Mabinogion part 3 and 4
MANAWYDDAN THE SON OF LLYR.
THE THIRD BRANCH OF THE MABINOGI
(Translation by Lady Charlotte Guest)
WHEN the seven men of whom we spoke above had
buried the head of Bendigeid Vran, in the White Mount in London, with its face towards France; Manawyddan gazed upon the town
of London, and upon his companions, and heaved a great sigh; and much grief and heaviness came upon him. "Alas, Almighty Heaven,
woe is me," he exclaimed, "there is none save myself without a resting-place this night." "Lord," said Pryderi, "be not so
sorrowful. Thy cousin is king of the Island of the Mighty, and though he should do thee wrong, thou hast never been a claimant
of land or possessions. Thou art the third disinherited prince." "Yea," answered he, "but although this man is my cousin,
it grieveth me to see any one in the place of my brother Bendigeid Vran, neither can I be happy in the same dwelling with
him." "Wilt thou follow the counsel of another?" said Pryderi. "I stand in need of counsel," he answered, "and what way that
counsel be?" "Seven Cantrevs remain unto me," said Pryderi, "wherein Rhiannon my mother dwells. I will bestow her upon thee
and the seven Cantrevs with her, and though thou hadst no possessions but those Cantrevs only thou couldst not have seven
Cantrevs fairer than they. Kicva, the daughter of Gwynn Gloyw, is my wife, and since the inheritance of the Cantrevs belongs
to me, do thou and Rhiannon enjoy them, and if thou ever desire any possessions thou wilt take these." "I do not, Chieftain,"
said he; "Heaven reward thee for thy friendship." "I would show thee the best friendship in the world if thou wouldst let
me." "I will, my friend," said he, " and Heaven reward thee. I will go with thee to seek Rhiannon and to look at thy possessions."
"Thou wilt do well," he answered. "And I believe that thou didst never hear a lady discourse better than she, and when she
was in her prime none was ever fairer. Even now her aspect is not uncomely."
They set forth, and, however long the journey,
they came at length to Dyved, and a feast was prepared for them against their coming to Narberth, which Rhiannon and Kicva
had provided. Then began Manawyddan and Rhiannon to sit and to talk together, and from their discourse his mind and his thoughts
became warmed towards her, and he thought in his heart he had never beheld any lady more fulfilled of grace and beauty than
she. "Pryderi," said he, "I will that it be as thou didst say." "What saving was that?" asked Rhiannon. "Lady," said Pryderi,
"I did offer thee as a wife to Manawyddan the son of Llyr." "By that will I gladly abide," said Rhiannon. "Right glad am I
also," said Manawyddan; "may Heaven reward him who hath shown unto me friendship so perfect as this."
And before the feast was over she became his
bride. Said Pryderi, "Tarry ye here the rest of the feast, and I will go into Lloegyr to tender my homage unto Caswallawn
the son of Beli." "Lord," said Rhiannon, "Caswallawn is in Kent, thou mayest therefore tarry at the feast, and wait until
he shall be nearer." "We will wait," he answered. So they finished the feast. And they began to make the circuit of Dyved,
and to hunt, and to take their pleasure. And as they went through the country, they had never seen lands more pleasant to
live in, nor better hunting grounds, nor greater plenty of honey and fish. And such was the friendship between those four,
that they would not be parted from each other by night nor by day.
And in the midst of all this he went to Caswallawn
at Oxford, and tendered his homage; and honourable was his reception there, and highly was he praised for offering his homage.
And after his return, Pryderi and Manawyddan
feasted and took their ease and pleasure. And they began a feast at Narberth, for it was the chief palace; and there originated
all honour. And when they had ended the first meal that night, while those who served them ate, they arose and went forth,
and proceeded all four to the Gorsedd of Narberth, and their retinue with them. And as they sat thus, behold, a peal of thunder,
and with the violence of the thunderstorm, lo there came a fall of mist, so thick that not one of them could see the other.
And after the mist it became light all around. And when they looked towards the place where they were wont to see cattle,
and herds, and dwellings, they saw nothing now, neither house, nor beast, nor smoke, nor fire, nor man, nor dwelling; but
the houses of the Court empty, and desert, and uninhabited, without either man, or beast within them. And truly all their
companions were lost to them, without their knowing aught of what had befallen them, save those four only.
"In the name of Heaven," cried Manawyddan,
"where are they of the Court, and all my host beside these? Let us go, and see." So they came into the hall, and there was
no man; and they went on to the castle, and to the sleeping-place, and they saw none; and in the mead-cellar and in the kitchen
there was nought but desolation. So they four feasted, and hunted, and took their pleasure. Then they began to go through
the land and all the possessions that they had, and they visited the houses and dwellings, and found nothing but wild beasts.
And when they had consumed their feast and all their provisions, they fed upon the prey they killed in hunting, and the honey
of the wild swarms. And thus they passed the first year pleasantly, and the second; but at the last they began to be weary.
"Verily," said Manawyddan, "we must not bide
thus. Let us go into Lloegyr, and seek some craft whereby we may gain our support." So they went into Lloegyr, and came as
far as Hereford. And they betook themselves to making saddles. And Manawyddan began to make housings, and he gilded and coloured
them with blue enamel, in the manner that he had seen it done by Llasar Llaesgywydd. And he made the blue enamel as it was
made by the other man. And therefore is it still called Calch Lasar [blue enamel], because Llasar Llaesgywydd had wrought
And as long as that workmanship could be had
of Manawyddan, neither saddle nor housing was bought of a saddler throughout all Hereford; till at length every one of the
saddlers perceived that they were losing much of their gain, and that no man bought of them, but him who could not get what
he sought from Manawyddan. Then they assembled together, and agreed to slay him and his companions.
Now they received warning of this, and took
counsel whether they should leave the city. "By Heaven," said Pryderi, "it is not my counsel that we should quit the town,
but that we should slay these boors." "Not so," said Manawyddan, "for if we fight with them, we shall have evil fame, and
shall be put in prison. It were better for us to go to another town to maintain ourselves." So they four went to another city.
"What craft shall we take?" said Pryderi. "We
will make shields," said Manawyddan. "Do we know anything about that craft?" said Pryderi. "We will try," answered he. There
they began to make shields, and fashioned them after the shape of the good shields they had seen; and they enamelled them,
as they had done the saddles. And they prospered in that place, so that not a shield was asked for in the whole town, but
such as was had of them. Rapid therefore was their work, and numberless were the shields they made. But at last they were
marked by the craftsmen, who came together in haste, and their fellow-townsmen with them, and agreed that they should seek
to slay them. But they received warning, and heard how the men had resolved on their destruction. "Pryderi," said Manawyddan,
"these men desire to slay us." "Let us not endure this from these boors, but let us rather fall upon them and slay them."
"Not so," he answered; "Caswallawn and his men will hear of it, and we shall be undone. Let us go to another town." So to
another town they went.
"What craft shall we take?" said Manawyddan.
"Whatsoever thou wilt that we know," said Pryderi. "Not so," he replied, "but let us take to making shoes, for there is not
courage enough among cordwainers either to fight with us or to molest us." "I know nothing thereof," said Pryderi.
"But I know," answered Manawyddan; "and I will
teach thee to stitch. We will not attempt to dress the leather, but we will buy it ready dressed and will make the shoes from
So he began by buying the best cordwal that
could be had in the town, and none other would he buy except the leather for the soles; and he associated himself with the
best goldsmith in the town, and caused him to make clasps for the shoes, and to gild the clasps, and he marked how it was
done until he learnt the method. And therefore was he called one of the three makers of Gold Shoes; and, when they could be
had from him, not a shoe nor hose was bought of any of the cordwainers in the town. But when the cordwainers perceived that
their gains were failing (for as Manawyddan shaped the work, so Pryderi stitched it), they came together and took counsel,
and agreed that they would slay them.
"Pryderi," said Manawyddan, "these men are
minded to slay us." "Wherefore should we bear this from the boorish thieves?" said Pryderi. "Rather let us slay them all."
"Not so," said Manawyddan, "we will not slay them., neither will we remain in Lloegyr any longer. Let us set forth to Dyved
and go to see it."
So they journeyed along until they came to
Dyved, and they went forward to Narberth. And there they kindled fire and supported themselves by hunting. And thus they spent
a month. And they gathered their dogs around them, and tarried there one year.
And one morning Pryderi and Manawyddan rose
up to hunt, and they ranged their dogs and went forth from the palace. And some of the dogs ran before them and came to a
small bush which was near at hand; but as soon as they were come to the bush, they hastily drew back and returned to the men,
their hair bristling up greatly. "Let us go near to the bush," said Pryderi, "and see what is in it." And as they came near,
behold, a wild boar of a pure white colour rose up from the bush. Then the dogs being set on by the men, rushed towards him;
but he left the bush and fell back a little way from the men, and made a stand against the dogs without retreating from them,
until the men had come near. And when the men came up, he fell back a second time, and betook him to flight. Then they pursued
the boar until they beheld a vast and lofty castle, all newly built, in a place where they had never before seen either stone
or building. And the boar ran swiftly into the castle and the dogs after him. Now when the boar and the dogs had gone into
the castle, they began to wonder at finding a castle in a place where they had never before then seen any building whatsoever.
, And from the top of the Gorsedd they looked and listened for the dogs. But so long as they were there they heard not one
of the dogs nor aught concerning them.
"Lord," said Pryderi, "I will go into the castle
to get tidings of the dogs." "Truly," he replied, "thou wouldst be unwise to go into this castle, which thou hast never seen
till now. If thou wouldst follow my counsel, thou wouldst not enter therein. Whosoever has cast a spell over this land has
caused this castle to be here. "Of a truth," answered Pryderi, "I cannot thus give up my dogs." And for all the counsel that
Manawyddan gave him, yet to the castle he went.
When he came within the castle, neither man
nor beast, nor boar nor dogs, nor house nor dwelling saw he within it. But in the centre of the castle floor he beheld a fountain
with marble work around it, and on the margin of the fountain a golden bowl upon a marble slab, and chains hanging from the
air, to which he saw no end.
And he was greatly pleased with the beauty
of the gold, and with the rich workmanship of the bowl, and he went up to the bowl and laid hold of it. And when he had taken
hold of it his hands stuck to the bowl, and his feet to the slab on which the bowl was placed, and all his joyousness forsook
him, so that he could not utter a word. And thus he stood.
And Manawyddan waited for him till near the
close of the day. And late in the evening, being certain that he should have no tidings of Pryderi or of the dogs, he went
back to the palace. And as he entered, Rhiannon looked at him. "'Where," said she, "are thy companion and thy dogs?" "Behold,"
he answered, "the adventure that has befallen me." And he related it all unto her. "An evil companion hast thou been," said
Rhiannon, "and a good companion hast thou lost." And with that word she went out, and proceeded towards the castle according
to the direction which he gave her. The gate of the castle she found open. She was nothing daunted, and she went in. And as
she went in, she perceived Pryderi laying hold of the bowl, and she went towards him. "Oh, my lord," said she, "what dost
thou do here?" And she took hold of the bowl with him; and as she did so her hands became fast to the bowl, and her feet to
the slab, and she was not able to utter a word. And with that, as it became night, lo, there came thunder upon them, and a
fall of mist, and thereupon the castle vanished, and they with it.
When Kicva the daughter of Gwynn Gloew saw
that there was no one in the palace but herself and Manawyddan, she sorrowed so that she cared not whether she lived or died.
And Manawyddan saw this. "Thou art in the wrong," said he, "if through fear of me thou grievest thus. I call Heaven to witness
that thou hast never seen friendship more pure than that which I will bear thee, as long as Heaven will that thou shouldst
be thus. I declare to thee that were I in the dawn of youth I would keep my faith unto Pryderi, and unto thee also will I
keep it. Be there no fear upon thee, therefore," said he, "for Heaven is my witness that thou shalt meet with all the friendship
thou canst wish, and that it is in my power to show thee, as long as it shall please Heaven to continue us in this grief and
woe." "Heaven reward thee," she said, " and that is what I deemed of thee." And the damsel thereupon took courage and was
"Truly, lady," said Manawyddan, "it is not
fitting for us to stay here, we have lost our dogs, and we cannot get food. Let us go into Lloegyr; it is easiest for us to
find support there." "Gladly, lord," said she, "we will do so." And they set forth together to Lloegyr.
"Lord," said she, "what craft wilt thou follow?
Take up one that is seemly." "None other will I take," answered he, "save that of making shoes, as I did formerly." "Lord,"
said she, "such a craft becomes not a man so nobly born as thou." "By that however will I abide," said he.
So he began his craft, and he made all his
work of the finest leather he could get in the town, and, as he had done at the other place, he caused gilded clasps to be
made for the shoes. And except himself all the cordwainers in the town were idle, and without work. For as long as they could
be had from him, neither shoes nor hose were bought elsewhere. And thus they tarried there a year, until the cordwainers became
envious, and took counsel concerning him. And he had warning thereof, and it was told him how the cordwainers had agreed together
to slay him.
"Lord," said Kicva, "wherefore should this
be borne from these boors?" "Nay," said he, "we will go back unto Dyved." So towards Dyved they set forth.
Now Manawyddan, when he set out to return to
Dyved,, took with him a burden of wheat. And he proceeded towards Narberth, and there he dwelt. And never was he better pleased
than when he saw Narberth again, and the lands where he had been wont to hunt with Pryderi and with Rhiannon. And he accustomed
himself to fish, and to hunt the deer in their covert. And then he began to prepare some ground and he sowed a croft, and
a second, and a third. And no wheat in the world ever sprung up better. And the three crofts prospered with perfect growth,
and no man ever saw fairer wheat than it.
And thus passed the seasons of the year until
the harvest came. And he went to look at one of his crofts, and behold it was ripe. "I will reap this to-morrow," said he.
And that night he went back to Narberth, and on the morrow in the grey dawn he went to reap the croft, and when he came there
he found nothing but the bare straw. Every one of the ears of the wheat was cut from off the stalk, and all the ears carried
entirely away, and nothing but the straw left. And at this he marvelled greatly.
Then he went to look at another croft, and
behold that also was ripe. "Verily," said he, "this will I reap to-morrow." And on the morrow he came with the intent to reap
it, and when he came there he found nothing- but the bare straw. "Oh, gracious Heaven," he exclaimed, " I know that whosoever
has begun my ruin is completing it, and has also destroyed the country with me."
Then he went to look at the third croft, and
when he came there, finer wheat had there never been seen, and this also was ripe. "Evil betide me," said he, "if I watch
not here to-night. Whoever carried off the other corn will come in like manner to take this. And I will know who it is." So
he took his arms, and began to watch the croft. And he told Kicva all that had befallen. "Verily," said she, "what thinkest
thou to do?" "I will watch the croft to-night," said he.
And he went to watch the croft. And at midnight,
lo, there arose the loudest tumult in the world. And he looked, and behold the mightiest host of mice in the world, which
could neither be numbered nor measured. And he knew not what it was until the mice had made their way into the croft, and
each of them climbing up the straw and bending it down with its weight, had cut off one of the ears of wheat and had carried
it away leaving there the stalk, and he saw not a single straw there that had not a mouse to it. And they all took their way,
carrying the ears with them.
In wrath and anger did he rush upon the mice,
but he could no more come up with them than if they had been gnats, or birds in the air, except one only, which though it
was but sluggish, went so fast that a man on foot could scarce overtake it. And after this one he went, and he caught it and
put it in his glove, and tied up the opening of the glove with a string, and kept it with him, and returned to the palace.
Then he came to the hall where Kicva was, and he lighted a fire, and hung the glove by the string upon a peg. "What hast thou
there, lord?" said Kicva. "A thief," said he, "that I found robbing me." "What kind of thief may it be, lord, that thou couldst
put into thy glove?" said she. "Behold I will tell thee," he answered. Then he showed her how his fields had been wasted and
destroyed, and how the mice came to the last of the fields in his sight. "And one of them was less nimble than the rest, and
is now in my glove; tomorrow I will hang it, and before Heaven, if I had them, I would hang them all." "My lord," said she,
"this is marvellous; but yet it would be unseemly for a man of dignity like thee to be hanging such a reptile as this. And
if thou doest right, thou wilt not meddle with the creature, but wilt let it go." "Woe betide me," said he, "if I would not
hang them all could I catch them, and such as I have I will hang." "Verily, lord," said she, "there is no reason that I should
succour this reptile, except to prevent discredit unto thee. Do therefore, lord, as thou wilt." "If I knew of any cause in
the world wherefore thou shouldst succour it, I would take thy counsel concerning it," said Manawyddan, "but as I know of
none, lady, I am minded to destroy it." "Do. so willingly then," said she.
And then he went to the Gorsedd of Narberth,
taking the mouse with him. And he set up two forks on the highest part of the Gorsedd. And while he was doing this, behold
he saw a scholar coming towards him, in old and poor and tattered garments. And it was now seven years since he had seen in
that place either man or beast, except those four persons who had remained together until two of them were lost.
"My lord," said the scholar, "good day to thee."
"Heaven prosper thee, and my greeting be unto thee. And whence dost thou come, scholar?" asked he. "I come, lord, from singing
in Lloegyr; and wherefore dost thou inquire?" "Because for the last seven years," answered he, "I have seen no man here save
four secluded persons, and thyself this moment." "Truly, lord," said he, "I go through this land unto mine own. And what work
art thou upon, lord?" "I am hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "What manner of thief is that?" asked the
scholar. "I see a creature in thy hand like unto a mouse, and ill does it become a man of rank equal to thine to touch a reptile
such as this. Let it go forth free." "I will not let it go free, by Heaven," said he, "I caught it robbing me, and the doom
of a thief will I inflict upon it, and I will hang it." "Lord," said he, "rather than see a man of rank equal to thine at
such work as this, I would give thee a pound which I have received as alms, to let the reptile go forth free." "I will not
let it go free," said he, "by Heaven, neither will I sell it." "As thou wilt, lord," he answered, "except that I would not
see a man of rank equal to thine touching such a reptile, I care nought." And the scholar went his way.
And as he was placing,the crossbeam upon the
two forks, behold a priest came towards him upon a horse covered with trappings. "Good day to thee, lord," said he. "Heaven
prosper thee," said Manawyddan; "thy blessing." "The blessing of Heaven be upon thee. And what, lord, art thou doing?" "I
am hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "What manner of thief, lord?" asked he. "A creature," he answered,
"in form of a mouse. It has been robbing me, and I am inflicting upon it the doom of a thief." "Lord," said he, "rather than
see thee touch this reptile, I would purchase its freedom." "By my confession to Heaven, neither will I sell it nor set it
free." "It is true, lord, that it is worth nothing to buy; but rather than see thee defile thyself by touching such a reptile
as this, I will give thee three pounds to let it go." "I will not, by Heaven," said he, "take any price for it. As it ought,
so shall it be hanged." "Willingly, lord, do thy good pleasure." And the priest went his way.
Then he noosed the string around the mouse's
neck, and as he was about to draw it up, behold, he saw a bishop's retinue with his sumpter-horses, and his attendants. And
the bishop himself came towards him. And he stayed his work. "Lord bishop," said he, "thy blessing." "Heaven's blessing be
unto thee," said he, "what work art thou upon?" "Hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "Is not that a mouse
that I see in thy hand?" "Yes," answered he. "And she has robbed me." "Aye," said he, "since I have come at the doom of this
reptile, I will ransom it of thee. I will give thee seven pounds for it, and that rather than see a man of rank equal to thine
destroying so vile a reptile as this. Let it loose and thou shalt have the money." "I declare to Heaven that I will not set
it loose." "If thou wilt not loose it for this, I will give thee four-and-twenty pounds of ready money to set it free." "I
will not set it free, by Heaven, for as much again," said he. "If thou wilt not set it free for this, I will give thee all
the horses that thou seest in this plain, and the seven loads of baggage, and the seven horses that they are upon." "By Heaven,
I will not," he replied. "Since for this thou wilt not, do so at what price soever thou wilt." "I will do so," said he. "I
will that Rhiannon and Pryderi be free," said he. "That thou shalt have," he answered. "Not yet will I loose the mouse, by
Heaven." "What then wouldst thou?" "That the charm and the illusion be removed from the seven Cantrevs of Dyved." "This shalt
thou have also, set therefore the mouse free."
"I will not set it free, by Heaven," said he.
"I will know who the mouse may be." "She is my wife." "Even though she be, I will not set her free. Wherefore came she to
me?" "To despoil thee," he answered. "I am Llwyd the son of Kilcoed, and I cast the charm over the seven Cantrevs of Dyved.
And it was to avenge Gwawl the son of Clud, from the friendship I had towards him, that I cast the charm. And upon Pryderi
did I revenge Gwawl the son of Clud, for the game of Badger in the Bag, that Pwyll Pen Annwn played upon him, which he did
unadvisedly in the Court of Heveydd Hen. And when it was known that thou wast come to dwell in the land, my household came
and besought me to transform them into mice, that they might destroy thy corn. And it was my own household that went the first
night. And the second night also they went, and they destroyed thy two crofts. And the third night came unto me my wife and
the ladies of the Court, and besought me to transform them. And I transformed them. Now she is pregnant. And had she not been
pregnant thou wouldst not have been. able to overtake her; but since this has taken place, and she has been caught, I will
restore thee Pryderi and Rhiannon; and I will take the charm and illusion from off Dyved. I have now told thee who she is.
Set her therefore free." "I will not set her free, by Heaven," said he. "What wilt thou more?" he asked. "I will that there
be no more charm upon the seven Cantrevs of Dyved, and that none shall be put upon it henceforth." "This thou shalt have,"
said he. "Now set her free." "I will not, by my faith," he answered. "What wilt thou furthermore?" asked he. "Behold," said
he, "this will I have; that vengeance be never taken for this, either upon Pryderi or Rhiannon, or upon me." "All this shalt
thou have. And truly thou hast done wisely in asking this. Upon thy head would have lighted all this trouble." "Yea," said
he, " for fear thereof was it, that I required this." " \Set now my wife at liberty." "I will not, by Heaven," said he, "Behold,
until I see Pryderi and Rhiannon with me free." "Behold, here they come," he answered.
And thereupon behold Pryderi and Rhiannon.
And he rose up to meet them, and greeted them, and sat down beside them. "Ah, Chieftain, set now my wife at liberty," said
the bishop. "Hast thou not received all thou didst ask?" "I will release her gladly," said he. And thereupon he set her free.
Then Llwyd struck her with a magic wand, and
she was changed back into a young woman, the fairest ever seen.
"Look around upon thy land," said he, "and
then thou wilt see it all tilled and peopled, as it was in its best state." And he rose up and looked forth. And when he looked
he saw all the lands tilled, and full of herds and dwellings.
"What bondage," he inquired, "has there been
upon Pryderi and Rhiannon?" "Pryderi has had the knockers of the gate of my palace about his neck, and Rhiannon has had the
collars of the asses, after they have been carrying hay about her neck. And such had been their bondage.
And by reason of this bondage is this story
called the Mabinogi of Mynnweir and Mynord.
And thus ends this portion of the Mabinogi.
MATH THE SON OF MATHONWY.
THE FOURTH PORTION OF THE MABINOGI.
(Translation by Lady Charlotte Guest)
MATH the son of Mathonwy was lord over Gwynedd,
and Pryderi the son of Pwyll was lord over the one-and-twenty Cantrefs of the South; and these were the seven Cantrevs of
Dyved, and the seven Cantrevs of Morganwc, the four Cantrevs of Ceredigiawn, and the three of Ystrad Tywi.
At that time, Math the son of Mathonwy could
not exist unless his feet were in the lap of a maiden, except only when he was prevented by the tumult of war. Now the maiden
who was with him was Goewin, the daughter of Pebin of Dol Pebin, in Arvon, and she was the fairest maiden of her time who
was known there.
And Math dwelt always at Caer Dathyl, in Arvon,
and was not able to go the circuit of the land, but Gilvaethwy the son of Don, and Eneyd the son of Don, his nephews, the
sons of his sister, with his household, went the circuit of the land in his stead.
Now the maiden was with Math continually, and
Gilvaethwy the son of Don set his affections upon her, and loved her so that he knew not what he should do because of her,
and therefrom behold his hue, and his aspect, and his spirits changed for love of her, so that it was not easy to know him.
One day his brother Gwydion gazed steadfastly
upon him. "Youth," said he, "what aileth thee?" "Why," replied he, "what seest thou in me?" "I see," said he, "that thou hast
lost thy aspect and thy hue; what, therefore, aileth thee?" "My lord brother," he answered, "that which aileth me, it will
not profit me that I should own to any." "What may it be, my soul?" said he. "Thou knowest," he said, "that Math the son of
Mathonwy has this property, that if men whisper together, in a tone how low soever, if the wind meet it, it becomes known
unto him." "Yes," said Gwydion, "hold now thy peace, I know thy intent, thou lovest Goewin."
When he found that his brother knew his intent,
he gave the heaviest sigh in the world. "Be silent, my soul, and sigh not," he said. "It is not thereby that thou wilt succeed.
I will cause," said he, "if it cannot be otherwise, the rising of Gwynedd, and Powys, and Deheubarth, to seek the maiden.
Be thou of glad cheer therefore, and I will compass it."
So they went unto Math the son of Mathonwy.
" Lord," said Gwydion, "I have heard that there have come to the South some beasts, such as were never known in this island
before." "What are they called?" he asked. "Pigs, lord." "And what kind of animals are they?" "They are small animals, and
their flesh is better than the flesh of oxen." "They are small, then?" "And they change their names. Swine are they now called."
"Who owneth them?" "Pryderi the son of Pwyll; they were sent him from Annwn, by Arawn the king of Annwn, and still they keep
that name, half bog, half pig." "Verily," asked he, " and by what means may they be obtained from him?" "I will go, lord,
as one of twelve, in the guise of bards, to seek the swine." "But it may be that he will refuse you," said he. "My journey
will not be evil, lord," said he; "I will not come back without the swine." "Gladly," said he, "go thou forward."
So he and Gilvaethwy went, and ten other men
with them. And they came into Ceredigiawn, to the place that is now called Rhuddlan Teivi, where the palace of Pryderi was.
In the guise of bards they came in, and they were received joyfully, and Gwydion was placed beside Pryderi that night.
"Of a truth," said Pryderi, "gladly would I
have a tale from some of your men yonder." "Lord," said Gwydion, "we have a custom that the first night that we come to the
Court of a great man, the chief of song recites. Gladly will I relate a tale." Now Gwydion was the best teller of tales in
the world, and he diverted all the Court that night with pleasant discourse and with tales, so that he charmed every one in
the Court, and it pleased Pryderi to talk with him.
And after this, "Lord," said he unto Pryderi,
"were it more pleasing to thee, that another should discharge my errand unto thee, than that I should tell thee myself what
it is?" "No," he answered, "ample speech hast thou." "Behold then, lord," said he, "my errand. It is to crave from thee the
animals that were sent thee from Annwn." "Verily," he replied, "that were the easiest thing in the world to grant, were there
not a covenant between me and my land concerning them. And the covenant is that they shall not go from me, until they have
produced double their number in the land." "Lord," said he, "I can set thee free from those words, and this is the way I can
do so; give me not the swine to-night, neither refuse them unto me, and to-morrow I will show thee an exchange for them."
And that night he and his fellows went unto
their lodging, and they took counsel. "Ah, my men," said he, "we shall not have the swine for the asking." "Well," said they,
how may they be obtained?" "I will cause them to be obtained," said Gwydion.
Then he betook himself to his arts, and began
to work a charm. And he caused twelve chargers to appear, and twelve black greyhounds, each of them white-breasted, and having
upon them twelve collars and twelve leashes, such as no one that saw them could know to be other than gold. And upon the horses
twelve saddles, and every part which should have been of iron was entirely of gold, and the bridles were of the same workmanship.
And with the horses and the dogs he came to Pryderi.
"Good day unto thee, lord," said he. "Heaven
prosper thee," said the other, "and greetings be unto thee." "Lord," said he, "behold here is a release for thee from the
word which thou spakest last evening concerning the swine; that thou wouldst neither give nor sell them. Thou mayest exchange
them for that which is better. And I will give these twelve horses, all caparisoned as they are, with their saddles and their
bridles, and these twelve greyhounds, with their collars and their leashes as thou seest, and the twelve gilded shields that
thou beholdest yonder." Now these he had formed of fungus. "Well," said he, "we will take counsel." And they consulted together,
and determined to give the swine to Gwydion, and to take his horses and his dogs and his shields.
Then Gwydion and his men took their leave,
and began to journey forth with the pigs. "Ah, my comrades," said Gwydion, "it is needful that we journey with speed. The
illusion will not last but from the one hour to the same tomorrow."
And that night they journeyed as far as the
upper part of Ceredigiawn, to the place which, from that cause, is called Mochdrev still. And the next day they took their
course through Melenydd, and came that night to the town which is likewise for that reason called Mochdrev, between Keri and
Arwystli. And thence they journeyed forward; and that night they came as far as that Commot in Powys, which also upon account
thereof is called Mochnant, and there tarried they that night. And they journeyed thence to the Cantrev of Rhos, and the place
where they were that night is still called Mochdrev.
"My men," said Gwydion, "we must push forward
to the fastnesses of Gwynedd with these animals, for there is a gathering of hosts in pursuit of us." So they journeyed on
to the highest town of Arllechwedd, and there they made a sty for the swine, and therefore was the name of Creuwyryon given
to that town. And after they had made the sty for the swine, they proceeded to Math the son of Mathonwy, at Caer Dathyl. And
when they came there, the country was rising. "What news is there here?" asked Gwydion. "Pryderi is assembling one-and-twenty
Cantrevs to pursue after you," answered they. "It is marvellous that you should have journeyed so slowly." "Where are the
animals whereof you went in quest?" said Math. "They have had a sty made for them in the other Cantrev below," said Gwydion.
Thereupon, lo, they heard the trumpets and
the host in the land, and they arrayed themselves and set forward and came to Penardd in Arvon.
And at night Gwydion the son of Don, and Gilvaethwy
his brother, returned to Caerdathyl; and Gilvaethwy took Math the son of Mathonwy's couch. And while he turned out the other
damsels from the room discourteously, he made Goewin unwillingly remain.
And when they saw the day on the morrow, they
went back unto the place where Math the son of Mathonwy was with his host; and when they came there, the warriors were taking
counsel in what district they should await the coming of Pryderi, and the men of the South. So they went in to the council.
And it was resolved to wait in the strongholds of Gwynedd, in Arvon. So within the two Maenors they took their stand, Maenor
Penardd and Maenor Coed Alun. And there Pryderi attacked them, and there the combat took place. And great was the slaughter
on both sides; but the men of the South were forced to flee. And they fled unto the place which is still called Nantcall.
And thither did they follow them, and they made a vast slaughter of them there, so that they fled again as far as the place
called Dol Pen Maen, and there they halted and sought to make peace.
And that he might have peace, Pryderi gave
hostages, Gwrgi Gwastra gave he and three-and-twenty others, sons of nobles. And after this they journeyed in peace even unto
Traeth Mawr; but as they went on together towards Melenryd, the men on foot could not be restrained from shooting. Pryderi
despatched unto Math an embassy to pray him to forbid his people, and to leave it between him and Gwydion the son of Don for
that he had caused all this." And the messengers came to Math. "Of a truth," said Math, "I call Heaven to witness, if it be
pleasing unto Gwydion the son of Don, I will so leave it gladly. Never will I compel any to go to fight but that we ourselves
should do our utmost."
"Verily," said the messengers, " Pryderi saith
that it were more fair that the man who did him this wrong should oppose his own body to his, and let his people remain unscathed."
"I declare to Heaven, I will not ask the men of Gwynedd to fight because of me. If I am allowed to fight Pryderi myself, gladly
will I oppose my body to his." And this answer they took back to Pryderi. "Truly," said Pryderi, "I shall require no one to
demand my rights but myself."
Then these two came forth and armed themselves,
and they fought. And by force of strength, and fierceness, and by the magic and charms of Gwydion, Pryderi was slain. And
at Maen Tyriawc, above Melenryd, was he buried, and there is his grave,
And the men of the South set forth in sorrow
towards their own land; nor is it a marvel that they should grieve, seeing that they had lost their lord, and many of their
best warriors, and for the most part their horses and their arms.
The men of Gwynedd went back joyful and in
triumph. "Lord," said Gwydion unto Math, "would it not be right for us to release the hostages of the men of the South, which
they pledged unto us for peace? for we ought not to put them in prison." "Let them then be set free," saith Math. So that
youth, and the other hostages that were with him, were set free to follow the men of the South. Math himself went forward
to Caerdathyl. Gilvaethwy the son of Don, and they of the household that were with him went to make the circuit of Gwynedd
as they were wont, without coming to the Court. Math went into his chamber, and caused a place to be prepared for him whereon
to recline, so that he might put his feet in the maiden's lap. "Lord," said Goewin, "seek now another to hold thy feet, for
I am now a wife." "What meaneth this?" said he. "An attack, lord, was made unawares upon me; but I held not my peace, and
there was no one in the Court who knew not of it. Now the attack was made by thy nephews, lord, the sons of thy sister, Gwydion
the son of Don, and Gilvaethwy the son of Don; unto me they did wrong, and unto thee dishonour." "Verily," he exclaimed, "I
will do to the utmost of my power concerning this matter. But first I will cause thee to have compensation, and then will
I have amends made unto myself. As for thee, I will take thee to be my wife, and the possession of my dominions will I give
unto thy hands."
And Gwydion and Gilvaethwy came not near the
Court, but stayed in the confines of the land until it was forbidden to give them meat and drink. At first they came not near
unto Math, but at the last they came. "Lord," said they, "Good day to thee." "Well," said he, "is it to make me compensation
that ye are come?" "Lord," they said, "we are at thy will." "By my will I would not have lost my warriors, and so many arms
as I have done. You cannot compensate me my shame, setting aside the death of Pryderi. But since ye come hither to be at my
will, I shall begin your punishment forthwith."
Then he took his magic wand, and struck Gilvaethwy,
so that he became a deer, and he seized upon the other hastily lest he should escape from him. And he struck him with the
same magic wand, and he became a deer also. "Since now ye are in bonds, I will that ye go forth together and be companions,
and possess the nature of the animals whose form ye bear. And this day twelvemonth come hither unto me."
At the end of a year from that day, lo there
was a loud noise under the chamber wall, and the barking of the dogs of the palacee together with the noise. "Look," said
he, "what is without." "Lord," said one, "I have looked; there are there two deer, and a fawn with them." Then he arose and
went out. And when he came he beheld the three animals. And he lifted up his wand. "As ye were deer last year, be ye wild
hogs each and either of you, for the year that is to come." And thereupon he struck them with the magic wand. The young one
will I take and cause to be baptized." Now the name that he gave him was Hydwn. "Go ye and be wild swine, each and either
of you, and be ye of the nature of wild swine. And this day twelvemonth be ye here under the wall."
At the end of the year the barking of dogs
was heard under the wall of the chamber. And the Court assembled, and thereupon he arose and went forth, and when he came
forth he beheld three beasts. Now these were the beasts that he saw; two wild hogs of the woods, and a well-grown young one
with them. And he was very large for his age. "Truly," said Math, "this one will I take and cause to be baptized." And he
struck him with his magic wand, and he became a fine fair auburn-haired youth, and the name that he gave him was Hychdwn.
"Now as for you, as ye were wild hogs last year, be ye wolves each and either of you for the year that is to come." Thereupon
he struck them with his magic wand, and they became wolves. "And be ye of like nature with the animals whose semblance ye
bear, and return here this day twelvemonth beneath this wall."
And at the same day at the end of the year,
he heard a clamour and a barking of dogs under the wall of the chamber. And he rose and went forth. And when he came, behold,
he saw two wolves, and a strong cub with them. "This one will I take," said Math, "and I will cause him to be baptized; there
is a name prepared for him, and that is Bleiddwn. Now these three, such are they:
The three sons of Gilvaethwy the false,
The three faithful combatants,
Bleiddwn, Hydwn, and Hychdwn the Tall."
Then he struck the two with his magic wand,
and they resumed their own nature. "Oh men," said he, "for the wrong that ye did unto me sufficient has been your punishment
and your dishonour. Prepare now precious ointment for these men, and wash their heads, and equip them." And this was done.
And after they were equipped, they came unto
him. "Oh men," said he, "you have obtained peace, and you shall likewise have friendship. Give your counsel unto me, what
maiden I shall seek." "Lord," said Gwydion the son of Don, "it is easy to give thee counsel; seek Arianrod, the daughter of
Don, thy niece, thy sister's daughter."
And they brought her unto him, and the maiden
came in. "Ha, damsel," said he, "art thou the maiden?" "I know not, lord, other than that I am." Then he took up his magic
wand, and bent it. "Step over this," said he, "and I shall know if thou art the maiden." Then stepped she over the magic wand,
and there appeared forthwith a fine chubby yellow-haired boy. And at the crying out of the boy, she went towards the door.
And thereupon some small form was seen; but before any one could get a second glimpse of it, Gwydion had taken it, and had
flang a scarf of velvet around it and hidden it. Now the place where he hid it was the bottom of a chest at the foot of his
"Verily," said Math the son of Mathonwy, concerning
the fine yellow-haired boy, "I will cause this one to be baptized, and Dylan is the name I will give him."
So they had the boy baptized, and as they baptized
him he plunged into the sea. And immediately when he was in the sea, he took its nature, and swam as well as the best fish
that was therein. And for that reason was he called Dylan, the son of the Wave. Beneath him no wave ever broke. And the blow
whereby he came to his death, was struck by his uncle Govannion. The third fatal blow was it called.
As Gwydion lay one morning on his bed awake,
he heard a cry in the chest at his feet; and though it was not loud, it was such that he could hear it. Then he arose in haste,
and opened the chest: and when he opened it, he beheld an infant boy stretching out his arms from the folds of the scarf,
and casting it aside. And he took up the boy in his arms, and carried him to a place where he knew there was a woman that
could nurse him. And he agreed with the woman that she should take charge of the boy. And that year he was nursed.
And at the end of the year he seemed by his
size as though he were two years old. And the second year he was a big child, and able to go to the Court by himself. And
when he came to the Court, Gwydion noticed him, and the boy became familiar with him, and loved him better than any one else.
Then was the boy reared at the Court until he was four years old, when he was as big as though he had been eight.
And one day Gwydion walked forth, and the boy
followed him, and he went to the Castle of Arianrod, having the boy with him; and when he came into the Court, Arianrod arose
to meet him, and greeted him and bade him welcome. "Heaven prosper thee," said he. "Who is the boy that followeth thee?" she
asked. "This youth, he is thy son," he answered. "Alas," said she, "what has come unto thee that thou shouldst shame me thus,
wherefore dost thou seek my dishonour, and retain it so long as this?" "Unless thou suffer dishonour greater than that of
my bringing up such a boy as this, small will be thy disgrace." "What is the name of the boy?" said she. "Verily," he replied,
"he has not yet a name." "Well," she said, "I lay this destiny upon him, that he shall never have a name until he receives
one from me." "Heaven bears me witness," answered he, "that thou art a wicked woman. But the boy shall have a name how displeasing
soever it may be unto thee. As for thee, that which afflicts thee is that thou art no longer called a damsel." And thereupon
he went forth in wrath, and returned to Caer Dathyl, and there he tarried that night.
And the next day he arose and took the boy
with him, and went to walk on the sea shore between that place and Aber Menei. And there he saw some sedges and sea weed,
and he turned them into a boat. And out of dry sticks and sedges he made some Cordovan leather, and a great deal thereof,
and be coloured it in such a manner that no one ever saw leather more beautiful than it. Then he made a sail to the boat,
and he and the boy went in it to the port of the castle of Arianrod. And he began forming shoes and stitching them, until
he was observed from the castle. And when he knew that they of the castle were observing him, he disguised his aspect, and
put another semblance upon himself, and upon the boy, so that they might not be known. " What men are those in yonder boat?"
said Arianrod. "They are cordwainers," answered they. "Go and see what kind of leather they have, and what kind of work they
So they came unto them. And when they came
he was colouring some Cordovan leather, and gilding it. And the messengers came and told her this. "Well," said she, "take
the measure of my foot, and desire the cordwainer to make shoes for me." So he made the shoes for her, yet not according to
the measure, but larger. The shoes then were brought unto her, and behold they were too large. "These are too large," said
she, "but he shall receive their value. Let him also make some that are smaller than they." Then he made her others that were
much smaller than her foot, and sent them unto her. "Tell him that these will not go on my feet," said she. And they told
him this. "Verily," said he, "I will not make her any shoes, unless I see her foot." And this was told unto her. "Truly,"
she answered, "I will go unto him."
So she went down to the boat, and when she
came there, he was shaping shoes and the boy stitching them. "Ah lady," said he, "good day to thee." "Heaven prosper thee,"
said she. "I marvel that then canst not manage to make shoes according to a measure." "I could not," he replied, "but now
I shall be able."
Thereupon behold a wren stood upon the deck
of the boat, and the boy shot at it, and hit it in the leg between the sinew and the bone. Then she smiled. "Verily," said
she, "with a steady hand did the lion aim at it." "Heaven reward thee not, but now has he got a name. And a good enough name
it is. Llew Llaw Gyffes be he called henceforth."
Then the work disappeared in sea weed and sedges,
and he went on with it no further. And for that reason was he called the third Gold-shoemaker. "Of a truth," said she, thou
wilt not thrive the better for doing evil unto me." "I have done thee no evil yet," said he. Then he restored the boy to his
own form. "Well," said she, "I will lay a destiny upon this boy, that he shall never have arms and armour until I invest him
with them." "By Heaven," said he, "Iet thy malice be what it may, he shall have arms."
Then they went towards Dinas Dinllev, and there
he brought up Llew Llaw Gyffes, until he could manage any horse, and he was perfect in features, and strength, and stature.
And then Gwydion saw that he languished through the want of horses, and arms. And he called him unto him. "Ah, youth," said
he, "we will go to-morrow on an errand together. Be therefore more cheerful than thou art." "That I will," said the youth.
Next morning, at the dawn of day, they arose.
And they took way along the sea coast, up towards Bryn Aryen. And at the top of Cevn Clydno they equipped themselves with
horses, and went towards the Castle of Arianrod. And they changed their form, and pricked towards the gate in the semblance
of two youths, but the aspect of Gwydion was more staid than that of the other. "Porter," said he, "go thou in and say that
there are here bards from Glamorgan." And the porter went in. "The welcome of Heaven be unto them, let them in," said Arianrod.
With great joy were they greeted. And the hall
was arranged, and they went to meat. When meat was ended, Arianrod discoursed with Gwydion of tales and stories. Now Gwydion
was an excellent teller of tales. And when it was time to leave off feasting, a chamber was prepared for them, and they went
In the early twilight Gwydion arose, and he
called unto him his magic and his power. And by the time that the day dawned, there resounded through the land uproar, and
trumpets, and shouts. When it was now day,
they heard a knocking at the door of the chamber, and therewith Arianrod asking that it might be opened. Up rose the youth
and opened unto her, and she entered and a maiden with her. "Ah, good men," she said, "in evil plight are we." "Yes, truly,"
said Gwydion, " we have heard trumpets, and shouts; what thinkest thou that they may mean?" "Verily," said she, "we cannot
see the colour of the ocean by reason of all the ships, side by side. And they are making for the land with all the speed
they can. And what can we do?" said she. "Lady," said Gwydion, "there is none other counsel than to close the castle upon
us, and to defend it as best we may." "Truly," said she, "may Heaven reward you. And do you defend it. And here may you have
plenty of arms." And thereupon went she forth for the arms, and behold she returned, and two maidens, and suits of armour
for two men, with her. "Lady," said he, " do thou accoutre this stripling, and I will arm myself with the help of thy maidens.
Lo, I hear the tumult of the men approaching." "I will do so, gladly." So she armed him fully, and that right cheerfully.
Hast thou finished arming the youth?" said he. "I have finished," she answered. "I likewise have finished," said Gwydion.
"Let us now take off our arms, we have no need of them." "Wherefore?" said she. "Here is the army around the house." "Oh,
lady, there is here no army." "Oh," cried she, "whence then was this tumult?" "The tumult was but to break thy prophecy and
to obtain arms for thy son. And now has he got arms without any thanks unto thee." "By Heaven," said Arianrod, "thou art a
wicked man. Many a youth might have lost his life through the uproar thou hast caused in this Cantrev to-day. Now will I lay
a destiny upon this youth," she said, "that he shall never have a wife of the race that now inhabits this earth." "Verily,"
said he, "thou wast ever a malicious woman, and no one ought to support thee. A wife shall he have notwithstanding."
They went thereupon unto Math the son Mathonwy,
and complained unto him most bitterly of Arianrod. Gwydion showed him also how he had procured arms for the youth. "Well,"
said Math, "we will seek, I and thou, by charms and illusion, to form a wife for him out of flowers. He has now come to man's
stature, and he is the comeliest youth that was ever beheld." So they took the blossoms of the oak, and the blossoms of the
broom, and the blossoms of the meadowsweet, and produced from them a maiden, the fairest and most graceful that man ever saw.
And they baptized her, and gave her the name of Blodeuwedd.
After she had become his bride, and they had
feasted, said Gwydion, "It is not easy for a man to maintain himself without possessions." "Of a truth," said Math, "I will
give the young man the best Cantrev to hold." "Lord," said he, "what Cantrev is that?" "The Cantrev of Dinodig," he answered.
Now it is called at this day Eivionydd and Ardudwy. And the place in the Cantrev where he dwelt, was a palace of his in a
spot called Mur y Castell, on the confines of Ardudwy. There dwelt he and reigned, and both he and his sway were beloved by
One day he went forth to Caer Dathyl, to visit
Math the son of Mathonwy. And on the day that he set out for Caer Dathyl, Blodeuwedd walked in the court. And she heard the
sound of a horn. And after the sound of the horn, behold a tired stag went by, with dogs and huntsmen following it. And after
the dogs and the huntsmen there came a crowd of men on foot. "Send a youth," said she, " to ask who yonder host may be." So
a youth went, and inquired who they were. "Gronw Pebyr is this, the lord of Penllynn," said they. And thus the youth told
Gronw Pebyr pursued the stag, and by the river
Cynvael he overtook the stag and killed it. And what with flaying the stag and baiting his dogs, he was there until the night
began to close in upon him. And as the day departed and the night drew near, he came to the gate of the Court. "Verily," said
Blodeuwedd, "the Chieftain will speak ill of us if we let him at this hour depart to another land without inviting him in."
"Yes, truly, lady," said they, "it will be most fitting to invite him."
Then went messengers to meet him and bid him
in. And he accepted her bidding gladly, and came to the Court, and Blodeuwedd went to meet him and greeted him, and bade him
welcome. "Lady," said he, "Heaven repay thee thy kindness."
When the had disaccoutred themselves, they
went to sit down. And Blodeuwedd looked upon him, and from the moment that she looked on him she became filled with his love.
And he gazed on her, and the same thought came unto him as unto her, so that he could not conceal from her that he loved her,
but he declared unto her that he did so. Thereupon she was very joyful. And all their discourse that night was concerning
the affection and love which they felt one for the other, and which in no longer space than one evening had arisen. And that
evening passed they in each other's company.
The next day he sought to depart. But she said,
"I pray thee go not from me to-day." And that night he tarried also. And that night they consulted by what means they might
always be together. "There is none other counsel," said he, "but that thou strive to learn from Llew Llaw Gyffes in what manner
he will meet his death. And this must thou do under the semblance of solicitude concerning him."
The next day Gronw sought to depart. "Verily,"
said she, "I will counsel thee not to go from me to-day." "At thy instance will I not go," said he, "albeit, I must say, there
is danger that the chief who owns the palace may return home." "To-morrow," answered she, "will I indeed permit thee to go
The next day he sought to go, and she hindered
him not. "Be mindful," said Gronw, "of what I have said unto thee, and converse with him fully, and that under the guise of
the dalliance of love, and find out by what means he may come to his death."
That night Llew Llaw Gyffes returned to his
home. And the day they spent in discourse, and minstrelsy, and feasting. And at night they went to rest, and he spoke to Blodeuwedd
once, and he spoke to her a second time. But, for all this, he could not get from her one word. "What aileth thee," said he,
" art thou well?" "I was thinking," said she, "of that which thou didst never think of concerning me; for I was sorrowful
as to thy death, lest thou shouldst go sooner than I." "Heaven reward thy care for me," said he, "but until Heaven take me
I shall not easily be slain." "For the sake of Heaven, and for mine, show me how thou mightest be slain. My memory in guarding
is better than thine." "I will tell thee gladly," said he. "Not easily can I be slain, except by a wound. And the spear wherewith
I am struck must be a year in the forming. And nothing must be done towards it except during the sacrifice on Sundays." "Is
this certain?" asked she. "It is in truth," he answered. "And I cannot be slain within a house, nor without. I cannot be slain
on horseback nor on foot." "Verily," said she, "in what manner then canst thou be slain?" "I will tell thee," said he. "By
making a bath for me by the side of a river, and by putting a roof over the cauldron, and thatching it well and tightly, and
bringing a buck, and putting it beside the cauldron. Then if I place one foot on the buck's back, and the other on the edge
of the cauldron, whosoever strikes me thus will cause my death." "Well," said she, "I thank Heaven that it will be easy to
No sooner had she held this discourse than
she sent to Gronw Pebyr. Gronw toiled at making the spear, and that day twelvemonth it was ready. And that very day he caused
her to be informed thereof.
"Lord," said Blodeuwedd unto Llew, "I have
been thinking how it is possible that what thou didst tell me formerly can be true; wilt thou show me in what manner thou
couldst stand at once upon the edge of a cauldron and upon a buck, if I prepare the bath for thee?" "I will show thee," said
Then she sent unto Gronw, and bade him be in
ambush on the hill which is now called Bryn Kyvergyr, on the bank of the river Cynvael. She caused also to be collected all
the goats that were in the Cantrev, and had them brought to the other side of the river, opposite Bryn Kyvergyr.
And the next day she spoke thus. "Lord," said
she, "I have caused the roof and the bath to be prepared, and lo! they are ready." "Well," said Llew, "we will go gladly to
look at them."
The day after they came and looked at the bath.
"Wilt thou go into the bath, lord?" said she. "Willingly will I go in," he answered. So into the bath he went, and he anointed
himself. "Lord," said she, "behold the animals which thou didst speak of as being called bucks." "Well," said he, cause one
of them to be caught and brought here." And the buck was brought. Then Llew rose out of the bath, and put on his trowsers,
and he placed one foot on the edge of the bath and the other on the buck's back.
Thereupon Gronw rose up from the hill which
is called Bryn Cyvergyr, and he rested on one knee, and flung the poisoned dart and struck him on the side, so that the shaft
started out, but the head of the dart remained in. Then he flew up in the form of an eagle and gave a fearful scream. And
thenceforth was he no more seen.
As soon as he departed Gronw and Blodeuwedd
went together unto the palace that night. And the next day Gronw arose and took possession of Ardudwy. And after he had overcome
the land, he ruled over it, so that Ardudwy and Penllyn were both under his sway.
Then these tidings reached Math the son of
Mathonwy. And heaviness and grief came upon Math, and much more upon Gwydion than upon him. "Lord," said Gwydion, "I shall
never rest until I have tidings of my nephew." "Verily," said Math, "may Heaven be thy strength." Then Gwydion set forth and
began to go forward. And he went through Gwynedd and Powys to the confines. And when he had done so, he went into Arvon, and
came to the house of a vassal, in Maenawr Penardd. And he alighted at the house, and stayed there that night. The man of the
house and his household came in, and last of all came there the swineherd. Said the man of the house to the swineherd, "Well,
youth, hath thy sow come in to-night?" She hath," said he, "and is this instant returned to the pigs." "Where doth this sow
go to?" said Gwydion. "Every day, when the sty is opened, she goeth forth and none can catch sight of her, neither is it known
whither she goeth more than if she sank into the earth." "Wilt thou grant unto me," said Gwydion, "not to open the sty until
I am beside the sty with thee." "This will I do, right gladly," he answered.
That night they went to rest; and as soon as
the swineherd saw the light of day, he awoke Gwydion. And Gwydion arose and dressed himself, and went with the swineherd,
and stood beside the sty. Then the swineherd opened the sty. And as soon as he opened it, behold she leaped forth, and set
off with great speed. And Gwydion followed her, and she went against the course of a river, and made for a brook, which is,
now called Nant y Llew. And there she halted and began feeding. And Gwydion came under the tree, and looked what it might
be that the sow was feeding on. And he saw that she was eating putrid flesh and vermin. Then looked he up to the top of the
tree, and as he looked he beheld on the top of the tree an eagle, and when the eagle shook itself, there fell vermin and putrid
flesh from off it, and these the sow devoured. And it seemed to him that the eagle was Llew. And he sang an Englyn: -
"Oak that grows between the two banks;
is the sky and hill!
Shall I not tell him by his wounds,
That this is Llew?"
Upon this the eagle came down until he reached
the centre of the tree. And Gwydion sang another Englyn:-
"Oak that grows in upland ground,
not wetted by therein? Has it not been drenched
By nine score tempests?
It bears in its branches Llew Llaw Gyffes!"
Then the eagle came down until he was on the
lowest branch of the tree, and thereupon this Englyn did G,wydion sing:-
"Oak that grows beneath the steep;
and majestic is its aspect!
Shall I not speak it?
That Llew will come to my lap?"
And the eagle came down upon Gwydion's knee.
And Gwydion struck him with his magic wand, so that he returned to his own form. No one ever saw a more piteous sight, for
he was nothing but skin and bone.
Then he went unto Caer Dathyl, and there were
brought unto him good physicians that were in Gwynedd, and before the end of the year he was quite healed.
"Lord," said he unto Math the son of Mathonwy,
"it is fall time now that I have retribution of him by whom I have suffered all this woe." "Truly," said Math, "he will never
be able to maintain himself in the possession of that which is thy right." "Well," said Llew, "the sooner I have my right,
the better shall I be pleased."
Then they called together the whole of Gwynedd,
and set forth to Ardudwy. And Gwydion went on before and proceeded to Mur y Castell. And when Blodeuwedd heard that he was
coming, she took her maidens with her, and fled to the mountain. And they passed through the river Cynvael, and went towards
a court that there was upon the mountain, and through fear they could not proceed except with their faces looking backwards,
so that unawares they fell into the lake.
And they were all drowned except Blodeuwedd
herself, and her Gwydion overtook. And he said unto her, "I will not slay thee, but I will do unto thee worse than that. For
I will turn thee into a bird; and because of the shame thou hast done unto Llew Llaw Gyffes, thou shalt never show thy face
in the light of day henceforth; and that through fear of all the other birds. For it shall be their nature to attack thee,
and to chase thee from wheresoever they may find thee. And thou shalt not lose thy name, but shalt be always called Blodeuwedd."
Now Blodeuwedd is an owl in the language of this present time, and for this reason is the owl hateful unto all birds. And
even now the owl is called Blodeuwedd.
Then Gronw Pebyr withdrew unto Penllyn, and
he despatched thence an embassy. And the messengers he sent asked Llew Llaw Gyffes, if he would take land, or domain, or gold,
or silver, for the injury he had received. "I will not, by my confession to Heaven," said he. "Behold this is the least that
I will accept from him; that he come to the spot where I was when he wounded me with the dart, and that I stand where he did,
and that with a dart I take my aim at him. And this is the very least that I will accept."
And this was told unto Gronw Pebyr. "Verily,"
said he, "is it needful for me to do thus? My faithful warriors, and my household, and my foster-brothers, is there not one
among you who will stand the blow in my stead? There is not, verily," answered they. And because of their refusal to suffer
one stroke for their lord, they are called the third disloyal tribe even unto this day. "Well," said he, "I will meet it."
Then they two went forth to the banks of the
river Cynvael, and Gronw stood in the place where Llew Llaw Gyffes was when he struck him, and Llew in the place where Gronw
was. Then said Gronw Pebyr unto Llew, "Since it was through the wiles of a woman that I did unto thee as I have done, I adjure
thee by Heaven to let me place between me and the blow, the slab thou seest yonder on the river's bank." "Verily," said Llew,
"I will not refuse thee this." "Ah," said he, "may Heaven reward thee." So Gronw took the slab and placed it between him and
Then Llew flung the dart at him, and it pierced
the slab and went through Gronw likewise, so that it pierced through his back. And thus was Gronw Pebyr slain. And there is
still the slab on the bank of the river Cynvael, in Ardudwy, having the hole through it. And therefore is it even now called
A second time did Llew Llaw Gyffes take possession
of the land, and prosperously did he govern it. And as the story relates, he was lord after this over Gwynedd.
And thus ends this portion of the Mabinogi.