Short Story Press Presents Romance And Goblins

The Goblin's Gift
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Only bid your good wife leave the candle burning when she goes to bed, and say no more about it. Of course the farmer did as he was bid, and from that day he prospered. Every night Catti Jones, his wife, [12] set the candle out, swept the hearth, and went to bed; and every night the fairies would come and do her [ Pg 16] baking and brewing, her washing and mending, sometimes even furnishing their own tools and materials.

The farmer was now always clean of linen and whole of garb; he had good bread and good beer; he felt like a new man, and worked like one.

Michael Forester - The Goblin Child

Everything prospered with him now as nothing had before. His crops were good, his barns [ Pg 17] were tidy, his cattle were sleek, his pigs the fattest in the parish. So things went on for three years. One night Catti Jones took it into her head that she must have a peep at the fair family who did her work for her; and curiosity conquering prudence, she arose while Rowli Pugh lay snoring, and peeped through a crack in the door.

There they were, a jolly company of ellyllon, working away like mad, and laughing and dancing as madly as they worked. Catti was so amused that in spite of herself she fell to laughing too; and at sound of her voice the ellyllon scattered like mist before the wind, leaving the room empty. They never came back any more; but the farmer was now prosperous, and his bad luck never returned to plague him. The resemblance of this tale to many he has encountered will at once be noted by the student of comparative folk-lore.

He will also observe that it trenches on the domain of another class in my own enumeration, viz. This is the stone over which one is constantly stumbling in this field of scientific research. He encounters the obstacle which lies in the path of all who walk this way. His roots sometimes get inextricably gnarled and intertwisted with each other. But some effort of this sort is imperative, and we must do the best we can with our materials.

The Welsh word dan means fire; dan also means a lure; the compound word suggests a luring elf-fire. John and Father [13] is a double ignis fatuus fairy, carrying at its finger-ends five lights, which spin round like a wheel. The negroes of the southern seaboard states of America invest this goblin with an exaggeration of the horrible peculiarly their own.

They call it Jack-muh-lantern, and describe it as a hideous creature five feet in height, with goggle-eyes and huge mouth, its body covered with long hair, and which goes leaping and bounding through the air like a gigantic grasshopper. This frightful apparition is stronger than any man, and swifter than any horse, and compels its victims to follow it into the swamp, where it leaves them to die.

I followed it into the valley. We crossed plashes of water where the tops of bulrushes peeped above, and where the lizards lay silently on the surface, looking at us with an unmoved stare. The frogs sat croaking and swelling their sides, but ceased as they raised a melancholy eye at the Ellylldan. The wild fowl, sleeping with their heads under their wings, made a low cackle as we went by. A bittern awoke and rose with a scream into the air. I felt the trail of the eels and leeches peering about, as I waded through the pools.

On a slimy stone a toad sat sucking poison from the night air. The Ellylldan glowed bravely in the slumbering vapours. It rose airily over the bushes that drooped in the ooze. When I lingered or stopped, it waited for me, but dwindled gradually away to a speck barely perceptible. But as soon as I moved on again, it would shoot up suddenly and glide before. A bat came flying round and round us, flapping its wings heavily. Screech-owls stared silently at us with their broad eyes. Snails and worms crawled about.

Suddenly it shot away from me, and in the distance joined a ring of its fellows, who went dancing slowly round and round in a goblin dance, which sent me off to sleep. Stanley, M. The name Puck was originally applied to the whole race of English fairies, and there still be few of the realm who enjoy a wider popularity than Puck, in spite of his mischievous attributes. Part of this popularity is due to the poets, especially to Shakspeare. There is a Welsh tradition to the effect that Shakspeare received his knowledge of the Cambrian fairies from his friend Richard Price, son of Sir John Price, of the priory of Brecon.

In his own proper character, however, Pwca has a sufficiently grotesque elfish aspect. It is stated that a Welsh peasant who was asked to give an idea of the appearance of Pwca, drew the above figure with a bit of coal. One night the girl, moved by the spirit of mischief, drank the milk and ate most of the bread, leaving for Master Pwca only water and crusts. Next morning she found that the fastidious fairy had left the food untouched. Not long after, as the girl was passing the lonely spot, where she had hitherto left Pwca his food, she was seized under the arm pits by fleshly hands which, however, she could not see , and subjected to a castigation of a most mortifying character.

Simultaneously there fell upon her ear in good set Welsh a warning not to repeat her offence on peril of still worse treatment. I visited the scene of the story, a farm near Abergwyddon now called Abercarne , and heard a great deal more of the exploits of that particular Pwca, to which I will refer again. Fletcher, in , and published in her Autobiography, it was thought Shakspeare went in person to see this magic valley. The most familiar form of the Pwca story is one which I have encountered in several localities, varying so little in its details that each account would be interchangeable with another by the alteration of [ Pg 23] local names.

This form presents a peasant who is returning home from his work, or from a fair, when he sees a light travelling before him. He follows it for several miles, and suddenly finds himself on the brink of a frightful precipice. From far down below there rises to his ears the sound of a foaming torrent. At the same moment the little goblin with the lantern springs across the chasm, alighting on the opposite side; raises the light again [ Pg 24] high over its head, utters a loud and malicious laugh, blows out its candle and disappears up the opposite hill, leaving the awestruck peasant to get home as best he can.

Under the general title of Coblynau I class the fairies which haunt the mines, quarries and underground regions of Wales, corresponding to the cabalistic Gnomes. The word coblyn has the double meaning of knocker or thumper and sprite or fiend; and may it not be the original of goblin? It is applied by Welsh miners to pigmy fairies which dwell in the mines, and point out, by a peculiar knocking or rapping, rich veins of ore. The faith is extended, in some parts, so as to cover the indication of subterranean treasures generally, in caves and secret places of the mountains.

The coblynau are described as being about half a yard in height and very ugly to look upon, but extremely good-natured, and warm friends of the miner. They work busily, loading ore in buckets, flitting about the shafts, turning tiny windlasses, and pounding away like madmen, but really accomplishing nothing whatever.

They have been known to throw stones at the miners, when enraged at being lightly spoken of; but the stones are harmless. Nevertheless, all miners of a proper spirit refrain from provoking them, because their presence brings good luck. Miners are possibly no more superstitious than other men of equal intelligence; I have heard some [ Pg 25] of their number repel indignantly the idea that they are superstitious at all; but this would simply be to raise them above the level of our common humanity. There is testimony enough, besides, to support my own conclusions, which accredit a liberal share of credulity to the mining class.

Some of them, we are gravely assured, consider it a bad omen to meet a woman first thing in the morning; and not having succeeded in deterring her from her work by other means, they waited upon the manager and declared that they should remain at home unless the woman was dismissed. In June, , the South Wales Daily News recorded a superstition of the quarrymen at Penrhyn, where some thousands of men refused to work on Ascension Day. A few years ago the agents persuaded the men to break through the superstition, and there were accidents each year—a not unlikely occurrence, seeing the extent of works carried on, and the dangerous nature of the occupation of the men.

This year, however, the men, one and all, refused to work. Of these last I have encountered many. Yet I should be [ Pg 26] sorry if any reader were to conclude from all this that Welsh miners are not in the main intelligent, church-going, newspaper-reading men. They are so, I think, even beyond the common.

Absolute freedom from superstition can come only with a degree of scientific culture not yet reached by mortal man. It can hardly be cause for wonder that the miner should be superstitious. It is not surprising that imagination and the Welsh imagination is peculiarly vivid should conjure up the faces and forms of gnomes and coblynau, of phantoms and fairy men. When they hear the mysterious thumping which they know is not produced by any human being, and when in examining the place where the noise was heard they find there are really valuable indications of ore, the sturdiest incredulity must sometimes be shaken.

Science points out that the noise may be produced by the action of water upon the loose stones in fissures and pot-holes of the mountain limestone, and does actually suggest the presence of metals. In the days before a Priestley had caught and bottled that demon which exists in the shape of carbonic acid gas, when the miner was smitten dead by an invisible foe in the deep bowels of the earth it was natural his awestruck companions should ascribe the mysterious blow to a supernatural enemy.

When the workman was assailed suddenly [ Pg 27] by what we now call fire-damp, which hurled him and his companions right and left upon the dark rocks, scorching, burning, and killing, those who survived were not likely to question the existence of the mine fiend. Hence arose the superstition—now probably quite extinct—of basilisks in the mines, which destroyed with their terrible gaze.

When the explanation came, that the thing which killed the miner was what he breathed, not what he saw; and when chemistry took the fire-damp from the domain of faerie, the basilisk and the fire fiend had not a leg to stand on. The explanation of the Knockers is more recent, and less palpable and convincing. The Coblynau are always given the form of dwarfs, in the popular fancy; wherever seen or heard, they are believed to have escaped from the mines or the secret regions of the mountains.

Their homes are hidden from mortal vision. When encountered, either in the mines or on the mountains, they have strayed from their special abodes, which are as spectral as themselves. There is at least one account extant of their secret territory having been revealed to mortal eyes. I find it in a quaint volume of which I shall have more to say , printed at Newport, Monmouthshire, in That the Coblynau sometimes wandered far from home, the same chronicler testifies; but on these occasions they were taking a holiday. Near the stile beyond Lanelwyd House they saw a company of fifteen or sixteen coblynau engaged in dancing madly.

They were in the middle of the field, about seventy yards from the spectators, and they danced something after the manner of Morris-dancers, but with a wildness and swiftness in their motions. They were clothed in red like British soldiers, and wore red handkerchiefs spotted with yellow wound round their heads. And a strange circumstance about them was that although they were almost as big as ordinary men, yet they had unmistakably the appearance of dwarfs, and one could call them nothing but dwarfs.

Presently one of them left the company and ran towards the group near the stile, who were direfully scared thereby, and scrambled in great fright to go over the stile. Barbara Jones got over first, then her sister, and as Egbert Williams was helping his sister over they saw the coblyn close upon them, and barely got over when his hairy hand was laid on the stile. He stood leaning on it, gazing after them as they ran, with a [ Pg 29] grim copper-coloured countenance and a fierce look. The young people ran to Lanelwyd House and called the elders out, but though they hurried quickly to the field the dwarfs had already disappeared.

Edmund Jones of the Tranch. Newport, The counterparts of the Coblynau are found in most mining countries. In Germany, the Wichtlein little Wights are little old long-bearded men, about three-quarters of an ell high, which haunt the mines of the southern land. The Bohemians call the Wichtlein by the name of Haus-schmiedlein, little House-smiths, from their sometimes making a noise as if labouring hard at the anvil. They are not so popular as in Wales, however, as they predict misfortune or death. They announce the doom of a miner by knocking three times distinctly, and when any lesser evil is about to befall him they are heard digging, pounding, and imitating other kinds of work.

In Germany also the kobolds are rather troublesome than otherwise, to the miners, taking pleasure in frustrating their objects, and rendering their toil unfruitful. Sometimes they are downright malignant, especially if neglected or insulted, but sometimes also they are indulgent to individuals whom they take under their protection. The intimate connection between mine fairies and the whole race of dwarfs is constantly met throughout the fairy mythology; and the connection of [ Pg 30] the dwarfs with the mountains is equally universal.

The Bwbach, or Boobach, is the good-natured goblin which does good turns for the tidy Welsh maid who wins its favour by a certain course of behaviour recommended by long tradition. The maid having swept the kitchen, makes a good fire the last thing at night, and having put the churn, filled with cream, on the whitened hearth, with a basin of fresh cream for the Bwbach on the hob, goes to bed to await the event.

In the morning she finds if she is in luck that the Bwbach has emptied the basin of cream, and plied the churn-dasher so well that the maid has but to give a thump or two to bring the butter in a great lump. Like the Ellyll which it so much resembles, the Bwbach does not approve of dissenters and their ways, and especially strong is its aversion to total abstainers.

There was a Bwbach belonging to a certain estate in Cardiganshire, which took great umbrage at a Baptist preacher who was a guest in the house, [ Pg 31] and who was much fonder of prayers than of good ale. Now the Bwbach had a weakness in favour of people who sat around the hearth with their mugs of cwrw da and their pipes, and it took to pestering the preacher. Another time it interrupted the devotions by jangling the fire-irons on the hearth; and it was continually making the dogs fall a-howling during prayers, or frightening the farm-boy by grinning at him through the window, or throwing the maid into fits.

At last it had the audacity to attack the preacher as he was crossing a field. A shadow crept upon me from behind, and when I turned round—it was myself! I looked in its face a moment, and then fell insensible to the ground. This encounter proved too much for the good man, who considered it a warning to him to leave those parts.

He accordingly mounted his horse next day and rode away. And the horse went like lightning, with eyes like balls of fire, and the preacher looking back over his shoulder at the Bwbach, that grinned from ear to ear. The same confusion in outlines which exists regarding our own Bogie and Hobgoblin gives the Bwbach a double character, as a household fairy and as a terrifying phantom. In both aspects it is ludicrous, but in the latter it has dangerous practices.

To get into its clutches under certain circumstances is no trifling matter, for it has the power of whisking people off through the air. Its services are brought into requisition for this purpose by troubled ghosts who cannot sleep on account of hidden treasure they want removed; and if they can succeed in getting a mortal to help them in removing the treasure, they employ the Bwbach to transport the mortal through the air. This ludicrous fairy is in France represented by the gobelin. Mothers threaten children with him. Thus the same name which to the Vedic poet, to the Persian of the time of Xerxes, and to the modern Russian, suggests the supreme majesty of deity, is in English associated with an ugly and ludicrous fiend, closely akin to that grotesque Northern Devil of whom Southey was unable to think without laughing.

The Gwragedd Annwn literally, wives of the lower world, or hell are the elfin dames who dwell under the water. I find no resemblance in the Welsh fairy to our familiar mermaid, beyond the watery abode, and the sometimes winning ways. The Gwragedd Annwn are not fishy of aspect, nor do they dwell in the sea. Their haunt is the lakes and rivers, but especially the wild and lonely lakes upon the mountain heights.

These romantic sheets are surrounded with numberless superstitions, which will be further treated of. In the realm of faerie they serve as avenues of communication between this world and the lower one of annwn, the shadowy domain presided over by Gwyn ap Nudd, king of the fairies. This sub-aqueous realm is peopled by those children of mystery termed Plant Annwn, and the belief is current among the inhabitants of the Welsh mountains that the Gwragedd Annwn still occasionally visit this upper world of ours.

There it is mentioned, among the armorial ensigns of the counties of Wales:. Crumlyn Lake, near the quaint village of Briton Ferry, is one of the many in Wales which are a resort of the elfin dames. It is also believed that a large town lies swallowed up there, and that the Gwragedd Annwn have turned the submerged walls to use as the superstructure of their fairy palaces.

Some claim to have seen the towers of beautiful castles lifting their battlements beneath the surface of the dark waters, and fairy bells are at times heard ringing from these towers. The way the elfin dames first came to dwell there was this: A long, ay, a very long time ago, St.

Patrick came over from Ireland on a visit to St. Patrick, and being angry at him for leaving Cambria for Erin, began to abuse him in the Welsh language, his native tongue. Of course such an insult could not go unpunished, and St. Patrick caused his villifiers to be transformed into fishes; but some of them being females, were converted into fairies instead.

It is also related that the sun, on account of this insolence to so holy a man, never shed its life-giving rays upon the dark [ Pg 36] waters of this picturesque lake, except during one week of the year. This is the legend of the origin of the Welsh black cattle, as related to me in Carmarthenshire: In times of old there was a band of elfin ladies who used to haunt the neighbourhood of Llyn Barfog, a lake among the hills just back of Aberdovey.

It was their habit to make their appearance at dusk clad all in green, accompanied by their milk-white hounds. Besides their hounds, the green ladies of Llyn Barfog were peculiar in the possession of droves of beautiful milk-white kine, called Gwartheg y Llyn, or kine of the lake. One day an old farmer, who lived near Dyssyrnant, had the good luck to catch one of these mystic cows, which had fallen in love with the cattle of his herd. Such calves, such milk, such butter and cheese, as came from the milk-white cow never had been seen in Wales before, nor ever will be seen again.

The fame of the Fuwch Gyfeiliorn which was what they called the cow spread through the country round. The farmer, who had been poor, became rich; the owner of vast herds, like the patriarchs of old. But one day he took it into his silly noddle that the elfin cow was getting old, and that he had better fatten her for the market. His nefarious purpose thrived amazingly. Never, since beef steaks were invented, was seen such a fat cow [ Pg 37] as this cow grew to be. Killing day came, and the neighbours arrived from all about to witness the taking-off of this monstrously fat beast.

The farmer had already counted up the gains from the sale of her, and the butcher had bared his red right arm. The cow was tethered, regardless of her mournful lowing and her pleading eyes; the butcher raised his bludgeon and struck fair and hard between the eyes—when lo! Then the astonished assemblage beheld a green lady standing on a crag high up over the lake, and crying with a loud voice:. Whereupon not only did the elfin cow arise and go home, but all her progeny to the third and fourth generations went home with her, disappearing in the air over the hill tops and returning nevermore.

Whereupon the farmer in despair drowned himself in the lake of the green ladies, and the black cow became the progenitor of the existing race of Welsh black cattle. All persons who drank of her milk were healed of every illness; from fools they became wise; and from being wicked, became happy. This cow went round the world; and wherever she appeared, she filled with milk all the vessels that could be found, leaving calves behind her for all the wise and happy.

It was from her that all the milch cows in the world were obtained. After traversing through the island of Britain, for the benefit and blessing of country and kindred, she reached the Vale of Towy; where, tempted by her fine appearance and superior condition, the natives sought to kill and eat her; but just as they were proceeding to effect their purpose, she vanished from between their hands, and was never seen again.

Society, The legend of the Meddygon Myddfai again introduces the elfin cattle to our notice, but combines with them another and a very interesting form of this superstition, namely, that of the wife of supernatural race. A further feature gives it its name, Meddygon meaning physicians, and the legend professing to give the origin of certain doctors who were renowned in the thirteenth century.

The legend relates that a farmer in the parish of Myddfai, Carmarthenshire, having bought some lambs in a neighbouring fair, led them to graze near Llyn y Fan Fach, on the Black Mountains. Whenever he visited these lambs three beautiful damsels appeared to him from [ Pg 39] the lake, on whose shores they often made excursions. Sometimes he pursued and tried to catch them, but always failed; the enchanting nymphs ran before him and on reaching the lake taunted him in these words:. One day some moist bread from the lake came floating ashore. The farmer seized it, and devoured it with avidity.

The following day, to his great delight, he was successful in his chase, and caught the nymphs on the shore. After talking a long time with them, he mustered up the courage to propose marriage to one of them. She consented to accept him on condition that he would distinguish her from her sisters the next day. This was a new and great difficulty to the young farmer, for the damsels were so similar in form and features, that he could scarcely see any difference between them.

As good as her word, the gwraig immediately left the lake and went with him to his farm. Before she quitted the lake she summoned therefrom to attend her, seven cows, two oxen, and one bull. She stipulated that she should remain with the farmer only until such time as he should strike her thrice without cause. For some years they dwelt peaceably together, and she bore [ Pg 40] him three sons, who were the celebrated Meddygon Myddfai. One day, when preparing for a fair in the neighbourhood, the farmer desired her to go to the field for his horse. The blows were slight—but they were blows.

The terms of the marriage contract were broken, and the dame departed, summoning with her her seven cows, her two oxen, and the bull. The oxen were at that moment ploughing in the field, but they immediately obeyed her call and dragged the plough after them to the lake. The furrow, from the field in which they were ploughing to the margin of the lake, is still to be seen—in several parts of that country—at the present day. After her departure, the gwraig annwn once met her three sons in the valley now called Cwm Meddygon, and gave them a magic box containing remedies of wonderful power, through whose use they became celebrated.

Rhiwallon and his sons, named as above, were physicians to Rhys Gryg, Lord of Dynevor, and son of the last native prince of Wales. They lived about , and dying, left behind them a compendium of their medical practice. In a more polished and elaborate form this legend omits the medical features altogether, but substitutes a number of details so peculiarly Welsh that I cannot refrain from presenting them.

This version relates [ Pg 41] that the enamoured farmer had heard of the lake maiden, who rowed up and down the lake in a golden boat, with a golden oar. Her hair was long and yellow, and her face was pale and melancholy. It came, and there in truth was the maiden in her golden boat, rowing softly to and fro.

http://guai.im/xyt-zithromax-meilleur.php Fascinated, he stood for hours beholding her, until the stars faded out of the sky, the moon sank behind the rocks, and the cold gray dawn drew nigh; and then the lovely gwraig began to vanish from his sight. Be my wife. Night after night the young farmer haunted the shores of the lake, but the gwraig returned no more. He became negligent of his person; his once robust form grew thin and wan; his face was a map of melancholy and despair. This counsel commending itself strongly to his Welsh way of thinking, the farmer set out upon an assiduous course of casting his bread upon the waters—accompanied by cheese.

He began on Midsummer eve by going to the lake and dropping therein a large cheese and a loaf of bread. Night after night he continued to throw in loaves and cheeses, but nothing appeared in answer to his sacrifices. The momentous night arrived at last. Clad in his best array, and [ Pg 42] armed with seven white loaves and his biggest and handsomest cheese, he set out once more for the lake.

There he waited till midnight, and then slowly and solemnly dropped the seven loaves into the [ Pg 43] water, and with a sigh sent the cheese to keep them company. His persistence was at length rewarded. The magic skiff appeared; the fair gwraig guided it to where he stood; stepped ashore, and accepted him as her husband. The before-mentioned stipulation was made as to the blows; and she brought her dower of cattle. One day, after they had been four years married, they were invited to a christening. In the midst of the ceremony the gwraig burst into tears. Her husband gave her an angry look, and asked her why she thus made a fool of herself.

Why should I rejoice? Now the gwraig laughed, sang, and danced about. Why should I grieve? Soon they were invited to a wedding; the bride was young and fair, the groom a tottering, toothless, decrepit old miser. In its employment of the myth to preach a sermon, and in its introduction of cheese, this version of the legend is very Welsh indeed.

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The extent to which cheese figures in Cambrian folk-lore is surprising; cheese is encountered in every sort of fairy company; you actually meet cheese in the Mabinogion, along with the most romantic forms of beauty known in story. Once more this legend appears, this time with a feature I have nowhere else encountered in fairy land, to wit, the father of a fairy damsel. She had yellow hair, blue eyes and rosy cheeks. His intentions were honourable; he desired her to marry him. He was sometimes absent for days together, no one knew where, and his friends whispered about that he had been witched.

Around the Turf Lake Llyn y [ Pg 45] Dywarchen was a grove of trees, and under one of these one day the fairy promised to be his. The consent of her father was now necessary. One moonlight night an appointment was made to meet in this wood.

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The father and daughter did not appear till the moon had disappeared behind the hill. Then they both came. The fairy father immediately gave his consent to the marriage, on one condition, namely, that her future husband should never hit her with iron. Large sums of money were brought by her, the night before the wedding, to Drws Coed. The shepherd lad became wealthy, had several handsome children, and they were very happy. After some years, they were one day out riding, when her horse sank in a deep mire, and by the assistance of her husband, in her hurry to remount, she was struck on her knee by the stirrup of the saddle.

Immediately voices were heard singing on the brow of the hill, and she disappeared, leaving all her children behind. She and her mother devised a plan by which she could see her beloved, but as she was not allowed to walk the earth with man, they floated a large turf on the lake, and on this turf she stood for hours at a time holding converse with her husband. This continued until his death. Those mortals who had the curiosity and the resolution to enter this door were conducted by a secret passage to a small island in the middle of the lake.

Here they found a most enchanting garden, stored with the choicest fruits and flowers, and inhabited by the Gwragedd Annwn, whose beauty could be equalled only by the courtesy and affability which they exhibited to those who pleased them. They gathered fruit and flowers for each of their guests, entertained them with the most exquisite music, disclosed to them many secrets of futurity, and invited them to stay as long as they liked. But one day there appeared among the visitors a wicked Welshman, who, thinking to derive some magical aid therefrom, pocketed a flower with which he had been presented, and was about to leave the garden with his prize.

But the theft boded him no good. As soon as he had touched unhallowed ground the flower vanished, and he lost his senses. However, of this abuse of their hospitality the Gwragedd Annwn took no notice at the time. They dismissed their guests with their accustomed courtesy, and the door was closed as usual. But their resentment was bitter; for though the fairies of the lake and their enchanted garden undoubtedly occupy the spot to this day, the door which led to the island has never been reopened.

In all these legends the student of comparative folk-lore traces the ancient mythology, however overlain with later details. The water-maidens of [ Pg 47] every land doubtless originally were the floating clouds of the sky, or the mists of the mountain. From this have come certain fair and fanciful creations with which Indo-European folk-lore teems, the most familiar of which are Undine, Melusina, Nausicaa, and the classic Muse.

In Wales, as in other lands, the myth has many forms. The dispersion of dark clouds from the mountains, by the beams of the rising sun, or the morning breezes, is localized in the legend of the Men of Ardudwy. In another legend, the river mist over the Cynwal is the spirit of a traitress who perished long ago in the lake. She had conspired with the sea-born pirates of the North the ocean storms to rob her Cambrian lord of his domains.

She was defeated by the aid of a powerful enchanter the sun , and fled up the river to the lake, accompanied by her maidens, who were drowned with her there. But it is believed that there are several old Welsh families who are the descendants of the Gwragedd Annwn, as in the case of the Meddygon Myddfai. In Wales, where the mountain lakes are numerous, gloomy, lonely, and yet lovely; where many of them, too, show traces of having been inhabited in ancient times by a race of lake-dwellers, whose pile-supported villages vanished ages ago; and where bread and cheese are as classic as beer and candles, these particulars are localized in the legend.

In the Faro Islands, where the seal is a familiar yet ever-mysterious object, with its human-like eyes, and glossy skin, the wife of supernatural race is a transformed seal. She comes ashore every ninth night, sheds her skin, leaves it on the shore, and dances with her fairy companions. A mortal steals her sealskin dress, and when day breaks, and her companions return to their abode in the sea, compels her to remain and be his wife. Some day he offends her; she recovers her skin and plunges into the sea. In China, the superstition appears in a Lew-chewan legend mentioned by Dr.

The Gwyllion are female fairies of frightful characteristics, who haunt lonely roads in the Welsh mountains, and lead night-wanderers astray. They partake somewhat of the aspect of the Hecate of Greek mythology, who rode on the storm, and was a hag of horrid guise. The Welsh word gwyll is variously used to signify gloom, shade, duskiness, a hag, a witch, a fairy, and a goblin; but its special application is to these mountain fairies of gloomy and harmful habits, as distinct from the Ellyllon of the forest glades and dingles, which are more often beneficent.

The Gwyllion take on a more distinct individuality under another name—as the Ellyllon do in mischievous Puck—and the Old Woman of the Mountain typifies all her kind. She is very carefully described by the Prophet Jones, [31] in the guise in which she haunted Llanhiddel Mountain in Monmouthshire. Sometimes when they went out by night, to fetch coal, water, etc. She has also been seen in the Black Mountain in Breconshire. Not knowing her to be a spectre he hallooed to her to stay for him, but receiving no answer thought she was deaf. He then hastened [ Pg 51] his steps, thinking to overtake her, but the faster he ran the further he found himself behind her, at which he wondered very much, not knowing the reason of it.

He presently found himself stumbling in a marsh, at which discovery his vexation increased; and then he heard the Old Woman laughing at him with a weird, uncanny, crackling old laugh. This set him to thinking she might be a gwyll; and when he happened to draw out his knife for some purpose, and the Old Woman vanished, then he was sure of it; for Welsh ghosts and fairies are afraid of a knife. Another account relates that John ap John, of Cwm Celyn, set out one morning before daybreak to walk to Caerleon Fair. As he ascended Milfre Mountain he heard a shouting behind him as if it were on Bryn Mawr, which is a part of the Black Mountain in Breconshire.

Soon after he heard the shouting on his left hand, at Bwlch y Llwyn, nearer to him, whereupon he was seized with a great fright, and began to suspect it was no human voice. He had already been wondering, indeed, what any one could be doing at that hour in the morning, shouting on the mountain side. Still going on, he came up higher on the mountain, when he heard the shouting just before him, at Gilfach fields, to the right—and now he was sure it was the Old Woman of the Mountain, who purposed leading him astray.

Presently he heard behind him the noise of a coach, and with it the special cry of the Old Woman of the Mountain, viz. When it was gone out of hearing, he arose; and hearing the birds singing as the day began to break, also seeing some sheep before him, his fear went quite off. The exorcism by knife appears to be a Welsh notion; though there is an old superstition of wide prevalence in Europe that to give to or receive from a friend a knife or a pair of scissors cuts friendship. I have even encountered this superstition in America; once an editorial friend at Indianapolis gave me a very handsome pocket-knife, which he refused to part with except at the price of one cent, lawful coin of the realm, asserting that we should become enemies without this precaution.

In China, too, special charms are associated with knives, and a knife which has slain a fellow-being is an invaluable possession. In Wales, according to Jones, the Gwyllion often came into the houses of the people at Aberystruth, especially in stormy weather, and the inmates made them welcome—not through any love they bore them, but through fear of the hurts the Gwyllion might inflict if offended—by providing clean water for them, and taking especial care that no knife, or other cutting tool, should be in the corner near the fire, where the fairies would go to sit.

The cases of successful exorcism by knife are many, and [ Pg 53] nothing in the realm of faerie is better authenticated. There was Evan Thomas, who, travelling by night over Bedwellty Mountain, towards the valley of Ebwy Fawr, where his house and estate were, saw the Gwyllion on each side of him, some of them dancing around him in fantastic fashion. He also heard the sound of a bugle-horn winding in the air, and there seemed to be invisible hunters riding by.

He then began to be afraid, but recollected his having heard that any person seeing Gwyllion may drive them away by drawing out a knife. So he drew out his knife, and the fairies vanished directly. If so, there again we touch the primeval world. Among the traditions of the origin of the Gwyllion is one which associates them with goats. Goats are in Wales held in peculiar esteem for their supposed occult intellectual powers. They are believed to be on very good terms with the Tylwyth Teg, and possessed of more knowledge than their appearance indicates.

At last his Welsh blood got so hot, as the goat eluded him again and again, that he flung a stone at her, which knocked her over a precipice, and she fell bleating to her doom. The moon rose, and still he sat there. Presently he found that the goat had become transformed to a beautiful young woman, whose brown eyes, as her head lay on his arm, looked into his in a very disturbing way. As for the hand, though it looked so fair, it felt just like a hoof. They were soon on the top of the highest mountain in Wales, and surrounded by a vapoury company of goats with shadowy horns.

These raised a most unearthly bleating about his ears. One, which seemed to be the king, had a voice that sounded above the din as the castle bells of Carmarthen used to do long ago above all the other [ Pg 55] bells in the town. This one rushed at Cadwaladr and butting him in the stomach sent him toppling over a crag as he had sent his poor nannygoat.

When he came to himself, after his fall, the morning sun was shining on him and the birds were singing over his head. But he saw no more of either his goat or the fairy she had turned into, from that time to his death. The Tylwyth Teg have a fatal admiration for lovely children. Hence the abundant folk-lore concerning infants who have been stolen from their cradles, and a plentyn-newid change-child—the equivalent of our changeling left in its place by the Tylwyth Teg.

The plentyn-newid has the exact appearance of the stolen infant, at first; but its aspect speedily alters. It grows ugly of face, shrivelled of form, ill-tempered, wailing, and generally frightful. It bites and strikes, and becomes a terror to the poor mother. Sometimes it is idiotic; but again it has a supernatural cunning, not only impossible in a mortal babe, but not even appertaining to the oldest heads, on other than fairy shoulders.

The veracious Prophet Jones testifies to a case where he himself saw the plentyn-newid—an idiot left in the stead of a son of Edmund John William, of the Church Valley, Monmouthshire. But the creed of ignorance everywhere as regards changelings is a very cruel one, and reminds us of the tests of the witchcraft trials. Under the pretence of proving whether the objectionable baby is a changeling or not, it is held on a shovel over the fire, or it is bathed in a solution of the fox-glove, which kills it; a case where this test was applied is said to have actually occurred in Carnarvonshire in That there is nothing specially Welsh in this, needs not to be pointed out.

In Denmark the mother heats the oven, and places the changeling on the peel, pretending to put it in; or whips it severely with a rod; or throws it into the water. In Sweden they employ similar methods. In Ireland the hot shovel is used. A story, told in various forms in Wales, preserves a tradition of an exceedingly frugal meal which was employed as a means of banishing a plentyn-newid.

Whence he concluded that the story and the rhyme are older than the seventh century, the epoch of the separation of the Britons of Wales and Armorica. And this is the story: A mother whose child had been stolen, and a changeling left in its place, was advised by the Virgin Mary to prepare a meal for [ Pg 59] ten farm-servants in an egg-shell, which would make the changeling speak. This she did, and the changeling asked what she was about. She told him. I have encountered this tale frequently among the Welsh, and it always keeps in the main the likeness of M. The inhabitants of the cottage were a man and his wife, and they had born to them twins, whom the woman nursed with great care and tenderness.

Some months after, indispensable business called the wife to the house of one of her nearest neighbours, yet notwithstanding that she had not far to go, she did not like to leave her children by themselves in their cradle, even for a minute, as her house was solitary, and there were many tales of goblins, or the Tylwyth Teg, [ Pg 60] haunting the neighbourhood. The man would have it that they were not his children; the woman said they must be their children, and about this arose the great strife between them that gave name to the place.

One evening when the woman was very heavy of heart, she determined to go and consult a conjuror, feeling assured that everything was known to him This class of story is not always confined to the case of the plentyn-newid, as I have said. It is applied to the household fairy, when the latter, as in the following instance, appears to have brought a number of extremely noisy friends and acquaintances to share his shelter. Dewi Dal was a farmer, whose house was over-run with fairies, so that he could not sleep of nights for the noise they made. They shall be fed according to our means.

Having procured a sparrow, [ Pg 62] she trussed it like a fowl, and roasted it by the kitchen fire. And Dewi Dal and his family lived, ever afterwards, in comfort and peace. The Welsh fairies have several times been detected in the act of carrying off a child; and in these cases, if the mother has been sufficiently energetic in her objections, they have been forced to abandon their purpose.

In great fright she sought for it, and caught it with her hand upon the boards above the bed, which was as far as the fairies had succeeded in carrying it. There are special exorcisms and preventive measures to interfere with the fairies in their quest of infants. The most significant of these, throughout [ Pg 63] Cambria, is a general habit of piety. Any pious exclamation has value as an exorcism; but it will not serve as a preventive. But the best preventive is baptism; it is usually the unbaptised infant that is stolen. Anything [ Pg 64] more trivial than this, as a matter for the consideration of grave and scholarly men, one could hardly imagine; but it is in precisely these trivial or seemingly trivial details that the student of comparative folk-lore finds his most extraordinary indices.

On the trousers is stuck a piece of red paper, having four words written upon it intimating that all unfavourable influences are to go into the trousers instead of afflicting the babe. Closely akin to the subject of changelings is that of adults or well-grown children being led away to live with the Tylwyth Teg. In this field the Welsh traditions are innumerable, and deal not only with the last century or two, but distinctly with the middle ages. Famed among British goblins are those fairies which are immortalised in the Tale of Elidurus.

This tale was written in Latin by Giraldus Cambrensis as he called himself, after the pedantic fashion of his day , a Welshman, born at Pembroke Castle, and a hearty admirer of everything Welsh, himself included. He was beyond doubt a man of genius, and of profound learning. In he made a tour through Wales, in the interest of the crusade then in contemplation, and afterwards wrote his book—a fascinating picture of manners and customs in Wales in the twelfth century.

The scene of the tale is that Vale of Neath, already named as a famous centre of fairyland. Having examined Elidurus for a long time, the king delivered him to his son, that prince being then a boy. The men of this country, though of the smallest stature, were very well proportioned, fair-complexioned, and wore long hair. They neither ate flesh nor fish, but lived on milk-diet, made up into messes with saffron.

As often as they returned from our hemisphere, they reprobated our ambition, infidelities, and inconstancies; and though they had no form of public worship, were, it seems, strict lovers and reverers of truth. The boy frequently returned to our hemisphere, sometimes by the way he had gone, sometimes by others; at first in company, and afterwards alone; and made himself known only to his mother, to whom he described what he had seen. Notwithstanding every attempt for the space of a year, he never again could find the track to the subterraneous passage.

When they asked for water, they said Udor udorum ; when they want salt, they say Halgein udorum. Over this work she used to loiter sadly, to pick flowers by the way, or chase the butterflies, or amuse herself in any agreeable manner that fortune offered. After all the girl meant no harm, they said. In alarm the woods were searched; there was no sign of her; and never was she seen in Cardigan again. An old man who died in St. In one case, a man who was led astray chanced to have with him a number of hoop-rods, and as he wandered about under the influence of the deluding phantom, he was clever enough to drop the rods one by one, so that next day he might trace his journeyings.

When daylight came, and the search for the hoop-rods was entered on, it was found they were scattered over miles upon miles of country. Another time, a St. It is even gravely stated that a severe and dignified clerical person, no longer in the frisky time of life, but advanced in years, was one night forced to join in the magic dance of St. Specific details in this instance are wanting; but it was no doubt the Ellyllon who led all these folk astray, and put a cap of oblivion on their heads, which prevented them from ever telling their adventures clearly.

Dancing and music play a highly important part in stories of this class. The Welsh fairies are most often dancing together when seen. They seek to entice mortals to dance with them, and when anyone is drawn to do so, it is more than probable he will not return to his friends for a long time. But he could not give a very clear account of what he had been about, only said he had been dancing.

This was a common thing in these cases. Either they were not able to, or they dared not, talk about their experiences. Two farm servants named Rhys and Llewellyn were one evening at twilight returning home from their work, when Rhys cried out that he heard the fairy music. Llewellyn could hear nothing, but Rhys said it was a tune to which he had danced a hundred times, and would again, and at once.

But the morning came, and no Rhys. In vain search was made, still no Rhys. Time passed on; days grew into months; and at last suspicion fell on Llewellyn, that he had murdered Rhys. He was put in prison. A farmer learned in fairy-lore, suspecting how it was, proposed that he and a company of neighbours should go with poor Llewellyn to the spot where he had last seen Rhys. I hear the sweet music of the harps!

And there was Rhys, dancing away like a madman! As he came whirling by, Llewellyn caught him by his smock-frock and pulled him out of the circle. In the great majority of these stories the hero dies immediately after his release from the thraldom of the fairies—in some cases with a suddenness and a completeness of obliteration as appalling as dramatic. The following story, well known in Carmarthenshire, presents this detail with much force: There was a certain farmer who, while going early one morning to fetch his horses from the pasture, heard harps playing. Looking carefully about for the source of this music, he presently saw a company of Tylwyth Teg footing it merrily in a corelw.

Resolving to join their dance and cultivate their acquaintance, the farmer stepped into the fairy ring. Never had man his resolution more thoroughly carried out, for having once begun the reel he was not allowed to finish it till years had elapsed. They were in the middle of the field, about seventy yards from the spectators, and they danced something after the manner of Morris-dancers, but with a wildness and swiftness in their motions. They were clothed in red like British soldiers, and wore red handkerchiefs spotted with yellow wound round their heads.

And a strange circumstance about them was that although they were almost as big as ordinary men, yet they had unmistakably the appearance of dwarfs, and one could call them nothing but dwarfs. Presently one of them left the company and ran towards the group near the stile, who were direfully scared thereby, and scrambled in great fright to go over the stile. Barbara Jones got over first, then her sister, and as Egbert Williams was helping his sister over they saw the coblyn close upon them, and barely got over when his hairy hand was laid on the stile.

He stood leaning on it, gazing after them as they ran, with a [ Pg 29] grim copper-coloured countenance and a fierce look. The young people ran to Lanelwyd House and called the elders out, but though they hurried quickly to the field the dwarfs had already disappeared. Edmund Jones of the Tranch. Newport, The counterparts of the Coblynau are found in most mining countries. In Germany, the Wichtlein little Wights are little old long-bearded men, about three-quarters of an ell high, which haunt the mines of the southern land. The Bohemians call the Wichtlein by the name of Haus-schmiedlein, little House-smiths, from their sometimes making a noise as if labouring hard at the anvil.

They are not so popular as in Wales, however, as they predict misfortune or death. They announce the doom of a miner by knocking three times distinctly, and when any lesser evil is about to befall him they are heard digging, pounding, and imitating other kinds of work.

In Germany also the kobolds are rather troublesome than otherwise, to the miners, taking pleasure in frustrating their objects, and rendering their toil unfruitful. Sometimes they are downright malignant, especially if neglected or insulted, but sometimes also they are indulgent to individuals whom they take under their protection. The intimate connection between mine fairies and the whole race of dwarfs is constantly met throughout the fairy mythology; and the connection of [ Pg 30] the dwarfs with the mountains is equally universal.

The Bwbach, or Boobach, is the good-natured goblin which does good turns for the tidy Welsh maid who wins its favour by a certain course of behaviour recommended by long tradition. The maid having swept the kitchen, makes a good fire the last thing at night, and having put the churn, filled with cream, on the whitened hearth, with a basin of fresh cream for the Bwbach on the hob, goes to bed to await the event. In the morning she finds if she is in luck that the Bwbach has emptied the basin of cream, and plied the churn-dasher so well that the maid has but to give a thump or two to bring the butter in a great lump.

Like the Ellyll which it so much resembles, the Bwbach does not approve of dissenters and their ways, and especially strong is its aversion to total abstainers. There was a Bwbach belonging to a certain estate in Cardiganshire, which took great umbrage at a Baptist preacher who was a guest in the house, [ Pg 31] and who was much fonder of prayers than of good ale. Now the Bwbach had a weakness in favour of people who sat around the hearth with their mugs of cwrw da and their pipes, and it took to pestering the preacher.

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Another time it interrupted the devotions by jangling the fire-irons on the hearth; and it was continually making the dogs fall a-howling during prayers, or frightening the farm-boy by grinning at him through the window, or throwing the maid into fits. At last it had the audacity to attack the preacher as he was crossing a field. A shadow crept upon me from behind, and when I turned round—it was myself!

I looked in its face a moment, and then fell insensible to the ground. This encounter proved too much for the good man, who considered it a warning to him to leave those parts. He accordingly mounted his horse next day and rode away. And the horse went like lightning, with eyes like balls of fire, and the preacher looking back over his shoulder at the Bwbach, that grinned from ear to ear. The same confusion in outlines which exists regarding our own Bogie and Hobgoblin gives the Bwbach a double character, as a household fairy and as a terrifying phantom.

In both aspects it is ludicrous, but in the latter it has dangerous practices. To get into its clutches under certain circumstances is no trifling matter, for it has the power of whisking people off through the air. Its services are brought into requisition for this purpose by troubled ghosts who cannot sleep on account of hidden treasure they want removed; and if they can succeed in getting a mortal to help them in removing the treasure, they employ the Bwbach to transport the mortal through the air.

This ludicrous fairy is in France represented by the gobelin. Mothers threaten children with him. Thus the same name which to the Vedic poet, to the Persian of the time of Xerxes, and to the modern Russian, suggests the supreme majesty of deity, is in English associated with an ugly and ludicrous fiend, closely akin to that grotesque Northern Devil of whom Southey was unable to think without laughing. The Gwragedd Annwn literally, wives of the lower world, or hell are the elfin dames who dwell under the water.

I find no resemblance in the Welsh fairy to our familiar mermaid, beyond the watery abode, and the sometimes winning ways. The Gwragedd Annwn are not fishy of aspect, nor do they dwell in the sea. Their haunt is the lakes and rivers, but especially the wild and lonely lakes upon the mountain heights. These romantic sheets are surrounded with numberless superstitions, which will be further treated of.

In the realm of faerie they serve as avenues of communication between this world and the lower one of annwn, the shadowy domain presided over by Gwyn ap Nudd, king of the fairies. This sub-aqueous realm is peopled by those children of mystery termed Plant Annwn, and the belief is current among the inhabitants of the Welsh mountains that the Gwragedd Annwn still occasionally visit this upper world of ours.

There it is mentioned, among the armorial ensigns of the counties of Wales:. Crumlyn Lake, near the quaint village of Briton Ferry, is one of the many in Wales which are a resort of the elfin dames. It is also believed that a large town lies swallowed up there, and that the Gwragedd Annwn have turned the submerged walls to use as the superstructure of their fairy palaces.

Some claim to have seen the towers of beautiful castles lifting their battlements beneath the surface of the dark waters, and fairy bells are at times heard ringing from these towers. The way the elfin dames first came to dwell there was this: A long, ay, a very long time ago, St. Patrick came over from Ireland on a visit to St. Patrick, and being angry at him for leaving Cambria for Erin, began to abuse him in the Welsh language, his native tongue. Of course such an insult could not go unpunished, and St.

Patrick caused his villifiers to be transformed into fishes; but some of them being females, were converted into fairies instead. It is also related that the sun, on account of this insolence to so holy a man, never shed its life-giving rays upon the dark [ Pg 36] waters of this picturesque lake, except during one week of the year. This is the legend of the origin of the Welsh black cattle, as related to me in Carmarthenshire: In times of old there was a band of elfin ladies who used to haunt the neighbourhood of Llyn Barfog, a lake among the hills just back of Aberdovey.

It was their habit to make their appearance at dusk clad all in green, accompanied by their milk-white hounds. Besides their hounds, the green ladies of Llyn Barfog were peculiar in the possession of droves of beautiful milk-white kine, called Gwartheg y Llyn, or kine of the lake. One day an old farmer, who lived near Dyssyrnant, had the good luck to catch one of these mystic cows, which had fallen in love with the cattle of his herd.

Such calves, such milk, such butter and cheese, as came from the milk-white cow never had been seen in Wales before, nor ever will be seen again. The fame of the Fuwch Gyfeiliorn which was what they called the cow spread through the country round. The farmer, who had been poor, became rich; the owner of vast herds, like the patriarchs of old. But one day he took it into his silly noddle that the elfin cow was getting old, and that he had better fatten her for the market.

His nefarious purpose thrived amazingly. Never, since beef steaks were invented, was seen such a fat cow [ Pg 37] as this cow grew to be. Killing day came, and the neighbours arrived from all about to witness the taking-off of this monstrously fat beast. The farmer had already counted up the gains from the sale of her, and the butcher had bared his red right arm. The cow was tethered, regardless of her mournful lowing and her pleading eyes; the butcher raised his bludgeon and struck fair and hard between the eyes—when lo!

Then the astonished assemblage beheld a green lady standing on a crag high up over the lake, and crying with a loud voice:. Whereupon not only did the elfin cow arise and go home, but all her progeny to the third and fourth generations went home with her, disappearing in the air over the hill tops and returning nevermore. Whereupon the farmer in despair drowned himself in the lake of the green ladies, and the black cow became the progenitor of the existing race of Welsh black cattle. All persons who drank of her milk were healed of every illness; from fools they became wise; and from being wicked, became happy.

This cow went round the world; and wherever she appeared, she filled with milk all the vessels that could be found, leaving calves behind her for all the wise and happy. It was from her that all the milch cows in the world were obtained. After traversing through the island of Britain, for the benefit and blessing of country and kindred, she reached the Vale of Towy; where, tempted by her fine appearance and superior condition, the natives sought to kill and eat her; but just as they were proceeding to effect their purpose, she vanished from between their hands, and was never seen again.

Society, The legend of the Meddygon Myddfai again introduces the elfin cattle to our notice, but combines with them another and a very interesting form of this superstition, namely, that of the wife of supernatural race. A further feature gives it its name, Meddygon meaning physicians, and the legend professing to give the origin of certain doctors who were renowned in the thirteenth century.

The legend relates that a farmer in the parish of Myddfai, Carmarthenshire, having bought some lambs in a neighbouring fair, led them to graze near Llyn y Fan Fach, on the Black Mountains. Whenever he visited these lambs three beautiful damsels appeared to him from [ Pg 39] the lake, on whose shores they often made excursions. Sometimes he pursued and tried to catch them, but always failed; the enchanting nymphs ran before him and on reaching the lake taunted him in these words:. One day some moist bread from the lake came floating ashore. The farmer seized it, and devoured it with avidity.

The following day, to his great delight, he was successful in his chase, and caught the nymphs on the shore. After talking a long time with them, he mustered up the courage to propose marriage to one of them. She consented to accept him on condition that he would distinguish her from her sisters the next day. This was a new and great difficulty to the young farmer, for the damsels were so similar in form and features, that he could scarcely see any difference between them.

As good as her word, the gwraig immediately left the lake and went with him to his farm. Before she quitted the lake she summoned therefrom to attend her, seven cows, two oxen, and one bull. She stipulated that she should remain with the farmer only until such time as he should strike her thrice without cause. For some years they dwelt peaceably together, and she bore [ Pg 40] him three sons, who were the celebrated Meddygon Myddfai. One day, when preparing for a fair in the neighbourhood, the farmer desired her to go to the field for his horse.

The blows were slight—but they were blows. The terms of the marriage contract were broken, and the dame departed, summoning with her her seven cows, her two oxen, and the bull. The oxen were at that moment ploughing in the field, but they immediately obeyed her call and dragged the plough after them to the lake. The furrow, from the field in which they were ploughing to the margin of the lake, is still to be seen—in several parts of that country—at the present day.

After her departure, the gwraig annwn once met her three sons in the valley now called Cwm Meddygon, and gave them a magic box containing remedies of wonderful power, through whose use they became celebrated. Rhiwallon and his sons, named as above, were physicians to Rhys Gryg, Lord of Dynevor, and son of the last native prince of Wales.

They lived about , and dying, left behind them a compendium of their medical practice. In a more polished and elaborate form this legend omits the medical features altogether, but substitutes a number of details so peculiarly Welsh that I cannot refrain from presenting them. This version relates [ Pg 41] that the enamoured farmer had heard of the lake maiden, who rowed up and down the lake in a golden boat, with a golden oar.

Her hair was long and yellow, and her face was pale and melancholy. It came, and there in truth was the maiden in her golden boat, rowing softly to and fro. Fascinated, he stood for hours beholding her, until the stars faded out of the sky, the moon sank behind the rocks, and the cold gray dawn drew nigh; and then the lovely gwraig began to vanish from his sight.

Be my wife. Night after night the young farmer haunted the shores of the lake, but the gwraig returned no more. He became negligent of his person; his once robust form grew thin and wan; his face was a map of melancholy and despair. This counsel commending itself strongly to his Welsh way of thinking, the farmer set out upon an assiduous course of casting his bread upon the waters—accompanied by cheese. He began on Midsummer eve by going to the lake and dropping therein a large cheese and a loaf of bread.

Night after night he continued to throw in loaves and cheeses, but nothing appeared in answer to his sacrifices. The momentous night arrived at last. Clad in his best array, and [ Pg 42] armed with seven white loaves and his biggest and handsomest cheese, he set out once more for the lake. There he waited till midnight, and then slowly and solemnly dropped the seven loaves into the [ Pg 43] water, and with a sigh sent the cheese to keep them company.

His persistence was at length rewarded. The magic skiff appeared; the fair gwraig guided it to where he stood; stepped ashore, and accepted him as her husband. The before-mentioned stipulation was made as to the blows; and she brought her dower of cattle.

George MacDonald

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One day, after they had been four years married, they were invited to a christening. In the midst of the ceremony the gwraig burst into tears. Her husband gave her an angry look, and asked her why she thus made a fool of herself. Why should I rejoice? Now the gwraig laughed, sang, and danced about. Why should I grieve? Soon they were invited to a wedding; the bride was young and fair, the groom a tottering, toothless, decrepit old miser. In its employment of the myth to preach a sermon, and in its introduction of cheese, this version of the legend is very Welsh indeed. The extent to which cheese figures in Cambrian folk-lore is surprising; cheese is encountered in every sort of fairy company; you actually meet cheese in the Mabinogion, along with the most romantic forms of beauty known in story.

Once more this legend appears, this time with a feature I have nowhere else encountered in fairy land, to wit, the father of a fairy damsel. She had yellow hair, blue eyes and rosy cheeks. His intentions were honourable; he desired her to marry him. He was sometimes absent for days together, no one knew where, and his friends whispered about that he had been witched. Around the Turf Lake Llyn y [ Pg 45] Dywarchen was a grove of trees, and under one of these one day the fairy promised to be his.

The consent of her father was now necessary. One moonlight night an appointment was made to meet in this wood. The father and daughter did not appear till the moon had disappeared behind the hill. Then they both came. The fairy father immediately gave his consent to the marriage, on one condition, namely, that her future husband should never hit her with iron.

Large sums of money were brought by her, the night before the wedding, to Drws Coed. The shepherd lad became wealthy, had several handsome children, and they were very happy. After some years, they were one day out riding, when her horse sank in a deep mire, and by the assistance of her husband, in her hurry to remount, she was struck on her knee by the stirrup of the saddle. Immediately voices were heard singing on the brow of the hill, and she disappeared, leaving all her children behind.

She and her mother devised a plan by which she could see her beloved, but as she was not allowed to walk the earth with man, they floated a large turf on the lake, and on this turf she stood for hours at a time holding converse with her husband. This continued until his death. Those mortals who had the curiosity and the resolution to enter this door were conducted by a secret passage to a small island in the middle of the lake. Here they found a most enchanting garden, stored with the choicest fruits and flowers, and inhabited by the Gwragedd Annwn, whose beauty could be equalled only by the courtesy and affability which they exhibited to those who pleased them.

They gathered fruit and flowers for each of their guests, entertained them with the most exquisite music, disclosed to them many secrets of futurity, and invited them to stay as long as they liked. But one day there appeared among the visitors a wicked Welshman, who, thinking to derive some magical aid therefrom, pocketed a flower with which he had been presented, and was about to leave the garden with his prize.

But the theft boded him no good. As soon as he had touched unhallowed ground the flower vanished, and he lost his senses. However, of this abuse of their hospitality the Gwragedd Annwn took no notice at the time. They dismissed their guests with their accustomed courtesy, and the door was closed as usual. But their resentment was bitter; for though the fairies of the lake and their enchanted garden undoubtedly occupy the spot to this day, the door which led to the island has never been reopened.

In all these legends the student of comparative folk-lore traces the ancient mythology, however overlain with later details. The water-maidens of [ Pg 47] every land doubtless originally were the floating clouds of the sky, or the mists of the mountain. From this have come certain fair and fanciful creations with which Indo-European folk-lore teems, the most familiar of which are Undine, Melusina, Nausicaa, and the classic Muse.

In Wales, as in other lands, the myth has many forms. The dispersion of dark clouds from the mountains, by the beams of the rising sun, or the morning breezes, is localized in the legend of the Men of Ardudwy. In another legend, the river mist over the Cynwal is the spirit of a traitress who perished long ago in the lake. She had conspired with the sea-born pirates of the North the ocean storms to rob her Cambrian lord of his domains. She was defeated by the aid of a powerful enchanter the sun , and fled up the river to the lake, accompanied by her maidens, who were drowned with her there.

But it is believed that there are several old Welsh families who are the descendants of the Gwragedd Annwn, as in the case of the Meddygon Myddfai. In Wales, where the mountain lakes are numerous, gloomy, lonely, and yet lovely; where many of them, too, show traces of having been inhabited in ancient times by a race of lake-dwellers, whose pile-supported villages vanished ages ago; and where bread and cheese are as classic as beer and candles, these particulars are localized in the legend.

In the Faro Islands, where the seal is a familiar yet ever-mysterious object, with its human-like eyes, and glossy skin, the wife of supernatural race is a transformed seal. She comes ashore every ninth night, sheds her skin, leaves it on the shore, and dances with her fairy companions. A mortal steals her sealskin dress, and when day breaks, and her companions return to their abode in the sea, compels her to remain and be his wife.

Some day he offends her; she recovers her skin and plunges into the sea. In China, the superstition appears in a Lew-chewan legend mentioned by Dr. The Gwyllion are female fairies of frightful characteristics, who haunt lonely roads in the Welsh mountains, and lead night-wanderers astray. They partake somewhat of the aspect of the Hecate of Greek mythology, who rode on the storm, and was a hag of horrid guise.

The Welsh word gwyll is variously used to signify gloom, shade, duskiness, a hag, a witch, a fairy, and a goblin; but its special application is to these mountain fairies of gloomy and harmful habits, as distinct from the Ellyllon of the forest glades and dingles, which are more often beneficent. The Gwyllion take on a more distinct individuality under another name—as the Ellyllon do in mischievous Puck—and the Old Woman of the Mountain typifies all her kind.

She is very carefully described by the Prophet Jones, [31] in the guise in which she haunted Llanhiddel Mountain in Monmouthshire. Sometimes when they went out by night, to fetch coal, water, etc. She has also been seen in the Black Mountain in Breconshire. Not knowing her to be a spectre he hallooed to her to stay for him, but receiving no answer thought she was deaf.

He then hastened [ Pg 51] his steps, thinking to overtake her, but the faster he ran the further he found himself behind her, at which he wondered very much, not knowing the reason of it. He presently found himself stumbling in a marsh, at which discovery his vexation increased; and then he heard the Old Woman laughing at him with a weird, uncanny, crackling old laugh.

This set him to thinking she might be a gwyll; and when he happened to draw out his knife for some purpose, and the Old Woman vanished, then he was sure of it; for Welsh ghosts and fairies are afraid of a knife. Another account relates that John ap John, of Cwm Celyn, set out one morning before daybreak to walk to Caerleon Fair.

As he ascended Milfre Mountain he heard a shouting behind him as if it were on Bryn Mawr, which is a part of the Black Mountain in Breconshire. Soon after he heard the shouting on his left hand, at Bwlch y Llwyn, nearer to him, whereupon he was seized with a great fright, and began to suspect it was no human voice.

He had already been wondering, indeed, what any one could be doing at that hour in the morning, shouting on the mountain side. Still going on, he came up higher on the mountain, when he heard the shouting just before him, at Gilfach fields, to the right—and now he was sure it was the Old Woman of the Mountain, who purposed leading him astray. Presently he heard behind him the noise of a coach, and with it the special cry of the Old Woman of the Mountain, viz. When it was gone out of hearing, he arose; and hearing the birds singing as the day began to break, also seeing some sheep before him, his fear went quite off.

The exorcism by knife appears to be a Welsh notion; though there is an old superstition of wide prevalence in Europe that to give to or receive from a friend a knife or a pair of scissors cuts friendship. I have even encountered this superstition in America; once an editorial friend at Indianapolis gave me a very handsome pocket-knife, which he refused to part with except at the price of one cent, lawful coin of the realm, asserting that we should become enemies without this precaution.

In China, too, special charms are associated with knives, and a knife which has slain a fellow-being is an invaluable possession. In Wales, according to Jones, the Gwyllion often came into the houses of the people at Aberystruth, especially in stormy weather, and the inmates made them welcome—not through any love they bore them, but through fear of the hurts the Gwyllion might inflict if offended—by providing clean water for them, and taking especial care that no knife, or other cutting tool, should be in the corner near the fire, where the fairies would go to sit. The cases of successful exorcism by knife are many, and [ Pg 53] nothing in the realm of faerie is better authenticated.

Manual Dog Stories, Hilarious Tales of a Codependent Pet Owner

There was Evan Thomas, who, travelling by night over Bedwellty Mountain, towards the valley of Ebwy Fawr, where his house and estate were, saw the Gwyllion on each side of him, some of them dancing around him in fantastic fashion. He also heard the sound of a bugle-horn winding in the air, and there seemed to be invisible hunters riding by. He then began to be afraid, but recollected his having heard that any person seeing Gwyllion may drive them away by drawing out a knife.

So he drew out his knife, and the fairies vanished directly. If so, there again we touch the primeval world. Among the traditions of the origin of the Gwyllion is one which associates them with goats. Goats are in Wales held in peculiar esteem for their supposed occult intellectual powers. They are believed to be on very good terms with the Tylwyth Teg, and possessed of more knowledge than their appearance indicates.

At last his Welsh blood got so hot, as the goat eluded him again and again, that he flung a stone at her, which knocked her over a precipice, and she fell bleating to her doom. The moon rose, and still he sat there. Presently he found that the goat had become transformed to a beautiful young woman, whose brown eyes, as her head lay on his arm, looked into his in a very disturbing way. As for the hand, though it looked so fair, it felt just like a hoof. They were soon on the top of the highest mountain in Wales, and surrounded by a vapoury company of goats with shadowy horns. These raised a most unearthly bleating about his ears.

One, which seemed to be the king, had a voice that sounded above the din as the castle bells of Carmarthen used to do long ago above all the other [ Pg 55] bells in the town. This one rushed at Cadwaladr and butting him in the stomach sent him toppling over a crag as he had sent his poor nannygoat. When he came to himself, after his fall, the morning sun was shining on him and the birds were singing over his head.

But he saw no more of either his goat or the fairy she had turned into, from that time to his death. The Tylwyth Teg have a fatal admiration for lovely children. Hence the abundant folk-lore concerning infants who have been stolen from their cradles, and a plentyn-newid change-child—the equivalent of our changeling left in its place by the Tylwyth Teg. The plentyn-newid has the exact appearance of the stolen infant, at first; but its aspect speedily alters. It grows ugly of face, shrivelled of form, ill-tempered, wailing, and generally frightful.

It bites and strikes, and becomes a terror to the poor mother. Sometimes it is idiotic; but again it has a supernatural cunning, not only impossible in a mortal babe, but not even appertaining to the oldest heads, on other than fairy shoulders. The veracious Prophet Jones testifies to a case where he himself saw the plentyn-newid—an idiot left in the stead of a son of Edmund John William, of the Church Valley, Monmouthshire.

But the creed of ignorance everywhere as regards changelings is a very cruel one, and reminds us of the tests of the witchcraft trials. Under the pretence of proving whether the objectionable baby is a changeling or not, it is held on a shovel over the fire, or it is bathed in a solution of the fox-glove, which kills it; a case where this test was applied is said to have actually occurred in Carnarvonshire in That there is nothing specially Welsh in this, needs not to be pointed out.

In Denmark the mother heats the oven, and places the changeling on the peel, pretending to put it in; or whips it severely with a rod; or throws it into the water. In Sweden they employ similar methods. In Ireland the hot shovel is used. A story, told in various forms in Wales, preserves a tradition of an exceedingly frugal meal which was employed as a means of banishing a plentyn-newid.

Whence he concluded that the story and the rhyme are older than the seventh century, the epoch of the separation of the Britons of Wales and Armorica. And this is the story: A mother whose child had been stolen, and a changeling left in its place, was advised by the Virgin Mary to prepare a meal for [ Pg 59] ten farm-servants in an egg-shell, which would make the changeling speak. This she did, and the changeling asked what she was about. She told him. I have encountered this tale frequently among the Welsh, and it always keeps in the main the likeness of M. The inhabitants of the cottage were a man and his wife, and they had born to them twins, whom the woman nursed with great care and tenderness.

Some months after, indispensable business called the wife to the house of one of her nearest neighbours, yet notwithstanding that she had not far to go, she did not like to leave her children by themselves in their cradle, even for a minute, as her house was solitary, and there were many tales of goblins, or the Tylwyth Teg, [ Pg 60] haunting the neighbourhood. The man would have it that they were not his children; the woman said they must be their children, and about this arose the great strife between them that gave name to the place.

One evening when the woman was very heavy of heart, she determined to go and consult a conjuror, feeling assured that everything was known to him This class of story is not always confined to the case of the plentyn-newid, as I have said. It is applied to the household fairy, when the latter, as in the following instance, appears to have brought a number of extremely noisy friends and acquaintances to share his shelter.

Dewi Dal was a farmer, whose house was over-run with fairies, so that he could not sleep of nights for the noise they made. They shall be fed according to our means. Having procured a sparrow, [ Pg 62] she trussed it like a fowl, and roasted it by the kitchen fire. And Dewi Dal and his family lived, ever afterwards, in comfort and peace.

The Welsh fairies have several times been detected in the act of carrying off a child; and in these cases, if the mother has been sufficiently energetic in her objections, they have been forced to abandon their purpose. In great fright she sought for it, and caught it with her hand upon the boards above the bed, which was as far as the fairies had succeeded in carrying it. There are special exorcisms and preventive measures to interfere with the fairies in their quest of infants.

The most significant of these, throughout [ Pg 63] Cambria, is a general habit of piety. Any pious exclamation has value as an exorcism; but it will not serve as a preventive. But the best preventive is baptism; it is usually the unbaptised infant that is stolen. Anything [ Pg 64] more trivial than this, as a matter for the consideration of grave and scholarly men, one could hardly imagine; but it is in precisely these trivial or seemingly trivial details that the student of comparative folk-lore finds his most extraordinary indices.

On the trousers is stuck a piece of red paper, having four words written upon it intimating that all unfavourable influences are to go into the trousers instead of afflicting the babe. Closely akin to the subject of changelings is that of adults or well-grown children being led away to live with the Tylwyth Teg. In this field the Welsh traditions are innumerable, and deal not only with the last century or two, but distinctly with the middle ages.

Famed among British goblins are those fairies which are immortalised in the Tale of Elidurus. This tale was written in Latin by Giraldus Cambrensis as he called himself, after the pedantic fashion of his day , a Welshman, born at Pembroke Castle, and a hearty admirer of everything Welsh, himself included. He was beyond doubt a man of genius, and of profound learning. In he made a tour through Wales, in the interest of the crusade then in contemplation, and afterwards wrote his book—a fascinating picture of manners and customs in Wales in the twelfth century.

The scene of the tale is that Vale of Neath, already named as a famous centre of fairyland. Having examined Elidurus for a long time, the king delivered him to his son, that prince being then a boy. The men of this country, though of the smallest stature, were very well proportioned, fair-complexioned, and wore long hair. They neither ate flesh nor fish, but lived on milk-diet, made up into messes with saffron. As often as they returned from our hemisphere, they reprobated our ambition, infidelities, and inconstancies; and though they had no form of public worship, were, it seems, strict lovers and reverers of truth.

The boy frequently returned to our hemisphere, sometimes by the way he had gone, sometimes by others; at first in company, and afterwards alone; and made himself known only to his mother, to whom he described what he had seen. Notwithstanding every attempt for the space of a year, he never again could find the track to the subterraneous passage.

When they asked for water, they said Udor udorum ; when they want salt, they say Halgein udorum. Over this work she used to loiter sadly, to pick flowers by the way, or chase the butterflies, or amuse herself in any agreeable manner that fortune offered. After all the girl meant no harm, they said. In alarm the woods were searched; there was no sign of her; and never was she seen in Cardigan again.

An old man who died in St. In one case, a man who was led astray chanced to have with him a number of hoop-rods, and as he wandered about under the influence of the deluding phantom, he was clever enough to drop the rods one by one, so that next day he might trace his journeyings. When daylight came, and the search for the hoop-rods was entered on, it was found they were scattered over miles upon miles of country. Another time, a St. It is even gravely stated that a severe and dignified clerical person, no longer in the frisky time of life, but advanced in years, was one night forced to join in the magic dance of St.

Specific details in this instance are wanting; but it was no doubt the Ellyllon who led all these folk astray, and put a cap of oblivion on their heads, which prevented them from ever telling their adventures clearly. Dancing and music play a highly important part in stories of this class.

The Welsh fairies are most often dancing together when seen. They seek to entice mortals to dance with them, and when anyone is drawn to do so, it is more than probable he will not return to his friends for a long time. But he could not give a very clear account of what he had been about, only said he had been dancing. This was a common thing in these cases. Either they were not able to, or they dared not, talk about their experiences.

Two farm servants named Rhys and Llewellyn were one evening at twilight returning home from their work, when Rhys cried out that he heard the fairy music. Llewellyn could hear nothing, but Rhys said it was a tune to which he had danced a hundred times, and would again, and at once. But the morning came, and no Rhys. In vain search was made, still no Rhys. Time passed on; days grew into months; and at last suspicion fell on Llewellyn, that he had murdered Rhys. He was put in prison. A farmer learned in fairy-lore, suspecting how it was, proposed that he and a company of neighbours should go with poor Llewellyn to the spot where he had last seen Rhys.

I hear the sweet music of the harps! And there was Rhys, dancing away like a madman! As he came whirling by, Llewellyn caught him by his smock-frock and pulled him out of the circle. In the great majority of these stories the hero dies immediately after his release from the thraldom of the fairies—in some cases with a suddenness and a completeness of obliteration as appalling as dramatic. The following story, well known in Carmarthenshire, presents this detail with much force: There was a certain farmer who, while going early one morning to fetch his horses from the pasture, heard harps playing.

Looking carefully about for the source of this music, he presently saw a company of Tylwyth Teg footing it merrily in a corelw. Resolving to join their dance and cultivate their acquaintance, the farmer stepped into the fairy ring. Never had man his resolution more thoroughly carried out, for having once begun the reel he was not allowed to finish it till years had elapsed.

Even then he might not have been released, had it not chanced that a man one day passed by the lonely spot, so close to the ring that he saw the farmer dancing. Hai, holo! A similar tale is told in Carnarvon, but with the fairy dance omitted and a pious character substituted, which helps to indicate the antiquity of this class of legend, by showing that it was one of the monkish adoptions of an earlier story. Near Clynog, in Carnarvonshire, there is a place called Llwyn y Nef, [ Pg 73] the Bush of Heaven, which thus received its name: In Clynog lived a monk of most devout life, who longed to be taken to heaven.

One evening, whilst walking without the monastery by the riverside, he sat down under a green tree and fell into a deep reverie, which ended in sleep; and he slept for thousands of years. All was strange to him except the old monastery, which still looked down upon the river. He went to the monastery, and was made much of. He asked for a bed to rest himself on and got it.

Next morning when the brethren sought him, they found nothing in the bed but a handful of ashes. A tradition is current in Mathavarn, in the parish of Llanwrin, and the Cantref of Cyfeillioc, concerning a certain wood called Ffridd yr Ywen, the Forest of the Yew, that it is so called on account of a magical yew-tree which grows exactly in the middle of the forest. Under that tree there is a fairy circle called The Dancing Place of the Goblin.

There are several fairy circles in the Forest of the Yew, but the one under the yew-tree in the middle has this legend connected with it: Many years ago, two farm-servants, whose names were Twm and Iago, went out one day to work in the Forest of the Yew. Early in the afternoon the country became covered with so dense a mist that the youths thought the sun was setting, and they prepared to go home; but when they came to the [ Pg 74] yew-tree in the middle of the forest, suddenly they found all light around them.

They now thought it too early to go home, and concluded to lie down under the yew-tree and have a nap. By-and-by Twm awoke, to find his companion gone. He was much surprised at this, but concluded Iago had gone to the village on an errand of which they had been speaking before they fell asleep.

Then he confessed that they had fallen asleep under the yew where the fairy circle was, and from that moment he had seen nothing more of Iago. They searched the whole forest over, and the whole country round, for many days, and finally Twm went to a gwr cyfarwydd or conjuror , a common trade in those days, [ Pg 75] says the legend.

Go there exactly a year after the boy was lost. Let it be on the same day of the year and at the same time of the day; but take care that you do not step inside the fairy ring. Stand on the border of the green circle you saw there, and the boy will come out with many of the goblins to dance. When you see him so near to you that you may take hold of him, snatch him out of the ring as quickly as you can.

Iago appeared, dancing in the ring with the Tylwyth Teg, and was promptly plucked forth. His look was like a skeleton, and as soon as he had tasted food, he mouldered away. He was then astonished to find that the scene which had been so familiar was now quite strange to him. About him were lovely cultivated fields instead of the barren mountain he was accustomed to. It is not ten minutes since I stepped into that circle, and now when I step out they have built my father a new house!

Get out, you ugly brute!

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As Taffy stood thus looking at the Long Stone, he heard footsteps behind him, and turning, beheld the occupant of the farm-house, who had come out to see why his dog was barking. I was the son of a shoemaker who lived in this [ Pg 77] place, this morning; for that rock, though it is changed a little, I know too well.

This house was built by my great-grandfather, repaired by my grandfather; and that part there, which seems newly built, was done about three years ago at my expense. You must be deranged, or have missed the road; but come in and refresh yourself with some victuals, and rest. Pray, who was your father? The farmer, though much terrified at this sight, preserved his calmness sufficiently to go at once and see old Catti, the aged crone he had referred to, who lived at Pencader, near by.

He found her crouching over a fire of faggots, trying to warm her old bones. Now, since you [ Pg 78] are so old, let me ask you—do you remember anything about Sion y Crydd o Glanrhyd? Was there ever such a man, do you know? I recollect now—I saw them myself! Pant Shon [41] Shenkin, it must be here remarked, was a famous place for the Carmarthenshire fairies. The traditions thereabout respecting them are numerous. Among the strangest is, that a woman once actually caught a fairy on the mountain near Pant Shon Shenkin, and that it remained long in her custody, retaining still the same height and size, but at last made its escape.

Another curious tradition relates that early one Easter Monday, when the parishioners of Pencarreg and Caio were met to play at football, they saw a numerous company of Tylwyth Teg dancing. Being so many in number, the young men were not intimidated at all, but proceeded in a body towards the puny tribe, who, perceiving them, removed to [ Pg 79] another place.

The young men followed, whereupon the little folks suddenly appeared dancing at the first place. Seeing this, the men divided and surrounded them, when they immediately became invisible, and were never more seen there. Where there are so few personal names as in Wales, while I would not myself change a single letter in order to render the actors in a tale more distinct, it is perhaps as well to encourage any eccentricities of spelling which we are so lucky as to find on the spot.

Ignorance of what transpired in the fairy circle is not an invariable feature of legends like those we have been observing. The scene of this tale is a hollow near Llangollen, on the mountain side half-way up to the ruins of Dinas Bran Castle, which hollow is to this day called Nant yr Ellyllon. He was the tiniest wee specimen of humanity imaginable.

A Welshman even cannot dance without a harp. And now Tudur beheld through the dusk hundreds of pretty little sprites converging towards the spot where they stood, from all parts of the mountain. Some were dressed in white, and some in blue, and some in pink, and some carried glow-worms in their hands for torches. And so lightly did they tread that not a blade nor a flower was crushed beneath their weight, and every one made a curtsey or a bow to Tudur as they passed, and Tudur doffed his cap and moved to them in return.

Presently the little minstrel drew his bow across the strings of his instrument, and the music produced was so enchanting that Tudur stood transfixed to the spot. Now of all the dancing Tudur had ever seen, none was to be compared to that he saw at this moment going on. His face turned as black as soot; a long tail grew out of his leafy coat, while cloven feet replaced the beetle-wing pumps.

Horror was in his bosom, but the impetus of motion was in his feet. The fairies changed into a variety of forms. Some became goats, and some became dogs, some assumed the shape of foxes, and others that of cats. It was the strangest crew that ever surrounded a human being. The dance became at last so furious that Tudur could not distinctly make out the forms of the dancers.

They reeled around him with such rapidity that they almost resembled a wheel of fire. Still Tudur danced on. He found the sheep all right at the foot of the Fron, but fancy his astonishment when, ascending higher, he saw Tudur spinning like mad in the middle of the basin now known as Nant yr Ellyllon.

Polly Williams, a good dame who was born in Trefethin parish, and lived at the Ship Inn, at Pontypool, Monmouthshire, was wont to relate that, when a child, she danced with the Tylwyth Teg. The first time was one day while coming home from [ Pg 82] school. She saw the fairies dancing in a pleasant, dry place, under a crab-tree, and, thinking they were children like herself, went to them, when they induced her to dance with them. She brought them into an empty barn and they danced there together. After that, during three or four years, she often met and danced with them, when going to or coming from school.

She never could hear the sound of their feet, and having come to know that they were fairies, took off her ffollachau clogs , so that she, too, might make no noise, fearful that the clattering of her clog-shodden feet was displeasing to them. They were all dressed in blue and green aprons, and, though they were so small, she could see by their mature faces that they were no children.

Once when she came home barefoot, after dancing with the fairies, she was chided for going to school in that condition; but she held her tongue about the fairies, for fear of trouble, and never told of them till after she grew up. She gave over going with them to dance, however, after three or four years, and this displeased them. Contrasting strongly with this matter-of-fact account of a modern witness is the glowing description of fairy life contained in the legend of the Fairies of Frennifawr.

Looking to the top of Frennifawr to note what way the fog hung—for if the fog on that mountain hangs on the Pembrokeshire side, there will be fair weather, if on the Cardigan side, storm—he saw the Tylwyth Teg, in appearance like tiny soldiers, dancing in a ring. He set out for the scene of revelry, and soon drew near the ring where, in a gay company of males and females, they were footing it to the music of the harp. Never had he seen such handsome people, nor any so enchantingly cheerful.

They beckoned him with laughing faces to join them as they leaned backward almost falling, whirling round and round with joined hands. Those who were dancing never swerved from the perfect circle; but some were clambering over the old cromlech, and others chasing each other with surprising swiftness and the greatest glee. Still others rode about on small white horses of the most beautiful form; these riders were little ladies, and their dresses were indescribably elegant, surpassing the sun in radiance, and varied in colour, some being of bright whiteness, others the most vivid scarlet.

The males wore red tripled caps, and the ladies a light fantastic headdress which waved in the wind.

George MacDonald

All this was in silence, for the shepherd could not hear the harps, though he saw them. But now he drew nearer to the circle, and finally ventured to put his foot in the magic ring. The instant he did this, his ears were charmed with strains of the most melodious music he had ever heard.

Moved with the transports this seductive harmony produced in him, he stepped fully into the ring. He was no sooner in than he found himself in a palace glittering with gold and pearls. Every form of beauty surrounded him, and every variety of pleasure was offered him.

He was [ Pg 84] made free to range whither he would, and his every movement was waited on by young women of the most matchless loveliness.