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Walsh fairy for good night

In Love on May 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

The Fairy Wife – The Welsh Fairy Book – W. Jenkyn Thomas

The Fairy Wife VERY many years ago there lived in the farmhouse of Ystrad, in Nant y Bettws, the Vale of the Beadhouse, a youth who was joyous and active, brave and determined of heart. On moonlight nights he used to amuse himself with watching the Fairy Family dancing, and with listening to their music. One night they came very near the house, to a field near the lake, which was afterwards called Llyn y Dywarchen, the Lake of the Sod, there to beguile the night in merrymaking. The young fellow, as was his wont, went out to watch them. Immediately his eye fell on one of the fairy damsels, whose beauty was beyond anything he had ever seen in a human being. Her complexion was like blood upon snow: her voice was like the voice of a nightingale and as gentle as the breeze of a summer evening in a flower garden: her bearing was graceful and noble, and she tripped on the greensward as lightly as the rays of the sun had danced a few hours before on the ripples of the lake hard by. He fell in love with her over head and ears, and under the impulse of that sudden passion, when the merriment was at its height, he rushed into the middle of the fair crowd, snatched the lovely maiden in his arms, and ran off instantly with her into the house. As soon as the other fairies saw the violence that had been done by a mortal, they broke up the dance and ran off after her towards the house. But they were too late: the door was locked and bolted, and the stolen maiden was safely lodged in a chamber. The iron bolt and lock made it impossible for them to reclaim her, for the Fair Family abhor iron. When the young man had got her under his roof, he applied every means in his power to win her affection and asked her to marry him. She refused him, though he begged her time after time to be his wife. When, however, she saw that he would not allow her to return to her own people, she said to him, “I will not be your wife, but if you can find out my name I will be your servant.” He, thinking that the task was by no means impossible, reluctantly agreed to the condition. But the task was harder than he had imagined. He tried every name that he had ever heard of, even such curious Bible names as Zeruiah, La-ruhamel and Hazelelponi, but found himself no nearer his point. Nevertheless, he was not willing to give up, and at last fortune came to his rescue. One night, as he was returning from Carnarvon market, he espied a number of the Fair Family in a turbary not far from his path. They seemed as if they were seriously deliberating together in council, and he at once thought to himself, “I am sure they are planning how to recover their stolen sister. Perhaps if I can get within hearing distance of them without being observed I shall be able to find out my darling’s name.” On looking carefully around, he saw that a deep ditch ran through the turbary, and passed near the spot where the Fair Family sat in council. So he made his way round to the ditch and crept, on all fours, along it as quietly as a snail and almost as slowly, until he was within hearing of the group. After listening a while he found that he had been correct in his surmise: they were discussing the fate of the maiden whom he had carried away from them, and he heard one of them wailing aloud, “Oh, Penelope, Penelope, my sister, why didst thou run away with a mortal?” “Penelope,” said the young man to himself; “that must be the name of my beloved: that is enough.” At once he began to creep back as quietly as he had crept there, and he managed to reach home without being seen by the fairies. When he got into the house he called out to the damsel, “Penelope, my heart of gold, come hither.” She came forward and asked in astonishment, “Oh, mortal, who has betrayed my name to thee?” Then folding her tiny hands, she exclaimed, “Alas, my fate, my fate! ” But she resigned herself to her lot and took to her work as servant in earnest. Everything in the house and on the farm prospered under her charge. There was no better or cleanlier housewife in all the country around, or one that was more provident and thrifty than she was. She milked the cows three times a day, and they gave the usual quantity of milk each time. The butter she made was so good that it fetched a penny a pound more than any other butter sold at Carnarvon market. The young man, however, was by no means willing that she should be a servant to him, and he persistently begged her to marry him. Many a blow will break the stone, says the Welsh proverb, and she at last consented to be married. But, said she, “There is one condition you must observe: you must never strike me with iron: if you do, I must be free to leave you and return to my family.” The young man would have agreed to any conditions, and this one he considered very easy to observe. So they were wedded, and lived happily together for years, and were blessed with two children, a boy and a girl, the images of their mother and the idols of their father. So wise and active was the fairy wife that he became one of the richest men of that country, and besides the farm of Ystrad he farmed all the lands on the north of Nant y Bettws to the top of Snowdon and all Cwm Brwynog, in Llanberis, or about five thousand acres. One day the husband wanted to go to a fair at Carnarvon, and went out to catch a filly that was grazing in a field near the house, in order to sell her at the fair. But for the life of him he could not secure her, and he called to his wife to come to assist him. She came with-out delay, and they managed to drive the frisky young creature to a secure corner, as they thought: but, as he approached her to put on the bridle, the frolicsome animal rushed past him. In his anger he threw the bridle after her; but who should be running after her but his wife! The iron bit struck her on the cheek, and she vanished out of sight in a moment. But, though the broken compact had compelled her disappearance, the fairy wife could not forget her love for her children and husband. One cold night, a long time after this event, when the Dead Men’s Feet Wind was blowing, the husband was awakened from his sleep by a gentle tapping on the glass of his bedroom window. After he had given a response he recognised the gentle and tender voice of his wife saying to him: “Should the cold oppress my son, See his father’s coat’s put on If my daughter feels the cold, Wrap her in my skirt’s thick fold.” She even contrived a way to see and speak to her loved ones regularly. The law of her country would not allow her to walk the earth after her return to Fairyland, so she made a large sod to float on the surface of the lake: on this she would spend hours and hours, freely conversing in tenderness with her husband and children on the shore. By means of this contrivance they managed to live together, until husband and children breathed their last. The floating island she made may still be seen, and it is from this that the lake

The red dragon_ the amblem of Wales

In Love on May 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Why the Red Dragon is the Emblem of Wales – The Welsh Fairy Book – W. Jenkyn Thomas

The Welsh Fairy Book 1907 by W. Jenkyn Thomas Why the Red Dragon is the Emblem of Wales AFTER the Treachery of the Long Knives, King Vortigern called together his twelve wise men and asked them what he should do. They said to him: “Retire to the remote boundaries of your kingdom, and there build and fortify a city to defend yourself. The Saxon people you have received are treacherous, and they are seeking to subdue you by guile. Even during your life they will, if they can, seize upon all the countries which are subject to your power. How much more will they attempt it after your death?” The King was pleased with this advice, and departing with his wise men travelled through many parts of his territories in search of a convenient place for building a citadel. Far and wide they travelled, but nowhere could they find a suitable place until they came to the mountains of Eryri, in Gwynedd. On the summit of one of these, which was then called Dinas Ffaraon, they discovered a fine place to build a fortress. The wise men said to the King: “Build here a city, for in this place you will be secure against the barbarians.” Then the King sent for artificers, carpenters and stonemasons, and collected all the materials for building; in the night, however, the whole of these disappeared, and by morning nothing remained of all that had been provided. Materials were procured from all parts a second time, but a second time they disappeared in the night. A third time everything was brought together for building, but by morning again not a trace of them remained. Vortigern called his wise men together and asked them the cause of this marvel. They replied: “You must find a child born without a father, put him to death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground on which the citadel is to be built, or you will never accomplish your purpose.” This did not appear such strange advice to King Vortigern as it does to us. In olden times there were very cruel practices in connection with building. Sometimes a human victim was sacrificed in order that his blood might be used as cement; at other times a living person was walled in a new building — often an innocent little child. The King thought the advice of his wise men was good and sent messengers throughout Britain in search of a child born without a father. After having inquired in vain in all the provinces, they came to a field in Bassaleg, where a party of boys were playing at ball. Two of them were quarrelling, and one of them said to the other, “O boy without a father, no good will ever happen to you.” The messengers concluded that this was the boy they were searching for; they had him led away and conducted him before Vortigern the King. The next day the King, his wise men, his soldiers and retinue, his artificers, carpenters and stonemasons, assembled for the ceremony of putting the boy to death. Then the boy said to the King, “Why have your servants brought me hither ?” “That you may be put to death,” replied the King, “and that the ground on which my citadel is to stand may be sprinkled with your blood, without which I shall be unable to build it.” “Who,” said the boy, “instructed you to do this?” “My wise men,” replied the King. “Order them hither,” returned the boy. This being done, he thus questioned the wise men : “By what means was it revealed to you that this citadel could not be built unless the spot were sprinkled with my blood? Speak without disguise, and declare who discovered me to you.” Then turning to the King, “I will soon,” said he, “unfold to you everything; but I desire to question your wise men and wish them to disclose to you what is hidden underneath this pavement.” They could not do so and acknowledged their ignorance. Thereupon the boy said, “There is a pool; come and dig.” They did so, and found a pool even as the boy had said. “Now,” he continued, turning to the wise men again, “tell me what is in the pool.” But they were ashamed and made no reply. “I,” said the boy, “can discover it to you if the wise men cannot. There are two vases in the pool.” They examined and found that it was so. Continuing his questions, “What is in the vases?” he asked. They were again silent. “There is a tent in them,” said the boy; “separate them and you shall find it so.” This being done by the King’s command, there was found in them a folded tent. The boy, going on with his questions, asked the wise men what was in it. But they knew not what to reply. “There are,” said he, “two serpents, one white and one red; unfold the tent.” They obeyed, and two sleeping serpents were discovered. “Consider attentively,” said the boy, “what the serpents do.” They began to struggle with each other, and the white one, raising himself up, threw down the other into the middle of the tent and sometimes drove him to the edge of it, and this was repeated thrice. At length the red one, apparently the weaker of the two, recovering his strength, expelled the white one from the tent, and the latter, being pursued through the pool by the red one, disappeared. Then the boy asked the wise men what was signified by this wonderful omen, but they had again to confess their ignorance. “I will now,” said he to the King, “unfold to you the meaning of this mystery. The pool is the emblem of this world, and the tent that of your kingdom; the two serpents are two dragons; the red serpent is your dragon, but the white serpent is the dragon of the Saxons, who occupy several provinces and districts of Britain, even almost from sea to sea. At length, however, our people shall rise and drive the Saxon race beyond the sea whence they have come; but do you depart from this place where you are not permitted to erect a citadel, you must seek another spot for laying your foundations.” Vortigern, perceiving the ignorance and deceit of the magicians, ordered them to be put to death, and their graves were dug in a neighbouring field. The boy’s life was spared; he became known to fame afterwards as the great magician Myrddin Emrys (or Merlin, as he is called in English), and the mountain on which he proved his mighty power was called in after time Dinas Emrys instead of Dinas Ffaraon. He remained in the Dinas for a long time, until he was joined by Aurelius Ambrosius, who persuaded him to go away with him. When they were about to set out, Myrddin placed all his treasure in a golden cauldron and hid it in a cave. On the mouth of the cave he rolled a huge stone, which he covered up with earth and green turf, so that it was impossible for anyone to find it. This wealth he intended to be the property of some special person in a future generation. This heir is to be a youth with yellow hair and blue eyes, and when he comes to the Dinas a bell will ring to invite him into the cave, which will open out of its own accord as soon as his foot touches it.

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