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Llyn Coch (Red Lake)


If you ascend Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon) on the Snowdon Ranger path you will encounter Llyn Coch. Legend has it that this lake is a favourite abode of the Tylwth Teg (Fairy Folk). There is a ‘Fairy Bride’ legend associated with the lake, one version of which goes something like this:

One misty day, a farmer was fishing in Llyn Coch. Suddenly a gust of wind cleared the mist to reveal a little man standing on a ladder in the lake, thatching a stack. After a while the vision faded away and there was just a ripple on the water where the man had been. The farmer often visited the lake after this event, but he saw nothing remarkable until one hot day in autumn. Whilst riding near the lake he took his horse into the water to quench its thirst. As the horse was drinking, he was looking idly at the ripples, when to his astonishment he became aware of a beautiful face just beneath the surface looking up at him. As he sat there, the head and shoulders which belonged to the face emerged from the water. He jumped down from the horse and rushed towards the damsel. As he got there the vision vanished, but instantly reappeared in another part of the lake.

Again he rushed towards it, and again it disappeared. This happened five times, after which the farmer gave up and went home. The following day the farmer went to the lake once again, in the hope of seeing the beautiful damsel again, but for a long time there was no sign of her. To help with the boredom while he waited, he took out of his pocket some apples of rare and delicious quality which had been given to him by a neighbour, and began to eat one. Suddenly the lady appeared in all her dazzling beauty fairly close to him, and begged him to throw her one of his apples. "If you want an apple you must get it yourself," said the farmer, and he held out an apple to her. Tempted, she came closer to him, and as she took the apple from his left hand, he seized tight hold of her with his right hand. She screamed at the top of her voice, and an old man, with a long white beard and a wreath of water-lilies, appeared out of the midst of the lake. "Oh, mortal, what wouldest thou with my daughter?" he asked of the farmer. The farmer said that his heart would break unless the nymph consented to be his wife. After a lengthy discussion, the father agreed to the union on one condition, which was that the young man should not strike his daughter with clay. The wedding took place at once, and the couple lived happily together. One day his fairy wife expressed a longing for some of those delicious apples with which the farmer had tempted her out of the lake. So, the husband went to the neighbour who grew them, and brought back not only some apples, but a beautiful young apple sapling, as a present from their friend. This they at once started plant in a hole. "It is deep enough now" declared the farmer, and for luck he threw the last spade of clay over his shoulder. It was unfortunate that he didn’t look where he was throwing the clay, for it fell right against the breast of his wife. She immediately shouted, "Fare thee well, dear husband," and ran into the lake disappearing beneath the water.

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Author: 
Simon Topham

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Ian Topham
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Re: Llyn Coch (Red Lake)

'The Bride from the Red Lake' as it appears in 'The Welsh Fairy Book' by W. Jenkyn Thomas (1908)

A FARMER was one misty day fishing in Llyn Coch, the Red Lake, in the Forest of Snowdon. A sudden gust of wind cleared a road through the grey vapour that hung over the lake, and revealed a little man standing on a ladder and busily engaged in thatching a stack. The stack and ladder rested on the surface of the lake. In a few minutes the vision faded away, and there was nothing but rippling water to be seen in the place where the hay and thatcher had been observed.

After this the farmer often used to visit the lake, but he saw nothing remarkable until one hot day in autumn, when riding by the lake he took his horse into the water to drink. While the animal was slaking its thirst he was looking idly at the ripples, when to his intense astonishment he became aware of a most lovely face just beneath the surface a little distance from him, looking up at him. As he gazed bewildered, the head and shoulders which belonged to the face emerged from the water. He leaped from his horse and rushed towards the damsel; when he got there the vision had vanished, but it instantly reappeared in another part of the lake. Again he rushed towards it, and again it disappeared. This happened a third time, and a fourth time, and a fifth, after which the farmer gave up the chase and went disconsolately home.

The next day the farmer went to the lake once more, and sat down by the margin in the hope of seeing the beautiful damsel again, but for a long time there was no sign of her. To beguile the tedium of waiting, he took out of his pocket some apples of rare and delicious quality which had been given to him by a neighbour, and began to munch one of them. Suddenly the lady appeared in all her dazzling beauty almost close to him, and begged him to throw her one of his apples. "If you want an apple you must fetch it yourself," said the farmer, and he held out the tempting morsel, exhibiting its beautiful red and green sides. Upon this she came up quite close, and as she took the apple from his left hand, he seized tight hold of her with his right and held her fast. She screamed at the top of her voice, and an old man, with a long white beard and a wreath of water-lilies, appeared out of the midst of the lake. "Oh, mortal, what wouldest thou with my daughter?" he asked of the farmer. The farmer said that he would break his heart unless the nymph of the lake consented to be his wife. After much pleading the father agreed to the union on one condition, which was that the young man should not strike his wife with clay. The wedding took place at once, and the couple lived together in the greatest happiness.

One day the wife expressed a desire for some of those same delicious apples with which the farmer had tempted her out of the lake. Off went the husband to the neighbour who grew them, and brought back not only some apples, but a beautiful young sapling, bearing the same apple, as a present from their friend. This they at once proceeded to set, he digging and she holding the tree until the hole should be deep enough to plant it in. "It is deep enough now," said the farmer, and for luck he threw out the last spadeful of clay over his shoulder. He did not look which way he threw it, and it fell right against the breast of his wife. She no sooner received the blow than she cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry. "Fare thee well, dear husband," she said, and ran into the lake and disappeared beneath the smooth and glassy waters.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
User offline. Last seen 6 hours 51 min ago. Offline
Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Re: Llyn Coch (Red Lake)

'The Bride from the Red Lake' as it appears in 'The Welsh Fairy Book' by W. Jenkyn Thomas (1908)

A FARMER was one misty day fishing in Llyn Coch, the Red Lake, in the Forest of Snowdon. A sudden gust of wind cleared a road through the grey vapour that hung over the lake, and revealed a little man standing on a ladder and busily engaged in thatching a stack. The stack and ladder rested on the surface of the lake. In a few minutes the vision faded away, and there was nothing but rippling water to be seen in the place where the hay and thatcher had been observed.

After this the farmer often used to visit the lake, but he saw nothing remarkable until one hot day in autumn, when riding by the lake he took his horse into the water to drink. While the animal was slaking its thirst he was looking idly at the ripples, when to his intense astonishment he became aware of a most lovely face just beneath the surface a little distance from him, looking up at him. As he gazed bewildered, the head and shoulders which belonged to the face emerged from the water. He leaped from his horse and rushed towards the damsel; when he got there the vision had vanished, but it instantly reappeared in another part of the lake. Again he rushed towards it, and again it disappeared. This happened a third time, and a fourth time, and a fifth, after which the farmer gave up the chase and went disconsolately home.

The next day the farmer went to the lake once more, and sat down by the margin in the hope of seeing the beautiful damsel again, but for a long time there was no sign of her. To beguile the tedium of waiting, he took out of his pocket some apples of rare and delicious quality which had been given to him by a neighbour, and began to munch one of them. Suddenly the lady appeared in all her dazzling beauty almost close to him, and begged him to throw her one of his apples. "If you want an apple you must fetch it yourself," said the farmer, and he held out the tempting morsel, exhibiting its beautiful red and green sides. Upon this she came up quite close, and as she took the apple from his left hand, he seized tight hold of her with his right and held her fast. She screamed at the top of her voice, and an old man, with a long white beard and a wreath of water-lilies, appeared out of the midst of the lake. "Oh, mortal, what wouldest thou with my daughter?" he asked of the farmer. The farmer said that he would break his heart unless the nymph of the lake consented to be his wife. After much pleading the father agreed to the union on one condition, which was that the young man should not strike his wife with clay. The wedding took place at once, and the couple lived together in the greatest happiness.

One day the wife expressed a desire for some of those same delicious apples with which the farmer had tempted her out of the lake. Off went the husband to the neighbour who grew them, and brought back not only some apples, but a beautiful young sapling, bearing the same apple, as a present from their friend. This they at once proceeded to set, he digging and she holding the tree until the hole should be deep enough to plant it in. "It is deep enough now," said the farmer, and for luck he threw out the last spadeful of clay over his shoulder. He did not look which way he threw it, and it fell right against the breast of his wife. She no sooner received the blow than she cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry. "Fare thee well, dear husband," she said, and ran into the lake and disappeared beneath the smooth and glassy waters.



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