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Llew Llaw Gyffes


Llew is seen by many scholars as the Welsh equivalent of Lugh, (which means light) the Irish god of light who is master of all the crafts of men. There are several parallels to his character and Llew, who is also known for his deftness of hand and skill in all things.

Llew was the son of Arainhrod, brought up by the bard Gwydion. His mother puts several geises upon him; that he cannot take a mortal wife; cannot bear arms, and cannot have a name. These important rites of passage are overcome with the cunning of Gwydion, who tricks his mother into naming him and supplying him with weapons. Gwydion and Math also create a wife for him out of flowers and nine elements.

His new wife Bloddeuwedd soon falls in love with a hunter called Gronwy, and the two set about plotting Llew's death. She tricks Llew into revealing how he can only be killed by standing with one foot in a cauldron placed on a riverbank, with the other foot on a billy goat, at twilight. Blodeuwedd suggests this is impossible and has Llew show her that it is not. At this point Gronwy jumps out from behind a bush and severely wounds Llew with a spear. Llew changes into the form of an eagle and flies away to an ancient oak tree. Gwydion eventually restores him to mortal form, and changes Blodeuwedd into an owl as penance.



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