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Satan Playing Cards


The following story concerning the Devil playing cards appeared in Elias Owen's 'Welsh folk-lore' (1887)'. 'A good many years ago I travelled from Pentrevoelas to Yspytty in company with Mr. Lloyd, the then vicar of the latter parish, who, when crossing over a bridge that spanned a foaming mountain torrent, called my attention to the spot, and related to me the following tale connected with the place:—

A man was returning home late one night from a friend’s house, where he had spent the evening in card playing, and as he was walking along he was joined by a gentleman, whose conversation was very interesting. At last they commenced talking about card playing, and the stranger invited the countryman to try his skill with him, but as it was late, and the man wanted to go home, he declined, but when they were on the bridge his companion again pressed him to have a game on the parapet, and proceeded to take out of his pocket a pack of cards, and at once commenced dealing them out; consequently, the man could not now refuse to comply with the request. With varying success game after game was played, but ultimately the stranger proved himself the more skilful player. Just at this juncture a card fell into the water; and in their excitement both players looked over the bridge after it, and the countryman saw to his horror that his opponent’s head, reflected in the water, had on it two horns. He immediately turned round to have a careful look at his companion; he, however, did not see him, but in his place was a ball of fire, which flashed away from his sight.

I must say that when I looked over the bridge I came to the conclusion that nothing could have been reflected in the water, for it was a rushing foaming torrent, with no single placid spot upon its surface.

Another version of the preceding tale I obtained from the Rev. Owen Jones. In this instance the cloven foot and not the horned head was detected. The scene of this tale is laid in the parish of Rhuddlan near Rhyl.'

Note: Although I try to be as accurate as possible with the mapping of locations I cannot be 100% sure that the correct bridge has been identified in this case, though it is the correct area.


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