Llyn Barfog (The Bearded Lake)
Llyn Barfog is situated in high countryside above the northern banks of the River Dyfi. The lake is isolated, small, and covered with yellow water lilies in the summer. Sir John Rhys in Celtic Folklore suggests that it was originally called Llyn-y-Barfog (The Bearded One’s Lake) referring to some ancient mythical being who would have lived there. There are several legends concerning Llyn Barfog.
One story states that ‘On the banks of Llyn Barfog, fairies would take to the air at eventide with their dogs and kine. On one occasion a farmer captured a fairy’s cow, whose progeny became famous throughout the land for their flesh, milk and butter. At length the cow was taken to the butcher, and the farmer and his neighbours gathered around to see the slaughter of such a fine beast. But, the fatal blow was never given. When the butcher raised his hand to strike the cow, a piercing cry rang out and drew everybody’s eye to one of the crags above Llyn Barfog where a green clad dame stood with arms raised, and with a voice like thunder said: “Come, yellow Anvil, stray horns, speckled one of the lake, and the hornless Dodin, arise, come home.” At once, the mystical cow and her remaining progeny fled at topmost speed to the lake, where, the mortified farmer chasing in hot pursuit watched them descend.’
Llyn Barfog also has a legend combining an Afangc (see Llyn Glaslyn) and King Arthur: Many years ago, the population of Aberdyfi and its surrounding area were troubled by a Welsh water demon or Afangc. The Afangc would kill anybody who went close to Llyn Barfog where it had made its home. Sometimes it went on the rampage, killing people in the town, and it also caused lots of flood damage as it thrashed around in the lake. King Arthur was asked to rid the Afangc from the lake, so he arrived on his horse named Llamrai and used some strong magical chains to lasoo the Afangc whist it was in the lake. Using his horse to pull the Afangc from the lake, the struggle was so arduous that Llamrai left a hoof print in a nearby stone known locally as Carn March Arthur.
From here, there are two different endings to the story. The first one tells of Arthur killing the Afangc once and for all, and the second one suggests that Arthur dragged the Afangc all the way to Cader Idris and put the Afangc into the isolated mountain lake Llyn Cau.