Llyn y Forwyn

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2 Responses

  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Llyn y Forwyn
    A longer version of the fairy wife’s call to her cattle, as appears in Glanffrwd’s Plwyf Llanwyno, ‘the Parish of Llanwynno (Pontypridd, 1888).

    Prw me, prw me,
    Prw ‘ngwartheg i dre’;
    Prw Melen a Ioco,
    Tegwen a Rhuddo,
    Rhudd-frech a Moel-frech,
    Pedair Lliain-frech;
    Lliain-frech ag Eli,
    A phedair Wen-ladi,
    Ladi a Chornwen,
    A phedair Wynebwen;
    Nepwen a Rhwynog,
    Tali Lieiniog;
    Brech yn y Glyn
    Dal yn dyn;
    Tair lygeityn,
    Tair gyffredin,
    Tair Caseg ddu, draw yn yr eithin,
    Deuwch i gyd i lys y Brenin;
    Bwla, bwla,
    Saif yn flaena’,
    Saf yn ol y wraig o’r Ty-fry,
    Fyth nis godri ngwartheg i!

  2. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Llyn y Forwyn
    John Rhys in ‘Celtic Folklore Welsh And Manx’ (1901) gives a second version and discusses similarities with the legend associated with Llyn y Fan Fach.

    Mr. Probert Evans having kindly given me the address of an aged farmer who formerly lived in the valley, my friend, Mr. Llywarch Reynolds, was good enough to visit him. Mr. Reynolds shall report the result in his own words, dated January 9, 1899, as follows:–

    ‘I was at Pentyrch this morning, and went to see Mr. David Evans, formerly of Cefn Colston.

    ‘The old man is a very fine specimen of the better class of Welsh farmer; is in his eighty-third year; hale and hearty, intelligent, and in full possession of his faculties. He was born and bred in the Rhondda Fechan Valley, and lived there until some forty years ago. He had often heard the lake story from an old aunt of his who lived at the Maerdy Farm (a short distance north of the lake), and who died a good many years ago, at a very advanced age.

    He calls the lake "Llyn Elferch," and the story, as known to him, has several points in common with the Llyn y Fan legend, which, however, he did not appear to know. He could not give me many details, but the following is the substance of the story as he knows it:–The young farmer, who lived with his mother at the neighbouring farm, one day saw the lady on the bank of the lake, combing her hair, which reached down to her feet. He fell in love at first sight, and tried to approach her; but she evaded him, and crying out, Ddali di ddim o fi, crâs dy fara! (Thou wilt not catch me, thou of the crimped bread), she sank into the water. He saw her on several subsequent occasions, and gave chase, but always with the same result, until at length he got his mother to make him some bread which was not baked (or not baked so hard); and this he offered to the lady. She then agreed to become his wife, subject to the condition that if he offended her, or disagreed with her three times (ar yr ammod, os byssa: fa yn ‘i chroesi hi dair gwaith) she would leave him and return into the lake with all her belongings.

    ‘1. The first disagreement (croes) was at the funeral of a neighbour, a man in years, at which the lady gave way to excessive weeping and lamentation. The husband expressed surprise and annoyance at this excessive grief for the death of a person not related to them, and asked the reason for it; and she replied that she grieved for the defunct on account of the eternal misery that was in store for him in the other world.

    ‘2. The second "croes" was at the death of an infant child of the lady herself, at which she laughed immoderately; and in reply to the husband’s remonstrance, she said she did so for joy at her child’s escape from this wicked world and its passage into a world of bliss.

    ‘3. The third "croes" Mr. Evans was unable to call to mind, but equally with the other two it showed that the lady was possessed of preternatural knowledge; and it resulted in her leaving her husband and returning into the lake, taking the cattle, with her. The accepted explanation of the name of the lake was Llyn El-ferch  1 (= Hela ‘r ferch), "because of the young man chasing the damsel" (hela ‘r ferch).

    ‘The following is the cattle-call, as given to me by Mr. Evans’ aged housekeeper, who migrated with the family from Rhonda Fechan to Pentyrch:

    Prw i, Prw e ,
    Prw ‘ngwartheg sha [= tua] thre’;
    Mil a môl a melyn gwtta;
    Milfach a malfach;
    Petar [= pedair] llearfach;
    Llearfach ag aeli;
    Petar a lafi;
    Lafi a chornwan [= wèn];
    [ . . . ] ‘Nepwan drwynog;
    Drotwan [= droedwen] liliog;
    Tair Byncethin;
    Tair gyffretin;
    Tair casag ddu
    Draw yn yr ithin [= eithin],
    Dewch i gyd i lys y brenin.

    Mr. Evans told me that Dyffryn Safrwch was considered to be a corruption of Dyffryn Safn yr Hwch, "Valley of the Sow’s Mouth"; so that the explanation was not due to a minister with whom I foregathered on my tramp near the lake the other day, and from whom I heard it first.’

    The similarity between Mr. Evans’ version of this legend and that of Llyn y Fan Fach, tends to add emphasis to certain points which I had been inclined to treat as merely accidental. In the Fan Fach legend the young man’s mother is a widow, and here he is represented living with his mother. Here also something depends on the young man’s bread, but it is abruptly introduced, suggesting that a part of the story has been forgotten. Both stories, however, give one the impression that the bread of the fairies was regarded as always imperfectly baked.