I read that not only were their druid bards to entertain the court, there were also professional druid farters, that would cut humorous farts in front of the court.
It was a kind of medieval comedy, the flatulist was a type of court jester, and in Ireland the figure was known as a braigetoír. Apparently, they were considered pretty low-ranking among the bards and filidh. Despite our modern notions of chivalry, being prim and proper and so on, ideas that seem to be more Victorian than anything else, medieval humour could be quite bawdy, coarse and slapstick at times.
… but I think this black sow chasing the children is really weird. does this happen in Cornwall also?
I don’t know of any Cornish, or West Country, traditions about nightmarish sows or wild boars, ironic in a sense because in Culhwch and Olwen Arthur chases the great boar – Twrch Trwyth – through Cornwall before finally driving it into the sea. Of course, in medieval folklore, Arthur is the “Boar of Cornwall”, too, and despite what many others might say, any Cornish person will tell you that Arthur is one of us! 😀 The motto of the Old Cornwall Society is “Nyns-yw marow Myghtern Arthur!” – King Arthur is not dead!
Breton culture has the Ankou, the servant of death and the associated of cry of the owl, the bird of death. The Ankou guards each parish and then there are the ur gannerez-noz (kannerez-nos) – les lavandières de nuit – the washerwomen of the night – to be strongly avoided according to traditional folklore. The washerwomen are almost like banshee-type (bean sí) figures who are found washing the clothes of those who are to die.
In Cornwall and the West Country, the yeth or wisht hounds are black, red-eyed dogs, usually, although not always, malevolent ghost dogs, that can be found wandering the moorlands or guarding certain ancient sites. In Wales similar traditions are found with the gwyllgi – the wild hounds – that are seen at night. Moreover, whereas black cats are considered unlucky in many parts of the world, in the West Country, at least, they are considered lucky, however, black dogs used to be considered very unlucky and this may well be because of the ghostly hounds of the night in folklore.
The West Country in general abounds with stories of ghosts, hellish hounds, wild beasts, the devil himself and headless coachmen and so on, nevertheless, as with all things, a healthy pinch of salt should be taken with these stories too. The West Country, Cornwall in particular, was well-known for smuggling, wrecking, piracy and contraband and it has been said that many of these tales were concocted to keep fearful people away from the coasts and moors at night so that they didn’t witness the illegal activities that were going on!