|The curious tale of Culhwch and Olwen appears to be purely British. The characters and events which it celebrates are altogether of native origin, nor has any parallel or counterpart been discovered in any other language. It abounds in allusions to traditions of personages and incidents belonging to a remote period, and, though it is true that some few of these have now become obscure or unintelligible, yet many are, even to the present day, current in the principality. Of a much greater number, though all distinct recollection has ceased to exist, yet the frequent references made to them in Bardic and other remains, prove that, to our ancestors at least, they were well known; and so numerous are the instances we meet with of this class, that we may safely infer that all the allusions this Mabinogi contains were generally familiar to those for whom it was designed. Beyond the adventures here ascribed to him, no particulars of the hero Culhwch mab Kilydd mab Kelyddon have come down to us.|
Kilydd the son of Prince Kelyddon desired a wife as a helpmate, and the wife that he chose was Goleuddydd, the daughter of Prince Anlawdd. And after their union, the people put up prayers that they might have an heir. And they had a son through the prayers of the people. From the time of her pregnancy Goleuddydd became wild, and wandered about, without habitation; but when her delivery was at hand, her reason came back to her. Then she went to a mountain where there was a swineherd, keeping a herd of swine. And through fear of the swine the queen was delivered. And the swineherd took the boy, and brought him to the palace; and he was christened, and they called him Culhwch, because he had been found in a swine's burrow. Nevertheless the boy was of gentle lineage, and cousin unto Arthur; and they put him out to nurse.
|Anlawdd Wledig --The name of this prince occurs in the Pedigrees as being father of Tywynwedd the mother of Tyvrydog mab Arwystli Gloff. Tyvrydog was a saint who flourished in the sixth century. (Rees's Welsh Saints, p. 276.) In the Pedigrees, Tywynwedd is mentioned as the mother of Caradawc Vreichvras, of Gwyn ab Nudd, and Gwallawc ab Lleenawg.|
Eigr, the fair Ygraine of romance and mother of King Arthur, is likewise said to have been the daughter of Anlawdd, by Gwen, the daughter of Cunedda Wledig. This explains the relationship between Culhwch and Arthur.
|Caradawc Vreichvras, like Trystan, and many other heroes whose names occur in the Mabinogion, was celebrated both in Welsh and Norman story. He was a son of Llyr Merini, a prince of Cernyw, and himself chief elder of Gelliwig; the royal residence in that part of the Island. His mother was Gwen, grand-daughter of Brychan, through whose right he is supposed to have become ruler of the district of Brycheiniog. According to Triad 29 (18), he was one of the battle knights of Britain, and in an Englyn attributed to Arthur himself, he is styled "Caradawc pillar of the Cymry." In Triad (38) Caradawc's horse Lluagor is recorded as one of the three battle horses of the Island.|
Tegau Eurvron, the beautiful wife of Caradawc, was no less renowned for her virtue than for her charms. In the Triad 103 she is spoken of as one of the three fair ladies, and one of the three chaste damsels of Arthur's Court. She possessed three precious things of which she alone was worthy; her mantle, her goblet of gold, and her knife. She is frequently alluded to by the bards. Sir Caradawc's well-founded confidence in his wife's virtue, enabled him to empty the marvellous Horn, and carve the tough Boar's head, adventures in which his compeers failed. In token of the latter of them, the Boar's head, in some form or other, appears as the armorial bearing of all of his name.
After this the boy's mother, Goleuddydd, the daughter of Prince Anlawdd, fell sick. Then she called her husband unto her, and said to him, "Of this sickness I shall die, and thou wilt take another wife. Now wives are the gift of the Lord, but it would be wrong for thee to harm thy son. Therefore I charge thee that thou take not a wife until thou see a briar with two blossoms upon my grave." And this he promised her. Then she besought him to dress her grave every year, that nothing might grow thereon. So the queen died. Now the king sent an attendant every morning to see if anything were growing upon the grave. And at the end of the seventh year the master neglected that which he had promised to the queen.
One day the king went to hunt, and he rode to the place of burial to see the grave, and to know if it were time that he should take a wife; and the king saw the briar. And when he saw it, the king took counsel where he should find a wife. Said one of his counsellors, "I know a wife that will suit thee well, and she is the wife of King Doged." And they resolved to go to seek her; and they slew the king, and brought away his wife and one daughter that she had along with her. And they conquered the king's lands.
|King Dogged-- The name of this most unfortunate king is enrolled among the number of the Saints of Wales, and he is recorded as the founder or the church of Llauddogged in Denbighshire. King Dogged was the son of Cedig ab Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig, and brother of Avan Buallt, a bishop, whose tomb still remains at the church of Llanavan Fawr, in Breconshire, which he founded. The date assigned to these brothers is from 500 to 542.--Rees's Welsh Saints, p. 209. (From Ceredig the county of Cardigan (Ceredigion) received its name.)|
On a certain day, as the lady walked abroad, she came to the house of an old crone that dwelt in the town, and that had no tooth in her head. And the queen said to her, "Old woman, tell me that which I shall ask thee, for the love of Heaven. Where are the children of the man who has carried me away by violence?" Said the crone, "He has not children." Said the queen, "Woe is me, that I should have come to one who is childless!" Then said the hag, "Thou needest not lament on account of that, for there is a prediction he shall have an heir by thee, and by none other. Moreover, be not sorrowful, for he has one son."
The lady returned home with joy; and she asked her consort, "Wherefore hast thou concealed thy children from me?" The king said, "I will do so no longer." And he sent messengers for his son, and he was brought to the Court. His stepmother said unto him, "It were well for thee to have a wife, and I have a daughter who is sought of every man of renown in the world." "I am not yet of an age to wed," answered the youth. Then said she unto him, "I declare to thee, that it is thy destiny not to be suited with a wife until thou obtain Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr."
|Olwen-- of Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr, but little is now known beyond what is related concerning her in the present tale; but with the bards of old her beauty had passed into a proverb. Amongst those who made frequent allusion to her charms, we may instance Davydd ap Gwilym, the Petrarch of Wales; and Sion Brwynog, a poet who flourished in the sixteenth century, commences some complimentary verses addressed to a young damsel, by comparing her to|
And the youth blushed, and the love of the maiden diffused itself through all his frame, although he had never seen her. And his father inquired of him, "What has come over thee, my son, and what aileth thee?" "My stepmother has declared to me that I shall never have a wife until I obtain Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr." "That will be easy for thee," answered his father. "Arthur is thy cousin. Go, therefore, unto Arthur, to cut thy hair, and ask this of him as a boon."
|Arthur - His image adorned our earliest visions of Chivalry and Romance, and though the weightier cares of maturer age must supervene, they serve but to deepen, not to efface the impression; and while in the eddying stream of life we pause to look back upon the days when Caerlleon and its Round Table formed to us an ideal
world, we feel that, in our hearts at least, "King Arthur is not dead."|
The real history of this chieftain is so veiled in obscurity. Amongst the many incidents of a highly imaginative character, in the legendary history of Arthur, we may more particularly notice his introduction upon the scene of his exploits. During the turbulent times which followed the death of Uther Pendragon, the nobles of Britain assembled to elect a successor to him, but, after protracted debate, they were unable to come to any decision upon the subject. At length a large stone was discovered near the place of assembly, in which was a sword fastened as it were in a sheath. Around it was an inscription in gold letters, signifying that whoever should draw out that sword was rightful heir to the throne. After all those who were ambitious of this dignity had made the attempt in vain, Arthur, who was previously unknown, came forward, and drew out the sword from the stone as easily as he would have drawn it out of the scabbard. He was thereupon immediately acknowledged king. Being thus placed at the head of the Chivalry of Britain, he proceeded in a glorious and triumphant career, until, by the treachery of his nephew, Modred, he sustained a defeat in the battle of Camlann.
After witnessing the destruction of his army in that fatal conflict, Arthur, finding himself mortally wounded, delivered his sword to Caliburn one of his knights, with a request that he would cast it into a certain lake. The knight, thus commissioned, proceeded to the appointed spot, and, standing upon the bank, flung the sword forward with all his might. As it was descending, a hand and arm came out of the lake, and seizing it by the hilt brandished it three times, and disappeared with it in the water.
Arthur was afterwards conducted by the Knight to the border of the lake, where he found a little bark moored, in which were Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, and Morgan le Fay Modron, and other ladies, who carried him off to the Island of Avalon, in Fairy-laud, where it was affirmed that he was healed of his wounds, and continued to live in all the splendour of that luxurious country, waiting for the time when he should return once more to take possession of his ancient dominions. His grave was not known. This tradition was current for many ages, and is found among the Welsh, in the Memorials of the Graves of the Warriors,--
"The grave of March is this, and this the grave of Gwythyr.
Here is the grave of Gwgawn Gleddyfrudd
But unknown is the grave of Arthur."
"Arthur is thy cousin"
- See the genealogy chart:
|Gwgawn Gleddyvrudd is found twice occurring in the Triads. Triad (24) as one of the three stayers of slaughter (ysgymmydd aereu), and Triad 60 as one of the sentinels in the battle of Bangor Orchard. His grave is alluded to in the Englynion y Beddau. The passage has above. Triad (40) the name of his horse, which was Buchestom, is preserved in the Trioedd y Meirch.|
|"cut thy hair"-- in the eighth century, it was the custom of people of consideration to have their children's hair cut the first time by persons for whom they had a particular honour and esteem, who in virtue of this ceremony were reputed a sort of spiritual parents, or godfathers to them. This practice appears, however, to have been still more ancient, inasmuch as we read that Constantine sent the Pope the hair of his son Heraclius, as a token that he desired him to be his adoptive father.--See Rees's Cyclopædia.|
And the youth pricked forth upon a steed with head dappled grey, of four winters old, firm of limb, with shell-formed hoofs, having a bridle of linked gold on his head, and upon him a saddle of costly gold. And in the youth's hand were two spears of silver, sharp, well-tempered, headed with steel, three ells in length, of an edge to wound the wind, and cause blood to flow, and swifter than the fall of the dewdrop from the blade of reed-grass upon the earth when the dew of June is at the heaviest. A gold-hilted sword was upon his thigh, the blade of which was of gold, bearing a cross of inlaid gold of the hue of the lightning of heaven: his war-horn was of ivory. Before him were two brindled white-breasted greyhounds, having strong collars of rubies about their necks, reaching from the shoulder to the ear. And the one that was on the left side bounded across to the right side, and the one on the right to the left, and like two sea-swallows sported around him. And his courser cast up four sods with his four hoofs, like four swallows in the air, about his head, now above, now below. About him was a four-cornered cloth of purple, and an apple of gold was at each corner, and every one of the apples was of the value of an hundred kine. And there was precious gold of the value of three hundred kine upon his shoes, and upon his stirrups, from his knee to the tip of his toe. And the blade of grass bent not beneath him, so light was his courser's tread as he journeyed towards the gate of Arthur's Palace.
|"a hundred kine"-- it appears that in early times cows formed the standard of currency among the Welsh; for in the laws of Hywel Dda, after a certain enactment concerning the payment of fines, the following remark is added, "For with cows all payments were made formerly." And the price of a cow is stated to be forty pence.|
The Liber Landavensis furnishes numerous examples of the custom of resorting to this method of valuation. Amongst others may be instanced the case of Brychan, the son of Gwyngon, who bought three uncias of land, on which three villages were situated, "for seven horses of the value of twenty-eight cows, and the whole apparel of one man of the value of fourteen cows, and a sword of the value of twelve cows, and a hawk of the value of six cows, with four dogs of the value of fourteen cows," p. 456. This property, consisting of about 324 acres, was purchased by him to present to the Church of Llandaff, in the time of Bishop Trychan, who is supposed to have lived about the early part of the seventh century.
Spoke the youth, "Is there a porter?" "There is; and if thou holdest not thy peace, small will be thy welcome. I am Arthur's porter every first day of January. And during every other part of the year but this, the office is filled by Huandaw, and Gogigwc, and Llaeskenym, and Pennpingyon, who goes upon his head to save his feet, neither towards the sky nor towards the earth, but like a rolling stone upon the floor of the court." "Open the portal." "I will not open it." "Wherefore not?" "The knife is in the meat, and the drink is in the horn, and there is revelry in Arthur's Hall, and none may enter therein but the son of a king of a privileged country, or a craftsman bringing his craft. But there will be refreshment for thy dogs, and for thy horses; and for thee there will be collops cooked and peppered, and luscious wine and mirthful songs, and food for fifty men shall be brought unto thee in the guest chamber, where the stranger and the sons of other countries eat, who come not unto the precincts of the Palace of Arthur. Thou wilt fare no worse there than thou wouldest with Arthur in the Court. A lady shall smooth thy couch, and shall lull thee with songs; and early to-morrow morning, when the gate is open for the multitude that come hither to-day, for thee shall it be opened first, and thou mayest sit in the place that thou shalt choose in Arthur's Hall, from the upper end to the lower."
The absence of a porter was formerly considered as an indication of hospitality, and as such is alluded to by Rhys Brychan, a bard who flourished at the close of the fifteenth century.|
"The stately entrance is without porters,
And his mansions are open to every honest man."
Said the youth, "That will I not do. If thou openest the gate, it is well. If thou dost not open it, I will bring disgrace upon thy Lord, and evil report upon thee. And I will set up three shouts at this very gate, than which none were ever more deadly, from the top of Pengwaed in Cernyw to the bottom of Dinsol, in the North, and to Esgair Oervel, in Ireland. And all the women in this Palace that are pregnant shall lose their offspring; and such as are not pregnant, their hearts shall be turned by illness, so that they shall never bear children from this day forward." "What clamour soever thou mayest make," said Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr, "against the laws of Arthur's Palace shalt thou not enter therein, until I first go and speak with Arthur."
|Pengwaed -- Pengwaed is the Land's End. In the Triad on the three divisions of Britain, it is named as the extreme point to the south of the island, which was distant nine hundred miles from Penrhyn Blathaon, supposed to be Caithness in North Britain.--Triad ii (?).|
|Cernyw - This was translated by Lady Charlotte Guest as Cornwall, however it also is the name for an area in Gwent, therefore the original Welsh is used to avoid confusion.|
|Triad 111 (85) shows the three courts of Arthur.|
Then Glewlwyd went into the Hall. And Arthur said to him, "Hast thou news from the gate?"--"Half of my life is past, and half of thine. I was heretofore in Kaer Se and Asse, in Sach and Salach, in Lotor and Fotor; and I have been heretofore in India the Great and India the Lesser; and I was in the battle of Dau Ynyr, when the twelve hostages were brought from Llychlyn. And I have also been in Europe, and in Africa, and in the islands of Corsica, and in Caer Brythwch, and Brythach, and Verthach; and I was present when formerly thou didst slay the family of Clis the son of Merin, and when thou didst slay Mil Du the son of Ducum, and when thou didst conquer Greece in the East. And I have been in Caer Oeth and Annoeth, and in Caer Nevenhyr; nine supreme sovereigns, handsome men, saw we there, but never did I behold a man of equal dignity with him who is now at the door of the portal." Then said Arthur, "If walking thou didst enter in here, return thou running. And every one that beholds the light, and every one that opens and shuts the eye, let them shew him respect, and serve him, some with gold-mounted drinking-horns, others with collops cooked and peppered, until food and drink can be prepared for him. It is unbecoming to keep such a man as thou sayest he is, in the wind and the rain." Said Kai, "By the hand of my friend, if thou wouldest follow my counsel, thou wouldest not break through the laws of the Court because of him." "Not so, blessed Kai. It is an honour to us to be resorted to, and the greater our courtesy the greater will be our renown, and our fame, and our glory."
And Glewlwyd came to the gate, and opened the gate before him; and although all dismounted upon the horseblock at the gate, yet did he not dismount, but rode in upon his charger. Then said Culhwch, "Greeting be unto thee, Sovereign Ruler of this Island; and be this greeting no less unto the lowest than unto the highest, and be it equally unto thy guests, and thy warriors, and thy chieftains--let all partake of it as completely as thyself. And complete be thy favour, and thy fame, and thy glory, throughout all this Island." "Greeting unto thee also," said Arthur; "sit thou between two of my warriors, and thou shalt have minstrels before thee, and thou shalt enjoy the privileges of a king born to a throne, as long as thou remainest here. And when I dispense my presents to the visitors and strangers in this Court, they shall be in thy hand at my commencing." Said the youth, "I came not here to consume meat and drink; but if I obtain the boon that I seek, I will requite it thee, and extol thee; and if I have it not, I will bear forth thy dispraise to the four quarters of the world, as far as thy renown has extended."
Then said Arthur, "Since thou wilt not remain here, chieftain, thou shalt receive the boon whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the wind dries, and the rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea encircles, and the earth extends; save only my ship; and my mantle; and Caledvwlch, my sword; and Rhongomyant, my lance; and Wynebgwrthucher, my shield; and Carnwenhau, my dagger; and Gwenhwyvar, my wife. By the truth of Heaven, thou shalt have it cheerfully, name what thou wilt." "I would that thou bless my hair." "That shall be granted thee."
|Arthur's ship is mentioned several times in the course of the present tale. Its name was Prydwen, and under that appellation it is alluded to by Taliesin in his Preidden Annwn, the Spoils of Hell. In that mystical poem, which appears to be full of allusions to traditions now no longer intelligible, various expeditions, consisting of as many warriors as would have thrice filled Prydwen, are represented as setting forth on different enterprises, from each of which only seven returned.|
The ancient chroniclers speak of these treasures of Arthur's with due reverence. Sometimes, however, they bestow the name of Prydwen on his shield instead of his ship. Thus old Robert of Gloucester, in the following quaint description I. 174:
"Þe kynn, was aboue yarmed wyþ haubert noble & rẏche,
wẏþ helm of gold on ys heued, (nas nour hẏm ẏlẏche)
Þe fourme of a dragon þeron was ycast.
Hys sseld, þat het Prydwen, was þanne ẏhonge wast
Aboute ys ssoldren, and þeron ẏpeynt was and ẏwort
Þe ẏmage of our Lady, inwan was al ys þoʒt.
Mẏd ẏs suerd he was ẏgurd, þat so strong was & kene,
Calẏbourne yt was ẏcluped, nas nour no such ye wene.
In ys rẏʒt hond ẏs lance he nom, pat ycluped was Ron,
Long & gret & strong ynow, hym ne mẏʒt atsytte non."
Gruffydd ab Arthur's account of King Arthur's arms agrees with this; but respecting his sword Caledvwlch, or Caleburn, he adds the information that it was formed in the Isle of Avallon. (Myvyrian Archaiology, II. p. 306)
Arthur finding himself mortally wounded at the battle of Camlann, confided his sword to one of his knights, charging him to cast it into the lake, and how when the knight proceeded to fulfil his behest, a hand and arm arose from the water, and seizing the precious weapon, brandished it three times, and disappeared with it in the lake. This circumstance must have been unknown to Richard the First, or he would hardly have sent to Tancred, King of Sicily, as a valuable present, a sword which was supposed to have been the, sword of Arthur.
The "Llenn", here rendered, the Mantle, but which appears to have served sometimes as a covering, and sometimes as a carpet, was celebrated as one of the thirteen precious things of the Island of Britain. Its property was to render invisible any one who was either under or upon it, while everything around was visible to him. In another Mabinogi it is said to have been called Gwenn.
And Arthur took a golden comb, and scissors, whereof the loops were of silver, and he combed his hair. And Arthur inquired of him who he was. "For my heart warms unto thee, and I know that thou art come of my blood. Tell me, therefore, who thou art." "I will tell thee," said the youth. "I am Culhwch, the son of Kilydd, the son of Prince Kelyddon, by Goleuddydd, my mother, the daughter of Prince Anlawdd." "That is true," said Arthur; "thou art my cousin. Whatsoever boon thou mayest ask, thou shalt receive, be it what it may that thy tongue shall name. Pledge the truth of Heaven and the faith of thy kingdom thereof."
"I pledge it thee, gladly." "I crave of thee then, that thou obtain for me Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr; and this boon I likewise seek at the hands of thy warriors.
|Kai is referred to as the son of Kynerin the Mabinogi: Lady of the Fountain. Cai ap Cynyr according to the Welsh pedigrees, was the son of Cynyr Cainvarvawc, the son of Gwron, the son of Cunedda Wledig. In Triad 69 (21) he is called one of the three diademed chiefs of battle, and is said to have been possessed of magical powers, by which he could transform himself into any shape he pleased. Of his real history, however, nothing is known. It is supposed that Caer Gai, in North Wales, bear his name; and it was the opinion of Iolo Morganwg, that the place of his sepulture was at Cai Hir, at Aberavan, in Glamorganshire. In the Brut he is called the Dapifer, or Steward of King Arthur. And in the French Romances he is mentioned as the Seneschal, and is styled Messire Queux, and Maitre Queux, or Keux--the original name being evidently altered in this manner in order to adapt it to his office of Chief of the Cooks. In these productions, his general character is a compound of valour and buffoonery: always ready to fight, and generally getting the worst of the battle. There is much that is very entertaining concerning him in the Morte d'Arthur, particularly a story of his want of courtesy to Sir Gareth, Gwalchmai's brother (Gawain) which led him into trouble.|
"Whan Arthur held his round table moost plenour, it fortuned that he commaunded that the hyhe feest of Pentecost shold be holden at a cyte and a Castel the whiche in tho dayes was called kynke kenadonne upon the sondes that marched nyghe walys." Upon this occasion, a youth who would not declare his name, presented himself before Arthur, and craved a boon, which the monarch immediately promised to grant. The boon he asked was, that he should be allowed meat and drink for the space of a twelvemonth in the King's palace. This the King considered a very unworthy petition, and counselled him to ask something more honourable, but the youth still persisted in his request. "Well sayde the kynge ye shal haue mete and drynke ynouz, I neuer deffended yt none, nother my frende ne my foo." "Thenne the kyng betook hym to sir Kay the steward and charged hym that he shold gyue hym of al manner of metes and drynkes of the best, and also that he hadde al maner of fyndynge as though he were a lordes sone. That shal lytel nede sayd syr Kay to doo suche cost upon hym. For I dare undertake he is a vylayne borne, and neuer will make man, for and he had come of gentylmen he wold haue axed of you hors and armour, but such as he is so he asketh. And sythen he hath no name, I shall yeue hym a name that shall be Beaumayns that is fayre handes, and in to the kechen I shalle brynge hym, and there he shalle haue fatte broweys euery day yt he shall be as fatte by the twelue monethes ende as a porke hog." So Sir Kai "scorned hym and mocked hym."
At the end of the twelvemonth, Beaumayns desired to be knighted, in order to achieve a certain perilous adventure; 1 and Sir Kai called him a "kechyn knave." And when the young man left the Court, to set out on his expedition, Kai armed himself and followed him, thinking to vanquish him without difficulty, and bring him to disgrace. But Beaumayns unhorsed Sir Kai, and took possession of his arms, with which he performed several gallant exploits to the great surprise of all, inasmuch as he was taken by his shield to be Sir Kai, whose prowess was by no means in high repute. Afterwards Beaumayns proved to be Sir Gareth of Orkney, the son of King Lot, and brother of Sir Gawain. Kai's horse, according to the Welsh authorities, was called Gwineu gwddwf hir, the long-necked bay.
|Bedwyr was one of the most valiant of Arthur's knights, and rendered him valuable service in the different wars in which be was engaged. In the king's household too he filled a very important office, that of chief butler, and there is no doubt, from the estimation in which he was ever held by his sovereign, that he acquitted himself equally well of the duties which devolved upon him in that capacity. His name is often coupled with that of the seneschal, Sir Kai, and their fortunes in many respects appear to have been very similar. They were the two knights whom Arthur selected as his sole companions in his expedition to St. Michael's Mount, to avenge the death of Helen, the niece of Hywel ab Emyr Llydaw. And he took the same means of recompensing the valour and fidelity of both, by bestowing upon each of them the sovereignty of a valuable French province, which Robert of Gloucester quaintly records in these words,--"He ʒef þat lond of Normandẏe Bedwer ẏs boteler, And þat lond of Aungeo Kaxe ẏs panter."--I. 187.|
|The names of these two heroes Kai and Bedwyr occur together in Triad 69 (21), where Kai is styled one of the Three Diademed Chiefs of battle, superior to both of whom was the subject of this note, Bedwyr the son of Pedrawc. The place of Bedwyr's sepulture is thus recorded in the "Graves of the Warriors," together with that of another chieftain, whose name is not given. The grave of the son of Ossvran is in Camlann, After many a conflict. (The grave of Bedwyr is in the woody steep of Tryvan. There is a lofty mountain bearing the name of Trivaen, at the head of the valley of Nant-ffrancon, in Snowdon. Dunraven Castle, in Glamorganshire, is also, in ancient writings, called Dindryvan, but whether either of these is the place mentioned in the above stanza, it is not easy to determine.|
|Hywel, the Prince of Llydaw, or Armorica, distinguished himself greatly in Arthur's wars against the Romans, and was one of the most strenuous in urging his Sovereign to resist their unjust claims. When Arthur was called suddenly home, by the news of Modred's treachery, he left Hywel with part of his army in Gaul, to secure his possessions in that country. He was one of the three knights of princely bearing in Arthur's Court, who were so kind and gentle, and so courteous of demeanour, that it was difficult for any one in the world to refuse or deny them anything they asked. The Cambrian Biography places Hywel's tomb at Llann Illtyd Fawr, or Lantwit, in Glamorganshire.|
|Emyr Llydaw, Hywel's father, was nephew of the celebrated St. Germanus, or Garmon. A great number of his descendants, headed by Cadfan, emigrated to this country from Armorica, and are ranked among the most eminent of the Welsh Saints. (See Table 7 in Lives of the British Saints Vol 1)|
|Greidawl Galldonyd, or Galldovydd.-- The three resolute minded praised-ones of the island of Britain --Triad 32.|
|Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer,|
|Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer-- This warrior, whose grave is noticed in the Stanzas of the Grave, was father of Gwenhwyfar, wife of Arthur. It is he that fights with Gwyn ab Nudd, for the fair Cordelia, every first of May.|
|Greid the son of Eri,|
Tathal Twyll Goleu,
Maelwys the son of Baeddan,
Crychwr the son of Nes,
Cubert the son of Daere,
Percos the son of Poch,
|Gwynn the son of Nudd,|
|Gwyn ab Nudd is one of the most poetical characters of Welsh romance. He is no less a personage than the King of Faerie, a realm, the extent and importance of which is nowhere better appreciated, or held in greater reverence, than in Wales. Very numerous indeed are the subjects of Gwyn ab Nudd, and very various are they in their natures. He is the sovereign of those beneficent and joyous beings, the Tylwyth Teg, or Family of Beauty (sometimes also called Bendith i Mammau, or Blessing of Mothers).|
According to the same testimony, the Owl was more particularly considered as the bird of Gwyn ab Nudd.
|Edeyrn the son of Nudd,|
|Edeyrn the son of Nudd
was one of the most valiant knights of Arthur's Court, and that in the celebrated expedition against the Emperor of Rome he was sent by his royal master, with five thousand men under his command, to the aid of Gawain and the other ambassadors to the Roman camp, who were treacherously assailed in returning from their mission.
The name of Edeyrn ab Nudd occurs in the Catalogue of Welsh Saints, where he is noticed as a bard, who embraced a life of sanctity, and to whom the Chapel of Bodedeyrn, under Holyhead, is dedicated. William of Malmesbury, the author says, "It is written in the Acts of the illustrious King Arthur, that at a certain festival of the Nativity, at Caerleon, that monarch having conferred military distinction upon a valiant youth of the name of Ider the son of King Nuth, in order to prove him, conducted him to the hill of Brentenol, for the purpose of fighting three most atrocious giants. And Ider going before the rest of the company, attacked the giants valorously, and slew them. And when Arthur came up he found him apparently dead, having fainted with the immense toil he had undergone, whereupon he reproached himself with having been the cause of his death, through his tardiness in coming to his aid; and arriving at Glastonbury, he appointed there four-and-twenty monks to say mass for his soul, and endowed them most amply with lands, and with gold and silver, chalices, and other ecclesiastical ornaments."
|Gadwy the son of Geraint,|
|Gadwy Mab Geraint was noticed for his courtesy to guests and strangers, as we learn from Triad 119 (75).|
|Prince Fflewddur Fflam,|
|Fflewddur Fflam-- appears in Triad 114 (9), where under the appellation of Fleidur Flam mab Godo he is ranked as one of the three sovereigns of Arthur's Court who preferred remaining with him as knights, although they had territories and dominion, of their own.|
|Ruawn Pebyr the son of Dorath|
|It is said that he fell in battle, and that it is owing to the circumstance of his body having been redeemed for its weight in gold that he became recorded as one of the Triad (61)(9): three golden corpses of the Island of Britain. He is also spoken of with Rhun ab Maelgwn, and Owain ab Urien, as one of the Three blessed Kings and another Triad ranks him with the three imperious ones. Other versions, however, of the same triad, read Rhun mab Einiawn, in the place of Rhuvawn Pebyr. Upwards of a century after this, we find the grave of Rhuvawn mentioned by the bard, Gwilym Ddu, in a manner that makes it evident that its locality was then well known.
There exists an ancient Poem, printed among those of Taliesin, called the Elegy of Owain ap Urien, and containing several very beautiful and spirited passages. This Triad relates to himL "Three Knights of battle were in the Court of Arthur; Cadwr, the Earl of Cernyw; Lancelot du Lac; and Owain the son of Urien Rheged. And this was their characteristic, that they would not retreat from battle, neither for Spear, nor for Arrow, nor for Sword, and Arthur never had shame in battle, the day he saw their faces there, and they were called the Knights of Battle."
Owain is also mentioned with Rhun mab Maelgwn, and Rhufawn befr mab Deorath Wledig, in Triad 25 (3) as one of the Three blessed Kings; and in Triad (70), we are informed that his Mother's name was Modron, the daughter of Afallach, and that he was born a twin with his sister Merwydd, or Morvyth, to whom Cynon ap Clydno's attachment is well known.
His place of sepulture is thus mentioned in the Graves of the Warriors. "The grave of Owain ap Urien is of quadrangular form, Under the turf of Llan Morvael."
He acts a conspicuous part in the Romances of the Round Table; and it is on such authority that Ste. Palaye celebrates him, "pour avoir introduit l'usage des fourrures ou zibelines aux manteaux, des ceintures aux robes, et des boucles pour attacher les éperons et Den, et pour avoir encore inventé la mode des gants."
|Bradwen the son of Moren Mynawc,|
|Dalldav the son of Kimin Côv,|
|Dalldav the son of Kimin Côv - Triad 113 (73): one of the three compeers of the Court of Arthur with Trystan mab March, and Rhyhawd mab Morgant ab Adras. The name of his horse was Fferlas: Trioedd y Meirch,|
|the son of Alun Dyved,|
the son of Saidi,
the son of Gwryon,
Uchtryd Ardywad Kad,
|Isperyr Ewingath of the Twrch Trwyth. It is uncertain whether he is identical with the Isperyr Ewingath of the Twrch Trwyth.|
Duach, and Grathach, and Nerthach; the sons of Gwawrddur Kyrvach (these men came forth from the confines of hell),
Esgeir Gulhwch Govynkawn,
|Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr is Arthur's porter at the gate who will not let him in|
|It is doubtful whether Aunwas Adeiniawc may be considered as the Aedenawc of the Triads, celebrated with his brothers, Gruduei, and Henbrien, as the three brave ones of the Island of Britain, who returned from battle on their biers. The parents of these three brothers were Gleissiar Gogled and Haernwed Vradawc.--Triad xxxiii (?).|
|Sinnoch the son of Seithved,|
|Gwennwynwyn the son of Naw|
|Gwennwynwyn the son of Nawis also in the Mabinogi Geraint ab Erbin, and March ab Meirchion, as one of the three who had the command of the fleets of the Island of Britain. Each of them had six score vessels with Six score men in each.|
|Bedyw the son of Seithved,|
Gobrwy the son of Echel Vorddwyttwll,
|His son Goronwy has already been cited as one of the Sovereigns who preferred residing at Arthur's Court, to remaining in their own dominions.|
|Mael the son of Roycol,|
Garwyli the son of Gwythawc Gwyr,
Gormant the son of Ricca,
|Menw the son of Teirgwaedd,|
|Menw corresponds to Triad 90 (28): Three Great Enchantments of the Island of Britain:
Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, revealed his secret to Uthyr Pendragon. |
Stripping out the Geoffrey of Monmouth fictional Uthur, we have the true Merlin being identical to Menw!!
|Digon the son of Alar,|
Selyf the son of Smoit,
Gusg the son of Atheu,
Nerth the son of Kedarn,
|Drudwas the son of Tryffin,|
|The story (or rather fable) of Adar Llwch guin is that there were two birds, griffins, which were Drudwas ab Tryffin's birds, who
had taught them to seize upon the first man that should enter into a certain fielde, and to kill him. It chanced, that having appointed a day to meet with King Arthur to fight a duell in the same fielde, he himself came first to the place, whereupon the birds presently fell upon him, and killed him.|
According to the Triads, Drudwas mab Tryffin was one of the three Golden-tongued Knights, whom no one could refuse whatsoever they might ask; Gwalchmai, and Eliwlod ab Madawc ab Uthur were the other two.--Triad 115.
|Twrch the son of Perif,|
Twrch the son of Annwas,
Iona king of France,
Sel the son of Selgi,
The men of Caerdathal, of Arthur's kindred on his father's side:|
Teregud the son of Iaen,
Sulyen the son of Iaen,
Bradwen the son of Iaen,
Moren the son of Iaen,
Siawn the son of Iaen,
Cradawc the son of Iaen.
|Caerdathal is the residence of Math ab Mathonwy, and is in Caernarvonshire, and crowns the summit of all eminence near Llanrwst. It is peculiar for having large stones set upright to guard its entrance. The name of this place occurs in Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr's Elegy on the death of his patron Owain Gwynedd, circa 1160. |
In the Cambro-Briton, II. p. 3, gives it in the following manner:-- Around the region of Caer Dathal
Lay those whom the vultures had mangled,
Reddening the hill and the headland and the dale."
Dirmyg the son of Caw,|
Justic the son of Caw,
Etmic the son of Caw,
Anghawd the son of Caw,
Ovan the son of Caw,
Kelin the son of Caw,
Connyn the son of Caw,
Mabsant the son of Caw,
Gwyngad the son of Caw,
Llwybyr the son of Caw,
Coth the son of Caw,
Meilic the son of Caw,
Kynwas the son of Caw,
Ardwyad the son of Caw,
Ergyryad the son of Caw,
Neb the son of Caw,
Gilda the son of Caw,
Calcas the son of Caw,
Hueil the son of Caw (he never yet made a request at the hand of any Lord).
|Considerable variations exist in the different catalogues which are extant of the numerous sons of Caw. In that, however, given by Jones, in his Welsh Bards, II. p. 22, the names exactly correspond with those in the text. Some of these personages are enumerated amongst the Saints of Wales, but of the individual history of the greater number little is known. The most eminent of them, Gildas mab Caw.|
Huail, another of the brothers, obtained a less honourable notoriety for his vices which eventually cost him his life. Jones details the circumstances of his ignominious death, from the authority of Edward Llwyd, who derived them from a Welsh MS. in the handwriting of John Jones, of Gelli Lyfdy, dated June the 27th, 1611. From this account, it appears that Huail was imprudent enough to court a lady of whom Arthur was enamoured. The monarch's suspicions being aroused, and his jealousy excited, he armed himself secretly, and determined to observe the movements of his rival. Having watched him going to the lady's house, some angry words passed between them, and they fought. After a sharp combat, Huail got the better of Arthur, and wounded him severely in the thigh, whereupon the contest ceased, and reconciliation was made upon condition that Huail, under the penalty of losing his head, should never reproach Arthur with the advantage he had obtained over him. Arthur retired to his palace, which was then at Caerwys, in Flintshire, to be cured of his wound. He recovered, but it caused him to limp a little ever after. A short time after his recovery, Arthur fell in love with a lady at Rhuthyn, in Denbighshire, and, in order the more frequently to enjoy the pleasure of her society, he disguised himself in female attire. One day he was dancing with this lady, and her companions, when Huail happened to see him. He recognized him on account of his lameness, and said, "This dancing might do very well, but for the thigh." It chanced that Arthur overheard his remark; he withdrew from the dance, and summoning Huail before him, upbraided him angrily for the breach of his promise and oath, and commanded him to be beheaded upon a stone, which lay in the street of the town, and which, from this event, acquired the appellation of Maen Huail in the town of Ruthin.
In Triad 69 (21), Huail the son of Caw of North Britain, Lord of Cwm Cawlwyd, is represented as one of the three Diademed Chiefs of Battle and the Englynion y Clyweid appropriate a stanza to one of his Sayings-- "Hast thou, heard what was Sung by Huail
The son of Caw, whose saying was just? Often will a curse fall from the bosom.".
|Taliesin the chief of the bards,|
|Taliesin's story is in a separate Mabinogi. His son
Adaon or Avaon, son of the chief of the bards, and a bard himself, was also celebrated for his valour. He appears in the mabinogi The Dream Of Rhonabwy. He was one of those three dauntless chieftains who feared nothing in the day of the battle and strife, but rushed onwards regardless of death.--Triad 73 (7).|
This courage and daring supported him through all the dangers of war. He fell at length by the hand of an assassin Llawgad Trwm Bargawd or Llawgad Trwm Bargawd Eiddyn, whose name is preserved only as the perpetrator of this crime.--Triad 47 (33).
The bold and determined character of Avaon appears to have continued even after death, Triad 76 (25) Avaon is spoken of as one of the grave-slaughtering ones, so called from their having avenged their wrongs from their graves.
|Manawyddan the son of Llyr,|
|This chieftain Manawyddan the son of Llyr figures is in Triad 38 (8).|
|Llary the son of Prince Kasnar,|
Ysperni the son of Fflergant king of Armorica,
Saranhon, the son of Glythwyr,
Annyanniawc the son of Menw the son of Teirgwaedd,
|Anynnawg son of Menw His father previously shown corresponds to Triad 90 (28): Three Great Enchantments of the Island of Britain: Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, revealed his secret to Uthyr Pendragon.|
| Gwynn the son of Nwyvre,|
Fflam the son of Nwyvre,
|Geraint the son of Erbin,|
|This chieftain is in another Mabinogi titled Geraint the Son of Erbin. A beautiful Elegy composed on him by Llywarch Hên:
Before Geraint, the terror of the foe,|
I saw steeds fatigued with the toil of battle,
And after the shout was given, bow dreadful was the onset.
At Llongborth I saw the tumult,
And the slain drenched in gore,
And red-stained warriors from the assault of the foe.
Before Geraint, the scourge of the enemy,
I saw steeds white with foam,
And after the shout of battle, a fearful torrent.
At Llongborth I saw the raging of slaughter,
And an excessive carnage,
And warriors blood-stained from the assault of Geraint.
At Llongborth was Geraint slain,
A valiant warrior from the woodlands of Devon,
Slaughtering his foes as he fell."
Geraint was a Prince of Dyvnaint (Devon), and fell fighting valiantly against the Saxons, under Arthur's banner, in the battle of Llongborth. Llongborth, where this fatal conflict took place, is by some believed to have been Portsmouth, and the name literally signifies the Haven of Ships. But the Rev. T. Price supposes it to be Langport, in Somersetshire. This opinion he founds on the similarity of the names, and the locality; Langport being situated on the river Parret, the Peryddon of the Welsh bards, and the Pedridan of the Saxon Chronicle.
From the Triads we learn that Geraint was also a naval commander. Gwenwynwyn the son of Nav, and March the son of Meirchion, are ranked with him as such; and we are told that with each of them were six score ships, having six score men in each.--Triad 68 (14). In the Gododin of Aneurin he is Spoken of in terms of high eulogium
Geraint ab Erbin has had the honour of being canonized. It is said that a church was dedicated to him at Caerffawydd, or Hereford. Four of his sons, Selyf, Cyngan, Iestin, and Cado, or Cataw, are also included in the list of Saints, and were members of the college of St. Garmon. Garwy, another of his sons, appears in a very different character from his brothers, in the Triads, where he is celebrated as one of the three amorous and courteous knights of the Court of Arthur.--Triad 119 (75).
|Llacheu the son of Arthur is said to have fallen fighting bravely for his country, in the battle of Llongborth, so celebrated in the verse of Llywarch Hên. The death of Llacheu is thus alluded to, in a curious Dialogue between Gwyn ab Nudd and Gwyddno Garanhir.|
"I know where Llacheu the son of Arthur
Renowned in song was slain,
When the ravens rushed upon blood."
|Ermid the son of Erbin,|
|Dyvel the son of Erbin,|
|The death of Dyvel mab Erbin is mentioned in the dialogue between Myrddin Wyllt and Taliesin, where the former says:-- "Through and through with rush and bound they came,|
Yonder and still beyond, were Bran and Melgan seen approaching,
And by them, at the battle's close,
Dyvel ab Erbin and his hosts were slain."
|Gwynn the son of Ermid,|
Kyndrwyn the son of Ermid,
Eiddon Vawr Vrydic,
Gormant the son of Ricca (Arthur's brother by his mother's side; the Penhynev of Cernyw was his father),
|In days when the value of articles, even of luxury and ornament, were estimated by the number of cows they were worth, we cannot be surprised that the herdsmen were sometimes men of rank and distinction, and considered worthy to occupy a place in Triad 85. Accordingly we find that Llawnrodded Varvawc is figured in those curious records, as one of the three Tribe Herdsmen of the Island of Britain. He tended the kine of Nudd Hael, the son of Senyllt, in whose herd were twenty-one thousand milch cows. The other two herdsmen (and they had each a like number of cows under their care) were Bennren, who kept the herd of Caradawc the son of Bran and big tribe, in Gorwenydd in Glamorganshire; and Gwdion the son of Don, the celebrated enchanter, who kept the herd of the tribe of Gwynedd, above the Conwy. His own cow went by the name of Cornillo, and was one of the three chief cows of the Island.--Trioedd y Meirch, xi. Llawnrodded's knife was one of the thirteen precious things possessing marvellous properties. It would serve four-and-twenty men at once with meat.|
|Nodawl Varyf Twrch,|
Berth the son of Kado,
Rheidwn the son of Beli,
Iscawin the son of Panon,
|Morvran the son of Tegid (no one struck him in the battle of Camlann by reason of his ugliness; all thought he was an auxiliary devil. Hair had he upon him like the hair of a stag.),|
Sandde Bryd Angel (no one touched him with a spear in the battle of Camlann because of his beauty; all thought he was a ministering angel),
Kynwyl Sant (the third man that escaped from the battle of Camlan, and he was the last who parted from Arthur on Hengroen his horse),
|This circumstance of the three warriors: Morvran the son of Tegid, Sandde Bryd Angel, and Kynwyl Sant escaping from the battle of Camlann is related in Triad 83, in words very nearly corresponding with those in the text. The two accounts differ only as regards the name of the third man, whom the Triad-, instead of Kynwyl Sant, represent to have been Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr, to whom, as King Arthur's Porter, we have already been introduced.--Triad 83. From the Hanes Taliesin, we learn that Morvran was the son of Tegid Voel and Ceridwen.|
|Uchtryd the son of Erim,|
Eus the son of Erim,
|Three men with these three qualities:|
Henwas Adeinawg the son of Erim (no four-footed beast could run the distance of an acre, much less could it go beyond it),
Henbedestyr the son of Erim (there was not any one who could keep pace, either on horseback or on foot),
Sgilti Yscawndroed the son of Erim (when he intended to go upon a message for his Lord, he never sought to find a path, but knowing whither he was to go, if his way lay through a wood he went along the tops of the trees. During his whole life, a blade of reed grass bent not beneath his feet, much less did one ever break, so lightly did he tread.),
|Teithi Hên the son of Gwynhan (his dominions were swallowed up by the sea, and he himself hardly escaped, and he came to Arthur; and his knife had this peculiarity, that from the time that he came there no haft would ever remain upon it, and owing to this a sickness came over him, and he pined away during the remainder of his life, and of this he died),|
Carneddyr the son of Govynyon Hên,
Gwenwynwyn the son of Nav Gyssevin, Arthur's champion,
Gwrbothu Hên (uncles unto Arthur were they, his mother's brothers),
Kulvanawyd the son of Goryon,
|Llenlleawg Wyddel from the headland of Ganion,|
|His name occurs in the Englynion y Clyweid.--Hast thou heard what Llenlleawg Gwyddel sang,|
The noble chief wearing the golden torques?
The grave is better than a life of want."--Myv. Arch. I. p. 174.
|Dyvynwal Moel, King of Britain, and the first lawgiver whom the nation boasts, is supposed to have lived about 400 years before the Christian era. There are four Triads relating to him, in all of which he is represented as a great benefactor to his people. In one of these he is styled one of the three National Pillars of the Island: in another, one of the three Primary Inventors: and in a third, one of the beneficent Sovereigns of the Cymry, because he had first reduced to a system, and improved, and extended their laws, institutions, customs, and privileges, "so that right and justice might be obtained by every one in Britain, under the protection of God and His peace, and under the protection of the country, and the nation." Again we find him designated as one of three chief System-formers of Royalty, by reason of the excellency of his mode of government.|
Hywel Dda, the Welsh Legislator, in compiling his celebrated Welsh Code, in the tenth century, made great use of the laws of Dyvynwal Moelmud, some of the Triads and institutes ascribed to whom are to be found in the third volume of the Myvyrian Archaiology.
|Dunard king of the North,|
Teirnon Twryf Bliant,
Gwrdinal the son of Ebrei,
|Gwystyl the son of Rhun the son of Nwython,|
|Rhun, the father of Gwystyl, was one of the chieftains mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth as being present at King Arthur's Coronation, at Caerlleon upon Usk.--Both he and Nwython are named in Taliesin's poem addressed to Gwallawg.|
|Gwallawg the son of Llenawg
is found in the Triads, celebrated with Dunawd Fur and Cynvelyn Drwsgl, as one of the pillars of battle of the Island of Britain, which is explained to mean that these chieftains were skilled in the disposition of the order of battle, and were battle leaders, superior to all others that ever existed.|
And in a subsequent Triad, he is called one of the "Grave-slaughtering ones," from his having avenged his wrongs from his grave.--Triad 71 (5). Amongst the compositions of the early bards, there are several pieces expressly in honour of Gwallawg. In some of these the scenes of his battles are named, and one of then, signifies that his fame extended from Caer Clud to Caer Caradawc, that is, from Dumbarton to Salisbury.
His name occurs in Llywarch Hên's Elegy upon Urien Rheged; and he has been already spoken of (p. 34) as one of the three northern kings, who united themselves with that prince for the purpose of opposing the progress of Ida's successors.--See also Turner's "Anglo-Saxons," B. III. c. iv. In Geoffrey of Monmouth, he is mentioned as one of the knights who were present at Arthur's coronation; and his death is recorded to have taken place in the last conflict between that Sovereign and the Romans. The "Englynion y Beddau" place his tomb in Carrawc.
|Llwyddeu the son of Nwython,|
Gwydre the son of Llwyddeu (Gwenabwy the daughter of [Caw] was his mother, Hueil his uncle stabbed him,
hatred was between Hueil and Arthur because of the wound),
|Drem the son of Dremidyd (when the gnat arose in the morning with the sun, he could see it from Gelli Wic in Cernyw, as far off as Pen Blathaon in North Britain),|
|Drem the Son of Dremidyd was so sharp-sighted, that he could descry a mote in the sunbeam in the four corners of the world.|
Gelli Wic (or, as it is generally written, Gelliwig), frequent mention is made in the Triads, where it is named as one of the three national thrones of the Island of Britain and one of King Arthur's chief seats of empire, in which he was used to celebrate the high festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide. At the time of Arthur's sovereignty, when he was Supreme Ruler (Penrhaith as it is called in Welsh), Bedwin was the chief Bishop, and Caradawc Vreichvras was the chief Elder, of Gelliwig. It was one of the three Archbishoprics of Britain. The other two cities which ranked with Gelliwig, were Caerlleon upon Usk, and Penrhyn Rhionydd, in the North. When Medrawd, Arthur's wicked nephew, usurped the government of the island during his uncle's absence, he went to Gelliwig, and dragged the queen Gwenhwyvar from her throne (or, according to some versions, appropriated her as his wife), and strengthening himself by making treaties with the Saxons, Scots, and Picts, collected a force of eighty thousand men to oppose his uncle's landing. Arthur, however, disembarked at Porth Hamwnt, and put his rebellious nephew to flight after a hard fought engagement. In the next encounter Arthur gained the victory, but received a mortal wound at the hand of Medrawd, whom, however, he slew upon the field; he did not himself die on the spot, but was conveyed to Avallach or Avalon, and the crown descended to Cystennin the son of Kadwr, his kinsman.
The site of Gelliwig is now a matter of some doubt. Possibly Callington (Kellington or Killiwick). Callington still bearing the appellation of Arthur's Hall. It is on a rocky tor in the parish of North-hill, which is in the same hundred as Callington, and within a short distance of it. Norden gives the following description of the spot:--"It is a square Plott, about 60 foote long and about 3.5 foote broade situate in a playne Mountayne, wrowghte some 3 foote in the grounds and by reason of the depression of the place there standeth a otarige or poole of water, the place (being) sett round about with flat stones." Near to the Hall are many rocky basins, called by the common people Arthur's Troughs, and in which, according to tradition, that monarch used to feed his dogs; for (says Gilbert, from whom this account is taken) it is "the custom in Cernyw to ascribe everything that is great and whose use is unknown to that immortal hero."
|Feryllwg which according to Rev. T. Price, in his History of Wales, was the Forest of Dean located betwixt the Wye and the Severn, which at one time formed a part of one of the five divisions of Wales. The name of Feryllwg, corrupted into Ferleg and Ferreg, he supposes to have been given to this district from the iron-works with which it abounded, the word Feryll signifying "a worker in metal." It appears also to have been considered as one of the three Gwents, and to have borne the appellation of "Gwent Coch yn y Dena," or the Red Gwent in the Deans, for which epithet it is most likely indebted to the colour of its ferruginous soil. The Forest of Dean in the time of Giraldus Cambrensis, this district "amply supplied Gloucester with iron and venison." The renowned Spanish Armada was strictly charged to destroy its noble oaks, which were then considered of the highest importance to our naval pre-eminence.|
|Kadwr, Earl of Cernyw: in the wars of Arthur, as recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Kadwr bore a conspicuous part. He shared the dangers of the expedition against the Romans, and was present at the battle in which the emperor of Rome was slain. He assisted at the coronation of his sovereign at Caerlleon upon Usk. Kadwr is mentioned in the Triads as one of the three battle knights, who fled neither for spear, nor arrow, nor sword, and who never shamed their leader in the day of conflict. His son Cystennin succeeded Arthur in his kingdom. Tegau Eurvron, the virtuous wife of Caradawc Vreichvras, and the heroine of the Mantel mal taillé, appears to have been the sister of Kadwr.|
|Pen or Penrhyn Blathaon is supposed to be Caithness in Scotland as the extreme point from Penwaeth or Pengwaed, in Cernyw, from which it was distant nine hundred miles. The distance between these two places was determined by the British Legislator, Dyvynwal Moelmud. In the Welsh Laws is given the following passage, relating to the admeasurement of the island made by him:--"Before the Saxons seized the crown of London and the sceptre, Dyvynwal Moelmud was King of this Island; and he was the Earl of Cernyw, by the daughter of the King of Lloegr. And after the male line of inheritance became extinct, he came into the possession of the kingdom, by the distaff (that is by the female line), as being the grandson of the King. Now he was a man of great wisdom, and he first made laws for this Island, and those laws continued to the time of Hywel Dda, the son of Cadell. And afterwards Hywel Dda made new laws, and changed some of the laws of Dyvynwal. But Hywel Dda did not alter the measurements of the lands of this Island, but left them as Dyvynwal framed them; for he was an excellent measurer. He measured this Island from the Promontory of Blathaon, in North Britain, to the Promontory of Pengwaed, in Cernyw, which is nine hundred miles, and that is the length of the Island, and from Crugyll, in Anglesey, to Sorram (Shoreham) on the shore of the sea of Udd (the Channel), that is the breadth of the|
|And Eidyol the son of Ner,|
Glwyddyn Saer (who constructed Ehangwen, Arthur's Hall)
Kynyr Keinvarvawc (when he was told he had a son born he said to his wife, 'Damsel, if thy son be mine, his heart will be always cold, and there will be no warmth in his hands; and he will have another peculiarity, if he is my son he will always be stubborn; and he will have another peculiarity, when he carries a burden, whether it be large or small, no one will be able to see it, either before him or at his back; and he will have another peculiarity, no one will be able to resist fire and water so well as he will; and he will have another peculiarity, there will never be a servant or an officer equal to him'),
Henwyneb (an old companion to Arthur),
Gwallgoyc (another; when he came to a town, though there were three hundred houses in it, if he wanted anything, he would not let sleep come to the eyes of any one whilst he remained there),
Berwyn the son of Gerenhir,
Paris king of France,
|Osla Gyllellvawr (who bore a short broad dagger. When Arthur and his hosts came before a torrent, they would seek for a narrow place where they might pass the water, and would lay the sheathed dagger across the torrent, and it would form a bridge sufficient for the armies of the three Islands of Britain, and of the three islands adjacent, with their spoil),|
|"the three islands adjacent": Orkney, the Isle of Wight, and the Isle of Man, are the three primary islands lying adjacent to Britain, according to the authority of the Triads, which proceed to mention, that subsequently Anglesey was separated from the main land, and became an island, and that in like manner the Island of Orkney was divided, and became a multitude of islands, and that other parts of Wales and Scotland became islands likewise.--Triad 67. This coincides with Nennius's account of the three islands adjacent to Britain, which is given in these words:--"Tres magnas insulas habet [Britannia], quarum, una vergit contra Armoricas, et vocatur Inisgueith; secunda sita est in umbilico maris inter Hiberniam et Brittanniam, et vocatur nomen ejus Eubonia, id est, Manau, alia sita est in extremo limits orbis Brittanniæ ultra Pictos, et vocatur Orc. Sic in proverbio, antiquo dicitar, quando de judicibus vel regibus sermo fuit, 'Judicavit Brittanniam cum tribus insulis.'"|
|Ossa, or Osla, Gyllellvawr would appear to be the Saxon enemy of Nennius's genealogies. This conjecture is strengthened by the epithet "Cyllellvawr"; the great or long knife, being in some measure associated with the Saxon name.|
|Gwyddawg the son of Menestyr (who slew Kai, and whom Arthur slew, together with his brothers, to revenge Kai),|
Garanwyn the son of Kai,
Amren the son of Bedwyr,
Rheu Rhwyd Dyrys,
Trachmyr (Arthur's chief huntsmen),
Llwyddeu the son of Kelcoed,
Hunabwy the son of Gwryon,
| mentioned in the dialogue between Arthur, Kai, and Glewlwyd:|
"Who is the Porter?
Who is it that asks?
Arthur and the blessed Kai.
If thou shouldst bring with thee
The best wine in the world,
Into my house thou shalt not come,
Unless it be by force, ..."
|the uncles of Arthur, the brothers of his mother:|
Gweir the son of Cadell the son of Talaryant,
Gweir Gwrhyd Ennwir,
|Gweir Gwrhyd Ennwir is in the Triads as one of the three stubborn ones of the island of Britain, whom no one could turn from their purpose. Triad (72)|
|Gweir Paladyr Hir|
|The sons of Llwch Llawwynnyawg (from beyond the raging sea):|
Cas the son of Saidi,
Gwrvan Gwallt Avwyn,
Gwyllennhin the king of France,
Gwittart the son of Oedd king of Ireland,
|"Hast thou heard what Garselit sang, "The Irishman whom it is safe to follow?|
Sin is bad when long pursued."--Englynion y Clyweid.
|Panawr Pen Bagad,|
Ffleudor the son of Nav,
|Gwynnhyvar mayor of Cernyw and Devon (the ninth man that rallied the battle of Camlan),|
|"the ninth man that rallied the Battle of Camlan"--This is very probably an allusion to the disposition made by Arthur of his forces, previous to the battle of Camlan. Geoffrey of Monmonth states that he arranged his army in nine divisions, with a commander over each, of whom Gwynnhyvar was possibly one.|
Gilla Coes Hydd (he would clear three hundred acres at one bound: the chief leaper of Ireland was he).
Sol, (he could stand all day upon one foot)
Gwadyn Ossol, (if he stood upon the top of the highest mountain in the world, it would become a level plain under his feet)
Gwadyn Odyeith (the soles of his feet emitted sparks of fire when they struck upon things hard, like the heated mass when drawn out of the forge. He cleared the way for Arthur when he came to any stoppage),
Hirerwm and Hiratrwm (The day these two went on a visit three Cantrevs provided for their entertainment, and they feasted until noon and drank until night, when they went to sleep. And then they devoured the heads of the vermin through hunger, as if they had never eaten anything. When they made a visit they left neither the fat nor the lean, neither the hot nor the cold, the sour nor the sweet, the fresh nor the salt, the boiled nor the raw),
Huarwar the son of Aflawn (who asked Arthur such a boon as would satisfy him. It was the third great plague of Cernyw when he received it. None could get a smile from him but when he was satisfied),
|Gware Gwallt Euryn,|
|Gware Gwallt Euryn was the son of Pwyll and Rhianon. The mysterious circumstances connected with his birth are detailed in another Mabinogi.|
|Gwyddrud and Gwyddneu Astrus (The two cubs of Gast Rhymi),|
Sugyn the son of Sugnedydd (who would suck up the sea on which were three hundred ships so as to leave nothing but a dry strand. He was broad-chested).
Rhacymwri, the attendant of Arthur (whatever barn he was shown, were there the produce of thirty ploughs within it, he would strike it with an iron flail until the rafters, the beams, and the boards were no better than the small oats in the mow upon the floor of the barn).
Dygyflwng and Anoeth Veidawg,
Hir Eiddyl and Hir Amreu (they were two attendants of Arthur),
Gwevyl the son of Gwestad (on the day that he was sad, he would let one of his lips drop below his waist, while he turned up the other like a cap upon his head),
Uchtryd Varyf Draws (who spread his red untrimmed beard over the eight-and-forty rafters which were in Arthur's Hall),
Yskyrdav and Yscudydd (two attendants of Gwenhwyvar were they. Their feet were swift as their thoughts when bearing a message),
Brys the son of Bryssethach (from the Hill of the Black Fernbrake in North Britain),
|Bwlch, and Kyfwlch, and Sefwlch; the sons of Cleddyf Kyfwlch, the grandsons of Cleddyf Difwlch (Their three shields were three gleaming glitterers; their three spears were three pointed piercers; their three swords were three grinding gashers: Glas, Glessic, and Gleisad; their three dogs, Call, Cuall, and Cavall. Their three horses, Hwyrdyddwd, and Drwgdyddwd, and Llwyrdyddwg. Their three wives, Och, and Garym, and Diaspad; their three grandchildren, Lluched, and Neved, and Eissiwed; their three daughters, Drwg, and Gwaeth, and Gwaethav Oll; their three hand-maids,|
|Eheubryd the daughter of Kyfwlch, Gorascwrn the daughter of Nerth,|
|Ewaedan the daughter of Kynvelyn Keudawd Pwyll the Half-Man,|
|Kynvelyn Keudawd Pwyll, the Half Man-- the Welsh have a fable on the subject of the Hanner Dyn or Half Man, taken to be illustrative of the force of habit. In this allegory Arthur is supposed to be met by a sprite, who appears at first in a small and indistinct form, but who on approaching nearer increases in size, and, assuming the semblance of half a man, endeavours to provoke the king to wrestle. Despising his weakness, and considering that he should gain no credit by the encounter, Arthur refuses to do so, and delays the contest, until at length the Half Man (Habit) becomes so strong that it requires his utmost efforts to overcome him.|
| Dwnn Diessic Unbenn,|
Eiladyr the son of Pen Llarcau,
Kynedyr Wyllt the son of Hettwn Talaryant,
|Sawyl Ben Uchel,|
|Sawyl Ben Uchel is accused of being one of those whose arrogance produced anarchy in the Island of Britain; and the lawless party united with the Saxons, and themselves became Saxons at last.--Triad 74.|
|Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar,|
|This ancient British name, Gwalchmai, which signifies the Hawk of Battle, is in the French Romances changed
into the not very similar form of Gawain, having first been Latinized into Walganus and Walweyn. In the Triads, he is mentioned in the following manner:|
Triad 115 "There were three golden-tongued Knights in the Court of Arthur: Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar; Drudwas the son of Tryffin, and Eliwlod the son of Madog ap Uthur. For there was neither King, nor Earl, nor Lord, to whom these came, but would listen to them before all others; and whatever request they made, it would be granted them, whether willingly or unwillingly; and thence were they called the Golden Tongued."
In one Triad we find Gwalchmai extolled as one of the three most courteous men towards guests and strangers; and from another we learn that be added scientific attainments to his other remarkable qualities. "The three learned ones of the island of Britain, Gwalchmai ab Gwyar, and Llecheu ab Arthur, and Rhiwallon with the broom-bush hair; and there was nothing of which they did not know the elements and the material essence."
William of Malmsbury says, that during the reign of William the Conqueror (A.D. 1086) the tomb of Gwalchmai, or Walwen, as he calls him, was discovered on the sea-shore, in a certain province of Wales called Rhôs, which is understood to be that still known by the same name, in the county of Pembroke, where there is a district called in Welsh Castell Gwalchmai, and in English Walwyn's Castle.
In the Graves of the Warriors a similar locality is indicated:
The grave of Gwalchmai is in Pyton, Where the ninth wave flows."
The Romances make Gawain one of the four sons of King Lot of Orkney, and of Morgawse, sister to King Arthur; and in them the character for courtesy given to him in the Triads is fully maintained. So proverbial, indeed, was he for this quality, that the highest praise the Squier could bestow upon the address of the Knight who rode the "stede of bras" was, That Gawain with his olde curtesie, Though he were come agen out of faerie Ne coude him not amenden with a word."
| Gwalhaved the son of Gwyar,|
Gwrhyr Gwastawd Ieithoedd (to whom all tongues were known),
|Gwrhyr Gwastawd Ieithoedd also appears in the Geraint son of Erbin of the Mabinogion. He is described knowing all languages, and being able to interpret even those of the birds and the beasts.|
|Kethcrwm the Priest,|
Clust the son of Clustveinad (though he were buried seven cubits beneath the earth, he would hear the ant fifty miles off rise from her nest in the morning),
Medyr the son of Methredydd (from Gelli Wic he could, in a twinkling, shoot the wren through the two legs upon Esgeir Oervel in Ireland),
Gwiawn Llygad Cath (who could cut a haw from the eye of the gnat without hurting him),
Ol the son of Olwydd (seven years before he was born his father's swine were carried off, and when he grew up a man he tracked the swine, and brought them back in seven herds),
|Bedwini the Bishop (who blessed Arthur's meat and drink).|
|Bedwini was Bishop of Gelliwig in Cernyw, and as such is spoken of in Triad 64 (1). One of his sayings is preserved in the Englynion y Clyweid:--|
Hast thou heard what Bedwini sung,
A gifted Bishop of exalted rank?
Consider thy word before it is given."
For the sake of the golden-chained daughters of this island,
|See Triad 56 for the resolution of the three Gwenhwyvars as the queens of Arthur: there is only one: daughter of Gwythyr the Enemy-subduer (Greidiawl), son of Owain the Great of Gwent son of Urien of Gorre.|
| and Gwennhwyach her sister,|
Rathtyeu the only daughter of Clemenhill,
Rhelemon the daughter of Kai,
Tannwen the daughter of Gweir Datharwenîddawg,
Gwenn Alarch the daughter of Kynwyl Canbwch,
Eurneid the daughter of Clydno Eiddin,
Eneuawc the daughter of Bedwyr,
Enrydreg the daughter of Tudvathar,
Gwennwledyr the daughter of Gwaledyr Kyrvach,
Erddudnid the daughter of Tryffin,
Eurolwen the daughter of Gwdolwyn Gorr,
Teleri the daughter of Peul,
|Indeg the daughter of Garwy Hir,|
|Some of the ladies here adjured are celebrated in the Triads, and others figure in the writings of the Romancers of the Middle Ages.|
Indeg, the daughter of Garwy or Afarwy hir, of Maelienydd, was one of the three ladies best beloved by Arthur. Her beauty is often the theme of the bards.
|Morvudd the daughter of Urien Rheged,|
|Morvudd was also the twin sister of Owain, and the beloved of Cynon the son of Clydno Eiddyn. Her mother's name was Modron, the daughter of Avallach.|
|Owain ab Urien Rheged--amongst all the characters of ancient British history, none is more interesting, or occupies a more conspicuous place, than the hero of this tale. Urien, his father, was prince of Rheged, a district comprising the present Cumberland and part of the adjacent country. His valour and the consideration in which he was held, are a frequent theme of Bardic song, and form the subject of several very spirited odes by Taliesin, particularly those upon the battles of Gwenystrad and Argoed Llwyfein. The name of Fflamddwyn, the flame-bearer, which occurs in these poems, is supposed to be that by which the Welsh designated Ida, the Anglian King of Northumberland. In the Appendix to Gale's Nennius, it is mentioned that Urien was one of the four Northern princes who opposed the progress of Deodric the Son of Ida. Urien besieged the latter in the island of Lindisfarne. The other princes were Rhydderch Hael, Gwallawc ap Llenawc, and Morcant, the latter of whom being jealous of Urien's military skill, in which he is said to have excelled all the other kings, procured his assassination during the expedition.|
According to Llywarch Hen's Elegy upon Urien Rheged, this event occurred in a place called Aberlleu. The Triads mention Llovan Llawdivo as the assassin. Of him little is known; but that he was a person of some note is evident from the circumstance of his grave being recorded.
"The grave of Llovan Llawdivo is on the strand of Menai, where makes the wave a sullen sound."
"The Genealogy of the Saints records that Urien came into South Wales, and was instrumental with the sons of Ceredig ab Cunedda, and his nephews, in expelling the Gwyddelians, who had gained a footing there from about the time of Maxen Wledig."
The old Romancers connect him with South Wales, and call him King Uryens of Gore, evidently intended for Gower in Glamorganshire. Thus it is recorded in the Morte d'Arthur, "Thenne the Kyng remeued in to Walys, and lete crye a grete feste that it shold be holdyn at Pentecost after the incoronacion of hym at the Cyte of Carlyon, vnto the feste come kyng Lott of Lowthean, and of Orkeney with fiue C knygtes with hym. Also there come to the feste kynge Uryens of gore with four C knyghtes with hym."
|Cynon Ap Clydno Eiddin--This ancient British Warrior is celebrated in the Triads as one of the Three wisely-counselling Knights of Arthur's Court:|
'Three counselling Knights were in the Court of Arthur, which were Cynon the son of Clydno Eiddin, Aron the son of Kynfarch ap Meirchion gul, and Llywarch hen the son of Elidir Lydanwyn. And these three knights were the Counsellors of Arthur, and whatever dangers threatened him in any of his wars, they counselled him, so that none was able to overcome Arthur; and thus he conquered all the nations through three things which followed him; and these were, Good hope, and the consecrated arms which had been sent him, and the virtue of his warriors; and through these he came to wear twelve crowns upon his head, and he became Emperor of Rome."
And in another place it is added, "And he had nothing but success when he acted by the advice which he received from them, and reverses when he did not follow their counsel."
Kynon is also called one of the three ardent Lovers, on account of his passion for Morvyth, daughter of Urien Rheged, and sister of Owain, the Hero of this Tale: "The three ardent lovers of the Island of Britain, Caswallawn the son of Beli for Flur the daughter of Mugnach Gorr, and Trystan the son of Talluch for Yseult the wife of March Meirchawn his uncle, and Kynon the son of Clydno Eiddin for Morvyth the daughter of Urien."
This warrior is mentioned by Aneurin,
"And Kynon------like rushes they fell before his hand.------
O son of Clydno, a song of lasting praise will I sing unto thee."
In the Memorials of the Graves of the Warriors, the following stanza records the place of the sepulture of Kynon.
"The grave of a warrior of high renown Is in a lofty region--but a lowly bed, The grave of Kynon the son of Clydno Eiddin."
In another stanza, the term lowly bed seems to be explained, and it would appear that a little hollow among the mountains was meant:
Whose is the grave beneath the hill? It is the grave of a warrior valiant in the conflict The grave of Kyrion the son of Clydno Eiddin."
|Modron is Morgan Le Fay.|
|Gwenllian Deg the majestic maiden,|
|Creiddylad the daughter of Lludd Llaw Ereint. (She was the most splendid maiden in the three Islands of the mighty, and in the three Islands adjacent, and for her Gwythyr (the Subduer) and Gwynn the son of Nudd fight every first of May until the day of doom)|
|Creiddylad is no other than Shakespeare's Cordelia, whose father, King Lear. All the old chroniclers, from the Brut to Milton, give the story of her devotion to her aged parent, but none of them seem to have been aware that she is destined to remain with him until the day of doom, whilst Gwyn ab Nudd, the King of the Fairies, and Gwythyr mab Greidiawl, fight for her every first of May; and whichever of them may be fortunate enough to be the conqueror at that time, will obtain her as his bride. She is quoted in the Englynion y Clyweid:--Hast thou heard what Creiddylad sang,|
The daughter of Lludd, the constant maiden?
Much will the faithful messenger effect."
|Ellylw the daughter of Neol Kynn-Crog (she lived three ages),|
|Essyllt Vinwen or Fyngwen, the daughter of Culvanawyd Prydain, and sister of Owain's faithless wife Penarwen, is mentioned very disparagingly in the Triads. She was married to March ab Meirchion, and acquired a very undesirable celebrity for her attachment to her husband's nephew Tristan ab Tallwch, the renowned Sir Tristan of the Romancers, who bestow upon Essyllt the appellation of Yseult La Belle.|
|Essyllt Vingul, we may presume to be the Yseullt aux Blanche Mains of romantic fiction, whom Sir Tristan, although at the same time deeply enamoured of her fairer namesake, married out of gratitude for her having effected his cure, when wounded by a poisoned arrow.|
And all these did Culhwch the son of Kilydd adjure to obtain his boon. Then said Arthur, "Oh! chieftain, I have never heard of the maiden of whom thou speakest, nor of her kindred, but I will gladly send messengers in search of her. Give me time to seek her." And the youth said, "I will willingly grant from this night to that at the end of the year to do so." Then Arthur sent messengers to every land within his dominions to seek for the maiden; and at the end of the year Arthur's messengers returned without having gained any knowledge or intelligence concerning Olwen more than on the first day.
Then said Culhwch, "Every one has received his boon, and I yet lack mine. I will depart and bear away thy honour with me." Then said Kai, "Rash chieftain! dost thou reproach Arthur? Go with us, and we will not part until thou dost either confess that the maiden exists not in the world, or until we obtain her." Thereupon Kai rose up. Kai had this peculiarity, that his breath lasted nine nights and nine days under water, and he could exist nine nights and nine days without sleep. A wound from Kai's sword no physician could heal. Very subtle was Kai. When it pleased him he could render himself as tall as the highest tree in the forest. And he had another peculiarity,--so great was the heat of his nature, that, when it rained hardest, whatever he carried remained dry for a handbreadth above and a handbreadth below his hand; and when his companions were coldest, it was to them as fuel with which to light their fire.
And Arthur called Bedwyr, who never shrank from any enterprise upon which Kai was bound. None was equal to him in swiftness throughout this island except Arthur and Drych Ail Kibddar. And although he was one-handed, three warriors could not shed blood faster than he on the field of battle. Another property he had; his lance would produce a wound equal to those of nine opposing lances.
|Drych Ail Kibddar - the Triad, printed in the Myvyrian Archaiology, takes notice of Drych ail Kibddar, and there be is classed among the dealers in phantasy or enchantment.--Triad xxxiii.|
And Arthur called to Kynddelig the Guide, "Go thou upon this expedition with the chieftain." For as good a guide was he in a land which he had never seen as he was in his own.
He called Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, because he knew all tongues.
He called Gwain (Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar), because he never returned home without achieving the adventure of which he went in quest. He was the best of footmen and the best of knights. He was nephew to Arthur, the son of his sister, and his cousin.
And Arthur called Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, in order that if they went into a savage country, he might cast a charm and an illusion over them, so that none might see them whilst they could see every one.
They journeyed until they came to a vast open plain, wherein they saw a great castle, which was the fairest of the castles of the world. And they journeyed that day until the evening, and when they thought they were nigh to the castle, they were no nearer to it than they had been in the morning. And the second and the third day they journeyed, and even then scarcely could they reach so far. And when they came before the castle, they beheld a vast flock of sheep, which was boundless and without an end. And upon the top of a mound there was a herdsman, keeping the sheep. And a rug made of skins was upon him; and by his side was a shaggy mastiff, larger than a steed nine winters old. Never had he lost even a lamb from his flock, much less a large sheep. He let no occasion ever pass without doing some hurt and harm. All the dead trees and bushes in the plain he burnt with his breath down to the very ground.
Then said Kai, "Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, go thou and salute yonder man." "Kai," said he, "I engaged not to go further than thou thyself." "Let us go then together," answered Kai. Said Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, "Fear not to go thither, for I will cast a spell upon the dog, so that he shall injure no one." And they went up to the mound whereon the herdsman was, and they said to him, "How dost thou fare, O herdsman?" "No less fair be it to you than to me." "Truly, art thou the chief?" "There is no hurt to injure me but my own." "Whose are the sheep that thou dost keep, and to whom does yonder castle belong?"
"Stupid are ye, truly! Through the whole world is it known that this is the castle of Yspaddaden Penkawr." "And who art thou?" "I am called Custennin the son of Dyfnedig, and my brother Yspaddaden Penkawr oppressed me because of my possessions. And ye also, who are ye?" "We are an embassy from Arthur, come to seek Olwen the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr."
"Oh men! the mercy of Heaven be upon you, do not that for all the world. None who ever came hither on this quest has returned alive." And the herdsman rose up. And as he arose, Culhwch gave unto him a ring of gold. And he sought to put on the ring, but it was too small for him, so he placed it in the finger of his glove. And he went home, and gave the glove to his spouse to keep. And she took the ring from the glove when it was given her, and she said, "Whence came this ring, for thou art not wont to have good fortune?" "I went," said he, "to the sea to seek for fish, and lo, I saw a corpse borne by the waves. And a fairer corpse than it did I never behold. And from its finger did I take this ring." "O man! does the sea permit its dead to wear jewels? Show me then this body." "Oh wife, him to whom this ring belonged thou shalt see here in the evening."
"And who is he?" asked the woman, "Culhwch the son of Kilydd, the son of Prince Kelyddon, by Goleuddydd the daughter of Prince Anlawdd, his mother, who is come to seek Olwen as his wife." And when she heard that, her feelings were divided between the joy that she had that her nephew, the son of her sister, was coming to her, and sorrow because she had never known any one depart alive who had come on that quest.
And they went forward to the gate of Custennin the herdsman's dwelling. And when she heard their footsteps approaching, she ran out with joy to meet them. And Kai snatched a billet out of the pile. And when she met them she sought to throw her arms about their necks. And Kai placed the log between her two hands, and she squeezed it so that it became a twisted coil. "Oh woman," said Kai, "if thou hadst squeezed me thus, none could ever again have set their affections on me. Evil love were this." They entered into the house, and were served; and soon after they all went forth to amuse themselves. Then the woman opened a stone chest that was before the chimney-corner, and out of it arose a youth with yellow curling hair.
Said Gwrhyr, "It is a pity to hide this youth. I know that it is not his own crime that is thus visited upon him." "This is but a remnant," said the woman. "Three-and-twenty of my sons has Yspaddaden Penkawr slain, and I have no more hope of this one than of the others." Then said Kai, "Let him come and be a companion with me, and he shall not be slain unless I also am slain with him." And they ate. And the woman asked them, "Upon what errand come you here?" "We come to seek Olwen for this youth." Then said the woman, "In the name of Heaven, since no one from the castle hath yet seen you, return again whence you came." "Heaven is our witness, that we will not return until we have seen the maiden." Said Kai, "Does she ever come hither, so that she may be seen?" "She comes here every Saturday to wash her head, and in the vessel where she washes, she leaves all her rings, and she never either comes herself or sends any messengers to fetch them." "Will she come here if she is sent to?"
"Heaven knows that I will not destroy my soul, nor will I betray those that trust me; unless you will pledge me your faith that you will not harm her, I will not send to her." "We pledge it," said they. So a message was sent, and she came.
The maiden was clothed in a robe of flame-coloured silk, and about her neck was a collar of ruddy gold, on which were precious emeralds and rubies. More yellow was her head than the flower of the broom, and her skin was whiter than the foam of the wave, and fairer were her hands and her fingers than the blossoms of the wood anemone amidst the spray of the meadow fountain. The eye of the trained hawk, the glance of the three-mewed falcon was not brighter than hers. Her bosom was more snowy than the breast of the white swan, her cheek was redder than the reddest roses. Whoso beheld her was filled with her love. Four white trefoils sprung up wherever she trod. And therefore was she called Olwen.
She entered the house, and sat beside Culhwch upon the foremost bench; and as soon as he saw her he knew her. And Culhwch said unto her, "Ah! maiden, thou art she whom I have loved; come away with me, lest they speak evil of thee and of me. Many a day have I loved thee."
"I cannot do this, for I have pledged my faith to my father not to go without his counsel, for his life will last only until the time of my espousals. Whatever is, must be. But I will give thee advice if thou wilt take it. Go, ask me of my father, and that which he shall require of thee, grant it, and thou wilt obtain me; but if thou deny him anything, thou wilt not obtain me, and it will be well for thee if thou escape with thy life." "I promise all this, if occasion offer," said he.
She returned to her chamber, and they all rose up and followed her to the castle. And they slew the nine porters that were at the nine gates in silence. And they slew the nine watch-dogs without one of them barking. And they went forward to the hall.
"The greeting of Heaven and of man be unto thee, Yspaddaden Penkawr," said they. "And you, wherefore come you?" "We come to ask thy daughter Olwen, for Culhwch the son of Kilydd, the son of Prince Kelyddon." "Where are my pages and my servants? Raise up the forks beneath my two eyebrows which have fallen over my eyes, that I may see the fashion of my son-in-law." And they did so. "Come hither to-morrow, and you shall have an answer."
They rose to go forth, and Yspaddaden Penkawr seized one of the three poisoned darts that lay beside him, and threw it after them. And Bedwyr caught it, and flung it, and pierced Yspaddaden Penkawr grievously with it through the knee. Then he said, "A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly. I shall ever walk the worse for his rudeness, and shall ever be without a cure. This poisoned iron pains me like the bite of a gadfly. Cursed be the smith who forged it, and the anvil whereon it was wrought! So sharp is it!"
That night also they took up their abode in the house of Custennin the herdsman. The next day with the dawn they arrayed themselves in haste and proceeded to the castle, and entered the hall, and they said, "Yspaddaden Penkawr, give us thy daughter in consideration of her dower and her maiden fee, which we will pay to thee and to her two kinswomen likewise. And unless thou wilt do so, thou shalt meet with thy death on her account." Then he said, "Her four great-grandmothers, and her four great-grandsires are yet alive, it is needful that I take counsel of them." "Be it so," answered they, "we will go to meat." As they rose up, he took the second dart that was beside him, and cast it after them. And Menw the son of Gwaedd caught it, and flung it back at him, and wounded him in the centre of the breast, so that it came out at the small of his back. "A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly," said he, "the hard iron pains me like the bite of a horse-leech. Cursed be the hearth whereon it was heated, and the smith who formed it! So sharp is it! Henceforth, whenever I go up a hill, I shall have a scant in my breath, and a pain in my chest, and I shall often loathe my food." And they went to meat.
And the third day they returned to the palace. And Yspaddaden Penkawr said to them, "Shoot not at me again unless you desire death. Where are my attendants? Lift up the forks of my eyebrows which have fallen over my eyeballs, that I may see the fashion of my son-in-law." Then they arose, and, as they did so, Yspaddaden Penkawr took the third poisoned dart and cast it at them. And Culhwch caught it and threw it vigorously, and wounded him through the eyeball, so that the dart came out at the back of his head. "A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly! As long as I remain alive, my eyesight will be the worse. Whenever I go against the wind, my eyes will water; and peradventure my head will burn, and I shall have a giddiness every new moon. Cursed be the fire in which it was forged. Like the bite of a mad dog is the stroke of this poisoned iron." And they went to meat.
And the next day they came again to the palace, and they said, "Shoot not at us any more, unless thou desirest such hurt, and harm, and torture as thou now hast, and even more." "Give me thy daughter, and if thou wilt not give her, thou shalt receive thy death because of her." "Where is he that seeks my daughter? Come hither where I may see thee." And they placed him a chair face to face with him.
Said Yspaddaden Penkawr, "Is it thou that seekest my daughter?" "It is I," answered Culhwch. "I must have thy pledge that thou wilt not do towards me otherwise than is just, and when I have gotten that which I shall name, my daughter thou shalt have." "I promise thee that willingly," said Culhwch, "name what thou wilt." "I will do so," said he.
"Seest thou yonder vast hill?" "I see it." "I require that it be rooted up, and that the grubbings be burned for manure on the face of the land, and that it be ploughed and sown in one day, and in one day that the grain ripen. And of that wheat I intend to make food and liquor fit for the wedding of thee and my daughter. And all this I require done in one day."
"Though this be easy for thee, there is yet that which will not be so. No husbandman can till or prepare this land, so wild is it, except Amaethon the son of Don, and he will not come with thee by his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
|Amaethon the son of Don, the signification of whose name Amaethon means "husbandman," would seem to have been a very proper person to send for to perform the office required by Yspaddaden Penkawr. He was brother to the celebrated illusionist or enchanter, Gwydion ab Don, and he appears to have had himself some dealings with the powers of darkness; for it is fabled that he brought from Annwn (the Lower Regions), a white roebuck, and a whelp, which were the occasion of the Cad Goddeu, or Battle of the Trees. This battle, in the Triads, is styled one of the three frivolous battles (ofergad) of the Island of Britain, and is said to have been on account of a bitch, a hind, and a lapwing; and it is added that it cost the lives of seventy-one thousand men.--Triad 50. The brothers, Gwydion and Amaethon, are mentioned as being efficient of counsel, in Taliesin's Elegy on Aeddon of Mon.|
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Govannon the son of Don to come to the headland to rid the iron, he will do no work of his own good will except for a lawful king, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; the two dun oxen of Gwlwlyd, both yoked together, to plough the wild land yonder stoutly. He will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
|Oxen of Gwlwlyd to which some fabulous story probably attached, are spoken of in the Triads, together with those required by Yspaddaden in the subsequent paragraph.--Tr. y Meirch x. One of these is alluded to in Taliesin's mystical poem, entitled Preiddeu Annwn, the spoils of Hell. "They know not the brindled ox with the broad headband Seven score handbreadths are in his yoke."|
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; the yellow and the brindled bull yoked together do I require."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; the two horned oxen, one of which is beyond, and the other this side of the peaked mountain, yoked together in the same plough. And these are Nynniaw and Peibaw whom God turned into oxen on account of their sins."
|On turning to the ancient records, we meet with kings bearing the names of those who were turned into oxen for their crimes:|
Nynniaw was a prince of Glamorgan, and his descendants appear to have profited by the lesson which his disastrous fate afforded; for we find that Marchell, his great grand-daughter, was the mother of the celebrated and canonized Brychan Brycheiniog, who had himself the happiness of being father to no less than forty-eight saints, twenty-three of whom were sons, and five-and-twenty daughters.
According to the Liber Landavensis, King Pebiaw, who was the son of Erb, was equally fortunate in the character of his descendants, one of whom was Saint Dubricius himself, the particulars of whose miraculous birth are there given in the following words. "There was a certain king of the region of Ergyng (Archenfield) of the name of Pebiau, called, in the British language, Claforawg, and in Latin, Spumosus, who undertook an expedition against his enemies, and returning from thence be ordered his daughter Eurddil to wash his head." The legend then goes on to state that circumstances led him to suspect that Eurddil was pregnant, and that "the King, therefore, being angry, ordered her to be put into a sack, and cast headlong into the river, that she might suffer whatever might befall; which, however, happened contrary to what was expected, for as often as she was placed in the river, so often was she, through the guidance of God, impelled to the bank. Her father, then, being indignant because he could not drown her in the river, resolved to destroy her with fire. A funeral pile was therefore prepared, into which his daughter was thrown alive. In the following morning, the messengers who had been sent by her father to ascertain whether any of the bones of his daughter remained, found her holding her son in her lap, at a spot where a stone is placed in testimony of the wonderful nativity of the boy; and the place is called Madle, because therein was born the holy man. The father, bearing this, ordered his daughter with her son to be brought to him; and when they came he embraced the infant with paternal affection, as is usual, and kissing him, from the restlessness of infancy, he touched with his hands the face and mouth of his grandfather, and that not without divine appointment; for by the contact of the hands of the infant, he was healed of the incurable disease wherewith be was afflicted, for he incessantly emitted foam from his mouth which two persons who constantly attended him could scarcely wipe off with handkerchiefs. "Who, when he knew that he had been healed by the touch of the infant, rejoiced greatly, like one who had come to a harbour after having suffered shipwreck. And he, who at first was as a roaring lion, was now turned to a lamb, and he began to love the infant above all his sons and grandsons; and of that place, Madle (that is, Mad, good, lle, place, and whence Madle, a good place), he made him heir, and also of the whole island, which took its name from his mother Eurddil, that is, Ynys Eurddyl, which by others is called Maes Mail Lecheu."/th>
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Seest thou yonder red tilled ground?" "I see it." "When first I met the mother of this maiden, nine bushels of flax were sown therein, and none has yet sprung up, neither white nor black; and I have the measure by me still. I require to have the flax to sow in the new land yonder, that when it grows up it may make a white wimple for my daughter's head, on the day of thy wedding."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Honey that is nine times sweeter than the honey of the virgin swarm, without scum and bees, do I require to make bragget for the feast."
"The vessel of Llwyr the son of Llwyryon, which is of the utmost value. There is no other vessel in the world that can hold this drink. Of his free will thou wilt not get it, and thou canst not compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The basket of Gwyddneu Garanhir, if the whole world should come together, thrice nine men at a time, the meat that each of them desired would be found within it. I require to eat therefrom on the night that my daughter becomes thy bride. He will give it to no one of his own free will, and thou canst not compel him."
|The marvellous basket of Gwyddneu Garanhir is reckoned amongst the thirteen precious things of the Island of Britain. This event will be detailed hereafter in the notes to another Mabinogi, where it is more particularly referred to. In the following catalogue of these treasures, which is copied from an old MS. in the collection of Mr. Justice Bosanquet, its properties are, however, made to differ slightly from those assigned to it by Yspaddaden:
1. Dyrnwyn the sword of Rhydderch Hael; if any man drew it except himself, it burst into a flame from the cross to the point, and all who asked it received it; but because of this property all shunned it: and therefore was he called Rhydderch Hael.|
2. The basket of Gwyddno Garanhir; if food for one man were put into it, when opened it would be found to contain food for one hundred.
3. The horn of Bran Galed; what liquor soever was desired was found therein.
4. The chariot of Morgan Mwynvawr; whoever sat in it would be immediately wheresoever he wished.
5. The halter of Clydno Eiddyn, which was in a staple below the feet of his bed; and whatever horse he wished for in it, he would find it there.
6. The knife of Llawfrodded Farchawg; which would serve four-and-twenty men at meat all at once.
7. The cauldron of Tyrnog; if meat were put in it to boil for a coward it would never be boiled, but if meat were put in it for a brave man it would be boiled forthwith.
8. The whetstone of Tudwal Tudclud; if the sword of a brave man were sharpened thereon, and any one were wounded therewith, he would be sure to die, but if it were that of a coward that was sharpened on it, he would be none the worse.
9. The garment of Padarn Beisrudd; if a man of gentle birth put it on, it suited him well, but if a churl it would not fit him.
10, 11. The pan and the platter of Rhegynydd Ysgolhaig; whatever food was required was found therein.
12. The chessboard of Gwenddolen; when the men were placed upon it, they would play of themselves. The chessboard was of gold, and the men of silver.
13. The mantle of Arthur; whosoever was beneath it could see everything, while no one could see him.
|Gwyddno Garanhir, the possessor of the basket, was the Prince of Cantref y Gwaelod, which was overflowed by the sea. He was Sovereign of Cantref y Gwaelod, a territory bordering on the sea, and protected from its ravages by a high embankment. One evening there was revelry at the Court, and Seithenin, the son of Seithyn Saidi, King of Dyved, upon whom it devolved to look after the embankment, and see that all was safe, became inebriated and neglected his charge. The consequence was that the sea broke in through the bank in the course of the night. Gwyddno and his Court escaped with difficulty from the impending ruin, and the Cantrev y Gwaelod was submerged and irretrievably lost. By this calamity sixteen fortified cities, the largest and finest that were in Wales, excepting only Caerlleon upon Usk, were entirely destroyed, and Cardigan Bay occupies the spot, where the fertile plains of the Cantrev had been the habitation and support of a flourishing population. Such as escaped the inundation fled to Ardudwy, and the country of Arvon, and the mountains of Eryri (Snowdon), and other places not previously inhabited. By none was this misfortune more severely felt than by Gwyddno Garanhir, to whom the reverse of circumstances it occasioned was so great that, from being an opulent monarch, he was all at once reduced tothe necessity of maintaining himself and his only son, the unfortunate Elphin, by the produce of the fishing weir mentioned in the text of Mabinogi Taliesin. Dyffryn Ardudwy is a remnant of the Cantrev y Gwaelod.
This disastrous event is commemorated in a proverb still repeated in the Principality.-- "The sigh of Gwyddno Garanhir When the wave rolled over his land."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The horn of Gwlgawd Gododin to serve us with liquor that night. He will not give it of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The harp of Teirtu to play to us that night. When a man desires that it should play, it does so of itself, and when he desires that it should cease, it ceases. And this he will not give of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
|The harp of Teirtu appears to be alluded to by Davydd ab Edmwnt, a bard who flourished about the middle of the fifteenth century. In an elegy which he composed on a celebrated harper, named Sion Eôs, or John the Nightingale (who suffered death for manslaughter, although his weight in gold was offered to redeem his life), the bard, addressing Reinallt, a once rival harper, says:--
"His companion has become silent,
The turtle-dove of the Harp of Teirtud."
There is a place called Castell Teirtud, mentioned in the Liber Landavensis, as being in Breconshire, in the hundred of Builth.
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The cauldron of Diwrnach Wyddel, the steward of Odgar the son of Aedd, king of Ireland, to boil the meat for thy marriage feast."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. It is needful for me to wash my head, and shave my beard, and I require the tusk of Yskithyrwyn Penbaedd to shave myself withal, neither shall I profit by its use if it be not plucked alive out of his head."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. There is no one in the world that can pluck it out of his head except Odgar the son of Aedd, king of Ireland."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. I will not trust any one to keep the tusk except Gado of North Britain. Now the threescore Cantrevs of North Britain are under his sway, and of his own free will he will not come out of his kingdom, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. I will not have the blood unless I have it warm, and no vessels will keep warm the liquid that is put therein except the bottles of Gwyddolwyd Gorr, which preserve the heat of the liquor that is put into them in the east, until they arrive at the west. And he will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
|Gwyddolwyd Gorr appears to be the correct name for Gwythelyn the Dwarf in the Triad 90 (28): Three Great Enchantments of the Island of Britain|
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The cauldron of Diwrnach Wyddel, the steward of Odgar the son of Aedd, king of Ireland, to boil the meat for thy marriage feast."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Some will desire fresh milk, and it will not be possible to have fresh milk for all, unless we have the bottles of Rhinnon Rhin Barnawd, wherein no liquor ever turns sour. And he will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is not a comb or scissors with which I can arrange my hair, on account of its rankness, except the comb and scissors that are between the two ears of Twrch Trwyth, the son of Prince Tared. He will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. It will not be possible to hunt Twrch Trwyth without Drudwyn the whelp of Greid, the son of Eri."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is not a leash that can hold him, except the leash of Cwrs Cant Ewin."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is no collar that will hold the leash except the collar of Canhastyr Canllaw."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The chain of Kilydd Canhastyr to fasten the collar to the leash."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is not a huntsman who can hunt with this dog, except Mabon the son of Modron. He was taken from his mother when three nights old, and it is not known where he now is, nor whether he is living or dead."
|Mabon the son of Modron--Triad 61, places his prison among the Gwyddyl Ffichti in Alban, and represents his whole kindred as having shared it with him. In the Graves of the Warriors we find,|
The grave in the upland of Nanllau; His story no one knows, Mabon the son of Modron the sincere."--Myv. Arch. I. p. 78.
He would seem to be alluded to, as Mab a Mydron, the servant of Uthir Pendragon, in the dialogue between Arthur, Kai, and Glewlwyd, where Mabon ab Mellt is also mentioned.
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Gwynn Mygdwn, the horse of Gweddw, that is as swift as the wave, to carry Mabon the son of Modron to hunt the boar Trwyth. He will not give him of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Thou wilt not get Mabon, for it is not known where he is, unless thou find Eidoel, his kinsman in blood, the son of Aer. For it would be useless to seek for him. He is his cousin."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Garselit the Gwyddelian is the chief huntsman of Ireland; the Twrch Trwyth can never be hunted without him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. A leash made from the beard of Dissull Varvawc, for that is the only one that can hold those two cubs. And the leash will be of no avail unless it be plucked from his beard while he is alive, and twitched out with wooden tweezers. While he lives he will not suffer this to be done to him, and the leash will be of no use should he be dead, because it will be brittle."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is no huntsman that can hold those two whelps except Kynedyr Wyllt, the son of Hettwn Glafyrawc; he is nine times more wild than the wildest beast upon the mountains. Him wilt thou never get, neither wilt thou ever get my daughter."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. It is not possible to hunt the boar Trwyth without Gwynn the son of Nudd, whom God has placed over the brood of devils in Annwn, lest they should destroy the present race. He will never be spared thence."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. There is not a horse in the world that can carry Gwynn to hunt the Twrch Trwyth, except Du, the horse of Mor of Oerveddawg."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Until Gilennhin the king of France shall come, the Twrch Trwyth cannot be hunted. It will be unseemly for him to leave his kingdom for thy sake, and he will never come hither."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The Twrch Trwyth can never be hunted without the son of Alun Dyved; he is well skilled in letting loose the dogs."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The Twrch Trwyth cannot be hunted unless thou get Aned and Aethlem. They are as swift as the gale of wind, and they were never let loose upon a beast that they did not kill him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; Arthur and his companions to hunt the Twrch Trwyth. He is a mighty man, and he will not come for thee, neither wilt thou be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The Twrch Trwyth cannot be hunted unless thou get Bwlch, and Kyfwlch [and Sefwlch], the grandsons of Cleddyf Difwlch. Their three shields are three gleaming glitterers. Their three spears are three pointed piercers. Their three swords are three griding gashers, Glas, Glessic, and Clersag. Their three dogs, Call, Cuall, and Cavall. Their three horses, Hwyrdydwg, and Drwgdydwg, and Llwyrdydwg. Their three wives, Och, and Garam, and Diaspad. Their three grandchildren, Lluched, and Vyned, and Eissiwed. Their three daughters, Drwg, and Gwaeth, and Gwaethav Oll. Their three hand-maids [Eheubryd, the daughter of Kyfwlch; Gorasgwrn, the daughter of Nerth; and Gwaedan, the daughter of Kynvelyn]. These three men shall sound the horn, and all the others shall shout, so that all will think that the sky is falling to the earth."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The sword of Gwrnach the Giant; he will never be slain except therewith. Of his own free will he will not give it, either for a price or as a gift, and thou wilt never be able to compel him."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Difficulties shalt thou meet with, and nights without sleep, in seeking this, and if thou obtain it not, neither shalt thou obtain my daughter."
"Go forward. And thou shalt not be chargeable for food or raiment for my daughter while thou art seeking these things; and when thou hast compassed all these marvels, thou shalt have my daughter for thy wife."
All that day they journeyed until the evening, and then they beheld a vast castle, which was the largest in the world. And lo, a black man, huger than three of the men of this world, came out from the castle. And they spoke unto him, "Whence comest thou, O man?" "From the castle which you see yonder." "Whose castle is that?" asked they. "Stupid are ye truly, O men. There is no one in the world that does not know to whom this castle belongs. It is the castle of Gwrnach the Giant." "What treatment is there for guests and strangers that alight in that castle?" "Oh! Chieftain, Heaven protect thee. No guest ever returned thence alive, and no one may enter therein unless he brings with him his craft."
Then they proceeded towards the gate. Said Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, "Is there a porter?" "There is. And thou, if thy tongue be not mute in thy head, wherefore dost thou call?" "Open the gate." "I will not open it." "Wherefore wilt thou not?" "The knife is in the meat, and the drink is in the horn, and there is revelry in the hall of Gwrnach the Giant, and except for a craftsman who brings his craft, the gate will not be opened to-night." "Verily, porter," then said Kai, "my craft bring I with me." "What is thy craft?" "The best burnisher of swords am I in the world." "I will go and tell this unto Gwrnach the Giant, and I will bring thee an answer."
So the porter went in, and Gwrnach said to him, "Hast thou any news from the gate?" "I have. There is a party at the door of the gate who desire to come in." "Didst thou inquire of them if they possessed any art?" "I did inquire," said he, "and one told me that he was well skilled in the burnishing of swords." "We have need of him then. For some time have I sought for some one to polish my sword, and could find no one. Let this man enter, since he brings with him his craft." The porter thereupon returned and opened the gate. And Kai went in by himself, and he saluted Gwrnach the Giant. And a chair was placed for him opposite to Gwrnach. And Gwrnach said to him, "Oh man! is it true that is reported of thee, that thou knowest how to burnish swords?" "I know full well how to do so," answered Kai. Then was the sword of Gwrnach brought to him. And Kai took a blue whetstone from under his arm, and asked him whether he would have it burnished white or blue. "Do with it as it seems good to thee, and as thou wouldest if it were thine own." Then Kai polished one half of the blade and put it in his hand. "Will this please thee?" asked he. "I would rather than all that is in my dominions that the whole of it were like unto this. It is a marvel to me that such a man as thou should be without a companion." "Oh! noble sir, I have a companion, albeit he is not skilled in this art." "Who may he be?" "Let the porter go forth, and I will tell him whereby he may know him. The head of his lance will leave its shaft, and draw blood from the wind, and will descend upon its shaft again." Then the gate was opened, and Bedwyr entered. And Kai said, "Bedwyr is very skilful, although he knows not this art."
And there was much discourse among those who were without, because that Kai and Bedwyr had gone in. And a young man who was with them, the only son of Custennin the herdsman, got in also. And he caused all his companions to keep close to him as he passed the three wards, and until he came into the midst of the castle. And his companions said unto the son of Custennin, "Thou hast done this! Thou art the best of all men." And thenceforth he was called Goreu, the son of Custennin. Then they dispersed to their lodgings, that they might slay those who lodged therein, unknown to the Giant.
Goreu the son of Custennin is recorded as the deliverer of Arthur from the three imprisonments assigned to him in the Triads.|
"The three supreme prisoners of the Island of Britain, Llyr Liediaith, in the prison of Euroswydd Wledig, 1 and Madoc, or Mabon, 2 son of Modron, and Geyr the son of Geyrybed, or Geiryoed; 2 and one more exalted than the three, and that was Arthur, who was for three nights in the Castle of Oeth and Anoeth, and three nights in the prison of Wen Pendragon, and three nights in the dark prison under the stone ------ And one youth released him from these three prisons; that youth was Goreu the son of Custennin, his cousin."--Tr. L.
The Castle of Oeth and Anoeth is spoken of in the Mabinogion and in another series of the Triads it is named as the prison of the above-mentioned Geyr. In this version, Arthur is not alluded to, but all the members of the families of the other prisoners are said to have shared their captivity, which is designated as the most complete ever known to have taken place.--Tr. 61.
The sword was now polished, and Kai gave it unto the hand of Gwrnach the Giant, to see if he were pleased with his work. And the Giant said, "The work is good, I am content therewith." Said Kai, "It is thy scabbard that hath rusted thy sword, give it to me that I may take out the wooden sides of it and put in new ones." And he took the scabbard from him, and the sword in the other hand. And he came and stood over against the Giant, as if he would have put the sword into the scabbard; and with it he struck at the head of the Giant, and cut off his head at one blow. Then they despoiled the castle, and took from it what goods and jewels they would. And again on the same day, at the beginning of the year, they came to
(End of White Book, Red Book continues)Arthur's Court, bearing with them the sword of Gwrnach the Giant.
Now, when they told Arthur how they had sped, Arthur said, "Which of these marvels will it be best for us to seek first?" "It will be best," said they, "to seek Mabon the son of Modron; and he will not be found unless we first find Eidoel the son of Aer, his kinsman." Then Arthur rose up, and the warriors of the Islands of Britain with him, to seek for Eidoel; and they proceeded until they came before the Castle of Glivi, where Eidoel was imprisoned. Glivi stood on the summit of his castle, and he said, "Arthur, what requirest thou of me, since nothing remains to me in this fortress, and I have neither joy nor pleasure in it; neither wheat nor oats? Seek not therefore to do me harm." Said Arthur, "Not to injure thee came I hither, but to seek for the prisoner that is with thee." "I will give thee my prisoner, though I had not thought to give him up to any one; and therewith shalt thou have my support and my aid."
His followers said unto Arthur, "Lord, go thou home, thou canst not proceed with thy host in quest of such small adventures as these." Then said Arthur, "It were well for thee, Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, to go upon this quest, for thou knowest all languages, and art familiar with those of the birds and the beasts. Thou, Eidoel, oughtest likewise to go with my men in search of thy cousin. And as for you, Kai and Bedwyr, I have hope of whatever adventure ye are in quest of, that ye will achieve it. Achieve ye this adventure for me."
They went forward until they came to the Ousel of Cilgwri. And Gwrhyr adjured her for the sake of Heaven, saying, "Tell me if thou knowest aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken when three nights old from between his mother and the wall." And the Ousel answered, "When I first came here, there was a smith's anvil in this place, and I was then a young bird; and from that time no work has been done upon it, save the pecking of my beak every evening, and now there is not so much as the size of a nut remaining thereof; yet the vengeance of Heaven be upon me, if during all that time I have ever heard of the man for whom you inquire. Nevertheless I will do that which is right, and that which it is fitting that I should do for an embassy from Arthur. There is a race of animals who were formed before me, and I will be your guide to them."
|Ousel of Cilgwri-- Davydd Ap Gwilym was acquainted with the tradition of these ancient animals, as is proved by his poem entitled "Yr Oed." He has, however, altered their localities. His mistress having disappointed him in keeping an engagement, he complains that the delay was so tedious to him that he might be compared to the inhabitant of Gwernabwy; for though it was true he was no Eagle, still, having waited for three generations, he had, through long tarrying, come to resemble that venerable bird; and he adds that for love he had grown as infirm as the stag of Cilgwri, and as grey as the owl of Cwm Cawlwyd. The Cwm Cawlwyd is probably the territory which belonged to Caw and his descendants, who are always styled Lords of Cwm Cawlywd, in North Britain. There is a place of this name in Caernarvonshire, and another in Carmarthenshire. Cilgwri is in Flintsbire.|
So they proceeded to the place where was the Stag of Redynvre. "Stag of Redynvre, behold we are come to thee, an embassy from Arthur, for we have not heard of any animal older than thou. Say, knowest thou aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken from his mother when three nights old?" The Stag said, "When first I came hither, there was a plain all around me, without any trees save one oak sapling, which grew up to be an oak with an hundred branches. And that oak has since perished, so that now nothing remains of it but the withered stump; and from that day to this I have been here, yet have I never heard of the man for whom you inquire. Nevertheless, being an embassy from Arthur, I will be your guide to the place where there is an animal which was formed before I was."
So they proceeded to the place where was the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd. "Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, here is an embassy from Arthur; knowest thou aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken after three nights from his mother?" "If I knew I would tell you. When first I came hither, the wide valley you see was a wooded glen. And a race of men came and rooted it up. And there grew there a second wood; and this wood is the third. My wings, are they not withered stumps? Yet all this time, even until to-day, I have never heard of the man for whom you inquire. Nevertheless, I will be the guide of Arthur's embassy until you come to the place where is the oldest animal in this world, and the one that has travelled most, the Eagle of Gwern Abwy."
Gwrhyr said, "Eagle of Gwern Abwy, we have come to thee an embassy from Arthur, to ask thee if thou knowest aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken from his mother when he was three nights old." The Eagle said, "I have been here for a great space of time, and when I first came hither there was a rock here, from the top of which I pecked at the stars every evening; and now it is not so much as a span high. From that day to this I have been here, and I have never heard of the man for whom you inquire, except once when I went in search of food as far as Llyn Llyw. And when I came there, I struck my talons into a salmon, thinking he would serve me as food for a long time. But he drew me into the deep, and I was scarcely able to escape from him. After that I went with my whole kindred to attack him, and to try to destroy him, but he sent messengers, and made peace with me; and came and besought me to take fifty fish spears out of his back. Unless he know something of him whom you seek, I cannot tell who may. However, I will guide you to the place where he is."
So they went thither; and the Eagle said, "Salmon of Llyn Llyw, I have come to thee with an embassy from Arthur, to ask thee if thou knowest aught concerning Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken away at three nights old from his mother." "As much as I know I will tell thee. With every tide I go along the river upwards, until I come near to the walls of Gloucester, and there have I found such wrong as I never found elsewhere; and to the end that ye may give credence thereto, let one of you go thither upon each of my two shoulders." So Kai and Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd went upon the two shoulders of the salmon, and they proceeded until they came unto the wall of the prison, and they heard a great wailing and lamenting from the dungeon. Said Gwrhyr, "Who is it that laments in this house of stone?" "Alas, there is reason enough for whoever is here to lament. It is Mabon the son of Modron who is here imprisoned; and no imprisonment was ever so grievous as mine, neither that of Lludd Llaw Ereint, nor that of Greid the son of Eri." "Hast thou hope of being released for gold or for silver, or for any gifts of wealth, or through battle and fighting?" "By fighting will whatever I may gain be obtained."
|Lludd Llaw Ereint, an ancient king of Britain, will be better known to the English reader by the name of King Lear, or Llyr, as it is written by the Welsh.|
Then they went thence, and returned to Arthur, and they told him where Mabon the son of Modron was imprisoned. And Arthur summoned the warriors of the Island, and they journeyed as far as Gloucester, to the place where Mabon was in prison. Kai and Bedwyr went upon the shoulders of the fish, whilst the warriors of Arthur attacked the castle. And Kai broke through the wall into the dungeon, and brought away the prisoner upon his back, whilst the fight was going on between the warriors. And Arthur returned home, and Mabon with him at liberty.
Said Arthur, "Which of the marvels will it be best for us now to seek first?" "It will be best to seek for the two cubs of Gast Rhymhi." "Is it known," asked Arthur, "where she is?" "She is in Aber Deu Cleddyf ," said one. Then Arthur went to the house of Tringad, in Aber Cleddyf, and he inquired of him whether he had heard of her there. "In what form may she be?" "She is in the form of a she-wolf," said he; "and with her there are two cubs." "She has often slain my herds, and she is there below in a cave in Aber Cleddyf."
|Aber Deu Cleddyf is Milford Haven.|
So Arthur went in his ship Prydwen by sea, and the others went by land, to hunt her. And they surrounded her and her two cubs, and God did change them again for Arthur into their own form. And the host of Arthur dispersed themselves into parties of one and two.
On a certain day, as Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer was walking over a mountain, he heard a wailing and a grievous cry. And when he heard it, he sprang forward, and went towards it. And when he came there, he drew his sword, and smote off an ant-hill close to the earth, whereby it escaped being burned in the fire. And the ants said to him, "Receive from us the blessing of Heaven, and that which no man can give we will give thee." Then they fetched the nine bushels of flax-seed which Yspaddaden Penkawr had required of Culhwch, and they brought the full measure without lacking any, except one flax-seed, and that the lame pismire brought in before night.
As Kai and Bedwyr sat on a beacon carn on the summit of Plinlimmon, in the highest wind that ever was in the world, they looked around them, and saw a great smoke towards the south, afar off, which did not bend with the wind. Then said Kai, "By the hand of my friend, behold, yonder is the fire of a robber!" Then they hastened towards the smoke, and they came so near to it, that they could see Dillus Varvawc scorching a wild boar. "Behold, yonder is the greatest robber that ever fled from Arthur," said Bedwyr unto Kai. "Dost thou know him?" "I do know him," answered Kai,
"He is Dillus Varvawc, and no leash in the world will be able to hold Drudwyn, the cub of Greid the son of Eri, save a leash made from the beard of him thou seest yonder. And even that will be useless, unless his beard be plucked alive with wooden tweezers; for if dead, it will be brittle." "What thinkest thou that we should do concerning this?" said Bedwyr. "Let us suffer him," said Kai, "to eat as much as he will of the meat, and after that he will fall asleep." And during that time they employed themselves in making the wooden tweezers. And when Kai knew certainly that he was asleep, he made a pit under his feet, the largest in the world, and he struck him a violent blow, and squeezed him into the pit. And there they twitched out his beard completely with the wooden tweezers; and after that they slew him altogether.
And from thence they both went to Gelli Wic, in Cernyw, and took the leash made of Dillus Varvawc's beard with them, and they gave it into Arthur's hand. Then Arthur composed this Englyn--
And thereupon Kai was wroth, so that the warriors of the Island could scarcely make peace between Kai and Arthur. And thenceforth, neither in Arthur's troubles, nor for the slaying of his men, would Kai come forward to his aid for ever after.
Said Arthur, "Which of the marvels is it best for us now to seek?" "It is best for us to seek Drudwyn, the cub of Greid the son of Eri."
A little while before this, Creiddylad the daughter of Lludd Llaw Ereint, and Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer, were betrothed. And before she had become his bride, Gwyn ap Nudd came and carried her away by force; and Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer gathered his host together, and went to fight with Gwyn ap Nudd. But Gwyn overcame him, and captured Greid the son of Eri, and Glinneu the son of Taran, and Gwrgwst Ledlwm, and Dynvarth his son. And he captured Penn the son of Nethawg, and Nwython, and Kyledyr Wyllt his son. And they slew Nwython, and took out his heart, and constrained Kyledyr to eat the heart of his father. And therefrom Kyledyr became mad. When Arthur heard of this, he went to the North, and summoned Gwyn ap Nudd before him, and set free the nobles whom he had put in prison, and made peace between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer. And this was the peace that was made: that the maiden should remain in her father's house, without advantage to either of them, and that Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer should fight for her every first of May, from thenceforth until the day of doom, and that whichever of them should then be conqueror should have the maiden.
And after that Arthur went into Armorica, and with him Mabon the son of Mellt, and Gware Gwallt Euryn, to seek the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewic. And when he had got them, he went to the West of Ireland, in search of Gwrgi Severi; and Odgar the son of Aedd king of Ireland went with him. And thence went Arthur into the North, and captured Kyledyr Wyllt; and he went after Yskithyrwyn Penbaedd. And Mabon the son of Mellt came with the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewic in his hand, and Drudwyn, the cub of Greid the son of Eri. And Arthur went himself to the chase, leading his own dog Cabal.
|Cabal is Arthur's favorite dog, also featured in Geraint son of Erbin. In the "Historia Britonum" Nennius describes another wonder in the region called Buelt. There is a heap of stones, and one stone laid on the heap having upon is the footmark of a dog. (See Historia_Brittonum: Cabal's Cairn (Carn Gafallt - (kml)) .) When he hunted the swine Troynt, Cabal, which was a dog of the warrior Arthur, impressed the stone with the print of his foot, and Arthur afterwards collected a heap of stones beneath the stone in which was the print of his dog's foot, and it is called Carn Cabal. And people come and take away the stone in their hands for the space of a day and a night, and on the next day it is found on its heap.|
Track of the hunt for the Twrch Trwyth from its landing in Pembroke to its escape out of the Severn River.
And Caw, of North Britain, mounted Arthur's mare Llamrei, and was first in the attack. Then Caw, of North Britain, wielded a mighty axe, and absolutely daring he came valiantly up to the boar, and clave his head in twain. And Caw took away the tusk. Now the boar was not slain by the dogs that Yspaddaden had mentioned, but by Cabal, Arthur's own dog.
|Arthur's mare Llamrei is very celebrated. Her name implies bounding or curvetting. Taliesin speaks of her in his Cân y Meirch, as "Llamrei full of vigour."|
And after Yskithyrwyn Penbaedd was killed, Arthur and his host departed to Gelli Wic in Cernyw. And thence he sent Menw the son of Teirgwaedd to see if the precious things were between the two ears of Twrch Trwyth, since it were useless to encounter him if they were not there. Albeit it was certain where he was, for he had laid waste the third part of Ireland. And Menw went to seek for him, and he met with him in Ireland, in Esgeir Oervel. And Menw took the form of a bird; and he descended upon the top of his lair, and strove to snatch away one of the precious things from him, but he carried away nothing but one of his bristles. And the boar rose up angrily and shook himself so that some of his venom fell upon Menw, and he was never well from that day forward.
After this Arthur sent an embassy to Odgar, the son of Aedd king of Ireland, to ask for the cauldron of Diwrnach Wyddel, his purveyor. And Odgar commanded him to give it. But Diwrnach said, "Heaven is my witness, if it would avail him anything even to look at it, he should not do so." And the embassy of Arthur returned from Ireland with this denial. And Arthur set forward with a small retinue, and entered into Prydwen, his ship, and went over to Ireland. And they proceeded into the house of Diwrnach Wyddel. And the hosts of Odgar saw their strength. When they had eaten and drunk as much as they desired, Arthur demanded to have the cauldron. And he answered, "If I would have given it to any one, I would have given it at the word of Odgar king of Ireland."
When he had given them this denial, Bedwyr arose and seized hold of the cauldron, and placed it upon the back of Hygwyd, Arthur's servant, who was brother, by the mother's side, to Arthur's servant, Cachamwri. His office was always to carry Arthur's cauldron, and to place fire under it. And Llenlleawg Wyddel seized Caledvwlch, and brandished it. And they slew Diwrnach Wyddel and his company. Then came the Irish and fought with them. And when he had put them to flight, Arthur with his men went forward to the ship, carrying away the cauldron full of Irish money. And he disembarked at the house of Llwydden the son of Kelcoed, at Porth Kerddin in Dyved. And there is the measure of the cauldron.
|Porth Kerddin - the precise position of this harbour is not easily ascertained. The proximity of places called Pen Arthyr and Trelethin (probably, TreLwydden ap Kelcoed), would induce a conjecture of Porthmawr, near St. David's Head, Pembrokeshire, being the site of Porth Kerddin. The words in the text, however, "And there is the measure of the cauldron," would favour the supposition of Porth Kerddin being another place in the same county, now called Pwll Crochan (the pool of the cauldron), about five miles westward from the town of Fishguard. It may not be irrelevant to remark that the whole surrounding district abounds with Druidical and other ancient remains. Not far from it is a small village alleged to have been the birthplace of the celebrated Asser Menevensis, whose name it bears; and about two miles from Tre Asser is a place where an ancient British town is said to have been founded by the hero of the present tale, and after him called Tref Culhwch, the only remains of which are some foundations of houses occasionally met with in ploughing.|
Then Arthur summoned unto him all the warriors that were in the three Islands of Britain, and in the three Islands adjacent, and all that were in France and in Armorica, in Normandy and in the Summer Country, and all that were chosen footmen and valiant horsemen.
|The Summer Country (Gwlad Yr Haf) stands translated in the text as the Summer Country, which is its literal meaning. This is the way in which it is usually rendered with reference to Triad 4, where it is said that Hu Gadarn came over with the race of the Cymry from the Gwlad yr Hâv, considered to be somewhere near Constantinople. In the present instance, however, it may have been intended to allude to Somersetshire, of which Gwlad yr Hâv is the Welsh appellation, and with which the etymology of the Havren (Severn) is probably connected.|
And with all these he went into Ireland. And in Ireland there was great fear and terror concerning him. And when Arthur had landed in the country, there came unto him the saints of Ireland and besought his protection. And he granted his protection unto them, and they gave him their blessing. Then the men of Ireland came unto Arthur, and brought him provisions. And Arthur went as far as Esgeir Oervel in Ireland, to the place where the Boar Trwyth was with his seven young pigs. And the dogs were let loose upon him from all sides. That day until evening the Irish fought with him, nevertheless he laid waste the fifth part of Ireland. And on the day following the household of Arthur fought with him, and they were worsted by him, and got no advantage. And the third day Arthur himself encountered him, and he fought with him nine nights and nine days without so much as killing even one little pig. The warriors inquired of Arthur what was the origin of that swine; and he told them that he was once a king, and that God had transformed him into a swine for his sins.
Then Arthur sent Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, to endeavour to speak with him. And Gwrhyr assumed the form of a bird, and alighted upon the top of the lair, where he was with the seven young pigs. And Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd asked him, "By him who turned you into this form, if you can speak, let some one of you, I beseech you, come and talk with Arthur." Grugyn Gwrych Ereint made answer to him. (Now his bristles were like silver wire, and whether he went through the wood or through the plain, he was to be traced by the glittering of his bristles.) And this was the answer that Grugyn made: "By him who turned us into this form, we will not do so, and we will not speak with Arthur. That we have been transformed thus is enough for us to suffer, without your coming here to fight with us." "I will tell you. Arthur comes but to fight for the comb, and the razor, and the scissors which are between the two ears of Twrch Trwyth." Said Grugyn, "Except he first take his life, he will never have those precious things. And to-morrow morning we will rise up hence, and we will go into Arthur's country, and there will we do all the mischief that we can."
So they set forth through the sea towards Wales. And Arthur and his hosts, and his horses and his dogs, entered Prydwen, that they might encounter them without delay. Twrch Trwyth landed in Porth Cleis in Dyved, and Arthur came to Mynyw. The next day it was told to Arthur that they had gone by, and he overtook them as they were killing the cattle of Kynnwas Kwrr y Vagyl, having slain all that were at Aber Gleddyf, of man and beast, before the coming of Arthur.
See enhanced locations |
See locations used in my book on King Arthur
1. (kml) Porth Cleis (Clais) is the place, at which the Twrch Trwyth landed, and commenced his devastating expedition through the Principality, is a small but well-known harbour in Pembrokeshire, at the estuary of the river Alun: Although it is only capable of affording accommodation to what are now termed small craft, it was, in times past, a much frequented port, and was the landing-place in several marauding excursions of the Gwyddyl Ffichti, one of whom, named Boia, is recorded in the Liber Landavensis as having been the source of great annoyance to St. David and St. Telliaw. The former of these saints is traditionally reputed to have been a native of Porth Cleis, and to have been baptized at a holy well in its immediate vicinity.
2. (kml) Mynyw, or St. David's, is the next place mentioned in the progress of the Twrch Trwyth, and
3. (kml) we thence trace him to Aber deu Gleddyf, or Milford Haven, On leaving Aber deu Gleddyf,
4. (kml) we find him overtaken by Arthur while destroying the herds of Kynwas Kwrr y Vagyl, and this we may conjecture to have occurred at a place still called Kynwaston or Canaston, not far from Narberth.
5. (kml) Blaengwaith Noe ab Arthur, near Lampeter Velfrey, and
6. (kml) Buarth Arthur, and
7. (kml) the Cromlech of Gwal y Filiast, or Bwrdd Arthur (Arthur's Table), in the parish of Llanboidy, probably mark the course of this singular hunt to the Preselly Mountains, the highest range in Pembrokeshire.
8. (kml) At the eastern extremity of these mountains rises the river Nyver, or Nevern, on the banks of which the British warriors drew themselves up in array, and close to the highest peak of the range, named Preseli Top, is the dingle of Cwmcerwyn, where the Twrch Trwyth is said to have committed such dreadful havoc among Arthur's champions. Within a distance of two miles, Arthur's name is again perpetuated in the rugged summit of Carn Arthur, whence the imagination may easily trace some remembrance of the Twrch Trwyth and his progeny, in the names of the opposite eminence, Moel Dyrch; and of Tre Dyrch, the adjacent farm.
9. (kml) Arthur overtakes him at Pelumyawc (Rhys: "occupied a central area between the mountains Llanddewi Velfrey, Henllan Amgoed, and Laugharne: it probably covered portions of the parish of Whitland and of that of Llandysilio, the church of which is a little to the north of the railway station of Clyn Derwen (Clunderwen)").
10. (kml) Thence he went to Abertywi, where he made another stand
11. (kml) He went as far as Glyn Ystu (Clyn Ystun - Rhys: "a farm between Carmarthen and the junction of the Amman with the Llychwr (Loughor), more exactly about six miles from that junction and about eight and a half from Carmarthen as the crow flies" - possibly putting it near Drefachand the men and dogs lost him.
12. (kml) the Twrch Trwyth again appears in Dyffryn Llychwr, or Loughor, on the confines of Carmarthenshire and Glamorgan.
13. (kml) In the Mynydd Amanw (Brynamman) we recognize the lofty heights, which form a natural boundary between the counties of Brecon and Carmarthen, called Mynydd Du, and Bannau Sîr Gaer, or the Black Mountain and Carmarthenshire Vans. On this range tradition has assigned to Arthur a resting-place of the most ample dimensions, called Gwely Arthur, or Arthur's Bed, and near to the spot where the river Amman rises is an elevated knoll, called Twyn y Moch, at the foot of which is Llwyn y Moch, both of which names may bear some allusion to the adventures detailed in the text.
14. (kml) The Dyffryn Amanw (Ammanford) of the tale is identical with the valley of the river Amman, which falls into the Llychwr some few miles from the sea.
15. (kml) There he went to Llwch Ewin (Llyn y Fan Fach - based on the next location).
The same remark may be said to apply to the adjacent river Twrch, which rises on the Van, and runs into the Tawy, below Ystradgynlais. Another singular coincidence may be traced between the name of 'a brook in this neighbourhood, called Echel, and the Echel Forddwyttwl, who is recorded in the tale as having been slain at this period of the chase. On the Llangadock side of the Black Mountain we meet with fresh reminiscences of the British monarch in Pen Arthur, and Coiten Arthur. The latter is one of two large rocks in the bed of the Sawdde river, said to have been the hero's quoit, which be flung from the summit of Pen Arthur to its present position; a distance of about a mile. The rock beside the Coiten was thrown into the stream from the same eminence by a lady of those days, being a pebble in her shoe which gave her some annoyance.
16. (kml) Llwch Tawy (Llyn y Fan Fawr)
17. (kml) Din Tywi - there are several localities on the Tywi bearing the appellation of Dinas, it would be difficult to determine to which of them Din Tywi is intended to refer (using Mynydd Bach near y Pigwin).
18. (kml) Thence he proceeded to Garth Gregyn (unknown) but the course of the Twrch Trwyth lay across Carn Cavall (Carn Gafallt)
19. (kml) At Ystrad Yw (cantref bounded by the Monnow and the Wye), we find ourselves once more on well-known ground, and hence we may conjecture
20. (kml)between Tawy and (should read: across the Wye to Ewyas (a cantref to the east right of Ystrad Yw over the Wye). and the Brecon Mountains to Abergwy, where the Wye falls into the Severn below Chepstow, and where the princely monster also dashes into the flood, to appear again but for a moment in Cernyw, before he vanishes entirely from our view.
Now when Arthur approached, Twrch Trwyth went on as far as Preseleu, and Arthur and his hosts followed him thither, and Arthur sent men to hunt him; Eli and Trachmyr, leading Drudwyn the whelp of Greid the son of Eri, and Gwarthegyd the son of Caw, in another quarter, with the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewic, and Bedwyr leading Cabal (Cavall), Arthur's own dog. And all the warriors ranged themselves around the Nyver. And there came there the three sons of Cleddyf Divwlch, men who had gained much fame at the slaying of Yskithyrwyn Penbaedd; and they went on from Glyn Nyver, and came to Cwm Kerwyn.
And there Twrch Trwyth made a stand, and slew four of Arthur's champions, Gwarthegyd the son of Caw (See 'The Dream of Rhonabwy' for his identity and strangely still alive) and Tarawc of Allt Clwyd, and Rheidwn the son of Eli Atver, and Iscovan Hael. And after he had slain these men, he made a second stand in the same place. And there he slew Gwydre the son of Arthur, and Garselit Wyddel, and Glew the son of Ysgawd, and Iscawyn the son of Panon; and there he himself was wounded.
And the next morning before it was day, some of the men came up with him. And he slew Huandaw, and Gogigwr, and Penpingon, three attendants upon Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr, so that Heaven knows he had not an attendant remaining, excepting only Llaesgevyn, a man from whom no one ever derived any good. And together with these he slew many of the men of that country, and Gwlydyn Saer, Arthur's chief Architect.
Then Arthur overtook him at Pelumyawc, and there he slew Madawc the son of Teithyon, and Gwyn the son of Tringad, the son of Neved, and Eiryawn Penllorau. Thence he went to Aberteivi, where he made another stand, and where he slew Kyflas the son of Kynan, and Gwilenhin king of France. Then he went as far as Glyn Ystu, and there the men and the dogs lost him. Then Arthur summoned unto him Gwyn ab Nudd, and he asked him if he knew aught of Twrch Trwyth. And he said that he did not.
And all the huntsmen went to hunt the swine as far as Dyffryn Llychwr. And Grugyn Gwallt Ereint and Llwydawg Govynnyad closed with them and killed all the huntsmen, so that there escaped but one man only. And Arthur and his hosts came to the place where Grugyn and Llwydawg were. And there he let loose the whole of the dogs upon them, and with the shout and barking that was set up, Twrch Trwyth came to their assistance.
And from the time that they came across the Irish sea, Arthur had never got sight of him until then. So he set men and dogs upon him, and thereupon he started off and went to Mynydd Amanw. And there one of his young pigs was killed. Then they set upon him life for life, and Twrch Llawin was slain, and then there was slain another of the swine, Gwys was his name. After that he went on to Dyffryn Amanw, and there Banw and Bennwig were killed. Of all his pigs there went with him alive from that place none save Grugyn Gwallt Ereint and Llwydawg Govynnyad.
Thence he went on to Llwch Ewin, and Arthur overtook him there, and he made a stand. And there he slew Echel Forddwytwll, and Garwyli the son of Gwyddawg Gwyr, and many men and dogs likewise. And thence they went to Llwch Tawy. Grugyn Gwrych Ereint parted from them there, and went to Din Tywi. And thence he proceeded to Ceredigiawn, and Eli and Trachmyr with him, and a multitude likewise. Then he (Grugyn) came to Garth Gregyn, and there Llwydawg Govynnyad fought in the midst of them, and slew Rhudvyw Rhys and many others with him. Then Llwydawg went thence to Ystrad Yw, and there the men of Armorica met him, and there he slew Hirpeissawg the king of Armorica, and Llygatrudd Emys, and Gwrbothu, Arthur's uncles, his mother's brothers, and there was he himself slain.
Twrch Trwyth went from there to between Tawy and Euyas, and Arthur summoned all Cernyw and Devon unto him, to the estuary of the Severn, and he said to the warriors of this Island, "Twrch Trwyth has slain many of my men, but, by the valour of warriors, while I live he shall not go into Cernyw. And I will not follow him any longer, but I will oppose him life to life. Do ye as ye will." And he resolved that he would send a body of knights, with the dogs of the Island, as far as Euyas, who should return thence to the Severn, and that tried warriors should traverse the Island, and force him into the Severn.
|The derivation of the name of this majestic river Severn (Aber Hafren) involves a very pretty though tragical story. King Locryn, the son of the Trojan Brutus, and sovereign of these realms, fell in love with Astrild, the King of Germany's beautiful daughter, who came over to this island in the retinue of Homber, King of Hungary, when that monarch undertook his disastrous expedition to endeavour to dispossess Albanak, Locryn's brother, of his dominions in the North. Locryn, as soon as he beheld the damsel, determined to wed her, but unfortunately he had before become betrothed to Gwendolen, the daughter of Corineus, Duke of Cernyw, the conqueror of Gog and Magog; and this stern slayer of giants, on hearing of the change in his intention, declared that he would not brook so great an insult to his family. This declaration of Corineus was not to be disregarded, particularly as he made it more impressive by taking his great axe in his hand, which, in the king's presence, "So grisliche he schok & faste, þat þe kyng quakede & ys men, so sore heo were a gaste." So Locryn deemed it expedient to marry Gwendolen, but he could not wean his affections from the beautiful Astrild, and he had a secret subterraneous habitation contrived, where he concealed her during Corineus's lifetime, giving out, when he visited her, that he went to sacrifice to his gods. On the death of Corineus he did not consider it necessary to keep up this deception any longer, but dismissed Gwendolen, and elevated Astrild to the rank of Queen. Gwendolen, however, was far from submitting tamely to this indignity; and summoning her father's Cornish vassals to her aid she brought them into the field against her faithless husband, who was slain in the first encounter. Astrild and her daughter Averne then fell into the power of Gwendolen, who, according to old Robert of Gloucester, was a "sturne wommon," and caused them both to be drowned in the Severn. Havren, the Welsh name for this river, bears a very near affinity to that of Gwelldolen's innocent and unfortunate victim, Averne.|
And Mabon the son of Modron came up with him at the Severn, upon Gwynn Mygdwn, the horse of Gweddw, and Goreu the son of Custennin, and Menw the son of Teirgwaedd; this was betwixt Llyn Lliwan and Aber Gwy (Wye Estuary). And Arthur fell upon him together with the champions of Britain. And Osla Kyllellvawr drew near, and Manawyddan the son of Llyr, and Kacmwri the servant of Arthur, and Gwyngelli, and they seized hold of him, catching him first by his feet, and plunged him in the Severn, so that it overwhelmed him. On the one side, Mabon the son of Modron spurred his steed and snatched his razor from him, and Kyledyr Wyllt came up with him on the other side, upon another steed, in the Severn, and took from him the scissors. But before they could obtain the comb, he had regained the ground with his feet, and from the moment that he reached the shore, neither dog, nor man, nor horse could overtake him until he came to Cernyw.
Llyn Lliwan -
whether the immersion of the boar Trwyth into the Severn near Llyn Lliwan, or Llinlivan, as it is generally called, has any reference to the wonders that characterise that remarkable spot, does not appear, but it would seem reasonable to suppose that something more than a natural cause must have led to the marvellous results thus related in the tract De Mirabilibus Britanniæ, attached to some of the copies of Nennius:
"There is another wonder, which is Oper Linn Liuan, the mouth of which river opens into the Severn; and when the tide flows into the Severn, the sea in the like manner flows into the mouth of the above-named river, and is received into a pool at its mouth, as into a gulf, and does not proceed higher up. And there is a beach near the river, and when the tide is in the Severn, that beach is not covered; and when the sea and the Severn recede, then the pool Liuan disgorges all that it had swallowed from the sea, and that beach is covered therewith, and it discharges and pours it out in one wave, in size like to a mountain. And if there should be the whole army of all that country there, and they should turn their faces towards the wave, it would draw the army to it by force, their clothes being full of moisture, and their horses would be drawn in like manner. But should the army turn their backs towards the wave, it will not injure them. And when the sea has receded, then the whole beach which the wave had covered is left bare again, and the sea retires from it.
Arthur soon dislodged his opponents from their stronghold, the singular nature of which excited great surprise in the mind of Howel the son of Emyr Llydaw, who accompanied him. But when Howel expressed his wonder at it, Arthur told him that there was a still more marvellous lake not far thence, which was twenty feet long and twenty feet broad, and consequently square; and it contained four different races of fishes, and a fish was never found in a part of the lake occupied by a race to which it did not belong. And he told him also that there was another lake in Wales near the Severn, which the men of that country called Llyn Llivan; and that lake, when the sea flowed, received water into it, and swallowed it as though it had been a mountain, until it overflowed its banks; and if it chanced that any stood with their faces towards the lake, and any of the spray of the water touched their clothes, it was hard for them to avoid being drawn into the lake; but if their backs were towards it, how near soever they might stand to its edge, it would have no effect upon them. Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur.--Myv. Arch. II. p. 310.
If they had had trouble in getting the jewels from him, much more had they in seeking to save the two men from being drowned. Kacmwri, as they drew him forth, was dragged by two millstones into the deep. And as Osla Kyllellvawr was running after the boar, his knife had dropped out of the sheath, and he had lost it, and after that, the sheath became full of water, and its weight drew him down into the deep, as they were drawing him forth.
Then Arthur and his hosts proceeded until they overtook the boar in Cernyw, and the trouble which they had met with before was mere play to what they encountered in seeking the comb. But from one difficulty to another, the comb was at length obtained. And then he was hunted from Cernyw, and driven straight forward into the deep sea. And thenceforth it was never known whither he went; and Aned and Aethlem with him. Then went Arthur to Gelli Wic, in Cernyw, to anoint himself, and to rest from his fatigues.
Said Arthur, "Is there any one of the marvels yet unobtained?" Said one of his men, "There is the blood of the witch Orddu, the daughter of the witch Orwen, of Pen Nant Govid, on the confines of Hell." Arthur set forth towards the North, and came to the place where was the witch's cave. And Gwyn ab Nudd, and Gwythyr the Enemy Subduer, counselled him to send Kacmwri, and Hygwyd his brother, to fight with the witch. And as they entered the cave, the witch seized upon them, and she caught Hygwyd by the hair of his head, and threw him on the floor beneath her. And Kacmwri caught her by the hair of her head, and dragged her to the earth from off Hygwyd, but she turned again upon them both, and drove them both out with kicks and with cuffs.
And Arthur was wroth at seeing his two attendants almost slain, and he sought to enter the cave; but Gwyn and Gwythyr said unto him, "It would not be fitting or seemly for us to see thee squabbling with a hag. Let Hiramreu and Hireidil go to the cave." So they went. But if great was the trouble of the first two that went, much greater was that of these two. And Heaven knows that not one of the four could move from the spot, until they placed them all upon Llamrei, Arthur's mare. And then Arthur rushed to the door of the cave, and at the door he struck at the witch, with Carnwennan his dagger, and clove her in twain, so that she fell in two parts. And Caw, of North Britain, took the blood of the witch and kept it.
Then Culhwch set forward, and Goreu the son of Custennin with him, and as many as wished ill to Yspaddaden Penkawr. And they took the marvels with them to his court. And Caw of North Britain came and shaved his beard, skin, and flesh clean off to the very bone from ear to ear. "Art thou shaved, man?" said Culhwch. "I am shaved," answered he. "Is thy daughter mine now?" "She is thine," said he, "but therefore needest thou not thank me, but Arthur who hath accomplished this for thee. By my free will thou shouldest never have had her, for with her I lose my life." Then Goreu the son of Custennin seized him by the hair of his head, and dragged him after him to the keep, and cut off his head and placed it on a stake on the citadel. Then they took possession of his castle, and of his treasures.
And that night Olwen became Culhwch's bride, and she continued to be his wife as long as she lived. And the hosts of Arthur dispersed themselves, each man to his own country. And thus did Culhwch obtain Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr.