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ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 45
 
In this 45th story in the Baba Indaba’s Children’s Stories series, Baba Indaba narrates the two Welsh fables – THE FABLE OF
 
GWRGAN FARFDRWCH and THE STORY OF THE PIG-TROUGH..……. Download and read these stories to find out what happened to the goat and also what happens to those who upset the fairies.
 
INCLUDES LINKS TO DOWNLOAD 8 FREE STORIES
 
Each issue also has a “WHERE IN THE WORLD – LOOK IT UP” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story. HINT – use Google maps.
 
Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.
 
Two Welsh Fables

Two Welsh Fables

Today we take a brief branch away from folklore and fairy tales but stay in Wales for some ancient bardic poetry. Our poem is titled –  SONG TO THE WIND. A poem from the BOOK OF TALIESSIN XVII.

GUESS who it is.
Created before the deluge.
A creature strong,
Without flesh, without bone,
Without veins, without blood,
Without head, and without feet.
It will not be older, it will not be younger,
Than it was in the beginning.
There will not come from his design

10 Fear or death.
He has no wants
From creatures.
Great God! the sea whitens
When it comes from the beginning.
Great his beauties,
The one that made him.
He, in the field, he, in the wood,
Without hand and without foot.
Without old age, without age.

20 Without the most jealous destiny
And he (is) coeval
With the five periods of the five ages.
And also is older,
Though there be five hundred thousand years.
And he is as wide
As the face of the earth,
And he was not born,
And he has not been seen.
He, on sea, he, on land,

30 He sees not, he is not seen.
He is not sincere,
He will not come when it is wished.
He, on land, he, on sea,
He is indispensable,
He is unconfined,
He is unequalled.
He from four regions,
He will not be according to counsel.
He commences his journey

40 From above the stone of marble.
He is loud-voiced, he is mute.
He is uncourteous.
He is vehement, he is bold,
When he glances over the land.
He is mute, he is loud-voiced.
He is blustering.
Greatest, his banner
On the face of the earth.
He is good, he is bad,

50 He is not bright,
He is not manifest,
For the sight does not see (him).
He is bad, he is good.
He is yonder, he is here,
He will disorder.

He will not repair what he does
And he sinless,
He is wet, he is dry,
He comes frequently

60 From the heat of the sun, and the coldness of the moon.
The moon is without benefit,
Because less, her heat.
One Person has made it,
All the creatures.
He owns the beginning
And the end without falsehood.
Not skilful, the minstrel
That praises not the Lord.
Not true, the songster

70 That praises not the Father.
Not usual will a plough be
Without iron, without seed.
There was not a light
Before the creation of heaven;
There will not be a priest,
That will not bless the wafer;
The perverse will not know
The seven faculties.
Ten countries were provided,

80 In the angelic country.
The tenth were discarded,
They loved not their Father.
A loveless shower
In utter ruin.
Llucufer the corrupter,
Like his destitute country
Seven stars there are,
Of the seven gifts of the Lord.
The student of the stars

 

90 Knows their substance.
Marca mercedus
Ola olimus
Luna lafurus
Jubiter venerus
From the sun freely flowing
The moon fetches light.
Remembrance is not in vain,
No cross if not believed.
Our Father! Our Father!

100 Our relative and companion.
Our Sovereign, we shall not be separated.
By the host of Llucufer.

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From The Four Ancient Books of Wales

ISBN: 978-1-907256-92-9

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_fabw.html

A COMPANY of fairies who lived in the recesses of Cader Idris were in the habit of going about from cottage to cottage in that part of the country to test the dispositions of the cottagers. Those who gave the fairies an ungracious welcome were subject to bad luck during the rest of their lives; but those who were good to the little folk who visited them in disguise received substantial favours from them.

 

Old Morgan ap Rhys was sitting one night by himself in his own chimney corner, solacing his loneliness with his pipe and some Llangollen ale. The generous liquor made Morgan very light-hearted, and he began to sing–at least he was under the impression that he was singing. His voice, however, was anything but sweet, and a bard whom he had offended–it is a very dangerous thing to fall foul of the bards in Wales, because they often have such bitter tongues–had likened his singing to the lowing of an old cow or the yelping of a blind dog which has lost its way to the cowyard. His singing, however, gave Morgan himself much satisfaction, and this particular evening he was especially pleased with the harmony he was producing. The only thing which marred his sense of contentment was the absence of an audience. Just as he was coming to the climax of his song, he heard a knock at the door. Delighted with the thought that there was someone to listen to him, Morgan sang with all the fervour he was capable of, and his top note was, in his opinion, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. When he had quite finished, he again heard a knock at the door, and shouted out, “What is the door for but to come in by? Come in, whoever you are.” Morgan’s manners, you will see, were not very polished.

 

The door opened and in came three travellers, travel-stained and weary-looking. Now these were fairies from Cader Idris disguised in this manner to see how Morgan treated strangers, but he never suspected they were other than they appeared. “Good sir,” said one of the travellers, “we are worn and tired, but all we seek is a bite of food to put in our wallets, and then we will go on our way.”

 

“Brensiach,” said Morgan, “is that all you want? Welt, there, look you, is the loaf and the cheese, and the knife lies by them, and you cut what you like. Eat your heartiest and fill your wallets, for never shall it be said that Morgan ap Rhys denied bread and cheese to strangers that came into his house.” The travellers proceeded to help themselves, and Morgan, determined not to fail in hospitality, sang to them while they ate, moistening his throat occasionally with Llangollen ale when it became dry.

 

The fairy travellers, after they had regaled themselves sufficiently, got up to go and said, “Good sir, we thank you for our entertainment. Since you have been so generous we will show that we are grateful. It is in our power to grant you any one wish you may have: tell us what that wish may be.”

 

“Well, indeed,” said Morgan, “the wish of my heart is to have a harp that will play under my fingers, no matter how ill I strike it: a harp that will play lively tunes, look you–no melancholy music for me. But surely it’s making fun of me you are.”

 

But that was not the case: he had hardly finished speaking when, to his astonishment, there on the hearth before him stood a splendid harp. He looked round and found his guests had vanished. “That’s the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen in my life,” said Morgan, “they must have been fairies,” and he was so flabbergasted that he felt constrained to drink some more ale. This allayed to some extent his bewilderment, and he proceeded to try the instrument he had been so mysteriously presented with. As soon as his fingers touched the strings, the harp began to play a mad and capering tune. Just then there was a sound of footsteps, and in came his wife with some friends. No sooner did they hear the strains of the harp than they began dancing, and as long as Morgan’s fingers were on the strings, they kept footing it like mad creatures.

 

The news that Morgan had come into possession of a harp with some mysterious power spread like wildfire over the whole country, and many were the visitors who came to see him and it. Every time he played it everyone felt irresistibly impelled to dance, and could not leave off until Morgan stopped. Even lame people capered away, and a one legged man who visited him danced as merrily as any biped.

 

One day, among the company who had come to see if the stories about the harp were true, was the bard who had made such unpleasant remarks about Morgan’s singing. Morgan determined to pay him out, and instead of stopping as usual after the dance had been going on for a few minutes, he kept on playing. He played on and on until the dancers were exhausted and shouted to him to stop. But Morgan was finding the scene much too amusing to want to stop. He laughed until his sides ached and the tears rolled down his cheeks at the antics of his visitors, and especially at those of the bard. The longer he played the madder became the dance: the dancers spun round and round, wildly knocking over the furniture, and some of them bounded up against the roof of the cottage till their heads cracked again. Morgan did not stop until the bard had broken his legs and the rest had been jolted almost to pieces. By that time his revenge was satisfied, and his sides and jaws were so tired with laughing that he had to take his fingers away from the strings.

 

But this was the last time he was to have the chance of venting his spite on his enemies. By next morning the harp had disappeared, and was never seen again. The fairies, evidently displeased with the evil use to which their gift had been put, must have taken it away in the night. And this is a warning to all who abuse the gifts of the fairies.

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From “The Welsh Fairy Book”

ISBN: 978-1-907256-68-4

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_wfb.html

 

Once upon a time a lot of fairies lived in Mona.

 

One day the queen fairy’s daughter, who was now fifteen years of age, told her mother she wished to go out and see the world. The queen consented, allowing her to go for a day, and to change from a fairy to a bird, or from a bird to a fairy, as she wished.

 

When she returned one night she said:

“I’ve been to a gentleman’s house, and as I stood listening, I heard the gentleman was witched: he was very ill, and crying out with pain.”

 

“Oh, I must look into that,” said the queen.

 

So the next day she went through her process and found that he was bewitched by an old witch. So the following day she set out with six other fairies, and when they came to the gentleman’s house she found he was very ill.

 

Going into the room, bearing a small blue pot they had brought with them, the queen asked him:

 

“Would you like to be cured?”

 

“Oh, bless you; yes, indeed.”

 

Whereupon the queen put the little blue pot of perfume on the centre of the table, and lit it, when the room was instantly filled with the most delicious odour.

 

Whilst the perfume was burning, the six fairies formed in line behind her, and she leading, they walked round the table three times, chanting in chorus:

 

“Round and round three times three,

We have come to cure thee.”

 

At the end of the third round she touched the burning perfume with her wand, and then touched the gentleman on the head, saying:

 

“Be thou made whole.”

 

No sooner had she said the words than he jumped up hale and hearty, and said:

 

“Oh, dear queen, what shall I do for you? I’ll do anything you wish.”

 

“Money I do not wish for,” said the queen, “but there’s a little plot of ground on the sea-cliff I want you to lend me, for I wish to make a ring there, and the grass will die when I make the ring. Then I want you to build three walls round the ring, but leave the sea-side open, so that we may be able to come and go easily.”

 

“With the greatest of pleasure,” said the gentleman; and he built the three stone walls at once, at the spot indicated.

 

II.

 

Near the gentleman lived the old witch, and she had the power of turning at will into a hare. The gentleman was a great hare hunter, but the hounds could never catch this hare; it always disappeared in a mill, running between the wings and jumping in at an open window, though they stationed two men and a dog at the spot, when it immediately turned into the old witch. And the old miller never suspected, for the old woman used to take him a peck of corn to grind a few days before any hunt, telling him she would call for it on the afternoon of the day of the hunt. So that when she arrived she was expected.

 

One day she had been taunting the gentleman as he returned from a hunt, that he could never catch the hare, and he struck her with his whip, saying “Get away, you witchcraft!”

 

Whereupon she witched him, and he fell ill, and was cured as we have seen.

 

When he got well he watched the old witch, and saw she often visited the house of an old miser who lived nearby with his beautiful niece. Now all the people in the village touched their hats most respectfully to this old miser, for they knew he had dealings with the witch, and they were as much afraid of him as of her; but everyone loved the miser’s kind and beautiful niece.

 

III.

 

When the fairies got home the queen told her daughter:

 

“I have no power over the old witch for twelve months from to-day, and then I have no power over her life. She must lose that by the arm of a man.”

 

So the next day the daughter was sent out again to see whether she could find a person suited to that purpose.

 

In the village lived a small crofter, who was afraid of nothing; he

was the boldest man thereabouts; and one day he passed the miser without saluting him. The old fellow went off at once and told the witch.

 

“Oh, I’ll settle his cows to-night!” said she, and they were taken

sick, and gave no milk that night.

 

The fairy’s daughter arrived at his croft-yard after the cows were

taken ill, and she heard him say to his son, a bright lad:

 

“It must be the old witch!”

 

When she heard this, she sent him to the queen.

 

So next day the fairy queen took six fairies and went to the croft,

taking her blue pot of perfume. When she got there she asked the crofter if he would like his cows cured?

 

“God bless you, yes!” he said.

 

The queen made him bring a round table into the yard, whereon she placed the blue pot of perfume, and having lit it, as before, they formed in line and walked round thrice, chanting the words:

 

“Round and round three times three,

We have come to cure thee.”

 

Then she dipped the end of her wand into the perfume, and touched the cows on the forehead, saying to each one:

 

“Be thou whole.”

 

Whereupon they jumped up cured.

 

The little farmer was overjoyed, and cried:

 

“Oh, what can I do for you? What can I do for you?”

 

“Money I care not for,” said the queen, “all I want is your son to avenge you and me.”

 

The lad jumped up and said:

 

“What I can do I’ll do it for you, my lady fairy.”

 

She told him to be at the walled plot the following day at noon, and left.

 

IV.

 

The next day at noon, the queen and her daughter and three hundred other fairies came up the cliff to the green grass plot, and they carried a pole, and a tape, and a mirror. When they reached the plot they planted the pole in the ground, and hung the mirror on the pole. The queen took the tape, which measured ten yards and was fastened to the top of the pole, and walked round in a circle, and wherever she set her feet the grass withered and died. Then the fairies followed up behind the queen, and each fairy carried a harebell in her left-hand, and a little blue cup of burning perfume in her right. When they had formed up the queen called the lad to her side, and told him to walk by her throughout. They then started off, all singing in chorus:

 

“Round and round three times three,

Tell me what you see.”

 

When they finished the first round, the queen and lad stopped before the mirror, and she asked the lad what he saw?

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is the witch that I see,”

said the lad. So they marched round again, singing the same words as before, and when they stopped a second time before the mirror the queen again asked him what he saw?

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is a hare that I see,”

said the lad.

 

A third time the ceremony and question were repeated.

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

The hares run up the hill to the mill.”

 

“Now”, said the queen, “there is to be a hare-hunting this day week; be at the mill at noon, and I will meet you there.”

 

And then the fairies, pole, mirror, and all, vanished and only the empty ring on the green was left.

 

V.

 

Upon the appointed day the lad went to his tryst, and at noon the Fairy Queen appeared, and gave him a sling, and a smooth pebble from the beach, saying:

 

“I have blessed your arms, and I have blessed the sling and the

stone.

 

“Now as the clock strikes three,

Go up the hill near the mill,

And in the ring stand still

Till you hear the click of the mill.

Then with thy arm, with power and might,

You shall strike and smite

The devil of a witch called Jezabel light,

And you shall see an awful sight.”

 

The lad did as he was bidden, and presently he heard the huntsman’s horn and the hue and cry, and saw the hare running down the opposite hill-side, where the hounds seemed to gain on her, but as she breasted the hill on which he stood she gained on them. As she came towards the mill he threw his stone, and it lodged in her skull, and when he ran up he found he had killed the old witch. As the huntsmen came up they crowded round him, and praised him; and then they fastened the witch’s body to a horse by ropes, and dragged her to the bottom of the valley, where they buried her in a ditch. That night, when the miser heard of her death, he dropped down dead on the spot.

 

As the lad was going home the queen appeared to him, and told him to be at the ring the following day at noon.

 

VI.

 

Next day all the fairies came with the pole and mirror, each

carrying a harebell in her left-hand, and a blue cup of burning

perfume in her right, and they formed up as before, the lad walking beside the queen. They marched round and repeated the old words, when the queen stopped before the mirror, and said:

 

“What do you see?”

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is an old plate-cupboard that I see.”

 

A second time they went round, and the question, was repeated.

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

The back is turned to me.”

 

A third time was the ceremony fulfilled, and the lad answered

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

A spring-door is open to me.”

 

“Buy that plate-cupboard at the miser’s sale,” said the queen, and she and her companions disappeared as before.

 

VII.

 

Upon the day of the sale all the things were brought out in the

road, and the plate-cupboard was put up, the lad recognising it and bidding up for it till it was sold to him. When he had paid for it he took it home in a cart, and when he got in and examined it, he found the secret drawer behind was full of gold. The following week the house and land, thirty acres, was put up for sale, and the lad bought both, and married the miser’s niece, and they lived happily till they died.

 

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From “Welsh Fairy Tales and Other Stories”

ISBN: 978-1-907256-03-5

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_wftos.html