarmio hott ogled'-barth

Nant y Betws, ac odi yno i hen yr Wydfa, ynghyd a hott

Gwm Brwynog,yn mhlwyf Lanberis. Ond, ryw diwmod,



yn anffortunus Sigon aeth y ctau i'r ctol i Sal y ceffyl, a
chanfody ceffylyn braiSyn wyttt ac an-nof,yn rhedeg oSi
arnynt, tqflod^y gwr yffrwyn mewn gwytttineb yn ei erbyn,
er ei atal, ac ar bwyy disgynnoS yffrwyn, ond ar Penelope,
y wraig! Diflannod' Penelope yn y fan, ac ni welod' byth
mo honi. Ond ryw noswaith, a'r gwynt yn chwythu yn
oer dr gogled:, daeth Penelope at ffenestr ei ystafett wely,
a dywedoS wrtho am gymmeryd gofal o'r plant yn y
geiriau hyn :

Rhag bod anwyd ar fy mab,
Yn rhoi rhowch amo gob ei dad;
Rhag bod anwyd ar liw'r can,
Rhodivch ami bais ei mham.

Ac yna cilioS, ac ni chlywyd na siw na miw byth yn ei

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

One fine evening in the month of June a brave,
adventurous youth, the heir of Ystrad, went to the
banks .of the Gw3n-fai, not far from where it leaves
CweHyn Lake, and hid himself in the bushes near the
spot where the folks of the Red Coats — the fairies—
were wont to dance. The moon shone forth brightly
without a cloud to intercept her light ; all was quiet
save where the Gwjrfai gently murmured on her bed,
and it was not long before the young man had the
satisfaction of seeing the fair family dancing in full
swing. As he gazed on the subtle course of the dance,
his eyes rested on a damsel, the most shapely and
beautiful he had seen from his boyhood. Her agile
movements and the charm of her looks inflamed him
with love for her, to such a degree that he felt ready for
any encounter in order to secure her to be his own.
From his hiding place he watched every move for his
opportunity ; at last, with feelings of anxiety and dread.


he leaped suddenly into the middle of the circle of the
fairies. There, while their enjoyment of the dance
was at its height, he seized her in his arms and carried
her away to his home at Ystrad. But, as she screamed
for help to free her from the grasp of him who had
fallen in love with her, the dancing party disappeared
like one's breath in July. He treated her with the
utmost kindness, and was ever anxious to keep her
within his sight and in his possession. By dint of
tenderness he succeeded so far as to get her to consent
to be his servant at Ystrad. And such a servant she
turned out to be! Why, she was wont to milk the
cows thrice a day, and to have the usual quantity of
milk each time, so that the butter was so plentiful that
nobody thought of weighing it. As to her name, in
spite of all his endeavours to ascertain it, she would
never tell it him. Accidentally, however, one moonlight
night, when driving two of his cows to the spot where
they should graze, he came to the place where the
fairies were wont to enjoy their games in the light of
the moon. This time also he hid himself in a thicket,
when he overheard one fairy saying to another,
' When we were last here our sister Penelope was
stolen from us by a man.' As soon as he heard this off
he went home, full of joy because he had discovered
the name of the maid that was so dear to him. She, on
the other hand, was greatly astonished to hear him call
her by her own name. As she was so charmingly
pretty, so industrious, so skilled in every work, and so
attended by luck in everything she put her hand to,
he offered to make her his wife instead of being his
servant. At first she would in no wise consent, but she
rather gave way to grief at his having found her name
out. However, his importunity at length brought her
to consent, but on the condition that he should not


strike her with iron ; if that should happen, she would
quit him never to return. The agreement was made on
his side with the readiness of love, and after this they
lived in happiness and comfort together for many years,
and there were born to them a son and a daughter, who
were the handsomest children in the whole country.
Owing, also, to the skill and good qualities of the
woman, as a shrewd and virtuous wife, they became
very rich — richer, indeed, than anybody else in the
country around ; for, besides the husband's own inherit-
ance of Ystrad, he held all the northern part of Nant y
Bettws, and all from there to the top of Snowdon, to-
gether with Cwm BrwynOg in the parish of ILanberis.
But one day, as bad luck would have it, they went out
together to catch a horse in the field, and, as the animal
was somewhat wild and untamed, they had no easy
work before them. In his rashness the man threw
a bridle at him as he was rushing past him, but alas !
on whom should the bridle fall but on the wife ! No
sootier had this happened than she disappeared, and
nothing more was ever seen of her. But one cold night,
when there was a chilling wind blowing from the north,
she came near the window of his bedroom, and told him
in these words to take care of the children : —

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

Then she withdrew, and nothing more was heard of

In reply to some queries of mine, Mr. O. Davies tells
me that Penelope was pronounced in three syllables,
Pdnglop — so he heard it from his grandfather : he goes
on to say that the offspring of the Lake Lady is sup-
posed to be represented by a family called Fellings,


which was once a highly respected name in those parts,
and that there was a Lady Bulkeley who was of this
descent, not to mention that several people of a lower
rank, both in Anglesey and Arfon, claimed to be of the
same origin. I am not very clear as to how the name
got into this tale, nor have I been able to learn anything
about the Fellings ; but, as the word appears to have
been regarded as a corrupt derivative from Penelope,
that is, perhaps, all the connexion, so that it may be
that it has really nothing whatever to do with the
legend. This is a point, however, which the antiquaries
of North Wales ought to be able to clear up satis-

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


the same effect on persons of a much riper age than
mine then was.'

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

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


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

Ryw noson lawn ttoer ac un o feibion Lwyn On yn
Nant y Betws yn myned t garu i Glogwyn y Gwin, efe
a voeloct y Tylwythyn ymlodiestu a daumsw ei hochr hi ar
weirgloct wrth Ian Lyn Cawettyn. Efe a nesaoct tuag
atynt ; ac o dipyn i bethfe'i ttithiwyd gan bereiddra swynol
eu canu a hoender a bywiogrwyd' eu chwareu, nes myned
o hono tu fewn i'r cylch; ac yn fuan fe daetb rhyw hud
drosto, fel y coUoS adnabydiaeth bobman; a chafoct ei
hun mewn gvolad hard'afa welod' erioed, tte'r oed pawb yn
treulio eu hamser mewn afiaeth a gorfoled. Yr oed^ wedi
bod yno am saith mlyned] dc eto nid oed dim ond megis
breudwyd nos ; ond daeth adgof i'w fedwl am ei neges,
a hiraeth yndo am, weled ei anwylyd. Petty efe a ofynod
ganiatad i dychwelyd adrefyr hyn a rodwyd ynghyd a ttu

gymdeithion i'w arwain tua'i wlad ; ac yn disymwth
cafod ei hun fel yn deffro o freudwyd ar y dol, tte gwelod"
y Tylwyth Teg yn chwareu. Trod" ei wyneb tuag adref ;
ond wedi myned yno yr oed popeth wedi newid, ei rieni
wedi meirw, ei frodyr yn ffaelu ei adnabod, a'i gariad
wedi priodi un aratt. — Ar ol y fath gyfnewidiadau efe
a dorod eigalon, ac a fu farw mewn ttai nag wythnos ar

01 ei dychweliad.

'One bright moonlight night, as one of the sons of the


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


The Rev. O. Davies regarded the ILantlechid legend
as so very like the one he got about Cwettyn Lake and
the Waen Fawr, that he has not written the former out
at length, but merely pointed out the following differ-
ences : (i) Instead of Cwettyn, the lake in the former
is the pool of Corwrion, in the parish of ILandegai, near
Bangor. (2) What the Lake Lady was struck with was


not a bridle, but an iron fetter : the word used is Wyfether,
which probably means a long fetter connecting a fore-
foot and a hind-foot of a horse together. In Arfon, the
word is applied also to a cord tying the two fore-feet
together, but in Cardiganshire this would be called
a hual, the otner word, there pronounced llowethir, being
confined to the long fetter. In books, the word is
written llywethair, llefethair and llyffethair or llyffethar,
which is possibly the pronunciation in parts of North
Wales, especially Arfon. This is an interesting word,
as it is no other than the English term 'long fetter,'
borrowed into Welsh ; as, in fact, it was also into Irish
early enough to call for an article on it in Cormac's
Irish Glossary, where langfiter is described as an English
word for a fetter between the fore and the hind legs :
in Anglo-Manx it is become lanketer. (3) The field in
which they were trying to catch the horse is, in the
ILanttechid version, specified as that called Maes Madog,
at the foot of the ILefn. (4) When the fairy wife ran
away, it was headlong into the pool of Corwrion, calling
after her all her milch cows, and they followed her with
the utmost readiness.

Before going on to mention bits of information I have
received from others about the ILanttechid legend,
I think it best here to finish with the items given me
by Mr. O. Davies, whom I cannot too cordially thank
for his readiness to answer my questions. Among other
things, he expresses himself to the following effect : —
' It is to this day a tradition — and I have heard it a hun-
dred times — that the dairy of Corwrion excelled all other
dairies in those parts, that the milk was better and
more plentiful, and that the cheese and butter were
better there than in all the country round, the reason
assigned being that the cattle on the farm of Corwrion
had mixed with the breed belonging to the fairy, who

E 2


had run away after being struck with the iron fetter.
However that may be, I remember perfectly well the
high terms of praise in which the cows of Corwrion
used to be spoken of as being remarkable for their milk
and the profit they yielded; and, when I was a boy,
I used to hear people talk of Tarw Penwyn Corwrion,
or " the White-headed Bull of Corwrion," as derived from
the breed of cattle which had formed the fairy maiden's

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

'In old times, when the fairies showed themselves
much oftener to men than they do now, they made
their home in the bottomless pool of Corwrion, in Upper
Arttechwed, in that wild portion of Gwyned called

' This parish is called after a saint named Tegdi or Tygai, like TyfaHog and
Tysilio, and though the accent rests on the final syllable nothing could
prevent the grammarian Huw Tegai and his friends from making it into
Tegai in Huw's name.


Arfon. On fine mornings in the month of June these
diminutive and nimble folk might be seen in a regular
line vigorously engaged in mowing hay, with their
cattle in herds busily grazing in the fields near Cor-
wrion. This was a sight which often met the eyes of
the people on the sides of the hills around, even on
Sundays ; but when they hurried down to them they
found the fields empty, with the sham workmen and
their cows gone, all gone. At other times they might
be heard hammering away like miners, shovelling
rubbish aside, or emptying their carts of stones. At
times they took to singing all the night long, greatly
to the delight of the people about, who dearly loved to
hear them ; ahd, besides singing so charmingly, they
sometimes formed into companies for dancing, and their
movements were marvellously graceful and attractive.
But it was not safe to go too near the lake late at night,
for once a brave girl, who was troubled with toothache,
got up at midnight and went to the brink of the water
in search of the root of a plant that grows there full of
the power to kill all pain in the teeth. But, as she was
plucking up a bit of it, there burst on her ear, from the
depths of the lake, such a shriek as drove her back
into the house breathless with fear and trembling; but
whether this was not the doing of a stray fairy, who
had been frightened out of her wits at being suddenly
overtaken by a damsel in her nightdress, or the ordinary
fairy way of curing the toothache, tradition does not
tell. For sometimes, at any rate, the fairies busied
themselves in doing good to the men and women who
were their neighbours, as when they tried to teach
them to keep all promises and covenants to which they
pledged themselves. A certain man and his wife, to
whom they wished to teach this good habit, have never
been forgotten. The husband had been behaving as



he ought, until one day, as he held the plough, with
the wife guiding his team, he broke his covenant
towards her by treating her harshly and unkindly. No
sooner had he done so, than he was snatched through
the air and plunged in the lake. When the wife went
to the brink of the water to ask for him back, the reply
she had was, that he was there, and that there he
should be.

' The fairies when engaged in dancing allowed them-
selves to be gazed at, a sight which was wont greatly
to attract the young men of the neighbourhood, and
once on a time the son and heir of the owner of Cor-
wrion fell deeply in love with one of the graceful
maidens who danced in the fairy ring', for she was
wondrously beautiful and pretty beyond compare.
His passion for her ere long resulted in courtship, and
soon in their being married, which took place on the
express understanding, that firstly the husband was
not to know her name, though he might give her any
name he chose; and, secondly, that he might now and
then beat her with a rod, if she chanced to misbehave
towards him; but he was not to strike her with iron
on pain of her leaving him at once. -This covenant
was kept for some years, so that they lived happily
together and had four children, of whom the two
youngest were a boy and a girl. But one day as they
went to one of the fields of Bryn Twrw in the direction
of Pennard Gron, to catch a pony, the fairy wife, being
so much nimbler than her husband, ran before him and
had her hand in the pony's mane in no time. She
called out to her husband to throw her a halter, but
instead of that he threw towards her a bridle with an iron
bit, which, as bad luck would have it, struck her. The
wife at once flew through the air, and plunged head-
long into Corwrion Pool. The husband returned


sighing and weeping towards Bryn Twrw, "Noise
Hill," and when he had reached it, the twrw, " noise,"
there was greater than had ever been heard before,
namely that of weeping after "Belene"; and it was
then, after he had struck her with iron, that he first
learnt what his wife's name was. Beleng never came
back to her husband, but the feelings of a mother once
brought her to the window of his bedroom, where she
gave him the following order: —

Os byd anwyd ar fy mab. If my son should feel it cold,

RMiDch am dano gob ei dad ; Let him wear his father's coat ;

Os anwydog a fyd can ', If the fair one feel the cold,

Rho'wch am dani bat's ei mam. Let her wear my petticoat.

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

Mr. Hughes referred to no less than three other
versions, as follows : — (i) According to one account,
the husband was ploughing, with the wife leading the
team, when by chance he came across her and the
accident happened. The wife then flew away like a
wood-hen {t'ar goed) into the lake. (2) Another says
that they were in a stable trying to bridle one of the

' For can they now usually put Ann, and Mr. Hughes remembers hearing
it so many years ago.


horses, when the misfortune took place through in-
advertence. (3) A third specifies the field in front of
the house at Corwrion as the place where the final
accident took place, when they were busied with the
cows and horses.

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

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

To return to Mr. Hughes' communications, I would
select from them some remarks on the topography of


the teeming home of the fairies. He estimated the
lake or pool of Corwrion to be about 120 yards long,
and adds that it is nearly round ; but he thinks it was
formerly considerably larger, as a cutting was made
some eighty or a hundred years ago to lead water from
it to Penrhyn Castle ; but even then its size would not
approach that ascribed to it by popular belief, accord-
ing to which it was no less than three miles long. In
fact it was believed that there was once a town of
Corwrion which was swallowed up by the lake, a sort
of idea which one meets with in many parts of Wales,
and some of the natives are said to be able to discern
the houses under the water. This must have been near
the end which is not bottomless, the latter being indi-
cated by a spot which is said never to freeze even in
hard winters. Old men remember it the resort of
herons, cormorants, and the water-hen [hobi wen). Near
the banks there grew, besides the water-lily, various
kinds of rushes and sedges, which were formerly much
used for making mats and other useful articles. It was
also once famous for eels of a large size, but it is not
supposed to have contained fish until Lord Penrhyn
placed some there in recent years. It teemed, how-
ever, with leeches of three different kinds so recently
that an old man still living describes to Mr. Hughes
his simple way of catching them when he was a boy,
namely, by walking bare-legged in the water : in a few
minutes he landed with nine or ten leeches sticking to
his legs, some of which fetched a shiUing each from
the medical men of those days. Corwrion is now a
farm house occupied by Mr. William Griffiths, a grand-
son of the late bard Gutyn Peris. When Mr. Hughes
called to make inquiries about the legend, he found
there the foundations of several old buildings, and
several pieces of old querns about the place. He


thinks that there belonged to Corwrion in former times,
a mill and a fuller's house, which he seems to infer
from the names of two neighbouring houses called
' Y Felin Hen,' the Old Mill, and ' Pandy Tre Garth,'
the Fulling Mill of Tregarth, respectively. He also
alludes to a gefail or smithy there, in which one Rhys
ab Robert used to work, not to mention that a great
quantity of ashes, such as come from a smithy, are
found at the end of the lake furthest from the farm
house. The spot on which Corwrion stands is part
of the ground between the Ogwen and another stream
which bears the name of 'Afon Cegin Arthur,' or the
River of Arthur's Kitchen, and most of the houses and
fields about have names which have suggested various
notions to the people there : such are the farms called
' Coed Howel,' whence the belief in the neighbour-
hood that Howel Da, King of Wales, lived here.
About him Mr. Hughes has a great deal to say : among
other things, that he had boats on Corwrion lake, and
that he was wont to present the citizens of Bangor
yearly with .300 fat geese reared on the waters of the
same. I am referred by another man to a lecture
delivered in the neighbourhood on these and similar
things by the late bard and antiquary the Rev. Robert
Ellis (Cyndelw), but I have never come across a copy.
A field near Corwrion is called 'Cae Stabal,' or the
Field of the Stable, which contains the remains of a
row of stables, as it is supposed, and of a number of
mangers where Howel's horses were once fed. In
a neighbouring wood, called ' Pare y Gefli ' or ' Hopiar
y Getti,' my informant goes on to say, there are to be
seen the foundations of seventeen or eighteen old hut-
circles, and near them some think they see the site of
an old church. About a mile to the south-east of
Corwrion is Pendinas, which Mr. Hughes describes as


an old triangular Welsh fortress, on the bank of the
Ogwen ; and within two stone's- throws or so of Cor-
wrion on the south side of it, and a little to the west
of Bryn Twrw mentioned in the legend, is situated
Penard Gron, a caer or fort, which he describes as
being, before it was razed in his time, forty-two yards
long by thirty-two wide, and defended by a sort of
rampart of earth and stone several yards wide at the
base. It used to be the resort of the country people
for dancing, cock-fighting \ and other amusements on
Sundays. Near it was a cairn, which, when it was
dug into, was found to cover a kistvaen, a pot, and
a quern : a variety of tales attaching to it are told
concerning ghosts, caves, and hidden treasures. Alto-
gether Mr. Hughes is strongly of opinion that Corwrion
and its immediate surroundings represent a spot which
at one time had great importance ; and I see no reason
wholly to doubt the correctness of that conclusion, but
it would be interesting to know whether Penrhyn used,
as Mr. Hughes suggests, to be called Penrhyn Cor-
wrion; there ought, perhaps, to be no great difficulty
in ascertaining this, as some of the Penrhyn estate
appears to have been the subject of litigation in times
gone by.

Before leaving Mr. Hughes' notes, I must here give
his too brief account of another thing connected with
Corwrion, though, perhaps, not with the legends here
in question. I allude to what he calls the Lantern
Ghost [Ysbrydy Lantar) : — 'There used to be formerly,'
he says, 'and there is still at Corwrion, a good-sized
sour apple-tree, which during the winter half of the
year used to be lit up by fire. It began slowly and

' I remember seeing a similar mound at ILanrymach, in Pembrolceshire ;
and the last use made of the hollow on the top of this also is supposed to
have been for cock-fights.


grew greater until the whole seemed to be in a blaze.
He was told by an old woman that she formerly knew
old people who declared they had seen it. In the
same way the trees in Hopiar y Getli appeared, accord-
ing to them, to be also lit up with fire.' This reminds
me of Mr. Fitzgerald's account of the Irish Bile-Tineadh
in the Revue Celtique, iv. 194.

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

A'r Tylwyth Tegyn dawnsio'n stone With the fairies nimbly dancing round
O gylch ntagien Peny Bone. The glow-worm on the Rising Ground.

Dewi Glan Ffrydlas has kindly gone to the trouble
of giving me a brief, but complete, version of the legend
as he has heard it. It will be noticed that the discover-


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


which Dewi Glan Ffrydlas has kindly collected for me,
beginning with a blurred story about changelings : —

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


this time, she found to her astonishment that her own
children had been brought back.'

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

Here is another from Mr. D. E. Davies : — ' One day
Guto, the farmer of Corwrion, complained to his wife
that he lacked men to mow his hay, when she replied,
"Why fret about it? look yonder! There you have
a field full of them at it, and stripped to their shirt-sleeves
(yn ttewys eu crysau)." When he went to the spot the
sham workmen of the fairy family had disappeared.
This same Guto — or somebody else — happened another
time to be ploughing, when he heard some person he
could not see, calling out to him, " I have got the bins
(that is the vice) of my plough broken." " Bring it to
me," said the driver of Guto's team, " that I may mend
it." When they finished the furrow, they found the


broken vice, with a barrel of beer placed near it. One
of the men sat down and mended the vice. Then they
made another furrow, and when they returned to the
spot they found there a two-eared dish filled to the brim
with bara a chwrw, or "bread and beer." The word
vice, I may observe, is an English term, which is applied
in Carnarvonshire to a certain part of the plough : it is
otherwise called bins, but neither does this seem to be
a Welsh word, nor have I heard either used in South

At times one of the fairies was in the habit, as I was
told by more than one of my informants, of coming
out of ILyn Corwrion with her spinning-wheel {troett
bach) on fine summer days and betaking herself, to
spinning. While at that work she might be heard
constantly singing or humming, in a sort of round
tune, the words sili ffrit. So that sili ffrit Leisa Bela
may now be heard from the mouths of the children
in that neighbourhood. But I have not been successful
in finding out what Liza Bella's ' silly frit ' exactly
means, though I am, on the whole, convinced that
the words are other than of Welsh origin. The last
of them, ffrit, is usually applied in Cardiganshire to
anything worthless or insignificant, and the derivative,
ffrityn, means one who has no go or perseverance,
in him : the feminine is ffriten. In Carnarvonshire
my wife has heard ffrityn and ffritan applied to a small
man and a small woman respectively. Mr. Hughes
says that in Merioneth and parts of Powys sili ffrit
is a term applied to a small woman or a female dwarf
who happens to be proud, vain, and fond of the
attentions of the other sex {fyenyw fach neu goraches
falch a hunanol a fydai hoffo garu) ; but he thinks he
has heard it made use of with regard to the gipsies,
and possibly also to the Tylwyth Teg. The Rev. O.


Davies thinks the words silt ffrit Leisa Bela to be
very modern, and that they refer to a young woman
who lived at a place in the neighbourhood, called Bryn
Bfela or Brymb^la, 'Bella's Hill,' the point being
that this Bella was ahead, in her time, of all the girls
in those parts in matters of taste and fashion. This
however does not seem to go far enough back, and
it is possible still that in Bela, that is, in English
spelling, Bella, we have merely a shortening of some
such a name as Isabella or Arabella, which were once
much more popular in the Principality than they are
now : in fact, I do not feel sure that Leisa Bela is
not bodily a corruption of Isabella. As to silt ffrit,
one might at first have been inclined to render it by
small fry, especially in the sense of the French ' de
la friture' as applied to young men and boys, and
to connect it with the Welsh sil and silod, which mean
small fish ; but the pronunciation of silli or sili being
nearly that of the English word silly, it appears, on
the whole, to belong to the host of English words
to be found in colloquial Welsh, though they seldom
find their way into books. Students of English ought
to be able to tell us whether frit had the meaning
here suggested in any part of England, and how
lately ; also, whether there was such a phrase as ' silly
frit ' in use. After penning this, I received the following
interesting communication from Mr. William Jones,
of ILangotten: — The term sili ffrit was formerly in
use at Bedgelert, and what was thereby meant was
a child of the Tylwyth Teg. It is still used for any
creature that is smaller than ordinary. ' Pooh, a silly
frit like that ! ' (Pw, rhyw sili ffrit fel yna .0- ' Mrs. So-
and-So has a fine child.' ' Ha, do you call a silly
frit like that a fine child ? ' {Mae gan hon a hon blentyn
braf. Ho, a ydych chwi ' galw rhyw sili ffrit fel hwnna'n


braf?) To return to Leisa Bela and Beleng, it
may be that the same person was meant by both
these names, but I am in no hurry to identify them,
as none of my correspondents knows the latter of,
them except Mr. Hughes, who gives it on the authority
of the bard Gutyn Peris, and nothing further so far
as I can understand, whereas Bela will come before
us in another story, as it is the same name, I presume,
which Glasynys has spelled Bella in Cymru Fu.

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

These tales are brought into connexion with the
present day in more ways than one, for besides the
various accounts of the bwganod or bogies of Corwrion
frightening people when out late at night, Mr. D. E.
Davies knows a man, who is still living, and who

• My attention has also been called \.ofreit,frete,freet,fret, ' news, inquiry,
augury,' corresponding to Anglo-Saxon /feA/, • divination.' But the disparity
of meaning seems to stand in the way of our jffh't being referred to this


well remembers the time when the sound of working
used to be heard in the pool, and the voices of children
crying somewhere in its depths, but that when
people rushed there to see what the matter was, all
was found profoundly quiet and still. Moreover, there
is a family or two, now numerously represented in
the parishes of ILandegai and ILanltechid, who used to
be taunted with being the offspring of fairy ancestors.
One of these families was nicknamed ' Simychiaid '
or 'Smychiaid'; and my informant, who is not yet
quite forty, says that he heard his mother repeat
scores of times that the old people used to say, that
the Smychiaid, who were very numerous in the neigh-
bourhood, were descended from fairies, and that they
came from ILyn Corwrion. At all this the Smychiaid
were wont to grow mightily angry. Another tradition, he
says, about them was that they were a wandering family
that arrived in the district from the direction of Conway,
and that the father's name was a Simwch, or rather
that was his nickname, based on the proper name
Simwnt, which appears to have once been the prevalent
name in ILandegai. The historical order of these
words would in that case have been Simwnt, Simwch,
Simychiaid, Smychiaid. Now Simwnt seems to be
merely the Welsh form given to some such English
name as Simond, just as Edmund or Edmond becomes
in North Wales Emwnt. The objection to the nick-
name seems to lie in the fact, which one of my
correspondents points out to me, that Simwch is
understood to mean a monkey, a point on which
I should like to have further information. Pughe
gives simach, it is true, as having the meaning of
the Latin simia. A branch of the same family is said
to be called 'y Cowperiaid' or the Coopers, from an
ancestor who was either by name or by trade a cooper.

F 3


Mr. Hughes' account of the Smychiaid was, that
they are the descendants of one Simonds, who came
to be a baihff at BodysgaHan, near Deganwy, and
moved from there to Coetmor in the neighbourhood
of Corwrion. Simonds was obnoxious to the bards, he
goes on to say, and they described the Smychiaid as
having arrived in the parish at the bottom of a cawett,
'a creel or basket carried on the back,' when chance
would have it that the cawett cord snapped just in that
neighbourhood, at a place called Pont y ILan. That
accident is described, according to Mr. Hughes, in the
following doggerel, the origin of which I do not know —

E dorai V arwest, ede wan. The cord would snap, feeble yarn,

Brwnt y ite, ar Boni y ILan. At that nasty spot, Pont y ILan.

Curiously enough, the same cawett story used to
be said of a widely spread family in North Cardigan-
shire, whose surname was pronounced Massn and
written Mason or Mazon : as my mother was of this
family, I have often heard it. The cawett, if I remember
rightly, was said, in this instance, to have come from
Scotland, to which were traced three men who settled
in North Cardiganshire. One had no descendants,
but the other two. Mason and Peel — I think his name
was Peel, but I am only sure that it was not Welsh —
had so many, that the Masons, at any rate, are ex-
ceedingly numerous there ; but a great many of them,
owing to some extent, probably, to the cawett story,
have been silly enough to change their name into
that of Jones, some of them in my time. The three
men came there probably for refuge in the course of
troubles in Scotland, as a Frazer and a Francis did
to Anglesey. At any rate, I have never heard it
suggested that they were of aquatic origin, but, taking
the cawett into consideration, and the popular account of


the Smychiaid, I should be inclined to think that the
cawett originally referred to some such a supposed
descent. I only hope that somebody will help us
with another and a longer cawett tale, which will make
up for the brevity of these allusions. We may, however,
assume, I think, that there was a tendency at one
time in Gwyned, if not in other parts of the Principality,
to believe, or pretend to believe, that the descendants
of an Englishman or Scotsman, who settled among
the old inhabitants, were of fairy origin, and that
their history was somehow uncanny, which was all,
of course, duly resented. This helps, to some extent,
to explain how names of doubtful origin have got
into these tales, such as Smychiaid, Cowperiaid, Fellings,
Penelope, Leisa Bela or Isabella, and the like. This
association of the lake legends with intruders from
without is what has, perhaps, in a great measure
served to rescue such legends from utter oblivion.

As to a church at Corwrion, the tradition does not
seem to be an old one, and it appears founded on one
of the popular etymologies of the word Corwrion,
which treats the first syllable as cor in the sense of
a choir ; but the word has other meanings, including
among them that of an ox-stall or enclosure for cattle.
Taking this as coming near the true explanation, it
at once suggests itself, that Creuwyryon in the Mab-
inogi of Math ab Mathonwy is the same place, for
creu or crau also meant an enclosure for animals, in-
cluding swine. In Irish the word is crd, an enclosure,
a hut or hovel. The passage in the Mabinogi * relates
to Gwydion returning with the swine he had got by
dint of magic and deceit from Pryderi, prince of Dyfed,
and runs thus in Lady Charlotte Guest's translation:
'So they journeyed on to the highest town of ArBech-

' The Oxford Mabinogion, p. 63 ; Guest, iii. 333.



wed, and there they made a sty {creu) for the swine,
and therefore was the name of Creuwyryon given to
that town.' As to wyryon or wyrion, which we find
made into wrion in Corwrion according to the inodern
habit, it would seem to be no other word than the usual
plural of wyr, a grandson, formerly also any descendant
in the direct line. If so, the name of an ancestor must
have originally followed, just as one of the places called
Bettws was once Betws Wyrion Idon, 'the Bettws of
Idon's Descendants'; but it is possible that wyrion
in Creu- or Cor-wyrion was itself a man's name,
though I have never met with it. It is right to add
that the name appears in the Record of Carnarvon
(pp. 12, 25, 26) as Creweryon, which carries us back
to the first half of the fourteenth century. There it
occurs as the name of a township containing eight
gavels, and the particulars about it might, in the hand
of one familiar with the tenures of that time, perhaps
give us valuable information as to what may have been
its status at a still earlier date.


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


giving the origin of a certain Trinio, of wiiora Mapes
had more to say : —

Aliud non miraculum. sed portentum nobis Walenses
referunt. Wastinum Wastiniauc secus stagnum Brek-
einauc [read Brechemauc], quod in circuitu duo miliaria
tenet, mansisse aiunt et vidisse per tres claras a luna
nodes choreas fceminarum in campo avence suce, et secutum
eum eas fuisse donee in aqua stagni submergerentur,
unam tamen quarta vice retinuisse. Narrabat etiam
ille raptor illius quod eas noctibus singulis post submer-
sionem earum murmurantes audisset sub aqua et dicentes,
' Si hoc fecisset, unam de nobis cepisset,' et se ab ipsis
edoctum quomodo hanc adepta [read ■us\ sit, quae et consensit
et nupsit ei, et prima verba sua hcec ad virum suum,
' Libens tibi serviam, et tola obedientice devotione usque
in diem ilium prosilire volens ad clamores ultra Lenem
[read Leueni\ me freno tuo percusseris.' Est autem
Leueni aqua vicina stagno. Quod et factum est ; post
plurimce prolis susceptionem ab eo freno percussa est, et in
reditu suo inventam eam fugientem cum prole, insecutus
est, et vix unum ex fxliis suis arripuit, nomine Triunem

' The Welsh relate to us another thing, not so much
a miracle as a portent, as follows. They say that
Gwestin of Gwestiniog dwelt beside Brecknock Mere,
which has a circumference of two miles, and that on
three moonlight nights he saw in his field of oats
women dancing, and that he followed them until they
sank in the water of the mere; but the fourth time
they say that he seized hold of one of them. Her
captor further used to relate that on each of these
nights he had heard the women, after plunging into the
mere, murmuring beneath the water and saying, " If he
had done so and so, he would have caught one of us,"
and that he had been instructed by their own words.


as to the manner in which he caught her. She
both yielded and became his wife, and her first words
to her husband were these: "Willingly will I serve
thee, and with whole-hearted obedience, until that day
when, desirous of sallying forth in the direction of the
cries beyond the ILyfni, thou shalt strike me with thy
bridle " — the ILyfni is a burn near the mere. And this
came to pass: after presenting him with a numerous
offspring she was struck by him with the bridle, and on
his returning home, he found her running away with her
offspring, and he pursued her, but it was with difficulty
that he got hold even of one of his sons, and he was
named Trinio (?) Faglog.'

The story, as it proceeds, mentions Trinio engaged
in battle with the men of a prince who seems to have
been no other than Brychan of Biycheiniog, supposed
to have died about the middle of the fifth century. The
battle was disastrous to Trinio and his friends, and
Trinio was never seen afterwards; so Walter Mapes
reports the fact that people believed him to have been
rescued by his mother, and that he was with her living
still in the lake. Giraldus calls it lacus ille de Brecheniauc
magnus et famosus, quern et Clamosum dtcunt, 'that
great and famous lake of Brecknock which they
also call Clamosus,' suggested by the Welsh ILyn
ILefni, so called from the river Lefni, misinterpreted as
if derived from Sfe/"' a cry.' With this lake he connects
the legend, that at the bidding of the rightful Prince of
Wales, the birds frequenting it would at once warble
and sing. This he asserts to have been proved in the
case of Gruffud, son of Rhys, though the Normans
were at the time masters of his person and of his
territory^. After dwelling on the varying colours of
the lake he adds the following statement: — Ad hcec

' See the Itinerarium Kambrioe, i. 2 (pp. 33-5), and Celtic Britain, p. 64.


etiam totus cedtficiis consertus, culturis egregiis, hortis
ornatus et pomeriis, ab accolis quandoque conspicitur,
' Now and then also it is seen by the neighbouring
inhabitants to be covered with buildings, and adorned
with excellent farming, gardens, and orchards.' It is
remarkable as one of the few lakes in Wales where
the remains of a crannog have been discovered, and
while Mapes gives it as only two miles round, it is
now said to be about five ; so it has sometimes ^ been
regarded as a stockaded island rather than as an
instance of pile dwellings.

In the Brython for 1863, pp. 1 14-15, is to be found
what purports to be a copy of a version of the Legend
of E-yn Syfadon, as contained in a manuscript of
Hugh Thomas' in the British Museum. It is to the
effect that the people of the neighbourhood have a
story that all the land now covered by the lake
belonged to a princess, who had an admirer to whom
she would not be married unless he procured plenty
of gold : she did not care how. So he one day
murdered and robbed a man who had money, and the
princess then accepted the murderer's suit, but she
felt uneasy on account of the reports as to the murdered
man's ghost haunting the place where his body had
been buried. So she made her admirer go at night
to interview the ghost and lay it. Whilst he waited
near the grave he heard a voice inquiring whether the
innocent man was not to be avenged, and another
replying that it would not be avenged till the ninth
generation. The princess and her lover felt safe
enough and were married : they multiplied and became
numerous, while their town grew to be as it were
another Sodom; and the original pair lived on so

' As for example in the Archceologia Cambrensis for 1870, pp. 192-8; see
also 1873, pp. 146-8.


astonishingly long that they saw their descendants of
the ninth generation. They exulted in their prosperity,
and one day held a great feast to celebrate it; and
when their descendants were banqueting with them,
and the gaiety and mirth were at their zenith,
ancestors and descendants were one and all drowned
in a mighty cataclysm which produced the present

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

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

' Howells has also an account of ILyn Savadhan, as he writes it : see his
Cambrian SuperstUions, pp. 100-2, where he quaintly says that the story of
the wickedness of the ancient lord of Syfaffon is assigned as the reason why
' the superstitious little river Lewenny will not mix its water with that of
the lake.' Lewenny is a reckless improvement of Mapes' Leueni (printed
Lenem) ; and Giraldus' Clamosum implies an old spelling ILefiii, pro-
nounced the same as the later spelling JLyfni, which is now made into
ILynfi or ILynm: the river so called flows through the lake and into the
Wye at Glasbury. As to Safadan or SyfaSon, it is probably of Goidelic
origin, and to be identified with such an Irish name as the feminine
Samthann : see Dec. 19 in the Martyrologies. To keep within our data, we
are at liberty to suppose that this was the name of the wicked princess in
the story, and that she was the ancestress of a clan once powerful on
and around the lake, which lies within a Goidelic area indicated by its Ogam

The Fairies' Revenge

In th'olde dayes of the king Arthour,

Of which that Britons speken greet honour,

Al was this land fuliild of fayerye.

The elf-queen, with hir joly companye,

Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede ;

This was the olde opinion, as I rede.

I speke of manye hundred yeres ago.



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

' I was bred and born in the parish of Bedgelert,


one of the most rustic neighbourhoods and least
subject to change in the whole country. Some of
the old Welsh customs remained within my memory,
in spite of the adverse influence of the Calvinistic
Reformation, as it is termed, and I have myself wit-
nessed several Knitting Nights and Nuptial Feasts
{Neithiorau), which, be it noticed, are not to be con-
founded with weddings, as they were feasts which
followed the weddings, at the interval of a week. At
these gatherings song and story formed an element of
prime importance in the entertainment at a time when
the Reformation alluded to had already blown the blast
of extinction on the Merry Nights {Noswyliau Lawen)
and Saints' Fetes ' [Gwyliau Mabsant) before the days of
my youth, though many of my aged acquaintances
remembered them well, and retained a vivid recollection
of scores of the amusing tales which used to be related
for the best at the last mentioned long-night meetings.
I have heard not a few of them reproduced by men of
that generation. As an example of the old-fashioned
habits of the people of Bedgelert in my early days, I may
mention the way in which wives and children used to be
named. The custom was that the wife never took her
husband's family name, but retained the one she had as
a spinster. Thus my grandmother on my mother's side
was called Ellen Hughes, daughter to Hugh Williams,

' These were held, so far as I can gather from the descriptions usually
given of them, exactly as I have seen a iermess or kirchmesse celebrated at
Heidelberg, or rather the village over the Neckar opposite that town. It
was in 1869, but 1 forget what saint it was with whose name the kermess
was supposed to be connected: the chief features of it were dancing and
beer drinking. It was by no means unusual for a Welsh Gwyl Fabsani to
bring together to a rural neighbourhood far more people than could readily
be accommodated ; and in Carnarvonshire a hurriedly improvised bed is to
this day called gwely g'Vabsattt, as it were ' a bed (for the time) of a saint's
festival.' Rightly or wrongly the belief lingers that these merry gatherings
were characterized by no little immorality, which made the better class of
people set their faces against them.


of Gwastad Annas. The name of her husband, my
grandfather, was WiUiam Prichard [=JV. ab Rhisiart,
or Richard's son], son to Richard William, of the Efail
Newyd. The name of their eldest son, my uncle
(brother to my mother), was Hugh Hughes, and the
second son's name was Richard William. The mother
had the privilege of naming her first-born after her own
family in case it was a boy; but if it happened to be
a girl, she took her name from the father's family, for
which reason my mother's maiden name was Catharine
Williams. This remained her name to the day of her
death : and the old people at Bedgelert persisted in
calling me, so long as I was at home, William Prichard,
after my grandfather, as I was my mother's eldest

' Most of the tales I have collected,' says Mr. Jones,
' relate to the parishes of Bedgelert and Dolwydelen.
My kindred have lived for generations in those two
parishes, and they are very numerous : in fact, it used
to be said that the people of Dolwydelen and Bedgelert
were all cousins. They were mostly small farmers, and
jealous of all strangers, so that they married almost
without exception from the one parish into the other.
This intermixture helped to carry the tales of the one
parish to the other, and to perpetuate them on the
hearths of their homes from generation to generation,
until they were swept away by another influence in this
century. Many of my ancestors seem to have been
very fond of stories, poetry, and singing, and I have
been told that some of them were very skilled in these
things. So also, in the case of my parents, the memory
of the past had a great charm for them on both sides ;
and when the relatives from Dolwydelen and Bedgelert
met in either parish, there used to be no end to the
recounting of pedigrees and the repeating of tales for


the best. By listening to them, I had been filled with
desire to become an adept in pedigrees and legends.
My parents used to let me go every evening to the
house of my grandfather, William ab Rhisiart, the clerk,
to listen to tales, and to hear edifying books read. My
grandfather was a reader " without his rival," and " he
used to beat the parson hollow." Many people used to
meet at Pen y Bont in the evenings to converse together,
and the stories of some of them were now and then
exceedingly eloquent. Of course, I listened with eager
ears and open mouth, in order, if I heard anything new,
to be able to repeat it to my mother. She, unwilling to
let herself be beaten, would probably relate another like
it, which she had heard from her mother, her grand-
mother, or her old aunt of Gwastad Annas, who was
a fairly good verse-wright of the homely kind. Then
my father, if he did not happen to be busy with his
music-book, would also give us a tale which he had
heard from his grandmother or grandfather, the old
John Jones, of Tyn ILan Dolwydelen, or somebody
else would do so. That is one source from which I got
my knowledge of folklore ; but this ceased when we
moved from Bedgelert to Carnarvon in the year 1841.
My grandfather died in 1844, aged seventy-eight.

' Besides those,' Mr. Jones goes on to say, ' who used
to come to my grandfather's house and to his workshop
to relate stories, the blacksmith's shop used to be,
especially on a rainy day, a capital place for a story, and
many a time did I lurk there instead of going to school,
in order to hear old William Dafyd, the sawyer, who,
peace be to his ashes ! drank many a hornful from the
Big Quart without ever breaking down, and old Ifan
Owen, the fisherman, tearing away for the best at their
yarns, sometimes a tissue of lies and sometimes truth.
The former was funny, and a great wag, up to all kinds


of tricks. He made everybody laugh, whereas the latter
would preserve the gravity of a saint, however lying
might be the tale which he related. Ifan Owen's best
stories were about the Water Spirit, or, as he called it,
Lamhigyn y Dwr, " the Water Leaper." He had not
himself seen the ILamhigyn, but his father had seen it
" hundreds of times." Many an evening it had pre-
vented him from catching a single fish in ILyn Gwynan,
and, when the fisherman got on this theme, his elo-
quence was apt to become highly polysyllabic in its
adjectives. Once in particular, when he had been
angling for hours towards the close of the day, without
catching anything, he found that something took the fly
clean off the hook each time he cast it. After moving
from one spot to another on the lake, he fished opposite
the Benlan Wen, when something gave his line a
frightful pull, " and, by the gallows, I gave another
pull," the fisherman used to say, "with all the force of
my arm : out it came, and up it went off the hook,
whilst I turned round to see, as it dashed so against the
cliff of Benlan that it blazed like a lightning." He used
to add, "If that was not the ILamhigyn, it must have
been the very devil himself" That cliff must be two
hundred yards at least from the shore. As to his father,
he had seen the Water Spirit many times, and he had
also been fishing in the ILyn Glas or Ffynnon Las, once
upon a time, when he hooked a wonderful and fearful
monster: it was not like a fish, but rather resembled
a toad, except that it had a tail and wings instead of
legs. He pulled it easily enough towards the shore,
but, as its head was coming out of the water, it gave
a terrible shriek that was enough to split the fisher-
man's bones to the marrow, and, had there not been
a friend standing by, he would have fallen headlong into
the lake, and been possibly dragged like a sheep into


the depth ; for there is a tradition that if a sheep got
into the ILyn Glas, it could not be got out again, as
something would at once drag it to the bottom. This
used to be the belief of the shepherds of Cwm Dyli,
within my memory, and they acted on it in never letting
their dogs go after the sheep in the neighbourhood of
this lake. These two funny fellows, William Dafyd
and Ifan Owen, died long ago, without leaving any of
their descendants blessed with as much as the faintest
gossamer thread of the story-teller's mantle. The
former, if he had been still living, would now be no less
than 129 years of age, and the latter about 120.'

Mr. Jones proceeds to say that he had stories from
sources besides those mentioned, namely, from Lowri
Robart, wife of Rhisiart Edwart, the ' Old Guide ' ; from
his old aunt of Gwastad Annas ; from William Wmffra,
husband to his grandmother's sister; from his grand-
mother, who was a native of Dolwydelen, but had been
brought up at PwBgwernog, in Nanmor ; from her sister;
and from Grufifud Prisiart, of Nanmor, afterwards of
Glan Colwyn, who gave him the legend of Owen
Lawgoch of which I shall have something to say later,
and the story of the bogie of Pen Pwll Coch, which I do
not know. ' But the chief story-teller of his time at
Bedgelert,' Mr. Jones goes on to say, ' was Twm Ifan
Siams (pronounced Sjams or Shams), brother, I believe,
to Dafyd Sion Siams, of the Penrhyn, who was a bard
and pedigree man. Twm lived at Nanmor, but I know
not what his vocation was ; his relatives, however, were
small farmers, carpenters, and masons. It is not impro-
bable that he was also an artisan, as he was conversant
with numbers, magnitude, and letters, and left behind
him a volume forming a pedigree book known at Nan-
mor as the Barcud Mawr, or " Great Kite," as Gruffud
Prisiart told me. The latter had been reading it many


a time in order to know the origin of somebody or other.
All I can remember of this character is that he was very
old — over 90— and that he went from house to house in
his old age to relate tales and recount pedigrees : great
was the welcome he had from everybody everywhere.
I remember, also, that he was small of stature, nimble,
witty, exceedingly amusing, and always ready with his
say on every subject. He was in the habit of calling on
my grandfather in his rambles, and very cordial was the
reception which my parents always gave him on account
of his tales and his knowledge of pedigrees. The story
of the afanc, as given in my collection, is from his
mouth. You will observe how little difference there is
between his version ^ and that known to Edward ILwyd
in the year 1695. I had related this story to a friend of
mine at Portmadoc, who was grandson or great-grandson
to Dafyd Si6n Siams, of Penrhyn, in 1858, when he
called my attention to the same story in the Cambrian
Journal from the correspondence of Edward ILwyd.
I was surprised at the similarity between the two ver-
sions, and I went to Bedgelert to Gruffud Rhisiart, who
was related to Twm Si6n Siams. I read the story to
him, and I found that he had heard it related by his
uncle just as it was by me, and as given in the Cambrian
Journal. Twm Ifan Siams had funny stories about the
tricks of Gwrach y Rhibyn, the Bodach ^ Glas, and the
Bwbach ILwyd, which he localized in Nanmor and
ILanfrothen ; he had, also, a very eloquent tale about
the courtship between a sailor from Moel y Gest, near
Portmadoc, and a mermaid, of which I retain a fairly

' Since the editing of this volume was begun I have heard that it is
intended to publish the Welsh collection which Mr. Jones has made :
so I shall only give a translation of the Edward ILwyd version of the afanc
story : see section v. of this chapter.

' This word is not in Welsh dictionaries, but it is Scotch and Manx
Gaelic, and is possibly a remnant of the Goidelic once spoken in Gwyneif.



good recollection. I believe Twm died in the year
1835-6, aged about ninety-five.'

So far, I have merely translated Mr. Jones' account of
himself and his authorities as given me in the letter
I have already referred to, dated in June of last year,
1881. I would now add the substance of his general
remarks about the fairies, as he had heard them
described, and as he expressed himself in his essay
for the competition on folklore at the Carnarvon Eisted-
fod of 1880 :— The traditions, he says, respecting the
Tylwyth Teg vary according to the situation of the
districts with which they are connected, and many more
such traditions continue to be remembered among the
inhabitants of the mountains than by those of the more
level country. In some places the Tylwyth Teg are
described as a small folk of a thieving nature, living in
summer among the fern bushes in the mountains, and in
winter in the heather and gorse. These were wont to
frequent the fairs and to steal money from the farmers'
pockets, where they placed in its stead their own fairy
money, which looked like the coin of the realm, but
when it was paid for anything bought it would vanish
in the pockets of the seller. In other districts the fairies
were described as a little bigger and stronger folk ; but
these latter were also of a thieving disposition. They
would lurk around people's houses, looking for an
opportunity to steal butter and cheese from the dairies,
and they skulked about the cow-yards, in order to milk
the cows and the goats, which they did so thoroughly
that many a morning there was not a drop of milk to be
had. The principal mischief, however, which those used
to do, was to carry away unbaptized infants, and place
in their stead their own wretched and peevish offspring.
They were said to live in hidden caves in the moun-
tains, and he had heard one old man asserting his firm


belief that it was beneath Moel Eilio, also called Moel
Eilian, a mountain lying between ILanberis and Cwettyn,
the Tylwyth Teg of Nant y Bettws lived, whom he had
seen many a time when he was a lad ; and, if any one
came across the mouth of their cave, he thought that
he would find there a wonderful amount of wealth, ' for
they were thieves without their like.' There is still
another species of Tylwyth Teg, very unlike the fore-
going ones in their nature and habits. Not only was this
last kind far more beautiful and comely than the others,
but they were honest and good towards mortals. Their
whole nature was replete with joy and fun, nor were
they ever beheld hardly, except engaged in some merry-
making or other. They might be seen on bright moon-
light nights at it, singing and caroUing playfully on the
fair meadows and the green slopes, at other times
dancing lightly on the tops of the rushes in the valleys.
They were also wont to be seen hunting in full force on
the backs of their grey horses ; for this kind were rich,
and kept horses and servants. Though it used to be
said that they were spiritual and immortal beings, still
they ate and drank like human beings : they married
and had children. They were also remarkable for thejr
cleanliness, and they were wont to reward neat maid-
servants and hospitable wives. So housewives used
to exhort their maids to clean their houses thoroughly
every night before going to bed, saying that if the
Tylwyth Teg happened to enter, they would be sure to
leave money for them somewhere; but they Were to
tell no one in case they found any, lest the Tylwyth
should be offended and come no more. The mistresses
also used to order a tinful of water to be placed at the
foot of the stairs, a clean cloth on the table, with bread
and its accompaniments (bara ac enttyn) placed on it, so
that, if the Tylwyth came in to eat, the maids should

G 2


have their recompense on the hob as well as unstinted
praise for keeping the house clean, or, as Mr. Jones
has it in a couplet from Goronwy Owen's Cywyd' y
Cynghorfynt —

Cael eu rhent ar y pentan, Finding the fairies' pay on the hob,

A ttwyr glod o bat ttawr gldn. With full credit for a clean floor.

Thus, whether the fairies came or not to pay a visit
to them during their sleep, the house would be clean
by the morning, and the table ready set for breakfast.
It appears that the places most frequently resorted to
by this species were rushy combes surrounded by
smooth hills with round tops, also the banks of rivers
and the borders of lakes ; but they were seldom seen
at any time near rocks or cliffs. So more tales about
them are found in districts of the former description
than anywhere else, and among them maybe mentioned
Penmachno, Dolwydelan, the sides of Moel Siabod,
ILandegai Mountain, and from there to ILanberis, to
Nanttte Lakes, to Moel Tryfan ^ and Nant y Bettws, the
upper portion of the parish of Bedgelert from Drws
y Coed to the Pennant, and the district beginning from
there and including the level part of Eifion, on towards
Celynnog Fawr. I have very little doubt that there are
many traditions about them in the neighbourhood of
the Eifl and in ILeyn ; I know but little, however, about
these last. This kind of fairies was said to live under-
ground, and the way to their country lay under hollow
banks that overhung the deepest parts of the lakes, or
the deepest pools in the rivers, so that mortals could not
follow them further than the water, should they try to
go after them. They used to come out in broad day-

' Our charlatans never leave off trying to make this into Tryfaen so as to
extract maen, 'stone,' from it. They do not trouble themselves to find out
whether it ever was Tryfaen or not : in fact they rather like altering every-
thing as much as they can.


light, two or three together, and now and then a
shepherd, so the saying went, used to talic and chat
with them. Sometimes, moreover, he fell over head
and ears in love with their damsels, but they did not
readily allow a mortal to touch them. The time they
were to be seen in their greatest glee was at night when
the moon was full, when they celebrated a merry night
(noswaith lawen). At midnight to the minute, they might
be seen rising out of the ground in every combe and
valley ; then, joining hands, they would form into circles,
and begin to sing and dance with might and main until
the cock crew, when they would vanish. Many used to
go to look at them on those nights, but it was dangerous
to go too near them, lest they should lure the spectator
into their circle ; for if that happened, they would throw
a charm over him, which would make him invisible to
his companions, and he would be detained by the fairies
as long as he lived. At times some people went too
near to them, and got snatched in ; and at other times
a love-inspired youth, fascinated by the charms of one
of their damsels, rushed in foolhardily to try to seize
one of them, and became instantly surrounded and con-
cealed from sight. If he could be got out before the
cock crew he would be no worse ; but once the fairies
disappeared without his having been released, he would
never more be seen in the land of the living. The way
to get the captured man out was to take a long stick of
mountain ash (pren criafot), which two or more strong
men had to hold with one of its ends in the middle of
the circle, so that when the man came round in his turn
in the dance he might take hold of it, for he is there
bodily though not visible, so that he cannot go past
without coming across the stick. Then the others pull
him out, for the fairies, no more than any other spirit,
dare touch the mountain ash.


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

' In the north-west corner of the parish of Bedgelert
there is a place which used to be called by the old
inhabitants the Land of the Fairies, and it reaches from
Cwm Hafod RufiFyd along the slope of the mountain of
Drws y Coed as far as ILyn y D3rwarchen. The old
people of former times used to find much pleasure and
amusement in this district in listening every moonlight
night to the charming music of the fair family, and in
looking at their dancing and their mirthful sports. Once
on a time, a long while ago, there lived at upper Drws
y Coed a youth, who was joyous and active, brave and
determined of heart. This young man amused himself
every night by looking on and listening to them. One
night they had come to a field near the house, near the
shore of ILyn y Dywarchen, to pass a merry night. He
went, as usual, to look at them, when his glances at
once fell on one of the ladies, who possessed such
beauty as he had never seen in a human being. Her
appearance was like that of alabaster ; her voice was as
agreeable as the nightingale's, and as unruffled as the
zephyr in a flower-garden at the noon of a long sum-
mer's day ; and her gait was pretty and aristocratic ;
her feet moved in the dance as lightly on the grass as
the ra3^s of the sun had a few hours before on the lake
hard by. He fell in love with her over head and ears,
and in the strength of that passion — for what is stronger
than love ! — he rushed, when the bustle was at its height,
into the midst of the fair crowd, and snatched the graceful
damsel in his arms, and ran instantly with her to the
house. When the fair family saw the violence used
by a mortal, they broke up the dance and ran after her


towards the house; but, when they arrived, the door
had been bolted with iron, wherefore they could not get
near her or touch her in any way ; and the damsel had
been placed securely in a chamber. The youth, having
her now under his roof, as is the saying, endeavoured,
with all his talent, to win her affection and to induce her
to wed. But at first she would on no account hear of
it ; on seeing his persistence, however, and on finding
that he would not let her go to return to her people,
she consented to be his servant if he could find out her
name ; but she would not be married to him. As he
thought that was not impossible, he half agreed to the
condition ; but, after bothering his head with all the
names known in that neighbourhood, he found himself
no nearer his point, though he was not willing to give
up the search hurriedly. One night, as he was going
home from Carnarvon market, he saw a number of the
fair folks in a turbary not far from his path. They
seemed to him to be engaged in an important dehbera-
tion, and it struck him that they were planning how to
recover their abducted sister. He thought, moreover,
that if he could secretly get within hearing, he might
possibly find her name out. On looking carefully
around, he saw that a ditch ran through the turbary
and passed near the spot where they stood. So he
made his way round to the ditch, and crept, on all fours,
along it until he was within hearing of the family.
After listening a little, he found that their deliberation
was as to the fate of the lady he had carried away, and
he heard one of them crying, piteously, " O Penelop,
O Penelop, my sister, why didst thou run away with
a mortal ! " " Penelop," said the young man to himself,
" that must be the name of my beloved : that is enough."
At once he began to creep back quietly, and he returned
home safely without having been seen by the fairies.


When he got into the house, he called out to the girl,
saying, " Penelop, my beloved one, come here ! " and
she came forward and asked, in astonishment, " O
mortal, who has betrayed my name to thee ? " Then,
lifting up her tiny folded hands, she exclaimed, " Alas,
my fate, my fate ! " But she grew contented with her
fate, and took to her work in earnest Everything in
the house and on the farm prospered under her charge.
There was no better or cleanlier housewife in the neigh-
bourhood around, or one that was more provident than
she. The young man, however, was not satisfied that
she should be a servant to him, and, after he had long
and persistently sought it, she consented to be married,
on the one condition, that, if ever he should touch her
with iron, she would be free to leave him and return
to her family. He agreed to that condition, since he
believed that such a thing would never happen at his
hands. So they were married, and lived several years
happily and comfortably together. Two children were
born to them, a boy and a girl, the picture of their
mother and the idols of their father. But one morning,
when the husband wanted to go to the fair at Carnarvon,
he went out to catch a filly that was grazing in the field
by the house ; but for the life of him he could not catch
her, and he called to his wife to come to assist him.
She came without delay, and they managed to drive the
filly to a secure corner, as they thought; but, as the
man approached to catch her, she rushed past him. In
his excitement, he threw the bridle after her ; but, who
should be running in the direction of it, but his wife !
The iron bit struck her on the cheek, and she vanished
out of sight on the spot. Her husband never saw her
any more ; but one cold frosty night, a long time after
this event, he was awakened from his sleep by somebody
rubbing the glass of his window, and, after he had given


a response, he recognized the gentle and tender voice
of his wife saying to him : —

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

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

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

Yr oedt gwr ieuanc gymydogaeth Drws y Coed yn

. dychwelyd adref Bedgelert ar noswaith loergan tteuad ;
pan ar gyfer Kyn y Gader gwelai nifer o'r bonedtgesau
a elwiry Tylwyth Tegyn myned trwy eu chwareuon nosawl.
Swynwydy ttanc yn y fan gan brydferthwch y rhianod hyn,
acyn neittduol un honynt. Cottod'y ttywodraeth arno ei
hunan i'r fath radau fel y penderfynod neidio i'r cylch
a dwynynysbail idoyr hon oedwedi myned ai galon mor
ttwyr. Cyflawnod ei fwriad a dygod y fonediges gydag ef
adref. Bu yn wraig ido, a ganwyd plant idynt. Yn
damweiniol, trayn cyflawni rhyw orchwyl, digwydodidb ei
iharo a haiam ac ar amrantiad diflannod ei anwylyd o'i
olwg ac nis gweloct hi mwyach, ond ctarfod idi dyfod at

ffenestr ci ystafett wely un noswaith ar ol hyn a'i annog
ifod yn dirion wrth y plant a'i bod hiyn aros gerttawy ty


yn ILyny Dywarchen. Y mae y tradtidiad hefyd yn ein
hysbysu darfod i'r gwr hwn symud i fyw o Grws y Coed
i Ystrad Betws Garmon.

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

The name ILyn y Dywarchen, I may add, means the
Lake of the Sod or Turf : it is the one with the floating
island, described thus by Giraldus, ii. 9 (p. 135) : —
Alter enim insulam habet erraticam, vi ventorum impel-
lentium ad oppositas plerumque lacus partes errabundam.
Hie armenta pascentia nonnnnquam pastores ad lon-
ginquas subito partes translata mirantur. ' For one of the
two lakes holds a wandering island, which strays mostly
with the force of the winds impelling it to the opposite
parts of the lake. Sometimes cattle grazing on it are,


to the surprise of the shepherds, suddenly carried across
to the more distant parts.' Sheep are known to get
on the floating islet, and it is still believed to float them
away from the shore. Mr. S. Rhys Williams, it will be
noticed, has given the substance of the legend rather
than the story itself. I now proceed to translate the
same tale as given in Welsh in Cymru Fu (pp. 474-7 of
the edition pubhshed by Messrs. Hughes and Son,
Wrexham), in a very different dress — it is from Gla-
synys' pen, and, as might be expected, decked out with
all the literary adornments in which he delighted. The
language he used was his own, but there is no reason
to think that he invented any of the incidents : — ' The
farmer of Drws y Coed's son was one misty day engaged
as a shepherd on the side of the mountain, a little below
Cwm Marchnad, and, as he crossed a rushy flat, he saw
a wonderfully handsome little woman standing under
a clump of rushes. Her yellow and curly hair hung
down in ringed locks, and her eyes were as blue as the
clear sky, while her forehead was as white as the wavy
face of a snowdrift that has nestled on the side of
Snowdon only a single night. Her two plump cheeks
were each like a red rose, and her pretty-lipped mouth
might make an angel eager to kiss her. The youth
approached her, filled with love for her, and, with deli-
cacy and affection, asked her if he might converse with
her. She smiled kindly, and reaching out her hand,
said to him, " Idol of my hopes, thou hast come at last! "
They began to associate secretly, and to meet one
another daily here and there on the moors around the
banks of ILyn y Gader ; at last, their love had waxed
so strong that the young man could not be at peace
either day or night, as he was always thinking of
Bella or humming to himself a verse of poetry about
her charms. The yellow-haired youth was now and


then lost for a long while, and nobody could divine his
history. His acquaintances believed that he had been
fascinated : at last the secret was found out. There
were about ILyn y D3rwarchen shady and conceahng
copses : it was there he was wont to go, and the she-elf
would always be there awaiting him, and it was therefore
that the place where they used to meet got to be called
E^wyn y Forwyn, the Maiden's Grove. After fondly
loving for a long time, it was resolved to wed ; but it
was needful to get the leave of the damsel's father.
One moonlight night it was agreed to meet in the wood,
and the appointment was duly kept by the young man,
but there was no sign of the subterranean folks coming,
until the moon disappeared behind the Garn. Then
the two arrived, and the old man at once proceeded to
say to the suitor : " Thou shalt have my daughter on
the condition that thou do not strike her with iron. If
thou ever touch her with iron, she will no longer be
thine, but shall return to her own." The man consented
readily, and great was his joy. They were betrothed,
and seldom was a handsomer pair seen at the altar. It
was rumoured that a vast sum of money as dowry had
arrived with the pretty lady at Drws y Coed on the
evening of her nuptials. Soon after, the mountain
shepherd of Cwm Marchnad passed for a very rich and
influential man. In the course of time they had chil-
dren, and no happier people ever lived together than
their parents. Everything went on regularly and pros-
perously for a number of years : they became exceed-
ingly wealthy, but the sweet is not to be had without
the bitter. One day they both went out on horseback,
and they happened to go near ILyn y Gader, when the
wife's horse got into a bog and sank to his belly. After
the husband had got Bella off his back, he succeeded
with much trouble in getting the horse out, and then


he let him go. Then he lifted her on the back of his
own, but, unfortunately, in trying quickly to place her
foot in the stirrup, the iron part of the same slipped,
and struck her — or, rather, it touched her at the knee-
joint. Before they had made good half their way home,
several of the diminutive Tylwyth began to appear to
them, and the sound of sweet singing was heard on the
side of the hill. Before the husband reached Drws y
Coed his wife had left him, and it is supposed that she
fled to ILwyn y Forwyn, and thence to the world below
to Faery. She left her dear little ones to the care of
her beloved, and no more came near them. Some say,
however, that she sometimes contrived to see her be-
loved one in the following manner. As the law of her
country did not permit her to frequent the earth with
an earthly being, she and her mother invented a way
of avoiding the one thing and of securing the other.
A great piece of sod was set to float on the surface of
the lake, and on that she used to be for long hours,
freely conversing in tenderness with her consort on
shore ; by means of that plan they managed to live
together until he breathed his last. Their descendants
owned Drws y Coed for many generations, and they
intermarried and mixed with the people of the district.
Moreover, many a fierce fight took place in later times
at the Gwyl-fabsant at Dolbenmaen or at Penmorfa,
because the men of Eifionyd had a habit of annoying
the people of Pennant by calling them Bellisians.'

In a note, Glasynys remarks that this tale is located
in many districts without much variation, except in the
names of the places ; this, however, could not apply to
the latter part, which suits ILyn y Dywarchen alone.
With this account of the fairy wife frequenting a lake
island to converse with her husband on shore, compare
the Irish story of the Children of Lir, who, though


transformed into swans, were allowed to retain their
power of reasoning and speaking, so that they used to
converse from the surface of the water with their friends
on the dry land : see Joyce's Old Celtic Romances,
pp. X, 1-36. Now I return to another tale which was
sent me by Mr. William Jones : unless I am mistaken
it has not hitherto been published ; so I give the Welsh
together with a free translation of it : —

Yr oect ystori am fab Braich y Dinas a adroSai y
diwedixr hybarch Elis Owen o Gefn y Meusyd' yn tted
debyg i chwedl mab yr Ystrad gan Glasynys, sefidb hudo
im oferchedy Tylwyth Teg i lawr Foel Hebog, at chipio
i mewn i'r' ty drwy orthrech; ac wedi hynny efe cCi per-
swadiod i ymbriodi ag ef ar yr un telerau ag y gwnaeth
mab yr Ystrad. Ond clywais hen fonediges o'r enw
Mrs. Roberts, un ferched yr Isattt, oeS lawer hyn na
Mr. Owen, yn ei hadrod yn wahanol. Yr oed^ yr hen
wreigan hon yn credu yn nilysrwySy chwedl, oblegid yr
oedhi 'yn cofio rhai o'r teulu, waeth be' Seudo neb.' Dir-
wynnai ei hedau yn debyg i hyn : — Yn yr amser gynt —
ond o ran hynny pan oeS hiynferch ifanc—yr oeSttawer
iawn Dylwyth Tegyn trigo mewn rhyw ogofau yn y Foel
o Gwm Ystradttyn hyd i flaen y Pennant. Yr oeSy Tyl-
wyth hwn yn ttawer iawn hardach na dim, a welid mewn
un rhan aratt o'r wlad. Yr oedynt o ran maint yn fwy
o lawer na'r rhai cyffredin, yn Ian eu pryd tu hwnt i bawb,
eu gwattt yn oleu fel ttin, eu ttygaid yn loyw leision. Yr
oedynt yn ymdangos mewn rhyw le ncu gilydyn chwareu,
canu ac ymdifyru bob nos deg a goleu ; a byd'ai swn eu
canu yn denu y ttanciaii a'r mcrched ifainc i fyned i'w
gweled; ac os by dent yn digwyd bod bryd goleu hwy
a ymgomient a hwynt, ond ni adawent i unperson o liw
tywyttdbdyn agos atyiit, ciflir cilicnt ymatth offordy cyfryw
un. Yrwan yr oeS mab Braich y Dinas yn Itanc hard',
heini, bywiog ac bryd glan, goleu a serchiadol. Yr oeS


hwn yn hoff iawn o edrych ar y Tylwyth, a bydiai yn cael
ymgom a rhai o honynt yn ami, ond yn bennafag un o'r
merchedoectyn rhagori arnynt ottmewn glendid a synwyr;
ac fynych gyfarfod syrthiod y dau mewn cariad a! u gilyct,
eithr ni fynai hi ymbriodi ag ef, ond aSawod^ fyned t'w
wasanaeth, a chydunoS t'w gyfarfod yn Mhant — nid wyf
yn cofio yr enw i gyd — drannoeth, oblegid nid oed wiw idi
geisio myned gydag ef yn ngwyct y tteitt. Petty drannoeth
aeth i fynu i'r Feel, a chyfarfydbct y rhian ef yn ol ei
haSewid, ag aeth gydag ef adref ac ymgymerod' a'r swyd'
laethwraig, a buan y dechreuoS popeth Iwydb a dan ei
ttaw : yr oeS yr ymenyn a'r caws yn cynhydu beuny^.
Hir a thaer y bu'r ttanc yn ceisio gandi briodi. A hi
a adawod, os medrai ef gael attan ei henw. Ni wydai
Mrs. Roberts drwy baystrywy ttwydod i gael hwnnw, ond
hynny a fu, a daeth ef i'r ty un noswaith a galwod ar
' Sibi' a phan glywodhi ei henw, hi a aeth i lewygfa ; ond
pan daeth ati ei hun, hi a ymfodlonodi briodi ar yr amod
nad oed ef i gyffwrcta hi a haiam ac nad oedbottt haiarn
i fod ar y drws na chlo ychwaith, a hynny afu : priodwyd
hwynt, a buont fyw yn gysurus am lawer o flynydbed^,
a ganwyd ic^nt amryw blant. Y diwed' afu fel hyn ; yr
oedefwedi myned un diwrnod i dori baich o frwyn at doi,
a tharawoSy cryman yn y baich i fyned adref; felyr oed
yn nesu at y gadlas, rhedod'Sibi i'w gyfarfod, a thaflod
ynteu y baich brwyn yn direidus tu ag ati, a rhag ido
dyfod ar ei thraws ceisiod ei atal a'i ttaw,yr hon a gyffyr-
doda'r cryman ; a hi a diflannoS o'r golwg yn y fan yn
nghysgod y baich brwyn : ni welwyd ac ni chlywyd dim
odiwrthi niwyach.

' There was a story respecting the son of the farmer
of Braich y Dinas, which used to be told by the late re-
spected Mr. Ellis Owen, of Cefn y Meusyd, somewhat
in the same way as that about the Ystrad youth, as told
by Glasynys ; that is to say, the young man enticed one


of the damsels of the fair family to come down from
Moel Hebog, and then he carried her by force into the
house, and afterwards persuaded her to become his wife
on the same conditions as the heir of Ystrad did. But
I have heard an old lady called Mrs. Roberts, who had
been brought up at Isattt, and who was older than
Mr. Owen, relating it differently. This old woman
believed in the truth of the story, as " she remembered
some of the family, whatever anybody may say." She
used to spin her yarn somewhat as follows : — In
old times— but, for the matter of that, when she was
a young woman — there were a great many of the fair
family living in certain caves in the Foel from Cwm
Strattyn ^ down to the upper part of Pennant. This
Tylwyth was much handsomer than any seen in any
other part of the country. In point of stature they
were much bigger than the ordinary ones, fair of com-
plexion beyond everybody, with hair that was as light
as flax, and eyes that were of a clear blue colour. They
showed themselves in one spot or another, engaged in
playing, singing, and jollity every light night. The
sound of their singing used to draw the lads and the
young women to look at them ; and, should they be of
clear complexion, the fairies would chat with them ;
but they would let no person of a dark hue come
near them : they moved away from such a one. Now
the young man of Braich y Dinas was a handsome,
vigorous, and lively stripling of fair, clear, and attrac-
tive complexion. He was very fond of looking at the
fair family, and had a chat with some of them often,

' Ystrdddyn, with the accent on the penult, is commonly pronounced
Strattyn, and means ' the strand of the lake,' and the hollow is named after
it Cwm Strattyn, and the lake in it E.yn Cwm Strattyn, which literally means
' the Lake of the Combe of the Strand of the Lake '—all seemingly for the
luxury of forgetting the original name of the lake, which I have never been
able to ascertain.


but chiefly with one of the damsels, who surpassed all
the rest in beauty and good sense. The result of fre-
quently meeting was that they fell in love with one
another, but she would not marry him. She promised,
however, to go to service to him, and agreed to meet
him at Pant y — I have forgotten the rest of the name—
the day after, as it would not do for her to go with him
while the others happened to be looking on. So he
went up the next day to the Foel, and the damsel met
him according to her promise, and went with him home,
where she took to the duties of a dairymaid. Soon
everything began to prosper under her hand; the
butter and the cheese weris daily growing in quantity.
Long and importunately did the youth try to get her to
marry him. She promised to do so provided he could
find out her name. Mrs. Roberts did not know by
what manoeuvre he succeeded in discovering it, but it
was done, and he came into the house one night and
called to " Sibi," and when she heard her name she
fainted away. When, however, she .recovered her con-
sciousness, she consented to marry on the condition
that he was not to touch her with iron, and that there
was not to be a bolt of iron on the door, or a lock
either. It was agreed, and they were married; they
lived together comfortably many years, and had chil-
dren born to them. The end came thus : he had gone
one day to cut a bundle of rushes for thatching, and
planted the reaping-hook in the bundle to go home.
As he drew towards the haggard, Sibi ran out to meet
him, and he wantonly threw the bundle of rushes
towards her, when she, to prevent its hitting her, tried
to stop it with her hand, which touched the reaping-
hook. She vanished on the spot out of sight behind
the bundle of rushes, and nothing more was seen or
heard of her.'



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

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

' Once on a time, when a midwife from Nanhwynan
had newly got to the Hafodyd Brithion to pursue her
calling, a gentleman came to the door on a fine grey
steed and bade her come with him at once. Such was
the authority with which he spoke, that the poor mid-
wife durst not refuse to go, however much it was her
duty to stay where she was. So she mounted behind
him, and off they went, like the flight of a swallow,
through Cwmttan, over the Bwlch, down Nantyr Aran,
and over the Gader to Cwm Hafod Ruffyd, before the
poor woman had time even to say Oh ! When they
reached there, she saw before her a magnificent man-
sion, splendidly ht up with such lamps as she had never
seen before. They entered the court, and a crowd of
servants in expensive liveries came to meet them, and
she was at once led through the great hall into a bed-
chamber, the like of which she had never seen. There
the mistress of the house, to whom she had been fetched,
was awaiting her. The midwife got through her duties
successfully, and stayed there until the lady had com-
pletely recovered, nor had she spent any part of her


life so merrily, for there nought but festivity went on
day and night ; dancing, singing, and endless rejoicing
reigned there. But merry as it was, she found that she
must go, and the nobleman gave her a large purse,
with the order not to open it until she had got into her
own house. Then he bade one of his servants escort
her the same way that she had come. When she
reached home she opened the purse, and, to her great
joy, it was full of money : she lived happily on those
earnings to the end of her life.'

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

' But the fair family did not,' Mr. William Jones
goes on to say, 'always give mortals the means of
good living : sometimes they made no little fun of them.
Once on a time the Drws y Coed man was going home
from Bedgelert Fair, rather merry than sad, along the
old road over the Gader, when he saw, on coming near

H 2



the top of the Gader, a fine, handsome house near the
road, in which there was a rare merrymaking. He
knew perfectly well that there was no such a building
anywhere on his way, and it made him think that
he had lost his way and gone astray; so he resolved
to turn into the house to ask for lodgings, which were
given him. At once, when he entered, he took it to
be a nuptial feast [neithior) by reason of the jollity, the
singing, and the dancing. The house was full of young
men, young women, and children, all merry, and exert-
ing themselves to the utmost. The company began to
disappear one by one, and he asked if he might go to
bed, whereupon he was led to a splendid chamber,
where there was a bed of the softest down with snow-
white clothes on it. He stripped at once, went into it,
and slept quietly enough till the morning. The first
thing to come to his mind when he lay half asleep, half
awake, was the jollity of the night before, and the fact
of his sleeping in a splendid chamber in the strange
house. He opened his eyes to survey his bedroom,
but it was too wide: he was sleeping on the bare
swamp, with a clump of rushes as his pillow, and the
blue sky as his coverlet.'

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

Yr oeS y wraig hon wedi rhodi genedigaeth i blentyn
iach a heinif yn nechreu y cynheiiaf ryw haf blin a
thymhestlog : ac o herwyd' fad y fydyn getyn o fforS
odiwrth Ian na chapel, a'r hin mor hynod o lawiog,
esgeuluswyd bedydio y plentyn yn yr amser arferol, sef
cyn ei fad yn wyth niwmod oed. Ryw dtwmod teg yn


nghanol y cynheuaf blin aeth y wraig attan fr maes
gyda'r rhelyw o'r teulu i geisio achub y cynheuaf, a
gadawoct y baban yn cysgu yn ei gryd o dan ofal ei'
nain, yr hon oect hen a methiantus, ac yn anattuog
i fyned lower o gwmpas. Syrthiod^ yr hen wreigan
t gysgu, a thra yr oeS hi fetty, daeth y Tylwyth i fewn,
a chymerasant y baban o'r cryd, a dodasant un aratt yn
ei le. Yn mhen ennyd dechreuod hwn erain a chwyno
nes deffro y nain, ac aeth at y cryd, tte y gwelod gleiriach
hen eidil crebachlyd yn ymstwyrian yn flin. ' O'r wchw ! '
ebai hi, 'y mae yr hen Dylwyth wedi bod yma;' ac yn
dioed chwythod yn y corn i alw y fam, yr hon a daeth
yno yn diatreg; a phan glywody crio yn y cryd, rhedod
ato, a chodod y bychan i fynu heb sylwi arno, a hi a'i
cofleidiod, a'i suod ac a'i swcrod at ei bronnau, ond nid
oed dim yn tycio, parhau i nadu yn didor yr oeS nes
bron a hottti ei chalon; ac ni wydai pa beth i wneud i'w
distewi. O'r diwed hi a edrychod arno, a gwelod nad
oed yn debyg i'w mhebyn hi, ac aeth yn loes iw chalon:
edrychod arno drachefn, ond pa fwyaf yr edrychai arno,
hyttaf yn y byd oed hi yn ei weled; anfonod am ei gwr
o'r cae, a gyrrod ef i ymholi am wr cyfarwyd yn rhywle
er mwyn cael ei gynghor ; ac ar ol hir holi dywedod
rhywun wrtho fod person Trawsfynyd yn gyfarwyd yn
nghyfrinion yr ysprydion ; ac efe a aeth ato, ac archod
hwnnw ido gymeryd rhaw a'i gorchudio a halen, a thori
ttun croes yn yr halen ; yna ei chymeryd i'r ystafett tte
yr oed mab y Tylwyth, ac ar ol agor y ffenestr, ei rhodi
ar y tan hyd nes y ttosgai yr halen ; a hwy a wnaethant
fetty, a phan aeth yr halen yn eiriasboeth fe aeth yr
erthyl croes ymaith yn anweledig idynt hwy, ac ar
drothwy y drws hwy a gawsant y baban aratt yn iach
a dianaf.

' This woman had given birth to a healthy and vigorous
child at the beginning of the harvest, one wretched and


inclement summer. As the homestead was a consider-
able distance from church or chapel, and the weather so
very rainy, it was neglected to baptize the" child at the
usual ^ time, that is to say, before it was eight days old.
One fine day, in the middle of this wretched harvest,
the mother went to the field with the rest of the family
to try to save the harvest, and left her baby sleeping
in its cradle in its grandmother's charge, who was so
aged and decrepit as to be unable to go much about.
The old woman fell asleep, and, while she was in that
state, the Tylwyth Teg came in and took away the baby,
placing another in its stead. Very shortly the latter
began to whine and groan, so that the grandmother
awoke : she went to the cradle, where she saw a slender,
wizened old man moving restlessly and peevishly about.
"Alas! alas!" said she, "the old Tylwyth have been
here"; and she at once blew in the horn to call the
mother home, who came without delay. As she heard
the crying in the cradle, she ran towards it, and lifted
the little one without looking at him ; she hugged him,
put him to her breast, and sang lullaby to him, but
nothing was of any avail, as he continued, without
stopping, to scream enough to break her heart; and
she knew not what to do to calm him. At last she
looked at him : she saw that he was not like her dear
little boy, and her heart was pierced with agony.
She looked at him again, and the more she examined
him the ugHer he seemed to her. She sent for her
husband home from the field, and told him to search
for a skilled man somewhere or other ; and, after a long
search, he was told by somebody that the parson of
Trawsfynyd was skilled in the secrets of the spirits;

' So Mr. Jones puts it : I have never heard of any other part of the
Principality where the children are usually baptized before they are eight
days old.


SO he went to him. The latter bade him take a shovel
and cover it with salt, and make the figure of the cross
in the salt ; then to take it to the chamber where the
fairy child was, and, after taking care to open the
window, to place the shovel on the fire until the salt
was burnt. This was done, and when the salt had got
white hot, the peevish abortion went away, seen of no
one, and they found the other baby whole and un-
scathed at the doorstep.' Fire was also made use of in
Scotland in order to detect a changeUng and force him
to quit : see the British Association's Report, 1896,
p. 650, where Mr. Gomme refers to Mr. Gregor's Folk-
lore of the North-east of Scotland, pp. 8-9.

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

Clywais fy mam yn adrod chwedl am fab y Ffrid, yr
hivn wrth dychwelyd adref o ffair Bedgelert yn rhywle
odeutu Pen Cae'r Gors a welod heth afrifed o'r Tylwyth
Bachyn ncidio a phrancio ar bennau y grug. Efe a eis-
/edbd' i lawr i edrych amynt, a daeth hun drosto; ymott-
yngoct i lawr a chysgod' yn drwm. A phan oeS fetty,
ymosodod'yr holt lu arno a rhwymasant ef mor dyn fel


na attasai symud ; yna hwy a'i cuctiasant ef a'r tuSed
gwawn fel na attai neb ei weled os digwydai idb lefain
am help. Yr oed" ei deulu yn ei Sisgwyl adref yn
gynnar y nos honno, ac wrth ei weled yn oedi yn hwyr,
aethantyn anesmwyth am dano ac aethpwyd i'w gyfarfod,
eithr ni welent Sim odiwrtho, ac aed gan belted a'r
pentref, tte eu hyspyswyd ei fod wedi myned tuag adref
yn gynnar gyda gwr Hafod RuffyS. Petty aed tua'r
Hafod i edrych a oeSyno; ond dywedoS gwr yr Hafod
eu bod wedi ymwahanu ar Bont Glan y Gors, pawb
tua'i fan ei hun. Yna chwiliwyd yn fanwl bob ochr i'r
fforS odiyno i'r Ffrid" heb weled dim odiwrtho. Buwyd
yn chwilio yr hott ardal drwy y dyd drannoeth ond yn
ofer. Fod bynnag odeutu yr un amser nos drannoeth
daeth y Tylwyth ac a'i rhydhasant, ac yn fuan efe
a deffrod wedi cysgu a hono drwy y nos a'r dyd
blaenorol. Ar ol idb cteffro ni wydai amcan daear
yn mha le yr oeS, a chrwydro y bu hyd ochrau y Gader
a'r Gors Fawr hyd nes y canoS y ceiliog, pryd yr
adnabu yn mha le yr oed, sef a fewn ttai na chwarter
mitttir i^w gartref

' I have heard my mother relating a tale about the
son of the farmer of the Ffrid, who, while on his way
home from Bedgelert Fair, saw, somewhere near Pen
Cae'r Gors, an endless number of the diminutive family
leaping and capering on the heather tops. He sat him
down to look at them, and sleep came over him ; he let
himself down on the ground, and slept heavily. When
he was so, the whole host attacked him, and they bound
him so tightly that he could not have stirred ; then they
covered him with the gossamer sheet, so that nobody
could see him in case he called for help. His people
expected him home early that evening, and, as they
found him delaying till late, they got uneasy about him.
They went to meet him, but no trace of him was seen,


and they went as far as the village, where they were
informed that he had started home in good time with
the farmer of Hafod Ruffyd. So they went to the
Hafod to see if he was there ; but the farmer told them
that they had parted on Glan y Gors Bridge to go to their
respective homes. A minute search was then made on
both sides of the road from there to the Ffrid, but with-
out finding any trace of him. They kept searching the
whole neighbourhood during the whole of the next day,
but in vain. However, about the same time the follow-
ing night the Tylwyth came and liberated him, and he
shortly woke up, after sleeping through the previous
night and day. When he woke he had no idea where
on earth he was ; so he wandered about on the slopes
of the Gader and near the Gors Fawr until the cock
crew, when he found where he was, namely, less than
a quarter of a mile from his home.'

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

' I will tell you what I heard from Mr. Owen and my
mother when I was a lad, about fifty-seven years ago.
The former used to say that the people of Pennant in
Eifionyd had a nickname, to wit, that of Belsiaid y Pen-
nant, " the Bellisians of the Pennant " ; that, when he
was a boy, if anybody called out Belsiaid y Pennant at
the Penmorfa Fair, every man jack of them would come
out, and fighting always ensued. The antiquary used to
explain it thus. Some two or three hundred years ago,
Sir Robert of the Nant, one of Sir Richard Bulkeley's
ancestors, had a son and heir who was extravagant


and wild. He married a gipsy, and they had children born
to them ; but, as the family regarded this marriage as
a disgrace to their ancient stem, it is said that the father,
the next time the vagabonds came round, gave a large
sum of money to the father of the girl for taking her
away with him. This having been done, the rumour
was spread abroad that it was one of the fairies the
youth had married, and that she had gone with him to
catch a pony, when he threw the bridle at the beast
to prevent it passing, and the iron of the bridle touched
the wife; then that she at once disappeared, as the
fairies always do so when touched with iron. However,
the two children were put out to nurse, and the one of
them, who was a girl, was brought up at Plas y Pennant,
and her name was Pelisha^; her descendants remain to
this day in the N ant, and are called Bellis, who are beheved
there, to this day, to be derived from the Tylwyth Teg.
Nothing offends them more than to be reminded of this.'

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

Dywedir fod tte a elwir yr Hafod Rugog niewn cwm
anial yn y mynyS tte y bySai y Tylwyth Teg yn arferol
a mynychu; ac y bydent yn trwblio'r hen wraig am
fenthyg rhywbeth neu gilyd^. DywedoS hithau, ' Cewch
OS caniatewch dau heth cyntaf—ir peth cyntaf y cyffyrSaf
ag ef wrth y drws dorri, a'r peth cyntaf y rhof fy ttaw
arno yn y ty estyn hanner ttath' Yr oed^ carreg afael,
fel ei gelwir, yn y mur wrth y drws ar ei fford, ac yr
oed gandi defnyd' syrcyn gwlan^n yn rhy fyr o hanner
ttath. Ondyn anffodus wrth dod a'i chawettad mawn i'r
ty bu agos idi a syrthio : rhoes ei ttaw ar ben ei chlun
i ymarbed a thoroS honno, a chan faint y boen cyffyrdbd'
yny ty a'i thrwyn yr hwn a estynnod' hanner ttath.

' I cannot account for this spelling, but the //in Be/lis is English //, not the
Welsh U, which represents a sound very different from that of /.


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

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


Early in the year 1899 ^ I had a small group of stories
communicated to me by the Rev. W. Evans Jones,
rector of Dolbenmaen, who tells me that the neighbour-

' Where not stated otherwise, as in this instance, the reader is to regard
this chapter as written in the latter part of the year 1881.


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

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

The next story is about an old woman from Garn
Dolbenmaen who was crossing y Graig Goch, 'the
Red Rock,' 'when suddenly she came across a fairy
sitting down with a very large number of gold coins by


her. The old woman ventured to remark how wealthy
she was: the fairy replied, Wele dacw, " Lo there!"
and immediately disappeared.' This looks as if it ought
to be a part of a longer story which Mr. Evans Jones
has not heard.

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


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


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


became henceforth pure gold. In the course of a few
years the elf became the heir of a large farm in North
Wales, and that is why the old people used to say,
" Shoe the elf with gold and he will grow " (Fe daw
gwicton yn fawr ond ei bedoli ag aur). That is the legend
of the Gors Goch.'

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

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

(4) The fourth story is one, of which he says, that he
heard it from his mother ; but he has elaborated it in his
usual fashion, and the proper names are undoubtedly
his own : — ' Once on a time, a shepherd boy had gone


up the mountain. That day, like many a day before and
after, was exceedingly misty. Now, though he was well
acquainted with the place, he lost his way, and walked
backwards and forwards for many a long hour. At last
he got into a low rushy spot, where he saw before him
many circular rings. He at once recalled the place,
and began to fear the worst. He had heard, many
hundreds of times, of the bitter experiences, in those
rings, of many a shepherd who had happened to chance
on the dancing place or the circles of the fair family.
He hastened away as fast as ever he could, lest he
should be ruined like the rest ; but, though he exerted
himself to the point of perspiring and losing his breath,
there he was, and there he continued to be, a long time.
At last he was met by an old fat little man, with merry
blue eyes, who asked him what he was doing. He
answered that he was trying to find his way home.
"Oh," said he, " come after me, and do not utter a word
until I bid thee." This he did, following him on and on
until they came to an oval stone; and the old fat little
man lifted it, after tapping the middle of it three times
with his walking-stick. There was there a narrow path
with stairs visible here and there ; and a sort of whitish
light, inclining to grey and blue, was to be seen radiating
from the stones. " Follow me fearlessly," said the fat
man ; " no harm will be done thee." So on the poor
youth went, as reluctantly as a dog to be hanged. But
presently a fine, wooded, fertile country spread itself
out before them, with well arranged mansions dotting it
all over, while every kind of apparent magnificence met
the eye and seemed to smile in the landscape ; the bright
waters of the rivers meandered in twisted streams, and
the hills were covered with the luxuriant verdure of
their grassy growth, and the mountains with a glossy
fleece of smooth pasture. By the time they had


reached the stout gentleman's mansion, the young man's
senses had been bewildered by the sweet cadence of the
music which the birds poured forth from the groves :
then there was gold dazzling his eyes, and silver flash-
ing on his sight. He saw there all kinds of musical
instruments and all sorts of things for playing ; but he
could discern no inhabitant in the whole plac2 ; and,
when he sat down to eat, the dishes on the table came
to their places of themselves, and disappeared when one
had done with them. This puzzled him beyond measure ;
moreover, he heard people talking together around him,
but for the life of him he could see no one but his old
friend. At length the fat man said to him : " Thou
canst now talk as much as it may please thee;" but,
when he attempted to move his tongue, it would no more
stir than if it had been a lump of ice, which greatly
frightened him. At this point, a fine old lady, with
health and benevolence beaming in her face, came to
them and slightly smiled at the shepherd : the mother
was followed by her three daughters, who were remark-
ably beautiful. They gazed with somewhat playful
looks at him, and at length began to talk to him ; but
his tongue would not wag. Then one of the girls came
to him, and, playing with his yellow and curly locks,
gave him a smart kiss on his ruddy lips. This loosened
the string that bound his tongue, and he began to talk
freely and eloquently. There he was, under the charm
of that kiss, in the bliss of happiness ; and there he
remained a year and a day without knowing that he had
passed more than a day among them ; for he had got
into a country where there was no reckoning of time.
But by-and-by he began to feel somewhat of a longing
to visit his old home, and asked the stout man if he
might go. "Stay a little yet," said he, " and thou shalt
go for a while." That passed : he stayed on, but Olwen,


for that was the name of the damsel that had kissed him,
was very unwiUing that he should depart. She looked
sad every time he talked of going away ; nor was he
himself without feeling a sort of a cold thrill passing
through him at the thought of leaving her. On condi-
tion, however, of returning, he obtained leave to go, pro-
vided with plenty of gold and silver, of trinkets and
gems. When he reached home, nobody knew who he
was : it had been the belief that he had been killed by
another shepherd, who found it necessary to betake
himself hastily far away to America, lest he should be
hanged without delay. But here is Einion Las at
home, and everybody wonders especially to see that
the shepherd had got to look like a wealthy man : his
manners, his dress, his language, and the treasure he
had with him, all conspired to give him the air of a
gentleman. He went back one Thursday night, the first
of the moon of that month, as suddenly as he had left
the first time, and nobody knew whither. There was
great joy in the country below when Einion returned
thither, and nobody was more rejoiced at it than Olwen
his beloved. The two were right impatient to get
married ; but it was necessary to do that quietly, for the
family below hated nothing more than fuss and noise ;
so, in a sort of a half-secret fashion, they were wedded.
Einion was very desirous to go once more among his
own people, accompanied, to be sure, by his wife. After
he had been long entreating the old man for leave, they
set out on two white ponies, that were, in fact, more like
snow than anything else in point of colour. So he
arrived with his consort in his old home, and it was the
opinion of all that Einion's wife was the handsomest
person they had an3rwhere seen. Whilst at home, a son
was born to them, to whom they gave the name of
Taliessin. Einion was now in the enjoyment of high


repute, and his wife received due respect. Their wealth
was immense, and soon they acquired a large estate ;
but it was not long till people began to inquire after the
pedigree of Einion's wife : the country was of opinion
that it was not the right thing to be without a pedigree.
Einion was questioned about it, but without giving any
satisfactory answer, and one came to the conclusion
that she was one of the fair family (Tylwyth Teg).
" Certainly," replied Einion, " there can be no doubt that
she comes from a very fair family; for she has two
sisters who are as fair as she, and, if you saw them
together, you would admit that name to be a most fitting
one." This, then, is the reason why the remarkable
family in the Land of Enchantment and Glamour {Hud
a ILedrith) is called the fair family.'

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

(5) ' Cwmttan was the principal resort of the fair
family, and the shepherds of Hafod ILan used to see
them daily in the ages of faith gone by. Once, on a
misty afternoon, one of them had been searching for
sheep towards Nant y Bettws. When he had crossed
Bwlch Cwmttan, and was hastening laboriously down,
he saw an endless number of little folks singing and
dancing in a lively and light-footed fashion, while the
handsomest girls he had ever seen anywhere were at it
preparing a banquet. He went to them and had a share
of their dainties, and it seemed to him that he had never
in his life tasted anything approaching their dishes.
When the twilight came, they spread their tents, and the
man never before saw such beauty and ingenuity. They
gave him a soft bed of yielding down, with sheets of the
finest linen, and he went to rest as proud as if he had


been a prince. But, alas ! next morning, after all the
jollity and sham splendour, the poor man, when he
opened his eyes, found that his bed was but a bush of
bulrushes, and his pillow a clump of moss. Neverthe-
less, he found silver money in his shoes, and afterwards
he continued for a long time to find, every week, a piece
of coined money between two stones near the spot
where he had slept. One day, however, he told a friend
of his the secret respecting the money, and he never
found any more.'

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

The shorter versions given by Glasynys are probably
more nearly given as he heard them, than the longer


ones, which may be suspected of having been a good
deal spun out by him ; but there is probably very little
in any of them of his own invention, though the question
whence he got his materials in each instance may be
difficult to answer. In one this is quite clear, though
he does not state it, namely the story of the sojourn of
Elfod the Shepherd in Fairyland, as given in Cymru Fu,
p. 477 : it is no other than a second or third-hand
reproduction of that recorded by Giraldus concerning a
certain Eliodorus, a twelfth-century cleric in the diocese
of St. David's i. But the longest tale published by
Glasynys is the one about a mermaid : see Cymru Fu,
pp. 434-44. Where he got this from I have not been
able to find out, but it has probably been pieced together
from various sources. I feel sure that some of the
materials at least were Welsh, besides the characters
known to Welsh mythology as Nefyd Naf Neifion,
Gwyn ab Nud, Gwydion ab D6n, Dylan, and Ceridwen,
who have been recklessly introduced into it. He
locates it, apparently, somewhere on the coast of Car-
narvonshire, the chief scene being called Ogof Deio
or David's Cave, which so far as I know is not an
actual name, but one suggested by 'David Jones'
locker' as sailors' slang for the sea. In hopes that
somebody will communicate to me any bits of this tale
that happen to be still current on the Welsh coast, I give
an abstract of it here : —

'Once upon a time, a poor fisherman made the
acquaintance of a mermaid in a cave on the sea-coast ;
at first she screeched wildly, but, when she got a little
calmer, she told him to go off out of the way of her
brother, and to return betimes the day after. In getting
away, he was tossed into the sea, and tossed out on the

' See Giraldus' Itinerarium Kambriw, i. 8 (pp. 75-8) ; some discussion of
the whole story will be found in chapter iii of this volume.


land with a rope, which had got wound about his waist ;
and on pulling at this he got ashore a coffer full of
treasure, which he spent the night in canying home.
He was somewhat late in revisiting the cave the next
day, and saw no mermaid come there to meet him
according to her promise. But the following night he
was roused out of his sleep by a visit from her at his
home, when she told him to come in time next day.
On his way thither, he learnt from some fishermen that
they had been labouring in vain during the night, as
a great big mermaid had opened their nets in order to
pick the best fish, while she let the rest escape. When
he reached the cave he found the mermaid there comb-
ing her hair : she surprised him by telling him that she
had come to live among the inhabitants of the land,
though she was, according to her own account, a king's
daughter. She was no longer stark naked, but dressed
like a lady : in one hand she held a diadem of pure
gold, and in the other a cap of wonderful workmanship,
the former of which she placed on her head, while she
handed the latter to Ifan Morgan, with the order that
he should keep it. Then she related to him how she
had noticed him when he was a ruddy boy, out fishing
in his father's white boat, and heard him sing a song
which made her love him, and how she had tried to
repeat this song at her father's court, where everybody
wanted to get it. Many a time, she said, she had been
anxiously listening if she might hear it again, but all in
vain. So she had obtained permission from her family
to come with her treasures and see if he would not
teach it her ; but she soon saw that she would not
succeed without appearing in the form in which she now
was. After saying that her name was Nefyn, daughter
of Nefyd Naf Neifion, and niece to Gwyn son of Nud,
and Gwydion son of DCn, she calmed his feelings on


the subject of the humble cottage in which he lived.
Presently he asked her to be his wife, and she consented
on the condition that he should always keep the cap she
had given him out of her sight and teach her the song.
They were married and lived happily together, and had
children bom them five times, a son and a daughter each
time; they frequently went to the cave, and no one
knew what treasures they had there; but once on a
time they went out in a boat pleasuring, as was their
wont, with six or seven of the children accompanying
them, and when they were far from the land a great
storm arose ; besides the usual accompaniments of a
storm at sea, most unearthly screeches and noises were
heard, which frightened the children and made their
mother look uncomfortable ; but presently she bent her
head over the side of the boat, and whispered something
they did not catch : to their surprise the sea was instantly
calm. They got home comfortably, but the elder
children were puzzled greatly by their mother's influence
over the sea, and it was not long after this till they so
teased some ill-natured old women, that the latter told
them all about the uncanny origin of their mother. The
eldest boy was vexed at this, and remembered how his
mother had spoken to somebody near the boat at sea,
and that he was never allowed to go with his parents to
Ogof Deio. He recalled, also, his mother's account of
the strange countries she had seen. Once there came
also to Ifan Morgan's home, which was now a mansion,
a visitor whom the children were not even allowed to
see ; and one night, when the young moon had sunk
behind the western horizon, Ifan and his wife went
quietly out of the house, telling a servant that they
would not return for three weeks or a month : this was
overheard by the eldest son. So he followed them
very quietly until he saw them on the strand, where he



beheld his mother casting a sort of leather mantle round
herself and his father, and both of them threw themselves
into the hollow of a billow that came to fetch them. The
son went home, broke his heart, and died in nine days at
finding out that his mother was a mermaid ; and, on see-
ing her brother dead, his twin sister went and threw
herself into the sea ; but, instead of being drowned, she
was taken up on his steed by a fine looking knight, who
then galloped away over the waves as if they had been
dry and level land. The servants were in doubt what
to do, now that Nefyd Morgan was dead and Eilonwy
had thrown herself into the sea ; but Tegid, the second
son, who feared nothing, said that Nefyd's body should
be taken to the strand, as somebody was likely to come
to fetch it for burial among his mother's family. At
midnight a knight arrived, who said the funeral was to
be at three that morning, and told them that their brother
would come back to them, as Gwydion ab Don was
going to give him a heart that no weight could break,
that Eilonwy was soon to be wedded to one of the finest
and bravest of the knights of Gwerd^onau ILion, and
that their parents were with Gwyn ab Nud in the
Gwaelodion. The body was accordingly taken to the
beach, and, as soon as the wave touched it, out of his
coffin leaped Nefyd like a porpoise. He was seen then
to walk away arm in arm with Gwydion ab Don to a
ship that was -in waiting, and most enchanting music
was heard by those on shore ; but soon the ship sailed
away, hardly touching the tops of the billows. After
a year and a day had elapsed Ifan Morgan, the father,
came home, looking much better and more gentlemanly
than he had ever done before ; he had never spoken of
Nefyn, his wife, until Tegid one day asked him what
about his mother; she had gone, he said, in search of
Eilonwy, who had run away from her husband in


Gwerdonau ILion, with Glanfryd ab Gloywfraint. She
would be back soon, he thought, and describe to them
all the wonders they had seen. Ifan Morgan went to
bed that night, and was found dead in it in the morning ;
it was thought that his death had been caused by a
Black Knight, who had been seen haunting the place at
midnight for some time, and always disappearing, when
pursued, into a well that bubbled forth in a dark recess
near at hand. The day of Ifan Morgan's funeral,
Nefyn, his wife, returned, and bewailed him with many
tears ; she was never more seen on the dry land. Tegid
had now the charge of the family, and he conducted
himself in all things as behoved a man and a gentleman
of high principles and great generosity. He was very
wealthy, but often grieved by the thought of his father's
murder. One day, when he and two of his brothers
were out in a boat fishing in the neighbouring bay, they
were driven by the wind to the most wonderful spot
they had ever seen. The sea there was as smooth as
glass, and as bright as the clearest light, while beneath
it, and not far from them, they saw a most splendid
country with fertile fields and dales covered with
pastures, with flowery hedges, groves clad in their
green foliage, and forests gently waving their leafy
luxuriance, with rivers lazily contemplating their own
tortuous courses, and with mansions here and there of
the most beautiful and ingenious description ; and
presently they saw that the inhabitants amused them-
selves with all kinds of merriment and frolicking, and
that here and there they had music and engaged them-
selves in the most energetic dancing; in fact, the
rippling waves seemed to have absorbed their fill of the
music, so that the faint echo of it, as gently given forth
by the waves, never ceased to charm their ears until
they reached the shore. That night the three brothers



had the same dream, namely that the Black Knight who
had throttled their father was in hiding in a cave on the
coast : so they made for the cave in the morning, but
the Black Knight fled from them and galloped off on the
waves as if he had been riding for amusement over
a meadow. That day their sisters, on returning home
from school, had to cross a piece of sea, when a tempest
arose and sunk the vessel, drowning all on board, and
the brothers ascribed this to the Black Knight. About
this time there was great consternation among the
fishermen on account of a sea-serpent that twined itself
about the rocks near the caves, and nothing would do
but that Tegid and his brothers should go forth to kill
it ; but when one day they came near the spot frequented
by it, they heard a deep voice saying to them, " Do not
kill ypur sister," so they wondered greatly and suddenly
went home. But that night Tegid returned there alone,
and called his sister by her name, and after waiting a
long while she crept towards him in the shape of a sea-
serpent, and said that she must remain some time in
that form on account of her having run away with one
who was not her husband ; she went on to say that she
had seen their sisters walking with their mother, and
their father would soon be in the cave. But all of a
sudden there came the Black Knight, who unsheathed
a sword that looked like a flame of fire, and began to
cut the sea-serpent into a thousand bits, which united,
however, as fast as he cut it, and became as whole as
before. The end was that the monster twisted itself in
a coil round his throat and bit him terribly in his breast.
At this point a White Knight comes and runs him
through with his spear, so that he fell instantly, while
the White Knight went off hurriedly with the sea-
serpent in a coil round his neck. Tegid ran away for
his life, but not before a monster more terrible than


anything he had ever seen had begun to attack him. It
haunted him in all kinds of ways : sometimes it would be
like a sea, but Tegid was able to swim : sometimes it
would be a mountain of ice, but Tegid was able to climb
it : and sometimes it was like a furnace of intense fire,
but the heat had no effect on him. But it appeared
mostly as a combination of the beast of prey and the
venomous reptile. Suddenly, however, a young man
appeared, taking hold of Tegid's arm and encouraging
him, when the monster fled away screeching, and a host
of knights in splendid array and on proudly prancing
horses came to him : among them he found his brothers,
and he went with them to his mother's country. He
was especially welcome there, and he found all happy
and present save his father only, whom he thought of
fetching from the world above, having in fact got leave
to do so from his grandfather. His mother and his
brothers went with him to search for his father's body,
and with him came Gwydion ab D6n and Gwyn ab Nud",
but he would not be wakened. So Tegid, who loved
his father greatly, asked leave to remain on his father's
grave, where he remains to this day. His mother is
wont to come there to soothe him, and his brothers send
him gifts, while he sends his gifts to Nefyd Naf Neifion,
his grandfather ; it is also said that his twin-sister, Cerid-
wen, has long since come to live near him, to make the
glad gladder and the pretty prettier, and to maintain her
dignity and honour in peace and tranquillity.'

The latter part of this tale, the mention of Ceridwen,
invoked by the bards as the genius presiding over their
profession, and of Tegid remaining on his father's grave,
is evidently a reference to ILyn Tegid, or Bala Lake, and
to the legend of Taliessin in the so-called Hanes or
history of Tahessin, published at the end of the third
volume of Lady Charlotte Guest's Mabinogion. So the


Story has undoubtedly been pieced together, but not all
invented, as is proved by the reference to the curious
cap which the husband was to keep out of the sight of
his mermaid wife. In Irish legends this cap has particular
importance attached to it, of which Glasynys cannot have
been aware, for he knew of no use to make of it. The
teaching of the song to the wife is not mentioned after
the marriage ; and the introduction of it at all is remark-
able : at any rate I have never noticed anything parallel
to it in other tales. The incident of the tempest, when
the mermaid spoke to somebody by the side of the boat,
reminds one of Undine during the trip on the Danube.
It is, perhaps, useless to go into details till one has
ascertained how much of the story has been based on
genuine Welsh folklore. But, while I am on this point,
I venture to append here an Irish tale, which will serve
to explain the meaning of the mermaid's cap, as neces-
sary to her comfort in the water world. I am indebted
for it to the kindness of Dr. Norman Moore, of
St. Bartholomew's Hospital, who tells me, in a letter
dated March 7, 1882, that he and the Miss Raynells of
Killynon heard it from an old woman named Mrs. Dolan,
who lived on the property of the late Mr. Cooke of
Cookesborough, in Westmeath. The following was
her tale : — ' There was a man named Mahon had a farm
on the edge of Loch Owel. He noticed that his corn
was trampled, and he sat up all night to watch it. He
saw horses, colts and fillies rather, come up out of the
lake and trample it. He chased them, and they fled
into the lake. The next night he saw them again, and
among them a beautiful girl with a cap of salmon skin
on her head, and it shone in the moonlight ; and he
caught her and embraced her, and carried her off to his
house and married her, and she was a very good house-
wife, as all those lake people are, and kept his house


beautifully ; and one day in the harvest, when the men
were in the fields, she went into the house, and there she
looked on the hurdle for some lard to make colcannon ^
for the men, and she saw her old cap of fish skin, and
she put it on her head and ran straight down into the
lake and was never seen any more, and Mahon he was
terribly grieved, and he died soon after of a decline.
She had had three children, and I often saw them in the
Mullingar market. They were farmers, too, on Loch


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

' I had quite forgotten the enclosed, which I had
jotted down during my recent illness, and ought to have
sent you long ago. Of course, the wording is very
rough, as no care has been taken on that point. It is
interesting, as being another version of a very pretty old
legend which my mother used to repeat. She was
descended from a very old north Welsh family ; indeed,

' Dr. Moore explains this to be cabbages and potatoes, pounded and
mixed with butter or lard.


I believe my esteemed grandfather went so far as to
trace his descent from the great patriot, Owen Glendower
himself! My mother delighted not only in the ancient
folklore legends and fairy tales of the Principality, with
which she was perfectly familiar, but especially in the
lovely national melodies, all of which she knew by
heart; and, being highly accomplished, would never
tire of playing or singing them. You will see the legend
is, in the main, much as related by Professor Rhys,
though differing somewhat in the singular terms of the
marriage contract. The scene of the legend, as related
by my late mother, was, of course, a lake, the Welsh
name of which I have, unfortunately, forgotten, but it
was somewhere, I think, near ILanberis, and the hero
a stalwart young farmer.'

The legend itself reads as follows : —

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

' For many days the young farmer frequented the


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

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

'After a long parley the lady, at length, agreed to


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

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

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

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

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


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


of her married life, so an apple brought about its sad

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


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

'I suppose it very probable that you have heard
speak of ILyn yr Afanc, " the Afanc's Pool," and that
I therefore need not trouble to inform you where it
stands. I think, also, that you know, if one may trust
what the country people say, that it was a girl that
enticed the afanc to come out of his abode, namely
the pool, so as to be bound with iron chains, whilst he

' It would be interesting to know what has become of this letter and
others of ILwyd's once in the possession of the canon, for it is not to be
supposed that the latter ever took the trouble to make an accurate copy
of them any more than he did of any other MSB.

There is also a Sam yr Afanc, ' the Afanc's Stepping Stones,' on the
Ogwen river in Nant Ffrancon : see Pennant's Tours in Wales, iii. loi.


slumbered with his head on her knees, and with the
grip of one hand on her breast. When he woke from
his nap and perceived what had been done to him, he
got up suddenly and hurried to his old refuge, taking
with him in his claw the breast of his sweetheart. It
was then seen that it was well the chain was long enough
to be fastened to oxen that pulled him out of the pool.
Thereupon a considerable dispute arose among some of
the people, each asserting that he had taken a great
weight on himself and pulled far harder than anybody
else. " No," said another, " it was I," &c. And whilst
they were wrangling in this way, the report goes that
the afanc answered them, and silenced their discontent
by saying —

Oni bae y dai ag a dyn Had it not been for the oxen pulling,

Ni daetha'r afanc byth o'r ttyn. The afanc had never left the pool.

' You must understand that some take the afanc to be
a corporeal demon ; but I am sufficiently satisfied that
there is an animal of the same name, which is called in
English a bever, seeing that the term ceittieW afanc
signifies bever stones. I know not what kind of oxen
those in question were, but it is related that they were
twins ; nor do I know why they were called Ychain
Mannog or Ychain Bannog. But peradventure they
were called Ychain Bannog in reference to their having
had many a fattening, or fattening on fattening (having
been for many a year fattened). Yet the word bannog
is not a good, suitable word to signify fattened, as
bannog is nought else than what has been made exceed-
ing thick by beating [or fulling], as one says of a thick
blanket made of coarse yarn [y gwrthban tew-bannog),
the thick bannog^ blanket Whilst I .was dawdling

' The oxen should accordingly have been called Ychain Pannog ; but the
explanation is not to be taken seriously. These oxen will come under
the reader's notice again, to wit in chapter x.

K 2


behind talking about this, the oxen had proceeded
very far, and I did not find their footmarks as they
came through portions of the parish of Dolyd-Elan
(Luedog) until I reached a pass called ever since Bwlch
Rhiw'r Ychen, "the Pass of the Slope of the Oxen,"
between the upper parts of Dolydelan and the upper
part of Nanhwynen. In coming over this pass one of
the oxen dropped one of its eyes on an open spot, which
for that reason is called Gwaun Lygad Ych, " the Moor
of the Ox's Eye." The place where the eye fell has
become a pool, which is by this time known as Pwtt
Lygad Ych, " the Pool of the Ox's Eye," which is at no
time dry, though no water rises in it or flows into it
except when rain falls ; nor is there any flowing out of
it during dry weather. It is always of the same depth ;
that is, it reaches about one's knee-joint, according to
those who have paid attention to that for a considerable
number of years. There is a harp melody, which not
all musicians know : it is known as the Ychain Mannog
air, and it has a piteous effect on the ear, being as plain-
tive as were the groanings of these Ychain under the
weight of the afanc, especially when one of the pair lost
an eye. They pulled him up to ILyn Cwm Ffynnon Las,
" the Lake of the Dingle of the Green Well," to which he
was consigned, for the reason, peradventure, that some
believed that there were in that lake uncanny things
already in store. In fact, it was but fitting that he should
be permitted to go to his kind. But whether there were
uncanny things in it before or not, many think that there
is nothing good in it now, as you will understand from
what follows. There is much talk of ILyn Cwm Ffynnon
Las besides the fact that it is always free from ice,
except in one corner where the peat water of clear
pools comes into it, and that it has also a variety of
dismal hues. The cause of this is, as I suppose, to be


sought in the various hues of the rocks surrounding it ;
and the fact that a whirlwind makes its water mixed,
which is enough to give any lake a disagreeable colour.
Nothing swims on it without danger, and I am not sure
that it would be very safe for a bird to fly across it or
not. Throw a rag into its water and it will go to the
bottom, and I have with my own ears heard a man
saying that he saw a goat taking to this lake in order to
avoid being caught, and that as soon as the animal went
into the water, it turned round and round, as if it had been
a top, until it was drowned. . . . Some mention that, as
some great man was hunting in the Snowdon district
(Eryri), a stag, to avoid the hounds when they were
pressing on him, and as is the habit of stags to defend
themselves, made his escape into this lake : the hunters
had hardly time to turn round before they saw the
stag's antlers (mwnglws) coming to the surface, but
nothing more have they ever seen. ... A young
woman has been seen to come out of this lake to wash
clothes, and when she had done she folded the clothes,
and taking them under her arm went back into the lake.
One man, whose brother is still alive and well, beheld
in a canoe, on this same lake still, an angler with a red
cap on his head ; but the man died within a few days,
having not been in his right mind during that time.
Most people regard this as the real truth, and, as for
myself, I cannot refuse to believe that such a vision
might not cause a man to become so bewildered as to
force on a disease ending with his death. . . .'

The name ILyn Cwm Ffynnon Las would have led one
to suppose that the pool meant is the one given in the
ordnance maps as ILyn y Cwm Ffynnon,which I presume
to be gibberish for ILyn Cwm y Ffynnon, and situated
in the mountains between Pen y Gwryd and the upper
valley of ILanberis ; but from the writer on the parish of



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

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

Yr avanc er ei ovyn

Wyv yn tiech ar vm y ifyn ;

O don ILyn Syfadon vo


Ni thymvyd ban aeth yno :

Ni'm ijm men nag ychain gwaith,

Octiyma heiyw ymaith '.

The afanc am I, who, sought for, bides

In hiding on the edge of the lake ;

Out of the waters of Syfadbn Mere

Was he not drawn, once he got there.

So with me : nor wain nor oxen wont to toil

Me to-day will draw from here forth.

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


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

' The bottom of ILyn Cynnwch, on the Nannau
estate, is level with the hearth-stone of the house of
D6l y Clochyd. Its depth was found out owing to the
sweetheart of one of Siwsi's girls having lost his way
to her from Nannau, where he was a servant. The

' The lines are copied exactly as given at p. 189 (I. vi. 25-30) of The
Poetical Works of Lewis Glyn Cothi, edited for the Cymmrodorion by Gwaltter
Mechain and Tegid, and printed at Oxford in the year 1837.


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

Then he has a few sentences about an old house
called Ceimarch : — ' Ceimarch was an old mansion of
considerable repute, and in old times it was considered
next to Nannau in point of importance in the whole
district. There was a deep ditch round it, which was
always kept full of water, with the view of keeping off
vagabonds and thieves, as well as other lawless folks,
that they might not take the inmates by surprise. But,
in distant ages, this place was very noted for the frequent
visits paid it by the fair family. They used to come
to the ditch to wash themselves, and to cross the water


in boats made of the bark of the rowan-tree \ or else
birch, and they came into the house to pay their rent
for trampHng the ground around the place. They
always placed a piece of money under a pitcher, and
the result was that the family living there became re-
markably rich. But somehow, after the lapse of many
year&, the owner of the place offended them, by showing
disrespect for their diminutive family : soon the world
began to go against him, and it was not long before
he got low in life. Everything turned against him, and
in times past everybody believed that he incurred all
this because he had earned the displeasure of the fair

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

' This, I should say, must be a mistake, as it contradicts all the folklore
which makes the rowan an object of dread to the fairies.


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

Ryw diwrnod aeth dau gyfaitt i hela dwfrgvan ar hyd
lannau afon Pennant, a thra yn cyfeirio eu camrau
tuagat yr afon gwelsant ryw greadur bychan ttiwgoch
yn rhedeg yn gyflym iawn ar draws un o'r dolyS yn
nghyfeiriad yr afon. Ymaeth a nhw ar ei ol. Gwelsant
ei fod wedi myned oditan wraid^ coeden yn ochr yr afon
i ymgudio. Yr oed y dau dyn yn medwl mae dwfrgi
ydoed, and ar yr un pryd yn methu a deatt paham yr
ymdanghosai i'w ttygaid yn ttiwgoch. Yr oedynt yn
dymuno ei dal yn fyw, ac ymaith yr aeth un o honynt
i ffarmdy gerttaw i ofyn am sach, yr Hon a gafwyd, er
mwyn rhoi y creadur yndi. Yr oedyno dau dwtt tan
wraidy pren, a thra daliai un y sach yn agored ar un
twtt yr oed y ttatt yn hwthio ffon ir twtt aratt, ac yn
y man aeth y creadur i'r sach. Yr oed y dau dyn yn
medwl eu bod wedi dal dwfrgi, yr hyn a ystyrient
yn orchest nid bychan. Cychwynasant gartref yn ttawen
ond cyn eu myned hyd tted cae, ttefarod' ttetywr y sach
mewn ton drist gan dywedyd — ' Y mae fy mam yn galw
am danaf O, mae fy mam yn galw am danaf yr hyn a
rododfraw mawr i'r dau heliwr, ac yn y man taflasani


y sack i lawr, a mawr oeS eu rhyfectod a'u dychryn
pan welsant ctyn bach mewn gwisg goch yn rhedeg
o'r sack tuagat yr afon. Fe a Siflannod o'i golwg
yn mysg y drysni ar fin yr afon. Yr oeS y dau wedi
eu brawychu yn Sirfawr ac yn teimlo mae doethach oed
myned gartref yn hytrach nag ymyrraeth yn mhettach a'r
Tylwyth Teg.

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


this story stands alone in Welsh folklore ; but it has an
exact parallel in Lancashire ^

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

Yr oeS perchen y bwthyn wedi amaethu rhyw ran
fychan o'r mynyS ger Haw y ty er mwyn plannu pytatws
yncto. Petty y gwnaeth. Mewn coeden yn agos i'r fan
canfydoct nyth bran. Fe fedylioct mae doeth fuasai iSb
ctryttio y nyth cyn amlhau o'r brain, Fe a esgynnoS
y goeden ac a dryttiod' y nyth, ac wedi disgyn i lawr
canfydbS gylch glas (fairy ring) odiamgylch y pren, ac ar
y cylch fe weloS hanner coron er ei fawr lawenydl
Wrth fyned heibio yr un fan y boreu canlynol fe gafoi
hanner coron yn yr un man ag y cafoSy dyS o'r blaen.
Hynna fu am amryw dydiau. Un diwmod dywedoS
wrth gyfaitt am ei hap da a dangosod" y fan a'r tte
y cawsai yr hanner coron bob boreu. Wei y boreu
canlynol nid oeS yno na hanner coron na dim, aratt
ido, oherwyd yr oed wedi torri rheolau y Tylwythion
trwy wneud eu haelioni yn hysbys. Y mae y Tylwythion
o'r fam na dylai y ttaw aswy wybod yr hyn a wna
y ttaw dehau.

' The occupier of the cottage had tilled a small por-
tion of the mountain side near his home in order to
plant potatoes, which he did. He observed that there
was a rook's nest on a tree which was not far from this
spot, and it struck him that it would be prudent to break

' See Choice Notes from ' Notes and Queries ' (London, 1859), p. 147.


the nest before the rooks multiplied. So he climbed
the tree and broke the nest, and, after coming down, he
noticed a green circle (a fairy ring) round the tree, and
on this circle he espied, to his great joy, half a crown.
As he went by the same spot the following morning, he
found another half a crown in the same place as before.
So it happened for several days ; but one day he told
a friend of his good luck, and showed him the spot
where he found half a crown every morning. Now the
next morning there was for him neither half a crown
nor anything else, because he had broken the rule of
the fair folks by making their liberality known, they
being of opinion that the left hand should not know
what the right hand does.'

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


Itwould be unpardonable to pass away from Merioneth
without alluding to the stray cow of ILyn Barfog. The
story appears in Welsh in the Brython for i860, pp. 183-
4, but the contributor, who closely imitates Glasynys'
style, says that he got his materials from a paper by the
late Mr. Pughe of Aberdovey, by which he seems to
have meant an article contributed by the latter to the
Archoeologia Cambrensis, and published in the volume
for 1853, pp. 201-5. M""- Pughe dwells in that article
a good deal on the scenery of the corner of Merioneth
in the rear of Aberdovey ; but the chief thing in his



paper is the legend connected with ILyn Barfog, which
he renders into English as the Bearded Lake ^. It is
described as a mountain lake in a secluded spot in
the upland country behind Aberdovey ; but I shall let
Mr. Pughe speak for himself: —

'The lovers of Cambrian lore are aware that the
Triads in their record of the deluge affirm that it was
occasioned by a mystic Afanc y ILyn, crocodile ^ of the
lake, breaking the banks of ILyn ILion, the lake of
waters; and the recurrence of that catastrophe was
prevented only by Hu Gadarn, the bold man of power,
dragging away the afanc by aid of his Ychain Banawg,
or large horned oxen. Many a lakelet in our land has
put forward its claim to the location of ILyn ILion;
amongst the rest, this lake. Be that as it may. King
Arthur and his war-horse have the credit amongst the
mountaineers here of ridding them of the monster, in
place of Hu the Mighty, in proof of which is shown
an impression on a neighbouring rock bearing a re-
semblance to those made by the shoe or hoof of a horse,
as having been left there by his charger when our
British Hercules was engaged in this redoubtable act of
prowess, and this impression has been given the name
of Cam March Arthur, the hoof of Arthur's horse, which
it retains to this day. It is believed to be very perilous
to let the waters out of the lake, and recently an aged
inhabitant of the district informed the writer that she
recollected this being done during a period of long

' It is more likely that it is a shortening of ILyn y Barfog, meaning the
Lake of the Bearded One, Laeus Barbati as it were, the Bearded One
being somebody like the hairy monster of another lake mentioned at p. 18
above, or him of the white beard pictured at p. 137.

" So far from afanc meaning a crocodile, an afanc is represented in the
story of Peredur as a creature that would cast at every comer a poisoned
spear from behind a pillar standing at the mouth of the cave inhabited by
it ; see the Oxford Mabinogion, p. 224. The corresponding Irish word is
abhac, which according to O'Reilly means ' a dwarf, pigmy, manikin ;
a sprite."


drought, in order to procure motive power for ILyn
Pair Mill, and that long-continued heavy rains followed.
No wonder our bold but superstitious progenitors, awe-
struck by the solitude of the spot— the dark sepial tint
of its waters, unrelieved by the flitting apparition of
a single fish, and seldom visited by the tenants of the
air — should have established it as a canon in their creed
of terror that the lake formed one of the many com-
munications between this outward world of ours and
the inner or lower one of Annwn — the unknown
world ' — the dominion of Gwyn ap Nud, the mythic
king of the fabled realm, peopled by those children of
mystery. Plant Annwn ; and the belief is still current
amongst the inhabitants of our mountains in the occa-
sional visitations of the Gwraged Annwn, or dames of
Elfin land, to this upper world of ours. A shrewd old
hill farmer (Thomas Abergraes by name), well skilled in
the folk-lore of the district, informed me that, in years
gone by, though when, exactly, he was too young to
remember, those dames were wont to make their
appearance, arrayed in green, in the neighbourhood of
ILyn Barfog, chiefly at eventide, accompanied by their
kine and hounds, and that on quiet summer nights in
particular, these ban-hounds were often to be heard in
full cry pursuing their prey — the souls of doomed men
dying without baptism and penance — along the upland
township of Cefnrhosucha. Many a farmer had a sight
of their comely milk-white kine ; many a swain had his
soul turned to romance and poesy by a sudden vision
of themselves in the guise of damsels arrayed in green,
and radiant in beauty and grace ; and many a sportsman
had his path crossed by their white hounds of super-

' I should not like to vouch for the accuracy of Mr. Pughe's rendering of
this and the otJier Welsh names which he has introduced : that involves
diScuIt questions.



natural fleetness and comeliness, the Cwn Annwn ; but
never had any one been favoured with more than a
passing view of either, till an old farmer residing at
Dyss)mant, in the adjoining valley of Dyffryn Gwyn,
became at last the lucky captor of one of their milk-
white kine. The acquaintance which the Gwartheg y
ILyn, the kine of the lake, had formed with the farmer's
cattle, like the loves of the angels for the daughters of
men, became the means of capture ; and the farmer was
thereby enabled to add the mystic cow to his own herd,
an event in all cases believed to be most conducive to
the worldly prosperity of him who should make so
fortunate an acquisition. Never was there such a cow,
never such calves, never such milk and butter, or
cheese, and the fame of the Fuwch Gyfeiliorn, the stray
cow, was soon spread abroad through that central part
of Wales known as the district of Rhwng y dwy Afon,
from the banks of the Mawdach to those of the Dofwy^
— from Aberdiswnwy^ to Abercorris. The farmer, from
a small beginning, rapidly became, like Job, a man of
substance, possessed of thriving herds of cattle — a very
patriarch among the mountains. But, alas ! wanting
Job's restraining grace, his wealth made him proud, his
pride made him forget his obligation to the Elfin cow,
and fearing she might soon become too old to be profit-
able, he fattened her for the butcher, and then even she
did not fail to distinguish herself, for a more monstrously
fat beast was never seen. At last the day of slaughter
came — an eventful day in the annals of a mountain farm
— the killing of a fat cow, and such a monster of obesity !
No wonder all the neighbours were gathered together

' The writer meant the river known as Dyfi or Dovey ; but he would
seem to have had a water etymology on the brain.

'' This involves the name of the river called Disynni, and Diswnwy em-
bodies a popular etymology which is not worth discussing.


to see the sight. The old farmer looked upon the pre-
parations in self-pleased importance^the butcher felt
he was about no common feat of his craft, and, baring
his arms, he struck the blow— not now fatal, for before
even a hair had been injured, his arm was paralysed —
the knife dropped from his hand, and the whole company
was electrified by a piercing cry that awakened echo
in a dozen hills, and made the welkin ring again ; and
lo and behold! the whole assemblage saw a female
figure clad in green, with uplifted arms, standing on one
of the craigs overhanging ILyn Barfog, and heard her
calling with a voice loud as thunder : —

Dere di velen Einion, Come yellow Anvil, stray horns,

Cym Cyveiliom — braith y U^yn, Speckled one of the lake,

A'r voel Dodin, And of the hornless Dodin,

Codwch, dewch adre. Arise, come home '.

And no sooner were these words of power uttered than
the original lake cow and all her progeny, to the third and
fourth generations, were in full flight towards the heights
of ILyn Barfog, as if pursued by the evil one. Self-
interest quickly roused the farmer, who followed in
pursuit, till breathless and panting he gained an emi-
nence overlooking the lake, but with no better success
than to behold the green attired dame leisurely descend-
ing mid-lake, accompanied by the fugitive cows and their
calves formed in a circle around her, they tossing their
tails, she waving her hands in scorn as much as to
say, " You may catch us, my friend, if you can," as they
disappeared beneath the dark waters of the lake, leaving
only the yellow water-lily to mark the spot where they

' It would, I think, be a little nearer the mark as follows : —

Come thou, Einion's Yellow One,

Stray-horns, the Particoloured Lake Cow,

And the Hornless Dodin :

Arise, come home.
But one would like to know whether Dodin ought not rather to be written
Dodyn, to rhyme with Eyn.


vanished, and to perpetuate the memory of this strange
event. Meanwhile the farmer looked with rueful
countenance upon the spot where the Elfin herd dis-
appeared, and had ample leisure to deplore the effects
of his greediness, as with them also departed the pros-
perity which had hitherto attended him, and he became
impoverished to a degree below his original circum-
stances ; and, in his altered circumstances, few felt pity
for one who in the noontide flow of prosperity had
shown himself so far forgetful of favours received, as to
purpose slaying his benefactor.'

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


Here I wish to add some further stories connected
with Merionethshire which have come under my notice
lately. I give them chiefly on the authority of Mr. Owen
M. Edwards of Lincoln College, who is a native of
ILanuwchttyn, and still spends a considerable part of his


time there ; and partly on that of Hywel's essay on the
folklore of the county, which was awarded the prize at
the National Eistedfod of 1898'- A story current at
ILanuwchllyn, concerning a midwife who attends on
a fairy mother, resembles the others of the same group :
for one of them see p. 63 above. In the former, how-
ever, one misses the ointment, and finds instead of it
that the midwife was not to touch her eyes with the
water with which she washed the fairy baby. But as
might be expected one of her eyes happened to itch,
and she touched it with her fingers straight from the
water. It appears that thenceforth she was able to see
the fairies with that eye ; at any rate she is represented
some time afterwards recognizing the father of the fairy
baby at a fair at Bala, and inquiring of him kindly about
his family. The fairy asked with which eye she saw
him, and when he had ascertained this, he at once
blinded it, so that she never could see with it after-
wards. Hywel also has it that the Tylwyth Teg
formerly used to frequent the markets at Bala, and
that they used to swell the noise in the market-place
without anybody being able to see them : this was a
sign that prices were going to rise.

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

' Hywel's real name is William Davies, Tal y Bont, Cardiganshire. As
adjudicator I became acquainted with several stories which Mr. Davies has
since given me permission to use, and I have to thank him for clues to
several others.

L 2


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

Lastly, Hywel speaks of several caves containing
treasure, as for instance a telyn aur, or golden harp,
hidden away in a cave beneath Castett Cam Dochan
in the parish of ILanuwchttyn. Lewis Morris, in his
Celtic Remains, p. 100, calls it Castett Corndochen, and
describes it as seated on the top of a steep rock at the
bottom of a deep valley : it appears to have consisted of
a wall surrounding three turrets, and the mortar seems
composed of cockle-shells: see also the Archceologia
Cambrensis for 1850, p. 204. H3rwel speaks also of a
cave beneath Castett Dinas Bran, near ILangotten, as
containing much treasure, which will only be disclosed
to a boy followed by a white dog with ttygaid arian,
' silver eyes,' explained to mean light eyes : every such
dog is said to see the wind. So runs this story, but it
requires more exegesis than I can supply. One may
compare it at a distance with Myrdin's arrangement
that the treasure buried by him at Dinas Emiys should
only be found by a youth with yellow hair and blue
eyes, and with the belief that the cave treasures of the
Snowdon district belong to the Gwy^l or Goidels, and
that Goidels will eventually find them : see chapter viii.

The next three stories are from Mr. Owen Edwards'
Cymru for 1897, pp. 188-9, where he has published
them from a collection made for a literary competition
or local Eistedfod by his friend J. H. Roberts, who died
in early manhood. The first is a blurred version of
the story of the Lake Lady and her dowry of cattle, but


enough of the story remains to show that, had we got it
in its original form, it would be found to differ some-
what on several points from all the other versions
extant. I summarize the Welsh as follows : — In ages
gone by, as the shepherd of Hafod y Garreg was looking
after his sheep on the shores of the Arennig Lake, he
came across a young calf, plump, sleek, and strong, in
the rushes. He could not guess whence the beast
could have come, as no cattle were allowed to approach
the lake at that time of the year. He took it home,
however, and it was reared until it was a bull, remark-
able for his fine appearance. In time his offspring were
the only cattle on the farm, and never before had there
been such beasts at Hafod y Garreg. They were the
wonder and admiration of the whole country. But one
summer afternoon in June, the shepherd saw a little fat
old man playing on a pipe, and then he heard him call
the cows by their names —

Mulican, Molican, Malen, Mair, Mulican, Molican, Malen and Mair,

Douic/t adre'r awrhon ar fy ngair. Come now home at my word.

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

The next is a quasi fairy tale, the outcome of which
recalls the adventure of the farmer of Drws y Coed on
his return from Bedgelert Fair, p. 99 above. It is told
of a young harpist who was making his way across
country from his home at Yspyty Ifan to the neigh-
bourhood of Bala, that while crossing the mountain he
happened in the mist to lose his road and fall into the
Gors Fawr, 'the big bog.' There he wallowed for
hours, quite unable to extricate himself in spite of all
his efforts. But when he was going to give up in


despair, he beheld close to him, reaching him her hand,
a little woman who was wondrous fair beyond all his
<:onception of beauty, and with her help he got out of
the Gors. The damsel gave him a jolly sweet kiss that
flashed electricity through his whole nature : he was at
once over head and ears in love. She led him to the
hut of her father and mother : there he had every
welcome, and he spent the night singing and dancing
with Olwen, for that was her name. Now, though the
harpist was a mere stripling, he thought of wedding at
once — he was never before in such a heaven of delight.
But next morning he was waked, not by a kiss from
Olwen, but by the Plas Drain shepherd's dog licking
his lips : he found himself sleeping against the wall of
a sheepfold [corlan), with his harp in a clump of rushes
at his feet, without any trace to be found of the family
with whom he had spent such a happy night.

The next story recalls Glasynys' Einion Las, as
given at pp. 111-5 above : its peculiarity is the part
played by the well introduced. The scene was a
turbary near the river called Afon Mynach, so
named from Cwm Tir Mynach, behind the hills imme-
diately north of Bala : — Ages ago, as a number of
people were cutting turf in a place which was then
moorland, and which is now enclosed ground form-
ing part of a farm called Nant Hir, one of them
happened to wash his face in a well belonging to the
fairies. At dinner-time in the middle of the day they
sat down in a circle, while the youth who had washed
his face went to fetch the food, but suddenly both he
and the box of food were lost. They knew not what to
do, they suspected that it was the doing of the fairies ;
but the wise man {gwr hyspys) came to the neighbour-
hood and told them, that, if they would only go to the
spot on the night of full moon in June, they would


behold him dancing with the fairies. They did as they
were told, and found the moor covered with thousands
of little agile creatures who sang and danced with all
their might, and they saw the missing man among them.
They rushed at him, and with a great deal of trouble
they got him out. But oftentimes was Einion missed
again, until at the time of full moon in another June
he returned home with a wondrously fair wife, whose
history or pedigree no one knew. Everybody believed
her to be one of the Tylwyth Teg.


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

'The fair family were wonderful creatures in the
imaginary world : they encamped, they walked, and
they capered a great deal in former ages in our country,
according to what we learn from some of our old people.
It may be supposed that they were very little folks like
the children of Rhys -Dvofn ; for the old people used to
imagine that they were wont to visit their hearths in
great numbers in ages gone by. The girls at the farm
houses used to make the hearths clean after supper, and
to place a cauldron full of water near the fire ; and so
they thought that the fair family came there to play at
night, bringing sweethearts for the young women, and



leaving pieces of money on the hob for them in the
morning. Sometimes they might be seen as splendid
hosts exercising themselves on our hills. They were
very fond of the mountains of Dyfed ; travellers between
Lampeter and Cardigan used to see them on the hill of
ILanwenog, but by the time they had reached there the
fairies would be far away on the hills of ILandyssul, and
when one had reached the place where one expected to
see the family together in tidy array, they would be
seen very busily engaged on the tops of Crug y Balog ;
when one went there they would be on Blaen Pant ar
Fi, moving on and on to Bryn Bwa, and, finally, to some
place or other in the lower part of Dyfed. Like the
soldiers of our earthly world, they were possessed of
terribly fascinating music ; and in the autumnal season
they had their rings, still named from them, in which
they sang and danced. The young man of ILech y
Derwyd ^ was his father's only son, as well as heir to
the farm ; so he was very dear to his father and his
mother, indeed he was the light of their eyes. Now,
the head servant and the son were bosom friends : they
were like brothers together, or rather twin brothers.
As the son and the servant were such friends, the
farmer's wife used to get exactly the same kind of
clothes prepared for the servant as for her son. The
two fell in love with two handsome young women of
very good reputation in the neighbourhood. The two
couples were soon joined in honest wedlock, and great
was the merry-making on the occasion. The servant
had a suitable place to live in on the farm of ILech y
Derwyd; but about half a year after the son's marriage,

' Or ILech y Deri, as Mr. Williams tells me in a letter, where he adds that
he does not know the place, but that he took it to be in the Hundred of
Cemmes, in North-west Pembrokeshire. I take ILech y Derwyct to be
fictitious ; but I have not succeeded in finding any place called by the other
name either.


he and his friend went out for sport, when the servant
withdrew to a wild and retired comer to look for game.
He returned presently for his friend, but when he got
there he could not see him anjrwhere : he kept looking
around for some time for him, shouting and whistling,
but there was no sign of his friend. By-and-by, he
went home to ILech y Derwyd expecting to see him,
but no one knew anything about him. Great was the
sorrow of his family through the night ; and next day
the anxiety was still greater. They went to see the
place where his friend had seen him last : it was hard
to tell whether his mother or his wife wept the more
bitterly; but the father was a little better, though he
also looked as if he were half mad with grief. The
spot was examined, and, to their surprise, they saw a
fairy ring close by, and the servant recollected that he
had heard the sound of very fascinating music some-
where or other about the time in question. It was at
once agreed that the man had been unfortunate enough
to have got into the ring of the Tylwyth, and to have been
carried away by them, nobody knew whither. Weeks
and months passed away, and a son was born to the
heir of ILech y Derwyd, but the young father was not
there to see his child, which the old people thought very
hard. However, the little one grew up the very picture
of his father, and great was his influence over his
grandfather and grandmother; in fact he was every-
thing to them. He grew up to be a man, and he
married a good-looking girl in that neighbourhood ; but
her family did not enjoy the reputation of being kind-
hearted people. The old folks died, and their daughter-
in-law also. One windy afternoon in the month of
October, the family of ILech y Derwyd beheld a tall
thin old man, with his beard and hair white as snow,
coming towards the house, and they thought he was



a Jew. The servant maids stared at him, and their
mistress laughed at the "old Jew," at the same time
that she lifted the children up one after another to see
him. He came to the door and entered boldly enough,
asking about his parents. The mistress answered him
in an unusually surly and contemptuous tone, won-
dering why the " drunken old Jew had come there,"
because it was thought he had been drinking, and
that he would otherwise not have spoken so. The old
man cast wondering and anxious looks around on every-
thing in the house, feeling as he did greatly surprised ;
but it was the little children about the floor that drew
his attention most: his looks were full of disappoint-
ment and sorrow. He related the whole of his account,
saying that he had been out the day before and that he
was now returning. The mistress of the house told
him that she had heard a tale about her husband's
father, that he had been lost years before her birth
while out sporting, whilst her father maintained that it
was not true, but that he had been killed. She became
angry, and quite lost her temper at seeing " the old
Jew " not going away. The old man was roused, saying
that he was the owner of the house, and that he must
have his rights. He then went out to see his posses-
sions, and presently went to the house of the servant,
where, to his surprise, things had greatly changed ;
after conversing with an aged man, who sat by the fire,
the one began to scrutinize the other more and more.
The aged man by the fire told him what had been the
fate of his old friend, the heir of ILech y Derwyd". They
talked deliberately of the events of their youth, but it all
seemed like a dream ; in short, the old man in the corner
concluded that his visitor was his old friend, the heir
of ILech y Derwyd, returning from the land of the
Tylwyth Teg after spending half a hundred years there.


The other old man, with the snow-white beard, believed
in his history, and much did they talk together and
question one another for many hours. The old man by
the fire said that the master of ILech y Derwyd was
away from home that day, and he induced his aged
visitor to eat some food, but, to the horror of all, the
eater fell down dead on the spot ^ There is no record
that an inquest was held over him, but the tale relates
that the cause of it was, that he ate food after having
been so long in the world of the fair family. His old
friend insisted on seeing him buried by the side of his
ancestors ; but the rudeness of the mistress of ILech y
Derwyd to her father-in-law brought a curse on the
family that clung to it to distant generations, and until
the place had been sold nine times.'

A tale like this is to be found related of Idwal of
Nantclwyd, in Cymru Fu, p. 85. I said ' a tale like this,'
but, on reconsidering the matter, I should think it is the
very same tale passed through the hands of Glasynys
or some one of his imitators. Another of this kind
will be found in the Brython, ii. 170, and several similar
ones also in Wirt Sikes' book, pp. 65-go, either given
at length, or merely referred to. There is one kind of
variant which deserves special notice, as making the
music to which the sojourner in Faery listens for scores
of years to be that of a bird singing on a tree. A story
of the sort is located by Howells, in his Cambrian Super-
stitions, pp. 127-8, at Pant Shon Shencin, near Pen-
cader, in Cardiganshire. This latter kind of story leads
easily up to another development, namely, to substi-
tuting for the bird's warble the song and felicity of
heaven, and for the simple shepherd a pious monk. In

' Perhaps the more usual thing is for the man returning from Faery to fall
into dust on the spot : see later in this chapter the Curse of Pantannas,
which ends with an instance in point, and compare Howells, pp. 14a, 146.


this form it is located at a place called ILwyn y Nef, or
' Heaven's Grove,' near Celynnog Fawr, in Carnarvon-
shire. It is given by Glasynys in Cymru Fu, pp. 183-4,
where it was copied from the Brython, iii. iii, in which
he had previously published it. Several versions of it
in rhyme came down from the eighteenth century, and
Silvan Evans has brought together twenty-six stanzas
in point in St. David's College Magazine for 1881, pp. 191-
200, where he has put into a few paragraphs all that
is known about the song of the Hen Wr o'r Coed, or the
Old Man of the Wood, in his usually clear and lucid style.

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

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


of the hills, was the thoroughfare between Dollar and

The following is the legend, as told by the ' Bethrel' :—
' A piper, carrying his pipes, was coming from Glen-
devon to Dollar in the grey of the evening. He crossed
the Garchel (a little stream running into the Queich
burn), and looked at the " Maiden Castle," and saw
only the grey hillside and heard only the wind soughing
through the bent. He had got beyond it when he heard
a burst of lively music : he turned round, and instead of
the dark knoll saw a great castle, with lights blazing
from the windows, and heard the noise of dancing
issuing from the open door. He went back incautiously,
and a procession issuing forth at that moment, he was
caught and taken into a great hall ablaze with lights,
and people dancing on the floor. He had to pipe to
them for a day or two, but he got anxious, because he
knew his people would be wondering why he did not
come back in the morning as he had promised. The
fairies seemed to sympathize with his anxiety, and
promised to let him go if he played a favourite tune of
his, which they seemed fond of, to their satisfaction.
He played his very best, the dance went fast and
furious, and at its close he was greeted with loud
applause. On his release he found himself alone, in
the grey of the evening, beside the dark hillock, and no
sound was heard save the purr of the burn and the
soughing of the wind through the bent. Instead of
completing his journey to Dollar, he walked hastily
back to Glendevon to relieve his folk's anxiety. He
entered his father's house and found no kent face there.
On his protesting that he had gone only a day or two
before, and waxing loud in his bewildered talk, a grey
old man was roused from a doze behind the fire ; and
told how he had heard when a boy from his father that


a piper had gone away to Dollar on a quiet evening, and
had never been heard or seen since, nor any trace of
him found. He had been in the "castle " for a hundred

The term Plant Rhys Bwfn has already been brought
before the reader : it means 'the Children oiRhys )wfn'
and Rhys Dwfn means literally Rhys the Deep, but the
adjective in Welsh connotes depth of character in the
sense of shrewdness or cunning. Nay, even the English
deep is often borrowed for use in the same sense, as
when one colloquially says un dip iawn yw e, ' he is
a very calculating or cunning fellow.' The following
account of Rhys and his progeny is given by Gwyn-
ionyd in the first volume of the Brython, p. 130, which
deserves being cited at length : — ' There is a tale current
in Dyfed, that there is, or rather that there has been,
a country between Cemmes, the northern Hundred of
Pembrokeshire, and Aberdaron in ILeyn. The chief
patriarch of the inhabitants was Rhys Dwfn, and his
descendants used to be called after him the Children of
Rhys Dwfn. They were, it is said, a handsome race
enough, but remarkably small in size. It is stated that
certain herbs of a strange nature grew in their land, so
that they were able to keep their country from being
seen by even the most sharp sighted of invaders. There
is no account that these remarkable herbs grew in any
other part of the world excepting on a small spot, about
a square yard in area, in a certain part of Cemmes. If
it chanced that a man stood alone on it, he beheld the
whole of the territory of Plant Rhys f)wfn ; but the
moment he moved he would lose sight of it altogether,
and it would have been utterly vain for him to look for
his footprints. In another story, as will be seen pre-
sently, the requisite platform was a turf from St. David's
churchyard. The Rhysians had not much land — they


lived in towns. So they were wont in former times to
come to market to Cardigan, and to raise the prices of
things terribly. They were seen of no one coming or
going, but only seen there in the market. When prices
happened to be high, and the com all sold, however
much there might have been there in the morning, the
poor used to say to one another on the way home, " Oh !
they were there to-day," meaning Plant Rhys -Dvofn.
So they were dear friends in the estimation of Sion
Phil Hywel, the farmer ; but not so high in the opinion
of Dafyd, the labourer. It is said, however, that they
were very honest and resolute men. A certain
Gruffyd ab Einon was wont to sell them more corn
than anybody else, and so he was a great friend of
theirs. He was honoured by them beyond all his con-
temporaries by being led on a visit to their home. As
they were great traders like the Phoenicians of old,
they had treasures from all countries under the sun.
Gruffyd, after feasting his eyes to satiety on their won-
ders, was led back by them loaded with presents. But
before taking leave of them, he asked them how they
succeeded in keeping themselves safe from invaders, as
one of their number might become unfaithful, and go
beyond the virtue of the herbs that formed their safety.
"Oh!" replied the little old man of shrewd looks, "just
as Ireland has been blessed with a soil on which
venomous reptiles cannot live, so with our land: no
traitor can live here. Look at the sand on the sea-
shore : perfect unity prevails there, and so among us.
Rhys, the father of our race, bade us, even to the most
distant descendant, honour our parents and ancestors ;
love our own wives without looking at those of our
neighbours; and do our best for our children and
grandchildren. And he said that if we did so, no one
of us would ever prove unfaithful to another, or


become what you call a traitor. The latter is a wholly-
imaginary character among us; strange pictures are
drawn of him with his "feet like those of an ass, with
a nest of snakes in his bosom, with a head like the
devil's, with hands somewhat like a man's, while one
of them holds a large knife, and the family lies dead
around the figure. Good-bye ! " When Gruffyd looked
about him he lost sight of the country of Plant Rhys,
and found himself near his home. He became very
wealthy after this, and continued to be a great friend of
Plant Rhys as long as he Uved. After Gruffyd's death
they came to market again, but such was the greed of
the farmers, like Gruffyd before them, for riches, and so
unreasonable were the prices they asked for their corn,
that the Rhysians took offence and came no more to
Cardigan to market. The old people used to think that
they now went to Fishguard market, as very strange
people were wont to be seen there.' On the other
hand, some Fishguard people were lately of opinion
that it was at Haverfordwest the fairies did their
marketing : I refer to a letter of Mr. Ferrar Fenton's,
in the Pembroke County Guardian of October 31, 1896,
in which he mentions a conversation he had with a Fish-
guard woman as to the existence of fairies : ' There are
fairies,' she asserted, ' for they came to Ha'rfordwest
market to buy things, so there must be.'

With this should be compared pp. g-io of Wirt
Sikes' British Goblins, where mention is made of sailors
on the coast of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire,
' who still talk of the green meadows of enchantment
lying in the Irish Channel to the west of Pembroke-
shire,' and of men who had landed on them, or seen
them suddenly vanishing. The author then proceeds to
abstract from Howells' Cambrian Superstitions, p. 119,
the following paragraph : — ' The fairies inhabiting these


islands are said to have regularly attended the markets
at Milford Haven and Laugharne. They made their
purchases without speaking, laid down their money and
departed, always leaving the exact sum required, which
they seemed to know without asking the price of any-
thing. Sometimes they were invisible ; but they were
often seen by sharp-eyed persons. There was always one
special butcher at Milford Haven upon whom the fairies
bestowed their patronage instead of distributing their
favours indiscriminately. The Milford Haven folk
could see the green Fairy Islands distinctly, lying
out a short distance from land; and the general
belief was that they were densely peopled with fairies.
It was also said that the latter went to and fro between
the islands and the shore, through a subterranean gal-
lery under the bottom of the sea.'

Another tale given in the Brython, ii. 20, by a writer
who gives his name as B. Davies ^, will serve to show,
short though it be, that the term Plant Rhys -Dwfn
was not confined to those honestly dealing fairies,
but was used in a sense wholly synonymous with that
of Tylwyth Teg, as understood in other parts of Wales.
The story runs as follows, and should be compared
with the Dyffryn Mymbyr one given above, pp. 100-3 • —
' One calm hot day, when the sun of heaven was brilli-
antly shining, and the hay in the dales was being busily
made by lads and lasses, and by grown-up people of
both sexes, a woman in the neighbourhood of Emlyn
placed her one-year-old infant in the gader, or chair,
as the cradle is called in these parts, and out she went
to the field for a while, intending to return, when her

' B. Davies, that is, Benjamin Davies, who gives this tale, was, as I learn
from Gwynionytf, a native of Cenarth. He was a schoolmaster for about
twelve years, and died in October, 1859, at Merthyr, near Carmarthen : he
describes him as a good and intelligent man.



neighbour, an old woman overtaken by the decrepi-
tude of eighty summers, should call to her that her
darling was crying. It was not long before she heard
the old woman calling to her ; she ran hurriedly, and
as soon as she set foot on the kitchen floor she took
her little one in her arms as usual, saying to him,
" O my little one ! thy mother's delight art thou !
I would not take the world for thee, &c." But to her
surprise he had a very old look about him, and the
more the tender-hearted mother gazed at his face, the
stranger it seemed to her, so that at last she placed him
in the cradle and told her trouble and sorrow to her
relatives and acquaintances. And after this one and
the other had given -his opinion, it was agreed at last
that it was one of Rhys i)wfn's children that was in the
cradle, and not her dearly loved baby. In this distress
there was nothing to do but to fetch a sorcerer, as fast
as the fastest horse could gallop. He said, when he
saw the child, that he had seen his like before, and that
it would be a hard job to get rid of him, though not
such a very hard job this time. The shovel was made
red hot in the fire by one of the Cefnarth^ boys, and held
before the child's face ; and in an instant the short little
old man took to his heels, and neither he nor his like
was seen afterwards from Aber Cuch to Aber Bargoed
at any rate. The mother, it is said, found her darling
unscathed the next moment. I remember also hearing
that the strange child was as old as the grandfather of
the one that had been lost.'

As I see no reason to make any profound distinction
between lake maidens and sea maidens, I now give
Gwynionyd's account of the mermaid who was found

' This is ordinarily written Cenarth, the name of a parish on the
Teifi, where the three counties of Cardigan, Pembroke, and Carmar.
then meet.


by a fisherman from ILandydoch or St. Dogmael's^,
near Cardigan : see the Brython, i. 82 : —

' One fine afternoon in September, in the beginning of
the last century, a fisherman, whose name was Pergrin -,
went to a recess in the rock near Pen Cemmes, where
he found a sea maiden doing her hair, and he took the
water lady prisoner to his boat. . . . We know not what
language is used by sea maidens . . . but this one, this
time at any rate, talked, it is said, very good Welsh ;
for when she was in despair in Pergrin's custody, weeping
copiously, and with her tresses all dishevelled, she called

' The name ]Lan Dydoch occurs in the Bruts, a.d. 987 and 1089, and is
the one still in use in Welsh ; but the English Si. DogmaeVs shows that it
is derived from that of Dogfael's name when the mutation consonant/ or v
was still written m. In Welsh the name of the saint has been worn down
to Dogwel, as in St. Dogwell's near Fishguard, and ILanJlogwel in ILanrhucf-
lad parish in Anglesey; see Reece's Welsh Saints, p. 211. It points back to
an early Brythonic form Doco-maglos, with doco of the same origin as Latin
dux, dads, ' a leader,' and maglo-s = lnsh mat, ' a lord or prince.' Dogfael's
name assumes in ILan Dydoch a Goidelic form, for Dog-fael would have to
become in Irish Doch-mhal, which, cut down to Dock with the honorific
prefix to, has yielded Ty-doch; but I am not clear why it is not TySoch.
Another instance of a Goidelic form of a name having the local preference in
Wales to this day offers itself in Cyfelach and ILan Gyfelach in Glamorgan-
shire. The Welsh was formerly Cimeliauc (Reece, p. 274). Here may also
be mentioned St. Cyngar, otherwise called Docwinnus (Reece, p. 183), but
the name occurs in the Liber Landavensis in the genitive both as Docuttn-i
and Docguinni, the former of which seems easily explained as Goidelic for
an early form of Cyngar, namely Cuno-caros, from which would be formed
To-chmt or Dochun. This is what seems to underlie the Latin Docunnus,
while Docguinni is possibly a Goidelic modification of the written Dociinni,
unless some such a name as Doco-vindo-s has been confounded with Docunnus.
In one instance the Book of ILan Dav has instead of Abbas Docunni or
Docguinni, the shorter designation, Abbas Dochou (p. 145), which one must
not unhesitatingly treat as Dochon, seeing that Dochou would be in later
book Welsh Dochau, and in the dialect of the district Dacha ; and that this
occurs in the name of the church of I[.andough near Cardiff, and ILandough
near Cowbridge. The connexion of a certain saint Dochdwy with these
churches does not appear at all satisfactorily established, but more light is
required to help one to understand these and similar church names.

' This name which may have come from Little England below Wales, was
once not uncommon in South Cardiganshire, as Mr. Williams informs me,
but it is now mostly changed as a surname m\.o Davits and Jones ! Compare
the similar fortunes of the name Mason mentioned above, p. 68,

M 2


out : ' Pergrin, if thou wilt let me go, I will give thee
three shouts in the time of thy greatest need.' So, in
wonder and fear, he let her go to walk the streets of the
deep, and visit her sweethearts there. Days and weeks
passed without Pergrin seeing her after this ; but one
hot afternoon, when the sea was pretty calm, and the
fishermen had no thought of danger, behold his old
acquaintance showing her head and locks, and shouting
out in a loud voice : ' Pergrin ! Pergrin ! Pergrin ! take
up thy nets, take up thy nets, take up thy nets ! '
Pergrin and his companion instantly obeyed the message,
and drew their nets in with great haste. In they went,
past the bar, and by the time they had reached the
Pwll Cam the most terrible storm had overspread
the sea, while he and his companion were safe on
land. Twice nine others had gone out with them, but
they were all drowned without having the chance of
obeying the warning of the water lady.' Perhaps it is
not quite irrelevant to mention here the armorial bear-
ings which Drayton ascribes to the neighbouring county
of Cardigan in the following couplet in his Battaile of
Agincourt (London, 1631), p. 23 : —

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

A writer in the Brython, iv. 194, states that the people
of Nefyn in Leyn claim the story of the fisher and the
mermaid as belonging to them, which proves that a
similar legend has been current there : add to this the
fact mentioned in the Brython, iii. 133, that a red mer-
maid with yellow hair, on a white field, figures in the
coat of arms of the family resident at Glasfryn in
the parish of ILangybi, in Eifionyd or the southern
portion of Carnarvonshire ; and we have already
suggested that Glasynys' story (pp. 117-25) was made


up, to a certain extent, of materials found on the
coasts of Carnarvonshire. A small batch of stories
about South Wales mermaids is given by a writer
who calls himself Ab Nadol ', in the Brython, iv. 310,
as follows : —

'A few rockmen are said to have been working, about
eighty years ago, in a quarry near Forth y Rhaw, when
the day was calm and clear, with nature, as it were,
feasting, the flowers shedding sweet scent around, and
the hot sunshine beaming into the jagged rocks.
Though an occasional wave rose to strike the romantic
cliffs, the sea was like a placid lake, with its light
coverlet of blue attractive enough to entice one of the
ladies of Rhys f)wfn forth from the town seen by
Daniel Huws off Trefin as he was journeying between
Fishguard and St. David's in the year 1858, to make
her way to the top of a stone and to sit on it to dis-
entangle her flowing silvery hair. Whilst she was
cleaning herself, the rockmen went down, and when
they got near her they perceived that, from her waist
upwards, she was hke the lasses of Wales, but that,
from her waist downwards, she had the body of a fish.
And, when they began to talk to her, they found she
spoke Welsh, though she only uttered the following
few words to them : " Reaping in Pembrokeshire and
weeding in Carmarthenshire." Off she then went to
walk in the depth of the sea towards her home.
Another tale is repeated about a mermaid, said to have
been caught by men below the land of ILanwnda, near
the spot, if not on the spot, where the French made
their landing afterwards, and three miles to the west of
Fishguard. It then goes on to say that they carried
her to their home, and kept her in a secure place for

' I have not succeeded in discovering who the wrriter was, who used this


some time ; before long, she begged to be allowed to
return to the brine land, and gave the people of the
house three bits of advice ; but I only remember one
of them,' he writes, ' and this is it : " Skim the surface
of the pottage before adding sweet milk to it : it will be
whiter and sweeter, and less of it will do." I was told
that this family follow the three advices to this day.'
A somewhat similar advice to that about the pottage
is said to have been given by a mermaid, under similar
circumstances, to a Manxman.

After putting the foregoing bits together, I was
favoured by Mr. Benjamin Williams with notes on the
tales and on the persons from whom he heard them:
they form the contents of two or three letters, mostly
answers to queries of mine, and the following is the
substance of them : — Mr. Williams is a native of the
valley of Troed yr Aur \ in the Cardiganshire parish of
that name. He spent a part of his youth at Verwig, in
the angle between the northern bank of the Teifi and
Cardigan Bay. He heard of Rhys Dwfn's Children
first from a distant relative of his father's, a Catherine
Thomas, who came to visit her daughter, who lived not
far from his father's house: that would now be from
forty-eight to fifty years ago. He was very young at the
time, and of Rhys Dwfn's progeny he formed a wonderful
idea, which was partly due also to the talk of one James
Davies or Siams Mocyn, who was very well up in folk-
lore, and was one of his father's next-door neighbours.
He was an old man, and nephew to the musician, David

' This name as it is now written should mean ' the Gold's Foot,' but in the
Demetian dialect aur is pronounced oer, and I learn from the rector, the
Rev. Rhys Jones Lloyd, that the name has sometimes been written Tref
Deym, which I regard as some etymologist's futile attempt to explain it.
More importance is to be attached to the name on the communion cup,
dating i8a8, and reading, as Mr. Lloyd kindly informs me, PocuUim Eclyseye
de Tiv-drqyie. Beneath Droyre some personal name possibly lies concealed.


Jenkin Morgan. The only spot near Mr. Williams'
home, that used to be frequented by the fairies, was
Cefn y Ceirw, 'the Stag's Ridge,' a large farm, so
called from having been kept as a park for their deer
by the Lewises of Aber Nant Bychan. He adds that
the late Mr. Philipps, of Aberglasney, was very fond
of talking of things in his native neighbourhood, and of
mentioning the fairies at Cefn y Ceirw. It was after
moving to Verwig that Mr. Williams began to put the
tales he heard on paper : then he came in contact with
three brothers, whose names were John, Owen, and
Thomas Evans. They were well-to-do and respectable
bachelors, living together on the large farm of Hafod
Ruffyd. Thomas was a man of very strong common
sense, and worth consulting on any subject : he was
a good arithmetician, and a constant reader of the
Baptist periodical, Seren Corner, from its first appearance.
He thoroughly understood the bardic metres, and had
a fair knowledge of music. He was well versed in
Scripture, and filled the office of deacon at the Baptist
Chapel. His death took place in the year 1864. Now,
the eldest of the three brothers, the one named John,
or Si6n, was then about seventy-five years of age,
and he thoroughly believed in the tales about the
fairies, as will be seen from the following short
dialogue : —

Si6n: Williams bach, ma'n rhaid i bod nhw'i gal:
yr zv i'n cofio yn amser Bone fad marchnad Aberteifi
yn ttawn lafir yn y bore — digon yno am Jis — ond cin
pen hanner awr yr od" y cwbwl wedi darfad. Nid od"
possib i gweld nhwi: md gida nhwi faint a fynnon
tihwi o arian.

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

Sion : O ma gida nhwi dynion fel ninne yn pryni


drostyn nhwi; ag y ma nhwi fel yr hen sidwmin yna yn
getti gneid pob trie.

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

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

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

At this kind of display of simplicity on the part of his
brother, Thomas used to smile and say : ' My brother
John beheves such things as those;' for he had no
belief in them himself Still it is from his mouth that
Mr. Williams published the tales in the Brython, which
have been reproduced here, that of ' Pergrin and the
Mermaid,' and all about the ' Heir of ILech y Derwyd,'
not to mention the ethical element in the account of
Rhys wfn's country and its people, the product pro-
bably of his mind. Thomas Evans, or as he was really
called, Tommos Ifan, was given rather to grappling
with the question of the origin of such beliefs ; so one
day he called Mr. Williams out, and led him to a spot
about four hundred yards from Bol y Fron, where the
latter then lived : he pointed to the setting sun, and
asked Mr. Williams what he thought of the glorious
sunset before them. ' It is all produced,' he then
observed, 'by the reflection of the sun's rays on the
mist : one might think,' he went on to say, ' that there
was there a paradise of a country full of fields, forests,
and everything that is desirable.' And before they had
moved away the grand scene had disappeared, when


Thomas suggested that the idea of the existence of the
country of Rhys Dwfn's Children arose from the con-
templation of that phenomenon. One may say that
Thomas Evans was probably far ahead of the Welsh
historians who try to extract history from the story of
Cantrir Gwaelod, 'the Bottom Hundred,' beneath the
waves of Cardigan Bay ; but what was seen was probably
an instance of the mirage to be mentioned presently.
Lastly, besides Mr. Williams' contributions to the
Brython, and a small volume of poetry, entitled Briatten
glan Cert, some tales of his were published by ILallawg in
Bygones some years ago, and he had the prize at the Car-
digan Eistedfod of 1866 for the best collection in Welsh
of the folklore of Dyfed : his recollection was that it con-
tained in all thirty-six tales of all kinds ; but since the
manuscript, as the property of the Committee of that
Eistedfod, was sold, he could not now consult it : in fact
he is not certain as to who the owner of it may now
be, though he has an idea that it is either the Rev. Rees
Williams, vicar of Whitchurch, near Solva, Pembroke-
shire, or R. D. Jenkins, Esq., of Cilbronnau, Cardigan-
shire. Whoever the owner may be, he would probably
be only too glad to have it published, and I mention
this merely to call attention to it. The Eistedfod is
to be commended for encouraging local research, and
sometimes even for burying the results in obscurity,
but not always.


Before leaving Dyfed I wish to revert to the extract
from Mr. Sikes, p. 161 above. He had been helped partly
by the article on Gavran, in the Cambrian Biography, by
William Owen, better known since as William Owen
Pughe and Dr. Pughe, and partly by a note of Southey's


on the following words in his Madoc (London, 1815),
i. Ill : —

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

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

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


man once, who thus obtained sight of them, immediately-
put to sea to find them ; but they disappeared, and his
search was in vain. He returned, looked at them again
from the enchanted turf, again set sail, and failed again.
The third time he took the turf into his vessel, and
stood upon it till he reached them.'

A correspondent signing himself ' the Antient Mariner,'
and writing, in the Pembroke County Guardian, from
Newport, Pembrokeshire, Oct. 26, i8g6, cites Southey's
notes, and adds to them the statement, that some fifty
years ago there was a tradition amongst the inhabitants
ofTrevine (Trefin) in his county, that these Islands could
be seen from ILan Non, or Eglwys Non, in that neigh-
bourhood. To return to Madoc, Southey adds to the note
already quoted a reference to the inhabitants of Arran
More, on the coast of Galway, to the effect that they
think that they can on a clear day see Hy-Breasail,
the Enchanted Island supposed to be the Paradise of the
Pagan Irish : compare the Phantom City seen in the
same sea from the coast of Clare. Then he asks
a question suggestive of the explanation, that all this is
due to ' that very extraordinary phenomenon, known in
Sicily by the name of Morgaine le Fay's works.' In
connexion with this question of mirage I venture to
quote again from the Pembroke County Guardian.
Mr. Ferrar Fenton, already mentioned, writes in the
issue of Nov. i, 1896, giving a report which he had
received one summer morning from Captain John
Evans, since deceased. It is to the effect ' that once
when trending up the Channel, and passing Grasholm
Island, in what he had always known as deep water,
he was surprised to see to windward of him a large tract
of land covered with a beautiful green meadow. It was
not, however, above water, but just a few feet below, say
two or three, so that the grass waved and swam about



as the ripple flowed over it, in a most delightful way
to the eye, so that as watched it made one feel quite
drowsy. You know, he continued, I have heard old
people say there is a floating island off there, that some-
times rises to the surface, or nearly, and then sinks down
again fathoms deep, so that no one sees it for years, and
when nobody expects it comes up again for a while.
How it may be, I do not know, but that is what they say.'

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

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

A golden path across the sea,

and a picture indescribable. As the sun neared the
horizon the rays broadened until the sheen resembled
a gigantic golden plate prepared to hold the brighter
sun. No sooner had the sun set than I saw a striking
mirage. To the right I saw a stretch of country similar
to a landscape in this country. A farmhouse and out-
buildings were seen, I will not say quite as distinct as
I can see the upper part of St. David's parish from this
Garn, but much more detailed. We could see fences.


roads, and gateways leading to the farmyard, but in the
haze it looked more like a panoramic view than a veritable
landscape. Similar mirages may possibly have caused our
old tadau to think these were the abode of the fairies.'

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


Mr. Craigfryn Hughes, the author of a Welsh
novelette' with its scene laid in Glamorgan, having
induced me to take a copy, I read it and found it full of
local colouring. Then I ventured to sound the author
on the question of fairy tales, and the reader will be
able to judge how hearty the response has been.
Before reproducing the tale which Mr. Hughes has
sent me, I will briefly put into Enghsh his account
of himself and his authorities. Mr. Hughes lives at the
Quakers' Yard: in the neighbourhood of Pontyprid, in
Glamorganshire. His father was not a believer ^ in

■ y Ferch Gefn Ydfa (' The Maid of Cefn Ydfa '), by Isaac Craigfryn
Hughes, pubUshed by Messrs. Daniel Owen, Howell & Co., Cardiff, 1881.

' In a letter dated February 9, 1899, he states, however, that as regards
folklore the death of his father at the age of seventy-six, in the year 1889,
had been a great loss to him ; for he adds that he was perfectly familiar


tales about fairies or the like, and he learned all he
knows of the traditions about them in his father's
absence, from his grandmother and other old people.
The old lady's name was Rachel Hughes. She was
born at Pandy Pont y Cymmer, near Pontypool, or Pont
ap Hywel as Mr. Hughes analyses the name, in the
year 1773, and she had a vivid recollection of Edmund
Jones of the Tranch, of whom more anon, coming
from time to time to preach to the Independents there.
She came, however, to live in the parish of ILanfabon,
near the Quakers' Yard, when she was only twelve
years of age ; and there she continued to live to the
day of her death, which took place in 1864, so that she
was about ninety-one years of age at the time.
Mr. Hughes adds that he remembers many of the old
inhabitants besides his grandmother, who were perfectly
familiar with the story he has put on record ; but only
two of them were alive when he wrote to me in 1881,
and these were both over ninety years old, with their
minds overtaken by the childishness of age ; but it was
only a short time since the death of another, who was,
as he says, a walking library of tales about corpse
candles, ghosts, and Bendith y Mamau^, or 'The
Mothers' Blessing,' as the fairies are usually called in
Glamorgan. Mr. Hughes' father tried to prevent his
children being taught any tales about ghosts, corpse

with the traditions of the neighbourhood and had associated with older men.
Among the latter he had been used to talk with an old man whose father re-
membered Cromwell passing on his way to destroy the Iron Works of Pant
y Gwaith, where the Cavaliers had had a cannon cast, which was afterwards
used in the engagement at St. Fagan's.

' This term is sometimes represented as being Bendith eu Mamau, ' their
Mother's Blessing,' as if each fairy were such a delightful offspring as to
constitute himself or herself a blessing to his or her mother ; but I have not
found satisfactory evidence to the currency of Bendith eu Mamau, or, as it
would be pronounced in Glamorgan, Bendith i Mama. On the whole,
therefore, perhaps one may regard the name as pointing back to the Celtic
goddesses known in Gaul in Roman times as the Mothers.


candles, or fairies ; but the grandmother found oppor-
tunities of telling them plenty, and Mr. Hughes vividly
describes the effect on his mind when he was a boy,
how frightened he used to feel, how he pulled the clothes
over his head in bed, and how he half suffocated himself
thereby under the effects of the fear with which the
tales used to fill him. Then, as to the locality, he makes
the following remarks : — ' There are few people who
have not heard something or other about the old grave-
yard of the Quakers, which was made by Lydia Phil,
a lady who lived at a neighbouring farm house, called
Cefn y Fforest. This old graveyard lies in the eastern
corner of the parish of Merthyr Tydfil, on land called
Pantannas, as to the meaning of which there is much
controversy. Some will have it that it is properly Pant
yr Aros, or the Hollow of the Staying, because travellers
were sometimes stopped there overnight by the swell-
ing of the neighbouring river ; others treat it as Pant yr
Hanes, the Hollow of the Legend, in allusion to the
following story. But before the graveyard was made,
the spot was called Rhyd y Grug, or the Ford of the
Heather, which grows thereabouts in abundance. In
front of the old graveyard towards the south the rivers
Taff and Bargoed, which some would make into Byrgoed
or Short-Wood, meet with each other, and thence rush
in one over terrible cliffs of rock, in the recesses of
which lie huge cerwyni or cauldron-like pools, called
respectively the Gerwyn Fach, the Gerwyn Fawr, and
the Gerwyn Ganol, where many a drowning has taken
place. As one walks up over Tarren y Crynwyr, " the
Quakers' Rift," until Pantannas is reached, and proceeds
northwards for about a mile and a half, one arrives at
a farm house called Pen Craig Daf ^ " the Top of the

' On Pen Craig Daf Mr. Hughes gives the following note : — It was the
residence of Dafyd" Morgan or ' Counsellor Morgan,' who, he says, was


Taff Rock." The path between the two houses leads
through fertile fields, in which may be seen, if one has
eyes to observe, small rings which are greener than the
rest of the ground. They are, in fact, green even as
compared with the greenness around them — these are
the rings in which Bendith y Mamau used to meet to
sing and dance all night. If a man happened to get
inside one of these circles when the fairies were there,
he could not be got out in a hurry, as they would charm
him and lead him into some of their caves, where they
would keep him for ages, unawares to him, listening to
their music. The rings vary greatly in size, but in
point of form they are all round or oval. I have heard
my grandmother,' says Mr. Hughes, ' reciting and sing-
ing several of the songs which the fairies sang in these
rings. One of them began thus : —

Canu, canu, drwy y nos, Singing, singing, through the night,

Dawnsio, dawnsio, ar Waeny Rhos Dancing, dancing with our might,

Y' ngoUuni'r iteuad dlos : Where the moon the moor doth light,
Hapusydym nil Happy ever we I

Pawb ohonom sydyn tton One and all of merry mien,

Heb un gofid dan eifron : Without sorrow are we seen,

Canu, dawnsio, ary ton ' — Singing, dancing on the green,

Dedwydydym ni! Gladsome ever we !

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

Yn un o'r canrifoed a aethant heibio, preswyliai
amaethwr yn nhySyn Pantannas, a'r amser hwnnw yr

executed on Kennington Common for taking the side of the Pretender. He
had retreated to Pen y Graig, where his abode was, in order to conceal
himself; but he was discovered and carried away at night. Here follows
a verse from an old ballad about him : —

Dafyd Morgan ffel a ffol, Taffy Morgan, sly and daft,

Fe aeth yn ol ei liyder : He did his bent go after :

Fe Heidod naid at rebel haid He leaped a leap to a rebel swarm,

Pan drod o blaid Pretender. To arm for a Pretender.

' A ton is any green field that is used for grazing and not meant to be
mown, land which has, as it were, its skin of grassy turf unbroken for years
by the plough.


oed^ bendith y mamau yn ymwelwyr ami ag amryw
gaeau perthynol icto ef, a theimlai yntau gryn gasineb
yn ei fynwes at yr ^ airas fwstrog, leisiog, a chyn-
ttwynig' fel y galwai hwynt, a mynych yr hiraethai am
attu dyfod o hyd i ryw Iwybr er cael eu gwared odtyno.
O'r diweS hysbyswyd ef gan hen reibwraig, fod y fforS
i gael eu gwared yn digon hawd^, ac ond idb ef rodi
godro un hwyr a boreu idi hi, yr hysbysai y fforS ido
gyrraed yr hyn a favor Symunai. Bod'lonod' fw thelerau
a derbyniod yntau y cyfarwydyd, yr hyn ydoeS fel y
canlyn : — Ez fod i aredig yr hott gaeau i ba rat yr oed"
eu hoff ymgyrchfan, ac ond id'ynt hwy unwaith goiti
y ton glas, y digient, ac na deuent byth mwy i'w boeni
drwy eu hymweliadau a'r tte.

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

Hauod yr amaethwr wenith, &c., yn y caeau, ac yr
oed y gwanwyn gwyrd'las wedi gwthio y gauaf odiar ei
sed, ac ymdangosai y maesydyn arderchog yn eu ttifrai
gwyrdleision a gwanwynol.

Ond un prydnawn, ar ol i'r haul ymgilio i yst feltoed
y goritewin, tra yr oeS amaethwr Pantannas yn dy-
chwelyd tua ei gartref cyfarfydwyd ag ef gan fod bychan
ar ffurf dyn, yn gwisgo hugan goch ; a phan daeth
gyferbyn ag ef dadweinioS ei gled' bychan, gan gyfeirio
ei flaen at yr amaethwr, a dywedyd,

Dial a (taw,
Y mae geritaw.

Ceisiod yr amaethwr chwcrthin, ond yr oed" rhywbeth
yn edrychiad sarrug a ttym y gwr bychan ag a barod^ ido
deimlo yn hynod o annymunol.


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

Daw dial.

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

Fel agy mae yn naturiol i nifedwl teimloctyr amaethwr
yn fawr oherwyS y tro, ac edifarhaoct yn ei galon darfod
idb erioed wrando a gwneuthuryn ol cyfarwydyd yr hen
reibwraig, ac fetty ^wyn amo digofaint a chasineb Ben-
dith y Mamau.

Drannoeth tr noswaith y ttosgwyd yr yd fel yr oed'yn

arolygu y difrod achoswyd gan y tan, wele'r gwr bychan

ag ydoed' wedi ei gyfarfod ychydig o dtwmodau yn

flaenorol yn ei gyfarfod eilwaith a chyda threm herfeidiol

pwyntioS ei gledyf ato gan dywedyd,

Nid yw ond dechreu.

Trod" gwyneb yr amaethwr cyn wynned a'r marmor,
a safoS gan alw y gwr bychan yn ol, ond bu y cor yn
hynod o wydn ac anewyttysgar i droi ato, ond ar ol Mr
erfyn amo troS yn ei ol gan ofyn yn sarrug beth yr oect
yr amaethwr yn ei geisio, yr hwn a hysbysoS iSo ei fod
yn berffaith fodlon i adael y caeau tte yr oed eu hoff
ymgyrchfan i dyfu yn don eilwaith, a rhoSi caniatad
idynt i dyfod idynt pryd y dewisent, ond yn unig idynt
beidio dial eu ttid yn mhettach amo ef.

' Na' oed'yr atebiad penderfynol, ' y mae gair y brenin
wedi ei roi y byS idb ymctial amat hyd eithaf ei attu ac


nid oes dim un gattu ar wyneh y greadigaeth a bair icto
gael ei dynnu yn ol.'

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

Adawod: yr amaethwr dyfod i'w gyfarfod, a phan
dizeth yr amser apwyntiedig o amgylch idb i gyfarfod a'r
bychan cafoS ef yno yn ei aros, ac hysbysoS idb fod
y pennaeth wedi ystyried ei gais yn dtfrifol, ond gan fod
ei air bob amser yn anghyfnewidiol y buasai y dialed
bygythiedig yn rhwym gymeryd tte ar y teulu, ond ar
gyfrifei edifeirwch ef na chawsai digwyct yn ei amser ef
nac eidb ei blant

E.onydbd' hynny gryn lawer ar fedwl terfysglyd yr
amaethwr, a dechreuod Bendith y Mamau. dalu eu hym-
weliadau a'r tie eilwaith a mynych y clywid sain eu
cerdoriaeth felusber yn codi o'r caeau amgylchynol yn
ystod y nos.

* * * * *

PasioS canrif heibio heb i'r dialed' bygythiedig gael ei
gyflawni, ac er fod teulu Pantannas yn cael eu hadgqfio
yn awr ac eilwaith, y buasai yn sicr Sigwyct hwyr neu
hwyrach, eto wrth hir glywed y waect.

Daw dial,

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

Yr oed ctifed Pantannas yn cam a merch i dir-
fediannyd cymydogaethol a breswyliai mewn tydyn o'r emu
Pen Craig Daf Yr oedpriodasy par dedwyS i gymeryd
tte yn mhen ychydig wythnosau ac ymdangosai rhieni y
cwpl ieuanc yn hynod fodlon tr ymuniad teuluol ag
oed: ar gymeryd tte.

N 2


Yr oed: yn amser y Nadolig—a ihalod: y darpar voraig
ieuanc ymweliad a theulu ei darpar wr, ac yr oedyno
wled wyd rostiedig yn baratoedig gogyfer a'r achlysur.

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

Daeth amser ymdial.

Aethant ott attan i wrando a glywent y tteferyd eil-
waiih, ond nid oed dim iw glywed ond brochus drwst y
dwfr wrth raiadru dros glogwyni aruthrol y cerwyni.
Ond ni chawsant aros i wrando yn hir iawn cyn idynt
glywed yr un tteferyd eilwaith yn dyrchafu i fyny yn
uwch na swn y dwfr pan yn bwrlymu dros ysgwydau y
graig, ac yn gwaedi,

Daeth yr amser.

Nis gaiteni dyfalu beth yr oed yn ei arwydo, a
chymaint ydoed eu braw a'u syndod fel nad attent lefaru
yr un gair a'u gilyd. Yn mhen ennyd dychwelasant
i'r ty a chyn idynt eisted credent yn dios fod yr adeilad
yn cael ei ysgwyd id ei sylfeini gan ryw dwrf y tu
attan. Pan yr oed yr ott wedi cael eu parlysio gan
fraw, wele fenyw fechan yn gwneuthur ei hymdangosiad ar
y bwrdo'u blaen,yr hwn oedyn sefyttyn agos Hrffenestr.
' Beth yr wyt yn ei geisio yma, y peth bychan hagr ? '
holai un oV gwy^odolion.

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


'Atolwg OS oes yn dy fectiant ryw voybodaeth parth
dyfodol rhai o honont ag a fydai yn dydorol i ni gael
ei glywed, dwg hi attan,' ebai un aratt o'r gwyotfodolion.

' Na Tumaf, ond yn unig hysbysu, fod calon gwyryf feP
"ttong ar y traeth yn methu cyrraect y porthlad oherwyd
digalondid y pilot.'

A chyda ei bod yn ttefaru y gair diwediaf diflannoct
o'u gwyct, na wyddi neb i ba le na pha fod!

Drwy ystod ei hymweliad hi, peidioSy waeS a godasai
o'r afon, ond yn fuan ar ol idi diflannu, dechreuod eil-
waith a chyhoedi

Daeih amser dial,

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

Cyn ymadael a'i fun dywedir idynt dyngu bythol
ffydlondeb i'w gilyd:, pe heb weled y naitt y ttatt byth
ond hynny, ac nad oed dim a attai beri idynt anghqfio
eu gilyS.

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

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


Ychydig i fyny yn y cwm mewn ogof danSaearol
trigfannai hen feudwy oedrannus, yr hwn hefyd aystyrrid
yn dewin, o'r enw GweiryS. Aethant yn mhen ychydig
~wythnosau i ofyn idb ef, a fedrai rodt idynt ryw wybo-
daeth parthed i'w mab cotfedig — ond i ychydig bwrpas.
Ni wnaeth yr hyn a adrodbd; hwnnw wrthynt ond
dyfnhau y clwyf a rhoi golwg fwy anobeithiol fyfh ar yr
amgylchiad. Ar ol iSynt ei hysbysu ynghylchymdangosiad
y fenyw fechan ynghyd a'r ftais wylofus a glywsent yn
dyrchafu o'r afon y nos yr aeth ar gott, hysbysod' efe
idynt mai y farn fygythiedig ar y teulu gan Fendith y
Mamau oeS wedi godiwedid y ttanc, ac nad oed o un
diben idynt fedwl cael ei weled byth mwyach! Ond
feattai y gwnelai ei ymdangosiad yn mhen. oesau, ond
dim yn eu hamser hwy.

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

Edrychai nes yn agos bod yn daft, ac wylai ei henaid
attan o dyd i dyd ar ol anwyldyn ei chalon. O'r diwed
aeth y rhai syd yn edrych drwy y ffenestri i omed eu
gwasanaeth idi, ac yr oed y pren almon yn coroni ei


phen a'i flagur gwyryfol, ondparhai hi i edrych, ondnid
oect neb yn dod. Yn ttawn SySiau ac yn aedfed i'r
bed" rhodivyd terfyn ar ei hott obeithion a'i disgwyliadau
gan angeu, a Mudwyd ei gwedittion marwol i fynwent
hen Gapel y Fan.

Pasiai blynydoed heibio fel mwg, ac oesau /el cysgodion
y boreu, ac nid oed neb yn fyw ag oed'yn cofio Rhyderch,
ond adrodid ei gotfiad disymwyth yn ami. Dylasem
fynegu na welwyd yr un Fendith y Mamau odeutu y
gymydogaeth wedi ei gottiad, a pheidiod' sain eu cerdbr-
iaeth o'r nos honno attan.

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

Prysurod eilwaith tua Phantannas, ac yr oed ci syndod
yn fwy fyth yno ! Nid oed yn adwaen yr un honynt,
ac ni wydent hwythau dim am dano yntau. O'r diwed
daeth gwr y ty i fewn, ac yr oed hwnnw yn cofio clywed
ci dad cu yn adrod am lane ag oed wedi myned yn
disymwyth i gott er ys peth cannoed o flynydbed yn ol,
ond na wydai neb i ba le. RywfoS neu gilyd: tarawod
gwr y ty ei ffon yn erbyn Rhyderch, pa un a Siflannod:


mewn cawod o Iwch, ac ni chlywyd air o son beth diaeth
o hono mwyach.

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

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

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

' But one evening, when the sun had retired to the
chambers of the west, and when the farmer of Pantannas

> On this Mr. Hughes has a note to the effect that the whole of one
milking used to be given in Glamorgan to workmen for assistance at the
harvest or other work, and that it was not unfrequently enough for the
making of two cheeses.


was returning home, he was met by a diminutive being
in the shape of a man, with a red coat on. When he
had come right up to him, he unsheathed his Httle
sword, and, directing the point towards the farmer, he
said : —

Vengeance cometh,
Fast it approacheth.

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

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

Vengeance cometh.

' When, however, the corn was reaped and ready to
be carried to the barn, it was, all of a sudden, burnt up
one night, so that neither an ear nor a straw of it could
be found an3rwhere in the fields ; and now nobody could
have set the corn on fire but the fairies.

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

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

It but beginneth.

The farmer's face turned as white as marble, and
he stood calling the little fellow to come back ; but the


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

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

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

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

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

' A century passed by without seeing the threatened
vengeance carried into effect ; and, though the Pantannas
family were reminded now and again that it was certain


sooner or later to come, nevertheless, by long hearing
the voice that said —

Vengeance cometb,

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

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

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

' The company sat round the fire to relate amusing
tales to pass the time, when they were greatly frightened
by a piercing voice, rising, as it were, from the bed of
the river 1, and shrieking : —

The time for revenge is come.

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

The time is come.

' They could not guess what it meant, and so great
was their fright and astonishment, that no one could
utter a word to another. Shortly they returned to the

' Since this was first printed I have learnt from Mr. Hughes that the first
cry issued from the Black Cauldron in the Taflf (oV Gerwyn >u ar Daf),
which I take to be a pool in that river.


house, when they beheved that beyond doubt the
building was being shaken to its foundations by some
noise outside. When all were thus paralysed by fear,
behold a little woman made her appearance on the
table, which stood near the window.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The time of vengeance is come;

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


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

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

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

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

'Time rolled on, weeks grew into months, and
months into years, until Rhyderch's father and



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

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

' The Fan is the highest mountain in the parish of Merthyr Tydfil,
Mr. Hughes tells me : he adds that there was on its side once a chapel with
a burial ground. Its history seems to be lost, but human bones have, as he
states, been frequently found there.


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

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

Before leaving Glamorgan, I may add that Mr. Sikes
associates fairy ladies with Crymlyn Lake, between
Briton Ferry and Swansea ; but, as frequently happens
with him, he does not deign to tell us whence he got
the legend. ' It is also believed,' he says at p. 35, ' that
a large town lies swallowed up there, and that the
Gwragect Annwn have turned the submerged walls to
use as the superstructure of their fairy palaces. Some
claim to have seen the towers of beautiful castles hfting
their battlements beneath the surface of the dark



waters, and fairy bells are at times heard ringing from
these towers.' So much by the way : we shall return
to Crymlyn in chapter vii.


The other day, as I was going to Gwent, I chanced
to be in the Golden Valley in Herefordshire, where
the names in the churchyards seem largely to imply
a Welsh population, though the Welsh language has
not been heard there for ages. Among others I
noticed Joneses and Williamses in abundance at
Abbey Dore, Evanses and Bevans, Morgans, Prossers
and Prices, not to mention Sayces — that is to say,
Welshmen of English extraction or education — a name
which may also be met with in Little England in
Pembrokeshire, and probably on other English-Welsh
borders. Happening to have to wait for a train
at the Abbey Dore station, I got into conversation
with the tenants of a cottage hard by, and intro-
duced the subject of the fairies. The old man knew
nothing about them, but his wife, Elizabeth Williams,
had been a servant girl at a place called Pen Poch,
which she pronounced with the Welsh guttural ch : she
said that it is near ILandeilo Cressenny in Monmouth-
shire. It was about forty years ago when she served at
Pen Poch, and her mistress' name was Evans, who
was then about fifty years of age. Now Mrs. Evans
was in the habit of impressing on her servant girls'
minds, that, unless they made the house tidy before
going to bed, and put everything in its place overnight,
the hltle people — the fairies, she thinks she called them
—would leave them no rest in bed at night, but would
come and ' pinch them like.' If they put everything in
its place, and left the house ' tidy like,' it would be all


right, and ' nobody would do anything to them like.'
That is all I could get from her without prompting her,
which I did at length by suggesting to her that the
fairies might leave the tidy servants presents, a shilling
'on the hearth or the hob like.' YeSj she thought
there was something of that sort, and her way of
answering me suggested that this was not the first
time she had heard of the shilling. She had never been
lucky enough to have had one herself, nor did she
know of anybody else that ' had got it like.'

During a brief but very pleasant sojourn at ILanover
in May, 1883, I made some inquiries about the fairies,
and obtained the following account from William Wil-
liams, who now, in his seventieth year, works in Lady
ILanover's garden : — ' I know of a family living a little

way from here at , or as they would now call it in

English , whose ancestors, four generations ago,

used to be kind to Bendith y Mamau, and always
welcomed their visits by leaving at night a basinful of
bread and milk for them near the fire. It always used
to be eaten up before the family got up in the morning.
But one night a naughty servant man gave them instead
of milk a bowlful of urine ^ They, on finding it out,
threw it about the house and went away disgusted.
But the servant watched in the house the following
night. They found him out, and told him that he had
made fools of them, and that in punishment for his crime
there would always be a fool, i. e. an idiot, in his family.
As a matter of fact, there was one among his children
afterwards, and there is one in the family now. They
have always been in a bad way ever since, and they
never prosper. The name of the man who originally

' The above, I am sorry to say, is not the only instance of this nasty trick
associating itself with Gwent, as will be seen from the story of Bwc<Cr Trwyn
in chapter z.




offended the fairies was ; and the name of the

present fool among his descendants is .' For

evident reasons it is not desirable to publish the names.

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

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

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

Lastly, Mrs. Gardner of Ty Uchaf ILanover, who
is ninety years of age, remembers having a field close
to Capel Newyd near Blaen Afon, in ILanover Uchaf,
pointed out to her as containing fairy rings ; and she
recollects hearing, when she was a child, that a man had
got into one of them. He remained away from home,
as they always did, she said, a whole year and a day ;
but she has forgotten how he was recovered. Then
she went on to say that her father had often got up in
the night to see that his horses were not taken out and
ridden about the fields by Bendithy Mamau ; for they
were wont to ride people's horses late at night round
the four corners of the fields, and thereby they often


broke the horses' wind. This, she gave me to under-
stand, was believed in the parish of ILanover and that
part of the country generally. So here we have an
instance probably of confounding fairies with witches.

I have not the means at my command of going at length
into the folklore of Gwent, so I will merely mention where
the reader may find a good deal about it. I have already
introduced the name of the credulous old Christian,
Edmund Jones of the Tranch : he published at Trefecca
in the year 1779 a small volume entitled, A Geogra-
phical, Historical, and Religious Account of the Parish
of Aberystruth in the County of Monmouth, to which are
added Memoirs of several Persons of Note who lived in
the said Parish. In 1813, by which time he seems to
have left this world for another, where he expected to
understand all about the fairies and their mysterious
life, a small volume of his was published at Newport,
bearing the title, A Relation of Apparitions of Spirits in
the County of Monmouth and the Principality of Wales,
with other notable Relations from England, together with
Observations about them, and Instructions from them,
designed to confute and to prevent the Infidelity of denying
the Being and Apparition of Spirits, which tends to
Irreligion and Atheism. By the late Rev. Edmund Jones,
of the Tranch. Naturally those volumes have been laid
under contribution by Mr. Sikes, though the tales about
apparitions in them are frequently of a ghastly nature,
and sometimes loathsome : on the whole, they remind
me more than anything else I have ever read of certain
Breton tales which breathe fire and brimstone : all such
begin to be now out of fashion in Protestant countries.
I shall at present only quote a passage of quite a
different nature from the earlier volume, p. 72 — it is an
interesting one, and it runs thus : — ' It was the general
opinion in times past, when these things were very

o 2


frequent, that the fairies knew whatever was spoken in
the air without the houses, not so much what was
spoken in the houses. I suppose they chiefly knew
what was spoken in the air at night. It was also said
that they rather appeared to an uneven number of per-
sons, to one, three, five, &c. ; and oftener to men than
to women. Thomas William Edmund, of Havodavel,
an honest pious man, who often saw them, declared
that they appeared with one bigger than the rest going
before them in the company.' With the notion that the
fairies heard everything uttered out of doors may be
compared the faculty attributed to the great magician
king. Math ab Mathonwy, of hearing any whisper what-
soever that met the wind : see the Oxford Mabinogion,
p. 60, and Guest's Mabinogion, iii. 219 ; see also respec-
tively pp. 94, 96, and pp. 308, 310, as to the same faculty
belonging to the fairy people of the Corannians, and the
strange precautions taken against them by the brothers
ILud and ILevelys.

Fairy Ways and Words

Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy !


In the previous chapters, the fairy lore of the Princi-
pality 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 pos-
sible, 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 ^ 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

' This chapter, except where a later date is suggested, may be regarded
as written in the summer of 1883.


some of them together as I found them. I began at
Trefriw^, 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 ILanrwst, 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 ILanrwst 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 ILanrwst ; 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

' Trefriw means the town of the slope or hillside, and stands for Tref
y Riw, not in/y Rhiw, which would have yielded Treffriui, for there is
a tendency in Gwyned' to make the mutation after the definite article
conform to the general rule, and to say^ law, 'the hand,' and^ raw, 'the
spade,' instead of what would be in books > ttaui and y rhaw from _y^ ffaw and
yr rhaw.


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 SyHty, who was a change-
ling. 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 ILanrwst still : that is,
relatives of his mother, if indeed she was his mother
(os oed" hi'n fam icto fa, ynte). 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 ta place her tail at least in the
water. A very crude rhyme describes her dying of
exposure to the cold, thus : —

Yforforwyn ary traeth, The stranded mermaid on the beach

Crio gwaedu^n arm wnaeth, Did sorely cry and sorely screech,

Ofn y deuai drydn drannoeih : Afraid to bide the morrow's breeze :

Yr hinyn oer a rhewi wnaeth. 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 ILansanfifraid 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 exceed-
ing 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 igaera). 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 Sion Catrin of Tyn Twtt, finding a penny
every day at the pistytt or water-spout near the house,
when he went there to fetch water. The flat land
between Trefriw and ILanrwst had on it a great many
fairy rings, and some of them are, according to Mac-
laren, still to be seen. There the fairies used to dance,
and when a young man got into one of the rings the
fairy damsels took him away ; but he could be got out
unharmed at the end of a year and a day, when he
would be found dancing with them in the same ring :
he must then be dexterously touched by some one of his
friends with a piece of iron and dragged out at once.
This is the way in which a young man whom my notes
connect with a place called Bryn Glas was recovered.
He had gone out with a friend, who lost him, and he
wandered into a fairy ring. He had new shoes on at the
time, and his friends brought him out at the end of the
interval of a year and a day ; but he could not be made
to understand that he had been away more than five
minutes, until he was asked to look at his new shoes,
which were by that time in pieces. Maclaren had also
something to say concerning the history and habitat of
the fairies. Those of Nant Conwy dress in green ; and
his mother, who died about sixty-two years ago, aged
forty-seven, had told him that they lived seven years on
the earth, seven years in the air, and seven years under-
ground. He also had a mermaid tale, Hke that of Pergrin
from Dyfed, p. 163. A fisherman from ILandritto yn
Rhos, between Colwyn and ILandudno, had caught


a mermaid in his net. She asked to be set free, pro-
mising that she would, in case he compUed, 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 : Swn I/an, cwyddy 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 myste-
rious afanc, already mentioned, p. 130, and Maclaren
stated that its name used to be employed within his
memory to frighten girls and children : so much was it
still dreaded. Perhaps I ought to have stated that
Maclaren is very fond of music, and that he told me of
a gentleman at Conway who had taken down in writing
a supposed fairy tune. I have made inquiries of the
latter's son, Mr. Hennessy Hughes of Conway; but his
father's papers seem to have been lost, so that he cannot
find the tune in question, though he has heard of it.

Whilst on this question of music let me quote from
the ILwyd 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*, and into which the musicians

' Why the writer spells the name Criccieth in this way I cannot tell,
except that he was more or less under the influence of the more intelligible
spelling Crugcaith, as where Lewis Glyn Cothi, I. xxiv, sang

Rhys ab Sion d'r hysbys iaith,
Gwr yw acw Grugcaith.

This spelling postulates the interpretation Crug-Caith, earlier Crug y Ceith,
' the mound or barrow of the captives,' in reference to some forgotten
interment ; but when the accent receded to the first syllable the second was
slurred almost out of recognition, so that Crug-ceiih, or Cruc-ceith, became
Crucelh, whence Cnicitth and Criaelh. The Brufs have Crugyeiih the only
time it occurs, and the Record of Carnarvon (several times) Krukyth.



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 Pibyd; " Dick the Piper's
Farewell," and Ffarwel Dwm Bach, " Little Tom's Fare-
well," had those names, unless it was from the musi-
cians 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 supposi-
tion, which had been suggested by this air of Ffarwel
Die y Pibyd.'

A story, however, mentioned by Cyndelw in the
Brython for i860, 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 lolo'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 Nod, so that every Halloween he may be
found cheering Cwn Annwn, ' the Hounds of the Other
World/ over Cader Idris ^-

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 ILwyn Ysgaw near Mynyd Mechett, 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
ILyn 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 diminu-
tive 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 ILyn y Bwch there were

• Out of excessive fondness for our Arthur English people translate this
name into Arthur's Seat instead of Idris' Seat ; but Idris was also somebody 1
he was a giant with a liking for the study of the stars. But let that be :
I wish to say a word concerning his name : Idris may be explained as
meaning 'War-champion,' or the like ; and, phonologically speaking, it comes
from lu(t-fys, which was made successively into Id-rys, Idris. The syllable
iult meant battle or Ught, and it undergoes a variety of forms in Welsh
names. Thus before , r, I, and w, it becomes id, as in Idnerth, Idloes, and
Idwal, while lutt-hael yields Ilhel, whence Ab Ithel, anglicized Bethel. At
the end, however, it is yit or uS, as in Gruffult or Gruffyd, from Old Welsh
Grippiui, and Martduet or MeredyCt for an older Marget-iud. By itself it is
possibly the word which the poets write vS, and understand to mean lord ;
but if these forms are related, it must have originally meant rather a
fighter, spldier, or champion.



plenty of fairy rings to be seen in the grass ; and it is
in them the fairies were supposed to dance ^.

From ILanrwst I went up to see the bard and anti-
quary, Mr. Gethin Jones. His house was prettily situ-
ated 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 Werdbn, which means ' The Green Land/ or more
literally, ' The Greenery,' so to say. It was well known
for its green, grassy fairy rings, formerly frequented
by the Tylwyth Teg ; and he said he could distinguish
some of the rings even then from where he stood. The
Werdon is on the Bennar, and the Bennar is the high
ground between Penmachno and Dolwydelan. The
spot in question is on the part nearest to the Conwy
Falls. This name, Y Werdbn, is liable to be con-
founded with IwerSon, ' Ireland,' which is commonly
treated as if it began with the definite article, so that
it is made into Y Werdbn and Werdon. The fairy
Werdon, in the radical form Gwerdon, not only recalls
to my mind the Green Isles called Gwerdonau Lion,
but also the saying, common in North Wales, that
a person in great anxiety ' sees Y Werdon.' Thus, for
instance, a man who fails to return to his family at the
hour expected, and believes his people to be in great
anxiety about him, expresses himself by saying that
they will have ' seen the Werdon on my account ' {mt
fydan' wedi gweUdy Werdon am dana'i). Is that Ireland,
or is it the land of the fairies, the other world, in fact ?

' There is a special similarity between this and an Anglesey story given
by Howells, p. 138 : it consists in the sequence of seeing the fairies dance
and finding money left by them. Why was the money left


If the latter, it might simply mean they will have died
of anxiety ; but I confess I have not so far been able to
decide. I am not aware that the term occurs in any
other form of expression than the one I have given ; if
it had, and if the Werdon were spoken of in some other
way, that might possibly clear up the difficulty. If it
refers to Ireland, it must imply that sighting Ireland is
equivalent to going astray at sea, meaning in this sort
of instance, getting out of one's senses ; but the Welsh
are not very much given to nautical expressions. It
reminds me somewhat of Gerald Griffin's allusion to the
Phantom City, and the penalty paid by those who catch
a glimpse of its turrets as the dividing waves expose
them for a moment to view on the western coast of
Ireland : —

Soon close the white waters to screen it,

And the bodement, they say, of the wonderful sight,

Is death to the eyes that have seen it.

The Fairy Glen above Bettws y Coed is called in
Welsh Ffos 'Nodyn, 'the Sink of the Abyss'; but
Mr. Gethin Jones told me that it was also called Glyn y
Tylwyth Teg, which is very probable, as some such
a designation is required to account for the English
name, ' the Fairy Glen.' People on the Capel Garmon
side used to see the Tylwyth playing there, and
descending into the Ffos or Glen gently and lightly
without occasioning themselves the least harm. The
Fairy Glen was, doubtless, supposed to contain an
entrance to the world below. This reminds one of the
name of the pretty hollow running inland from the
railway station at Bangor. Why should it te 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 ^, or Moel Eilian, from the personal name Eilian,
to be mentioned presently. Moel Eilian is a mountain
under which the fairies were supposed to have great
stores of treasure. But to return to Mr. Gethin Jones,
I had almost forgotten that I have another instance of
his in point. He showed me a passage in a paper
which he wrote in Welsh some time ago on the antiqui-
ties of Yspyty Ifan. He says that where the Serw
joins the Conwy there is a cave, to which tradition
asserts that a harpist was once allured by the Tylwyth
Teg. He was, of course, not seen afterwards, but the
echo of the music made by him and them on their
harps is still to be heard a little lower down, under the
field called to this day Gweirglod y Telynorion, ' The
Harpers' Meadow': compare the extract from Edward
ILwyd's correspondence at p. 202 above.

Mr. Gethin Jones also spoke to me of the lake called
ILyn 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 ILyn ILifon ; so the moor around it was called
Gwaen ILifon. 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 ILifon and the Gwaith (or Mine) of Gwaen
ILifon : they are, I understand, within the township of
Trefriw. The name ILyn ILifon is of great interest
when taken in connexion with the Triadic account of
the cataclysm called the Bursting of ILyn ILi[f]on.
Mr. Gethin Jones, however, believed himself that ILyn

' It was so called by the poet D. ab Gwilym, cxcii. la, when he sang :

/ odi ac i luchio To bring snow and drifting flakes

O^iar lechwed Moel Eilio. From off Moel Eilio'S slope.


ILfon 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 ILandwrog in order
to see Dinas Dinlte, and to ascertain what traditions
still existed there respecting Caer Arianrhod, ILew
]Lawgyffe.s, Dylan Eilton, and other names that figure
in the Mabinogi of Math ah Mathonwy. I called first
on the schoolmaster, and he kindly took me to the
clerk, Hugh Evans, a native of the neighbourhood of
ILangefni, 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 Dintte 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 pre-
fixed a synonym of caer, namely, tref, reduced to tri,
just as Carmarthen is frequently called Tre' Gaerfyrfin.
Cae'r 'Loda' is explained as Cae'r Aelodau', ' The Field
of the Limbs ' ; but I am sorry to say that I forgot to


note the story explanatory of the name. It is given,
I think, to a farm, and so is Bed Gwennan likewise the
name of a farm house. The tenant of the latter, William
Roberts, was at home when I visited the spot. He
told me the same story, but with a variation : three
sisters had come from Tregan Anrheg to fetch pro-
visions, when their city was overflowed. Gwen fled to
the spot now called Bed Gwennan, Elan to Tydyn Elan,
or Elan's Holding, and Maelan to Rhos Maelan, or
Maelan's Moor ; all three are names of places in the
immediate neighbourhood.

From Dinas Dinlie I was directed across Lord New-
borough's grounds at Glynttifon to Pen y Groes Station ;
but on my way I had an opportunity of questioning
several of the men employed at GlynHifon. One of
these was called William Thomas Solomon, an intelli-
gent 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
D6n, and Maelan bi D6n. 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 modi-
fication 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 Don, which
puzzles me not a little. Arianrhod was daughter of
D6n, and so several other characters in the same Mahi-
nogi were children of D6n. But what is bi Don?
I have noticed that all the Welsh antiquaries who take
Don out of books invariably call that personage D6n 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 Don 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 Don 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 pro-
nunciation 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, ap-
plied to Gwennan bi Don, 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 Glynttifon 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
Djdan 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 oect gwr a gwraig yn byw yn y Garth Dorwen '
ryw gyfnod maith yn ol, ag aethant i Gaer'narfon i
gyflogi morwyn ar ctyS ffair G'langaeaf, ag yr oect yn
arferiad gan feibion a merched y pryd hynny i'r rhai
oedyn sefytt attan am lefyS aros yn top y maes presennol
wrth boncan las oeS yn y fan y tte saif y Post-office
presennol ; aeth yr hen wr a'r hen wraig at y fan yma
a gwelent eneth Ian a gwattt ntelyn yn sefytt 'chydig o'r
neiltdu i bawb aratt ; aeth yr hen wraig ati a gofynnod
i'r eneth oed arni eisiau tte. Atebod' fod, ag fetty
cyflogwyd yr eneth yn dioed a daeth i'w tte i'r amser
penodedig. Mi fydai yn arferiad yr adeg hynny o nydu
ar ol swper yn hirnos y gauaf ag fe fydai y forwyn yn
myn'd i'r weirglod i nydu wrth oleu y ttoer; ag fe
fydai tylwyth teg yn dwad ati hi i'r weirglod i ganu a
dawnsio. A ryw bryd yn y gwanwyn pan esdynnod'
y dyd diangod Eilian gyd ar tylwythion teg i ffwrd', ag
ni welwyd 'mo'ni mwyach. Mae y cae y gwelwyd hi
diwethaf yn cael ci alw hyd y dyd hedyw yn Gae Eilian
a'r weirglod yn Weirglod y Forwyn. Mi'r oed^ hen

' 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^ Garth Dorwen, ' the white-
bellied garth or hill," is not a very likely name either.


wraig y Garth Dorwen yn arfer rhoi gwragect yn eu
gwldu, a bydat pawb yn cyrchu am dani o bob cyfeiriad;
a rhyw bryd dyma wr bonedig ar ei geffyl at y drws ar
noswaith loergan tteuad, a hithau yn glawio 'chydig ag
yn niwl braid', i 'not yr hen wretgan at ei wraig; agfetty
aeth yn sgil y gwr diarth ar gefn y march i Ros y Cowrt.
Ar ganol y Rhos pryd hynny V oed" poncan tted uchel yn
debyg i hen amdiffynfa a ttawer gerrig mawrion ar ei
phen a charned fawr gerrig yn yr ochor ogledbl idi,
ag mae hi i'w gweFd hyd y dyd" hedyw dan yr enw
Bryn y Pibion. Pan gyrhaed'asari y tte aethan' i ogo'
fawr ag aethan^ i 'stafett tte'r oed^ y wraig yn ei gwely,
a'r tte crandia' a welod" yr hen wraig yrioed. Ag fe
roth y wraig yn ei gwely ag aeth at y tan i drin y
babi ; ag ar ol idi orphen dyna y gwr yn dad a photel
i'r hen wraig i hire ttygaid y babi ag erfyn ami beidic
a'i gyffwr' a'i ttygaid ei hun. Ond ryw fod ar ol rhoi
y betel heibio fe daeth cosfa ar lygaid yr hen wraig
a rhwbiodei ttygaid a'r tin bys ag oeS wedi bod yn rhwbio
ttygaid y baban a gwelod' hefo V ttygad hwnnw y wraig
yn gorfed ar docyn frwyn a rhedyn crinion mewn ogo'
fawr o gerrig mawr o bob tu idi a 'chydig bach o dan
mewn rhiw gomel, a gwelod mai Eilian oed' hi, ei hen
forwyn, ag hefo'r ttygad aratt yn gwel'd y tte crandia'
a welod" yrioed. Ag yn mhen ychydig ar ol hynny aeth
i'r farchnad i Caernarfon a gweloct y gwr a gofynnod'
ido — ' Pa sud mae Eilian ?' ' O y mae hi yn bur d^a'
medai wrth yr hen wraig : ' a pha lygad yr ydych yn fy
ngwetd?' 'Hefo hwn,' medai hithau. Cymerod bab-
wyren ag a'i tynod attan ar unwaith.

' An old man and his wife lived at the Garth Dorwen
in some period a long while ago. They went to Car-
narvon to hire a servant maid at the Allhallows' ^ fair ;

' 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 2


and it was the custom then for young men and women
who stood out for places to station themselves at the
top of the present Maes, by a little green eminence
which was where the present Post-office stands. The
old man and his wife went to that spot, and saw there
a lass with yellow hair, standing a little apart from all
the others ; the old woman went to her and asked her
if she wanted a place. She replied that she did, and so
she hired herself at once and came to her place at the
time fixed. In those times it was customary during
the long winter nights that spinning should be done
after supper. Now the maid servant would go to the
meadow to spin by the light of the moon, and the Tyl-
wyth 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 horse-
back to the door one night when the moon was full,
while there was a slight rain and just a little mist, to
fetch the old woman to his wife. So she rode off behind
the stranger on his horse, and came to Rhos y Cowrt.
Now there was at that time, in the centre of the rhos,
somewhat of a rising ground that looked like an old forti-
fication, 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

May respectively. In North Cardiganshire the great hiring fair was held at
tlie former date when I was a boy, and so, as I learn from my wife, it was
in Carnarvonshire.


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 ' 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
babys 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 GlynHifon, namely,
that, when the servant girl went out to the fairies to
spin, an enormous amount of spinning used to be done.

' 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
PhUosophia Libri III (P&ris, 1567), i. 45 (pp. 81-3).



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 Carnarvon-
shire 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 ILanael-
haearn, a village on which Tre'r Ceiri, or the Town of
the Keiri, looks down in its primitive grimness from the
top of oile 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 grand-
mothers was all but equal, while his father died only
a few years ago, after nearly reaching his ninety-fifth

Story-telling was kept alive in the parish of ILanael-
haearn by the institution known there as the pilnos, or


peeling night, when the neighbours met in one another's
houses to spend the long winter evenings dressing hemp
and carding wool, though I guess that a pilnos was
originally the night when people met to peel rushes for
rushlights. When they left these merry meetings they
were ready, as Mr. Hughes says, to see anything. In
fact, he gives an instance of some people coming from
a pilnos across the mountain from Nant Gwrtheyrn
to ILithfaen, 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 him-
self: it was on the PwttheH road, as he was returning
in the grey of the morning from the house of \(\?, fiancee
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 re-
turn, 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 Glynttifon 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 Pwyli,
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 Nud 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.


With this limitation the pack ^ seems in no immediate
danger of being regarded as poaching.

To return to ILanaelhaearn, 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 ILanaelhaeam; hewas great-
grandfather to Robert Hughes' wife; and he used to
be followed by two pretty little yellow birds. He would
call to them, ' Wryd, Wryd! ' and they would come
and feed out of his hand, and when he was dying they
came and flapped their wings against his window. This
was testified to by John Thomas, of Moelfre Bach, who
was present at the time. Thomas died some twenty-
five years ago, at the age of eighty-seven. I have heard
this story from other people, but I do not know what to
make of it, though I may add that the little birds are
believed to have been angels. In Mr. Rees' Welsh
Saints, pp. 305-6, Gwryd is given as the name of a friar
who lived about the end of the twelfth century, and has
been commemorated on November i; 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 ILanaelhaearn Metho-
dist ? 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 dis-

' See the Mabinogion, pp. i-a ; Evans' Facsimilt of the Black Book of
Carmarthtn, fol, 49''-50* ; Rhys' Arthurian Legend, pp. 155-8 ; Edmund
Jones' Spirits in the County of Monmouth, pp. 39, 71, 8a ; and in this volume,
pp. i43> 93> above. I may mention that the Cornish also have had their
Cwn Annum, though the name is a different one, to wit in the phrase, ' the
Devil and his Dandy-dogs ' : see Choice Notes, pp. 78-80.


tinguished 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 ex-
pected Hafod y Gzwryt/, 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 Parches, and the angle of the sea
next to the old castle, which seems to be merely a mound,
is called Y Lynclyn, or 'The Whirlpool ' ; and this is per-
haps an important item in the localizing of Vortigem's
city there. I was informed by Mr. Hughes that the
grave of Olfyn is in this Nant, with a razed church
close by : both are otherwise quite unknown to me.
Coming away from this weird spot to the neighbourhood
of Celynnog, one finds that the Pennard of the Mabinogi
of Math is now called Pennarth, and has on it a well-
known cromlech. Of course, I did not leave Mr. Hughes
without asking him about Caer Arianrhod, and I found
that he called it Tre' Gaer Anrheg : he described it as
a stony patch in the sea, and it can, he says, be reached
on foot when the ebb is at its lowest in spring and
autumn. The story he had heard about it when he was
a boy at school with David Thomas, better known by his
bardic name of Dafyd Du Eryri, was the following : —

'Tregaer Anrheg was inhabited by a family of
robbers, and among other things they killed and
robbed a man at Glyn Iwrch, near the further wall
of Glynnffifon 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 wetd rhyfectod, 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
Dintte, 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 ILandwyn
on the opposite side of the water, which he always
crossed on foot. But one Sunday he accidentally
dropped his book of sermons into the water, and when
he had failed to recover it a gylfin-hir, or curlew, came
by, picked it up, and placed it on a stone out of the
reach of the tide. The saint prayed for the protection
and favour of the Creator for the gylfin-hir: it was
granted, and so nobody ever knows where that bird
makes its nest.'


One day in August of the same summer I went to
have another look at the old inscribed stone at Gesail
Gyfarch \ 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
ILwyn y Mafon Uchaf, where I was to see Mr. Edward
ILewelyn, 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

' As it stands now this would be unmutated Cesel Gyfarch, ' Cyfarch's
Nook,' but there never was such a name. There was, however, Elgjfarch or
Atlgjifanh and Rhygyfanh, and in such a combination as Cesel Elgyfarch
there would be every temptation to drop one unaccented ;/.



Garn, that is Carn Dolbenmaen, as having one day,
when there was a httle mist and a drizzling rain, heard
a crowd of fairies talking together in great confusion,
near a sheepfold on ILwytmor 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. ILewelyn's sister interposed to the effect that the
wife did once return and address her husband in the
rhyme, Os byct anwyd ar fy mob, &c. : see pp. 44, 55
above. Then Mr. ILewelyn 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. ILewelyn remembers the fighting
that used to take place at the fairs at Penmorfa if the
term Belsiaid once began to be heard. Mr. ILewelyn
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. Lewelyn'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 borrow-
ing from farm houses a padett and gradett for baking.
The gradett is a sort of round flat iron, on which the
dough is put, and the padett 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 ILeyn the Tylwyth are repre-
sented as borrowing padett a gradett. They seem to
have never been very strong in household furniture,
especially articles made of iron. Mr. ILewelyn had
heard that the reason why people do not see fairies
nowadays is that they have been exorcised {wedi eu
hqffrymu) 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 Getti between
Tremadoc and Pont Aberglaslyn. Her master's name
was Sion I fan, 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 Idn). 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 ^ : his instance belongs to the neighbour-
hood of Pentrevoelas, in Denbighshire.

When I was staying at Pwttheli 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 fre-
quently 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

' Owing to some oversight he has 'a clean or . dirty cow' instead of
cow-yard or cow-house, as I understand it.


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 gentle-
man 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 brew-
ing 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 some-
what 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 padett and gradett, 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 ILithfaen, Carnguwch, and ILanael-
haearn, as well as on the Merioneth side of the bay.


Besides fuel, each person present used to throw into
the fire a small stone, with a mark whereby he should
know it again. If he succeeded in finding the stone on
the morrow, the year would be a lucky one for him, but
the contrary if he failed to recover it. Those who
assisted at the making of the bonfire watched until the
flames were out, and then somebody would raise the
usual cry, when each ran away for his life, lest he
should be found last. This cry, which is a sort of
equivalent, well known over Carnarvonshire, of th^
English saying, ' The devil take the hindmost,' was in
the Welsh of that county—

Yr hwch ^u gaila^
A gipio'r ola';

that is to say, ' May the black sow without a tail seize
the hindmost.'

The cutty black sow is often alluded to nowadays to
frighten children in Arfon, and it is clearly the same
creature that is described in some parts of North Wales
as follows: —

' Cwta makes cota in the feminine in North Cardiganshire ; the word is
nevertheless only the English cully borrowed. Du, ' black,' has corre-
sponding to it in Irish, dubh. So the Welsh word seems to have passed
through the stages dyv, dyw, before yw was contracted into , which was
formerly pronounced like French , 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 oi Penardim having
baSled the redactor of the Branwen, he left the spelling unchanged : see
the (Oxford) Mabinogion, p. 26. The same sort of change which produced
du has produced cnu, ' a fleece,' as compared with cneifio, ' to fleece' ; ttuarih,
' a kitchen garden,' as compared with its Irish equivalent lubhghort.
Compare also Rhiwabon, locally pronounced Rhuabon, and Rhiwcftl'on,
occurring sometimes as Rhuotton. But the most notable r6le of this phonetic
process is exemplified by the verbal nouns ending in h, such as caru, ' to
love,' cndu, 'to believe,' tyngu, 'to swear,' in which the corresponds
to an m termination in Old Irish, as in sechem, ' to follow,' cre/em, 'belief,'
sessam or sessom, ' to stand.'



Hwch etu gwta A cutty black sow

Ar bob camfa On every stile,

Yn nyctu a chardio Spinning and carding

Bob nos G'langaea'. Every Allhallows' Eve.

In Cardiganshire this is reduced to the words : —

Nos Galan GaecC, On Allhallows' Eve

Bwbach ar bob camfa. A bogie on every stile.

Welsh people speak of only three Calends — Calan-mai,
or the first of May ; Calan-gaeaf, the Calends of Winter,
or Allhallows ; and Y Calan, or The Calends par
excellence, that is to say, the first day of January, which
last is probably not Celtic but Roman. The other two
most certainly are, and it is one of their peculiarities
that all uncanny spirits and bogies are at liberty the
night preceding each of them. The Hwch ctu 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 Pwytt, Prince of Dyfed.


At Nefyn, in ILeyn^, I had some stories about the
Tylwyth Teg from Lowri Hughes, the widow of John

1 In medieval Welsh poetry this name was still a dissyllable ; but now it
is pronounced TLyn, in conformity with the habit of the Gwyndodeg, which
makes into porf$S what is written porfeyd, 'pastures,' and pronounced
porfM in North Cardiganshire. So in the ILeyn name Sam FyVieym the
second vocable represents Maelteym, in the Record of Carnarvon (p. 38)
Mayltern : it is now sounded Mythym with the second^ short and accented.
ILeyn is a plural of the people (genitive ILaen in Forth DinSaen), used as
a singular of their country, like Cymru = Cymry, and Ptydyn. The singular
is ttain, • a spear,' in the Book o/Aneurin : see Skene, ii. 64, 88, 9a.


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 Tylwyih 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 paddt and gradett 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 lie the old earthworks called
Dinttaen. When they had played and enjoyed them-
selves enough, they used to hft 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 Forth Dinttaen said, that the DinHaen fairies
were only seen when the weather was a Httle misty.

At Nefyn, Mr. John WiUiams (Alaw ILeyn) 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
gradeii 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 PwH
Defaid, told me that the rock opposite, called Clip y
Gylfinir, on Bodwyd^og 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 remark-
able tale I had in the neighbourhood of Aberdaron was
from Evan Williams, a smith who lives at Yr Ard Las,
on Rhos Hirwaen. If I remember rightly, he is a
native of ILaniestin, 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 horro-w padett a gradetf 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 troettbach, 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 wyicC hi Little did she know

Mai Sill go Dwt That Silly go Dwt

Yw f'enw i. Is my name.

This explains to some extent the silt 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 ILaniestin rhyme a little varied at
ILanberis : 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 wyita' hi
Mai Tnvtyn-Tratyn
Yw fenw I.

Here, instead of Sili go Dwt or Silt 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
ILaniestin tale, the borrowing for baking had nothing to
do with the spinning, for all fairies in ILeyn borrow
a padett and a gradett, 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 repre-
senting 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'^. 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 in-
side a fairy ring. Compare also standing on a particular

' It is also called dolurbyr, or the ' short disease' ; I believe I have been
told that :t is the disease known to ' the vet.' as anthrax.


sod in Dyfed in order to behold the delectable realm
of Rhys Dwfn's Children : see p. 158 above.


Soon afterwards I went to the neighbourhood of
Aber Soch and ILanengan, where I was lucky enough
to find Professor Owen of St. David's College, Lam-
peter, 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 padeit a gradett, 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 Castettmarch, 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 Lore, 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 neighbour-
hood about the meaning of the name of Castettmarch.
Most of them analysed it into Castetty 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 Castettmarch
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 Castettmarch. 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 Castettmarch, 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 Castettmarch, 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
Castettmarch, nothing, as it happens, would have been
lost if I had failed at Aber Soch, for I got the same
information later at Sarn Fyttteyrn ; 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
i860. It is given with several other interesting bits of
antiquity, and at the end the editor has put ' Edward
ILwyd, 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 warriofs, whose name was March
(or Parch) Amheirchion ^, was lord of Castettmarch in
ILeyn. This man had horse's ears (resembling Midas),
and lest anybody should know it, he used to kill every

' Here the writer seems to have been puzzled by the mh of AwAeirchion,
and to have argued back to a radical form Parch ; but he was on the wrong
tack — Amheirchion comes from Ap-Meirchion, where the p helped to make
the m a surd, which, with the syllabic accent on the succeeding vowel,
became fixed as mh, while the p disappeared by assimilation. We have,
later on, a similar instance in Owen y Mhaxen for Owen Amhacsen =
O. ap Macsen. Another instance will be found at the opening of the
Mabinogi of Branwen, to wit, in the word prynhawngweith, ' once on an
afternoon,' from prynhawn, ' afternoon,' for which our dictionaries substitute
prydnawn, with the accent on the ultima, though D. ab Gwilym used
pymhawn, as in poem xl. 30. But the ordinary pronunciation continues to
be ptynhdwn or pymhawn, sometimes reduced in Gwyneff to pnawn. Let me
add an instance which has reached me since writing the above: In the
Archaotogia Cambrensis for 1899, pp. 325-6, we have the pedigree of the
Atneridiths 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 Amirideth, who was
created baronet in 1639. Amerideth of course = Ap Meredyif, and the
present member of the family who writes to the Archaotogia Cambrensis
spells his patronymic more correctly, Ameridith ; but if it had survived in
Wales it might have been Amheredyet. For an older instance than any of
these see the Book of Taliessin, poem xlix ( = Skene, ii. 204), where one
reads of Btli Amhanogan, 'B. ab Mynogan.'


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 ILwyd'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 in-
teresting tale by Mr. Evan Lloyd Jones, of Dinorwig,
near ILanberis. Mr. Lloyd Jones, I may here mention,
published not long ago, in Laisy Wlad (Bangor, North
Wales), and in the Drych (Utica, United States of North
America), a series of articles entitled E.en y Werin yn
Sir Gaernarfon, or the Folklore of Carnarvonshire.
I happened to see it at a friend's house, and I found at
once that the writer was passionately fond of antiquities,
and in the habit of making use of the frequent oppor-
tunities 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 Landegai, and the Elidyr, in the parishes of


ILantfeiniolen and ILanberis. Mr. Lloyd Jones shall
tell his tale in his own words: —

Amgylchynir y Marchlyn Mawr gan greigiau erchytt
yr olwg arnynt ; a dywed tractodiad Sarfod i un feibton
y Rhiwen ^ unwaith tra yn cynorthwyo dafad oeS wedi
syrthio Hr creigiau i dbd odiyno, darganfod ogof an-
ferth : aeth i fewn iSi a gwelod' ei bod yn ttawn
drysorau ac arfau gwerthfawr ; ond gan ei bod yn
dechreu tywyfttu, 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 dyS cychwynnoS
eilwaith i'r ogof, ac heb lawer drafferth daeth hyd
idi: aeth i fewn, a dechreuod edrych o'i amgylch ar y
trysorau oed yno : — Ar ganol yr ogof yr oed bwrd'
enfawr aur pur, ac ar y bwrd goron aur a pherlau:
deattod yn y fan mai coron a thrysorau Arthur oedynt
— nesaod" at y bwrd, a phan oed yn estyn ei law i
gymeryd gafael yn y goron dychrynwyd ef gan drwst
erchytt, trwst megys mil daranau yn ymrwygo uwch ei
ben ac aeth yr hott le can dywytted a'r afagdu. Ceisiod
ymbalfalu odiyno gynted ag y gattai ; pan Iwydod i
gyrraed" i ganol y creigiau taflod ei olwg ar y ttyn, yr
hwn oed' wedi ei gynhyrfu drwydo a'i donnau brigwynion
yn cael eu ttuchio trwy daned ysgythrog y creigiau hyd
y man yr oed" efe yn sefytt arno ; ond tra yr oed" yn
parhau i syttu ar ganol y 'ttyn gwelai gwrwgl a thair
o'r benywod prydferthaf y disgynod^ ttygad unrhyw dyn
arnynt erioed yndo yn cael ei rwyfo yn brysur tuag at
enau yr ogof. Ond och ! yr oed golwg ofnadwy yr hwn
oed yn rhwyfo yn digon i beri iasau fraw trwy y dyn
cryfaf Gattod y ttanc rywfod dianc adref ond ni fu

' This is pronounced Rhiwan, though probably made up of Rhiw-wen, for
it is the tendency of the Gwyndodeg to convert e and at of the unaccented
ultima into a, and so with e in Glamorgan ; see such instances as Comwan
and casag, p. 99 above. It is possibly a tendency inherited from Goidelic,
as Irish is found to proceed in the same way.


iechyd yn ei gyfansoMad ar 0I hynny, a bydai hyd yn
nod crybwytt enw y Marchlyn yn ei glywedigaeth yn
digon i'w yrru yn wattgof.

' The Marchlyn Mawr is surrounded by rocks terrible
to look at, and tradition rdates how one of the sons of
the farmer of Rhiwen, once on a time, when helping
a sheep that had fallen among the rocks to get away,
discovered a tremendous cave there; he entered, and
saw that it was full of treasures and arms of great value ;
but, as it was beginning to grow dark, and as clambering
back was a difficult matter even in the light of day, he
went home that evening, and next morning with the
grey dawn he set out again for the cave, when he found
it without much trouble. He entered, and began to look
about him at the treasures that were there. In the
centre of the cave stood a huge table of pure gold,
and on the table lay a crown of gold and pearls. He
understood at once that they were the crown and trea-
sures of Arthur. He approached the table, and as he
stretched forth his hand to take hold of the crown
he was frightened by an awful noise, the noise, as it
were, of a thousand thunders bursting over his head,
and the whole place became as dark as Tartarus. He
tried to grope and feel his way out as fast as he could.
When he had succeeded in reaching to the middle of
the rocks, he cast his eye on the lake, which had been
stirred all through, while its white-crested waves dashed
through the jagged teeth of the rocks up to the spot on
which he stood. But as he continued looking at the
middle of the lake he beheld a coracle containing three
women, the fairest that the eye of man ever fell on.
They were being quickly rowed to the mouth of the
cave; but the dread aspect of him who rowed was
enough to send thrills of horror through the strongest
of men. The youth was able somehow to escape home,


but no health remained in his constitution after that,
and even the mere mention of the Marchlyn in his
hearing used to be enough to make him insane.'

Mr. Lloyd Jones appends to the tale a note to the
following effect: — There is a small eminence on the
shore of the Marchlyn Mawr, in the parish of ILandegai,
called Bfyn 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 trea-
sures. One old man, Robert Edwards (lorwerth Sardis),
used to tell him that he and several others had brought
ropes from the quarry to go into the cave, but that they
found no treasure. So far, I have given the substance
of Mr. Jones' words, to which I would add the following
statement, which I have from a native of Dinorwig : —
About seventy years ago, when the gentry were robbing
the poor of these districts of their houses and of the
lands which the latter had enclosed out of the commons,
an old woman called Sian William of the Gamed was
obliged to flee from her house with her baby — the latter
was known later in life as the Rev. Robert Ellis, of
Ysgoldy — in her arms. It was in one of the Marchlyn
caves that she found refuge for a day and night. Another
kind of tale connected with the Marchlyn Mawr is re-
corded 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 ILandysilio School, near ILan-
gotten (p. 138), has sent me more bits of legends about
the fairies. He heard the following from Mr. Thomas
Parry, of Tan y Coed Farm, who had heard it from his
father, the late Evan Parry, and the latter from Thomas
Morris, of Eglwyseg, who related it to him more than
once : — Thomas Morris happened to be returning home
from ILangotten 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 them-
selves, as he thought, behind a large stone. On reach-
ing 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 re-
markable as representing the fairies looking rather like
poachers ; but there are not wanting others which speak
of their possessing horses and greyhounds, as all gentle-
men were supposed to.

One of Mr. Roberts' tales is in point: he had it
from Mr. Hugh Francis S of Holyhead House, Ruthin,

' I may mention that some of the Francises of Anglesey are supposed to
be descendants of Frazers, who changed their name on finding refuge in


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 ILandyfrydog,
near ILannerch y Med, in Anglesey, a man named Ifan
Gruflfyd, whose cow happened to disappear one day.
Ifan Gruffyd was greatly distressed, and he and his
daughter walked up and down the whole neighbour-
hood 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 ILeidr
Dyfrydog, where they saw a great number of little men
on ponies quickly galloping in a ring. They both drew
nigh to look on; but Ifan Gruffyd's daughter, in her
eagerness to behold the Uttle knights more closely, got
unawares within the circle in which their ponies galloped,
and did not return to her father. The latter now forgot
all about the loss of the cow, and spent some hours in
searching for his daughter; but at last he had to go
home without her, in the deepest sadness. A few days
afterwards he went to Mynadwyn to consult John
Roberts, who was a magician of no mean reputation.
That 'wise man' told Ifan Gruffyd to be no longer
sad, since he could get his daughter back at the very
hour of the night of the anniversary of the time when
he lost her. He would, in fact, then see her riding
round in the company of the Tylwyth Teg whom he had
seen on that memorable night. The father was to go
there accompanied by four stalwart men, who were to
aid him in the rescue of his daughter. He was to tie
a strong rope round his waist, and by means of this his
friends were to pull him out of the circle when he
entered to seize his daughter. He went to the spot,

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


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
Httle 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 Aberifraw
about loo years ago ; and the substance of the following
tale was often repeated in the hearing of Mr. Roberts'
informant by his father and his grandfather :^In winter
Robert Francis used to remain very late at work drying
corn in his kiln. As it was needful to keep a steady
fire going, he used to go backwards and forwards from
the house, looking after it not unfrequently until it was
two o'clock in the morning. Once on a time he happened
to leave a cauldron full of water on the floor of the kiln,
and great was his astonishment on returning to find
two little people washing themselves in the water. He
abstained from entering to disturb them, and went back
to the house to tell his wife of it. ' Oh,' said she, ' they
are fairies.' He presently went back to the kiln and
found that they were gone. He fancied they were man
and wife. However, they had left the place very clean,
and to crown all, he found a sum of money left by them
to pay him, as he supposed, for the water and the use
of the kiln. The ensuing night many more fairies came
to the kiln, for the visitors of the previous night had
brought their children with them ; and the miller found
them busy bathing them and looking very comfortable
in the warm room where they were. The pay that night


was also more considerable than the night before, as
the visitors were more numerous. After this the miller
never failed to leave a vessel full of water in the kiln
every night, and the fairies availed themselves of it for
years, until, in fact, they took offence at the miller
telling the neighbours of the presents of money which
had been left him in the kiln. Thenceforth no fairies
were known to frequent the kiln belonging to the
Aberflfraw mill.

The last tale communicated to me by Mr. Roberts is
the following, which he elicited from Margaret Davies,
his housekeeper, by reading to her some of the fairy
legends published in the Cymmrodor a short while
ago — probably the Corwrion series, one of which bears
great resemblance to hers. Mrs. Davies, who is sixty-
one years of age, says that when her parents, Edward
and Ann Williams, lived at Rhoslydan, near Bryneglwys,
in Yale, some seventy-five years ago, the servant man
happened one day in the spring to be ploughing in
a field near the house. As he was turning his team
back at one end of the field, he heard some one
calling out from the other end, Y mae eisieu hoelenyny
ptl, or ' The peel wants a nail ' ; for pil is the Enghsh
peel, a name given to a sort of shovel provided with
a long handle for placing loaves in an oven, and for
getting them out again. When at length the ploughman
had reached the end of the field whence he guessed the
call to have proceeded, he there saw a small peel,
together with a hammer and a nail, under the hedge.
He saw that the peel required a nail to keep it together,
and as everything necessary for mending it were there
ready to hand, he did as it had been suggested. Then
he followed at the plough-tail until he came round again
to the same place, and there he this time saw a cake
placed for him on the spot where he had previously


found the peel and the other things, which had now
disappeared. When the servant related this to his
master, he told him at once that it was one of the Tyl-
wyth Teg of that locality that had called out to him.
With this should be compared the story of the man
who mended a fairy's plough vice : see p. 64 above.

Early this year I had occasion to visit the well-known
Hengwrt Library at Peniarth, and during my stay there
Mr. Wynne very kindly took me to see such of the
ILanegryn people as were most likely to have some-
what to say about the fairies. Many of the inhabitants
had heard of them, but they had no long tales about
them. One man, however, told me of a William
Pritchard, of Pentre Bach, near ILwyngwryl, who died
at sixty, over eighty years ago, and of a Rhys Williams,
the clerk of ILangelynin, . how they were going home
late at night from a cock-fight at ILanegryn, and how
they came across the fairies singing and dancing on
a plot of ground known as Gwastad Meirionydt, ' the
Plain of Merioneth,' on the way from ILwyngwryl to
ILanegryn. It consists, I am told by Mr. Robert
Roberts of ILanegryn, of no more than some twenty
square yards, outside which one has a good view of
Cardigan Bay and the heights of Merioneth and Car-
narvonshire, while from the Gwastad itself neither sea
nor mountain is visible. On this spot, then, the belated
cockfighters were surrounded by the fairies. They
swore at the fairies and took to their heels, but they
were pursued as far as Clawd Du. Also I was tpld
that Elen Egryn, the authoress, some sixty years ago,
of some poetry called Telyn Egryn, had also seen fairies
in her youth, when she used to go up the hills to look


after her father's sheep. This happened near a little
brook, from which she could see the sea when the sun
was in the act of sinking in it ; then many fairies would
come out dancing and singing, and also crossing and re-
crossing the little brook. It was on the side of Rhiwfelen,
and she thought the little folks came out of the brook
somewhere. She had been scolded for talking about
the fairies, but she firmly believed in them to the end
of her life. This was told me by Mr. W. Williams, the
tailor, who is about sixty years of age; and also by
Mr. Rowlands, the ex-bailiff of Peniarth, who is about
seventy-five. I was moreover much interested to dis-
cover at ILanegryn a scrap of kelpie story, which runs
as follows, concerning ILyn Gwernen, situated close to
the old road between Dolgettey and ILanegryn : —

As a man from the village of ILanegryn was returning
in the dusk of the evening across the mountain from
Dolgettey, he heard, when hard by ILyn Gwernen,
a voice crying out from the water : —

Daeth yr awr ond ni itaeth y dyn I 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 ILyn Cynnwch, which has
already been mentioned, p. 135, above. My informant

R 2


is Miss Lucy Griffith, of Glynmalden, near Dolgettey,
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 awrixiedi dyfod cCr dyn heb dyfod!
The hour is come while the man is not!

The ostler stated also that lights are to be seen on Cader
Idris on the eve of New Year's Day, whatever that
statement may mean. The two lake stories seem to
suggest that the Lake Spirit was entitled to a victim
once a year, whether the sacrifice was regarded as the
result of accident or design. By way of comparison,
one may mention the notion, not yet extinct, that
certain rivers in various parts of the kingdom regularly
claim so many victims : for some instances at random
see an article by Mr. J. M. Mackinlay, on Traces of
River Worship in Scottish Folklore, a paper published
in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scot-
land, 1895-6, pp. 69-76. Take for example the fol-
lowing rhyme : —

Blood-thirsty Dee But bonny Don

Each year needs three; She needs none.

Or this :—

Tweed said to Till An' I rin slaw,

' What gars ye rin sae still ? ' Yet whar ye droon ae man

Till said to Tweed I droon twa.'

' Though ye rin wi' speed


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 ILanafan. 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 indescrib-
ably elegant and varying in colour ; and those who, in the
month of May, used to frequent the prehistoric encamp-
ment of Moedin ' or Moydin — from which a whole
cantred takes its name in Central Cardiganshire — as fond
of appearing in green ; while blue petticoats are said, he
says, to have prevailed in the fairy dances in North
Wales ^

Another showed me a spot on the other side of the
Teifi, where the Tylwyth Teg had a favourite spot for

■ 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 Castett Moedin, and
includes within it the end of a hill about halfway between ILannarth and

' For other mentions of the colours of fairy dress see pp. 44, 139 above,
where red prevails, and contrast the Lake Lady of ILyn Barfog clad in green,
p. 145-


dancing; and at the neighbouring village of Swyd"
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.
ILedrodian 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 Pali, mother of old Rachel
Evans, who died seven or eight years ago, when she
was about eighty. The latter was a curious character,
who sometimes sang maswed", or rh3Tnes 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, Pali, had
actually been called to attend at the confinement of one
of them. The beginning of the tale is not very explicit ;
but, anyhow, Pali 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.
PMi 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, P^li 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 occupa-
tions. But their movements were as light as the morn-
ing 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. IL. Davies has also a version like the North
Wales ones. He obtained it from a woman of seventy-
eight at Bronnant, near Aberystwyth, who had heard it
from one of her ancestors. According to her, the
midwife went to the fair called Ffair Rhos, which was
held between Ystrad Meurig and Pont Rhyd Fendigaid'.
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. IL. 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.

' This name means the Bridge of the Blessed Ford, but how the ford came
to be so called I know not. The word hendigaid, ' blessed,' comes from the
Latin verb benedico, ' 1 bless,' and should, but for the objection to (f in book
Welsh, be bmdigaid, which, in fact, it is approximately in the northern part
of the county, where it is colloquially sounded Pont 'Rhyd FynSiged,
Fydlged, or even Fdiged, also Pont Rhyd ipdiged, 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 Daily 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,
'hypericmn androswmum, tutsan,' and in North Cardiganshire we call it
Dail y Fyndiged or Fdiged, but in Carnarvonshire the adjective is made to
qualify dail, so that it sounds Dail Bydigad or Bdigad, ' Blessed Leaves.'


However, after much shouting and searching about the
place, he began to think that she must have found her
way home, so he turned back and asked if the girl had
come in, when he found to his surprise that nobody had
seen her come back. The news of her being lost caused
great excitement in the country around, since many
suspected that he had for some reason put an end to
her life : some accounted for it in this way, and some in
another. But as nothing could be found out about her,
the servant man was taken into custody on the charge
of having murdered her. He protested with all his
heart, and no evidence could be produced that he had
killed the girl. Now, as some had an idea that she had
gone to the fairies, it was resolved to send to ' the wise
man' (Y dyn hysbys). This was done, and he found
out that the missing girl was with the fairies : the trial
was delayed, and he gave the servant man directions of
the usual kind as to how to get her out. She was
watched at the end of the period of twelve months and
a day coming round in the dance in the fairy ring at the
place where she was lost, and she was successfully
drawn out of the ring; but the servant man had to be
there in the same clothes as he had on when she left
him. As soon as she was released and saw the servant
she asked about the calves. On the way home she told
her master, the servant man, and the others, that she
would stay with them until her master should strike her
with iron, but they went their way home in great joy at
having found her. One day, however, when her master
was about to start from home, and whilst he was getting
the horse and cart ready, he asked the girl to assist
him, which she did willingly; but as he was bridling
the horse, the bit touched the girl and she disappeared
instantly, and was never seen from that day forth.
I cannot explain this story, unless we regard it as


made up of pieces of two different stories which had
originally nothing to do with one another ; consistency,
however, is not to be expected in such matters. Mr. D.
IL. Davies has kindly given me two more tales like the
first part of the one I have last summarized, also one
in which the missing person, a little boy sent by his
mother to fetch some barm for her, comes home of
himself after being away a year or more playing with
the Tylwyth Teg, whom he found to be very nice,
pleasant people; they had been exceedingly kind to
him, and they even allowed him to take the bottle with
the barm home at the last. This was somewhere
between Swyd Ffynnon and Carmarthen.

Mr. D. IL. Davies finds, what I have not found any-
where 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 hand-
some 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 {Shon oW Bonf), 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 rhyfect yw yr hen Gastett yna {gan olygu
Craig Ynys Geinon) : yr wyf yn cofio yr amser pan
y bydixt yn cfychryn gan bobl fyned yn agos ato—yn
enwedig y nos : yr oed" yn dra pheryglus rhag i dyn
gael ci gymeryd at Bendith eu Mamau. Fe dywedir fod
wmrect o'r rheiny yna, er na wn i pa le y maent yn cadw.
'R oed' yr hen bobl yn arferol o dweyd fod pwtt yn
rhywle bron canol y Casteit, tua ttathen led, ac yn
bump neu chwech ttath o dyfnder, a charreg tua thair
fynnett bwysau ar ei tuyneb e', a bod fford" dan y
d^aear gandynt o'r pwtt hynny bob cam i ogof Tan yr
Ogof, bron blaen y Cwm {yn agos i balas Adelina Patti,
sef Castett Craig y Nos), mai yna y maent yn treulio eu


hamser yn y dyct, ac yn dyfod lawr yma i chwareu eu
pranciau yn y nos.

Mae ganctynt, med:e nhw, ysgol aur, o un neu dwy ar
hugain o ffyn ; ar hyd honno y maent yn tramwy i fyny
ac i lawr. Mae ganSynt air bach, a dim ond i'r blaenaf
ar yr ysgol dywedyd y gair hynny, mae y garreg yn
codi honi ei hunan ; a gair aratt, ond i'r olaf wrth
fyned i lawr ei dywedyd, mae yn cauad ar eu hoi.

Dywedir i was un o'r ffermyd" cyfagos wrth chwilio am
wningod yn y graig, dygwyd^ dyweyd y gair pan ar bwys
y garreg, idi agar, 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 diffoSy canwyttau fod rhyw-
beth le, daethant am. ei draws, cymerasant ef atynt,
a bu gyda hwynt yn byw ac yn bod am saith mlyned;
ymhen y saith mlyned fe diangoS a tton'd ei het o
guineas gando.

Yr oed" efe erbyn hyn wedi dysgu y dau air, ac yn
gwybod ttawer am eu cwtches nhw. Fe dywedod hwn
y cwbl wrth ffarmwr o'r gymdogaeth, fe aeth hwnnw
drachefn i lawr, ac yr oed^ rhai yn dyweyd ido dyfod
a thri tton'd cawnen halen o guineas, hanner guineas,
a darnau saith-a-chwech, oMyno yr un diwrnod. Ond fe
aeth yn rhy drachwantus, ac fel ttawer un trachwantus
o'i flaen, bu ei bechod yn angeu ido.

Canys fe aeth i lawr y bedwared waith yngmytt 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 ystafett o dan y Castett, ond pwy fu yno iw gwetd
nhw, wn i dim.

Mae yn wir ei wala i'r ffarmwr crybwyttedig fyned ar
gott, ac na chlybuwyd byth am dano, ac mor wir a
hynny i'w dylwyth dyfod ytt abl iawn, bron ar unwaith
yr amser hynny. A chi wydbch gystal a finnau, eu bod
nhw yn dywedyd fod ffyrd tandaearol ganc^nt i ogofau


Ystrad Fettte, yn agos i Benderyn. A dyna y Gam
Coch ar y Drum {Onttwyn yn awr) maent yn dweyd
fod cannoeS dynetti aur yn star gandynt yno ; a chi
glywsoch am y stori am un o'r Gethings yn myned yno
i glodio yn y Gam, ac idb gael ei drawsffurfio gan y
Tylwyth i olwyn dan, ac idb fefhu cael ttonyd' gandynt,
hyd nes idb eu danfon i wneyd rhaff sand !

Fe fu gynt hen fenyw yn byw mewn ty bychan gerttaw
i Ynys Geinon, ac yr oed' hi yn gaitu rheibo, mede nhw,
ac yr oed' son ei bod yn treulio saith diwrnod, saith awr,
a saith mynyd gyda y Tylwyth Teg bob blwydyn yn Ogof
y Castett. Yr oeS y gred yn Ued gyffredinol ei bod hi
yn cael hyn a hyn aur am bob plentyn a attai hi
ladrata idynt hwy, a dodi un o'i hen grithod hwy yn ei
le: 'doeS hwnnw byth yn cynydu. Y fford'y bydai hiyn
gwneyd oed myned i'r ty dan yr esgus o ofyn cardod,
a hen glogyn ttwyd-du mawr ar ei chefn, ac o dan hwn,
un blant Bendith y Mamau; a bob amser as bydai
plentyn bach gwraig y ty yn y cawett, hi gymerai y smyd
o sigh y cawett, a dim ond i'r fam droi ei chefn am
fynyd neu dwy, hi daflai y ttedrith i'r cawett, ai
ymaith a'r plentyn yn gyntaf byth y gattai hi. Fe fu
plentyn gan dyn o'r gym'dogaeth yn lingran amflynydau
heb gynySu dim, a bam pawb oed" mai wedi cael ei
newid gan yr hen wraig yr oed'; fe aeth tad y plentyn i
fygwth y gwr hysbys ami : fe daeth yr hen wraig yno am
saith niwmod i esgus badb y bachgen bach mewn dwfr
oer, a'r seithfed bore cyn ei bod yn oleu, hi a gas genad
i fyned ag ef dan rhyw bistytt, mede hi, ond medai'r
cym'dogion, myned ag ef i newid a wnaeth. Ond, beth
bynag, fe wetted y plentyn fel cyw yr wyd' hynny i
maes. Ond gorfu i fam e' wneyd cystal a ttw wrth yr
hen wraig, y gwnai ei dwco mewn dwfr oer bob bore
dros gwartcr 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 re-
member 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 Ystradfettte, near Penderyn. There is
the Gam Goch also on the Drum (now called Onttwyn) ;
they say there are hundreds of tons of gold accumu-
lated by them there, and you have heard the story
about one of the Gethings going thither to dig in the
Gam, and how he [sic] was transformed by the fairies
into a wheel of fire, and that he could get no quiet from
them until he sent them to manufacture a rope of sand ! '
— A more intelligible version of this story has been
given at pp. 19-20 above.

' There was formerly an old woman living in a small
house near Ynys Geinon; and she had the power of
bewitching, people used to say: there was a rumour
that she spent seven days, seven hours, and seven
minutes with the fairies every year in the cave at the
Castle. It was a pretty general belief that she got such
and such a quantity of gold for every child she could
steal for them, and that she put one of those old urchins
of theirs in its place : the latter never grew at all. The
way she used to do it was to enter people's houses


with the excuse of asking for alms, having a large dark-
grey old cloak on her back, and the cloak concealed
one of the children of Bendith eu Mamau. Whenever
she found the little child of the good woman of the
house in its cradle, she would take upon herself
to rock the cradle, so that if the mother only turned
her back for a minute or two, she would throw the
sham child into the cradle and hurry away as fast as
she could with the baby. A man in the neighbourhood
had a child lingering for years without growing at all,
and it was the opinion of all that it had been changed
by the old woman. The father at length threatened to
call in the aid of " the wise man," when the old woman
came there for seven days, pretending that it was in
order to bathe the little boy in cold water ; and on the
seventh day she got permission to -take him, before it
was light, under a certain spout of water : so she said,
but the neighbours said it was to change him. How-
ever 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 ILyn 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 sur-
face of the lake. The yearly peregrination to the abode
of the Fan deity is still kept up in this valley— Cwm-
tawe ; 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 ILanfabon,
near the eastern border of Glamorganshire. Many tradi-
tions cluster round the church of ILanfabon, 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 Castelt y Nos, or the Castle of the Night *, which tra-
dition represents as uninhabitable because it had been
built of stones from ILanfabon 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
ILanfabon Church teemed with fairies, ghosts, and all
kinds of uncanny creatures : —

Mewn amaethdy ag syd' yn aros yn y plwyf a elwir
y Berth Gron, trigiannai gwediv ieuanc a'i phlentyn

' I .im far from certain what y nos, ' the night,' may mean in such names
as this and Craig y Nos, ' the Rock of the Night ' (p. 354 above), to which
perhaps might be added such an instance as Blaen Nos, ' the Point of (the ?)
Night,' in the neighbourhood of ILandovery, 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.



bychan. Yr oeS wedi cotii ei gwr, di hunig gysur yn
ei hamdifadrwyd' a'i hunigrwyd: oect Gruff, ei mob. Yr
oect ef yr amser hwn oSeutu tair bltxyS oed, ac yn
blentyn braf ar ei oedran. Yr oeS y plwyf, ar y pryd,
yn orlawn ^Fendith y Mamau ' ; ac, ar amser ttawn
itoer, bydent yn cadw dynion yn effro a'u cerdbriaeth hyd
doriad gwawr. Rhai hynod ar gyfrif . eu hagrwch oed
^Bendith ' Lanfabon, ac yr un mor hynod ar gyfrif eu
castiau. ILadrata plant o'r cawettau yn absenoldeb eu
mamau, a denu dynion trwy eu swyno a cherdbriaeth
i ryw gors afiach a diffaith, a ymdangosai yn gryn
difyrrwch idynt. Nid rhyfeS fod y mamau beunyd" ar
eu gwyliadwriaeth rhag ofn cotti eu plant. Yr oed
y wedw o dan sylw yn hynod ofalus am ei mab, gymaint
nes tynnu rhai o'r cymydogton i dywedyd wrthi ei bod
yn rhy orofalus, ac y bydai i ryw anlwc ordiwes ei mab.
Ond ni thalai unrhyw sylw t'w dywediadau. Ymdan-
gosai fod ei hott hyfrydwch a'i chysur ynghyd a'i
gobeithion yn cydgyfarfod yn ei mab. Mod: bynnag, un
diwmod, clywod ryw lais cwynfannus yn codi gym-
ydogaeth y beudy ; a rhag bod rhywbeth wedi digwyd i
un o'r gwartheg rhedoSyn orwyttt tuagyno, gan adael y
drws heb ei gau, a'i mab bychan yn y fy. Ond pwy a
fedr desgrifio ei gofid ar ei gwaith yn dyfod i'r ty wrth
weled eisiau ei mab ? Chwiliod' bob man am dano, ond
yn aflwydiannus. Odeutu machlud haul, wele lencyn
bychan yn gwneuthur ei ymdangosiad o'i blaen, ac yn
dywedyd, yn groyw, ' Mam ! ' Edrychod'y fam yn fanwl
arno, a dywedod o'r diwed', ' Nid fy mhlentyn i wyt ti! '
' le, yn sicr,' atebai y bychan.

Nid ymdangosai y fam yn fodton, na'i bod yn credn
mai ei phlentyn hi ydoed". Yr oeS rhywbeth yn sisial
yn barhaus wrthi mai nid ei mab hi ydoed. Ond beth
bynnag, bu gyda hi am flwydyn gyfan, ac nid ymdangosai
ei fod yn cynydit dim, tra yr oed" Gruff, ei mab hi, yn


blentyn cynyctfavor iawn. Yr oect y gvor bychan yn myned
yn fwy hagr bob dyct hefyd. (Jr diwed penderfynod:
fyned at y ' dyn hysbys,' er cael rhyw wybodaeth a goleuni
ar y mater. Yr oect yn digwyS bod ar y pryd yn trig-
fannu yn Nghastett y Nos, wr ag oed^yn hynod ar gyfrif
ei ymwybydiaeth drwyadl 'gyfrinion y fatt! Ar ol ioti
osod ei hachos ger ei fron, ac yntau ei holt, sylwod',
' Crimbil ydyw, ac y mae dy blentyn di gyd a'r hen
Fendith yn rhywle; ond i ti ^ilyn fy nghyfarwydiadau
i yn ffydlon a manwl, fe adferir dy blentyn i ti yn fuan.
Yn awr, odeutu canol dyS y foru, tor wy yn y canol,
a thafl un hanner ymaith odiwrthyt, a chadw y ttatt yn
dy law, a dechreu gymysg ei gynwysiad yn ol a blaen.
Cofia fod y gwr bychan gerttaw yn gwneuthur sylw a'r
hyn ag a fySi yn ei wneuthur. Ond cofia di a pheidio
galw ei sylw — rhaid ennitt ei sylw at y weithred heb ei
alw : ac odid fawr na ofynna i ti beth fydiyn ei wneuthur.
A dywed wrtho tnai cymysg pastai'r fedel yr wyt. A rho
wybod i mi beth fyct ei ateb.'

Dychwelod y wraig, a thrannoeth dilynod: gyfarwydyd
y 'dyn cynnil' i'r ttythyren. Yr oed' y gwr bychan yn
sefytt yn ei hymyl, ac yn sylwi ami yn fanwl. Ym mhen
ychydig, gofynnoS, 'Mam, beth 'i ch'i 'neuthur?'
' Cymysg pastai'r fedel, machgen i.' ' fetty. Mi gly-
wais gan fy nhad, fe glywoct hwnnw gan ei dad, a
hwnnw gan ei dad yntau, fod mesen cyn derwen, a der-
wen mewn ddr^ ; ond ni chlywais i na gweled neb yn
un man yn cymysg pastafr fedel mnvn masgal wy iar.'
Sylwod' y wraig ci fod yn edrych yn hynod o sarug
ami pan yn siarad, ac yr oed hynny yn ychwanegu at ci
hagrwcli, nes ei wneuthur yn wrthun i'r pen.

. Y prydnawn hwnnw aeth y wraig at y ' dyn cynnil '

' Ddr is a Glamorgan pronunciation, melri gratia of what is written daear,
' earth ' ; compare cTarfochyn in Glamorgan for a badger, literally ' an earth
pig.' The dwarfs answer was probably in some sort of verse, with ddr
and idr to rhyme.

S 2


er ei hysbysu o'r hyn a lefarwyd gan y cor. ' O,' ehai
hwnnw, ' un o'r hen frid ydyw ! ' ' Yn awr, byd'y ttawn
tt'oer nesafym mhen pedwar diwmod; ntae yn rhaid i ti
fyned i ben y pedair heol syd' yn cydgyfarfod wrth ben
Rhyd y Gloch ; am Seudeg o'r gloch y nos y byd y
tteuad yn ttawn. Cofia gud^io dy hun mewn man ag y
cei lawn olwg ar bennau y croesffyrd', ac os gweli ryw-
beth a bair i ti gynhyrfu, cofia fod yn ttonyd', ac ymatal
rhag rhodi ffrwyn i'th deimladau, neu fe distrywir y
cynttun, ac ni chei dy fab yn ol byth.'

Nis gmydai y fam anffodus beth oeS i'w deatt wrth
ystori ryfeS y ' dyn cynnil.' Yr oeS mewn cymaint o
dywyttwch ag erioed. O'r diwed" daeth yr amser i ben;
ac ar yr awr apwyntiedig yr oeSyn ymgudio yn ofalus
tu cefn i Iwyn mawr yn ymyl, o ba le y caffai olwg ar
bob peth gylch. Bu am, hir amser yno yn gwylio heb
dim. i'w glywed na'i weled — dim and distawrwyd dwfn a
phrudglwyfus yr hanner nos yn teymasu. O'r diwed
clywai sain cerdbriaeth yn dynesu ati o hirbett. Nes,
nes yr oeS y sain felusber yn dyfod o hyd; a gwran-
dawai hithai gyda dydbrdeb ami. Cyn hir yr oeS yn
eihymyl, a deatioS tnai gorymdaith o 'Fendith y Mamau'
oeSynt yn myned i rywle. Yr oedynt yn gannoeS mewn
rhif. Tua chanol yr orymdaith canfydbd^ olygfa ag a
drywanod ei chalon, ac a berod' i'w gwaed sefytt yn ei
rhedweliau. Yn cerded rhwng pedwar o'r ' Bendith ' yr
oed ei phlentyn bychan anwyl ei hun. Bu bron a ttwyr
anghofio ei him, a ttamu tuag ato er ei gipio ymaith
odiamynt trwy drais os gattai. Ond pan ar neidio atlan
o'i hymgudfan i'r diben hwnnw medyliod am gyrighor y
'dyn cynnil,' sef y bydixi i unrhyw gynhyrfiad o'i heido
disttywio y cwbl, ac na bydai idi gael ei phlentyn yn^ol

Ar ol i'r orymdaith dirwyn i'r pen, ac i sain eu
cerdoriaeth distewi yn y pettder, daeth altan o'i hym-


guctfan, gan gyfeirio ei chamrau tua 'i chartref. Os oeS
yn hiraethol o'r blaen ar ol ei mab, yr oect yn Uawer
mwy erbyn hyn ; a'i hadgasmoyct at y cor bychan oectyn
hawlio ei fod yn fab iM wedi cynydu yn fawr iawn,
waith yr oeS yn sicr yn awr yn ei medwl mai un o'r
henfrid ydoed. Nis gixydai pa fod^ i'w odef am fynud
yn hwy yn yr un ty a hi, chwaithach godef idb alw
' mam ' ami hi. Ond beth bynnag, cafoS digon ras
ataliol i ymdinryn yn wedaid' at y gwr bychan hagr oed
gyda hi yn y t^. Drannoeth aeth ar ei hunion at y
'dyn cynnil' i adroct yr hyn yr oed^ wedi bod yn ttygad
dyst o hono y noson gynt, ac i ofyn am gyfarwydyd
pettach. Yr oed'y 'gwr cynnil' yn ei disgwyl, ac ar ei
gwaith yn dyfod i'r ty adnabydod wrthi ei bod wedi
gweled rhywbeth oed wedi ei chyffroi. Adrodod^ wrtho yr
hyn ag oed' wedi ei ganfod ar ben y croesffyrd^ ; ac wedi
idb glywed hynny, agorod" lyfr mawr ag oed: gandb, ac
wedi hir syttu amo hysbysoS hi 'fed yn angenrheidiol
idi cyn cael ei phlenfyn yn ol gael iar du heb un plufyn
gwyn nac o un ttiw aratt ami, a'i ttad; ac ar ol ei ttad",
ei gosod flaen tan coed, pluf a chwbl, er ei phobi. Mor
gynted ag y buasai yn ei gosod o flaen y tan, idi gau
pob twit a mynedfa yn yr adeilad ond un, a pheidio a
dal sylw manwl ar ol y ' crimbil' hyd nes bydixi y iar
yn digon, a'r pluf i syrthio ymaith odiami bob un, ac
yna i edrych ym mha le yr oed: ef.

Er mor rhyfed oed: cyfarwydyd y 'gwr,' penderfynod'
ci gynnyg; a thrannoeth aeth i chwilio ym mhlith y ieir
oect yno am, un o'r desgrifiad angenrheidiol; ond er ei
siomedigaeth method a chael yr un. Aeth o'r naitt
ffermdy i'r Italt i chwilio, ond ym^angosai ffawd fel yn
gwgu ami — waith method^ a chael yr un. Pan ym mron
digaloni gan ei haflwydtant daeth ar draws un mewn
amaethdy yng nghwr y plwyf, a phrynod: hi yn dioedi.
Ar ol dychwelyd adref, gosodod y tan mewn trefn, a


ttaSoct yr iar, gan ei gosod o Jlaen y tan disglaer

a losgai ar yr alch. Pan yn edrych ami yn pobi,

anghqfioS y ^ crimbil' yn hottol, ac yr oe^ wedi syrthio

i rywfath o brudlewyg, pryd y synnwyd hi gan sain

cerdoriaeth y tu attan t'r ty, yn debyg Hr hyn a glywod'

ychydig nosweithiau cyn hynny ar ben y croesffyrd'. Yr

oeSy pluf erbyn hyn wedi syrthio ymaith odiar y iar, ac

erbyn edrych yr oed'y ' crimbil' wedi diflannu. Edrychai

y fam yn wyitt di deutu, ac er ei ftawenyS clywai lais

ei mab cotkdig yn galw ami y tu attan. RhedoS i'w

gyfarfod, gan ei gofleidio yn wresog; a phan ofynoSym

mha le yr oed wedi bod cyhyd, nid oed^ gandb gyfrif yn

y byd i'w rodi ond mai yn gwrando ar ganu hyfryd yr

oed^ wedi bod. Yr oed yn deneu a threuliedig iawn ei

wed pan adferwyd ef. Dyna ystori 'Y Plentyn Cottedig.'

' At a farm house still remaining in the parish of ILan-

fabon, 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 Bendithy Mamau, and

when the moon was bright and full they were wont to

keep people awake with their music till the break of day.

The fairies of ILanfabon 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 Castett y Nos, " Castle of the Night," a man who was re-
markable 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 follow-
ing remark to her: " It is a criiiibil^, 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.

' Applied in Glamorgan to a child that looks poorly and does not grow.


See that the httle fellow be present paying attention to
what thou art doing, but take care not to call his atten-
tion 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 ^ 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

' In Cardiganshire a conjurer is called dyn hysbys, where hysbys (or, in
older orthography, hyspys) means ' informed ': it is the man who is informed
on matters which are dark to others ; but the word is also used of facts —
Y mae V peth yn hysbys, ' the thing is known or manifest.' The word is
divisible into hy-spys, which would be in Irish, had it existed in the language,
so-scese for an early su-squeslia-s, the related Irish words being ad-chiu, ' I see,'
pass, preterite ad-chess, ' was seen,' and the like, in which ci and ces have
been equated by Zimmer with the Sanskrit verb caksh, ' to see,' from a root
quas. The adjective cynnil applied to the dyn hyspys in Glamorgan means
now, as a rule, ' economical ' or ' thrifty,' but in this instance it would seem
to have signified ' shrewd,' ' cunning,' or ' clever,' though it would probably
come nearer the original meaning of the word to render it by ' smart,' for it
is in Irish conduail, which is found applied to ingenious work, such as the
ornamentation on the hilt of a sword. Another term for a wizard or
conjurer is gwr cyfarwyd, with which the reader is already familiar. Here
cyfarwyct iovxas, 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 kyvar6ydyt, which included,
among other things, acquaintance with boundaries and pedigrees, but it
meant most frequently perhaps story ; see the (Oxford) Mabinogion, pp. 5,
61, 72, 93. All these terms should, strictly speaking, have ^Tur — gwr hyspys,
gwr cynnil, and gwr cyfarwyd— \mt for the fact that modern Welsh tends to
restrict gwr to signify ' a husband ' or ' a married man,' while dyn, which
only signifies a mortal, is made to mean man, and provided with a feminine
dynes, ' woman,' unknown to good Welsh literature. Thus the spoken
language is in this matter nearly on a level with English and French, which
have quite lost the word for vir and dn}/>.


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 ', at twelve o'clock
the night the moon is full. Take care to hide thyself
at a spot where thou canst see the ends of the cross-
roads ; and shouldst thou see anything that would excite
thee take care to be still and to restrain thyself from
giving way to thy feelings, otherwise the scheme will be
frustrated and thou wilt never have thy son back." The
unfortunate mother knew not what to make of the
strange story of the cunning man ; she was in the dark
as much as ever. At last the time came, and by the
appointed hour she had concealed herself carefully
behind a large bush close by, whence she could see
everything around. She remained there a long time
watching; but nothing was to be seen or heard, while
the profound and melancholy silence of midnight domi-
nated 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

' Rhydy 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 ILanwonno Church. The
people of ILanfabon 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 ILanfabon to greater fury
than to hear the moon spoken of as haul UumfaboH, ' the sun of ILanfabon.'


Mamau going somewhere or other. They were hun-
dreds 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 home-
wards. 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 con-
siderably 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 per-
ceived 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^ fire with its feathers and all intact. More-
over, as soon as she placed it before the fire, she was
to close every hole and passage in the walls except
one, and not to look very intently after the crimbil until
the hen was done enough and the feathers had fallen
off it every one : then she might look where he was.

' Strange as the advice of the wise man sounded, she
resolved to try it ; so she went the next day to search
among the hens for one of the requisite description ;
but to her disappointment she failed to find one. She
then walked from one farm house to another in her
search; but fortune appeared to scowl at her, as she
seemed to fail in her object. When, however, she was
nearly disheartened, she came across the kind of hen
she wanted at a farm at the end of the parish. She
bought it, and after returning home she arranged the
fire and killed the hen, which she placed in front of the
bright fire burning on the hearth. Whilst watching
the hen baking she altogether forgot the crimbil; and
she fell into a sort of swoon, when she was astonished
by the sound of music outside the house, similar to the
music she had heard a few nights before at the cross-
roads. The feathers had by this time fallen off the hen,
and when she came to look for the crimbil he had dis-
appeared. 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 con-

' It was peat fires that were usual in those days even in Glamorgan.


cerning 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 tnesen cyn derwen a'i phlannu mwn ddr:

Ni chlywais yn unman am gymysg y bastai yn masgal wy tdr.

I heard from my father and he from his father, and that one from his father,
That the acorn exists before the oak and the planting of it in the ground :
Never anywhere have I heard of mixing the pasty in the shell of a hen's egg.

In Dewi Glan Ffrydlas' story from the Ogwen Valley,
in Carnarvonshire, p. 62 above, it is not the cooking of
a pasty but the brewing of beer in an egg-shell. How-
ever 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 Scandi-
navia. 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 ^.' 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 expHcit kind is given
by Howells — it comes from ILandrygarn in Angle-
sey — see p. 139, where his words run thus : ' I can
remember yon oak an acorn, but I never saw in my
life people brewing in an egg-shell before.' I may add

' See Hartland's Science of Fairy Tales, pp. iia-6.


that I have been recently fortunate enough to obtain
from Mr. IL)rwarch Reynolds another kind of estimate
of the fairy urchin's age. He writes that his mother
remembers a very old Merthjn" 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 : —

Wyn hen y dyd hedy, I call myself old this day,

Ag yn byw cyn 'y ngeni: And living before my birth :

Eri6d ni welas i feruii Never have I seen food boiled

Buiyd i'rfedal mwn cwcuM^ wy idr. 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 man is wont to be oldest when bom,

A ieu ieu pop amser. And younger and younger all the time.


Before closing this chapter, I wish to touch on the
question of the language of the fairies, though fairy tales
hardly ever raise it, as they usually assume the fairies
to speak the same language as the mortals around them.
There is, however, one well-known exception, namely,
the story of Eliodorus, already mentioned, p. 117, as
recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis, who relates how
Eliodorus, preferring at the age of twelve to play the
truant to undergoing a frequent beating by his teacher,
fasted two days in hiding in the hollow of a river bank,
and how he was then accosted by two little men who

' In no other version has Mr. Reynolds heard cwcwit wy idr, but either
plisgyn or cibyn wy idr, to which I may add masgal from Mr. Craigfryn
Hughes' versions. The word cwcwit usually means a cowl, but perhaps it
is best here to treat cwcwit as a distinct word derived somehow from
conchylium or the French coquilU, ' a shell.'



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 ^, 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 ^. But one of the most curious por-
tions of Eliodorus' yarn was that relating to the language
of the fairies; for he pretended to have learnt it and
to have found it to resemble his own Britannica Lingua,
' Brythoneg, or Welsh.' In the words instanced Giraldus
perceived a similarity to Greek ^, which he accounted

' The whole passage will be found in the Itinerarium Kambrim, 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, DafyS ah Gerald or David Fitsgerald, appears
to have been consecrated Bishop of St. David's in 1147, and to have died in
1 176.

' The words in the original are: Nee came vescebantur, nee ptsce ; lacteis
phrumque cibariis utentes, ei in pultis modum quasi croco confectis,

' Perhaps it is this also that suggested the name Eliodorus, as it were
'W^6ioipos ; for the original name was probably the medieval Welsh one of


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 Stoned
(Aberystwyth, 1882), pp. 8-16. Ysten Stoned, I ought
to explain, consists of a number of stories collected and
edited in Welsh by the Rev. Chancellor Silvan Evans,
though he has not attached his name to it: — The harvest
of 1816 was one of the wettest ever known in Wales,
and a man and his wife who lived on a small farm in one
of the largest parishes in the Hundred of Moedin (see
p. 245 above) in the Demetian part of Cardiganshire went
out in the evening of a day which had been compara-
tively 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

/rfyr= Irish Ailithir, ailither, 'a pilgrim': compare the Pembrokeshire
name Pergrin and the like. It is curious that Elidyr did not occur to
Glasynys and prevent him from substituting Elfod, which is quite another
name, and more correctly written Elfod for the earlier El-fodw, found
not only as Elbodu but also Elbodug-o, Elbodg, Elbot and El/od: see p. 117


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 they had seen and
heard; for they fancied it was some belated people
making for the village, which was about a mile off. But
the hum and confused sounds went on increasing, and
when the two binders looked up again, they beheld
a large crowd of people almost opposite and not
far from them. As they continued looking on they
beheld quite clearly a coffin on a bier carried on the
shoulders of men, who were relieved by others in turns,
as usual in funeral processions in the country. ' Here
is a funeral,' said the binders to one another, forgetting
for the moment that it was not usual for funerals to be
seen at night. They continued looking on till the
crowd was right opposite them, and some of them did
not keep to the road, but Walked over the corn alongside
of the bulk of the procession. The two binders heard
the talk and whispering, the noise and hum as if of so
many real men and women passing by, but they did not
understand a word that was said : not a syllable could
they comprehend, not a face could they recognize.
They kept looking at the procession till it went out of
sight on the way leading towards the parish church.
They saw no more of them, and now they began to feel
uneasy and went home leaving the corn alone as it was ;
but further on the funeral was met by a tailor at a point
in the road where it was narrow and bounded by a fence
(clawct) 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 obUged 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 funeraP, 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 truth-
ful persons, as well as comparatively free from super-
stition. 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 Ysten Stoned
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 ioeli 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^. In North Cardiganshire and North Wales the

' For one or two more instances from Wales see Howells, pp. 54-7.
Brittany also is a great country for death portents : see A. Le Braz, Legendi
dt la Mori tn Bassi-Brelagne (Paris, 1893), also S^billot's Traditions et
Suptrsliliotts dt la Haute-Bniagni (Paris, i88a), i. pp. 270-1. For Scotland
see Thi Ghost Lights of the Wist Highlands by Dr. R. C. Maclagan in
Folk-Lort for 1897, pp. 303-356, and for the cognate subject of second sight
see Dalyell's Darktr Superstitions of Scotland, pp. 466-88.

' Another word for the totli is given by Silvan Evans as used in
certain parts of South Wales, namely, tolaeth or dolath, as to which be



toeli is called simply a dadiedigaeth, ' burial,' or anglact,
' funeral ' ; in the latter also cynhebrwng is a funeral.
I may add that when I was a child in the neighbour-
hood 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 en-
tangled 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 Tylmyth Teg, or
fairies, may, in point of origin, be regarded as deceased
friends and ancestors of the tylwyth, in the ordinary
sense of the word. In fact all this kind of rehearsal of
events seems to have been once looked at as friendly
to the men and women whom it concerned. This will
be seen, for instance, in the Demetian account of the

mentions th* opinion that it is a corruption of tylwyth, a view corroborated
by Ho wells using, p. 31, the plural iyloethod; but it could not be easily
explained except as a corruption through the medium of English. Elias
Owen, p. 303, uses the word in reference to the hammering and rapping
noise attending the joinering of a phantom coffin for a man about to die,
a sort of rehearsal well known throughout the Principality to every one
who has ears spiritually tuned. Unfortunately I have not yet succeeded
in locating the use of the word tolaeth, except that I have been
assured by a Carmarthen man that it is current in Welsh there as
toleth, and by a native of Pumsant that it is in use from Abergwili up to


canvuytt gorff, or corpse candle, as granted through the
intercession of St. David to the people of his special care,
as a means of warning each to get ready in time for his
death ; that is to say, to prevent death finding him
unprepared. It is hard to guess why it was assumed that
the canwyit gor^ was unknown in other parts of Wales.
One or two instances in point occur in Owen's IVelsh Folk-
lore, 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 Car-
narvon. Nor does it appear that phantom funerals
were at all confined to South Wales. Proof to the con-
trary is supplied to some extent in Owen's Folklore,
p. 301 ; but there is no doubt that in recent times the
belief in them, as well as in the canwytt gorff, has been
more general and more vivid in South Wales than in
North Wales, especially Gwyned.

I have not been fortunate enough to come across
anything systematic or comprehensive on the origin
and meaning of ghostly rehearsals like the Welsh
phantom funeral or coffin making. But the subject is
an interesting one which deserves the attention of our
leading folklore philosophers, as does also the cognate
one of second sight, by which it is widely overlapped.

Quite recently— at the end of 1899 '" f^^^ — ^ received
three brief stories, for which I am indebted to the further
kindness of Alaw ILeyn (p. 228), who lives at Bynhadlog
near Edern in ILeyn, 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: —

(i) There were at a small harbour belonging to Nefyn
some houses in which several families formerly lived ;
the houses are there still, but nobody lives in them now.



There was one family there to which a little girl
belonged : they used to lose her for hours every day ;
so her mother was very angry with her for being so
much away. ' I must know,' said she, ' where you go
for your play.' The girl answered that it was to Pin y
Wig, ' The Wig Point,' which meant a place to the west
of the Nefyn headland : it was there, she said, she
played with many children. ' Whose children ? ' asked
the mother. 'I don't know,' she replied; 'they are very
nice children, much nicer than I am.' * I must know
whose children they are,' was the reply ; and one day
the mother went with her little girl to see the children :
it was a distance of about a quarter of a mile to Pin y
Wig, and after climbing the slope and walking a little
along the top they came in sight of the Pin. It is from
this Pin that the people of Pen yr Aflt got water, and
it is from there they get it still. Now after coming
near the Pin the little girl raised her hands with joy at
the sight of the children. ' O mother,' said she, ' their
father is with them to-day : he is not with them always,
it is only sometimes that he is.' The mother asked the
child where she saw them. ' There they are, mother,
running down to the Pin, with their father sitting down.'
' I see nobody, my child,' was the reply, and great fear
came upon the mother: she took hold of the child's
hand in terror, and it came to her mind at once that
they were the Tylwyth Teg. Never afterwards was the
little girl allowed to go to Pin y Wig : the mother had
heard that the Tylwyth Teg exchanged people's children.

Such is the first story, and it is only remarkable,
perhaps, for its allusion to the father of the fairy children.

(2) There used to be at Edern an old woman who
occupied a small farm called Glan y Gors: the same
family lives there still. One day this old woman had
gone to a fair at Criccieth, whence she returned through


Pwttheli. As she was getting above Gors Geirch,
which was then a turbary and a pretty considerable
bog, a noise reached her ears : she stopped and heard
the sound of much talking. By-and-by she beheld a
great crowd of men and women coming to meet her.
She became afraid and stepped across the fence to let
them go by. There she remained a while listening to
their chatter, and when she thought that they had gone
far enough she returned to the road and began to
resume her way home. But before she had gone many
steps she heard the same sort of noise again, and saw
again the same sort of crowd coming ; so she recrossed
the fence in great fear, saying to herself, ' Here I shall
be all night 1' 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 IVi Wei or something like that.

This account Alaw ILeyn has got, he says, from
a great-granddaughter of the old woman, and she heard
it all from her father, Bard ILechog, who always had
faith in the fairies, and believed that they will come
again to be sefen 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

' See, for instance, pp. 200, aai, 328.


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 ai 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 Pistytt, he came in due time to Bwlch Trwyn
Swncwl ^ : he writes this name also Bwlch Drws
Wncwl, with the suggestion that it ought to be Bwlch
Drws Encil, and that the place must have been of
importance in the wars of the ancient Kymry. The
high-road, he goes on to say, runs through the Bwlch,
and as Griffith was entering this gap what should he
hear but a great deal of talking. He stopped and

' Mrs. Williams-Ellis of Glasfryn writes to me that the place is now
called Bwlch Trwyn Swncwl, that it is a gap on the highest part of the road
crossing from ILanaelhaearn to Pistylt, and that it is quite a little mountain
pass between bleak heather-covered hillsides, in fact a very lonely spot in
the outskirts of the Eifl, and with Carnguwch blocking the horizon in the
direction of Cardigan Bay.


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 under-
stand 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 ILeyn we
have it clearly stated that it was neither Welsh nor, pro-
bably, English. Since the fairies are always represented
as old-fashioned in their ways, it is quite possible that
they were once regarded as talking a more ancient
language of the country. Which was it? An early
version of these legends might perhaps have supplied
the answer, and told us that it was Gwydelig or Goidelic,
if not an earlier idiom, to wit that of the Aborigines
before they learnt Goidelic from the Celts of the first
wave of Aryan invasion, whether it was in the region of
the Eifl or in the Demetian half of Keredigion. As to
the former it is worthy of note that when Griffith had
reached Bwlch Trwyn Swncwl he was in the outskirts
of the Eifl Mountains, on one of whose heights, not
very far off, is the extensive prehistoric fortress of Tre'r
Ceiri, or the Town of the Keiri, a vocable which may
be provisionally rendered by 'giants.' In any case it
dissociates that stronghold from the Brythonic people
of Wales. We shall find, however, that a Goidel, or
Pict, buried in a cairn on Snowdon, is known as Rhita
Gawr, ' Rhita the Giant ' ; and it is possible that in the
Keiri of Tre'r Ceiri we have no other race than that of
mixed Goidels and Picts whom the encroaching Brythons


found in possession of the west of our island. Nay,
one may say that this is rendered probable by the use
made of the word ceiri in medieval Welsh : thus in some
poetry composed by a certain Dafyd Offeiriad, and
copied by Thomas Williams of Trefriw, we have a
line alluding to Britain in the words : —

Coron ynys y Ceuri^- The Crown of the Giants' Island.

Here Ynys y Ceuri inevitably recalls the fact that
Britain is called Ynysy 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. i6, 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

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 ^, or

' 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 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 in the local
pronunciation of the name TW'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.

'' See the Oxford Mabinogion, pp. no, 113, and 27-9, 36-41, 44, also 309,
where a Triad explains that the outposts were Anglesey, Man, and Lundy.


Prydain's Three Islands and Prydain's Three outpost
Islands ; and the substantial antiquity of the designation
' the Islands of Prydain,' is proved by its virtual identity
with that used by ancient Greek authors like Ptolemy,
who calls both Britain and Ireland a v^(ros ITpeTaj'iKT}, where
Pretanic and Prydain are closely related words. Now
our Prydain had in medieval Welsh the two forms
Prydein and Prydyn. But some time or other there set
in a tendency to desynonymize them, so as to make
Ynys Prydein, ' the Picts' Island,' mean Great Britain,
and Prydyn mean the Pictland of the North. But just
as Cymry meant the plural Welshmen and the singular
Wales, so Prydyn meant Picts ^ and the country of the
Picts. Now the plural Prydyn has its etjmiological
Goidelic equivalent in the vocable Cruithni, which is
well known to have meant the Picts or the descendants
of the Picti of Roman historians. Further, this last
name cannot be severed from that of the Pidones"^ in
Gaul, and it is usually supposed to have referred to their
habit of tattooing themselves. At all events this agrees
with the apparent meaning of the names Prydyn and
Cruithni, from pryd and cruth, the words in Welsh and
Irish respectively for form or shape, the designation
being supposed to refer to the forms or pictures of
various animals punctured on the skins of the Picts. So
much as to the practical identity of the terms Prydyn,
Cruithni, and the Greeks' Pretanic; but how could

But the other Triads, i. 3 = iii. 67, make them Orkney, Man, and Wight, for
which we have the older authority of Nennius, 8. The designation Tair
Ynys Brydain, ' The Three Isles of Prydain,' was known to the fourteenth-
century poet, lolo Goch : see his works edited by Ashton, p. 669.

' oT Prydyn in the plural see SVcne^'s Four Ancient Books 0/ Wales, ii.
ao9, also 9a, where Pryden is the form used. In modern Welsh the two
senses of Cymry are distinguished in writing as Cymry and Cymru, but the
difference is merely one of spelling and not very ancient.

• So Geoffrey (i. ia-15) brings his Trojans on their way to Britain into
Aquitania, where they fight with the Pictavienses, whose king he calls
Goffarius Picltts,


Cedyrn 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"^ 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 ^ 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 eventu-
ally usurped its place in the name of the island, which
from being Ynysy 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

' 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 : (i) retaining
the d unchanged cadro-s yields cadr, or (a) dr is made into dr, and other
changes set in resulting in the ceir of ceiri, as jn Welsh aneirif, ' number-
less,' from eirif, ' number,' of the same origin as Irish arant from *ad-rim =
*ad-rtmd, and Welsh eiliiv, ' species, colour,' for ad-liw, in both of which
I follows d combinations ; but that is not essential, as shown by coder,
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 ,liero,' borrowed. The plural cewri
or cawri is formed from the singular cawr, which means a giant, though,
associated in the plural with ceiri, it has sometimes to follow suit with that
vocable in connoting dress.

' The most important of these are the old Breton kasr, now kaer,
' beautiful or pretty,' and old Cornish caer of the same meaning ; elsewhere
we have, as in Greek, the Doric iciKaSiuu and xeKaSnivos, to be found used in
reference to excelling or distinguishing one's self ; also xdaiios, ' good order,
ornament,' while in Sanskrit there is the theme fad, ' to excel or surpass.'
The old meaning of 'beautiful,' 'decorated,' or 'loudly dressed,' is not yet
lost in the case of ceirt.


skins and making themselves distingue 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. 'Dydi 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 interpreta-
tion of the name Tr^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 Ynysy 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

Manx Folklore

Be it remembrid that one Manaman Mack Clere, a paynim, was the first
inhabitour of the ysle of Man, who by his Necromancy liept the same, that
when he was assaylid or invaded he wold rayse such mystes by land and sea
that no man might well fjmde owte the ysland, and he would make one of
his men seeme to be in nombre a hundred. — The Landsdowne MSS.

The following paper exhausts no part of the subject :
it simply embodies the substance of my notes of con-
versations which I have had with Manx men and Manx
women, whose names, together with such other particu-
lars as I could get, are in my possession. I have mostly
avoided reading up the subject in printed books ; but
those who wish to see it exhaustively treated may be
directed to Mr. Arthur W. Moore's book on The Folk-
lore of the Isle of Man, to which may now be added
Mr. C. Roeder's Contributions to the Folklore of the Isle
of Man in the Lioar Manhinagh for 1897, pp. 129-91.

For the student of folklore the Isle of Man is very
fairly stocked with inhabitants of the imaginary order.
She has her fairies and her giants, her mermen and
brownies, her kelpies and water-bulls.

The water-bull or tarroo ushtey, as he is called in
Manx, is a creature about which I have not been able to
learn much, but he is described as a sort of bull disport-
ing himself about the pools and swamps. For instance,
I was told at the village of Andreas, in the flat country
forming the northern end of the island, and known as


the Ayre, that there used to be a tarroo ushtey between
Andreas and the sea to the west : it was before the
ground had been drained as it is now. And an octo-
genarian captain at Peel related to me how he had once
when a boy heard a tarroo ushtey: the bellowings of
the brute made the ground tremble, but otherwise the
captain was unable to give me any very intelligible
description. This bull is by no means of the same
breed as the bull that comes out of the lakes of Wales
to mix with the farmers' cattle, for there the result
used to be great fertility among the stock, and an over-
flow of milk and dairy produce, but in the Isle of Man
the tarroo ushtey only begets monsters and strangely
formed beasts.

The kelpie, or, rather, what I take to be a kelpie, was
called by my informants a glashtyn ; and Kelly, in his
Manx Dictionary, describes the object meant as ' a
gobhn, an imaginary animal which rises out of the
water.' One or two of my informants confused the
glashtyn with the Manx brownie. On the other hand,
one of them was very definite in his behef that it had
nothing human about it, but was a sort of grey colt,
frequenting the banks of lakes at night, and never seen
except at night.

Mermen and mermaids disport themselves on the
coasts of Man, but I have to confess that I have made
no careful inquiry into what is related about them ; and
my information about the giants of the island is equally
scanty. To confess the truth, I do not recollect hearing
of more than one giant, but that was a giant: I have
seen the marks of his huge hands impressed on the top
of two massive monoliths. They stand in a field at
Balla Keeill Pherick, on the way down from the Sloe
to Colby. I was told there were originally five of these
stones standing in a circle, all of them marked in the



same way by the same giant as he hurled them down
there from where he stood, miles away on the top of
the mountain called Cronk yn Irree Laa. Here I may
mention that the Manx word for a giant is foawr, in
which a vowel-flanked m has been spirited away, as
shown by the modem Irish spelling, /owAor. This, in
the plural in old Irish, appears as the name of the
Fomori, so well known in Irish legend, which, however,
does not always represent them as giants, but rather as
monsters. I have been in the habit of explaining the
word as meaning submarini; but no more are they
invariably connected with the sea. So another etymo-
logy recommends itself, namely, one which comes from
Dr. Whitley Stokes, and makes the mor m fomori to be
of the same origin as the mare in the English nightmare,
French cauchemar, German mahr, 'an elf,' and cog-
nate words. I may mention that with the Fomori of
mythic origin have doubtless been confounded and
identified certain invaders of Ireland, especially the
Dumnonians from the country between Galloway and
the mouth of the Clyde, some of whom may be inferred
to have coasted the north of Ireland and landed in the
west, for example in Erris, the north-west of Mayo,
called after them Irrus (or Erris) Domnann.

The Manx brownie is called the fenodyree, and he is
described as a hairy and apparently clumsy fellow, who
would, for instance, thrash a whole bamful of corn in
a single night for the people to whom he felt well dis-
posed ; and once on a time he undertook to bring down
for the farmer his wethers from Snaefell. When the
fenodyree had safely put them in an outhouse, he said
that he had some trouble with the little ram, as it had
run three times round Snaefell that morning. The
farmer did not quite understand him, but on going to
look at the sheep, he found, to his infinite surprise, that


the little ram was no other than a hare, which, poor
creature, was dying of fright and fatigue., I need scarcely
point out the similarity between this and the story of
Peredur, who, as a boy, drove home two hinds with
his mother's goats from the forest : he owned to having
had some trouble with the goats that had so long run
wild as to have lost their horns, a circumstance which
had greatly impressed him^ To return to the feno-
dyree, I am not sure that there were more than one in
Man— I have never heard him spoken of in the plural ;
but two localities at least are assigned to him, namely,
a farm called Ballachrink, in Colby, in the south, and
a farm called Lanjaghan, in the parish of Conchan, near
Douglas. Much the same stories, however, appear to
be current about him in the two places, and one of the
most curious of them is that which relates how he left.
The farmer so valued the services of the fenodyree,
that one day he took it into his head to provide clothing
for him. The fenodyree examined each article care-
fully, and expressed his idea of it, and specified the
kind of disease it was calculated to produce. In a word,
he found that the clothes would make head and foot
sick, and he departed in disgust, saying to the farmer,
' Though this place is thine, the great glen of Rushen
is not.' Glen Rushen is one of the most retired glens
in the island, and it drains down through Glen Meay
to the coast, some miles to the south of Peel. It is to
Glen Rushen, then, that the fenodyree is supposed
to be gone ; but on visiting that valley in 1890 ^ in quest
of Manx-speaking peasants, I could find nobody there
who knew anything of him. I suspect that the spread

' For the text see the Oxford Mabiuogiou, pp. 193-4, and for comparisons
of the incident see Nutt's Holy Grail, p. 154 et seq. ; and Rh3rs' ArthuriaH
Legend, pp. 75-6. A more exact parallel, however, is to be mentioned in
the next chapter.

' This chapter was written mostly in 1891.


of the English language even there has forced him to
leave the island altogether. Lastly, with regard to the
term fenodyree, I may mention that it is the word used
in the Manx Bible of 1819 for satyr in Isaiah xxxiv. 14 ^
where we read in the English Bible as follows : ' The
wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the
wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his
fellow.' In the Vulgate the latter clause reads: et
pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum. The term fenodyree
has been explained by Cregeen in his Manx Dictionary
to mean one who has hair for stockings or hose. That
answers to the description of the hairy satyr, and seems
fairly well to satisfy the phonetics of the case, the words
from which he derives the compound being fynney ^,
' hair,' and dashyr, ' a stocking ' ; but as oashyr seems to
come from the old Norse hosur, the plural of hosa, 'hose
or stocking,' the ierva fenodyree cannot date before the
coming of the Norsemen ; and I am inclined to think the
idea more Teutonic than Celtic. At any rate I need not
point out to the English reader the counterparts of this
hairy satyr in the hobgoblin ' Lob lie by the Fire,' and
Milton's ' Lubber Fiend,' whom he describes as one that

Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And crop-full out of doors he flings.
Ere the first cock his matin rings.

Lastly, I may mention that Mr. Roeder has a great
deal to say about, the fenodyree under the name of
glashtyn; for it is difficult to draw any hard and fast

' The spelling there used is phynnodderee, to the perversity of which
Cregeen calls attention in his Dictionary. In any case the pronunciation is
always approximately /-o-^^•-^fo^yBM-od^>^:, with the accent on the second

" I am inclined to think that the first part of the word fenodyree is not
fynney, the Manx word for ' hair,'but the Scandinavian word which survives
in the Swedish j5) ' down.' Thus fjuH-hosur (for tlie fjun-hosa suggested
by analogy) would explain the word fenodyree, except its final ee, which is
obscure. Compare also the magic breaks ca&ei finn-brakr, as to which see
Vigfusson's Icelandic Did. s. v. Jinnar.


line between the glashtyn and the fenodyree, or even
the water-bull, so much alike do they seem to have
been regarded. Mr. Roeder's items of folklore con-
cerning the glashtyns (see the Lioar Manninagh, iii.
139) show that there were male and female glashtyns,
and that the former were believed to have been too
fond of the women at Ballachrink, until one evening
some of the men, dressed as women, arranged to
receive some youthful glashtyns. Whether the feno-
dyree is of Norse origin or not, the glashtyn is decidedly
Celtic, as will be further shown in chapter vii. Here it
will suffice to mention one or two related words which
are recorded in Highland Gaelic, na.me\y,glaistig, 'a she-
goblin which assumes the form of a goat,' and glaisrig,
' a female fairy or a goblin, half human, half beast.'

The fairies claim our attention next, and as the only
other fairies tolerably well known to me are those of
Wales, I can only compare or contrast the Manx
fairies with the Welsh ones. They are called in Manx,
sleik beggey, or little people, and ferrishyn, from the
English -wovA fairies, as it would seem. Like the Welsh
fairies, they kidnap babies ; and I have heard it related
how a woman in Dalby had a struggle with the fairies
over her baby, which they were trying to drag out of
the bed from her. Like Welsh fairies, also, they take
possession of the hearth after the farmer and his family
are gone to bed. A man in Dalby used to find them
making a big fire in his kitchen : he would hear the
crackling and burning of the fire when nobody else
could have been there except the fairies and their
friends. I said 'friends,' for they sometimes take a
man with them, and allow him to eat with them at the
expense of others. Thus, some men from the northern-
most parish. Kirk Bride, went once on a time to Port
Erin, in the south, to buy a supply of fish for the


winter, and with them went a Kirk Michael man who
had the reputation of being a persona grata to the
fairies. Now one of the Port Erin men asked a man
from the north who the Michael man might be: he
was curious to know his name, as he had seen him once
before, and on that occasion the Michael man was with
the fairies at his house — the Port Erin man's house —
helping himself to bread and cheese in company with
the rest, As the fairies were regaling themselves in
this instance on ordinary bread and cheese at a living
Manxman's expense, the story may perhaps be regarded
as not inconsistent with one mentioned by Gumming ^
to the following effect : — ^A man attracted one night as
he was crossing the mountains, by fairy music, entered
a fairy hall where a banquet was going on. He
noticed among them several faces which he seemed to
know, but no act of mutual recognition took place till he
had softie drink offered him, when one of those whom
he seemed to know warned him not to taste of the
drink if he had any wish to make his way home again.
If he partook of it he would become like one of them.
So he found an opportunity for spilling it on the
ground and securing the cup; whereupon the hall
and all its inmates instantaneously vanished. On this
I may remark that it appears to have been a widely
spread belief, that no one who had partaken of the food
for spirits would be allowed to return to his former
life, and some instances will be found mentioned by
Professor Tylor in his Primitive Culture, ii. 50-2.

Like the Welsh fairies, the Manx ones take men
away with them and detain them for years. Thus a
Kirk Andreas man was absent from his people for four
years, which he spent with the fairies. He could not

• Cumming's Isle of Man (London, 1848), p. 30, where he refers his readers
to Waldron's Description of the Isle of Man : see pp. 28, 105.


tell how he returned, but it seemed as if, having been
unconscious, he woke up at last in this world. The
other world, however, in which he was for the four
years was not far away, as he could see what his brothers
and the rest of the family were doing every day, although
they could not see him. To prove this, he mentioned
to them how they were occupied on such and such
a day, and, among other things, how they took their
corn on a particular day to Ramsey. He reminded
them also of their having heard a sudden sharp crack
as they were passing by a thorn bush he named, and
how they were so startled that one of them would have
run back home. He asked them if they remembered
that, and they said they did, only too well. He then
explained to them the meaning of the noise, namely,
that one of the fairies with whom he had been galloping
the whole time was about to let fly an arrow at his
brothers, but that as he was going to do this, he (the
missing brother) raised a plate and intercepted the
arrow : that was the sharp noise they had heard. Such
was the account he had to give of his sojourn in Faery.
This representation of the world of the fairies, as con-
tained within the ordinary world of mortals, is very
remarkable; but it is not a new idea, as we seem to
detect it in the Irish story of the abduction of Conla
Riiad ^ : the fairy who comes to fetch him tells him that
the folk of Tethra, whom she represents, behold him
every day as he takes part in the assemblies of his
country and sits among his friends. The commoner way
of putting it is simply to represent the fairies as invisible
to mortals at will ; and one kind of Welsh story relates
how the mortal midwife accidentally touches her eyes,
while dressing a fairy baby, with an ointment which
makes the fairy world visible to her: see pp. 63,213, above.

' See Windisch's Irischt Grammaiik, p. 120.
U 2


Like Welsh fairies, the Manx ones had, as the reader
will have seen, horses to ride ; they had also dogs, just
as the Welsh ones had. This I learn from another
story, to the effect that a fisherman, taking a fresh fish
home, was pursued by a pack of fairy dogs, so that it
was only with great trouble he reached his own door.
Then he picked up a stone and threw it at the dogs,
which at once disappeared ; but he did not escape, as
he was shot by the fairies, and so hurt that he lay ill for
fully six months from that day. He would have been
left alone by the fairies, I was told, if he had only taken
care to put a pinch of salt in the fish's mouth before
setting out, for the Manx fairies cannot stand salt or
baptism. So children that have been baptized are, as
in Wales, less liable to be kidnapped by these elves
than those that have not. I scarcely need add that
a twig of cuirn ^ or rowan is also as effective against
fairies in Man as it is in Wales. Manx fairies seem to
have been musical, like their kinsmen elsewhere; for
I have heard of an Orrisdale man crossing the neigh-
bouring mountains at night and hearing fairy music,
which took his fancy so much that he hstened, and tried
to remember it. He had, however, to return, it is said,
three times to the place before he could carry it away
complete in his mind, which he succeeded in doing at

' The Manx word for the rowan tree, incorrectly called a mountain ash,
is cuirn, which is in Mod. Irish caorihann, genitive caorthainn, Scotch Gaelic
caorunn ; but in Welsh books it is ceritin, singular cerumen, and in the spoken
language mostly cerdin, cerding, singular cerdinen, cerdingen. This variation
seems to indicate that these words have possibly been borrowed by the
Welsh from h Goidelic source ; but the berry is known in Wales by the
native name of criafol, from which the wood is frequently called, especially
in North Wales, coed criafol, singular coeden griafol or pren criafol. The
sacredness of the rowan is the key to the proper names Mac-Cairthinn and
Der-Chairtliinn, with which the student of Irish hagiology is familiar. They
mean the Son and the Daughter of the Rowan respectively, and the former
occurs as Maqui Cairatini on an Ogam inscribed stone recently discovered in
Meath, not very far from the Boyne.


last just as the day was breaking and the musicians
disappearing. This air, I am told, is now known by
the name of the Bollan Bane, or White Wort. As to
certain Welsh airs similarly supposed to have been
derived from the fairies, see pages 201-2 above.

So far I have pointed out next to nothing but simi-
larities between Manx fairies and Welsh ones, and I find
very little indicative of a difference. First, with regard
to salt, I am unable to say anything in this direction, as
I do not happen to know how Welsh fairies regard salt :
it is not improbable that they eschew salt as well as
baptism, especially as the Church of Rome has long
associated salt with baptism. There is, however, one
point, at least, of difference between the fairies of Man
and of Wales : the latter are, so far as I can call to
mind, never supposed to discharge arrows at men or
women, or to handle a bow^ at all, whereas Manx
fairies are always ready to shoot. May we, therefore,
provisionally regard this trait of the Manx fairies as
derived from a Teutonic source ? At any rate English
and Scotch elves were supposed to shoot, and I am
indebted to the kindness of my colleague. Professor
Napier, for calling my attention to the Leechdoms of
Early England'^ for cases in point.

Now that most of the imaginary inhabitants of Man
and its coasts have been rapidly passed in review before
the reader, I may say something of others whom I
regard as semi-imaginary — real human beings to whom
impossible attributes are ascribed : I mean chiefly the
witches, or, as they are sometimes called in Manx

' I am sorry to say that it never occurred to me to ask whether the
shooting was done with such modern things as guns. But Mr. Arthur
Moore assures me that it is always understood to be bows and arrows, not

" Edited by Oswald Cockayne for the Master of the Rolls (London,
1864-6) : see more especially vol. ii. pp. 156-7, 290-1, 401 ; vol. iiL pp. 54-5.


English, hutches V That term I take to be a variant of
the EngUsh word witch, produced under the influence
of the verb bewitch, which was reduced in Manx English
to a form butch, especially if one bear in mind the
Cumbrian and Scottish pronunciation of these words, as
wutch and bewutch. Now witches shift their form, and
I have heard of one old witch changing herself into
a pigeon ; but that I am bound to regard as exceptional,
the regular form into which Manx witches pass at their
pleasure being that of the hare, and such a swift and
thick skinned hare that no greyhound, except a black
one without a single white hair, can catch it, and no
shot, except a silver coin, penetrate its body. Both
these peculiarities are also well known in Wales.
I notice a difference, however, between Wales and Man
with regard to the hare witches : in Wales only the
women can become hares, and this property runs, so
far as I know, in certain families. I have known many
such, and my own nurse belonged to one of them, so
that my mother was reckoned to be rather reckless in
entrusting me to y Gota, or ' the Cutty One,' as she
might run away at any moment, leaving her charge to
take care of itself. But I have never heard of any man
or boy of any such family turning himself into a hare,
whereas in the Isle of Man the hare witches may belong,
if I may say so, to either sex. I am not sure, however,
that a man who turns himself into a hare would be
called a wizard or witch ; and I recollect hearing in
the neighbourhood of Ramsey of a man nicknamed the
gaaue mwaagh, that is to say, 'the hare smith,' the
reason being that this particular smith now and then
assumed the form of a hare. I am not quite sure that

• Mr. Moore is not familiar with this term, but I heard it at Surby, in the
south ; and I find buidseach and buidseachd given as Highland Gaelic words
for a witch and witchcraft respectively.


gaaue mwaagh is the name of a class, though I rather
infer that it is. If so, it must be regarded as a survival
of the magic skill associated with smiths in ancient
Ireland, as evidenced, for instance, in St. Patrick's
Hymn in the eleventh or twelfth century manuscript at
Trinity College, Dublin, known as the Liber Hymnorum,
in which we have a prayer —

Fri brichta ban ocus goband ocus druad.
Against the spells of women, of smiths and magicians '.

The persons who had the power of turning them-
selves into hares were believed to be abroad and very
active, together with the whole demon world, on the
eve of May-day of the Old Style. And a middle-aged
man from the parish of Andreas related to me how he
came three or four times across a woman reputed to be
a witch, carrying on her evil practices at the junction
of cross-roads, or the meeting of three boundaries.
This happened once very early on Old May morning,
and afterwards he met her several times as he was
returning home from visiting his sweetheart. He
warned the witch that if he found her again he
would kick her : that is what he tells me. Well, after a
while he did surprise her again at work at four cross-
roads, somewhere near Lezayre. She had a circle, he
said, as large as that made by horses in threshing,
swept clean around her. He kicked her and took away
her besom, which he hid till the middle of the day.
Then he made the farm boys fetch some dry gorse,
and he put the witch's besom on the top of it. There-
upon fire was set to the gorse, and, wonderful to relate,
the besom, as it burned, crackled and made reports like
guns going off. In fact, the noise could be heard at
Andreas Church — that is to say, miles away. The

' See Stokes' Goidelica, p. 151.


besom had on it ' seventeen sorts of knots,' he stated,
and the woman herself ought to have been burned : in
fact, he added that she did not long survive her besom.
The man who related this to me is hale and strong,
living now in the parish of Michael, and not in that of
Andreas, where he was bom.

There is a tradition at St. John's, which is overlooked
by the mountain called Slieau Whallian, that witches
used at one time to be punished by being set to roll
down the steep side of the mountain in spiked barrels ;
but, short of putting them to death, there were various
ways of rendering the machinations of witches inno-
cuous, or of undoing the mischief done by them ; for
the charmers supply various means of meeting them
triumphantly, and in case an animal is the victim, the
burning of it always proves an eflFective means of
bringing the offender to book: I shall have occasion
to return to this under another heading. There is a
belief that if you can draw blood, however little, from
a witch, or one who has the evil eye, he loses his power
of harming you ; and I have been told that formerly
this belief was sometimes acted upon. Thus, on leaving
church, for instance, the man who fancied himself in
danger from another would sidle up to him or walk by
his side, and inflict on him a slight scratch, or some
other trivial wound, which elicited blood ; but this must
have been a course always attended with more or less

The persons able to undo the witches' work, and
remove the malignant influence of the evil eye, are
known in Manx English as charmers, and something
must now be said of them. They have various ways of
proceeding to their work. A lady of about thirty-five,
living at Peel, related to me how, when she was a child
suffering from a swelling in the neck, she had it charmed


away by an old woman. This charmer brought with
her no less than nine pieces of iron, consisting of bits
of old pokers, old nails, and other odds and ends of the
same metal, making in all nine pieces. After invoking
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, she began to
rub the girl's neck with the old irons ; nor was she
satisfied with that, for she rubbed the doors, the walls,
and the furniture likewise, with the metal. The result,
I was assured, was highly satisfactory, as she has never
been troubled with a swelling in the throat since that
day. Sometimes a passage from the Bible is made use
of in charming, as, for instance, in the case of bleeding.
One of the verses then pronounced is Ezekiel xvi. 6,
which runs thus : — ' And when I passed by thee, and
saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee
when thou wast in thy blood, Live ; yea, I said unto
thee when thou wast in thy blood. Live.' This was told
me by a Laxey man, who is over seventy years of age.
The methods of charming away warts are various.
A woman from the neighbourhood of St. John's ex-
plained to me how a charmer told her to get rid of the
warts on her hands. She was to take a string and make
a knot on it for every wart she had, and then tie the
string round her hand, or fingers — I forget which ; and
I think my informant, on her part, forgot to tell me
a vital part of the formula, namely, that the string was
to be destroyed. But however that may be, she assured
me that the warts disappeared, and have never returned
since. A lady at Andreas has a still simpler method of
getting rid of warts. She rubs a snail on the warts,
and then places the snail on one of the points of a
blackthorn, and, in fact, leaves the snail to die, transfixed
by the thorn ; and as the snail dies the warts disappear.
She has done this in the case of her niece with com-
plete success, so far as the wart was concerned; but


she had forgotten to notice whether the snail had also

The lady who in this case applied the remedy cannot
be in any sense called a charmer, however much one
may insist on calling what she did a charm. In fact,
the term charmer tends to be associated with a par-
ticular class of charm involving the use of herbs. Thus
there used to be at one time a famous charmer living
near Kirk Michael, to whom the fishermen were in the
habit of resorting, and my informant told me that he
had been deputed more than once by his fellow fisher-
men to go to him in consequence of their lack of success
in the fishing. The charmer gave him a packet of
herbs, cut small, with directions that they should be
boiled, and the water mixed with some spirits — rum,
I think — and partly drunk in the boat by the captain
and the crew, and partly sprinkled over the boat and
everything in it. The charmer clearly defined his
position in the matter to my informant. ' I cannot,' he
said, ' put the fish in your nets for you ; but if there
is any mischief in the way of your luck, I can remove
that for you.' The fishermen themselves had, however,
more exaggerated notions of the charmer's functions,
for once on a time my informant spent on drink for
his boon companions the money which he was to give
the charmer, and then he, collected herbs himself—
it did not much matter what herbs — and took them
to his captain, who, with the crew, went through the
proper ritual, and made a most successful haul that
night. In fact, the only source of discontent was the
charmer's not having distributed the fish over two
nights, instead of endangering their nets by an excessive
haul all in one night. They regarded him as able to
do almost anything he liked in the matter.

A lady at Andreas gave me an account of a celebrated


charmer who lived between there and the coast. He
worked on her husband's farm, but used to be frequently
called away to be consulted. He usually cut up worm-
wood for the people who came to him, and if there was
none to be had, he did not scruple to rob the garden of
any small sprouts it contained of cabbage or the like.
He would chop them small, and give directions about
boiling them and drinking the water. He usually
charged any one leaving him to speak to nobody on the
way, lest he break the charm, and this mysteriousness
was evidently an important element in his profession.
But he was, nevertheless, a thriftless fellow, and when
he went to Peel, and sent the crier round to announce
his arrival, and received a good deal of money from the
fishermen, he seldom so conducted himself as to bring
much of his earnings home. He died miserably some
seven or eight years ago at Ramsey, and left a widow
in great poverty. As to the present day, the daughter
of a charmer now dead is married to a man living in
a village on the southern side of the island, and she
appears to have inherited her father's reputation for
charming, as the fishermen from all parts are said to
flock to her for luck. Incidentally, I have heard in the
south more than once of her being consulted in cases
of sudden and dangerous illness, even after the best
medical advice has been obtained : in fact, she seems
to have a considerable practice.

In answer to my question, how the charmer who
died at Ramsey used to give the sailors luck in the
fishing, my informant at Andreas could not say, except
that he gave them herbs as already described, and she
thought also that he sold them wisps to place under
their pillows. I gather that the charms were chiefly
directed to the removal of supposed impediments to
success in the fishing, rather than to any act of a more


positive nature. So far as I have been able to ascertain,
charming is hereditary, and they say that it descends
from father to daughter, and then from daughter to
son, and so on — a remarkable kind of descent, on which
I should be glad to learn the opinion of anthropologists.
One of the best Manx scholars in the island related to
me how some fishermen once insisted on his doing the
charmer for them because of his being of such and such
a family, and how he made fools of them. It is my
impression that the charming families are compara-
tively few in number, and this looks as if they descended
from the family physicians or druids of one or two
chieftains in ancient times. It is very likely a question
which could be cleared up by a local man famihar with
the island and all that tradition has to say on the subject
of Manx pedigrees.

In the case of animals ailing, the herbs were also
resorted to; and, if the beasts happened to be milch
cows, the herbs had to be boiled in some of their milk.
This was supposed to produce wonderful results,
described as follows by a man living at a place on the
way from Castletown up South Barrule : — ^A farmer in
his parish had a cow that milked blood, as he described
it, and this in consequence of a witch's ill-will. He
went to the charmer, who gave him some herbs, which
he was to boil in the aiUng cow's milk, and the charmer
charged him, whatever he did, not to quit the con-
coction while it was on the fire, in spite of any noises
he might hear. The farmer went home and proceeded
that night to boil the herbs as directed, but he suddenly
heard a violent tapping at the door, a terrible lowing
of the cattle in the cow-house, and stones coming down
the ' chumley ' : the end of it was that he suddenly fled
and sprang into bed to take shelter behind his wife.
He went to the charmer again, and related to him what


had happened: he was told that he must have more
courage the next time, unless he wished his cow to die.
He promised to do his best, and this time he stood his
ground in spite of the noises and the creaking of the
windows — until, in fact, a back window burst into
pieces and bodily let a witch in, who craved his pardon,
and promised nevermore to molest him or his. This
all happened at the farm in question in the time of
the present farmer's grandfather. The boiling of the
charmer's herbs in milk always produces a great
commotion and lowing among the cattle, and it in-
variably cures the ailing ones : this is firmly believed by
respectable farmers whom I could name, in the north
of the island in particular, and I am alluding to men
whom one might consider fairly educated members of
their class.

In the last mentioned instance not only is the requi-
site cure effected, but the witch who caused the
mischief is brought on the spot. I have recently heard
of a parallel to this in a belief which appears to be
still prevalent in the Channel Islands, more especially
Guernsey. The following incidents have been com-
municated to me by an ardent folklorist, who has friends
in the islands : —

An old woman in Torteval became ill, and her two
sons were told that if they tried one of the charms of
divination, such as boiling certain weeds in a pot, the
first person to come to the house would prove to be the
one who had cast a spell over their mother. Accord-
ingly they made their bouillederie, and who should come
to the door but a poor, unoffending Breton onion seller,
and as he was going away he was waylaid by the two
sons, who beat him within an inch of his life. They
were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprison-
ment; but the charming did not come out in the



evidence, though it was generally known to have been
the reason for the assault. This account was given my
informant in 1898, and the incident appears to have
happened not very long before. Another is related
thus : — A certain family suffered from a plague of lice,
which they regarded as the consequence of a spell.
They accordingly made their boiUng of herbs and
looked for the first comer. He turned out to be a
neighbour of theirs who wished to buy some turnip
seeds. The family abused him roundly. He went away,
but he was watched and caught by two of the sons of
the house, who beat him cruelly. They, on being
prosecuted, had to pay him ^ damages. This took
place in the summer of 1898, in the narrator's own
parish, in Guernsey. I have also another case of recent
date, to the effect that a young woman, whose churning
was so unsuccessful that the butter would not come,
boiled herbs in the prescribed way. She awaited the
first comer, and, being engaged, her intended husband
was not unnaturally the first to arrive. She abused
him so unsparingly that he broke off the engagement.
These instances go far enough to raise the question
why the boiling of herbs should be supposed to bring
the culprit immediately on the spot, but they hardly go
any further, namely, to help us to answer it.

Magic takes us back to a very primitive and loose
manner of thinking ; so the man'^ellously easy way in
which it identifies any tie of association, however
flimsy, with the insoluble bond of relationship which
educated men and women regard as connecting cause
and effect, renders even simpler means than I have
described quite equal to the undoing of the evils
resulting from the activity of the evil eye. Thus, let
us suppose that a person endowed with the evil eye
has just passed by the farmer's herd of cattle, and a


calf has suddenly been seized with a serious illness, the
farmer hurries after the man of the evil eye to get
the dust from under his feet. If he objects, the farmer
may, as has sometimes been actually done, throw
him down by force, take off his shoes, and scrape off
the dust adhering to their soles, and carry it back to
throw over the calf. Even that is not always necessary,
as it appears to be quite enough if he takes up dust
where he of the evil eye has just trod the ground.
There are innumerable cases on folk-record of both
means proving entirely efficacious, and they remind one
of a story related in the Itinerarium Kambrice, i. 11, by
Giraldus, as to the archbishop when he was preaching
in the neighbourhood of Haverfordwest. A certain
woman had lost her sight, but had so much faith in
that holy man that she sent her son to try and procure
the least bit of the fringe of his clothing. The youth,
unable to make his way through the crowd that sur-
rounded the preacher, waited till it dispersed, and then
took home to his mother the sod on which he had
stood and on which his feet had left their mark. That
earth was applied by her to her face and eyes, with the
result that she at once recovered her sight. A similar
question of psychology presents itself in a practice
intended as a preservative against the evil eye rather
than as a cure. I allude to what I have heard about
two maiden ladies living in a Manx village which I
know very well : they are natives of a neighbouring
parish, and I am assured that whenever a stranger
enters their house they proceed, as soon as he goes
away, to strew a little dust or sand over the spot where
he stood. That is understood to prevent any malignant
influence resulting from his visit. This tacit identi-
fying of a man with his footprints may be detected in
a more precarious and pleasing form in a quaint conceit


familiar to me in the lyrics of rustic life in Wales, when,
for example, a coy maiden leaves her lovesick swain
hotly avowing his perfect readiness to cusanu ol ei
thraed, that is, to do on his knees all the stages of her
path across the meadow, kissing the ground wherever
it has been honoured with the tread of her dainty foot.
Let me take another case, in which the cord of associa-
tion is not so inconceivably slender, namely, when two
or more persons standing in a close relation to one
another are mistakenly treated a little too much as if
mutually independent, the objection is heard that it
matters not whether it is A or B, that it is, in fact, all
the same, as they belong to the same concern. In
Welsh this is sometimes expressed by saying, Yr un
yw Huw'r Glyn a'i glocs, that is, ' Hugh of the Glen and
his clogs are all one.' Then, when you speak in English
of a man ' standing in another's shoes,' I am by no
means certain, that you are not employing an expression
which meant something more to those who first used it
than it does to us. Our modern idioms, with all their
straining after the abstract, are but primitive man's
mental tools adapted to the requirements of civilized
life, and they often retain traces of the form and shape
which the neolithic worker's chipping and polishing
gave them.

It is difficult to arrange these scraps under any
clearly classified headings, and now that I have led the
reader into the midst of matters magical, perhaps I may
just as well go on to the mention of a few more :
I alluded to the boihng of the herbs according to the
charmer's orders, with the result, among other things,
of bringing the witch to the spot. This is, however,
not the only instance of the importance and strange
efficacy of fire. For when a beast dies on a farm, of
course it dies, according to the old-fashioned view of


things as I understand it, from the influence of the evil
eye or the interposition of a witch. So if you want to
know to whom you are indebted for the loss of the
beast, you have simply to bum its carcase in the open
air and watch who comes first to the spot or who first
passes by : that is the criminal to be charged with the
death of the animal, and he cannot help coming there —
such is the effect of the fire. A Michael woman, who
is now about thirty, related to me how she watched
while the carcase of a bewitched colt was burning, how
she saw the witch coming, and how she remembers her
shrivelled face, with nose and chin in close proximity.
According to another native of Michael, a well informed
middle-aged man, the animal in question was oftenest
a calf, and it was wont to be burnt whole, skin and all.
The object, according to him, is invariably to bring the
bewitcher on the spot, and he always comes ; but I am
not clear what happens to him when he appears. My
informant added, however, that it was believed that,
unless the bewitcher got possession of the heart of the
burning beast, he lost all his power of bewitching. He
related, also, how his father and three other men were
once out fishing on the west coast of the island, when
one of the three suddenly expressed his wish to land.
As they were fishing successfully some two or three
miles from the shore, they would not hear of it. He,
however, insisted that they must put him ashore at
once, which made his comrades highly indignant ; but
they soon had to give way, as they found that he was
determined to leap overboard unless they complied.
When he got on shore they watched him hurrying
away towards where a beast was burning in the corner
of a field.

Manx stories merge this burning in a very perplexing
fashion with what may be termed a sacrifice for luck.


The following scraps of information will make it clear
what I mean :— A respectable farmer from Andreas told
me that he was driving with his wife to the neighbouring
parish of Jurby some years ago, and that on the way
they beheld the carcase of a cow or an ox burning in
a field, with a woman engaged in stirring the fire. On
reaching the village to which they were going, they
found that the burning beast belonged to a farmer
whom they knew. They were further told it was no
wonder that the said farmer had one of his cattle burnt,
as several of them had recently died. Whether this
was a case of sacrifice or not I cannot say. But let me
give another instance: a man whom I have already
mentioned, saw at a farm nearer the centre of the island
a live calf being burnt. The owner bears an English
name, but his family" has long been settled in Man.
The farmer's explanation to my informant was that the
calf was burnt to secure luck for the rest of the herd,
some of which were threatening to die. My informant
thought there was absolutely nothing the- matter with
them, except that they had too little food. Be that as
it may, the one calf was sacrificed as a burnt offering
to secure luck for the rest of the cattle. Let me here
also quote Mr. Moore's note in his Manx Surnames,
p. 184, on the place-name Cabbal yn Oural Losht,
or the ' Chapel of the Burnt Sacrifice.' ' This name,'
he says, ' records a circumstance which took place in
the nineteenth century, but which, it is to be hoped,
was never customary in the Isle of Man. A farmer,
who had lost a number of his sheep and cattle by
murrain, burned a calf as a propitiatory offering to
the Deity on this spot, where a chapel was afterwards
built. Hence the name,' Particulars, I may say, of
time, place, and person, could be easily added to
Mr. Moore's statement, excepting, perhaps, as to the


deity in question : on that point I have never been
informed, but Mr. Moore was probably right in the use
of the capital d, as the sacrificer was, according to all
accounts, a devout Christian. I have to thank Sir
Frederick Pollock for calling my attention to a parallel
this side of the sea : he refers me to Worth's History of
Devonshire (London, 1886), p. 339, where one reads the
following singular passage : — ' Living animals have
been burnt alive in sacrifice within memory to avert
the loss of other stock. The burial of three puppies
" brandise-wise " in a field is supposed to rid it of
weeds.' The second statement is very curious, and
the first seems to mean that preventive sacrifices have
been performed in Devonshire within the memory of
men living in the author's time.

One more Manx instance : an octogenarian woman,
born in the parish of Bride, and now living at Kirk
Andreas, saw, when she was a ' lump of a girl ' of ten
or fifteen years of age, a live sheep being burnt in a field
in the parish of Andreas, on May-day, whereby she
meant the first of May reckoned according to the Old
Style. She asserts ' very decidedly that it was son
oural, ' for a sacrifice,' as she put it, and ' for an object
to the public ' : those were her words when she ex-
pressed herself in English. Further, she made the
statement that it was a custom to burn a sheep on Old
May-day for a sacrifice. I was fully alive to the interest
of this evidence, and cross-examined her so far as her
age allows of it, and I find that she adheres to her
statement with all firmness, but I distinguish two or
three points in her evidence : i. I have no doubt that
she saw, as she was passing by a certain field on the
borders of Andreas parish, a live sheep being burnt on

' This chapter was written in 1891, except the portions of it which refer
to later dates indicated.

X 2


Old May-day. 2. But her statement that it was son
oural, or as a sacrifice, was probably only an inference
drawn by her, possibly years afterwards, on hearing
things of the kind discussed. 3. Lastly, I am convinced
that she did hear the May-day sacrifice discussed, both
in Manx and in English : her words, ' for an object to
the public,' are her imperfect recollection of a phrase
used in her hearing by somebody more ambitious of
employing English abstract terms than she is ; and the
formal nature of her statement in Manx, that it was
customary on May-day to burn as a sacrifice one head
of sheep {Laa Boaldyn va cliaghtey dy lostey son oural
un baagh keyrragh), produces the same impression on
my mind, that she is only repeating somebody else's
words. I mention this more especially as I have failed
to find anybody else in Andreas or Bride, or indeed in
the whole island, who will now confess to having ever
heard of the sheep sacrifice on Old May-day.

The time assigned to the sheep sacrifice, namely
May-day, leads me to make some remarks on the im-
portance of that day among the Celts. The day meant
is, as I have already said, Old May- day, in Manx
Shenn Laa Boaldyn, the belltaine of Cormac's Glossary,
Scotch Gaelic bealtuinn. This was a day when syste-
matic efforts were made to protect man and beast against
elves and witches ; for it was then that people carried
crosses of rowan in their hats and placed May flowers
over the tops of their doors and elsewhere as preserva-
tives against all malignant influences. With the same
object in view crosses of rowan were likewise fastened
to the tails of the cattle, small crosses which had to be
made without the help of a knife : I exhibited a tiny
specimen at one of the meetings of the Folk-Lore
Society. Early on May morning one went out to
gather the dew as a thing of great virtue, as in other


countries. At Kirk Michael one woman, who had been
out on this errand years ago, told me that she washed
her face with the dew in order to secure luck, a good
complexion, and safety against witches. The break of
this day is also the signal for setting the hng or the
gorse on fire, which is done in order to burn out the
witches wont to take the form of the hare ; and guns,
I am told, were freely used to shoot any game met with
on that morning. With the proper charge some of the
witches were now and then hit and wounded, where-
upon they resumed the human form and remained
cripples for the rest of their lives. Fire, however,
appears to have been the chief agency relied on to clear
away the witches and other malignant beings ; and I
have heard of this use of fire having been carried so
far that a practice was sometimes observed — as, for
example, in Lezayre — of burning gorse, however little,
in the hedge of each field on a farm in order to drive
away the witches and secure luck.

The man who told me this, on being asked whether
he had ever heard of cattle being driven through fire or
between two fires on May-day, rephed that it was not
known to him as a Manx custom, but that it was an
Irish one. A cattle-dealer whom he named used on
May-day to drive his cattle through fire so as to singe
them a little, as he believed that would preserve them
from harm. He was an Irishman, who came to the
island for many years, and whose children are settled
in the island now. On my asking him if he knew
whence the dealer came, he answered, ' From the moun-
tains over there,' pointing to the Mourne Mountains
looming faintly in the mists on the western horizon.
The Irish custom known to my Manx informant is in-
teresting both as throwing light on the Manx custom,
and as being the continuation of a very ancient rite


mentioned by Cormac. That writer, or somebody in
his name, says that belltaine, May-day, was so called
from the ' lucky fire,' or the ' two fires,' which the druids
of Erin used to make on that day with great incantations ;
and cattle, he adds, used to be brought to those fires, or
to be driven between them, as a safeguard against the
diseases of the year. Cormac ^ says nothing, it will be
noticed, as to one of the cattle or the sheep being sacri-
ficed for the sake of prosperity to the rest. However,
Scottish^ May-day customs point to a sacrifice having
been once usual, and that possibly of human beings,
and not of sheep as in the Isle of Man. I have else-
where^ tried to equate these Celtic May-day practices
with the Thargelia * of the Athenians of antiquity. The
Thargelia were characterized by peculiar rites, and
among other things then done, two adult persons were
led about, as it were scapegoats, and at the end they
were sacrificed and burnt, so that their ashes might be
dispersed. Here we seem to be on the track of a very
ancient Aryan practice, although the Celtic season does
not quite coincide with the Greek one. Several items
of importance for comparison here will be found passed
under careful review in a most suggestive paper by
Mr. Lawrence Gomme, ' On the Method of determining
the Value of Folklore as Ethnological Data,' in the Fourth
Report of the Ethnographical Survey Committee ^-
It is probably in some ancient May-day custom that

' See the Stokes-O'Donovan edition of Cormac (Calcutta, 1868), pp.

19. 33-

^ Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, xi. 620 ; Pennant's
Tour in Scotland in 1769 (3rd edition, Warrington, 1774), i. 97, 186, 291 ;
Thomas Stephens' Gododin, pp. 124-6 ; and Dr. Murray in the New English
Dictionary, s. v. Beltane.

' In my Hibbert Lectures on Celtic Heathendom, pp. 517-21.

' As to the Thargelia and Delia, see Preller's Griechische Mythologie, i.
260-3, and A. Mommsen's Heortologie, pp. 414-25.

See section H of the Report of the Liverpool Meeting of the British
Association in 1896, pp. 626-56.


we are to look for the key to a remarkable place-name
occurring several times in the island : I allude to that of
Cronk yn Irree Laa, which probably means the Hill of
the Rise of Day. This is the name of one of the moun-
tains in the south of the island, but it is also borne by
one of the knolls near the eastern end of the range of
low hills ending abruptly on the coast between Ramsey
and Bride parish, and quite a small knoll bears the
name, near the church of Jurby^ I have heard of a
fourth instance, which, as I learn from Mr. PhiHp
Kermode, editor of the Lioar Manninagh, is on Clay
Head, near Laxey. It has been attempted to explain it
as meaning the Hill of the Watch by Day, in reference to
the old institution of Watch and Ward on conspicuous
places in the island ; but that explanation is inadmissible
as doing violence to the phonetics of the words in ques-
tion^- I am rather inclined to think that the name
everywhere refers to an eminence to which the sur-
rounding inhabitants resorted for a religious purpose
on a particular day in the year. I should suggest that
it was to do homage to the rising sun on May morning,
but this conjecture is offered only to await a better

' It is my impression that it is crowned with a small tumulus, and that it
forms the highest ground in Jurby, which was once an island by itself. The
one between Ramsey and Bride is also probably the highest point of the
range. But these are questions which I should like to see further examined,
say by Mr. Arthur Moore or Mr. Kermode.

" Cronk yn Irree Laa, despite the gender, is the name as pronounced by
all Manxmen who have not been misled by antiquarians. To convey the
other meaning, referring to the day watch, the name would have to be
Cronk ny Harrey Laa ; in fact, a part of the Howe in the south of the island
is called Cronk ny Harrey, ' the Hill of the Watch.' Mr. Moore tells me
that the Jurby cronk was one of the eminences for ' Watch and Ward ';
but he is now of opinion that the high mountain of Cronk yn Irree Laa
in the south was not. As to the duty of the inhabitants to keep ' Watch
and Ward ' over the island, see the passage concerning it extracted from the
Manx Statutes (vol. i. p. 65) by Mr. Moore in his Manx Surnames, pp.
i8a-3 ; also my preface to the same work, pp. v-viii.


The next great day in the pagan calendar of the
Celts is called in Manx Laa Lhunys, in Irish Lugnassad,
the assembly or fair, which was associated with the
name of the god Lug. This should correspond to
Lammas, but, reckoned as it is according to the Old
Style, it falls on the twelfth of August, which used to be
a great day for business fairs in the Isle of Man as in
Wales. But for holiday making the twelfth only suited
when it happened to be a Sunday : when that was not
the case, the first Sunday after the twelfth was fixed
upon. It is known, accordingly, as the first Sunday
of Harvest, and it used to be celebrated by crowds of
people visiting the tops of the mountains. The kind
of interference to which I have alluded with regard to
an ancient holiday, is one of the regular results of the
transition from Roman Catholicism to a Protestant
system with only one fixed holiday, namely, Sunday.
The same shifting has partly happened in Wales, where
Lammas is Gwyl Awst, or the festival of Augustus, since
the birthday of Augustus, auspiciously for him and the
celebrity of his day, fell in with the great day of the god
Lug in the Celtic world. Now the day for going up
the Fan Fach mountain in Carmarthenshire was Lam-
mas, but under a Protestant Church it became the first
Sunday in August; and even modified in that way it
could not long survive under a vigorous Sabbatarian
regime either in Wales or Man. As to the latter in par-
ticular, I have heard it related by persons who were
.present, how the crowds on the top of South Barrule
on the first Sunday of Harvest were denounced as
pagans by a preacher called William Gick, some seventy
years ago ; and how another man called Paric Beg, or
Little Patrick, preaching to the crowds on Snaefell in
milder terms, used to wind up the service with a collec-
tion, which appears to have proved a speedier method


of reducing the dimensions of these meetings on the
mountain tops. Be that as it may, they seem to have
dwindled since then to comparative insignificance.

If you ask the reason for this custom now, for it is
not yet quite extinct, you are told, first, that it is merely
to gather ling berries ; but now and then a quasi-religious
reason is given, namely, that it is the day on which
Jephthah's daughter went forth to bewail her virginity
'upon the mountains': somehow some Manx people
make believe that they are doing likewise. That is not
all, for people who have never themselves thought of
going up the mountains on the first Sunday of harvest
or any other, will be found devoutly reading at home
about Jephthah's daughter on that day. I was told this
first in the south by a clergyman's wife, who, finding
a woman in the parish reading the chapter in question
on that day, asked the reason for her fixing on that
particular portion of the Bible. She then had the Manx
view of the matter fully explained to her, and she has
since found more information about it, and so have I.
It is needless for me to say that I do not quite under-
stand how Jephthah's daughter came to be introduced :
perhaps it is vain to look for any deeper reason than
that the mention of the mountains may have served as
a sort of catch-word, and that as the Manx people began
to cease from visiting the tops of the mountains annually,
it struck the women as the next best thing for them to
read at home of one who did ' go up and down upon
the mountains': they are great readers of the Bible
generally. In any case we have here a very curious
instance of a practice, originally pagan, modifying itself
profoundly to secure a new lease of life.

Between May-day and November eve, there was a
day of considerable importance in the island ; but the
fixing on it was probably due to influence other than


Celtic : I mean Midsummer Eve, or St. John's. How-
ever, some practices connected with it would seem to
have been of Celtic origin, such as 'the bearing of
rushes to certain places called Warrefield and Mame
on Midsummer Even.' Warrefield was made in Manx
into Barrule, but Mame, ' the jugum, or ridge,' has not
been identified. The Barrule here in question was
South Barrule, and it is to the top of that mountain
the green rushes were carried, according to Manx tradi-
tion, as the only rent or tax which the inhabitants paid,
namely, to Manannan mac Lir (called in Welsh Mana-
wydan ab ILyr), whom the same tradition treats as
father and founder, as king and chief wizard of the Isle
of Man, the same Manannan who is quaintly referred
to in the illiterate passage at the head of this chapter^.
As already stated, the payment of the annual rent of
rushes is associated with Midsummer Eve ; but it did
not prevent the top of South Barrule from being visited
likewise later in the year. Perhaps it may also be worth
while mentioning, with regard to most of the mountains
climbed on the first Sunday of Harvest, that they seem
to have near the summit of each a well of some
celebrity, which appears to be the goal of the visitors'
peregrinations. This is the case with South Barrule, the
spring near the top of which cannot, it is said, be found
when sought a second time ; also with Snaefell and with
Maughold Head, which boasts one of the most famous
springs in the island. When I visited it last summer
in company with Mr. Kermode, we found it to contain
a considerable number of pins, some of which were
bent, and many buttons. Some of the pins were not of
a kind usually carried by men, and most of the buttons
decidedly belonged to the dress of the other sex.

' Quoted from Oliver's Monumenta de Insula Maniiia, vol. i. {Manx
Society, vol. iv) p. 84 : see also Cumming's Isle of Man, p. 258.


Several people who had resorted many years ago to
St. Maughold's Well, told me that the water is good
for sore eyes, and that after using it on the spot, or
fiUing a bottle with it to take home, one was wont to
drop a pin or bead or button into the well. But it
had its full virtue only when visited the first Sunday
of Harvest, and that only during the hour when the
books were open at church, which, shifted back to
Roman Catholic times, means doubtless the hour when
the priest was engaged in saying Mass. Compare the
passage in the Mabinogi of Math, where it is said that
the spear required for the slaying of ILew ILawgyffes
had to be a whole year in the making : the work was to
be pursued only so long as one was engaged at the
sacrifice on Sunday (aryr aberth du6 sul) : see the Oxford
Mabinogion, p. 76. To return to Man, the restriction, as
might be expected, is not peculiar to St. Maughold's
Well : I have heard of it in connexion with other wells,
such as Chibbyr Lansh in Lezayre parish, and with a well
on Slieau Maggyl, in which some Kirk Michael people
have a great belief But even sea water was believed
to have considerable virtues if you washed in it while
the books were open at church, as I was told by a
woman who had many years ago repeatedly taken her
own sister to divers wells and to the sea during the
service on Sunday, in order to have her eyes cured of
a chronic weakness.

The remaining great day in the Celtic year is called
Sauin or Laa Houney: in Irish, Samhain, genitive
Samhna. The Manx call it in English Hollantide,
a word derived from the English All hallowen tide,
' the Season of All Saints ^' This day is also
reckoned in Man according to the Old Style, so that
it is our twelfth of November. That is the day when

' See the New English Dictionary, s. v. ' Allhallows.'


the tenure of land terminates, and when servant men
go to their places. In other words, it is the begin-
ning of a new year ; and Kelly, in his Manx-English
Dictionary, has, under the word blein, ' year,' the follow-
ing note : — ' Vallancey says the Celts began their year
with January; yet in the Isle of Man the first of
November is called New Year's day by the Mummers,
who, on the eve, begin their petition in these words:
To-night is New Year's night, Hog-unnaa^, &c.' It is
a pity that Kelly, whilst he was on this subject, did
not give the rhyme in Manx, and all the more so, as the
mummers of the present day, if he is right, must have
changed their words into Noght oie Houney, that is to
say, To-night is Sauin Night or Halloween. So I had
despaired of finding anybody who could corroborate
Kelly in his statement, when I happened last summer
to find a man at Kirk Michael who was quite familiar
with this way of treating the year. I asked him if he
could explain Kelly's absurd statement — I put my
question designedly in that form. He said he could,
but that there was nothing absurd in it. He then
told me how he had heard some old people talk of
it : he is himself now about sixty-seven. He had been
a farm servant from the age of sixteen till he was
twenty-six to the same man, near Regaby, in the parish
of Andreas, and he remembers his master and a near
neighbour of his discussing the term New Year's Day
as applied to the first of November, and explaining to
the younger men that it had always been so in old
times. In fact, it seemed to him natural enough, as all

' This comes near the pronunciation usual in Roxburghshire and the
south of Scotland generally, which is, as Dr. Murray informs me, Hungattay
without the m occurring in the other forms to be mentioned presently.
But so far as 1 have been able to find, the Manx pronunciation is now Hob
tfy itaa, which I have heard in the north, while Hoi j'u naa is the prevalent
form in the south.


tenure of land ends at that time, and as all servant
men begin their service then. I cross-examined him,
without succeeding in any way in shaking his evidence.
I should have been glad a few years ago to have come
across this piece of information, or even Kell^s note,
when I was discussing the Celtic year and trying to
prove ^ that it began at the beginning of winter, with
May-day as the beginning of its second half.

One of the characteristics of the beginning of the
Celtic year with the commencement of winter was the
belief that indications can be obtained on the eve of that
day regarding the events of the year; but with the
calendar year gaining ground it would be natural to
expect that the Calends of January would have some of
the associations of the Calends of Winter transferred to
them, and vice versa. In fact, this can, as it were, be
watched now going on in the Isle of Man. First, I may
mention that the Manx mummers used to go about
singing, in Manx, a sort of Hogmanay song^, reminding
one of that usual in Yorkshire and other parts of Great
Britain, and now known to be of Romance origin^.

' See my Hibbiii Lectures, pp. 514-5 ; and as to hiring fairs in Wales see
pp. 2io-a above.

' See Robert Bell's Early Ballads (London, 1877), pp. 406-7, where the
following is given as sung at Richmond in Yorkshire : —

To-night it is the New- Year's night, to-morrow is the day,
And we are come for our right, and for our ray,
As we used to do in old King Henry's day.

Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.
If you go to the bacon-flick, cut me a good bit;
Cut, cut and low, beware of your maw ;
Cut, cut and round, beware of your thumb.
That me and my merry men may have some.

Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.
If you go to the black-ark bring me X mark ;
Ten mark, ten pound, throw it down upon the ground.
That me and my merry men may have some.

Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.
' The subject is worked out in Nicholson's Golspie, pp. 100-8, also in the
New English Diclioitary, where mention is made of a derivation involving


The time for it in this country was New Year's Eve,
according to the ordinary calendar, but in the Isle of
Man it has always been Hollantide Eve, according to
the Old Style, and this is the night when boys now go
about continuing the custom of the old mummers.
There is no hesitation in this case between Hollantide
Eve and New Year's Eve. But with the prognosti-
cations for the year it is different, and the following
practices have been usual. I may, however, premise
that as a rule I have abstained from inquiring too
closely whether they still go on, but here and there
1 have had the information volunteered that they do.

1. I may mention first a salt prognostication, which
was described to me by a farmer in the north, whose
wife practises it once a year regularly. She carefully
fills a thimble with salt in the evening and upsets it in
a neat little heap on a plate : she does that for every
member of the family, and every guest, too, if there
happen to be any. The plate is then left undisturbed
till the morning, when she examines the heaps of salt to
see if any of them have fallen ; for whoever is found
represented by a fallen heap will die during the year.
She does not herself, I am assured, believe in it, but
she likes to continue a custom which she has learned
from her mother.

2. Next may be mentioned the ashes being carefully
swept to the open hearth, and nicely flattened down by
the women just before going to bed. In the morning
they look for footmarks on the hearth, and if they find
such footmarks directed towards the door, it means, in
the course of the year, a death in the family, and if the
reverse, they expect an addition to it by marriage \

ca/(?rf?, which reminds me of the Welsh call for a New-Year's Gift — Calennig!
or C'lennig! in Arfon 'Y Nghlennig i! ' My Calends gift if you please!'

' On being asked, after reading this paper to the Folk-Lore Society, who
was supposed to make the footmarks in the ashes, I had to confess that


3. Then there is an elaborate process of eaves-
dropping recommended to young women curious to
know their future husbands' names : a girl would go
with her mouth full of water and her hands full of salt
to the door of the nearest neighbour's house, or rather
to that of the nearest neighbour but one — I have been
carefully corrected more than once on that point.
There she would listen, and the first name she caught
would prove to be that of her future husband. Once
a girl did so, as I was told by a blind fisherman in the
south, and heard two brothers quarrelling inside the
house at whose door she was listening. Presently
the young men's mother exclaimed that the devil would
not let Tom leave John alone. At the mention of that
triad the girl burst into the house, laughing and spilling
the mouthful of water most incontinently. The end of it
was that before the year was out she married Tom, the
second person mentioned : the first either did not count
or proved an unassailable bachelor.

4. There is also a ritual for enabhng a girl to obtain
other information respecting her future husband : vessels
placed about the room have various things put into
them, such as clean water, earth, meal, a piece of a net,
or any other article thought appropriate. The candidate
for matrimony, with her eyes bandaged, feels her way
about the house until she puts her hand in one of the
aforesaid vessels. If what she lays her hand on is
the clean water, her husband will be a handsome man ' ;
if it is the earth, he will be a farmer; if the meal, a
miller ; if the net, a fisherman ; and so on into as many

I had been careless enough never to have asked the question. I have
referred it to Mr. Moore, who informs me that nobody, as I expected, will
venture on any explsination by whom the footmarks are made.

' This seems to imply the application of the same adjective, some time
or other, to dean water and a handsome man, just as we speak in North
Cardiganshire of dwr glan, 'clean water,' and bachgen glan, 'a handsome


of the walks of life as may be thought worthy of con-

5. Lastly, recourse may be had to a ritual of the same
nature as that observed by the druid of ancient Erin,
when, burdened with a heavy meal of the flesh of a red
pig, he laid him down for the night in order to await
a prophetic dream as to the manner of man the nobles
of Erin assembled at Tara were to elect to be their
king. The incident is given in the story of Cuchulainn's
Sick-bed ; and the reader, doubtless, knows the passage
about Brian and the taghairm in the fourth Canto of
Scott's, Lady of the Lake. But the Manx girl has only
to eat a salt herring, bones and all, without drinking or
uttering a word, and to retire backwards to bed. When
she sleeps and dreams, she will behold her future
husband approaching to give her drink.

Probably none of the practices which I have enume-
rated, or similar ones mentioned to me, are in any sense
peculiar to the Isle of Man ; but what interests me in
them is the divided opinion as to the proper night for
them in the year. I am sorry to say that I have very
little information as to the blindman's-buff ritual (No. 4) ;
what information I have, to wit, the evidence of two
persons in the south, fixes it on Hollantide Eve. But
as to the others (Nos. i, 2, 3, 5), they are observed by
some on that night, and by others on New Year's Eve,
sometimes according to the Old Style * and sometimes
the New. Further, those who are wont to practise
the salt heap ritual, for instance, on Hollantide Eve,
would be very indignant to hear that anybody should
think New Year's Eve the proper night, and vice versa.
So by bringing women bred and born in different

' In Phillips' Bookof Common Prayer this is called Ldnolickybiggy, ' Little
Nativity Day,' and La ghian blieny, ' The Day of the Year's End,' meaning,
of course, the former end of the year, not the latter : see pp. 55, 62, 66^


parishes to compare notes on this point, I have witnessed
arguing hardly less earnest than that which characterized
the ancient controversy between British and Italian
ecclesiastics as to the proper time for keeping Easter.
I have not been able to map the island according to the
practices prevalent at HoUantide and the beginning of
January, but local folklorists could probably do it
without much difficulty. My impression, however, is
that January is gradually acquiring the upper hand.
In Wales this must have been decidedly helped by the
influence of Roman rule and Roman ideas; but even
there the adjuncts of the Winter Calends have never
been wholly transferred to the Calends of January.
Witness, for instance, the women who used to congre-
gate in the parish church to discover who of the
parishioners would die during the year^ That custom,
in the neighbourhoods reported to have practised it,
continued to attach itself to the last, so far as I know,
to the beginning of November. In the Isle of Man the
fact of the ancient Celtic year having so firmly held its
own, seems to point to the probability that the year of
the Pagan Norsemen pretty nearly coincided with that
of the Celts ^- For there are reasons to think, as I have
endeavoured elsewhere to show, that the Norse Yule
was originally at the end of summer or the commence-
ment of winter, in other words, the days afterwards
known as the Feast of the Winter Nights. This was
the favourite date in Iceland for listening to sooth-
sayers prophesying with regard to the winter then
beginning. The late Dr. Vigfusson had much to say

' See my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 514-5, and the Brylhon, ii. ao, lao : an
instance in point occurs in the next chapter.

" This has been touched upon in my Hibbert Lectures, p. 676 ; but to the
reasons there briefly mentioned should be added a reference to the position
allotted to intercalary months in the Norse calendar, namely, at the end of
the summer half, that is, as I think, at the end of the ancient Norse year,



on this subject, and how the local sibyl, resuming her
elevated seat at the opening of each successive winter,
gave the author of the Volospd his plan of that remark-
able poem, which has been described by the same
authority as the highest spiritual eifort of the heathen
muse of the North.

The Fenodyree and his Friends

'Efioi Si at aal iieyi\(u (irvxUu oix ipioKouai, rb $(tov iiruTTanivif in iari
ipBovfpiv. — Herodotus.

The last chapter is hardly such as to call for a recapitu-
lation of its principal contents, and I venture to submit
instead of any such repetition an abstract of some very
pertinent notes on it by Miss M. G. W. Peacock, who
compares with the folklore of the Isle of Man the old
beliefs which survive in Lincolnshire among the descen-
dants of Norse ancestors ^. She was attracted by the
striking affinity which she noticed between them, and
she is doubtless right in regarding that affinity as due
in no small degree to the Scandinavian element present
in the population alike of Man and the East of England.
She is, however, not lavish of theory, but gives us inter-
esting items of information from an intimate acquain-
tance with the folklore of the district of which she
undertakes to speak, somewhat in the following order : —

I. Whether the water-bull still inhabits the streams
of Lincolnshire she regards as doubtful, but the deep
pools formed, she says, by the action of the down-
flowing water at the bends of the country becks are
still known as bull-holes.

' My paper was read before the Folk-Lore Society in April or May, 1891,
and Miss Peacock's notes appeared in the journal of the Society in the
following December : see pp. 509-13.

Y 2


2. As to the glashtyn, or water-horse, she remarks
that the tatter-foal, tatter-colt, or shag-foal, as he is
variously called, is still to be heard of, although his
visits take place less often than before the fens and
carrs were drained and the open fields and commons
enclosed. She describes the tatter-foal as a gobUn of
the shape and appearance of a small horse or yearling
foal in his rough, unkempt coat. He beguiles lonely
travellers with his numberless tricks, one of which is to
lure them to a stream, swamp, or water-hole. When
he has succeeded he vanishes with a long outburst of
mockery, half neigh, half human laughter.

3. The fenodyree, one is told, has in Lincolnshire
a cousin, but he is diminutive ; and, like the Yorkshire
Hob or Robin Round-Cap, and the Danish Niss, he
is used to befriend the house in which he dwells.
The story of his driving the farmer's sheep home is
the same practically as in the Isle of Man, even to the
point of bringing in with them the little grey sheep, as he
called the fine hare that had given him more trouble
than all the rest of the flock : see pp. 286-7 above.

4. The story of this manikin's clothing differs con-
siderably from that of the fenodyree. The farmer gives
him in gratitude for his services a Unen shirt every New
Year's Eve ; and this went on for years, until at last
the farmer thought a hemp shirt was good enough to
give him. When the clock struck twelve at midnight
the manikin raised an angry wail, saying : —

Harden, harden, harden hemp !
I will neither grind nor stamp !
• Had you given me linen gear,

I would have served you many a year !

He was no more seen or heard : he vanished for ever.
The Cornish counterpart of this brownie reasons in the
opposite way; for when, in gratitude for his help in


threshing, a new suit of clothes is given him, he hurries
away, crying * : —

Pisky new coat, and pisky new hood,
Pisky now will do no more good.

Here, also, one should compare William Nicholson's
account of the brownie of Blednoch ^ in Galloway, who
wore next to no clothing : —

Roun' his hairy form there was naething seen,
But a philabeg o' the rushes green.

So he was driven away for ever by a newly married
wife wishing him to wear an old pair of her husband's
breeches : —

But a new-made wife, fu' o' rippish freaks,
Fond o' a' things feat for the first five weeks,
Laid a mouldy pair o' her ain man's breeks
By the brose o' Aiken-drum.

Let the learned decide, when they convene,
What spell was him and the breeks between :
For frae that day forth he was nae mair seen,
And sair missed was Aiken-drum !

The only account which I have been able to find of a
Welsh counterpart will be found in Bwca'r Trmyn, in
chapter x : he differs in some important respects from
the fenodyree and the brownie.

5. A twig of the rowan tree, or wicken, as it is called,
was effective against all evil things, including witches.
It is useful in many ways to guard the welfare of the
household, and to preserve both the live stock and the
crops, while placed on the churn it prevents any malign
influence from retarding the coming of the butter. I may
remark that Celts and Teutons seem to have been
generally pretty well agreed as to the virtues of the
rowan tree. Bits of iron also are lucky against witches.

' See Choice Notes, p. 76.

' See the third edition of Wm. Nicholson's Poetical Works (Castle-Douglas,
1878), pp. 78, 81.


6. Fairies are rare, but witches and wizards abound,
and some of them have been supposed to change them-
selves into dogs to worry sheep and cattle, or into toads
to poison the swine's troughs. But they do not seem
to change themselves into hares, as in Man and other
Celtic lands.

7. Witchcraft, says Miss Peacock, is often hereditary,
passing most frequently from mother to daughter;
but when a witch has no daughter her power may
appear in a son, and then revert to the female line.
This appears far more natural than thfe ^anx belief in
its passing from father to daughter and from daughter to
son. But another kind of succession is mentioned in the
Welsh Triads, i. 32, ii. 20, iii. 90, which speak of Math ab
Mathonwy teaching his magic to Gwydion, who as his
sister's son was to succeed him in his kingdom ; and of
a certain Rhudlwm Dwarf teaching his magic to Colt,
son of CoHfrewi, his nephew. Both instances seem to
point to a state of society which did not reckon pater-
nity but only birth.

8. Only three years previous to Miss Peacock's
writing an old man died, she says, who had seen blood
drawn from a witch because she had, as was supposed,
laid a spell on a team of horses : as soon as she was
struck so as to bleed the horses and their load were
free to go on their way again. Possibly no equally
late instance could be specified in the Isle of Man : see
p. 296 above.

9. Traces of animal sacrifice may still be found in
Lincolnshire, for the heart of a small beast, or of a bird,
is necessary. Miss Peacock says, for the efficient per-
formance of several counter-charms, especially in tor-
turing a witch by the reversal of her spells, and warding
off evil from houses or other buildings. Apparently
Miss Peacock has not heard of so considerable a victim


as a sheep or a calf being sacrificed, as in the Isle of
Man, but the objects of the sacrifices may be said to be
the same.

10. Several pin and rag wells are said to exist in
Lincolnshire, their waters being supposed to possess
healing virtues, especially as regards eye ailments.

II Love-spells and prognostications are mentioned,
some of them as belonging to Allhallows, as they do
partly in the Isle of Man : she mentions the making of
dumb cake, and the eating of the salt herring, followed
by dreams of the future husband bringing the thirsting
lass drink in a jug, the quality of which indicates the
bearer's position in life. But other Lincolnshire prac-
tices of the kind seem to oscillate between Allhallows
and St. Mark's Eve, while gravitating decidedly towards
the latter date. Here it is preferable to give Miss
Peacock's own words : — ' Professor Rhys' mention of
the footmark in the ashes reminds me of a love-spell
current in the Wapentake of Manley in North Lincoln-
shire. Properly speaking, it should be put in practice
on St. Mark's E'en, that eerie spring-tide festival when
those who are skilled may watch the church porch and
learn who will die in the ensuing twelvemonth; but
there is little doubt that the charm is also used at
Hallow E'en, and at other suitable seasons of the year.
The spell consists in riddling ashes on the hearthstone,
or beans on the floor of the barn, with proper cere-
monies and at the proper time, with the result that the
girl who works her incantation correctly finds the foot-
print of the man she is to marry clearly marked on the
sifted mass the following morning. It is to be supposed
that the spirit of the lover is responsible for the mark,
as, according to another folk-belief, any girl who watches
her supper on St. Mark's E'en will see the spirit of the
man she will wed come into the room at midnight to


partake of the food provided. The room must be one
with the door and windows in different walls, and both
must be open. The spirit comes in by the door (and
goes out by the window ?). Each girl who undertakes
to keep watch must have a separate supper and a sepa-
rate candle, and all talking is to end before the clock
goes twelve, for there must not be any speaking before
the spirits. From these superstitions, and from the
generally received idea that the spirits of all the
parishioners are to be observed entering the church on
St. Mark's E'en, it may be inferred that the Manx foot-
print is made by the wraith of the person doomed to
death.' Compare pp. 318-g above.

What Miss Peacock alludes to as watching the
church porch was formerly well known in Wales ^, and
may be illustrated from a district so far east as the
Golden Valley, in Herefordshire, by the following
story told me in 1892 by Mrs. Powell of Dorstone, on
the strength of what she had learnt from her mother-in-
law, the late Mrs. Powell, who was a native of that
parish : —

' On Allhallows Eve at midnight, those who are bold
enough to look through the church windows will see
the building lighted with an unearthly light, and the
pulpit occupied by his Satanic majesty clothed in a
monk's habit. Dreadful anathemas are the burden of
his preaching, and the names of those who in the coming
year are to render up their souls may be heard by those
who have courage to listen. A notorious evil liver. Jack
of France, once by chance passed the church at this
awful moment : looking in he saw the lights and heard
the voice, and his own name in the horrid list; and,
according to some versions of the story, he went home

' See p. 321 above and the references there given ; also Howells' Cambrian
SuptrstitioHS, p. 58.


to die of fright. Others say that he repented and died
in good repute, and so cheated the evil one of his prey.'
I have no hst of places in Wales and its marches
which have this sort of superstition associated with them,
but it is my impression that they are mostly referred to
Allhallows, as at Dorstone, and that where that is not
the case they have been shifted to the beginning of the
year as at present reckoned ; for in Celtic lands, at least,
they seem to have belonged to what was reckoned the
beginning of the year. The old Celtic year undoubtedly
began at Allhallows, and the day next in importance
after the Calends of Winter (in Welsh Calangdeaf) was,
among the Celts, the beginning of the summer half
of the year, or the Calends of May (in Welsh Caldnmat),
which St. Mark's Eve approaches too nearly for us to
regard it as accidental. With this modified agreement
between the Lincolnshire date and the Celtic one con-
trast the irreconcilable English date of St. John's Eve;
and see Tylor's Primitive Culture, i. 440, where one reads
as follows of ' the well-known superstition,' ' that fasting
watchers on St. John's Eve may see the apparitions of
those doomed to die during the year come with the
clergyman to the church door and knock; these appari-
tions are spirits who come forth from their bodies, for
the minister has been noticed to be much troubled in
his sleep while his phantom was thus engaged, and
when one of a party of watchers fell into a sound sleep
and could not be roused, the others saw his apparition
knock at the church door.' With an unerring instinct
for the intelligent colligation of facts, Miss Peacock finds
the nearest approach to the yearly review of the mori-
tures, if I may briefly so call them, in the wraith's
footprint in the ashes. Perhaps a more systematic
examination of Manx folklore may result in the dis-
covery of a more exact parallel.


For want of. knowing where else to put it, I may
mention here in reference to the dead, a passage which
has been copied for me by my friend Mr. Gwenogvryn
Evans, from Manuscript 163 in the Peniarth Collection.
I understand it to be of the earlier part of the sixteenth
century, and p. 10 has the following passage : —

Yn yr ynys honn [^Manaw] y kair gweled liw dydt
bobyl a vvessynt veirw / Rrai gwedi tori penav / eraitt
gwedi torri i haelode / Ac os dieithred a dissyfynt i
gweled hwynt / Sengi ar draed gwyr or tir ac vetty
hwynt a gaent weled yr hyn a welssynt hwyntav.

' In this island [Man] one beholds in the light of day
people who have died, some with their heads cut off and
others with their limbs cut off. And if strangers desire
to see them, they have to stand on the feet of the natives
of the land, and in that way they would see what the
latter had seen.'

A similar instance of the virtue of standing on the feet
of another person has been mentioned in reference to
the farmer of Deunant, at p. 230 above ; the foot, how-
ever, on which he had to stand in order to get a glimpse
of the fairy world, was a fairy's own foot.

Lastly, the passage in the Peniarth Manuscript has
something more to say of the Isle of Man, as follows : —

Mawr oed^ arfer o swynion a chyvaredton gynt yn yr
ynys honn / Kanys gwraged a vydyni yno yn gwnevthvr
gwynt i longwyr gwedir gav mewn tri chwlm edav
aphan vat eissie gwynt amynt dattod kwltn or edav anaynt.

' Great was the practice formerly of spells and sor-
ceries in this island ; for there used to be there women
making wind for sailors, which wind they confined
within three knots made on a thread. And when they
had need of wind they would undo a knot of the thread.'

This was written in the sixteenth century, and based
probably on Higden's Polychronicon, book I, chap, xliv


(= I. 42-3), but the same practice of wind making goes
on to this day, one of the principal practitioners being
the woman to whom reference was made at p. 299. She
is said to tie the breezes in so many knots which she
makes on the purchasing sailor's pocket-handkerchief
This reminds one of the sibyl of Warinsey, or the Island
of Guernsey, who is represented by an ancient Norse
poet as ' fashioning false prophecies.' See Vigfusson
and Powell's Corpus Poeticum Boreale, i. 136; also Mela's
first-century account of the virgins of the island of Sena,
which runs to the following effect : — ' Sena, in the
Britannic Sea, opposite the coast of the Osismi, is famous
for its oracle of a Gaulish god, whose priestesses, living
in the holiness of perpetual virginity, are said to be nine
in number. They call them Gallizenae, and they believe
them to be endowed with extraordinary gifts to rouse
the sea and the wind by their incantations, to turn them-
selves into whatsoever animal form they may choose, to
cure diseases which among others are incurable, to know
what is to come and to foretell it. They are, however,
devoted to the service of voyagers only who have set
out on no other errand than to consult them \' It is
probable that the sacrosanct ^ inhabitants of the small
islands on the coasts of Gaul and Britain had wellnigh
a monopoly of the traffic in wind *.

' Pomponius Mela De Chorographia, edited by Parthey, iii, chap. 6 (p. 72) ;
see also my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 195-6, where, however, the identification
of the name Sena with that of Sein should be cancelled. Sein seems to be
derived from the Breton Seidhun, otherwise modified into Sizun and Sun :
see chap, vi below.

' See my Hibbert Lectures, pp. 195-7 ! ^^o my Arthurian Legend,
pp. 367-8, where a passage in point is cited at length from Plutarch De
Deftctu Oraculorutn, xviii ( = the Didot edition of Plutarch's works, iii. 511) ;
the substance of it will be found given likewise in chap, viii below.

• For an allusion to the traffic in winds in Wales see Howells, p. 86,
where he speaks as follows : — ' In Pembrokeshire there was a person
commonly known as the cunning man of Pentregethen, who sold winds to
the sailors, after the manner of the I.apland witches, and who was reverenced
in the neighbourhood in which he dwelt, much more than the divines.'


In the last chapter I made allusion to several wells of
greater or less celebrity in the Isle of Man ; but I find
that I have a few remarks to add. Mr. Arthur Moore,
in his book on Manx Surnames and Place-Names,
p. 200, mentions a Chibber Unjin, which means the
Well of the Ash-tree, and he states that there grew
near it ' formerly a sacred ash-tree, where votive offer-
ings were hung.' The ash-tree calls to his mind
Scandinavian legends respecting the ash, but in any
case one may suppose the ash was not the usual tree to
expect by a well in the Isle of Man, otherwise this
one would scarcely have been distinguished as the Ash-
tree Well. The tree to expect by a sacred well is
doubtless some kind of thorn, as in the case of Chibber
Undin in the parish of Malew. The name means
Foundation Well, so called in reference probably to
the foundations of an ancient cell, or keeill as it is called
in Manx, which lie close by, and are found to measure
twenty-one feet long by twelve feet broad. The
following is Mr. Moore's account of the well in his
book already cited, p. 181 : — ' The water of this well
is supposed to have curative properties. The patients
who came to it, took a mouthful of water, retaining it in
their mouths till they had twice walked round the well.
They then took a piece of cloth from a garment which
they had worn, wetted it with the water from the well,
and hung it on the hawthorn tree which grew there.
When the cloth had rotted away, the cure was supposed
to be effected.'

I visited the spot a few years ago in the company of
the Rev. E. B. Savage of St. Thomas' Parsonage,
Douglas, and we found the well nearly dried up in
consequence of the drainage of the field around it ; but
the remains of the old cell were there, and the thorn
bush had strips of cloth or calico tied to its branches.


We cut oflf one, which is now in the Pitt-Rivers Museum
at Oxford. The account Mr. Savage had of the ritual
observed at the well differed a little from that given by
Mr. Moore, especially in the fact that it made the
patient who had been walking round the well with
water from the well in his mouth, empty that water
finally into a rag from his clothing : the rag was then
tied to a branch of the thorn. It does not appear that
the kind of tree mattered much ; nay, a tree is not, it
seems to me, essential. At any rate, St. Maughold's
Well has no tree growing near it now ; but it is right
to say, that when Mr. Kermode and I visited it, we
could find no rags left near the spot, nor indeed could
we expect to find any, as there was nothing to which
they might be tied on that windy headland. The
absence of the tree does not, however, prove that the
same sort of ritual was not formerly observed at
St. Maughold's Well as at Chibber Undin ; and here
I must mention another well which I have visited in
the island more than once. It is on the side of Bradda
Hill, a little above the village of Bradda, and in the
direction of Fleshwick : I was attracted to it by the
fact that it had, as I had been told by Mr. Savage,
formerly an old cell or keeill near it, and the name of
the saint to which it belonged may probably be gathered
from the name of the well, which, in the Manx of the
south of the island, is Chibbyrt Valtane, pronounced
approximately Chuvurt Voltane or Oldane. The per-
sonal name would be written in modern Manx in its
radical form as Boltane, and if it occurred in the genitive
in Ogam inscriptions I should expect to find it written
Boltagni or Baltagni^. It is, however, unknown to me,

' This may turn out to be all wrong ; for I learn from the Rev. John
Quine, vicar of Malew, in Man, that there is a farm called Balthane or
Bolthane south of Ballasalla, and that in the computus (of 1540) of the Abbey
Tenants it is called BiuUhan. This last, if originally a man's name, would


though to be placed possibly by the side of the name
of the saint after whom the parish of Santon is called
in the south-east of the island. This is pronounced in
Manx approximately ^ .Santane or Sandane, and would
have yielded an early inscriptional nominative sanctanvs,
whichj in fact, occurs on an old stone near ILandudno
on the Welsh coast : see some notes of mine in point
in the Archceologia Cambrensis, 1897, pp. 140-2. To
return to the well, it would seem to have been asso-
ciated with an old cell, but it has no tree growing by.
Mr. Savage and I were told, nevertheless, that a boy
who had searched the well a short time previously had
got some coins out of it, quite recent ones, consisting
of halfpennies or pennies, so far as I remember. On my
observing to one of the neighbours that I saw no rags
there, I was assured that there had been some ; and, on
my further saying that I saw no tree there to which they
could be tied, I was told that they used to be attached to the
brambles, which grew there in great abundance. Thus
it appears that, in the Isle of Man at any rate, a tree to
bear the rags was not an essential adjunct of a holy well.
Before leaving these well superstitions the reader
may wish to know how they were understood in Ireland

seem to point back to some such a compound as Beo- Ultdn. In his Manx
Names, p. 138, Mr. Moore suggests the possibility of explaining the name as
bwoailtyn, ' folds or pens ' ; but the accentuation places that out of the question.
See also the Lioar Manninagh, iii. 167, where Mr. C. Roeder, referring to
the same computus passage, gives the name as Builthan in the boundary inter
Cross Jvar Builthan. This would be read by Mr. Quine as inter Cross Ivor et
Biulthan, 'between Cross-Ivar and Bolthane.' For the text of the boundary
see Johnstone's edition of the Chronicon Manm'ce (Copenhagen, 1786),
p. 48, and Oliver's Monumenta de Insula Manniai, vol. 1. p. 207 ; see also
Mr. Quine's paper on the Boundary of Abbey Lands in the Lioar Manni-
nagh, iii. 422-3.

' I say ' approximately,' as, more strictly speaking, the ordinary pronun-
ciation is Sgdten, almost as one syllable, and from this arises a variant,
which is sometimes written Stondane, while the latest English development,
regardless of the accentuation of the Anglo-Manx form, which is Santon,
pronounced Santj, makes the parish into a St. Ann's ! For the evidence
that it was the parish of a St. Sancldn see Moore's Names, p. 209.


not long ago: so I venture to quote a passage from
a letter by the late Mr, W. C. Borlase on Rag Offerings
and Primitive Pilgimages in Ireland, as follows :—

'Among the MSS. of the late Mr. Windele, of Cork,
... I find a passage which cannot fail to interest students
of folk-lore. It relates to the custom of affixing shreds
of rag to the hawthorn tree, which almost invariably
stands by the brink of the typical Irish " holy well,"
and it gives us the meaning of the custom as under-
stood, some half-century since, by the inhabitants of
certain localities in the province of Munster. The idea
is, says the writer, that the putting up these rags is
a putting away of the evils impending or incurred by
sin, an act accompanied by the following ritual words :
Air impide an Tiarna mo chuid teinis dofhagaint air an
ait so ; i. e. By the intercession of the Lord I leave my
portion of illness on this place. These words, he adds,
should be uttered by whoever performs the round,
and they are, no doubt, of extreme antiquity. Mr. Win-
dele doubtless took down the words as he heard them
locally pronounced, though, to be correct, for Tiarna
should be read Tigerna ; for teinis, tinneas ; and for
fhagaint, fhagaim \'

From the less known saints Boltane and Santane
I wish to pass to the mention of a more famous one,
namely, St. Catherine, and this because of a fair called
after her, and held on the sixth day of December at the
village of Colby in the south of the island. When
I heard of this fair in 1888, it was in temporary abey-
ance on account of a lawsuit respecting the plot of
ground on which the fair is wont to be held ; but I was

' The Athenmim for April i, 1893, p. 415. I may here remark that
Mr. Borlase's note on do fhagaint is, it seems to me, unnecessary : let do
fhagaint stand, and translate, not ' I leave ' but • to leave." The letter should
be consulted for curious matter concerning Croagh Patrick, its pagan stations,
cup-markings, &c.


told that it usually begins with a procession, in which
a live hen is carried about : this is called St. Catherine's
hen. The next day the hen is carried about dead and
plucked, and a rhyme pronounced at a certain point in
the proceedings contemplates the burial of the hen, but
whether that ever takes place I know not. It runs
thus : —

Kiark Catrina marroo : Catherine's hen is dead :

Gowsyn kione as goyms ny cassyn, The head take thou and I the feet,
As ver mayd eefo'n thalloo. We shall put her under the ground.

A man who is found to be not wholly sober after the
fair is locally said to have plucked a feather from the
hen {Teh er goaill fedjag ass y chiark); so it would seem
that there must be such a scramble to get at the hen,
and to take part in the plucking, that it requires a certain
amount of drink to allay the thirst of the over zealous
devotees of St. Catherine. But why should this cere-
mony be associated with St. Catherine ? and what were
the origin and meaning of it ? These are questions on
which I should be glad to have light shed.

Manx has a word quaail (Irish comhdhdit), meaning
a ' meeting/ and from it we have a derivative quaaltagh
or qualiagh, meaning, according to Kelly's Dictionary,
'the first person or creature one meets going from
home,' whereby the author can have only meant the
first met by one who is going from home. Kelly goes
on to add that ' this person is of great consequence
to the superstitious, particularly to women the first
time they go out after lying-in.' Cregeen, in his Dic-
tionary, defines the qualtagh as ' the first person met on
New Year's Day, or on going on some new work, &c.'
Before proceeding to give the substance of my notes on
the qualtagh of the present day I may as well finish
with Cregeen, for he adds the following information :—
' A company of young lads or men generally went in


old times on what they termed the qualtagh, at Christmas
or New Year's Day, to the houses of their more wealthy
neighbours ; some one of the company repeating in an
audible voice the following rhyme :—

Ollick ghennal erriu as bleXn feer vie,
Seihll as slayut da'n slatte lught thie;
Bea as gennallys eu bio ry-cheilley,
Skee as graih eddyr ntrane as deiney;
Cooid as cowryn, stock as stoyr,
Falchey phuddase, as skaddan dy-liooar ,
Arran as caashey, eeym as roayri ;
Baase, myr lugh, ayns uhllin ny soalt ;
Cadley sauchey tra vees shiu ny Ihie,
As feeackU y jargan, tiagh bee dy mie."

It may be loosely translated as follows :—

A merry Christmas, n happy new year,
Long life and health to all the household here.
Food and mirth to you dwelling together.
Peace and love to all, men and women ;
Wealth and distinction, stock and store,
Potatoes enough, and herrings galore ;
Bread and cheese, butter and gravy ;
Die like a mouse in a barn or haggard ;
In safety sleep while you lie to rest.
And by the flea's tooth be not distressed.

At present New Year's Day is the time when the
qualtagh is of general interest, and in this case he is,
outside the members of one's own household, practi-
cally the first person one sees on the morning of that
day, whether that person meets one out of doors or
comes to one's house. The following is what I have
learnt by inquiry as to the qualtagh : all are agreed that
he must not be a woman or girl, and that he must not
be spaagagh or splay footed, while a woman from the
parish of Marown told me that he must not have red
hair. The prevalent belief, however, is that he should
be a dark haired man or boy, and it is of no consequence
how rough his appearance may be, provided he be
black haired. However, I was told by one man in
Rushen that the qualtagh or 'first-foot' need not be


a black haired person : he must be a man or boy. But
this less restricted view is not the one held in the
central and northern parts of the island, so far as I could
ascertain. An English lady living in the neighbourhood
of Castletown told me that her son, whom I know to be,
like his mother, a blond, not being aware what conse-
quences might be associated with his visit, called at a
house in Castletown on the morning of New Year's
Day, and he chanced to be the qualtagh. The mistress
of the house was horrified, and expressed to the English
lady her anticipation of misfortunes ; and as it happened
that one of the children of the house died in the course
of the year, the English lady has been reminded of it
since. Naturally the association of these events are not
pleasant to her ; but, so far as I can remember, they
date only some eight or nine years ago ^.

By way of bringing Wales into comparison with Man,
I may mention that, when I was a very small boy, I
used to be sent very earty on New Year's morning to
call on an old uncle of mine, because, as I was told,
I should be certain to receive a calennig or a calends'
gift from him, but on no account would my sister be
allowed to go, as he would only see a boy on such an
occasion as that. I do not recollect anything being said
as to the colour of one's hair or the shape of one's
foot; but that sort of negative evidence is of very
little value, as the qualtagh was fast passing out of

The preference here given to a boy over a girl looks
like one of the widely spread superstitions which rule
against the fair sex ; but, as to the colour of the hair,
I should be predisposed to think that it possibly rests

' Since this paper was read to the Folk-Lore Society a good deal of
information of one kind or another has appeared in its journal concerning
the first-foot : see more especially Folk-Lort for 1892, pp. 253-64, and for
1893, pp. 309-ai.


on racial antipathy, long ago forgotten; for it might
perhaps be regarded as going back to a time when the
dark haired race reckoned the Aryan of fair complexion
as his natural enemy, the very sight of whom brought
with it thoughts calculated to make him unhappy and
despondent. If this idea proved to be approximately
correct, one might suggest that the racial distinction in
question referred to the struggles between the inhabi-
tants of Man and their Scandinavian conquerors ; but
to my thinking it is just as likely that it goes much
further back.

Lastly, what is one to say with regard to the spaagagh
or splay footed person, now more usually defined as
flat footed or having no instep? I have heard it said
in the south of the island that it is unlucky to meet
a spaagagh in the morning at any time of the year, and
not on New Year's Day alone; but this does not help
us in the attempt to find the genesis of this belief. If
it were said that it was unlucky to meet a deformed
person, it would look somewhat more natural ; but why
fix on the flat footed especially ? For my part I have
not been trained to distinguish flat footed people, so
I do not recollect noticing any in the Isle of Man ; but,
granting there may be a small proportion of such people
in the island, does it not seem strange that they should
have their importance so magnified as this superstition
would seem to imply? I must confess that I cannot
understand it, unless we have here also some supposed
racial characteristic, let us say greatly exaggerated. To
explain myself I should put it that the non-Aryan
aborigines were a small people of great agility and
nimbleness, and that their Aryan conquerors moved
more slowly and deliberately, whence the former, of
springier movements, might come to nickname the latter
the flat footed. It is even conceivable that there was some

z 2


amount of foundation for it in fact. If I might speak
from my own experience, I might mention a difficulty
I have often had with shoes of Enghsh make, namely,
that I have always found them, unless made to measure,
apt to have their instep too low for me. It has never
occurred to me to buy ready-made shoes in France or
Germany, but I know a lady as Welsh as I am, who
has often bought shoes in France, and her experience
is, that it is much easier for her to get shoes there to fit
her than in England, and for the very reason which
I have already suggested, namely, that the instep in
English shoes is lower than in French ones.

Again, I may mention that one day last term ^, having
to address a meeting of Welsh undergraduates on folk-
lore, I ventured to introduce this question. They agreed
with me that English shoes did not, as a rule, fit Welsh
feet, and this because they are made too low in the
instep : I ought to have said that they all agreed except
one undergraduate, who held his peace. He is a tall
man, powerful in the football field, but of no dark com-
plexion, and I have never dared to look in the direction
of his feet since, lest he should catch me carr3dng my
comparisons to cruel extremes. Perhaps the flatness of
the feet of the one race is not emphasized so much as
the height of the instep in those of the other. At any
rate I find this way of looking at the question somewhat
countenanced by a journalist who refers his readers to
Wm. Henderson's notes on the Folklore of the Northern
Counties, p. 74. The passage relates more particularly
to Northumberland, and runs as follows : — ' In some dis-
tricts, however, special weight is attached to the " first-
foot" being that of a person with a high-arched instep,
a foot that "water runs under." A flat-footed person
would bring great ill-luck for the coming year.'

' This was written at the beginning of the year iSga.


These instances do not warrant the induction that
Celts are higher in the instep than Teutons, and that
they have inherited that characteristic from the non-
Aryan element in their ancestry. Perhaps the explana-
tion is, at least in part, that the dwellers in hilly regions
tend to be more springy and to have higher insteps than
the inhabitants of flatter lands. The statement of
Dr. Karl Blind on this point does not help one to a
decision when he speaks as follows in Folk-Lore for 1892,
p. 89: — 'As to the instep, I can speak from personal
experience. Almost every German finds that an Eng-
lish shoemaker makes his boots not high enough in the
instep. The northern Germans (I am from the south)
have perhaps slightly flatter feet than the southern
Germans.' The first part of the comparison is some-
what of a surprise to me, but not so the other part, that
the southern Germans inhabiting a hillier country, and
belonging to a different race, may well be higher in the
instep than the more northern speakers of the German
language. But on the whole the more one examines
the qualtagh, the less clearly one sees how he can be
the representative of a particular race. More data
possibly would enable one to arrive at greater probabiUty.

There is one other question which I should like to
ask before leaving the qualtagh, namely, as to the rela-
tion of the custom of New Year's gifts to the belief in
the qualtagh. I have heard it related in the Isle of Man
that women have been known to keep indoors on New
Year's Day until the qualtagh comes, which sometimes
means their being prisoners for the greater part of the
day, in order to avoid the risk of first meeting one who
is not of the right sex and complexion. On the other
hand, when the qualtagh is of the right description, con-
siderable fuss is made of him ; to say the least, he has
to accept food and drink, possibly more permanent


gifts. Thus a tall, black haired native of Kirk Michael
described to me how he chanced on New Year's Day,
years ago, to turn into a lonely cottage in order to light
his pipe, and how he found he was the qualtagh : he
had to sit down to have food, and when he went away it
was with a present and the blessings of the family. Now
New Year's Day is the time for gifts in Wales, as shown
by the name for them, calennig, which is derived from
calan, the Welsh form of the Latin calendce, New Year's
Day being in Welsh Y Calan, 'the Calends.' The
same is the day for gifts in Scotland and in Ireland,
except in so far as Christmas boxes have been making
inroads from England : I need not add that the Jour de
VAn is the day for gifts also in France. My question
then is this : Is there any essential connexion of origin
between the institution of New Year's Day gifts and
the belief in the first-foot ?

Now that it has been indicated what sort of a qualtagh
it is unlucky to have, I may as well proceed to mention
the other things which I have heard treated as unlucky
in the island. Some of them scarcely require to be
noticed, as there is nothing specially Manx about them,
such as the belief that it is unlucky to have the first
glimpse of the new moon through glass. That is a
superstition which is, I believe, widely spread, and,
among other countries, it is quite familiar in Wales,
where it is also unlucky to see the moon for the first
time through a hedge or over a house. What this
means I cannot guess, unless it be that it was once
considered one's duty to watch the first appearance of
the new moon from the highest point in the landscape
of the district in which one dwelt. Such a point would
in that case become the chief centre of a moon worship
now lost in oblivion.

It is believed in Man, as it used to be in Wales and


Ireland, that it is unlucky to disturb antiquities, especi-
ally old burial places and old churches. This super-
stition is unfortunately passing away in all three countries,
but you still hear of it, especially in the Isle of Man,
mostly after mischief has been done. Thus a good
Manx scholar told me how a relative of his in the
Ronnag, a small valley near South Barrule, had carted
away the earth from an old burial ground on his farm
and used it as manure for his fields, and how his beasts
died afterwards. The narrator said he did not know
whether there was any truth in it, but everybody
believed that it was the reason why the cattle died ; and
so did the farmer himself at last : so he desisted from
completing his disturbance of the old site. It is possibly
for a similar reason that a house in ruins is seldom
pulled down, or the materials used for other buildings.
Where that has been done misfortunes have ensued;
at any rate, I have heard it said so more than once.
I ought to have stated that the non-disturbance of anti-
quities in the island is quite consistent with their being
now and then shamefully neglected as elsewhere. This
is now met by an excellent statute recently enacted by
the House of Keys for the preservation of the public
monuments of the island.

Of the other and more purely Manx superstitions
I may mention one which obtains among the Peel
fishermen of the present day : no boat is willing to be
third in the order of sailing out from Peel harbour to
the fisheries. So it sometimes happens that after two
boats have departed, the others remain watching each
other for days, each hoping that somebody else may be
reckless enough to break through the invisible barrier
of ' bad luck.' I have often asked for an explanation of
this superstition, but the only intelligible answer I have
had was that it has been observed that the third boat


has done badly several years in succession ; but I am
unable to ascertain how far that represents the fact.
Another of the unlucky things is to have a white stone
in the boat, even in the ballast, and for that I never
could get any explanation at all ; but there is no doubt
as to the fact of this superstition, and I may illustrate it
from the case of a clergyman's son on the west side,
who took it into his head to go out with some fishermen
several days in succession. They chanced to be un-
successful each time, and they gave their Jonah the nick-
name of Clagh Vane, or ' White Stone.' Now what can
be the origin of this tabu ? It seems to me that if the
Manx had once a habit of adorning the graves of the
departed with white stones, that circumstance would be
a reasonable explanation of the superstition in question.
Further, it is quite possible they did, and here Manx
archaeologists could probably help as to the matter of
fact. In the absence, however, of information to the
point from Man, I take the liberty of citing some
relating to Scotland. It comes from Mr. Gomme's
presidential address to the Folk-Lore Society : see Folk-
Lore for 1893, pp. 13-4 : —

' Near Inverary, it is the custom among the fisher-folk,
and has been so within the memory of the oldest, to
place little white stones or pebbles on the graves of
their friends. No reason is now given for the practice,
beyond that most potent and delightful of all reasons in
the minds of folk-lore students, namely, that it has always
been done. Now there is nothing between this modern
practice sanctioned by traditional observance and the
practice of the stone-age people in the same neighbour-
hood and in others, as made known to us by their
grave-relics. Thus, in a cairn at Achnacrie opened by
Dr. Angus Smith, on entering the innermost chamber
•' the first thing that struck the eye was a row of quartz


pebbles larger than a walnut ; these were arranged on
the ledge of the lower granite block of the east side."
Near Crinan, at Duncraigaig and at Rudie, the same
characteristic was observed, and Canon Greenwell,
who examined the cairns, says the pebbles " must have
been placed there with some intention, and probably
possessed a sjonbolic meaning." ' See also Burghead,
by Mr. H. W. Young (Inverness, 1899), p. 10, where we
read that at Burghead the ' smooth white pebbles,
sometimes five or seven of them, but never more,' have
been usually arranged as crosses on the graves which
he has found under the fallen ramparts. Can this be
a Christian superstition with the white stones of the
Apocalypse as its foundation ?

Here I may mention a fact which I do not know where
else to put, namely, that a fisherman on his way in the
morning to the fishing, and chancing to pass by the
cottage of another fisherman who is not on friendly
terms with him, will pluck a straw from the thatch of
the latter's dwelling. Thereby he is supposed to rob
him of his luck in the fishing for that day. One would
expect to learn that the straw from the thatch served as
the subject of an incantation directed against the owner
of the thatch. I have never heard anything suggested
to that effect ; but I conclude that the plucking of the
straw is only a partial survival of what was once a
complete ritual for bewitching one's neighbour, unless
getting possession of the straw was supposed to carry
with it possession of everything belonging to the other
man, including his luck in fishing for that day.

Owing to my ignorance as to the superstitions of
other fishermen than those of the Isle of Man, I will
not attempt to classify the remaining instances to be
mentioned, such as the unluckiness of mentioning a
horse or a mouse on board a fishing-boat : I seem,


however, to have heard of similar tabus among Scottish
fishermen ; and, according to Dr. Blind, Shetland fisher-
men will not mention a cljurch or a clergyman when
out at sea, but use quite other names for both when on
board a ship (Folk-Lore for 1892, p. 89). Novices in the
Manx fisheries have to learn not to point to anything
with one finger: they have to point with the whole
hand or not at all. This looks as if it belonged to a
code of rules as to the use of the hand, such as prevail
among the Neapolitans and other peoples whose chief
article of faith is the belief in malign influences : see
Mr. Elworthy's volume on The Evil Eye.

Whether the Manx are alone in thinking it unlucky
to lend salt from one boat to another when they are
engaged in the fishing, I know not : such lending would
probably be inconvenient, but why it should be unlucky,
as they believe it to be, does not appear. The first of
May is a day on which it is unlucky to lend anything,
and especially to give any one fire ^. . This looks as if
it pointed back to some druidic custom of lighting all
fires at that time from a sacred hearth, but, so far as is
known, this only took place at the beginning of the
other half-year, namely, Sauin or Allhallows, which is
sometimes rendered into Manx as Laa 'II mooar ny
Saintsh, ' the Day of the great Feast of the Saints.'

Lastly, I may mention that it is unlucky to say that you
are very well : at any rate, I infer that it is regarded so,
as you will never get a Manxman to say that he is/eer
vie, ' very well.' He usually admits that he is ' middling';
and if by any chance he risks a stronger adjective, he
hastens to qualify it by adding 'now,' or 'just now,'
with an emphasis indicative of his anxiety not to say

' With this compare what Mr. Gomme has to say of a New Year's Day
custom observed in Lanarkshire ; see p. 633 of the Ethnographic Report re-
ferred to at p. 103 above, and compare Henderson, p. 74.


too much. His habits of speech point back to a time
when the Manx mind was dominated by the fear of
awaking malignant influences in the spirit world around
him. This has had the effect of giving the Manx
peasant's character a tinge of reserve and suspicion,
which makes it difficult to gain his confidence: his
acquaintance has, therefore, to be cultivated for some
time before you can say that you know the workings of
his heart. The pagan belief in a Nemesis has doubt-
less passed away, but not without materially affecting
the Manx idea of a personal devil. Ever since the first
allusion made in my hearing by Manxmen to the devil,
I have been more and more deeply impressed that for
them the devil is a much more formidable being than
Englishmen or Welshmen picture him. He is a graver
and, if I may say so, a more respectable being, allowing
no liberties to be taken with his name, so you had
better not call him a devil, the evil one, or like names,
for his proper designation is Noid ny Hanmey, ' the
Enemy of the Soul,' and in ordinary Anglo-Manx con-
versation he is commonly called ' the Enemy of Souls.'
I well remember getting one day into a conversation
with an old soldier in the south of the island. He was,
as I soon discovered, labouring under a sort of theo-
logical monomania, and his chief question was con-
cerning the Welsh word for ' the Enemy of Souls.' I felt
at once that I had to be careful, and that the reputation
of my countrymen depended on how I answered. As
I had no name anything like the one he used for the
devil, I explained to him that the Welsh, though not
a great nation, were great students of theology, and that
they had by no means neglected the great branch of it
known as satanology. In fact that study, as I went on
to say, had left its impress on the Welsh language : on
Sunday the ministers of all denominations, the deacons


and elders, and all self-respecting congregations spoke
of the devil trisyllabically as diafol, while on the other
days of the week everybody called him more briefly
and forcibly diawl, except bards concocting an awdl for
an Eistedfod, where the devil must always be called
diqfl, and excepting also sailors, farm servants, post-
boys and colliers, together with country gentlemen
learning Welsh to address their wouldn't-be consti-
tuents — for all these the regulation form wasj'awl, with
an English/ Thus one could, I pointed out to him,
fix the social standing of a Welshman by the way he
named ' the Enemy of Souls,' as well as appreciate the
superiority of Welsh over Greek, seeing that Welsh,
when it borrowed bi&^oKos from Greek, quadrupled it,
while Greek remained sterile. He was so profoundly
impressed that I never was able to bring his attention
back to the small fry, spiritually speaking, of the Isle of
Man, to wit, the fairies and the fenodyree, or even the
witches and the charmers, except that he had some
reserve of faith in witches, since the witch of Endor was
in the Bible and had ascribed to her a ' terr'ble ' great
power of raising spirits : that, he thought, must be true.
I pointed out to him that a fenodyree (see p. 288) was
also mentioned in his Bible : this display of ready know-
ledge on my part made a deep impression on his mind.

The Manx are, as a rule, a sober people, and highly
religious ; as regards their tenets, they are mostly mem-
bers of the Church of England or Wesleyan Methodists,
or else both, which is by no means unusual. Religious
phrases are not rare in their ordinary conversation ; in
fact, they struck me as being of more frequent occur-
rence than in Wales, even the Wales of my boyhood ;
and here and there this fondness for religious phrase-
ology has left its traces on the native vocabulary. Take,
for example, the word for ' anybody, a person, or human


being,' which Cregeen writes pyagh or p'agh : he rightly
regards it as the colloquial pronunciation of peccagh,
' a sinner.' So, when one knocks at a Manx door and
calls out, Vel p'agh sthie? he literally asks, ' Is there any
sinner indoors?' The question has, however, been
explained to me, with unconscious irony, as properly
meaning, ' Is there any Christian indoors?' and care is
now taken in reading to pronounce the middle conso-
nants of the word peccagh, ' sinner,' so as to distinguish
it from the word for a Christian 'anybody': but the
identity of origin is unmistakable.

Lastly, the fact that a curse is a species of prayer, to
wit, a prayer for evil to follow, is well exemplified in
Manx by the same words, gwee'^, plural gweeaghyn,
meaning both kinds of prayer. Thus I found myself
stumbling several times, in reading through the Psalms
in Manx, from not bearing in mind the sinister meaning
of these words ; for example in Psalm xiv. 6, where we
have Ta 'n beeal oc lane dy ghweeaghyn as dy herriuid,
which I mechanically construed to mean ' Their mouth
is full of praying and bitterness,' instead of 'cursing
and bitterness'; and so in other cases, such as Ps. x. 7,
and cix. 27.

It occurred to me on various occasions to make
inquiries as to the attitude of religious Manxmen to-
wards witchcraft and the charmer's vocation. Nobody,
so far as I know, accuses them of favouring witchcraft
in any way whatsoever; but as to the reality of witches
and witchcraft they are not likely to have any doubts
so long as they dwell on the Biblical account of the
witch of Endor, as I have already mentioned in the
case of the old Crimean soldier. Then as to charmers

' Old-fashioned grammarians and dictionary makers are always delighted
to handle Mrs. Partington's broom ; so Kelly thinks he has done a fine thing
by printing ^^Kf*, 'prayer,' and^, 'cursing.'


I have heard it distinctly stated that the most religious
men are they who have most confidence in charmers
and their charms; and a lay preacher whom I know
has been mentioned to me as now and then doing a
little charming in cases of danger or pressing need.
On the whole, I think the charge against religious
people of consulting charmers is somewhat exaggerated ;
but I believe that recourse to the charmer is more usual
and more openly had than, for example, in Wales, where
those who consult a dyn hyspys or ' wise man ' have to
do it secretly, and at the risk of being expelled by their
co-religionists from the Seiet or 'Society.' There is
somewhat in the atmosphere of Man to remind one
rather of the Wales of a past generation — Wales as it
was at the time when the Rev. Edmund Jones could
write a Relation of Apparitions of Spirits in the County
of Monmouth and the Principality of Wales, as a
book 'designed to confute and to prevent the infi-
delity of denying the being and apparition of spirits,
which tends to irreligion and atheism': see pp. 174, 195

The Manx peasantry are perhaps the most indepen-
dent and prosperous in the British Isles; but their
position geographically and politically has been favour-
able to the continuance of ideas not quite up to the level
of the latest papers on Darwinism and Evolution read
at our Church Congresses in this country. This may
be thought to be here wide of the mark ; but, after
giving, in the previous chapter, specimens of rather
ancient superstitions as recently known in the island, it
is but right that one should form an idea of the sur-
roundings in which they have lingered into modern
times. Perhaps nothing will better serve to bring this
home to the reader's mind than the fact, for which there
is proof, that old people still living remember men and


women clad in white sheets doing penance publicly in
the churches of Man.

The following is the evidence which I was able to
find, and I may state that I first heard in 1888 of the
public penance from Mr. Joughin, who was an aged
man and a native of Kirk Bride. He related how a girl
named Mary Dick gave an impertinent answer to the
clergyman when he was catechizing her class, and how
she had to do penance for it at church. She took her
revenge on the parson by singing, while attending in a
white sheet, louder than everybody else in the congre-
gation. This, unless I am mistaken, Mr. Joughin gave
me to understand he had heard from his father. I men-
tioned the story to a clergyman, who was decidedly of
opinion that no one alive now could remember anything
about pubHc penance. Not long after, however, I got
into conversation with a shoemaker at Kirk Michael,
named Dan Kelly, who was nearly completing his
eighty-first year. He was a native of Ballaugh, and
stated that he remembered many successive occupants
of the episcopal see. A long time ago the official called
the sumner had, out of spite he said, appointed him to
serve as one of the four of the chapter jury. It was, he
thought, when he was about twenty-five. During his
term of office he saw four persons, of whom two were
married men and two unmarried women, doing penance
in the parish church of Ballaugh for having illegitimate
children. They stood in the alley of the church, and
the sumner had to throw white sheets over them ; on
the fourth Sunday of their penance they stood inside the
chancel rails, but not to take the communion. The
parson, whose name was Stowell or Stowall, made them
thoroughly ashamed of themselves on the fourth Sun-
day, as one of the men afterwards admitted. Kelly
mentioned the names of the women and of one of the


men, and he indicated to me some of their descendants
as well known in the neighbourhood. I cross-examined
him all the more severely, as I had heard the other
view of the remoteness of the date. But nothing could
shake Kelly, who added that soon after the date of the
above mentioned cases the civil functionary, known as
the vicar-general, put an end to the chapter jury and
to public penance : according to his reckoning the pen-
ance he spoke of must have taken place about 1832.
Another old man, named Kewley, living now near Kirk
Michael, but formerly in the parish of Lezayre, had a
similar story. He thinks that he was born in the sixth
year of the century, and when he was between eighteen
and twenty he saw a man doing public penance, in
Lezayre Church, I presume, but I have no decided note
on that point. However that may be, he remembered
that the penitent, when he had done his penance, had
the audacity to throw the white sheet over the suraner,
who, the penitent remarked, might now wear it himself,
as he had had enough of it. Kewley would bring the
date only down to about 1825.

Lastly, I was in the island again in 1891, and spent
the first part of the month of April at Peel, where I had
conversations with a retired captain who was then about
seventy-eight. He is a native of the parish of Dalby,
but he was only ' a lump of a boy ' when the last couple
of immorals were forced to do penance in white sheets
at church. He gave me the guilty man's name, and the
name of his home in the parish, and both the captain
and his daughter assured me that the man had only
been dead six or seven years; that is, the penitent
seems to have lived till about the year 1884. I may
here mention that the parish of Dalby is the subject of
many tales, which go to show that its people were more
old-fashioned in their ways than those of the rest of the


island. It appears to have been the last, also, to be
reached by a cart road ; and I was amused by a native's
description of the men at Methodist meetings in Dalby
pulling the iappag, or forelock, at the name of Jesus,
while the women ducked a curtsy, in a dangerously
abrupt fashion. He and his wife appeared to be quite
used to it : the husband was an octogenarian named
Quire, who was born on the coast near the low-lying
peninsula called the Narbyl, that is to say ' the Tail.'

To return to the public penance, it seems to us in
this country to belong, so to say, to ancient history, and
it transports us to a state of things which we find it
hard to realize. The lapse of years has brought about
profounder changes in our greater Isle of Britain than
in the smaller Isle of Man, while we ourselves, helpless
to escape the pervading influence of those profounder
changes, become living instances of the comprehensive
truth of the German poet's words.

Omnia muiantur, nos el mutamur in illis.

A a

The Folklore of the Wells

. . . luvat iutegros accedere fontes. — Lucretius.

It is only recently^ that I heard for the first time of
Welsh instances of the habit of tying rags and bits
of clothing to the branches of a tree growing near a
holy well. Since then I have obtained several items of
information in point : the first is a communication re-
ceived in June, 1892, from Mr. J. H. Davies, of Lincoln
College, Oxford — since then of Lincoln's Inn — relating
to a Glamorganshire holy well, situated near the path-
way leading from Coychurch to Bridgend. It is the
custom there, he states, for people suffering from any
malady to dip a rag in the water, and to bathe the
affected part of the body, the rag being then placed on
a tree close to the well. When Mr. Davies passed that
way, some three years previously, there were, he adds,
hundreds of such shreds on the tree, some of which
distinctly presented the appearance of ha\'ing been very
recently placed there. The well is called Ffynnon Cae
Moch, ' Swine-field Well,' which can hardly have been
its old name ; and a later communication from Mr. Davies
summarizes a conversation which he had about the well,
on December 16, 1892, with Mr. J. T. Howell, of Pen-
coed, near Bridgend. His notes run thus : — ' Ffynnon
Cae Moch, between Coychurch and Bridgend, is one

• This was written at the end of 1892, and read to a joint meeting of the
Cymmrodorion and Folk-Lore Societies on January 11, 1893.


mile from Coy church, one and a quarter from Bridgend,
near Tremains. It is within twelve or fifteen yards of
the high-road, just where the pathway begins. People
suffering from rheumatism go there. They bathe the
part affected with water, and afterwards tie a piece of
rag to the tree which overhangs the well. The rag is
not put in the water at all, but is only put on the tree
for luck. It is a stunted, but very old tree, and is simply
covered with rags.' A little less than a year later, I had
an opportunity of visiting this well in the company of
Mr. Brynmor-Jones ; and I find in my notes that it is
not situated so near the road as Mr. Howell would
seem to have stated to Mr. Davies. We found the
well, which is a powerful spring, surrounded by a cir-
cular wall. It is overshadowed by a dying thorn tree,
and a httle further back stands another thorn which is
not so decayed : it was on this latter thorn we found
the rags, I took off a twig with two rags, while
Mr. Brynmor-Jones counted over a dozen other rags
on the tree ; and we noticed that some of them had only
recently been suspended there : among them were por-
tions undoubtedly of a woman's clothing. At one of
the hotels at Bridgend, I found an illiterate servant who
was acquainted with the well, and I cross-examined him
on the subject of it. He stated that a man with a wound,
which he explained to mean a cut, would go and stand in
the well within the wall, and there he would untie the rag
that had been used to tie up the wound and would wash
the wound with it : then he would tie up the wound with
a fresh rag and hang the old one on the tree. The more
respectable people whom I questioned talked more
vaguely, and only of tying a rag to the tree, except one
who mentioned a pin being thrown into the well or
a rag being tied to the tree.

My next informant is Mr. D. J. Jones, a native of the
A a 2


Rhonda Valley, in the same county of Glamorgan. He
was an undergraduate of Jesus College, Oxford, when
I consulted him in 1892. His information was to the effect
that he knows of three interesting wells in the county.
The first is situated within two miles of his home, and
is known as Ffynnon Pen Rhys, or the Well of Pen Rhys.
The custom there is that the person who wishes his
health to be benefited should wash in the water of the
well, and throw a pin into it afterwards. He next men-
tions a well at E.ancarvan, some five or six miles from
Cowbridge, where the custom prevails of tying rags to
the branches of a tree growing close at hand. Lastly,
he calls my attention to a passage in Hanes Morganwg,
' The History of Glamorgan,' written by Mr. D. W.
Jones, known in Welsh literature as Dafyd Morganwg.
In that work, p. 29, the author speaks of Ffynnon Mar-
cros, ' the Well of Marcros,' to the following effect: — 'It is
the custom for those who are healed in it to tie a shred
of linen or cotton to the branches of a tree that stands
close by ; and there the shreds are, almost as numerous
as the leaves.' Marcros is, I may say, near Nash Point,
and looks on the map as if it were about eight miles
distant from Bridgend. Let me here make it clear that
so far we have had to do with four different wells ^,
three of which are severally distinguished by the pre-
sence of a tree adorned with rags by those who seek
health in those waters ; but they are all three, as the
reader will have doubtless noticed, in the same district,
namely, the part of Glamorganshire near the main line
of the Great Western Railway.

There is no reason, however, to think that the custom
of tying rags to a well tree was peculiar to that part of

' Some account of them was given by me in Folk- Lore for 1892, p. 380 ; but
somehow or other my contribution was printed unrevised, with results more
peculiar than edifying.


the Principality. One day, in looking through some old
notes of mine, I came across an entry bearing the date
of August 7, 1887, when I was spending a few days
with my friend, Chancellor Silvan Evans, at ILanwrin
Rectory, near Machyntteth. Mrs. Evans was then alive
and well, and took a keen interest in Welsh antiquities
and folklore. Among other things, she related to me
how she had, some twenty years before, visited a well in
the parish of ILandritlo yn Rhos, namely Ffynnon Eilian,
or Elian's Well, between Abergele and ILandudno,
when her attention was directed to some bushes near
the well, which had once been covered with bits of rags
left by those who frequented the well. This was told
Mrs. Evans by an old woman of seventy, who, on being
questioned by Mrs. Evans concerning the history of
the well, informed her that the rags used to be tied to
the bushes by means of wool. She was explicit on the
point, that wool had to be used for the purpose, and
that even woollen yarn would not do : it had to be wool
in its natural state. The old woman remembered this
to have been the rule ever since she was a child.
Mrs. Evans noticed corks, with pins stuck in them,
floating in the well, and her informant remembered
many more in years gone by; for Elian's Well was
once in great repute as 2^ ffynnon reibio, or a well to
which people resorted for the kindly purpose of be-
witching those whom they hated. I infer, however,
from what Mrs. Evans was told of the rags, that Elian's
Well was visited, not only by the malicious, but also by
the sick and suffering. My note is not clear on the
point whether there were any rags on the bushes by
the well when Mrs. Evans visited the spot, or whether
she was only told of them by the caretaker. Even in
the latter case it seems evident that this habit of tying
rags to trees or bushes near sacred wells has only


ceased in that part of Denbighshire within this century.
It is very possible that it continued in North Wales more
recently than this instance would lead one to suppose ;
indeed, I should not be in the least surprised to learn that
it is still practised in out of the way places in Gwyned,
just as it is in Glamorgan : we want more information.
I cannot say for certain whether it was customary
in any of the cases to which I have called attention
to tie rags to the well tree as well as to throw
pins or other small objects into the well ; but I can-
not help adhering to the view, that the distinction
was probably an ancient one between two orders of
things. In other words, I am inclined to believe that
the rag was regarded as the vehicle of the disease of
which the ailing visitor to the well wished to be rid, and
that the bead, button, or cbin deposited by him in the
well, or in a receptacle near the well, formed alone the
offering. In opposition to this view Mr. Gomme has
expressed himself as follows in Folk-Lore, 1892, p. 89 : —
' There is some evidence against that, from the fact that
in the case of some wells, especially in Scotland at one
time, the whole garment was put down as an offering.
Gradually these offerings of clothes became less and
less till they came down to rags. Also in -other parts,
the geographical distribution of rag-offerings coincides
with the existence of monoliths and dolmens.' As to
the monoliths and dolmens, I am too little conversant
with the facts to risk any opinion as to the value of the
coincidence; but as to the suggestion that the rag
originally meant the whole garment, that will suit my
hypothesis admirably. In other words, the whole gar-
ment was, as I take it, the vehicle of the disease : the
whole was accursed, and not merely a part. But Mr.
Gomme had previously touched on the question in his
presidential address (Folk-Lore for 1892, p. 13); and I must


at once admit that he succeeded then in proving that a
certain amount of confusion occurs between things which
I should regard as belonging originally to distinct cate-
gories : witness the inimitable Irish instance which he
quotes :— ' To St. Columbkill— I offer up this button, a
bit o' the waistband o' my own breeches, an' a taste o' my
wife's petticoat, in remimbrance of us havin' made this
holy station ; an' may they rise up in glory to prove it
for us in the last day.' Here not only the button is
treated as an offering, but also the bits of clothing ; but
the confusion of ideas I should explain as being, at least
in part, one of the natural results of substituting a
portion of a garment for the entire garment ; for thereby
a button or a pin becomes a part of the dress, and capable
of being interpreted in two senses. After all, however,
the ordinary practices have not, as I look at them, resulted
in effacing the distinction altogether : the rag is not left
in the well ; nor is the bead, button, or pin attached
to a branch of the tree. So, in the main, it seemed to
me easier to explain the facts, taken altogether, on the
supposition that originally the rag was regarded as the
vehicle of the disease, and the bead, button, or coin as
the offering. My object in caUing attention to this point
was to have it discussed, and I am happy to say that
I have not been disappointed; for, since my remarks
were published', a paper entitled. Pin-wells and Rag-bushes
was read before the British Association by Mr. Hartland,
in 1893, and published in Folk-Lore for the same year,
pp. 451-70. In that paper the whole question is gone
into with searching logic, and Mr. Hartland finds the
required explanation in one of the dogmas of magic. For
' if an article of my clothing,' he says, ' in a witch's hands
may cause me to suffer, the same article in contact with
a beneficent power may relieve my pain, restore me to

In Folk-Lore for 1893, pp. 58-9.


health, or promote my general prosperity. A pin that
has pricked my wart . . . has by its contact, by the
wound it has inflicted, acquired a peculiar bond with the
wart; the rag that has rubbed the wart has by that
friction acquired a similar bond; so that whatever is
done to the pin or the rag, whatever influences the pin .
or the rag may undergo, the same influences are by that
very act brought to bear upon the wart. If, instead of
using a rag, or making a pilgrimage to a sacred well,
I rub my warts with raw meat and then bury the meat,
the wart will decay and disappear with the decay and
dissolution of the meat. ... In like manner my shirt or
stocking, or a rag to represent it, placed upon a sacred
bush, or thrust into a sacred well— my name written
upon the walls of a temple — a stone or a pellet from my
hand cast upon a sacred image or a sacred cairn — is
thenceforth in continual contact with divinity ; and the
effluence of divinity, reaching and involving it, will
reach and involve me.' Mr. Hartland concludes from a
large number of instances, that as a rule ' where the pin
or button is dropped into the well, the patient does
not trouble about the rag, and vice versa.' This wider
argument as to the effluence of the divinity of a par-
ticular spot of special holiness seems to me conclusive.
It applies also, needless to say, to a large category of
cases besides those in question between Mr. Gomme
and the present writer.

So now I would revise my position thus :— I continue
to regard the rag much as before, but treat the article
thrown into the well as the more special means of
establishing a beneficial relation with the well divinity :
whether it could also be viewed as an offering would
depend on the value attached to it. Some of the
following notes may serve as illustrations, especially
those relating to the wool and the pin : — Ffynnon


Gwynwy, or the Well of Gwynwy, near ILangel-
ynin, on the river Conwy, appears to be partly in
point; for it formerly used to be well stocked with
crooked pins, which nobody would touch lest he might
get from them the warts supposed to attach to them,
whence it would appear that a pin might be regarded
as the vehicle of the disease. There was a well of
some repute at Cae Garw, in the parish of Pistytt, near
the foot of Carnguwch, in ILeyn, or West Carnarvon-
shire, The water possessed virtues to cure one of
rheumatism and warts ; but, in order to be rid of the
latter, it was requisite to throw- a pin into the well for
each individual wart. For these two items of informa-
tion, and several more to be mentioned presently,
I have to thank Mr. John Jones, better known in Wales
by his bardic name of Myrdin Fard, and as an enthu-
siastic collector of Welsh antiquities, whether in the
form of manuscript or of unwritten folklore. On the
second day of the year 1893 I paid him a visit at
Chwilog, on the Carnarvon and Avon Wen Railway,
and asked him many questions : these he not only
answered with the utmost willingness, but he also
showed me the unpublished materials which he had
collected. I come next to a competition on the folklore
of North Wales at the London Eistedfod in 1887, in
which, as one of the adjudicators, I observed that
several of the competitors mentioned the prevalent
belief, that every well with heaHng properties must
have its outlet towards the south [i'r de). According to
one of them, if you wished to get rid of warts, you
should, on your way to the well, look for wool which
the sheep had lost. When you had found enough wool
you should prick each wart with a pin, and then rub
the wart well with the wool. The next thing was to
bend the pin and throw it into the well. Then you


should place the wool on the first whitethorn you could
find, and as the wind scattered the wool, the warts
would disappear. There was a well of the kind, the
writer went on to say, near his home; and he, with
three or four other boys, went from school one day to
the well to charm their warts away. For he had
twenty-three on one of his hands ; so that he always
tried to hide it, as it was the belief that if one counted
the warts they would double their number. He forgets
what became of the other boys' warts, but his own dis-
appeared soon afterwards ; and his grandfather used to
maintain that it was owing to the virtue of the well.
Such were the words of this writer, whose name is
unknown to me ; but I guess him to have been a native
of Carnarvonshire, or else of one of the neighbouring
districts of Denbighshire or Merionethshire. To
return to Myrdin Fard, he mentioned Ffynnon Cefn
Leithfan, or the Well of the ILeithfan Ridge, on the
eastern slope of Mynyd y Rhiw, in the parish of
Bryncroes, in the west of ILeyn. In the case of this
well it is necessary, when going to it and coming from
it, to be careful not to utter a word to anybody, or to turn
to look back. What one has to do at the well is to bathe
the warts with a rag or clout which has grease on it.
When that is done, the clout with the grease has to be
carefully concealed beneath the stone at the mouth of
the well. This brings to my mind the fact that I
noticed more than once, years ago, rags underneath
stones in the water flowing from wells in Wales, and
sometimes thrust into holes in the walls of wells, but
I had no notion how they came there.

On the subject of pin-wells I had in 1893, from
Mr. T. E. Morris, of Portmadoc, barrister-at-law, some
account of Ffynnon Faglan, or Baglan's Well, in the
parish of ILanfaglan, near Carnarvon. The well is


situated in an open field to the right of the road leading
towards the church, and close to it. The church and
churchyard form an enclosure in the middle of the
same field, and the former has in its wall the old stone
reading fili lovernii anatemori. My friend derived
information from Mrs. Roberts, of Cefn y Coed, near
Carnarvon, as follows :— ' The old people who would
be likely to know anything about Ffynnon Faglan have
all died. The two oldest inhabitants, who have always
lived in this parish of ILanfaglan, remember the well
being used for healing purposes. One told me his
mother used to take him to it, when he was a child, for
sore eyes, bathe them with the water, and then drop in
a pin. The other man, when he was young, bathed
in it for rheumatism ; and until quite lately people used
to fetch away the water for medicinal purposes. The
latter, who lives near the well, at Tan y Graig, said that
he remembered it being cleaned out about fifty years
ago, when two basinfuls of pins were taken out, but
no coin of any kind. The pins were all bent, and
I conclude the intention was to exorcise the evil spirit
supposed to afflict the person who dropped them in, or,
as the Welsh say, dadwitsio. No doubt some ominous
words were also used. The well is at present nearly
dry, the field where it lies having been drained some
years ago, and the water in consequence withdrawn
from it. It was much used for the cure of warts. The
wart was washed, then pricked with a pin, which, after
being bent, was thrown into the well. There is a very
large and well-known well of the kind at C'lynnog,
Ffynnon Beuno, "St. Beuno's Well," which was con-
sidered to have miraculous healing powers ; aryi even
yet, I believe, some people have faith in it. Ffynnon
Faglan is, in its construction, an imitation, on a smaller
scale, of St Beuno's Well at C'lynnog.'


In the cliffs at the west end of ILeyn is a wishing-well
called Ffynnon Fair, or St. Mary's Well, to the left of
the site of Eglwys Fair, and facing Ynys Entti, or
Bardsey. Here, to obtain your wish, you have to
descend the steps to the well and walk up again to the
top with your mouth full of the water ; and then you
have to go round the ruins of the church once or more
times with the water still in your mouth. Viewing the
position of the well from the sea, I should be disposed
to think that the realization of one's wish at that price
could not be regarded as altogether cheap. Myrdin
Fard also told me that there used to be a well near
Criccieth Church. It was known as Ffynnon y Saint,
or the Saints' Well, and it was the custom to throw
keys or pins into it on the morning of Easter Sunday,
in order to propitiate St. Catherine, who was the patron
of the well. I should be glad to know what this exactly

Lastly, a few of the wells in that part of Gwyne J may
be grouped together and described as oracular. One of
these, the big well in the parish of ILanbedrog in ILeyn,
as I learn from Myrdin Fard, required the devotee to
kneel by it and avow his faith in it. When this had
been duly done, he might proceed in this wise : to
ascertain, for instance, the name of the thief who had
stolen from him, he had to throw a bit of bread into the
well and name the person whom he suspected. At the
name of the thief the bread would sink ; so the inquirer
went on naming all the persons he could think of until
the bit of bread sank, when the thief was identified.
How far is one to suppose that we have here traces of
the influences of the water ordeal common in the Middle
Ages? Another well of the same kind was Ffynnon
Saethon, in ILanfihangel Bacheflaeth parish, also in
ILeyn. Here it was customary, as he had it in writing,


for lovers to throw pins {pinnau) into the well; but
these pins appear to have been the points of the black-
thorn. At any rate, they cannot well have been of any
kind of metal, as we are told that, if they sank in the
water, one concluded that one's lover was not sincere in
his or her love.

Next may be mentioned a well, bearing the remark-
able name of Ffynnon Gwyned:, or the Well of Gwyned,
which is situated near Mynyd Mawr, in the parish of
Abererch: it used to be consulted in the following
manner : — When it was desired to discover whether an
ailing person would recover, a garment of his would be
thrown into the well, and according to the side on which
it sank it was known whether he would live or die.

Ffynnon Gybi, or St. Cybi's Well, in the parish of
Langybi, was the scene of a somewhat similar practice-;
for there, girls who wished to know their lovers' inten-
tions would spread their pocket-handkerchiefs on the
water of the well, and, if the water pushed the handker-
chiefs to the south — in Welsh i'r rfe— they knew that
everything was right — in Welsh o Si — and that their
lovers were honest and honourable in their intentions ;
but, if the water shifted the handkerchiefs northwards,
they concluded the contrary. A reference to this is
made by a modern Welsh poet, as follows : —

Ambett ctyn, gwaeltfyn, a gyrch Some folks, worthless ' folks, visit

/ bant goris Moel Bentyrch, A hollow below Moel Bentyrch,

Mewn gobaith mai hen Gybi In hopes that ancient Kybi

Glodfawr syCt yn ttwyctawW tti. Of noble fame blesses the flood.

The spot is not far from where Myrdin Fard lives ;
and he mentioned, that adjoining the well is a building
which was probably intended for the person in charge

' In the neighbourhood I find that the word gwaeldyn in this verse is
sometimes explained to mean not a worthless but an ailing person, on the
strength of the fact that the adjective gwael is colloquially used both for vile
and for ailing.


of the well: it has been tenanted within his memory.
Not only for this but also for several of the foregoing
items of information am I indebted to Myrdin ; and now
I come to Mrs. Williams-Ellis, of Glasfryn Uchaf, who
tells me that one day not long ago, she met at ILangybi a
native who had not visited the place since his boyhood :
he had been away as an engineer in South Wales nearly
all his life, but had returned to see an aged relative. So
the reminiscences of the place filled his mind, and,
among other things, he said that he remembered very
well what concern there was one day in the village at
a mischievous person having taken a very large eel out
of the well. Many of the old people, he said, felt that
much of the virtue of the well was probably taken away
with the eel. To see it coiling about their limbs when
they went into the water was a good sign : so he gave
one to understand. As a sort of parallel I may mention
that I have seen the fish living in Ffynnon Beris, not far
from the parish church of ILanberis. It is jealously
guarded by the inhabitants, and when it was once or
twice taken out by a mischievous stranger he was forced
to put it back again. However, I never could get the
history of this sacred fish, but I found that it was re-
garded as very old ^ I may add that it appears the well

' Since writing the above remarks the following paragraph, purporting to
be copied from the Liverpool Mercury for November i8, i8g6, appeared in
the Archoeologia Cambrensis for 1899, p. 334 : — 'Two new fishes have just
been put in the " Sacred Well," Ffynnon y Sant, at Tyn y Ffynnon, in the
village of Nant Peris, ILanberis. Invalids in large numbers came, during
the last century and the first half of the present century, to this well to
drink of its " miraculous waters " ; and the oak box, where the contributions
of those who visited the spot were kept, is still in its place at the side of the
well. There have always been two " sacred fishes " in this well ; and there
is a tradition in the village to the effect that if one of the Tyn y Ffynnon
fishes came out of its hiding-place when an invalid took some of the water
for drinking or for bathing purposes, cure was certain ; but if the fishes
remained in their den, the water would do those who took it no good.
Two fishes only are to be put in the well at a time, and they generally Hve
in its waters for about half a century. If one dies before the otlier, it would


called Ffynnon Fair, 'Mary's Well,' at ILandwyn, in
Anglesey, used formerly to have inhabiting it a sacred
fish, whose movements indicated the fortunes of the
love-sick men and maidens who visited there the shrine
of St. Dwynwen^ Possibly inquiry would result in
showing that such sacred fish have been far more
common once in the Principahty than they are now.

The next class of wells to claim our attention consists
of what I may call fairy wells, of which few are men-
tioned in connexion with Wales ; but the legends about
them are of absorbing interest. One of them is in
Myrdin Fard's neighbourhood, and I questioned him
a good deal on the subject : it is called Ffynnon Grasst,
or Grace's Well, and it occupies, according to him, a
few square feet — he has measured it himself — of the
south-east corner of the lake of Glasfryn Uchaf, in the
parish of ILangybi. It appears that it was walled in,
and that the stone forming its eastern side has several
holes in it, which were intended to let water enter the
well and not issue from it. It had a door or cover on
its surface ; and it was necessary to keep the door
always shut, except when water was being drawn.
Through somebody's neghgence, however, it was once
on a time left open : the consequence was that the water

be of no use to put in a new fish, for the old fish would not associate with it,
and it would die. The experiment has been tried. The last of the two
fishes put in the well about fifty years ago died last August. It had been
blind for some time previous to its death. When taken out of the water it
measured seventeen inches, and was buried in the garden adjoining the
well. It is stated in a document of the year 1776 that the parish clerk was
to receive the money put in the box of the well by visitors. This money,
together with the amount of 6s. ^d. , was his annual stipend.' Tyn y Ffynnon
means ' the Tenement of the Well,' lyn being a shortened form of iyOyH,
• a tenement,' as mentioned at p. 33 above ; but the mapsters make it into
ly'n^tyyn, 'a house in,' so that the present instance, Ty'n y Ffynnon,
could only mean ■ the House in the Well,' which, needless to say, it is not.
But one would like to know whether the house and land were once held
rent-free on condition that the tenant took care of the sacred fish.
' See Ashton's lolo Gocfi, p. 234, and Lewis' Top. Did.


of the well flowed out and formed the Glasfryn Lake,
which is so considerable as to be navigable for small
boats. Grassi is supposed in the locality to have been
the name of the owner of the well, or at any rate of a
lady who had something to do with it. Grassi, or Grace,
however, can only be a name which a modern version
of the legend has introduced. It probably stands for
an older name given to the person in charge of the well ;
to the one, in fact, who neglected to shut the door ; but
though the name must be comparatively modern, the
story, as a whole, does not appear to be at all modern,
but very decidedly the contrary.

So I wrote in 1893 ; but years after my conversa-
tion with Myrdin Fard, my attention was called to the
fact that the Glasfryn family, of which the Rev. J. C.
Williams- Ellis is the head, have in their coat of arms a
mermaid, who is represented in the usual way, holding
a comb in her right hand and a mirror in her left.
I had from the first expected to find some kind of
Undine or Liban story associated with the well and the
lake, though I had abstained from trying the risky
effects of leading questions ; but when I heard of the
heraldic mermaid I wrote to Mr. Williams-Ellis to ask
whether he knew Jier history. His words, though not
encouraging as regards the mermaid, soon convinced
me that I had not been wholly wrong in supposing
that more folklore attached to the well and lake than
I had been able to discover. Since then Mrs. Williams-
Ellis has taken the trouble of collecting on the spot all
the items of tradition which she could find : she com-
municated them to me in the month of March, 1899,
and the following is an abstract of them, preceded by
a brief description of the ground : —

The well itself is at the foot of a very green field-
bank at the head of the lake, but not on the same level


with it, as the lake has had its waters lowered half
a century or more ago by the outlet having been
cut deeper. Adjoining the field containing the well is
a larger field, which also slopes down to the lake and
extends in another direction to the grounds belonging
to the house. This larger field is called Cae'r Ladi,
' the Lady's Field,' and it is remarkable for having in
its centre an ancient standing stone, which, as seen
from the windows of the house, presents the appear-
ance of a female figure hurrying along, with the wind
slightly swelling out her veil and the skirt of her dress.
Mr. Williams-Ellis remembers how when he was a
boy the stone was partially white-washed, and how an
old bonnet adorned the top of this would-be statue, and
he thinks that an old shawl used to be thrown over the

Now as to Grassi, she is mostly regarded as a ghostly
person somehow connected with the lake and the house
of Glasfryn. One story is to the effect, that on a certain
evening she forgot to close the well, and that when the
gushing waters had formed the lake, poor Grassi, over-
come with remorse, wandered up and down the high
ground of Cae'r Ladi, moaning and weeping. There, in
fact, she is still at times to be heard lamenting her fate,
especially at two o'clock in the early morning. Some
people say that she is also to be seen about the lake, which
is now the haunt of some half a dozen swans. But on the
whole her visits appear to have been most frequent and
troublesome at the house itself Several persons still
living are mentioned, who believe that they have seen
her there, and two of them, Mrs. Jones of Talafon, and
old Sydney Griffith of Tydyn Bach, agree in the main
in their description of what they saw, namely, a tall
lady with well marked features and large bright eyes :
she was dressed in white silk and a white velvet bonnet.



The woman, Sydney Griffith, thought that she had seen
the lady walking several times about the house and in
Cae'r Ladi. This comes, in both instances, from a
young lady born and bred in the immediate neighbour-
hood, and studying now at the University College of
North Wales ; but Mrs. Williams- Ellis has had similar
accounts from other sources, and she mentions tenants
of Glasfryn who found it difficult to keep servants there,
because they felt that the place was haunted. In fact
one of the tenants himself felt so unsafe that he used to
take his gun and his dog with him to his bedroom at
night; not to mention that when the WiUiams-Ellises
lived themselves, as they do still, in the house, their
visitors have been known to declare that they heard
the strange plaintive cry out of doors at two o'clock in
the morning.

Traces also of a very different story are reported by
Mrs. Williams-Ellis, to the effect that when the water
broke forth to form the lake, the fairies seized Grassi
and changed her into a swan, and that she continued in
that form to live on the lake sixscore years, and that
when at length she died, she loudly lamented her lot :
that cry is still to be heard at night. This story is in
process apparently of being rationalized; at any rate
the young lady student, to whom I have referred, re-
members perfectly that her grandfather used to explain
to her and the other children at home that Grassi was
changed into a swan as a punishment for haunting
Glasfryn, but that nevertheless the old lady still visited
the place, especially when there happened to be
strangers in the house. At the end of September last
Mrs. Rhys and I had the pleasure of spending a few
days at Glasfryn, in the hope of hearing the plaintive
wail, and of seeing the lady in white silk revisiting her
familiar haunts. But alas! our sleep was never once


disturbed, nor was our peace once troubled by sus-
picions of anything uncanny. This, however, is nega-
tive, and characterized by the usual weakness of all
such evidence.

It is now time to turn to another order of facts : in
the first place may be mentioned that the young lady
student's grandmother used to call the well Ffynnon
Grds Sion Gruffuct, as she had always heard that Gras
was the daughter of a certain Si6n Gruffyd, 'John
Griffith,' who lived near the well ; and Mrs. Williams-
Ellis finds that Gras was buried, at a very advanced
age, on December 14, 1743, at the parish church of
ILangybi, where the register describes her as Grace
Jones, alias Grace Jones Griffith. She had lived till the
end at Glasfryn, but from documents in the possession
of the Glasfryn family it is known that in 1728 Hugh
Lloyd of Trattwyn purchased the house and estate of
Glasfryn from a son of Grace's, named John ab Cad-
waladr, and that Hugh Lloyd of Trattwyn's son, the
Rev. William Lloyd, sold them to Archdeacon Ellis,
from whom they have descended to the Rev. J. C.
Williams-Ellis. In the light of these facts there is no
reason to connect the old lady's name very closely with
the well or the lake. She was once the dominant
figure at Glasfryn, that is all ; and when she died she
was as usual supposed to haunt the house and its
immediate surroundings ; and if we might venture to
suppose that Glasfryn was sold by her son against her
will, though subject to conditions which enabled her
to remain in possession of the place to the day of her
death, we should have a further explanation, perhaps,
of her supposed moaning and lamentation.

In the background, however, of the story, one detects
the possibility of another female figure, for it may be
that the standing stone in Cae'r Ladi represents a

B b 2


woman buried there centuries before Grace ruled at
Glasfryn, and that traditions about the eariier lady
have survived to be inextricably mixed with those con-
cerning the later one. Lastly, those traditions may
have also associated the subject of them with the well
and the lake ; but I wish to attach no importance to
this conjecture, as we have in reserve a third figure of
larger possibilities than either Grace or the stone woman.
It needs no better introduction than Mrs. Williams-
Ellis' own words : ' Our younger boys have a crew of
three little Welsh boys who live near the lake, to join
them in their boat sailing about the pool and in camping
on the island, &c. They asked me once who Morgan
was, whom the little boys were always saying they were
to be careful against. An old man living at Tal ILyn,
" Lake's End," a farm close by, says that as a boy he
was always told that " naughty boys would be carried
off by Morgan into the lake." Others tell me that
Morgan is always held to be ready to take off trouble-
some children, and somehow Morgan is thought of as
a bad one.' Now as Morgan carries children off into
the pool, he would seem to issue from the pool, and to
have his home in it. Further, he plays the same part
as the fairies against whom a Snowdonian mother used
to warn her children : they were on no account to
wander away from the house when there was a mist,
lest the fairies should carry them to their home beneath
ILyn Dwythwch. In other words, Morgan may be said
to act in the same way as the mermaid, who takes a sailor
down to her submarine home; and it explains to my
mind a discussion which I once heard of the name
Morgan by a party of men and women making hay one
fine summer's day in the neighbourhood of Ponterwyd,
in North Cardiganshire. I was a child, but I remember
vividly how they teased one of their number whose


'Style' was Morgan. They hinted at dreadful things
associated with the name ; but it was all so vague that
I could not gather that his great unknown namesake
was a thief, a murderer, or any kind of ordinary criminal.
The impression left on my mind was rather the notion of
something weird, uncanny, or non-human ; and the fact
that the Welsh version of the Book of Common Prayer
calls the Pelagians Morganiaid, ' Morgans,' does not offer
an adequate explanation. But I now see clearly that it
is to be sought in the indistinct echo of such folklore as
that which makes Morgan a terror to children in the
neighbourhood of the Glasfryn Lake.

The name, however, presents points of difficulty
which require some notice : the Welsh translators of
Article IX in the Prayer Book were probably wrong in
making Pelagians into Morganiaid, as the Welsh for
Pelagius seems to have been rather Morten *, which in
its oldest recorded form was Morgen, and meant sea-
born, or offspring of the sea. In a still earlier form it
must have been Morigenos, with a feminine Morigena,
but when the endings came to be dropped both vocables
would become Morgen, later Morien. I do not remember
coming across a feminine Morgen in Welsh, but the pre-
sumption is that it did exist. For, among other things,
I may mention that we have it in Irish as Muirgen, one
of the names of the lake lady Liban, who, when the
waters of the neglected well rushed forth to form
Lough Neagh, lived beneath that lake until she desired
to be changed into a salmon. The same conclusion
may be drawn from the name Morgain or Morgan, given
in the French romances to one or more water ladies;
for those names are easiest to explain as the Brythonic
Morgen borrowed from a Welsh or Breton source,
unless one found it possible to trace it direct to the

' See my Hibbert Lecfurcs, p. aag, and the Mo MSS., pp. 42-3, 420-1


Goidels of Wales. No sooner, however, had the con-
fusion taken place between Morgen and the name which
is so common in Wales as exclusively a man's name,
than the aquatic figure must also become male. That
is why the Glasfryn Morgan is now a male, and not
a female like the other characters whose role he plays.
But while the name was in Welsh successively Morgen
and Morien, the man's name was Morcant, Morgant, or
Morgan ^, so that, phonologically speaking, no confusion
could be regarded as possible between the two series.
Here, therefore, one detects the influence, doubtless,
of the French romances which spoke of a lake lady
Morgain, Morgan, or Morgue. The character varied:
Morgain le Fay was a designing and wicked person ;
but Morgan was also the name of a well disposed lady
of the same fairy kind, who took Arthur away to be
healed at her home in the Isle of Avallon. We seem
to be on the track of the same confusing influence of
the name, when it occurs in the story of Geraint and
Enid ; for there the chief physician of Arthur's court is
called Morgan Tut or Morgant Tut, and the word tut
has been shown by M. Loth to have meant the same
sort of non-human being whom an eleventh-century
Life of St. Maudez mentions as quidam daemon quern
Britones Tuthe appellant. Thus the name Morgan Tut

' A curious note bearing on this name occurs in the Jesus College MS. 20

(Cymmrodor, viii. p. 86) in reference to the name Morgannwg, ' Glamorgan':

O end Morgant vchot y gelzvir Morgann6c. Ereitt a dyweit. Mae o end
Mochteym Predein. ' It is from the name of the above Morgan that
Morgannwg is called. Others say that it is from the name of the mechdeyrn
of Pictland.' The mochteym must have been a Pictish king or mdrraaer
called Morgan. The name occurs in the charters from the Book 0/ Deer in
Stokes' Goidelica, pp. 109, in, as Morcunt, Morcunn, and Morgunn unde-
clined, also with Morgainii for genitive ; and so in Skene's Chronicles of the
Picts and Scots, pp. 77, 317, where it is printed Morgaind; see also Stokes'
Tigernach, in the Revue Celtique, xvii. 198. Compare Geoffrey's story,
ii. 15, which introduces a northern Marganus to account for the name
Margan, now Margam, in Morgannwg.



is meant as the Welsh equivalent of the French Morgain
le Fay or Morgan la Fee ^ ; but so long as the compiler
of the story of Geraint and Enid employed in his Welsh
the form Morgan, he had practically no choice but to
treat the person called Morgan as a man, whether that
was or was not the sex in the original texts on which
he was drawing. Of course he could have avoided the
difficulty in case he was aware of it, if he had found
some available formula in use like Mary-Morgant, said
to be a common name for a fairy on the island of
Ouessant, off the coast of Brittany.

Summarizing the foregoing notes, we seem to be
right in drawing the following conclusions :—(i) The
well was left in the charge of a woman who forgot to
shut it, and when she saw the water bursting forth, she
bewailed her negligence, as in the case of her counter-
part in the legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod. (2) The
original name of the Glasfryn ' Morgan ' was Morgen,
later Morien. (3) The person changed into a swan on
the occasion of the Glasfryn well erupting was not
Grassi, but most probably Morgen. And (4) the char-
acter was originally feminine, like that of the mermaid
or the fairies, whose r6le the Glasfryn Morgan plays ;
and more especially may one compare the Irish Muirgen,
the Morgen more usually called Liban. For it is to be
noticed that when the neglected well burst forth she,
Muirgen or Liban, was not drowned like the others

' M. Loth's remarks in point will be found in the Revue CeUique, xiii.
496-7, where he compares with tut the Breton teiie, ' lutin, g^nie malfaisant
ou bienfaisant' ; and for the successive guesses on the subject of the name
Morgan tut one should also consult Zimmer's remarks in Foerster's Introduc-
tion to his Erec, pp. xxvii-xxxi, and my Arthurian Legend, p. 391, to
whicli I should add a reference to the Book of Ballymote, fo. 360% where we
have na bantuathaib, which O'Curry has rendered ' on the part of their
Witches ' in his Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish, iii. 536-7.
Compare da bhantuathaigh, ' two female sorcerers," in Joyce's Keating's
History of Ireland, pp. iaa-3.


involved in the calamity, but lived in her chamber at
the bottom of the lake formed by the overflowing well,
until she was changed into a salmon. In that form she
lived on some three centuries, until in fact she was
caught in the net of a fisherman, and obtained the boon
of a Christian burial. However, the change into a swan
is also known on Irish ground: take for instance the
story of the Children of Lir, who were converted into
swans by their stepmother, and lived in that form on
Loch Dairbhreach, in Westmeath, for three hundred
years, and twice as long on the open sea, until their
destiny closed with the advent of St. Patrick and the
first ringing of a Christian bell in Erin ^.

The next legend was kindly communicated to me by
Mr. Wm. Davies already mentioned at p. 147 above : he
found it in CyfaittyrAelwyd'^, "The Friend of the Hearth,"
where it is stated that it belonged to David Jones' Store-
house of Curiosities, a collection which does not seem to
have ever assumed the form of a printed book. David
Jones, of Trefriw, in the Conwy Valley, was a pub-
lisher and poet who wrote between 1750 and 1780.
This is his story : ' In 1735 I had a conversation with a
man concerning Tegid Lake. He had heard from old
people that near the middle of it there was a well oppo-
site ILangower, and the well was called Ffynnon Gywer,
" Cower's Well," and at that time the town was round
about the well. It was obligatory to place a lid on the
well every night. (It seems that in those days somebody
was aware that unless this was done it would prove the

' For all about the Children of Lir, and about Liban and Lough Neagh, see
Joyce's Old Celtic Romances, pp. 4-36, 97-105.

' On my appealing to Cadrawd, one of the later editors, he has found me
the exact reference, to wit, volume ix of the Cjy^iff (published in 1889), p. 50 ;
and he has since contributed a translation of the story to the columns of the
South Wales Daily News for February 15, 1899, where he has also given an
account of Crymlyn, which is to be mentioned later.


destruction of the town.) But one night it was forgotten,
and by the morning, behold the town had subsided and
the lake became three miles long and one mile wide.
They say, moreover, that on clear days some people see
the chimneys of the houses. It is since then that the
town was built at the lower end of the lake. It is called
Y Bala ^ and the man told me that he had talked with
an old Bala man who had, when he was a youth, had
two days' mowing of hay ^ between the road and the
lake ; but by this time the lake had spread over that
land and the road also, which necessitated the purchase
of land further away for the road ; and some say that
the town will yet sink as far as the place called ILanfor
— others call it ILanfawd, " Drown-church," or ILan-
fawr, "Great-church," in Penttyn. . . . Further, when the
weather is stormy water appears oozing through every
floor within Bala, and at other times anybody can get
water enough for the use of his house, provided he dig
a little into the floor of it'

In reference to the idea that the town is to sink,

' Judging from the three best-known instances,^ bala meant the outlet of
a lake : I allude to this Bala at the outlet of ILyn Tegid ; Pont y Bala, ' the
Bridge of the bala,' across the water flowing from the Upper into the Lower
Lake at ILanberis ; and Bala Deulyn, ' the bala of two lakes,' at Nanttle.
Two places called Btyn y Bala are mentioned s.v. Bala in Morris' Celtic
Remains, one near Aberystwyth, at a spot which I have never seen, and the
other near the lower end of the Lower Lake of ILanberis, as to which it has
been suggested to me that it is an error for Bryn y Bela. It is needless to
say that bala has nothing to do with the Anglo-Irish bally, of such names as
Ballymurphy or Ballynahunt : this vocable is in English bailey, and in South
Wales beili, ' a farm yard or enclosure,' all three probably from the late Latin
balium or ballium, ' locus palis munitus et circumseptus.' Our etymologists
never stop short with bally : they go as far as Balaklava and, probably,
Ballarat, to claim cognates for our Bala.

' Cadrawd here gives the Welsh as ' a bladur ... a dyct o wair^ and
observes that the lacuna consists of an illegible word of three letters. If
that word was either sef, ' that is,' or , ' or,' the sense would be as pven
above. In North Cardiganshire we speak of a day's mowing as gwaith gwr,
' a man's work for a day," and sometimes of a gwaith gwr bach, 'a man's
work for a short day.'


together with the neighbouring village of ILanfor, the
writer quotes in a note the couplet known still to
everybody in the neighbourhood as follows : —

Y Bala aeth, a'r Bala aiff, Bala old the lake has had, and Bala new

A ILanfor aiffyn ILyn. The lake will have, and ILanfor too.

This probably implies that old Bala is beneath the
lake, and that the present Bala is to meet the like fate at
some time to come. This kind of prophecy is not very
uncommon : thus there has been one current as to the
Montgomeryshire town of Pool, called, in Welsh,
Trattwng or Trattwm, and in English, Welshpool, to
distinguish it from the English town of Pool. As to
Welshpool, a very deep water called ILyn Du, lying
between the town and the Castett Coch or Powys Castle,
and right in the domain of the castle, is suddenly to
spread itself, and one fine market day to engulf the
whole placed Further, when I was a boy in North
Cardiganshire, the following couplet was quite familiar
to me, and supposed to have been one of Merlin's
prophecies : —

Caer Fyrdin, ceioerfore ; Carmarthen, a cold morn awaits thee ;

Daear dth Iwnc, dw'r fth h. Earth gapes, and water in thy place will be.

In regard to the earlier half of the line, concerning Bala
gone, the story of Ffynnon Gywer might be said to
explain it, but there is another which is later and far
better known. It is of the same kind as the stories

' See By-Gones for May 34, 1899. The full name of Welshpool in Welsh
is Tratlwng ILyaielyn, so called after a ILywelyn descended from Cuneda, and
supposed to have established a religious house there ; for there are other
Tratlwngs, and at first sight it would seem as if Trattwng had something to
do with a lake or piece of water. But there is a Trattwng, for instance, near
Brecon, where there is no lake to give it the name ; and my attention has
been called to Thos, Richards' Welsh-Ettglish Dictionary, where a trattwng is
said to be ' such a soft place on the road (or elsewhere) as travellers may be
apt to sink into, a dirty pool.' So the word seems to be partly of the same
derivation as go-iiwng, ' to let go, to give way.' The form of the word in
use now is Trattwm, not Trattwng or TraUwn.


related in Welsh concerning ILynclys and Syfadon ;
but I reserve it with these and others of the same sort
for chapter vii.

For the next legend belonging here I have to
thank the Rev. J. Fisher, a native of the parish of
ILandybie, who, in spite of his name, is a genuine Welsh-
man, and— what is more — a Welsh scholar. The fol-
lowing are his words : — ' ILyn ILech Owen (the last word
is locally sounded w-en, hke oo-en in English, as is also
the personal name Owen) is on Mynyd Mawr, in the
ecclesiastical parish of Gors Las, and the civil parish of
ILanarthney, Carmarthenshire. It is a small lake, form-
ing the source of the Gwendraeth Fawr. I have heard
the tradition about its origin told by several persons, and
by all, until quite recently, pretty much in the same
form. In 1884 I took it down from my grandfather,
Rees Thomas {b. 1809, d. 1892), of Cil Colt ILandebie —
a very intelligent man, with a good fund of old-world
Welsh lore — who had lived all his life in the neighbour-
ing parishes of ILandeilo Fawr and ILandybie.

' The following is the version of the story (translated)
as I had it from him : — There was once a man of the
name of Owen living on Mynyd Mawr, and he had a well,
"ffynnoti." Over this well he kept a large flag {"fflagen
neu lech fawr": "fflagen" is the word in common use
now in these parts for a large flat stone), which he was
always careful to replace over its mouth after he had
satisfied himself or his beast with water. It happened,
however, that one day he went on horseback to the well
to water his horse, and forgot to put the flag back in its
place. He rode off leisurely in the direction of his
home ; but, after he had gone some distance, he casually
looked back, and, to his great astonishment, he saw that
the well had burst out and was overflowing the whole
place. He suddenly bethought him that he should ride


back and encompass the overflow of the water as fast
as he could ; and it was the horse's track in galloping
round the water that put a stop to its further overflow.
It is fully believed that, had he not galloped round
the flood in the way he did, the well would have been
sure to inundate the whole district and drown all.
Hence the lake was called the Lake of Owen's Flag,
" Ejyn Lech Owen."

' I have always felt interested in this story, as it
resembled that about the formation of Lough Neagh,
&c. ; and, happening to meet the Rev. D. Harwood
Hughes, B.A., the vicar of Gors Las (St. ILeian's), last
August (1892), I asked him to tell me the legend as he
had heard it in his parish. He said that he had been
told it, but in a form different from mine, where the
" Owen " was said to have been Owen Glyndwr. This
is the substance of the legend as he had heard it : —
Owen Glyndwr, when once passing through these parts,
arrived here of an evening. He came across a well,
and, having watered his horse, placed a stone over it in
order to find it again next morning. He then went to
lodge for the night at Dyltgoed Farm, close by. In the
morning, before proceeding on his journey, he took his
horse to the well to give him water, but fouijd to his
surprise that the well had become a lake.'

Mr. Fisher goes on to mention the later history of the
lake : how, some eighty years ago, its banks were the
resort on Sunday afternoons of the young people of
the neighbourhood, and how a Baptist preacher put an
end to their amusements and various kinds of games by
preaching at them. However, the lake-side appears to
be still a favourite spot for picnics and Sunday-school
gatherings. Mr. Fisher was quite right in appending
to his own version that of his friend; but, from the
point of view of folklore, I must confess that I can make


nothing of the latter : it differs from the older one as
much as chalk does from cheese. It would be naturally
gratifying to the pride of local topography to be able to
connect with the pool the name of Owen Glyndwr ; but
it is worthy of note that this highly respectable attempt to
rationalize the legend wholly fails, as it does not explain
why there is now a lake where there was once but a
well. In other words, the euhemerized story is itself
evidence corroborative of Mr. Fisher's older version,
which is furthermore kept in countenance by Howells'
account, p. 104, where we are told who the Owen in
question was, namely, Owen Lawgoch, a personage
dear, as we shall see later, to the Welsh legend of the
district. He and his men had their abode in a cave on
the northern side of Mynyd Mawr, and while there
Owen used, we are informed, to water his steed at a
fine spring covered with a large stone, which it required
the strength of a giant to lift. But one day he forgot to
replace it, and when he next sought the well he found
the lake. He returned to his cave and told his men
what had happened. Thereupon both he and they fell
into a sleep, which is to last till it is broken by the
sound of a trumpet and the clang of arms on Rhiw Goch :
then they are to sally forth to conquer.

Now the story as told by Howells and Fisher provokes
comparison, as the latter suggests, with the Irish legend
of the formation of Lough Ree and of Lough Neagh in
the story of the Death of Eochaid McMaireda ^ In both

' See the Book of the Dun Caw, fo. 39-4i'', and Joyce's Old Celtic
Romances, pp. 97-105 ; but the story may now be consulted in O'Grady's
Silva Gadelica, i. 233-7, translated in ii. 265-9. O" turning over the leaves
of this great collection of Irish lore, I chanced, i. 174, iL 196, on an allusion
to a well which, when uncovered, was about to drown the whole locality
but for a miracle performed by St. Patrick to arrest the flow of its waters.
A similar story of a well bursting and forming Lough Reagh, in County
Galway, will be found told in verse in the Book 0/ Leinster, fo. 202' : see
also fo. 170*, and the editor's notes, pp. 45 53.


of these legends also there is a horse, a kind of water-
horse, who forms the well which eventually overflows
and becomes Lough Ree, and so with the still larger
body of water known as Lough Neagh. In the latter
case the fairy well was placed in the charge of a
woman ; but she one day left the cover of the well open,
and the catastrophe took place — the water issued forth
and overflowed the country. One of Eochaid's daugh-
ters, named Liban, however, was not drowned, but only
changed into a salmon as already mentioned at p. 376
above. In my Arthurian Legend, p. 361, 1 have attempted
to show that the name Liban may have its Welsh equiva-
lent in that of Lion, occurring in the name oiK-yn EJion,
or ILion's Lake, the bursting of which is described in
the latest series of Triads, iii. 13, 97, as causing a sort
of deluge. I am not certain as to the nature of the
relationship between those names, but it seems evident
that the stories have a common substratum, though it is
to be noticed that no well, fairy or otherwise, figures
in the ILyn ILion legend, which makes the presence of
the monster called the afanc the cause of the waters
bursting forth. So Hu the Mighty, with his team of
famous oxen, is made to drag the afanc out of the lake.
There is, however, another Welsh legend concerning
a great overflow in which a well does figure : I allude
to that of Cantre'r Gwaelod, or the Bottom Hundred,
a fine spacious country supposed to be submerged in
Cardigan Bay. Modern euhemerism treats it as defended
by embankments and sluices, which, we are told, were
in the charge of the prince of the country, named Seith-
ennin, who, being one day in his cups, forgot to shut the
sluices, and thus brought about the inundation, which
was the end of his fertile realm. This, however, is not
the old legend : that speaks of a well, and lays the
blame on a woman — a pretty sure sign of antiquity, as




the reader may judge from other old stories which will
readily occur to him. The Welsh legend to which
I allude is embodied in a short poem in the Black Book
of Carmarthen'^ : it consists of eight triplets, to which is
added a triplet from the Englynion of the Graves. The
following is the original with a tentative translation :—

Seithenhin sawde attan.

ac edrychuirde varanres mor,

maes guitnev rytoes.

Boed emendiceidy tnorvin
aehellygaut guydi cvin.
/maun wenestir '' mor terruin.

Boed emendiceid y vachieith.
ae . golligaut guydi gueith.
finaun wenestir mor diffeith,

Diaspad vereridy ar vann caer.

hid ar duu y dodir.

gnaud guydi traha trangchir.

Seithennin, stand thou forth

And see the vanguard of the main :

Gwyffno's plain has it covered.

Accursed be the maiden
Who let it loose after supping,
Well cup-bearer of the mighty main.

Accursed be the damsel
Who let it loose after battle,
Well minister of the high sea.

Mererid's cry from a city's height,
Even to God is it directed :
After pride comes a long pause.

Diaspad mererid . y ar van kaer hetiv. Mererid's cry from a city's height to-
hid ar duuy dadoluch. Even to God her expiation : [day,

gnaud guydi traha attreguch. After pride comes reflection.

Diaspad mererid am gorchuit heno.

ac nimhaut gorlluit.

gnaud guydi traha tramguit.

Diaspad mererid y argwinev kadir
kedaul duv ae gorev.
gnaud guydi gomtot eissev.

Mererid's cry o'ercomes me to-night,
Nor can I readily prosper:
After pride comes a fall.

Mererid's cry over strong wines,
Bounteous God has wrought it :
After excess comes privation.

' See Evans' autotype edition of the Black Book 0/ Carmarthen, (os. 53'',
54", also 32'' : the punctuation is that of the MS. In the seventh triplet
kedaul is written kfadaul, which seems to mean kadaitl corrected into
kedaul; but the a is not deleted, so other readings are possible.

' In the lolo MSS., p. 8g, finaun wenestir is made into Ffynon-Wenestr
and said to be one of the ornamental epithets of the sea ; but I am convinced
that it should be rather treated as ffynnon fenestr with wtnestir or fenestr
mutated from mencstr, which meant a servant, attendant, cup-bearer: for one
or two instances see Pughe's Dictionary. Tlie word is probably, as suggested
by M. Loth in his Mots Latins, p. 186, the old French mentstre, ' cup-bearer,'
borrowed. Compare the mention of Nechtan's men having access to the
secret well in Sid Nechtain, p. 390 below, and note that they were his three
menestrts or cup-bearers.


Diaspad mererid . am kymhell heno Mererid's cry drives me to-night
y urlh uyistauell. From my chamber away :

gnaud guydi traha trangcpell. After insolence comes long death.

Bet seithenhin synhuir vann Weak-witted Seithennin's grave is it

rug kaer kenedir a glan. Between Kenedyr's Fort and the shore,

mor maurhidic a kinran. With majestic Mor's and Kynran's.

The names in these hnes present great difficulties :
first comes that of Mererid, which is no other word than
Margarita, ' a pearl,' borrowed ; but what does it here
mean ? Margarita, besides meaning a pearl, was used
in Welsh, e. g. under the form Marereda ', as the proper
name written in English Margaret. That is probably
how it is to be taken here, namely, as the name given
to the negligent guardian of the fairy well. It cannot
very well be, however, the name belonging to the ori-
ginal form of the legend ; and we have the somewhat
parallel case of Ffynnon Grassi, or Grace's Well ; but
what old Celtic name that of Mererid has replaced in
the story, I cannot say. In the next place, nobody
has been able to identify Caer Kenedyr, and I have
nothing to say as to Mor Maurhidic, except that a
person of that name is mentioned in another of the
Englynion of the Graves. It runs thus in the Black
Book, fol. 33" : —

Bet mor maurhidic diessic unben. The grave of Mor the Grand, . . . prince,
post kinhen Unteic. Pillar of the . . . conflict,

mab peredur penweiic. Son of Peredur of Penwedlg.

The last name in the final triplet of the poem which
I have attempted to translate is Kinran, which is other-
wise unknown as a Welsh name ; but I am inclined to
identify it with that of one of the three who escaped
the catastrophe in the Irish legend. The name there
is Curndn, which was borne by the idiot of the family,

' See the Cymmrodor, viii. 88 (No. xxix), where a Marereda is mentioned
as a daughter of Madog son of Meredyff brother to Rhys Gryg.


who, like many later idiots, was at the same time a
prophet. For he is represented as always prophesying
that the waters were going to burst forth, and as advising
his friends to prepare boats. So he may be set, after
a fashion, over against our Seithenhin synhuir vann,
' S. of the feeble mind.' But one might perhaps ask
why I do not point out an equivalent in Irish for the
Welsh Seithennin, as his name is now pronounced.
The fact is that no such equivalent occurs in the Irish
story in question, nor exactly, so far as I know, in any

That is what I wrote when penning these notes ; but
it has occurred to me since then, that there is an Irish
name, an important Irish name, which looks as if related
to Seithenhin, and that is Setanta Beg, ' the little Setan-
tian,' the first name of the Irish hero Cuchulainn. The
nt, I may point out, makes one suspect that Setanta is
a name of Brythonic origin in Irish ; and I have been
in the habit of associating it with that of the people of
the Setantii*, placed by Ptolemy on the coast of what
is now Lancashire. Whether any legend has ever been
current about a country submerged on the coast of Lan-
cashire I cannot say, but the soundings would make such
a legend quite comprehensible. I remember, however,
reading somewhere as to the Plain of Muirthemhne,
of which Cuchulainn, our Setanta Beg, had special
charge, that it was so called because it had once been
submarine and become since the converse, so to say, of
Seithennin's country. The latter is beneath Cardigan
Bay, while the other fringed the opposite side of the
sea, consisting as it did of the level portion of County
Louth. On the whole, I am not altogether indisposed
to believe that we have here traces of an ancient legend

' There is another reading which would make them into SegantU, and
render it irrelevant — to say the least of it — to mention them here.



of a wider scope than is represented by the Black Book
triplets, which I have essayed to translate. I think
that I am right in recognizing that legend in the Mabi-
nogi of Branwen, daughter of ILyr. There we read
that, when Bran and his men crossed from Wales to
Ireland, the intervening sea consisted merely of two
navigable rivers, called ILi and Archan. The story-
teller adds words to the effect, that it is only since then
the sea has multiplied its realms ^ between Ireland and
Ynys y Kedym, or the Isle of the Keiri, a name which
has already been discussed : see pp. 279-83.

These are not all the questions which such stories
suggest; for Seithennin is represented in later Welsh
literature as the son of one Seithyn, associated with
Dyfed ; and the name Seithyn leads off to the coast of
Brittany, For I learn from a paper by the late M. le Men,
in the Revue Archeohgique for 1872 (xxiii. 52), that the tie
de Sein is called in Breton Enez-Sun, in which Sun is a
dialectic shortening of Sizun, which is also met with as
Seidhun. That being so, one would seem to be right in
regarding Sizun as nearly related to our Seithyn. That
is not all — the tradition reminds one of the Welsh legend :
M. le Men refers to the Vie du P. Maunoir by Boschet
(Paris, 1697) p. 126, and adds that, in his own time,
the road ending on the' Pointe du Raz opposite the lie
de Sein passed ' pour 6tre I'ancien chemin qui conduisait
a la villa d'ls {Kaer-a-Is, la ville de la partie basse).' It
is my own experience, that nobody can go about much in
Brittany without hearing over and over again about the
submerged city of Is. There is no doubt that we have
in these names distant echoes of an inundation story,
once widely current in both Britains and perhaps also
in Ireland. With regard to Wales we have an indica-

' See the Mabinogion, p. 35 : the passage has been mistranslated in Lady
Charlotte Guest's Mabinogion, iii. 117.


tion to that effect in the fact, that Gwydno, to whom the
inundated region is treated as having belonged, is asso-
ciated not only with Cardigan Bay, but also with the
coast of North Wales, especially the part of it situated
between Bangor and ILandudno'. Adjoining it is
supposed to lie submerged a once fertile district called
Tyno Helig, a legend about which will come under
notice later. This brings the inundation story nearer to
the coast where Ptolemy in the second century located
the Harbour of the Setantii, about the mouth of the
river Ribble, and in their name we seem to have some
sort of a historical basis for that of the drunken Sei-
thennin ^. I cannot close these remarks better than by

' See my Arthurian Legend, pp. 263-4.

* I do not profess to see my way through the difficulties which the probable
etymological connexion between the names Setantii, Setanta, Seithyn, and
Seithennin implies. But parts of the following string of guesses may be
found to hold good : — Seithyn is probably more correct than Seiihin, as it
rhymes with crislin = Crislyn (in Cristynogaeth : see Silvan Evans' Gtiriadur,
s. v., and Skene's Four Ancient Books, ii. aio) ; and it might be assumed to
be from the same stem as Seieun ; but, supposing it to represent an earlier
Seithynt, it would equate phonologically with Setanta, better Setinte, of
which the genitive Selinti actually occurs, as at river name, in the Book of
the Dun Cow, fo. 125'': see my Hibberi Lectures, p. 455, and see also the
Revue Celtigue, xi. 457. It would mean some such an early form Set^tjp-s,
and Seithenhin, another derivative from the same stem, Setnttno-s. But the
retention of before / in Setinte proves it not to be unconnected with Seithyn,
but borrowed from some Brythonic dialect when the latter wsis pronounced
Seith^tio-s. If this be anywhere nearly right one has to assume that
the manuscripts of Ptolemy giving the genitive plural as IfTavriiaii or
XfyavTiaiv should have read XtKTavriav, unless one should rather conjecture
tiyTavTiaiv with cht represented by gt as in Ogams in Pembrokeshire :
witness Ogtene and Maqui Quegie. This conjecture as to the original
reading would suggest that the name was derived from the seventh numeral
sechtn, just as that of the Galloway people of the Novantee seems to be from
the ninth numeral. Ptolemy's next entry to the Harbour of the Setantii is
the estuary of the Belisama, supposed to be the Mersey; and next comes
the estuary of the ttrtla or 27ei'a, supposed to be the Dee. Now the
country of the Setantii, when they had a country, may have reached from
their harbour near the mouth of the Ribble to the Seteia or the Dee without
the name Seteia or Segeia having anything to do with their own. except
that it may have influenced the latter in the manuscripts of Ptolemy's text.
Then we possibly have a representative of Seteia or Segeia in the Saidi or

C C 2


appending what Professor Boyd Dawkins has recently
said with regard to the sea between Britain and Ire-
land : —

' It may be interesting to remark further that during
the time of the Iberian dominion in Wales, the geo-
graphy of the seaboard was different to what it is now.
A forest, containing the remains of their domestic oxen
that had run wild, and of the indigenous wild animals
such as the bear and the red deer, united Anglesey
with the mainland, and occupied the shallows of Car-
digan Bay, known in legend as "the lost lands of
Wales." It extended southwards from the present sea
margin across the estuary of the Severn, to Somerset,
Devon, and Cornwall. It passed northwards across the
Irish Sea off the coast of Cheshire and Lancashire, and
occupied Morecambe Bay with a dense growth of oak,
Scotch fir, alder, birch, and hazel. It ranged seawards
beyond the ten-fathom line, and is to be found on most

Seidi, sometimes appended to Seithyn's name. In that case" Seithyn Saidi,
in the late Triad iii. 37, would mean Seithyn of Seteia, or the Dee.
A Mab Saidi occurs in the Kulhwch story {Mabinogion, p. 106), also Cas,
son of Saidi (ib. no) ; and in' Rhonabwy's Dream Kadyrieith, son of Saidi
(ib. 160) ; but the latter vocable is Seidi in Triad ii. a6 (ib. 303). It is to be
borne in mind that Ptolemy does not represent the Setantii as a people in
his time : he only mentions a harbour called after the Setantii. So it looks
as if they then belonged to the past — that in fact they were, as I should put
it, a Goidelic people who had been conquered and partly expelled by
Brythonic tribes, to wit, by the Brigantes, and also by the Comavii in case
the Setantii had once extended southwards to the Dee. This naturally
leads one to think that some of them escaped to places on the coast,
such as Dyfed, and that some made for the opposite coast of Ireland, and
that, by the time when the Ciichulainn stories came to be edited as we have
them, the people in question were known to the redactors of those stories
only by the Brythonic form of their name, which underlies that of Setanta
Beg, or the Little Setantian. Those of them who found a home on the
coast of Cardigan Bay may have brought with them a version of the inunda-
tion story with Seithennin, son of Seithyn, as the principal figure in it. So
in due time he had to be attached to some royal family, and in the lolo
MSS., pp. 141-a, he is made to descend from a certain Flaws Hen, king of
Dyfed, while the saints named as his descendants seem to have belonged
chiefly to Gwyneff and Powys.


shores beneath the sand-banks and mud-banks, as for
example at Rhyl and Cardiff. In Cardigan Bay it
excited the wonder of Giraldus de Barri 1.'

To return to fairy wells, I have to confess that
I cannot decide what may be precisely the meaning of
the notion of a well with a woman set carefully to see
that the door or cover of the well is kept shut. It will
occur, however, to everybody to compare the well which
Undine wished to have kept shut, on account of its
affording a ready access from her subterranean country
to the residence of her refractory knight in his castle
above ground. And in the case of the Glasfryn Lake,
the walling and cover that were to keep the spring from
overflowing were, according to the story, not water-
tight, seeing that there were holes made in one of the
stones. This suggests the idea that the cover was to
prevent the passage of some such full-grown fairies as
those with which legend seems to have once peopled
all the pools and tarns of Wales. But, in the next
place, is the maiden in charge of the well to be regarded
as priestess of the well ? The idea of a priesthood in
connexion with wells in Wales is not wholly unknown.

I wish, however, before discussing these instances, to
call attention to one or two Irish ones which point in
another direction. Foremost may be mentioned the
source of the river Boyne, which is now called Trinity
Well, situated in the Barony of Carbury, in County
Kildare. The following is the Rennes Dindsenchas
concerning it, as translated by Dr. Stokes, in the Revue
Celtique, xv. 315-6 : — ' B6and, wife of Nechtan son of
Labraid, went to the secret well which was in the green
of Sid Nechtain. Whoever went to it would not come

' See the Professor's Address on the Place of a University in the History of
Wales, delivered at Bangor at the opening ceremony of the Session of 1899-
1900 (Bangor, 1900), p. 6. The reference to Giraldus is to his Itin. Kam-
bria, i. 13 (p. 100), and the Expugnatio Hibemica, i. 36 (p. 284).


from it without his two eyes bursting, unless it were
Nechtan himself and his three cup-bearers, whose names
were Flesc and Lam and Luam. Once upon a time
Boand went through pride to test the well's power, and
declared that it had no secret force which could shatter
her form, and thrice she walked withershins round the
well. (Whereupon) three waves from the well break
over her and deprive her of a thigh [? wounded her thigh]
and one of her hands and one of her eyes. Then she,
fleeing her shame, turns seaward, with the water behind
her as far as Boyne-mouth, (where she was drovraed).'
This is to explain why the river is called Bound,
' Boyne.' A version to the same effect in the Book of
Leinster, fol. 191', makes the general statement that no
one who gazed right into the well could avoid the
instant ruin of his two eyes or otherwise escape
with impunity. A similar story is related to show how
the Shannon, in Irish Stnann, Sinand, or Sinend, is
called after a woman of that name. It occurs in the
same Rennes manuscript, and the following is Stokes'
translation in the Revue Celtique, xv. 457 : — ' Sinend,
daughter of Lodan Lucharglan son of Ler out of Tir
Tairngire (Land of Promise, Fairyland), went to
Connla's Well, which is under sea, to behold it. That
is a well at which are the hazels and inspirations (?) of
wisdom, that is, the hazels of the science of poetry, and
in the same hour their fruit and their blossom and
their foliage break forth, and these fall on the well in
the same shower, which raises on the water a royal
surge of purple. Then the salmon chew the fruit, and
the juice of the nuts is apparent on their purple bellies.
And seven streams of wisdom spring forth and turn
there again. Now Sinend went to seek the inspiration,
for she wanted nothing save only wisdom. She went
with the stream till she reached Linn Mna Feile, " the


Pool of the Modest Woman," that is Bri Ele— and she
went ahead on her journey ; but the well left its place, and
she followed it' to the banks of the river Tarr-cdin, "Fair-
back." After this it overwhelmed her, so that her back
(tarr) went upwards, and when she had come to the
land on this side (of the Shannon) she tasted death.
Whence Sinann and Linn Mna Feile and Tarr-cain!

In these stories the reader will have noticed that the
foremost punishment on any intruder who looked into
the forbidden well was the instant ruin of his two eyes.
One naturally asks why the eyes are made the special
objects of the punishment, and I am inclined to think
the meaning to have originally been that the well or
spring was regarded as the eye of the divinity of the
water. Should this prove well founded it looks natural
that the eyes, which transgressed by gazing into the
eye of the divinity, should be the first objects of that
divinity's vengeance. This is suggested to me by the
fact that the regular Welsh word for the source of a
river is ttygad, Old Welsh licat, ' eye,' as for instance
in the case of Licai Amir mentioned by Nennius, 73 ;
oi Lygad Eychwr, 'the source of the Loughor river' in
the hills behind Carreg Cennen Castle ; and of the weird
lake in which the Rheidol '^ rises near the top of Plin-
limmon : it is called Lyn Lygady Rheidol, ' the Lake of
the Rheidol's Eye.' By the way, the Rheidol is not
wholly without its folklore, for I used to be told in my
childhood, that she and the Wye and the Severn sallied
forth simultaneously from Plinlimmon one fine morning

' Instead of ' she followed it ' one would have expected ' it followed her ' ;
but the style is very loose and rough.

' As a ' Cardy ' I have here two grievances, one against my Northwalian
fellow countrymen, that they insist on •wriiing Rheidiol out of sheer weakness
for the semivowel j[ ; and the other against the compilers of school books on
geography, who give the lake away to the Wye or the Severn. I am told
that this does not matter, as our geographers are notoriously accurate about
Natal and other distant lands ; so I ought to rest satisfied.


to run a race to the sea. The result was, one was told,
that the Rheidol won great honour by reaching the sea
three weeks before her bigger sisters. Somebody has
alluded to the legend in the following hnes : —

Tair afon gynt a rifwyd Three rivers of yore were seen

Aritwyfron Pumlumon Iwyd, On grey Plinlimmon's breast,

Hafren a Gwyn hyfryd ei gwed, Severn, and Wye of pleasant mien,

A'r Rheidol fawr ei hanrhyded. And Rheidol rich in great renovyn.

To return to the Irish legends, I may mention that
Eugene O'Curry has a good deal to say of the myste-
rious nuts and ' the salmon of knowledge,' the partaking
of which was synonymous with the acquisition of
knowledge and wisdom : see his Manners and Customs
of the Ancient Irish, ii. 142-4. He gives it as his opinion
that Connla's Well was situated somewhere in Lower
Ormond ; but the locality of this Helicon, with the
seven streams of wisdom circulating out of it and back
again into it, is more intelligible when regarded as a
matter of fairy geography. A portion of the note
appended to the foregoing legend by Stokes is in point
here : he traces the earliest mention of the nine hazels
of wisdom, growing at the heads of the chief rivers of
Ireland, to the Dialogue of the Two Sages in the Book
of Leinster, fol. jQG', whence he cites the poet Nede
mac Adnai saying whence he had come, as follows : —
a caillib .i. a ndi collaib na Segsa ... a caillib didiu assa
mbenaiter clessa na suad tanacsa, ' from hazels, to wit,
from the nine hazels of the Segais . . . from hazels out
of which are obtained the feats of the sages, I have
come.' The relevancy of this passage will be seen
when I add, that Segais was one of the names of the
mound in which the Boyne rises ; so it may be safely
inferred that B6and's transgression was of the same
nature as that of Sinand, to wit, that of intruding on
sacred ground in quest of wisdom and inspiration which


was not permitted their sex : certain sources of know-
ledge, certain quelkn, were reserved for men alone.

Before I have done with the Irish instances I must
append one in the form it was told me in the summer of
1894 : I was in Meath and went to see the remarkable
chambered cairns on the hill known as Sliabh na Call-
lighe, ' the Hag's Mountain,' near Oldcastle and Lough
Crew. I had as my guide a young shepherd whom
I picked up on the way. He knew all about the hag
after whom the hill was called except her name: she
was, he said, a giantess, and so she brought there, in
three apronfuls, the stones forming the three principal
cairns. As to the cairn on the hill point known as
Belrath, that is called the Chair Cairn from a big stone
placed there by the hag to serve as her seat when she
wished to have a quiet look on the country round. But
usually she was to be seen riding on a wonderful pony
she had : that creature was so nimble and strong that it
used to take the hag at a leap from one hill-top to another.
However, the end of it all was that the hag rode so hard
that the pony fell down, and that both horse and rider
were killed. The hag appears to have been Cailleach
Bheara, or Caillech Berre, ' the Old Woman of Beare,'
that is, Bearhaven, in County Cork '. Now the view

' Professor Meyer has given a number of extracts concerning her in hfs
notes to his edition of The Visiono/Mac CorigUnne (London, 189a), pp. 131-4,
208-10, and recently he has published The Song of the Old Woman of Beare
in the Otia Merseiana (London, 1899), pp. 119-28, from the Trinity
College codex, H. 3, i8, where we are told, among other things, that her
name was Uigdi, and that she belonged to Corcaguiny. The name Beara, or
B6rre, would seem to suggest identification with that of Bera, daughter of
Eibhear, king of Spain, and wife of Eoghan Taidhleach, in the late story of
Tht Courtship of Afomera, edited by O'Curry in his Battle of Magh Leana
(Dublin, 1855) ; but the other name Digdi would seem to stand in the way.
However none of the literature in point has yet been discovered in any
really old manuscript, and it may be that the place-name Berre, in Caillech
Birri, has usurped the place of the personal name Bera, whose antiquity in
some such a form as Bera or Mera is proved by its honorific form Mo-mera :
see O'Curry's volume, p. 166, and his Introduction, p. xx.


from the Hag's Mountain is very extensive, and I asked
the shepherd to point out some places in the distance.
Among other things we could see Lough Ramor, which
he called the Virginia Water, and more to the west
he identified Lough Sheelin, about which he had the
following legend to tell : — A long, long time ago there
was no lake there, but only a well with a flagstone kept
over it, and everybody would put the flag back after
taking water out of the well. But one day a woman
who fetched water from it forgot to replace the stone,
and the water burst forth in pursuit of the luckless
woman, who fled as hard as she could before the angry
flood. She continued until she had run about seven
miles — the estimated length of the lake at the present
day. Now at this point a man, who was busily mowing
hay in the field through which she was running, saw what
was happening and mowed the woman down with his
scythe, whereupon the water advanced no further. Such
was the shepherd's yarn, which partly agrees with the
Boyne and Shannon stories in that the woman was pur-
sued by the water, which only stopped where she died.
On the other hand, it resembles the ILyn ILech Owen
legend and that of Lough Neagh in placing to the
woman's charge only the neglect to cover the well. It
looks as if we had in these stories a confusion of two
different institutions, one being a well of wisdom which
no woman durst visit without fatal vengeance overtaking
her, and the other a fairy well which was attended
to by a woman who was to keep it covered, and who
may, perhaps, be regarded as priestess of the spring. If
we try to interpret the Cantre'r Gwaelod story from
these two points of view we have to note the following
matters :— Though it is not said that the moruin, or
damsel, had a lid or cover on the well, the word gollig-
aut or helligaut, ' did- let run,' implies some such an idea


as that of a lid or door ; for opening the sluices, in the
sense of the later version, seems to me out of the ques-
tion. In two of the Englynion she is cursed for the
action implied, and if she was the well minister or well
servant, as I t^ke Jinaun wenestir to mean, we might
perhaps regard her as the priestess of that spring. On
the other hand, the prevailing note in the other Englyn-
ion is the traha, ' presumption, arrogance, insolence,
pride,' which forms the burden of four out of five of
them. This would seem to point to an attitude on the
part of the damsel resembling that of B6and or Sinand
when prying into the secrets of wells which were tabu
to them. The seventh Englyn alludes to wines, and
its burden is gormoS, ' too much, excess, extravagance,'
whereby the poet seems to lend countenance to some
such a later story as that of Seithennin's intemperance.
Lastly, the question of priest or priestess of a sacred
well has been alluded to once or twice, and it may be
perhaps illustrated on Welsh ground by the history of
Ffynnon Eilian, or St. Elian's Well, which has been
mentioned in another context, p. 357 above. Of that
well we read as follows, s. v. Landritto, in the third
edition of Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales : —
' Fynnon Elian, . . . even in the present age, is fre-
quently visited by the superstitious, for the purpose of
invoking curses upon the heads of those who have
grievously offended them, and also of supplicating
prosperity to themselves; but the numbers are evi-
dently decreasing. The ceremony is performed by
the applicant standing upon a certain spot near the
well, whilst the owmer of it reads a few passages
of the sacred Scriptures, and then, taking a small
quantity of water, gives it to the former to drink, and
throws the residue over his head, which is repeated
three times, the party continuing to mutter imprecations


in whatever terms his vengeance may dictate.' Rice
Rees, in his Essay on the Welsh Saints (London, 1836),
p. 267, speaks of St. Elian as follows : ' Miraculous
cures were lately supposed to be performed at his
shrine at ILanelian, Anglesey; and near to the church
of ILanelian, Denbighshire, is a well called Ffynnon
Elian, which is thought by the peasantry of the neigh-
bourhood to be endued with miraculous powers even
at present.'

Foulkes, s. V. Elian, in his Enwogion Cymru, published
in Liverpool in 1870, expresses the opinion that the visits
of the superstitious to the well had ceased for some
time. The last person supposed to have had charge
of the well was a certain John Evans, but some of the
most amusing stories of the shrewdness of the care-
taker refer to a woman who had charge of the well
before Evans' time. A series of articles on Ffynnon
Eilian appeared in 1861 in a Welsh periodical called
Y NofelyS, printed by Mr. Aubrey at ILanerch y Med,
in Anglesey. The articles in question were afterwards
published, I am told, as a shilling book, which I have
not seen, and they dealt with the superstition, with the
history of John Evans, and with his confessions and
conversion. I have searched in vain for any account
in Welsh of the ritual followed at the well. When
Mrs. Silvan Evans visited the place, the person in
charge of the well was a woman, and Peter Roberts, in
his Cambrian Popular Antiquities, pubhshed in London
in 1815, alludes to her or a predecessor of hers in the
following terms, p. 246 : — ' Near the Well resided some
worthless and infamous wretch, who officiated as
priestess.' He furthermore gives one to understand
that she kept a book in which she registered the name
of each evil wisher for a trifling sum of money. When
this had been done, a pin was dropped into the well in


the name of the victim. This proceeding looks adequate
from the magical point of view, though less complicate
than the ritual indicated by Lewis. This latter writer calls
the person who took charge of the well the owner ; and
1 have always understood that, whether owner or not,
he or she used to receive gifts, not only for placing in
the well the names of men who were to be cursed, but
also from those men for taking their names out again, so
as to reheve them from the malediction. In fact, the
trade in curses seems to have been a very thriving one :
its influence was powerful and widespread.

Here there is, I think, very little doubt that the owner
or guardian of the well was, so to say, the representative
of an ancient priesthood of the well. That priesthood
dated its origin probably many centuries before a
Christian church was built near the well, and coming
down to later times we have unfortunately no sufficient
data to show how the right to such priesthood was
acquired, whether by inheritance or otherwise ; but we
know that a woman might have charge of St. Elian's

Let me cite another instance, which I unexpectedly
discovered some years ago in the course of a ramble in
quest of early inscriptions. Among other places which
I visited was ILandeilo ILwydarth, near Maen Clochog,
in the northern part of Pembrokeshire. This is one of
the many churches- bearing the name of St. Teilo in
South Wales : the building is in ruins, but the church-
yard is still used, and contains two of the most ancient
post-Roman inscriptions in the Principality. If you ask
now for ' ILandeilo ' in this district, you will be under-
stood to be inquiring after the farm house of that name,
close to the old church ; and I learnt from the landlady
that her family had been there for many generations,
though they have not very long been the proprietors of


the land. She also told me of St. Teilo's Well, a little
above the house : she added that it was considered to
have the property of curing the whooping-cough. I
asked if there was any rite or ceremony necessary to be
performed in order to derive benefit from the water.
Certainly, I was told : the water must be lifted out of
the well and given to the patient to drink by some
member of the family. To be more accurate, I ought
to say that this must be done by somebody born in the
house. Her eldest son, however, had told me pre-
viously, when I was busy with the inscriptions, that
the water must be given to the patient by the heir, not
by anybody else. Then came my question how the
water was lifted, or out of what the patient had to drink,
to which I was answered that it was out of the skull.
'What skull?' said I. 'St. Teilo's skull,' was the
answer. ' Where do you get the saint's skull ? ' I asked.
' Here it is,' was the answer, and I was given it to
handle and examine. I know next to nothing about
skulls ; but it struck me that it was the upper portion of
a thick, strong skull, and it called to my mind the story
of the three churches which contended for the saint's
corpse. That story will be found in the Book of ILan
Ddv, pp. 1 16-7, and according to it the contest became
so keen that it had to be settled by prayer and fasting.
So, in the morning, lo and behold! there were three
corpses of St. Teilo — not simply one — and so like were
they in features and stature that nobody could tell
which were the corpses made to order and which the
old one. I should have guessed that the skull which
I saw belonged to the former description, as not having
been much thinned by the owner's use of it ; but this
I am forbidden to do by the fact that, according to the
legend, this particular ILandeilo was not one of the
three contending churches which bore away in triumph


a dead Teilo each. The reader, perhaps, would hke to
take another view, namely, that the story has been edited
in such a way as to reduce a larger number of Teilos
to three, in order to gratify the Welsh weakness for

Since my visit to the neighbourhood I have been
favoured with an account of the well as it is now current
there. My informant is Mr. Benjamin Gibby of
ILangolman Mill, who writes mentioning, among other
things, that the people around call the well Ffynnonyr
Ychen, or the Oxen's Well, and that the family owning
and occupying the farm house of ILandeilo have been
there for centuries. Their name, which is Melchior
(pronounced Melshor), is by no means a common one
in the Principality, o far as I know; but, whatever
may be its history in Wales, the bearers of it are excel-
lent Kymry. Mr. Gibby informs me that the current
story solves the difficulty as to the saint's skull as fol-
lows :— The saint had a favourite maid servant from the
Pembrokeshire ILandeilo : she was a beautiful woman,
and had the privilege of attending on the saint when he
was on his death-bed. As his end was approaching
he gave his maid a strict and solemn command that
in a year's time from the day of his burial at
ILandeilo Fawr, in Carmarthenshire, she was to take
his skull to the other ILandeilo, and to leave it there to
be a blessing to coming generations of men, who, when
ailing, would have their health restored by drinking
water out of it. So the belief prevailed that to drink
out of the skull some of the water of Teilo's Well ensured
health, especially against the whooping-cough. The
faith of some of those who used to visit the well was
so great in its efficacy, that they were wont to leave it,
he says, with their constitutions wonderfully improved ;
and he mentions a story related to him by an old neigh-


hour, Stifyn Ifan, who has been dead for some years,
to the effect that a carriage, drawn by four horses, came
once, more than half a century ago, to Landeilo. It
was full of invalids coming from Pen ClawJ, in Gower,
Glamorganshire, to try the water of the well. They
returned, however, no better than they came ; for though
they had drunk of the well, they had neglected to do so
out of the skull. This was afterwards pointed out to
them by somebody, and they resolved to make the long
journey to the well again. This time they did the
right thing, we are told, and departed in excellent

Such are the contents of Mr. Gibbys Welsh letter ;
and I would now only point out that we have here an
instance of a well which was probably sacred before the
time of St. Teilo : in fact, one would possibly be right
in supposing that the sanctity of the well and its imme-
diate surroundings was one of the causes why the site
was chosen by a Christian missionary. But consider
for a moment what has happened : the well paganism
has annexed the saint, and established a belief ascribing
to him the skull used in the. well ritual. The landlady
and her family, it is true, neither believe in the efficacy
of the well, nor take gifts from those who visit the well ;
but they continue, out of kindness, as they put it, to
hand the skull full of water to any one who perseveres
in believing in it. In other words, the faith in the well
continues in a measure intact, while the walls of the
church have long fallen into utter decay. Such is the
great persistence of some primitive beliefs ; and in this
particular instance we have a succession which seems to
point unmistakably to an ancient priesthood of a sacred