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Fairy Midwife Of Beddgelert


In 1891 the following folk tale appeared in 'The Science of Fairy Tales; An Enquiry Into Fairy Mythology' by Edwin Sidney Hartland. It is one of a number of stories in which human midwives are needed at fairy births.

A TALE, the scene of which is laid near Beddgelert, runs, as translated by Professor Rhys, in this way:--"Once on a time, when a midwife from Nanhwynan had newly got to the Hafodydd Brithion to pursue her calling, a gentleman came to the door on a fine grey steed and bade her come with him at once. Such was the authority with which he spoke, that the poor midwife durst not refuse to go, however much it was her duty to stay where she was. So she mounted behind him, and off they went, like the flight of a swallow, through Cwmllan, over the Bwlch, down Nant yr Aran, and over the Gadair to Cwm Hafod Ruffydd before the poor woman had time even to say Oh! When they got there, she saw before her a magnificent mansion, splendidly lit up with such lamps as she had never before seen. They entered the court, and a crowd of servants in expensive liveries came to meet them, and she was at once led through the great hail into a bed-chamber, the like of which she had never seen. There the mistress of the house, to whom she had been fetched, was awaiting her. She got through her duties successfully, and stayed there until the lady had completely recovered, nor had she spent any part of her life so merrily; there was naught but festivity day and night: dancing, singing, and endless rejoicing reigned there. But merry as it was, she found she must go, and the nobleman gave her a large purse, with the order not to open it until she had got into her own house; then he bade one of his servants escort her the same way she had come, When she reached home she opened the purse, and, to her great joy, it was full of money; and she lived happily on those earnings to the end of her life."


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Ian Topham
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Re: Fairy Midwife Of Beddgelert

This tale also appeared in ’Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx’ (1901) by John Rhys.

Once on a time, when a midwife from Nanhwynan had newly got to the Hafoddydd Brithion to pursue her calling, a gentleman came to the door on a fine gray steed and bade her come with him at once. Such was the authority with which he spoke, that the poor midwife durst not refuse to go, however much it was her duty to stay where she was. So she mounted behind him, and off the went, like the flight of a swallow, through Cwmllan, over the Bwlch, down Nant yr Aran, and over the Gader to Cwm Hafod Ruffydd, before the poor woman had time even to say "Oh!"

When they reached there, she saw before her a magnificent mansion, splendidly lit up with such lamps as she had never seen before. They entered the court, and a crowd of servants in expensive liveries came to meet them, and she was at once led through the great hall into a bed-chamber, the like of which she had never seen. There the mistress of the house, to whom she had been fetched, was awaiting her.

The midwife got through her duties successfully, and stayed there until the lady had completely recovered, nor had she spent any part of her life so merrily, for there naught but festivity went on day and night: dancing, singing, and endless rejoicing reigned there. But merry as it was, she found that she must go, and the nobleman gave her a large purse, with the order not to open it until she had got into her own house. Then he bade one of his servants escort her the same way that she had come. When she reached home she opened the purse, and, to her great joy, it was full of money.

She lived happily on those earnings to the end of her life.



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