Llew Llaw Gyffes

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  • #9716
    david poole
    Participant

    Llew Llaw Gyffes

    There was once a great court in Ireland where all of the important people and leaders met to make the important decisions. Decisions which would affect the future of everyone who lived within the country, decisions which would affect all of its people and their future. During one of these meetings there was an incident which many people present would not soon forget. The lady Arianrhod was to be betrothed. Her suitability had to be determined, so she was asked some crucial questions about her worthiness.

    ‘Are you still a virgin?’, she was asked.

    There was some hesitation at this point, which no-one could understand for as far as they knew, she was.

    ‘Yes I am’, Arianrhod replied. She hoped that everyone would believe this story without any further examination and that the questioning would soon move on to a different subject.

    ‘In that case’, said Math Ap Mathonwy, ‘would you like to step over this wand?’. Math possessed a wand of great enchantment, which he drew out and placed upon the ground. Arianrhod stared at this, somewhat surprised, but agreed to do as she had been asked. No sooner had she stepped over the wand than a baby popped out, right in front of the entire court to their great surprise and astonishment.

    ‘Never again shall you be known as a virgin’, said Math, quite accurately as the truth of the matter had now been revealed.

    Thoroughly embarrassed Arianrhod made herself scarce at once, leaving her baby behind. Sadly her baby was not long for this world and soon died thereafter.

    Whilst in the hall, Math’s apprentice Gwydion happened to notice as Arianrhod was departing that she had dropped something upon the ground. Stooping down to pick it up, he discovered that it was an amulet resembling a hawk. He pocketed this and took it to his chambers, where he wrapped it up and left it inside a chest. As he was leaving he heard a crying sound. He returned to the chest and opened it and there, lying inside, was an infant.

    ‘How strange’, he thought, ‘yet not completely. I had a feeling that this amulet possessed a magical power of some kind, although I never suspected that it might do something quite like this.’

    Gwydion decided to take care of the infant and to adopt him as a son. There were certain problems which he soon realised had to be overcome. The boy had no name, he would never be able to function in life without one so a name had to be found for him. According to tradition, no boy could achieve manhood without being armed; this might be somewhat difficult to arrange. And lastly, he would need a wife, yet he had no background to explain who he was so no-one would accept him. Gwydion felt that Arianrhod was the answer, so he decided to go to her. He knew that she would never agree to help if she knew what was happening, so he exercised some magic of his own, being as he was a student of Math, a magician of great ability. Using his own magic, he transformed himself into an elderly fisherman and the young boy, who was now a few years older than he had been, into his own son. To carry off the trickery they would need a fishing boat, so Gwydion used more magic to create one from flotsam found upon the shore. Setting out they eventually arrived at Arianrhod’s home. She had never forgotten the incident at the court, but of course she did not recognise Gwydion or the boy due to Gwydion’s powerful enchantment.

    Arianrhod wandered over to the boat and stepped inside. The boy was playing with some fishing tools when a wren landed upon the side of the boat. It stayed for a moment before taking off again. As he saw this the boy threw a dart at the bird, pinning it to the mast of the boat.

    ‘He has a skillful hand’, observed Arianrhod.

    Gwydion realised that he had just solved one problem and resumed his normal form, the boy also became himself so that it was obvious who they were.

    ‘You have just named him. Lleu Llaw Gyffes shall be his name’, said Gwydion.

    ‘You have deceived me, and it was you and your master who shamed me in that court so many years ago. I may well have given him a name, but I shall not care for him. Neither shall he ever bear arms, or have a wife.’ said Arianrhod.

    ‘You are an evil woman!’ said Gwydion. Angry that his plan was being frustrated he took off at once with Llew, dumping Arianrhod onto the shore. She picked herself up and glared after the departing vessel. She vowed that Gwydion would never get what he was looking for, and neither would the boy. This would be her revenge upon the court who had wrought her humiliation in public.

    One problem had been solved but two more very important problems were still lingering. Gwydion spent a lot of time thinking over this as he continued to look after Llew, who was now growing up fast. One day they were out fishing and the boy vented his frustration when he tried to catch a fish and failed.

    ‘If only I had proper weapons, not these fisherman’s tools, then I would be accepted at last among other men and they would finally know who I was’. Llew was now realising that although his mentor and protector was very wise and skilled and had shared so much with him that he was still something of an outsider. He had been kept apart from society for a very long time.

    ‘I think that I can arrange that’, said Gwydion in reassurance. ‘And I think I know who shall make that happen for us. But it will require some trickery, just as it did the last time. Fortunately my knowledge of the sacred arts is ever improving, as Math is a wise teacher.’

    So that was what they did. This time the deception was somewhat different, as it would require a very different plan this time around as Arianrhod would be well aware of what Gwydion could do. So Gwydion changed himself into a bard, while Llew was transformed into his apprentice. Once again they went to Arianrhod’s home by the sea shore. Arianrhod of course did not recognise them as their form was now completely different from what it had been before. She welcomed them both in. Gwydion played his part as a bard by keeping Arianrhod and the rest of the household thoroughly entertained with music, song and story all through the day and into the night. Eventually of course everyone became tired and set off for bed. Arianrhod’s mind was still buzzing and she wanted to tell a story of her own.

    ‘Would you like to hear a story? Of course you would, and I shall tell it to you one day. It is a story of an evil magician who practiced cunning and deception called Gwydion.’

    ‘Gwydion?!’ exclaimed Llew, knowing full well who was with him.

    ‘Yes. Do you know of him?’, asked Arianrhod.

    ‘Well, I might have heard of him from someone else somewhere’, said Llew quickly, hoping that he provided Gwydion and himself with enough cover. Arianrhod was starting to frown suspiciously, and it looked as if the game would be revealed. Gwydion decided to step in quickly.

    ‘It has been a long day and we are all tired’, he said. ‘Let us retire for now and we can carry on in the morning.’

    Gwydion realised that they might not have long before Arianrhod worked out what was happening. He quickly decided what to do. With the great magic which he possessed he conjured the mighty illusion of a fleet of soldiers in boats as the dawn rose. Arianrhod and her household soon spotted this fleet approaching, and there was great alarm and confusion, just as Gwydion had hoped. The fleet arrived at the shore and the soldiers within stepped out onto the sand. There were hundreds of them. Arianrhod feared that the land was being invaded and woke everyone else.

    ‘Quickly!’ she said. ‘We must arm ourselves. And so must you’, she said to the disguised Gwydion and Llew. Armour and weapons were fetched for both of them. Gwydion armed himself, while housemaids armed Llew, which he stood ready to accept. Inside he began to feel increasingly confident. This was something for which he had been waiting for quite a long time, and finally it was about to come true.

    Gwydion realised that the second part of his plan was now fulfilled. Llew, his adopted son, was now armed and armoured. He would be accepted as a mature adult now rather than as a boy. There was no longer any point to the deception, the result had been achieved, so he changed himself and Llew back into themselves. At the same time the invading fleet immediately disappeared. Ariranrhod jumped back with a start, then returned with fury.

    ‘Gwydion!’, she spat out. ‘I should have known it! You have deceived me once again. The boy may have a name, and he may bear arms, but he shall never, ever, have a wife!’

    ‘You are an evil woman!’, exclaimed Gwydion. ‘But in spite of what you have said, I will vow this to you; this boy shall indeed have a wife, in spite of what you have just said.’ And with that Gwydion and Llew took off, leaving a fuming Arianrhod behind.

    More years went past. Llew was growing impatient with Gwydion and with the isolated life that they were leading. He realised that more needed to be done, and decided to press Gwydion over the issue of finding him a wife.

    ‘Why do I not have a wife?’, said Llew one day.

    ‘No-one had any idea who you really are, and you could never prove where you come from’, said Gwydion. ‘Remember your magical birth?’

    ‘Of course I do’, said Llew. He was still wearing the magical amulet bearing the hawk symbol around his neck as a reminder. Llew fingered the amulet, then was struck with an idea. ‘Could we create a wife for me?’

    ‘Yes we could indeed’ said Gwydion.

    ‘Would that really work?’, responded Llew. Although it had been an inspired thought, he still doubted whether anyone could conjure a human being out of thin air.

    ‘I don’t see why not. My skills are great thanks to the teachings of my master Math’.

    Gwydion thought about what to do but soon realised that his own magic alone was not enough to be able to make this happen, so he went to his master Math Ap Mathonwy, the great magician. Together they discussed what might be done, and soon came up with a plan. They went to a nearby forest to gather precious herbs and flowers, oak, broom and meadowsweet. Within a clearing they assembled these flowers into the form of a woman. There they stood, using all of their magics and incantations.

    ‘Come to us sweet lady of the forest, with your face of flowers’, they said.

    As they did this, the flowers magically transformed into the form of a fair and comely maiden.

    ‘As you were created from flowers your name shall be Bloduwedd, the flower maiden’, said Math. And so she was named.

    Llew was infatuated with Bloduwedd as soon as he saw her. Bloduwedd immediately fell in love with Llew, just as was meant to happen.

    ‘You have given me all of this and a wife as well’, said Llew to Math as he departed with Bloduwedd.

    Llew and Bloduwedd spent many happy years together, engrossed with each other. There were not many difficulties between them, but there were some. Llew would sometimes make comments to Bloduwedd regarding her hair or appearance, which Bloduwedd might accept or sometimes refuse depending upon her feelings at the time. This was a bit frustrating for Llew as he felt that Bloduwedd had been made for him and should do as she was told. Bloduwedd however had thoughts and feelings and opinions of her own. One day they were both lying upon a hill in the beautiful sunshine underneath a tree.

    ‘I would like to go off and see Gwydion. I miss his experience and would like to talk with him for a while’, said Llew. Bloduwedd was intrigued by this idea. ‘Can I come with you?’, she asked. ‘No thank you, I shall be just fine on my own.’ Bloduwedd face sank, she had been left out of part of Llew’s life once again as sometimes happened. It was getting more and more frustrating, and she wished it might be very different. Llew saw her long face. ‘Don’t worry’, he said, ‘it will only be for a few days and then I shall be back again.’ Llew took off leaving Bloduwedd behind, and she felt very lonely without him. Somehow she would have to get through the next few days of waiting on her own.

    Now there was a local nobleman called Gronw who also lived within the same area that Llew and Bloduwedd lived within. He was a bachelor and had been for a very long time, too long, and was becoming pretty frustrated with it. Like Llew had once done he too longed for a wife who he could spend his life with. While outside one day conducting his business, meeting with important figures and doing his work for the realm, he happened to come upon Bloduwedd, who was out for a walk and still thinking about what to do next regarding her husband Llew.

    ‘Who are you fair maiden?’, said Gronw. ‘I have never seen your like around here before. You really are most comely.’

    ‘My name is Bloduwedd’, she said.

    ‘What are you doing here?’, asked Gronw.

    ‘Nothing at all really.’ Bloduwedd realised that she was alone with a very attractive man. She started to think about the possibilities.

    ‘Why not come with me then?, said Gronw. Bloduwedd, thoroughly bored and now deciding that she had waited for Llew’s return for too long, willingly accepted this offer. So they went back to Gronw’s house where the situation became very romantic. Afterwards Bloduwedd realised that she had a problem. How would Llew react when he found out that she had just had an affair with a complete stranger? Surely he would be enraged, and she might be in danger. Bloduwedd raised this matter with Gronw, who quickly came up with a plan.

    ‘We must get rid of you husband’, said Gronw.

    ‘You mean, kill him! But how shall we do that? He is not a normal man, and cannot be killed by any normal means.’

    ‘Then you must go to him and find out how to kill him, and then we shall do it’, said Gronw.

    Bloduwedd agreed with this nefarious idea, and began thinking about how to elicit the truth out of her husband Llew.

    Llew finally returned to their home. He had been away spending time talking with Gwydion for too long but it was something which he always enjoyed doing so much, there was always more to learn and he never ceased to be surprised by the depth of Gwydion’s knowledge. He was surprised to find that Blodeuwedd was not at home. ‘Where can she have gone to?’, he thought, and began to search for her. Not long after Bloduwedd finally entered their house.

    ‘Where have you been, I have been looking for you everywhere?’, said Llew.

    Blodeuwedd was a little bit coy. ‘Nowhere, just walking out in the countryside, just as I always do.’ She hoped that Llew would not read any further interpretations into her statement, but Llew still had some suspicions. Although he could prove nothing, he suspected from Bloduwedd’s reticence that something more than that had happened. But he held his peace.

    Some time went past and Bloduwedd finally decided to put her plan into action, when Llew would hopefully least expect it. So she asked Llew how he might be killed. Llew was somewhat surprised by this but decided to humour Bloduwedd’s request.

    ‘Neither on land nor off. Neither on a mount or off it. And finally, a poison spear must be used to finish me off for good.’

    ‘That does not seem very likely to happen’, said Bloduwedd, and she laughed. ‘Let’s just forget about such a silly idea and enjoy ourselves here at home.’ And so they did. As soon as she got the chance, however, Bloduwedd slipped away to visit Grown while Llew was busy.

    ‘I know how to kill him now’, said Bloduwedd to Gronw, and so she shared all that she had found out about how Llew might be killed.

    ‘That is how we shall do it then’, said Gronw. ‘We shall do it tomorrow, as soon as possible, before your husband can suspect anything.

    The following day Llew and Bloduwedd were out walking together in the country. In spite of some minor misgivings and disagreements Llew still loved Bloduwedd very much and had no idea about her plotting. They found a shed which was standing along on a plot of land. Llew laughed and got into a bath of water which he found there.

    ‘See? Neither on land nor off it’, he said, laughing.

    ‘I do see indeed’, said Bloduwedd. It was all happening so easily.

    A goat which belonged to a local farmer wandered into their field, and Llew spotted it. ‘Bring it over here’, he said to Bloduwedd, and so she did. Llew stood half out of the bath of water and put one foot on the edge of the bath and one foot on the goat ‘‘Neither on mount nor off mount’, said Llew. ‘Really, you have nothing to worry about.’

    ‘All it would take now is a poison spear, and we are not likely to see any around here’, said Bloduwedd.

    Llew laughed at this. ‘You are indeed not likely. You see, you have nothing to worry about after all.’

    Gronw of course was waiting within some nearby trees listening to all of this as it was spoken. He had brought a spear with him into the woods, after making sure that it had poison at its tip, just as he had but told must be done. Seeing Llew standing upon the bath and the goat he stepped out of the trees and launched his spear at Llew. It was a direct hit. The poisoned spear went into Llew’s side and he screamed in agony, blood pouring from the wound.

    ‘It is done at last’, said Bloduwedd, pleased with their evil plan.

    This brief moment was not to last for long however. As she and Gronw looked on in shocked disbelief they saw Llew’s form suddenly change and he became a hawk, the spear still still embedded in his side and still bleeding. Shrieking, the hawk took off into the air and flew down the valley into the distance. They did not know what to do and held onto each other, neither able to think of anything further to say or to do. They only had each other left.

    The hawk flew down the valley and landed on a tree, dripping blood onto its leaves. The transformed Llew hid away inside the tree’s branches, wounded, alone and slowly dying. He vowed that he would never go back home again no matter what should happen. The sense of betrayal that he felt in that moment was overwhelming.

    ‘I am alone. I want to die’, he thought to himself.

    Gwydion was also out wandering in the countryside that day. He had been doing much studying with Math his master, but he missed the time which he had once spent with his adopted son Llew and thought about him quite often and with some fondness.

    ‘If only I could see Lllew and speak with him once again, just for a while’, though Gwydion. ‘There is nothing in the world which I would not give for one opportunity to do that.’

    As Gwydion continued to walk he became more tired and decided to stop beneath a tree. There was something odd happening however. He spied a pig beneath the tree, and it appeared to be eating something which was lying on the ground. Moving closer, Gwydion saw that the pig was eating maggots from the ground with a voracious appetite. There was no source for the maggots however as there was no sign of rotting meat, the first necessity for breeding large quantities of maggots. Then he noticed that maggots were actually falling down from the tree above him.

    ‘What on earth can be the cause of that?’, thought Gwydion with some surprise, and so he looked up. The branches and the leaves were quite thick, but after a while he managed to spot what was happening. There perched on a branch near the top of the tree and almost hidden away there was a hawk, its side bleeding heavily and a spear hanging from it. Gwydion realised at once that this must be a transformed Llew; he remembered the hawk amulet from long ago. The spirit of Llew and the spirit of the hawk animal were intimately connected. This came as liitle surprise to Gwydion, for his master Math had taught him that humans and animals were connected together or could become connected through transformative magic. The hawk spotted Gwydion and looked down at him, bleeding drops upon Gwydion’s face.

    ‘I am dying. I want to die’, it said.

    Gwydion was distraught and determined that this would not happen, no matter what he had to do.

    ‘Come to me. I love you. You have a choice to make now’, said Gwydion. He looked up expectantly at the hawk, not knowing what might happen next but hoping that the transformed Llew would listen to his plea. As he stood there the hawk turned itself, left the branch where it had been sitting and flew down to land in Gwydion’s arms.

    Tearing up, Gwydion used his magics to turn Llew from hawk back to human once again. And there lay Llew, unconscious, bleeding heavily and barely alive.

    Gwydion carried the unconscious Llew back to a nearby village, where he applied all of his healing skills to Llew’s dying body, and was successful. Once he woke up, Llew started talking madly about what had happened, and Gwydion found out about Bloduwedd and Gronw’s elopement, and quickly he hatched a revenge.

    Bloduwedd was very scared, she had not expected Llew’s transformation and had taken off in fright and confusion, not knowing what to do. Her lover Gronw had disappeared, presumably off to save himself from whatever form of justice might decide to pursue them. There were many forms of magic and surely divination was among them; all someone had to do was to use divination upon her, and her murderous plan would immediately be revealed.

    She decided to follow a steep path up a remote hill and to wait there for a few days until she might know what was happening. There would not be any people up there, due to the height she would soon see anyone who might approach and could quickly hide herself. Bloduwedd thought that she would be safe. What she did not know was that Gwydion had indeed applied divination and had quickly discerned what Blodeuwedd was up to and where she was going; the thread of her actions upon fate had been very easy to follow. And so he had taken a horse and had ridden up the hill earlier and was waiting near the top of the hill when Bloduwedd appeared. As he saw her he dismounted.

    ‘The scent of rotten flowers travels travels before you’, said Gwydion, glaring at her. ‘I am here to dispense the justice which you have earned for yourself.’

    ‘I could not help myself, I am not a mortal. You know that, you and your master Gwydion created from magic. How can you blame me for what I did? You and your master created me yourselves, you must have known what might happen.’

    Gwydion was quick to respond to this.

    ‘Llew loved you with all of his heart and you betrayed him. He told me that he wanted to die after you left him, but I managed to persuade him that his life was still worthwhile. I made a mistake once, I failed my master Math. As a punishment, he turned me into an animal and set me loose to live in the wild like a beast. You have betrayed Llew your husband. For your punishment, you shall be transformed into a bird of the forest. You shall be loathed and hated by all other birds, and you shall be alone’, he said. And with one wave of his wand Bloduwedd was transformed into an owl.

    ‘Gwydion!’, she screamed as she became claws, beak and feathers and took off into the air, flying far away never to be seen by mortal man in her usual form again.

    There was still Gronw to be dealt with, as Gwydion learned from Llew. The two of them went to the local village and the leaders there helped to find and capture the adulterer. A large gathering of locals met on the green nearby to witness justice unfold. As Gronw had tried to kill Llew with a spear they had given Llew his own spear with which he might kill Gronw in return in order to restore the balance.

    ‘Please! I haven’t done anything! Give me a chance!’ Gronw could see that the game was up. No-one was going to defend him. ‘This is not fair!’

    ‘Ah ah ah’, said Llew. ‘You are well aware of what you and Bloduwedd plotted together. Now you must bear the consequences of your actions.’

    Gronw stepped back, quaking in terror. ‘If that must happen, at least let me have something to protect myself.’ He looked downwards and spotted a recumbent stone lying nearby. ‘Please, let me at least hold this stone in front of me in order to protect myself.’

    Llew agreed to this idea, and said so to Gronw.

    ‘You may do so if you wish, though you are still just as guilty and nothing will ever change that.’ He paused for a moment, then turned to face the assembly which was watching them all. He spotted Gwydion, who looked at him with purpose, then he returned to face Gronw, and addressed him once again.

    ‘I have the right to revenge, as the law has decreed in cases where people have committed murder, or attempted to commit murder. But Gwydion told me that I also have a choice to make. I choose… mercy.’ And so saying he walked back to Gwydion, who was very happy with the choice which Llew had made. The spear however was still being carried in one of his hands.

    Gronw was still clearly cowering as he stood behind the stone which he had raised in front of him. To many of those gathered to witness events, he looked somewhat ridiculous. There was a growing tide of laughter. Gronw became embarrassed, then quickly became angry. Everyone was laughing at him. Although his life had been spared, what had happened to him was far worse than death. Gronw had some weapons of his own, including a dagger which he had secreted upon his person which no-one else knew about.

    Gronw could see that Gwydion had his back turned to him as he was speaking to Gwydion. He drew out his dagger and threw it. But Gwydion was looking in that direction and spied what was about to happen.

    ‘Llew, look out!’, Gwydion cried.

    Llew spun around, saw Gronw about to throw his dagger, and launched the spear which he had retained towards Gronw. Gronw’w dagger missed Llew as he had not aimed well. Llew’s aim was far better. The spear which he had thrown pierced the stone which Gronw was holding in front of him and exited through Gronw’s back. Gronw was killed instantly. And so justice was served to him in the end after all.

    ‘I had no choice’ said Llew, turning to Gwydion. ‘I know, I chose mercy, but I could not help myself. I had to act in self defence.’

    ‘Sometimes we have a choice, sometimes we do what we have to do’, responded Gwydion. ‘Life is made up of choice, fate and magic.’

    #9849
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Afternoon David.

    Nice work, one of my favourite tales.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #9850
    david poole
    Participant

    Thank you Dowrgi. The whole thing was written completely from memory, I did not use a single reference while I was writing it. It took about three to three and a half hours. I WPd the whole thing, did a spelling and grammar check, then pasted it into the standard text box. I don’t think I rewrote anything at all, it seemed alright after the first pass, which was pretty surprising. It turned out to be a lot longer than expected, I was worried that it might be too long. I used part of a movie which I saw which told large parts of this story. That helped me a lot. While I was writing, I was able to recall all of the separate scenes and images from the film. It basically acted like the memory palace memorisation technique; each key scene and character had its own picture attached to it, writing the story I simply moved through all of the different rooms and followed the thread. It really helped to break one continuous story into individual scenes, the key moments; writing the story then became a simple matter of linking all of the separate scenes together and adding descriptions and dialogue. Character motivation was one thing which I thought was key to this story, so I had to think of what each character was thinking and feeling, what motivated them; I added elements of this to the story to make each character’s actions appear understandable, even though there is a lot of deception and betrayal, attempted murder and adultery. I did not know the full background of Gwydion, this is something which I would like to know more about. I know practically nothing about Math Ap Mathonwy; I feel that his particular character appears very thinly sketched out. I would like to do more of the Mabinogion stories over the next few days, depending on how the memorisation goes. Memorisation works well but requires a lot of practice and focus.

    #9857
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Hello again.

    Well done David. That is quite impressive. I’ve been working on the second module. I’m focusing on the poetry a lot these days.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #9859
    david poole
    Participant

    I really ought to be memorising the tale of Cerridwen and Taliesin as that was what we were asked to do; for some reason, I got a grip on the story of Llew first. I don’t completely understand why that is, except that I happen to do a lot of study on my own initiative and learn many different areas and that Llew happened to stick in my mind when I read it. Rather than abandon this gift in order to return to the Taliesin story I decided to make the most out of what had happened and write Llew instead; to my amazement, this actually worked. I don’t think my Taliesin memorisation can be far off. Rhiannon and Branwen resonate with me, so either or both of them could come out as stories before Taliesin. On the subject of poetry, I have somewhat struggled with trying to grasp some aspects of that. I was looking at studying a lot more into creative writing and folk groups; that is not possible right now, obviously, so that idea has ground to a halt until our current situation is over. I do have a poem in mind which I may post up here very soon.

    #9861
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Morning David.

    I take the approach that each thing will fall in place in its own natural time, so I try to go with the flow.

    Of late, I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of research on actual bards, historical or semi-historical, including the Breton bard Gwenc’hlan, Diougan Gwenc’hlan, however, it is a bit frustrating working with materials from the 19th century as there are so many accusations and counter-accusations flying around in terms of authenticity. I’ve also come across the work of a 19th century Welsh poet/bard, John Ceiriog Hughes (1832–1887), I found his “Aros mae’r mynyddau mawr” very inspiring and there is a sung version by the group Ffynon – you can find it online with translations in English too if you wish. I did actually try to open a thread here with references and links, but it seems that the forum blocks these for some reason – probably as an anti-spam measure, which is a shame but I understand why.

    Anyway, keep up your good work and if you have time, see if you can find these poems and songs. I think a poem being sung in its original language is the closest we can get to what it would’ve been like to sit in an ancient British or Irish court and hear the bards of old, so I do find it very inspiring.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #9937
    david poole
    Participant

    I have just realised that there is a late 60s, 1968 I think, children’s television drama called The Owl Service, based on a novel written by Alan Garner, which deals with this very story in a different kind of way. It doesn’t actually tell that story, instead it tells the story of some young people who are having issues who begin to re-enact the story of Llew, Bloduwedd and Gronw. They start to act like the characters and become very opposed to one another. Part of this activity revolves around a stone which has a hole in it which is supposed to have been pierced by the spear which Llew threw at Gronw. Indeed one of the characters briefly thinks that they see Llew standing posed with his spear upon a hilltop. Strange owl like sounds and mysterious events surround all of them.

    #10280
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Afternoon David.

    I came across this – Christianised Myths? Blodeuwedd and The Four Branches of the Mabinogi – which I thought you might find interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3glgKTnrjPU

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #10281
    david poole
    Participant

    Thanks Dowrgi, I will look into it.

    #10282
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    You’re welcome.

    Which edition of the Mabinogi(on) are you working with? My copy is The Mabinogion, Oxford World Classics (2008) by Sioned Davies. It’s got really detailed notes and explanations, both of which I find really helpful.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

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