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THE MABINOGION


PWYLL PRINCE OF DYFED





  Pwyll prince of Dyfed was lord over the seven cantrefs of Dyfed and once upon a time he was at Arberth a chief court of his, and it came into his head and heart to go a-hunting. The part of his domain which it pleased him to hunt was Glyn Cuch. And he set out that night from Arberth, and came as far as Pen Llwyn Diarwya, and there he was that night. And on the morrow in the young of the day he arose and came to Glyn Cuch to loose his dogs into the wood. And he sounded his horn and began to muster the hunt, and followed after the dogs and lost his companions; and whilst he was listening to the cry of the pack, he could hear the cry of another pack, but they had not the same cry, and were coming to meet his own pack.


   And he could see a clearing in the wood as of a level field and as his pack reached the edge of the clearing, he could see a stag. in front of the other pack. And towards the middle of the clearing, lo, the pack that was pursuing it overtaking it and bringing it to the ground. And then he looked at the colour of the pack, without troubling to look at the stag; and of all the hounds he had seen in the world, he had seen no dogs the same colour as these. The colour that was on them was a brilliant shining white, and their ears red; and as the exceeding whiteness of the dogs glittered, so glittered the exceeding redness of their ears. And with that he came to the dogs, and drove away the pack that had killed the stag, and baited his own pack upon the stag.

   And whilst he was baiting his dogs he could see a horseman coming after the pack on a big dapple-grey steed, with a hunting horn round his neck and a garment Of brownish-grey stuff about 'him by way of a hunting garb. And thereupon the horseman drew near him, and spake to him thus. 'Chieftain,' said he, I know who thou art, but I will not greet thee.' 'Why,' said he, 'perhaps thy dignity is such that it should not do so.' 'Faith,' said he,' it is not the degree of my dignity that keeps me therefrom,' 'Chieftain,' he replied, 'what else then?' 'Between me and God,' said he, 'thine own ignorance and discourtesy.' 'What discourtesy, chieftain, hast thou seen in me?' 'Greater discourtesy I have not seen in man,' said he, 'than to drive away the pack that had killed the stag and to bait thine own pack upon it. That,'said he,'was discourtesy, and though I will not take vengeance upon thee, between me and God,' said he, 'I will do thee dishonor to the value of a hundred stags.' 'Chieftain,' said he, 'if I have done thee wrong, I will redeem thy friendship.' 'How,' he replied, 'wilt thou redeem it?' 'According as thy dignity may be; but I know not who thou art.' 'A crowned king am I in the land whence I come.' 'Lord,' he replied, 'good day to thee, and from what land is it thou comest?' 'From Annwn,'  1  answered he; 'Arawn king of Annwn am I.' 'Lord,' said he, 'how shall I win thy friendship?' ' This is how thou shalt,' he replied. There is a man whose domain is opposite to mine for ever warring against me. That is king Hafgan, from Annwn; and by ridding me of his oppression and that thou easily mayest, thou shalt win my friendship.' 'That will I do' said he, 'gladly. But show me how I may do it.' 'I will,' said he. 'This is how thou mayest. I will make with thee a strong bond of friendship. This is how I will do it: I will set thee in Annwn in my stead and the fairest lady thou didst ever see I will set to sleep with thee each night, and my form and semblance upon thee, so that there shall be not a chamberlain, nor an officer, nor any other man that has ever followed me shall know that thou art not I. And that' is said he, 'till the end of a year from to-morrow, and our tryst then in this very place.' 'Aye,' he replied, 'though I be there till the end of the year what guidance shall I have to find the man thou tellest of?' 'A year from to-night,' said he, 'there is a tryst between him and me at the ford. And be thou there in my likeness,' said he. 'And one blow only thou art to give him; that he will not survive. And though he ask thee to give him another, give it not, however he entreat thee. For despite aught I might give him, as well as before would he fight both me on the morrow.' 'Aye,' said Pwyll,'what shall I do with my kingdom?' 'I will bring it about,' said Arawn, 'that there shall be neither men nor woman in thy kingdom shall know that I am not thou; and I shall go in thy stead.' 'G1ad1y,' said Pwyll, 'and I will be on my way.' 'Without let shall be thy path, and nothing shall impede thee till thou arrive in my domain, and I myself will bring thee on thy way.'

   He brought him on his way till he saw the court and the dwellings. 'There,' he said, 'the court and the kingdom in thy power. And make for the court. There is none within that will not know thee, and as thou seest the service therein thou wilt know the usage of the court.'

   He made for the court. And in the court he could see sleeping-rooms and halls and chambers and the greatest show of buildings any one had ever seen. And he went into the hall to pull off his boots. There came squires and chamberlains to pull them off him, and all as they came saluted him. Two knights came to rid him of his hunting garb and to apparel him in a robe of gold brocaded silk. And the hall was made ready. Here he could see a warband and retinues entering in, and the most comely troop and the best equipped any one had seen, and the queen with them the fairest woman any one had ever seen, dressed in a robe of shining gold brocaded silk. And thereupon they went to wash and drew near the tables, and they sat in this wise: the queen one side of him, and the earl, as he, supposed the other side.

   And he began to converse with the queen. And of all he had ever seen to converse with, she was the most unaffected woman, and the most gracious of disposition and discourse. And they passed their time with meat drink and song and carousal. Of all the courts he had seen on earth, that was the court best furnished with meat and drink and vessels of gold and royal jewels.

   Time came for them to go to sleep, and to sleep they went, he and the queen. The moment they got into bed, he turned his face to the bedside and his back towards her. From then till morning not one word did he speak to her. On the morrow tenderness and amiable discourse was there between them. Whatever affection was between them during the day, not a single night to the year's end was different from what that first night was.

   The year he spent in hunting and song and carousal, and affection and discourse with his companions, till the night the encounter should be. On that appointed night, the tryst was as well remembered by the man who dwelt furthest in the whole kingdom as by himself. And he came to the tryst, and the gentles of the kingdom with him. And the moment he came to the ford a horseman arose and spoke thus. 'Gentles,' said he, 'give good heed! It is between the two kings that this meeting is, and that between their two bodies. And each of them is a claimant against the other, and that for land and territory; and each of you may stand aside, and let the fight be between them.'


   And thereupon the two kings approached each other towards the middle of the ford for the encounter. And at the first onset the man who was in Arawn's stead struck Hafgan on the centre of his shield's boss, so that it was split in two and all his armour broken, and Hafgan was his arm and his spear's length over his horse's crupper to the ground, with a mortal wound upon him. 'Ha, chieftain,' said Hafgan, 'what right hadst thou to my death? I was bringing no claim against thee; moreover I knew no reason for thee to slay me. But for God's sake,' said he, 'since thou hast begun my death make an end.''Chieftan,' he replied 'I may repent doing that. Which I have done to thee. Seek who may slay thee.' 'My trusty gentles,' said Hafgan, 'bear me hence My death has been completed. I am in state to maintain you no longer.' 'Gentles mine,' said the man who was in Arawn's stead, 'take guidances and dis- cover who ought to be my vassals.' 'Lord,' said the gentles, 'all men should be, for there is no king over the whole of Annwn save thee.' 'Aye,' he replied, 'he who comes sub- missively, it is right that he be received; they that come not humbly, let them be compelled by dint of swords.'

   And thereupon he received the homage of the men, and he began to subdue the land, and by mid-day on the morrow the two kingdoms were in his power. And thereupon he made for his trysting-place, and came to Glyn Cuch.

   And when he came there, Arawn king of Annwn was there to meet him. Each of them welcomed the other. 'Aye,' said Arawn 'God repay thee thy friendship. I have heard of it.' 'Aye,' he replied, 'when thou comest thyself to thy country thou wilt see what I have done for thee.' 'What thou hast done for me,' said he, 'may God repay it thee.'

   Then Arawn gave to Pwyll prince of Dyfed his proper form and semblance, and he himself took his proper form and semblance; and Arawn set off for his court in Annwn, and he rejoiced to see his retinue and his war-band, for he had not seen them for a year. Yet they for their part had known nothing of his absence and felt no more novelty at his coming than of yore. That day he spent in mirth and merriment, and in sitting and conversing with his wife and gentles. And when it was more timely to seek slumber than to carouse, to sleep they went.

   He got into bed, and his wife went to him. The first thing he did was to converse with his wife and indulge in loving pleasure and affection with her. And she had not been used to that for a year, and it was of that she thought. 'Alas, God,' said she, 'what different thought is there in him to-night from what has been since a year from to-night!' And she meditated a long time, and after that meditation he awoke and spoke to her, and a second time, and a third, but no answer thereto did he get from her. Why, he asked, 'dost thou not speak to me?' 'I tell thee,' she said, 'for a year I have not spoken even so much in such a place as this. 'Why now,' said he, 'we have talked closely together.' 'Shame on me,' said she, 'if since a year from yesternight, from the time we were enfolded in the bedclothes, there has been either delight or converse between us, or thou hast turned thy face towards me, let alone anything that would be more than that between us.' And then he fell a-thinking. 'O lord God,' said he,'a man steadfast and unswerving of his fellowship did I find for a comrade.' And then he said to his wife. 'Lady,' said he, 'do not blame me. Between me and God,' said he, 'I have neither slept nor lain down with thee since a year from yesternight.' And then he told her the whole of his story. 'By my confession to God,' said she, 'strong hold hadst thou on a comrade, for warding off fleshly temptation and for keeping faith with thee.''Lady,' said he, that was my thought too when I was silent with thee.' 'Nor was that strange,' she replied.

   Pwyll prince of Dyfed came likewise to his domain and land. And he began to inquire of the gentles of the land how his rule had been over them during the past year, compared with what it had been before that. 'Lord,' said they, 'never was thy discernment so marked; never wast thou so lovable a man thyself; never wast thou so free in spending thy goods; never was thy rule better than during this year.' 'Between me and God,' he replied, 'it is proper for you to thank the man who has been with you. And here is the story, even as it was' -and Pwyll related the whole of it. 'Aye, lord,' said they, 'thank God thou hadst that friendship; and the rule we have had that year, surely, thou wilt not withhold from us?' 'I will not, between me and God,' answered Pwyll.

   And from that time forth they began to make strong the bond of friendship between them, and each sent the other horses and grey-hounds and hawks and all such treasures as they thought would be pleasing to the heart of either. And by reason of his sojourn that year in Annwn. and his having ruled there so prosperously and united the two kingdoms in one by his valour and his prowess, the name of Pwyll prince of Dyfed fell into disuse, and he was called Pwyll Head of Annwn from that time forth.

   And once upon a time he was at Arberth, a chief court of his, with a feast prepared for him, and great hosts of men along with him. And after the first sitting Pwyll arose to take a walk, and made for the top of a mound which was above the court and was called Gorsedd Arberth. 'Lord,' said one of the court, 'it is the peculiarity of the mound that whatever high-born man sits upon it will not go thence without one of two things: wounds or blows, or else his seeing a wonder.' 'I do not fear to receive wounds or blows amidst such a host as this, but as to the wonder, I should be glad to see that. I will go, 'said he 'to the mound, to sit.'


   He sat upon the mound. And as they were sitting down, they could see a lady on a big fine pale white horse, with a garment of shining gold brocaded silk upon her, coming along the highway that led past the mound. The horse had a slow even pace, as he thought who saw it, and was coming level with the mound. 'Men,' said Pwyll,'is there any among you who knows the rider?' 'There is not, lord,' said they. 'Let one of you go and meet her,' said he, 'to find out who she is.' One arose, but when he came on to the road to meet her, she had gone past. He followed her as fast as he could on foot. , but the greater was his speed, all the further was she from him. And when he saw that it was idle for him to follow her he returned to Pwyll and said to him, 'Lord' said he, 'it is idle for any one in the world to follow her on foot.' ' Aye' said Pwyll, 'go to the court and take the fleetest horse thou knowest and go after her.'

   He took the horse and off he went. He came to the open level plain and showed his horse his spurs; and the more he pricked on his horse, all the further was she from him. Yet she held to the same pace as that she had started with. His horse flagged. and when he knew of his horse that its speed was failing, he returned to where Pwyll was. 'Lord,' said he. 'it is idle for any one to follow yonder lady. I knew of no horse in the kingdom fleeter than that, but it was idle for me to follow her.' 'Aye' answered Pwyll, 'there is some magic meaning there. Let us go towards the court.'

   They came to the court, and they spent that day. And on the morrow they arose, and that too they spent till it was time to go to meat. And after the first sitting, 'Aye,' said Pwyll, 'we will go, the company we were yesterday, to the top of the mound. And do thou,' said he to one of his young men, 'bring with thee the fleetest horse thou knowest in the field.' And that the young man did. They went towards the mound, and the horse with them. And as they were sitting down they could see the lady on the same horse, and on her the same apparel, coming along the same road. 'Behold,' said Pwyll' the rider of yesterday. Be ready, lad,' said he 'to learn who she is.''Lord, 'he, 'that will I, gladly.' With that the rider came abreast of them. Then the young man mounted his horse, but before he had settled himself in his saddle she had gone past, with a clear space between them. Yet her pace was no more hurried than the day before. Then he put his horse into an amble, and thought that despite the easy pace at which his horse went he would overtake her; but that availed him not. He gave his horse the reins; even then he was no nearer to her than if he went at a walking pace. And the more he pricked on his horse, all the further was she from him. Yet her pace was no greater than before. Since he saw that it was idle for him to follow her, he returned and came to the place where Pwyll was. 'Lord,' said he, 'the horse can do no more than thou hast seen.' 'I have seen,' said he; 'it is idle for any one to pursue her. But between me and God's said he, 'she had an errand to some on this plain, had obstinacy but permitted her to declare it. And we will go towards the court.'

   They came to the court, and they spent that night in song and carousel, so that they were well content. And on the morrow they beguiled the day until it was time to go to meat. And when their meat was ended Pwyll said, 'Where is the company we were yesterday and the day before, at the top of the mound?' 'We are here, lord,' said they. 'Let us go to the mound,' said he, 'to sit. And do thou,' said he to his groom, 'saddle my horse well and bring him to the road, and fetch with thee my spurs.' The groom did so. They came to the mound to sit; they had been there but a short while when they could see the rider coming by the same road, and in the same guise, and at the same pace. 'Ha, lad,' said Pwyll, 'I see the rider. Give me my horse.' Pwyll mounted his horse, and no sooner had he mounted his horse than she passed him by. He turned after her and let his horse, mettled and prancing, take its own speed. And he thought that at the second bound or the third he would come up with her. But he was no nearer to her than before. He drove his horse to its utmost speed, but he saw that it was idle for him to follow her.

   Then Pwyll spoke. 'Maiden,' said he, for his sake whom thou lovest best, stay for me.' 'I will, gladly,' said she,'and it had been better for the horse hadst thou asked this long since-: The maiden stayed and waited, and drew back that part of her headdress which should be over her face, and her gaze upon him, and began to converse with him. 'Lady,' he asked, 'whence comest thou, and where art thou going?' 'I go mine own errands,' said she, and glad I am to see thee.' 'My welcome to thee,' said he. And then he thought that the countenance Of every maiden and every lady he had ever seen was unlovely compared with her countenance. 'Lady,' said he, 'wilt thou tell me anything of thine errands?' 'I will, between me and God,' said she. 'My main errand was to try to see thee.' 'That,' said Pwyll, 'is to me the most pleasing errand thou couldst come on. And wilt thou tell me who thou art?' 'I will, lord,' said she. 'I am Rhiannon daughter of Hefeydd the Old, and I am being given to a husband against my will. But no husband have I wished for, and that out of love of thee, nor will I have him even now unless thou reject me. And it is to hear thy answer to that that I am come.' 'Between me and God,' replied Pwyll, 'this is my answer to thee-that if I had choice of all the ladies and maidens in the world, 'tis thou I would choose.' 'Why,' said she, 'if that is thy will, before I am given to another man, make thou a tryst with me.' 'The sooner it be,' said Pwyll, 'the better for my part; and wherever thou wilt, make the tryst.' 'I will, lord,' said she. 'A year from to-night at the court of Hefeydd I will have a feast prepared in readiness for thy coming.' 'Gladly,' he replied, 'and I will be at that tryst.' ' Lord,' said she, 'fare thee well, and remember that thou keep thy promise, and I will go my way.'

   And they parted, and he went towards his war-band and his retinue. Whatever questions came from them concerning the maiden, he would turn to other matters.

   Whereon they passed the year till the appointed time, and he equipped himself as one of a hundred riders. He set off for the court of Hefeydd the O1d, and he came to the court, and a joyous welcome was given him; and there was much gathering of folk and rejoicing and great preparations against his coming; and all the resources of the court were dispensed at his direction. The hall was made ready, and they went to the tables. This is how they sat: Hefeydd the Old one side of Pwyll, and Rhiannon the other side; thereafter each according to his rank.

   They ate and caroused and they conversed. And at the beginning; of carousel after meat, they saw enter a tall auburn-haired youth of royal mien, and a garment of gold brocaded silk about him. And when he came into the high hall he greeted Pwyll and his companions. 'God's welcome to thee friend,' said Pwyll.'and go and sit down.' ' I will not' said he; 'I am a suitor, and I will do my errand.' 'Do so, gladly ' said Pwyll. 'Lord,' said he, 'my errand is to thee, and it is to ask a boon of thee that I am come.' 'What ever boon thou ask of me, so far as I can get it, it shall be thine.' ' Alas,' said Rhiannon, 'why dost thou give such an answer?' 'He has so given it, lady, in the presence of nobles,' said he. 'Friend,' said Pwyll, 'what is thy request?' 'The lady I love best thou art to sleep with this night. And it is to ask for her, and the feast and the preparations that are here, that I am come.'

   Pwyll was dumb, for there was no answer he might have given. 'Be dumb as long as thou wilt,' said Rhiannon. 'Never was there a man made feebler use of his wits than thou hast.' 'Lady,' said he, 'I knew not who he was.' 'That is the man to whom they would have given me against my will,' said she, 'Gwawl son of Clud, a man rich in hosts and dominions. And because thou hast spoken the word thou hast, bestow me upon him lest dishonour come upon thee.' 'Lady,' said he 'I know not what sort of an answer that is. I can never bring myself to do what thou sayest.' ' Bestow me upon him,' said she, 'and I will bring it about that he shall never have me.' 'How will that be?' asked Pwyll. 'I shall give into thy hand a small bag,' said she, 'and keep that with thee safe. And he will ask for the banquet and the feast and the preparations; but those things are not at thy command. And I will myself give the feast to the war-band and the retinues said she, 'and that will be thy answer concerning that. And as for me,' said she, 'I will make a tryst with him a year from to-night, to sleep with me. And at the end of the year' said she, 'be thou, and this bag with thee, one of a hundred horsemen in the orchard up yonder. And when he is in the midst of his mirth and carousal, do thou come in thyself, with shabby garments upon thee, and the bag in thy hand,' said she 'and ask nothing but the bag full of food; and I will bring it about,' said she, 'that if what meat and drink are in these seven cantrefs were put into it, it would be no fuller than before. And after a great deal has been thrown therein, he will ask thee: "Will thy bag ever be ful1? ' Answer thou: "It will not, unless a true possessor of great dominion shall arise and press the food in the bag with both his feet, and say: “Sufficient has been put herein!” 'And I will make him go and tread down the food in the bag. And when he does, do thou turn the bag so that he goes over his head in the bag. And then slip a knot upon the thongs of the bag. And let there be a good hunting-horn about thy neck, and when he shall be tied in the bag, blow a blast on thy horn, and let that be a signal between thee and thy horsemen. When they hear the blast of thy horn, let them fall upon the court.'

   'Lord,' said Gwawl, 'it were high time I had an answer to what I asked.' 'As much of what thou asked as is at my command thou shalt have,' said Pwyll. 'Friend,' added Rhiannon, 'as for the feast and the preparations that are here, I have given them to the men of Dyfed and the warband and the retinues that are here. These I cannot permit to be given to any. But a year from to-night, a feast shall be prepared for thee in thy turn, friend, in this court, to sleep with me.'

   Gwawl set off for his domain. But Pwyll came to Dyfed, and they each of them spent that year until the time set for the feast that was at the court of Hefeydd the O1d. Gwawl son of Clud came to the feast that was prepared for him, and he sought the court, and a joyous welcome was given him. But Pwyll Head of Annwn come to the orchard one of a hundred horsemen, as Rhiannon had bidden him, and. the bag with him. Pwyll clad himself in coarse, shabby garment, and wore big rag boots on his feet. And when he knew that they were about to begin to carouse after meat, he came on ahead into the hall; and after he had come inside the high hall he greeted Gwawl son of Clud and his company of men and women. 'God prosper thee,' said Gwawl, 'and God's welcome to thee.' 'Lord,' he replied, 'God repay thee. I have a request to thee.' 'Welcome to thy request,' said he, 'and if thou ask of me a reasonable boon, gladly shalt thou have it.' 'Reasonable it is, lord,' said he; 'I ask but to ward off want. The boon I ask is this small bag full of food.' 'A modest request is that,' said he, 'and thou shalt have it gladly. Bring him food,' said he. A great many attendants arose and began to fill the bag; but for all that was put into it is was no fuller than before. 'Friend,' said Gwawl, 'will thy bag ever be full?' 'It will not, between me and God,' said he, 'for all that may ever be put into it, unless a true possessor of land and territory and dominions shall arise and tread down with both his feet the food inside the bag, and say:' 'Sufficient has been put herein!' ' Brave sir,' said Rhiannon to Gwawl son of Clud, 'rise up quickly.' 'I will gladly' said he. And he arose and put his two feet into the bag and Pwyll turned the bag so that Gwawl was over his head in the bag, and quickly he closed the bag, and slipped a knot upon the thongs, and blew a blast on his horn. And thereupon, lo, the war-band falling upon the court, and then they seized all the host that had come with Gwawl and cast them each into his own durance. And Pwyll threw off his rags and his old rag boots and his tattered garb. And as each one of his host came inside, every man struck a blow upon the bag, and asked, 'What is here?' 'A badger,' they replied. After this fashion they Each one of them struck a blow upon the bag, either with his foot or with a staff, and thus they played with the bag. Each one as he came, asked, 'What game are you playing thus?' 'The game of Badger in the Bag,' said they. And then was Badger in the Bag first Played.

   'Lord,' said the man from the bag. 'if thou wouldst hear me-that were not the death for me; to be slain in a bag.' 'Lord,' said Hefeydd the Old, 'what he says is true. It is right and proper that thou hear him: that it is not the death for him.' Why, said Pwyll, 'I will do thy counsel concerning him.' 'Here is counsel for thee,' said Rhiannon then. 'Thou art now in a position in which it is proper for thee to content suitors and minstrels. Leave him there to give to all in thy stead,' said she, 'and take a pledge from him that he will never lay claim nor seek vengeance for this. And that is punishment a-plenty for him.' 'He shall, have that gladly answered the man out of the bag.' 'And gladly will I accept it,' said Pwyll, 'by the counsel of Hefeydd and Rhiannon.' 'That is our counsel,' said they. 'I accept its said Pwyll; 'do thou seek sureties for thyself.' 'We will answer for him,' said Hefeydd, 'until his men are free to answer for him.' And with that he was let out of the bag, and his chief men were freed. 'Demand now sureties of Gwawl,' said Hefeydd. 'We know which should be taken from him.' Hefeydd listed the sureties. 'Do thou thyself draw up thy terms,' said Gwawl. 'I am content,' said Pwyll,' even as Rhiannon drew them up. The sureties went on those terms. 'Aye, lord,' said Gwawl, 'I am wounded and have received great bruises, and have need of a bath; and with thy permission I will go my way. And I will leave noblemen here in my stead to answer to all who shall make request of thee.' 'Gladly,' said Pwyll, 'and do thou that.'

   Gwawl set off for his domain. Then the hall was made ready for Pwyll and his retinue, and for the retinue of the court as well. And they went to sit at table; and as they sat a year from that night, they sat each one that night. They ate and caroused and time came to go to sleep. And Pwyll and Rhiannon went to their chamber, and they passed that night in pleasure and contentment.

   And on the morrow in the young of the day, 'Lord,' said Rhiannon, 'arise and begin to content the minstrels, and refuse no one to-day who may desire a gift.' 'That will I gladly,' said Pwyll, 'both to-day and every day whilst this feast may last.' Pwyll arose and had silence proclaimed, to call on all suitors and minstrels to declare themselves, and had them told how all should be contented according to their wish and whim; and that was done. That feast was proceeded with, and none was denied while it lasted. And when the feast was ended, 'Lord,' said Pwyll to Hefeydd, 'with thy permission I will set out for Dyfed to-morrow.' 'Aye,' said Hefeydd, 'God speed thee. Appoint too a time and hour when Rhiannon may follow thee.' 'Between me and God,' replied Pwyll, 'we will go hence together.' 'Is that thy wish, lord?' asked Hefeydd. 'Even so, between me and God,' said Pwyll.

   On the morrow they travelled towards Dyfed and made for the court of Arberth, and a feast was there in readiness for them. There came to them the full muster of the land and the dominion, of the foremost men and the foremost ladies. Neither man nor woman of these left Rhiannon without being given a memorable gift, either a brooch or a ring or a precious stone. They ruled the land prosperously that year and the next.

   And in the third year the men of the land began to feel heaviness of heart at seeing a man whom they loved as much as their lord and foster-brother without offspring; and they summoned him to them. The place where they met was Preseleu in Dyfed. 'Lord,' said they, 'we know that thou art not of an age with some of the men of this country, but our fear is lest thou have no offspring of the wife thou hast; and so, take another wife of whom thou mayest have offspring. Thou wilt not last for ever,' said they,' and though thou desire to remain thus, we will not suffer it from thee.' 'Why said Pwyll, 'it is not long as yet since we have been together, and many a chance may yet befall. Grant me a respite herein till the end of a year; and a year from now we will appoint a time to come together, and I will submit to your counsel.'

   They appointed a time. Before the end of that time came, a son was born to him, and in Arberth was he born. And the night that he was born women were brought to watch the boy and his mother. The women fell asleep, and the boy's mother, Rhiannon. The number of women brought into the chamber was six. They watched for part of the night; but before midnight every one there fell asleep, and towards cockcrow they awoke. And when they awoke they searched the place where they had put the boy, but there was no trace of him. 'Alas' said one of the women, 'the boy is lost!' 'Aye,' said another, 'it would be but small vengeance to burn us or put us to death because of the boy.' 'Is there,' asked one of the women, 'any counsel in the world in this matter?' 'There is,' said another; 'I know good counsel,' said she. 'What is that?' they asked. 'There is here,' said she, 'a stag-hound bitch, with pups. Let us kill some of the pups and smear the blood on Rhiannon's face and hands, and let us throw the bones before her, and swear of her that she herself destroyed her son; and the insistence of us six will not be borne down by her on her own.' And upon that counsel they determined.

   Towards day Rhiannon awoke and said, 'Women,' said she, 'where is the child?' 'Lady,' said they, 'ask not us for the child. We are nothing but blows and bruises from struggling with thee, and we are certain we never saw such fight in any woman as in thee. And it was idle for us to struggle with thee. Thou hast thyself destroyed thy son. And demand him not of us.' 'Poor creatures,' said Rhiannon, 'for the lord God who knows all things, accuse me not falsely. God who knows all things knows that accusation of me is false, And if it be fear that is upon you, by my confession to God I will protect you.' 'Faith,' said they, 'we will not bring hurt on ourselves for any one in the world.' 'Poor creatures,' said she,'you will come to no hurt for telling the truth.' For all her words, whether fair or pitiful, she got but the one answer from the women.

   With that Pwyll Head of Annwn arose, and the warband and the hosts. And that hap could not be concealed. The story went forth throughout the land, and all the chief men heard it. And the chief men came together to make representation to Pwyll, to request him that he should put away his wife for a crime so outrageous as that she had wrought. The answer Pwyll gave was: 'No cause had they to request me that I put away my wife, save her having no offspring. But offspring I know her to have, and I will not put her away. But if she has done wrong, let her do penance for it.'

   So Rhiannon summoned to her teachers and wise men. And as she preferred doing penance to wrangling with the women she took on her her penance. The penance imposed on her was to remain in that court at Arberth till the end of seven years, and to sit every day near a horse-block that was outside the gate, and to relate the whole story to every one who should come there whom she might suppose not to know it; and to those who would permit her to carry them, to offer guest and stranger to carry him on her back to the court. But it was chance that any one would permit himself to be carried. And thus she spent part of the year.


   And at that time Teyrnon Twryf Liant was lord of Gwent Is-Coed, and the best man in the world was he. And in his house there was a mare, and throughout his kingdom there was neither horse nor mare more handsome than she. And every May-eve she foaled, but no one knew one word concerning her colt. One night Teyrnon talked with his wife. 'Wife,' said he,'it is very slack of us every year to let. our mare foal without our getting one of them.' 'What can be done in the matter?' asked she. 'To-night is May-eve. God's vengeance on me,' said he, 'if I do not learn what ill fate there is that. takes away the colts.' He had the mare brought into a building and took up arms, and began to keep watch for the night. And in the beginning of the night the mare cast a colt, large, handsome, and standing up on the spot. Teyrnon rose up and remarked the sturdiness of the colt, and as he was thus he heard a great commotion, and after the commotion, lo, a great claw through a window of the house and seizing the colt by the mane. Teyrnon drew his sword and struck off the arm at the elbow, so that that much of the arm together with the colt was inside with him. And with that he heard a commotion and a scream, both at once. He opened the door and rushed after the commotion. He could not see the commotion, so very black was the night. He rushed after it and pursued it. And he remembered that he had left the door open. and he returned. And at the door, lo an infant boy in swaddling-clothes, with a sheet of brocaded silk wrapped around him. He took up the boy, and, lo, the boy was strong for the age that was his.

   He closed the door and went into the chamber where his wife was. 'Lady' said he, 'art thou asleep?' 'Not so, lord,' said she, 'I was asleep, but as thou camest in I awoke.' 'Here is a boy for thee,' said he, 'if thou wilt have him what thou hast never had.' 'Lord,' said she, 'what tale was that?' 'Here it is, the whole of it,' said Teyrnon, and he told her all the affair. 'Why, Lord,' said she, 'what sort of garments are there upon the boy?' 'A sheet of brocaded silk,' said he. 'He is the son of gentle folk,' said she. 'Lord,' said she, 'pleasure and mirth would this be to me: were it thy will, I would bring women into league with me and say that I have been. with child.' 'I agree with thee gladly,' said he, 'in that.' And so it was done. They had the boy baptized with the baptism that was used then. The name that was given him was Gwri Golden-hair: what hair was on his head was yellow as gold. The boy was nursed in the court till he was a year old; and before he was one year old he was walking firmly and he was bigger than a boy three years old who was of great growth and size. And the second year the boy was nursed, and he was as big as a child six years old. And before the end of the fourth year he would bargain with the grooms of the horses to let him take them to water.

   'Lord,' said his wife to Teyrnon, 'where is the colt thou didst save the night thou didst find the boy?' 'I have made him over to the grooms of the horses said he,' and charged. That he be looked after.' 'Would it not be well, lord,' said she, 'for thee to have him broken in and given to the boy? For the night thou didst find the boy the colt was cast and thou didst save him.' 'I will not go against that,' said Teyrnon; 'I will permit thee to give it him.' 'Lord,' said she, 'God repay thee. I will give it him.' The horse was given to the boy, and she came to the ostlers and the grooms of the horses to bid them be careful of the horse, and for it to be broken in against the time the boy would go a-riding, and there be a tale concerning him.

   Meanwhile they heard tidings of Rhiannon and her penance. Teyrnon Twryf Liant, because of the find he had made, gave ear to the tidings and inquired continually concerning them, until from many of the throng who came to the court he heard ever-renewed complaint of Rhiannon's so sad lot and punishment. Teyrnon pondered that and looked closely at the boy. And it came to his mind that in appearance he had never beheld a son and father so exceeding alike as the boy to Pwyll Head of Annwn. The appearance of Pwyll was well known to him, for he had before that been a vassal of his. And with that, anxiety seized upon him, so very wrong it was for him to keep the boy when he knew him to be another man's son. And the first time he had privacy with his wife, he told her it was not right for them to keep the boy with them, and allow such great punishment as was for that reason on so excellent a lady as Rhiannon -and the boy the son of Pwyll Head of Annwn. And Teyrnon's wife agreed too that the boy be sent to Pwyll. And three things, lord's said she, 'we shall gain thereby: thanks and gratitude for releasing Rhiannon from the punishment that is on her; and thanks from Pwyll for nursing the boy and restoring him to him; and third, if the boy prove a gentle man he will be our foster-son, and he will ever do us all the good he can.' And upon that counsel they determined.

   And no later than the morrow was Teyrnon equipped, with two more horsemen, and the boy as a fourth along with them, upon the horse which Teyrnon had given him. And they journeyed towards Arberth. It was not long before they reached Arberth. As they drew near to the court, they could see Rhiannon sitting beside the horseblock. When they had come abreast of her, 'Chieftain,' said she, 'go no further than that; I will carry each one of you to the court, and that is my penance for killing my son with my own hands and destroying him.' 'Ah, lady,' said Teyrnon, 'I do not think any one of these will go upon thy back.' 'Let him go who will,' said the boy, 'I shall not go.' 'Faith, friend,' said Teyrnon, 'nor will we.'

   They went forward to the court and there was great joy at their coming. And they were beginning to hold the feast at court. Pwyll was himself come from a progress through Dyfed. They went into the hall and to wash. And Pwyll made Teyrnon welcome, and they went to sit down. This is how they sat: Teyrnon between Pwyll and Rhiannon, and Teyrnon's two companions above Pwyll, with the boy between them. When they had finished meat, at the beginning of carousal, they held discourse together. Teyrnon's discourse was an account in full of his adventure with the mare and the boy, and how the boy had been avowed by them, Teyrnon and his wife, and how they had nurtured him. 'And see there thy son, lady,' said Teyrnon. 'And whoever told lies against thee has done wrong. And when I heard of the affliction that was upon thee, it saddened me and I grieved. And I believe,' said Teyrnon, 'that there is none of all this company who will not recognise that the boy is Pwyll's son.' 'There is none,' said every one, 'who is not sure of it.' 'Between me and God ' said Rhiannon, 'I should be delivered of my care if that were true.' 'Lady,' said Pendaran Dyfed, 'well hast thou named thy son Pryderi  2   And that best becomes him: Pryderi son of Pwyll Head of Annwn.' 'See,' said Rhiannon, 'lest his own name does not become him best.' 'What is the name?' asked Pendaran Dyfed. 'Gwri Golden-hair is the name we gave him.' 'Pryderi,' said Pendaran Dyfed, shall his name be.' 'That is most fitting,' said Pwyll, 'that the boy's name be taken from the word his mother spoke when she received glad tidings of him.' And thus was it determined.

   'Teyrnon,' said Pwyll, 'God repay thee for rearing this boy till the present time. And it is proper for him too, if he prove a gentle man, to repay thee for it.' 'Lord,' said Teyrnon, 'as for the lady that nursed him, there is not in this world a person who feels more grief than she after him. It is well for him to remember, for my sake and that lady's, what we have done for him.' 'Between me and God, ' said Pwyll, 'while I live I will maintain thee and thy possessions, so long as I am able to maintain my own. And if he live, more fitting is it for him to maintain thee than for me. And if that be thy counsel, and that of these nobles, since thou hast reared him to the present time, from now on we will give him in fosterage to Pendaran Dyfed. And be ye companions and foster-fathers to him.' 'That,' said every one, 'is proper counsel.' And then the boy was given to Pendaran Dyfed, and the noblemen of the land allied themselves with him. And Teyrnon Twryf Liant and his companions set out for his own country and domain with love and gladness. And he did not set off without being offered the fairest jewels and the finest horses and the choicest dogs; but not a thing would he have.

   Then they remained in their own dominions, and Pryderi son of Pwyll Head of Annwn was raised with care as was fit, until he became the most gallant youth and the handsomest and the best skilled in all manly pursuits of any in the kingdom. Thus they passed years and years, until there came an end to the life of Pwyll Head of Annwn and he died.

   And Pryderi ruled the seven cantrefs of Dyfed prosperously, beloved by his people and by all around him. And after that he conquered the three cantrefs of Ystrad Tywi and the four cantrefs of Ceredigiawn, and those are called the seven cantrefs of Seisyllwch. And Pryderi son of Pwyll Head of Annwn was busied about those conquests until it came to his mind to take a wife. The wife he chose was Cigfa daughter of Gwyn Gohoyw, son of Gloyw Wallt Lydan, son of Casnar Wledig of the high-born ones of this Island.

   And thus ends this branch of the Mabinogion.

FOOTNOTES


[1]   Annwn (or Annwfn): the Celtic Hades.

[2]   Pryderi: Care or Thought. Pwyll: Sense.


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