Bulfinch's Mythology
Thomas Bulfinch

Part 12 out of 19

Guenever, to make her what atonement shall be adjudged at the
court of Arthur." "This will I do gladly; and who art thou?" "I am
Geraint, the son of Erbin; and declare thou also who thou art." "I
am Edeym, the son of Nudd." Then he threw himself upon his horse,
and went forward to Arthur's court; and the lady he loved best
went before him, and the dwarf, with much lamentation.

Then came the young earl and his hosts to Geraint, and saluted
him, and bade him to his castle. "I may not go," said Geraint;
"but where I was last night, there will I be to-night also."
"Since thou wilt none of my inviting, thou shalt have abundance of
all that I can command for thee; and I will order ointment for
thee, to recover thee from thy fatigues, and from the weariness
that is upon thee." "Heaven reward thee," said Geraint, "and I
will go to my lodging." And thus went Geraint and Earl Ynywl, and
his wife and his daughter. And when they reached the old mansion,
the household servants and attendants of the young earl had
arrived, and had arranged all the apartments, dressing them with
straw and with fire; and in a short time the ointment was ready,
and Geraint came there, and they washed his head. Then came the
young earl, with forty honorable knights from among his
attendants, and those who were bidden to the tournament. And
Geraint came from the anointing. And the earl asked him to go to
the hall to eat. "Where is the Earl Ynywl," said Geraint, "and his
wife and his daughter?" "They are in the chamber yonder," said the
earl's chamberlain, "arraying themselves in garments which the
earl has caused to be brought for them." "Let not the damsel array
herself," said he, "except in her vest and her veil, until she
come to the court of Arthur, to be clad by Guenever in such
garments as she may choose." So the maiden did not array herself.

Then they all entered the hall, and they washed, and sat down to
meat. And thus were they seated. On one side of Geraint sat the
young earl, and Earl Ynywl beyond him, and on the other side of
Geraint was the maiden and her mother. And after these all sat
according to their precedence in honor. And they ate. And they
were served abundantly, and they received a profusion of divers
kinds of gifts. Then they conversed together. And the young earl
invited Geraint to visit him next day. "I will not, by Heaven,"
said Geraint. "To the court of Arthur will I go with this maiden
to-morrow. And it is enough for me, as long as Earl Ynywl is in
poverty and trouble; and I go chiefly to seek to add to his
maintenance." "Ah, chieftain," said the young earl, "it is not by
my fault that Earl Ynywl is without his possessions." "By my
faith," said Geraint, "he shall not remain without them, unless
death quickly takes me hence." "O chieftain," said he, "with
regard to the disagreement between me and Ynywl, I will gladly
abide by thy counsel, and agree to what thou mayest judge right
between us." "I but ask thee," said Geraint, "to restore to him
what is his, and what he should have received from the time he
lost his possessions even until this day." "That will I do,
gladly, for thee," answered he. "Then," said Geraint, "whosoever
is here who owes homage to Ynywl, let him come forward, and
perform it on the spot." And all the men did so; and by that
treaty they abided. And his castle and his town, and all his
possessions, were restored to Ynywl. And he received back all that
he had lost, even to the smallest jewel.

Then spoke Earl Ynywl to Geraint. "Chieftain," said he, "behold
the maiden for whom thou didst challenge at the tournament; I
bestow her upon thee." "She shall go with me," said Geraint, "to
the court of Arthur, and Arthur and Guenever, they shall dispose
of her as they will." And the next day they proceeded to Arthur's
court. So far concerning Geraint.



Now this is how Arthur hunted the stag. The men and the dogs were
divided into hunting-parties, and the dogs were let loose upon the
stag. And the last dog that was let loose was the favorite dog of
Arthur; Cavall was his name. And he left all the other dogs behind
him and turned the stag. And at the second turn the stag came
toward the hunting-party of Arthur. And Arthur set upon him; and
before he could be slain by any other, Arthur cut off his head.
Then they sounded the death-horn for slaying and they all gathered

They came Kadyriath to Arthur and spoke to him. "Lord," said he,
"behold, yonder is Guenever, and none with her save only one
maiden." "Command Gildas, the son of Caw, and all the scholars of
the court," said Arthur, "to attend Guenever to the palace." And
they did so.

Then they all set forth, holding converse together concerning the
head of the stag, to whom it should be given. One wished that it
should be given to the lady best beloved by him, and another to
the lady whom he loved best. And so they came to the palace. And
when Arthur and Guenever heard them disputing about the head of
the stag, Guenever said to Arthur: "My lord, this is my counsel
concerning the stag's head; let it not be given away until
Geraint, the son of Erbin, shall return from the errand he is
upon." And Guenever told Arthur what that errand was. "Right
gladly shall it be so," said Arthur. And Guenever caused a watch
to be set upon the ramparts for Geraint's coming. And after midday
they beheld an unshapely little man upon a horse, and after him a
dame or a damsel, also on horseback, and after her a knight of
large stature, bowed down, and hanging his head low and
sorrowfully, and clad in broken and worthless armor.

And before they came near to the gate one of the watch went to
Guenever, and told her what kind of people they saw, and what
aspect they bore. "I know not who they are," said he, "But I
know," said Guenever; "this is the knight whom Geraint pursued,
and methinks that he comes not here by his own free will. But
Geraint has overtaken him, and avenged the insult to the maiden to
the uttermost." And thereupon, behold, a porter came to the spot
where Guenever was. "Lady," said he, "at the gate there is a
knight, and I saw never a man of so pitiful an aspect to look upon
as he. Miserable and broken is the armor that he wears, and the
hue of blood is more conspicuous upon it than its own color."
"Knowest thou his name?" said she. "I do," said he; "he tells me
that he is Edeyrn, the son of Nudd." Then she replied, "I know him

So Guenever went to the gate to meet him and he entered. And
Guenever was sorry when she saw the condition he was in, even
though he was accompanied by the churlish dwarf. Then Edeyrn
saluted Guenever. "Heaven protect thee," said she. "Lady," said
he, "Geraint, the son of Erbin, thy best and most valiant servant,
greets thee." "Did he meet with thee?" she asked. "Yes," said he,
"and it was not to my advantage; and that was not his fault, but
mine, lady. And Geraint greets thee well; and in greeting thee he
compelled me to come hither to do thy pleasure for the insult
which thy maiden received from the dwarf." "Now where did he
overtake thee?" "At the place where we were jousting and
contending for the sparrow-hawk, in the town which is now called
Cardiff. And it was for the avouchment of the love of the maiden,
the daughter of Earl Ynywl, that Geraint jousted at the
tournament. And thereupon we encountered each other, and he left
me, lady, as thou seest." "Sir," said she, "when thinkest thou
that Geraint will be here?" "To-morrow, lady, I think he will be
here with the maiden."

Then Arthur came to them. And he saluted Arthur, and Arthur gazed
a long time upon him and was amazed to see him thus. And thinking
that he knew him, he inquired of him, "Art thou Edeyrn, the son of
Nudd?" "I am, lord," said he, "and I have met with much trouble
and received wounds unsupportable." Then he told Arthur all his
adventure. "Well," said Arthur, "from what I hear it behooves
Guenever to be merciful towards thee." "The mercy which thou
desirest, lord," said she. "will I grant to him, since it is as
insulting to thee that an insult should be offered to me as to
thyself." "Thus will it be best to do," said Arthur; "let this man
have medical care until it be known whether he may live. And if he
live, he shall do such satisfaction as shall be judged best by the
men of the court. And if he die, too much will be the death of
such a youth as Edeyrn for an insult to a maiden." "This pleases
me," said Guenever. And Arthur caused Morgan Tud to be called to
him. He was the chief physician. "Take with thee Edeyrn, the son
of Nudd, and cause a chamber to be prepared for him, and let him
have the aid of medicine as thou wouldst do unto myself, if I were
wounded, and let none into his chamber to molest him, but thyself
and thy disciples, to administer to him remedies." "I will do so,
gladly, lord," said Morgan Tud. Then said the steward of the
household, "Whither is it right, lord, to order the maiden?" "To
Guenever and her handmaidens," said he. And the steward of the
household so ordered her.

"And rising up, he rode to Arthur's court,
And there the queen forgave him easily.
And being young, he changed himself, and grew
To hate the sin that seem'd so like his own
Of Modred, Arthur's nephew, and fell at last
In the great battle fighting for the king."


The next day came Geraint towards the court; and there was a watch
set on the ramparts by Guenever, lest he should arrive unawares.
And one of the watch came to Guenever. "Lady," said he, "methinks
that I see Geraint, and a maiden with him. He is on horseback, but
he has his walking gear upon him, and the maiden appears to be in
white, seeming to be clad in a garment of linen." "Assemble all
the women," said Guenever, "and come to meet Geraint, to welcome
him, and wish him joy." And Guenever went to meet Geraint and the
maiden. And when Geraint came to the place where Guenever was, he
saluted her. "Heaven prosper thee," said she, "and welcome to
thee." "Lady," said he, "I earnestly desired to obtain thee
satisfaction, according to thy will; and, behold, here is the
maiden through whom thou hadst thy revenge." "Verily," said
Guenever, "the welcome of Heaven be unto her; and it is fitting
that we should receive her joyfully." Then they went in and
dismounted. And Geraint came to where Arthur was, and saluted him.
"Heaven protect thee," said Arthur, "and the welcome of Heaven be
unto thee. And inasmuch as thou hast vanquished Edeyrn, the son of
Nudd, thou hast had a prosperous career." "Not upon me be the
blame," said Geraint; "it was through the arrogance of Edeyrn, the
son of Nudd, himself, that we were not friends." "Now," said
Arthur, "where is the maiden for whom I heard thou didst give
challenge?" "She is gone with Guenever to her chamber." Then went
Arthur to see the maiden. And Arthur, and all his companions, and
his whole court, were glad concerning the maiden. And certain were
they all, that, had her array been suitable to her beauty, they
had never seen a maid fairer than she. And Arthur gave away the
maiden to Geraint. And the usual bond made between two persons was
made between Geraint and the maiden, and the choicest of all
Guenever's apparel was given to the maiden; and thus arrayed, she
appeared comely and graceful to all who beheld her. And that day
and the night were spent in abundance of minstrelsy, and ample
gifts of liquor, and a multiude of games. And when it was time for
them to go to sleep they went. And in the chamber where the couch
of Arthur and Guenever was, the couch of Geraint and Enid was
prepared. And from that time she became his wife. And the next day
Arthur satisfied all the claimants upon Geraint with bountiful
gifts. And the maiden took up her abode in the palace, and she had
many companions, both men and women, and there was no maiden more
esteemed than she in the island of Britain.

Then spake Guenever. "Rightly did I judge," said she, "concerning
the head of the stag, that it should not be given to any until
Geraint's return; and behold, here is a fit occasion for bestowing
it. Let it be given to Enid, the daughter of Ynywl, the most
illustrious maiden. And I do not believe that any will begrudge it
her, for between her and every one here there exists nothing but
love and friendship." Much applauded was this by them all, and by
Arthur also. And the head of the stag was given to Enid. And
thereupon her fame increased, and her friends became more in
number than before. And Geraint from that time forth loved the
hunt, and the tournament, and hard encounters; and he came
victorious from them all. And a year, and a second, and a third,
he proceeded thus, until his fame had flown over the face of the

And, once upon a time, Arthur was holding his court at Caerleon
upon Usk; and behold, there came to him ambassadors, wise and
prudent, full of knowledge and eloquent of speech, and they
saluted Arthur. "Heaven prosper you!" said Arthur; "and whence do
you come?" "We come, lord," said they, "from Cornwall; and we are
ambassadors from Erbin, the son of Custennin, thy uncle, and our
mission is unto thee. And he greets thee well, as an uncle should
greet his nephew, and as a vassal should greet his lord. And he
represents unto thee that he waxes heavy and feeble, and is
advancing in years. And the neighboring chiefs, knowing this, grow
insolent towards him, and covet his land and possessions. And he
earnestly beseeches thee, lord, to permit Geraint, his son, to
return to him, to protect his possessions, and to become
acquainted with his boundaries. And unto him he represents that it
were better for him to spend the flower of his youth and the prime
of his age in preserving his own boundaries, than in tournaments
which are productive of no profit, although he obtains glory in

"Well," said Arthur, "go and divest yourselves of your
accoutrements, and take food, and refresh yourselves after your
fatigues; and before you go from hence you shall have an answer."
And they went to eat. And Arthur considered that it would go hard
with him to let Geraint depart from him, and from his court;
neither did he think it fair that his cousin should be restrained
from going to protect his dominions and his boundaries, seeing
that his father was unable to do so. No less was the grief and
regret of Guenever, and all her women, and all her damsels,
through fear that the maiden would leave them. And that day and
that night were spent in abundance of feasting. And Arthur told
Geraint the cause of the mission, and of the coming of the
ambassadors to him out of Cornwall. "Truly," said Geraint, "be it
to my advantage or disadvantage, lord, I will do according to thy
will concerning this embassy." "Behold," said Arthur, "though it
grieves me to part with thee, it is my counsel that thou go to
dwell in thine own dominions, and to defend thy boundaries, and
take with thee to accompany thee as many as thou wilt of those
thou lovest best among my faithful ones, and among thy friends,
and among thy companions in arms." "Heaven reward thee! and this
will I do," said Geraint. "What discourse," said Guenever, "do I
hear between you? Is it of those who are to conduct Geraint to his
country?" "It is," said Arthur. "Then is it needful for me to
consider," said she, "concerning companions and a provision for
the lady that is with me." "Thou wilt do well," said Arthur.

And that night they went to sleep. And the next day the
ambassadors were permitted to depart, and they were told that
Geraint should follow them. And on the third day Geraint set
forth, and many went with him--Gawain, the son of Gwyar, and
Riogoned, the son of the king of Ireland, and Ondyaw, the son of
the Duke of Burgundy, Gwilim, the son of the ruler of the Franks,
Howel, the son of the Earl of Brittany, Perceval, the son of
Evrawk, Gwyr, a judge in the court of Arthur, Bedwyr, the son of
Bedrawd, Kai, the son of Kyner, Odyar, the Frank, and Ederyn, the
son of Nudd. Said Geraint, "I think I shall have enough of
knighthood with me." And they set forth. And never was there seen
a fairer host journeying towards the Severn. And on the other side
of the Severn were the nobles of Erbin, the son of Custennin, and
his foster-father at their head, to welcome Geraint with gladness;
and many of the women of the court, with his mother, came to
receive Enid, the daughter of Ynywl, his wife. And there was great
rejoicing and gladness throughout the whole court, and through all
the country, concerning Geraint, because of the greatness of their
love to him, and of the greatness of the fame which he had gained
since he went from amongst them, and because he was come to take
possession of his dominions, and to preserve his boundaries. And
they came to the court. And in the court they had ample
entertainment, and a multitude of gifts, and abundance of liquor,
and a sufficiency of service, and a variety of games. And to do
honor to Geraint, all the chief men of the country were invited
that night to visit him. And they passed that day and that night
in the utmost enjoyment. And at dawn next day Erbin arose and
summoned to him Geraint, and the noble persons who had borne him
company. And he said to Geraint: "I am a feeble and an aged man,
and whilst I was able to maintain the dominion for thee and for
myself, I did so. But thou art young, and in the flower of thy
vigor and of thy youth. Henceforth do thou preserve thy
possessions." "Truly," said Geraint, "with my consent thou shalt
not give the power over thy dominions at this time into my hands,
and thou shalt not take me from Arthur's court." "Into thy hands
will I give them," said Erbin, "and this day also shalt thou
receive the homage of thy subjects."

Then said Gawain, "It were better for thee to satisfy those who
have boons to ask, to-day, and to-morrow thou canst receive the
homage of thy dominions." So all that had boons to ask were
summoned into one place. And Kadyriath came to them to know what
were their requests. And every one asked that which he desired.
And the followers of Arthur began to make gifts, and immediately
the men of Cornwall came, and gave also. And they were not long in
giving, so eager was every one to bestow gifts, and of those who
came to ask gifts, none departed unsatisfied. And that day and
that night were spent in the utmost enjoyment.

And the next day at dawn, Erbin desired Geraint to send messengers
to the men to ask them whether it was displeasing to them that he
should come to receive their homage, and whether they had anything
to object to him. Then Geraint sent ambassadors to the men of
Cornwall to ask them this. And they all said that it would be the
fulness of joy and honor to them for Geraint to come and receive
their homage. So he received the homage of such as were there. And
the day after the followers of Arthur intended to go away. "It is
too soon for you to go away yet," said he; "stay with me until I
have finished receiving the homage of my chief men, who have
agreed to come to me." And they remained with him until he had
done so. Then they set forth towards the court of Arthur. And
Geraint went to bear them company, and Enid also, as far as
Diganwy; there they parted. And Ondyaw, the son of the Duke of
Burgundy, said to Geraint, "Go, now, and visit the uttermost parts
of thy dominions, and see well to the boundaries of thy
territories; and if thou hast any trouble respecting them, send
unto thy companions." "Heaven reward thee!" said Geraint; "and
this will I do." And Geraint journeyed to the uttermost parts of
his dominions. And experienced guides, and the chief men of his
country, went with him. And the furthermost point that they showed
him he kept possession of.



Geraint, as he had been used to do when he was at Arthur's court,
frequented tournaments. And he became acquainted with valiant and
mighty men, until he had gained as much fame there as he had
formerly done elsewhere. And he enriched his court, and his
companions, and his nobles, with the best horses and the best
arms, and with the best and most valuable jewels, and he ceased
not until his fame had flown over the face of the whole kingdom.

"Before Geraint, the scourge of the enemy,
I saw steeds white with foam,
And after the shout of battle a fearful torrent."


When he knew that it was thus, he began to love ease and pleasure,
for there was no one who was worth his opposing. And he loved his
wife, and liked to continue in the palace with minstrelsy and
diversions. So he began to shut himself up in the chamber of his
wife, and he took no delight in anything besides, insomuch that he
gave up the friendship of his nobles, together with his hunting
and his amusements, and lost the hearts of all the host in his
court. And there was murmuring and scoffing concerning him among
the inhabitants of the palace, on account of his relinquishing so
completely their companionship for the love of his wife.

Began to scoff and jeer and babble of him
As of a prince whose manhood was all gone,
And molten down in mere uxoriousness."

These tidings came to Erbin. And when Erbin had heard these
things, he spoke unto Enid, and inquired of her whether it was she
that had caused Geraint to act thus, and to forsake his people and
his hosts. "Not I, by my confession unto Heaven," said she; "there
is nothing more hateful unto me than this." And she knew not what
she should do, for, although it was hard for her to own this to
Geraint, yet was it not more easy for her to listen to what she
heard, without warning Geraint concerning it. And she was very

One morning in the summer-time they were upon their couch, and
Geraint lay upon the edge of it. And Enid was without sleep in the
apartment, which had windows of glass; [Footnote: The terms of
admiration in which the older writers invariably speak of GLASS
WINDOWS would be sufficient proof, if other evidence were wanting,
how rare an article of luxury they were in the houses of our
ancestors. They were first introduced in ecclesiastical
architecture, to which they were for a long time confined. Glass
is said not to have been employed in domestic architecture before
the fourteenth century.] and the sun shone upon the couch. And the
clothes had slipped from off his arms and his breast, and he was
asleep. Then she gazed upon the marvellous beauty of his
appearance, and she said, "Alas! and am I the cause that these
arms and this breast have lost their glory, and the warlike fame
which they once so richly enjoyed!" As she said this the tears
dropped from her eyes, and they fell upon his breast. And the
tears she shed and the words she had spoken, awoke him. And
another thing contributed to awaken him, and that was the idea
that it was not in thinking of him that she spoke thus, but that
it was because she loved some other man more than him, and that
she wished for other society. Thereupon Geraint was troubled in
his mind, and he called his squire; and when he came to him, "Go
quickly," said he, "and prepare my horse and my arms, and make
them ready. And do thou rise," said he to Enid, "and apparel
thyself; and cause thy horse to be accoutred, and clothe thee in
the worst riding-dress that thou hast in thy possession. And evil
betide me," said he, "if thou returnest here until thou knowest
whether I have lost my strength so completely as thou didst say.
And if it be so, it will then be easy for thee to seek the society
thou didst wish for of him of whom thou wast thinking." So she
arose, and clothed herself in her meanest garments. "I know
nothing, lord," said she, "of thy meaning." "Neither wilt thou
know at this time," said he.

Then Geraint went to see Erbin. "Sir," said he, "I am going upon a
quest, and I am not certain when I may come back. Take heed,
therefore, unto thy possessions until my return." "I will do so,"
said he; "but it is strange to me that thou shouldst go so
suddenly. And who will proceed with thee, since thou art not
strong enough to traverse the land of Loegyr alone?" "But one
person only will go with me." "Heaven counsel thee, my son," said
Erbin, "and may many attach themselves to thee in Loegyr." Then
went Geraint to the place where his horse was, and it was equipped
with foreign armor, heavy and shining. And he desired Enid to
mount her horse, and to ride forward, and to keep a long way
before him. "And whatever thou mayst see, and whatever thou mayst
hear concerning me," said he, "do thou not turn back. And unless I
speak unto thee, say not thou one word, either." So they set
forward. And he did not choose the pleasantest and most frequented
road, but that which was the wildest and most beset by thieves and
robbers and venomous animals.

And they came to a high road, which they followed till they saw a
vast forest; and they saw four armed horsemen come forth from the
forest. When the armed men saw them, they said one to another.
"Here is a good occasion for us to capture two horses and armor,
and a lady likewise; for this we shall have no difficulty in doing
against yonder single knight who hangs his head so pensively and
heavily." Enid heard this discourse, and she knew not what she
should do through fear of Geraint, who had told her to be silent.
"The vengeance of Heaven be upon me," said she, "if I would not
rather receive my death from his hand than from the hand of any
other; and though he should slay me, yet will I speak to him, lest
I should have the misery to witness his death." So she waited for
Geraint until he came near to her. "Lord," said she, "didst thou
hear the words of those men concerning thee?" Then he lifted up
his eyes, and looked at her angrily. "Thou hadst only," said he,
"to hold thy peace as I bade thee. I wish but for silence, and not
for warning. And though thou shouldst desire to see my defeat and
my death by the hands of those men, yet do I feel no dread." Then
the foremost of them couched his lance, and rushed upon Geraint.
And he received him, and that not feebly. But he let the thrust go
by him, while he struck the horseman upon the centre of his
shield, in such a manner that his shield was split, and his armor
broken, so that a cubit's length of the shaft of Geraint's lance
passed through his body, and sent him to the earth, the length of
the lance over his horse's crupper. Then the second horseman
attacked him furiously, being wroth at the death of his companion.
But with one thrust Geraint overthrew him also, and killed him as
he had done the other. Then the third set upon him, and he killed
him in like manner. And thus also he slew the fourth. Sad and
sorrowful was the maiden as she saw all this. Geraint dismounted
his horse, and took the arms of the men he had slain, and placed
them upon their saddles, and tied together the reins of their
horses; and he mounted his horse again. "Behold what thou must
do," said he; "take the four horses and drive them before thee,
and proceed forward as I bade thee just now. And say not one word
unto me, unless I speak first unto thee. And I declare unto
Heaven," said he, "if thou doest not thus, it will be to thy
cost." "I will do as far as I can, lord," said she, "according to
thy desire."

So the maiden went forward, keeping in advance of Geraint, as he
had desired her; and it grieved him as much as his wrath would
permit, to see a maiden so illustrious as she having so much
trouble with the care of the horses. Then they reached a wood, and
it was both deep and vast, and in the wood night overtook them.
"Ah, maiden," said he, "it is vain to attempt proceeding forward."
"Well, lord," said she, "whatever thou wishest, we will do." "It
will be best for us," he answered, "to rest and wait for the day,
in order to pursue our journey." "That we will, gladly," said she.
And they did so. Having dismounted himself, he took her down from
her horse. "I cannot by any means refrain from sleep, through
weariness," said he; "do thou therefore watch the horses, and
sleep not." "I will, lord," said she. Then he went to sleep in his
armor, and thus passed the night, which was not long at that
season. And when she saw the dawn of day appear, she looked around
her to see if he were waking, and thereupon he woke. Then he
arose, and said unto her, "Take the horses and ride on, and keep
straight on as thou didst yesterday." And they left the wood, and
they came to an open country, with meadows on one hand, and mowers
mowing the meadows. And there was a river before them, and the
horses bent down and drank of the water. And they went up out of
the river by a lofty steep; and there they met a slender stripling
with a satchel about his neck, and they saw that there was
something in the satchel, but they knew not what it was. And he
had a small blue pitcher in his hand, and a bowl on the mouth of
the pitcher. And the youth saluted Geraint. "Heaven prosper thee!"
said Geraint; "and whence dost thou come?" "I come," said he,
"from the city that lies before thee. My lord," he added, "will it
be displeasing to thee if I ask whence thou comest also?" "By no
means; through yonder wood did I come." "Thou camest not through
the wood to-day." "No," he replied, "we were in the wood last
night." "I warrant," said the youth, "that thy condition there
last night was not the most pleasant, and that thou hadst neither
meat nor drink." "No, by my faith," said he. "Wilt thou follow my
counsel," said the youth, "and take thy meal from me?" "What sort
of meal?" he inquired. "The breakfast which is sent for yonder
mowers, nothing less than bread and meat and wine, and if thou
wilt, sir, they shall have none of it." "I will," said he, "and
Heaven reward thee for it."

So Geraint alighted, and the youth took the maiden from off her
horse. Then they washed, and took their repast. And the youth cut
the bread in slices, and gave them drink, and served them withal.
And when they had finished, the youth arose and said to Geraint,
"My lord, with thy permission, I will now go and fetch some food
for the mowers." "Go first to the town," said Geraint, "and take a
lodging for me in the best place that thou knowest, and the most
commodious one for the horses; and take thou whichever horse and
arms thou choosest, in payment for thy service and thy gift."
"Heaven reward thee, lord!" said the youth; "and this would be
ample to repay services much greater than those I have rendered
unto thee." And to the town went the youth, and he took the best
and the most pleasant lodgings that he knew; and after that he
went to the palace, having the horse and armor with him, and
proceeded to the place where the earl was, and told him all his
adventure. "I go now, lord," said he, "to meet the knight, and to
conduct him to his lodging." "Go, gladly," said the earl; "and
right joyfully shall he be received here, if he so come." And the
youth went to meet Geraint, and told him that he would be received
gladly by the earl in his own palace; but he would go only to his
lodgings. And he had a goodly chamber, in which was plenty of
straw and drapery, and a spacious and commodious place he had for
the horses; and the youth prepared for them plenty of provender.
After they had disarrayed themselves, Geraint spoke thus to Enid:
"Go," said he, "to the other side of the chamber, and come not to
this side of the house; and thou mayst call to thee the woman of
the house, if thou wilt." "I will do, lord," said she, "as thou
sayest." Thereupon the man of the house came to Geraint and
welcomed him. And after they had eaten and drank, Geraint went to
sleep, and so did Enid also.

In the evening, behold, the earl came to visit Geraint, and his
twelve honorable knights with him. And Geraint rose up and
welcomed him. Then they all sat down according to their precedence
in honor. And the earl conversed with Geraint, and inquired of him
the object of his journey. "I have none," he replied, "but to seek
adventures and to follow mine own inclination." Then the earl cast
his eye upon Enid, and he looked at her steadfastly. And he
thought he had never seen a maiden fairer or more comely than she.
And he set all his thoughts and his affections upon her. Then he
asked of Geraint, "Have I thy permission to go and converse with
yonder maiden, for I see that she is apart from thee?" "Thou hast
it gladly," said he. So the earl went to the place where the
maiden was, and spake with her. "Ah! maiden," said he, "it cannot
be pleasant to thee to journey with yonder man." "It is not
unpleasant to me," said she. "Thou hast neither youths nor maidens
to serve thee," said he. "Truly," she replied, "it is more
pleasant for me to follow yonder man, than to be served by youths
and maidens." "I will give thee good counsel," said he: "all my
earldom will I place in thy possession, if thou wilt dwell with

"Enid, the pilot star of my lone life,
Enid, my early and my only love."


"That will I not, by Heaven," she said; "yonder man was the first
to whom my faith was ever pledged; and shall I prove inconstant to
him?" "Thou art in the wrong," said the earl; "if I slay the man
yonder, I can keep thee with me as long as I choose; and when thou
no longer pleasest me, I can turn thee away. But if thou goest
with me by thy own good-will, I protest that our union shall
continue as long as I remain alive." Then she pondered those words
of his, and she considered that it was advisable to encourage him
in his request. "Behold then, chieftain, this is most expedient
for thee to do to save me from all reproach; come here to-morrow
and take me away as though I knew nothing thereof." "I will do
so," said he. So he arose and took his leave, and went forth with
his attendants. And she told not then to Geraint any of the
conversation which she had had with the earl, lest it should rouse
his anger, and cause him uneasiness and care.

And at the usual hour they went to sleep. And at the beginning of
the night Enid slept a little; and at midnight she arose, and
placed all Geraint's armor together so that it might be ready to
put on. And although fearful of her errand, she came to the side
of Geraint's bed; and she spoke to him softly and gently, saying,
"My lord, arise, and clothe thyself, for these were the words of
the earl to me and his intention concerning me." So she told
Geraint all that had passed. And although he was wroth with her,
he took warning, and clothed himself. And she lighted a candle,
that he might have light to do so. "Leave there the candle," said
he, "and desire the man of the house to come here." Then she went,
and the man of the house came to him. "Dost thou know how much I
owe thee?" asked Geraint. "I think thou owest but little." "Take
the three horses and the three suits of armor." "Heaven reward
thee, lord," said he, "but I spent not the value of one suit of
armor upon thee." "For that reason," said he, "thou wilt be the
richer. And now, wilt thou come to guide me out of the town?" "I
will gladly," said he; "and in which direction dost thou intend to
go?" "I wish to leave the town by a different way from that by
which I entered it." So the man of the lodgings accompanied him as
far as he desired. Then he bade the maiden to go on before him,
and she did so, and went straight forward, and his host returned

And Geraint and the maiden went forward along the high-road. And
as they journeyed thus, they heard an exceeding loud wailing near
to them. "Stay thou here," said he, "and I will go and see what is
the cause of this wailing." "I will," said she. Then he went
forward into an open glade that was near the road. And in the
glade he saw two horses, one having a man's saddle, and the other
a woman's saddle upon it. And behold there was a knight lying dead
in his armor, and a young damsel in a riding-dress standing over
him lamenting. "Ah, lady," said Geraint, "what hath befallen
thee?" "Behold," she answered, "I journeyed here with my beloved
husband, when lo! three giants came upon us, and without any cause
in the world, they slew him." "Which way went they hence?" said
Geraint. "Yonder by the high-road," she replied. So he returned to
Enid. "Go," said he, "to the lady that is below yonder, and await
me there till I come." She was sad when he ordered her to do thus,
but nevertheless she went to the damsel, whom it was ruth to hear,
and she felt certain that Geraint would never return.

Meanwhile Geraint followed the giants, and overtook them. And each
of them was greater in stature than three other men, and a huge
club was on the shoulder of each. Then he rushed upon one of them,
and thrust his lance through his body. And having drawn it forth
again, he pierced another of them through likewise. But the third
turned upon him and struck him with his club so that he split his
shield and crushed his shoulder. But Geraint drew his sword and
gave the giant a blow on the crown of his head, so severe, and
fierce, and violent, that his head and his neck were split down to
his shoulders, and he fell dead. So Geraint left him thus and
returned to Enid. And when he reached the place where she was he
fell down lifeless from his horse. Piercing and loud and thrilling
was the cry that Enid uttered. And she came and stood over him
where he had fallen. And at the sound of her cries came the Earl
of Limours, and they who journeyed with him, whom her lamentations
brought out of their road. And the earl said to Enid, "Alas, lady,
what hath befallen thee?" "Ah, good sir," said she, "the only man
I have loved, or ever shall love, is slain." Then he said to the
other, "And what is the cause of thy grief?" "They have slain my
beloved husband also," said she. "And who was it that slew them?"
"Some giants," she answered, "slew my best-beloved, and the other
knight went in pursuit of them, and came back in the state thou
seest." The earl caused the knight that was dead to be buried, but
he thought that there still remained some life in Geraint; and to
see if he yet would live, he had him carried with him in the
hollow of his shield, and upon a bier. And the two damsels went to
the court; and when they arrived there, Geraint was placed upon a
little couch in front of the table that was in the hall. Then they
all took off their traveling-gear, and the earl besought Enid to
do the same, and to clothe herself in other garments. "I will not,
by Heaven," said she. "Ah, lady," said he, "be not so sorrowful
for this matter." "It were hard to persuade me to be otherwise,"
said she. "I will act towards thee in such wise that thou needest
not be sorrowful, whether yonder knight live or die. Behold, a
good earldom, together with myself, will I bestow upon thee; be
therefore happy and joyful." "I declare to Heaven," said she,
"that henceforth I shall never be joyful while I live." "Come,"
said he, "and eat." "No, by Heaven, I will not." "But, by Heaven,
thou shalt," said he. So he took her with him to the table against
her will, and many times desired her to eat. "I call Heaven to
witness," said she, "that I will not until the man that is upon
yonder bier shall eat likewise." "Thou canst not fulfil that,"
said the earl, "yonder man is dead already." "I will prove that I
can," said she. Then he offered her a goblet of liquor. "Drink
this goblet," he said, "and it will cause thee to change thy
mind." "Evil betide me," she answered, "if I drink aught until he
drink also." "Truly," said the earl, "it is of no more avail for
me to be gentle with thee than ungentle." And he gave her a box in
the ear. Thereupon she raised a loud and piercing shriek, and her
lamentations were much greater than they had been before; for she
considered in her mind, that, had Geraint been alive, he durst not
have struck her thus. But, behold, at the sound of her cry,
Geraint revived from his swoon, and he sat upon the bier; and
finding his sword in the hollow of his shield, he rushed to the
place where the earl was, and struck him a fiercely-wounding,
severely-venomous, and sternly-smiting blow upon the crown of his
head, so that he clove him in twain, until his sword was staid by
the table. Then all left the board and fled away. And this was not
so much through fear of the living, as through the dread they felt
at seeing the dead man rise up to slay them. And Geraint looked
upon Enid, and he was grieved for two causes; one was to see that
Enid had lost her color and her wonted aspect; and the other, to
know that she was in the right. "Lady," said he, "knowest thou
where our horses are?" "I know, lord, where thy horse is," she
replied, "but I know not where is the other. Thy horse is in the
house yonder." So he went to the house, and brought forth his
horse, and mounted him, and took up Enid, and placed her upon the
horse with him. And he rode forward. And their road lay between
two hedges; and the night was gaining on the day. And lo! they saw
behind them the shafts of spears betwixt them and the sky, and
they heard the tramping of horses, and the noise of a host
approaching. "I hear something following us," said he, "and I will
put thee on the other side of the hedge." And thus he did. And
thereupon, behold a knight pricked towards him, and couched his
lance. When Enid saw this, she cried out, saying, "O chieftain,
whoever thou art, what renown wilt thou gain by slaying a dead
man?" "O Heaven!" said he, "is it Geraint?" "Yes, in truth," said
she; "and who art thou?" "I am Gwiffert Petit," said he, "thy
husband's ally, coming to thy assistance, for I heard that thou
wast in trouble. Come with me to the court of a son-in-law of my
sister, which is near here, and thou shalt have the best medical
assistance in the kingdom." "I will do so gladly," said Geraint.
And Enid was placed upon the horse of one of Gwiffert's squires,
and they went forward to the baron's palace. And they were
received there with gladness, and they met with hospitality and
attention. The next morning they went to seek physicians; and it
was not long before they came, and they attended Geraint until he
was perfectly well. And while Geraint was under medical care
Gwiffert caused his armor to be repaired, until it was as good as
it had ever been. And they remained there a month and a fortnight.
Then they separated, and Geraint went towards his own dominions,
and thenceforth he reigned prosperously, and his warlike fame and
splendor lasted with renown and honor, both to him and to Enid,
from that time forward.

[Footnote: Throughout the broad and varied region of romance it
would be difficult to find a character of greater simplicity and
truth than that of Enid, the daughter of Earl Ynywl. Conspicuous
for her beauty and noble bearing, we are at a loss whether more to
admire the patience with which she bore all the hardships she was
destined to undergo or the constancy and affection which finally
achieved the truimph she so richly deserved.

The character of Enid is admirably sustained through the whole
tale; and as it is more natural, because less overstrained, so
perhaps it is even more touching than that of Griselda, over
which, however, Chaucer has thrown a charm that leads us to forget
the improbability of her story.]



Once upon a time Pwyll was at Narberth, his chief palace, where a
feast had been prepared for him, and with him was a great host of
men. And after the first meal Pwyll arose to walk; and he went to
the top of a mound that was above the palace, and was called
Gorsedd Arberth. "Lord," said one of the court, "it is peculiar to
the mound that whosoever sits upon it cannot go thence without
either receiving wounds or blows, or else seeing a wonder." "I
fear not to receive wounds or blows," said Pwyll; "but as to the
wonder, gladly would I see it. I will therefore go and sit upon
the mound."

And upon the mound he sat. And while he sat there, they saw a
lady, on a pure white horse of large size, with a garment of
shining gold around her, coming along the highway that led from
the mound. "My men," said Pwyll, "is there any among you who knows
yonder lady?" "There is not, lord," said they. "Go one of you and
meet her, that we may know who she is." And one of them arose, and
as he came upon the road to meet her, she passed by; and he
followed as fast as he could, being on foot, and the greater was
his speed, the further was she from him. And when he saw that it
profited him nothing to follow her, he returned to Pwyll, and said
unto him, "Lord, it is idle for any one in the world to follow her
on foot." "Verily," said Pwyll, "go unto the palace, and take the
fleetest horse that thou seest, and go after her."

And he took a horse and went forward. And he came to an open,
level plain, and put spurs to his horse; and the more he urged his
horse, the further was she from him. And he returned to the place
where Pwyll was, and said, "Lord, it will avail nothing for any
one to follow yonder lady. I know of no horse in these realms
swifter than this, and it availed me not to pursue her." "Of a
truth," said Pwyll, "there must be some illusion here; let us go
towards the palace." So to the palace they went, and spent the

And the next day they amused themselves until it was time to go to
meat. And when meat was ended, Pwyll said, "Where are the hosts
that went yesterday to the top of the mound?" "Behold, lord, we
are here," said they. "Let us go," said he, "to the mound, and sit
there. And do thou," said he to the page who tended his horse,
"saddle my horse well, and hasten with him to the road, and bring
also my spurs with thee." And the youth did thus. And they went
and sat upon the mound; and ere they had been there but a short
time, they beheld the lady coming by the same road, and in the
same manner, and at the same pace. "Young man," said Pwyll, "I see
the lady coming; give me my horse." And before he had mounted his
horse she passed him. And he turned after her and followed her.
And he let his horse go bounding playfully, and thought that he
should soon come up with her. But he came no nearer to her than at
first. Then he urged his horse to his utmost speed, yet he found
that it availed not. Then said Pwyll, "O maiden, for the sake of
him whom thou best lovest, stay for me." "I will stay gladly,"
said she; "and it were better for thy horse hadst thou asked it
long since." So the maiden stopped; and she threw back that part
of her head-dress which covered her face. Then he thought that the
beauty of all the maidens and all the ladies that he had ever seen
was as nothing compared to her beauty. "Lady," he said, "wilt thou
tell me aught concerning thy purpose?" "I will tell thee," said
she; "my chief quest was to see thee." "Truly," said Pwyll, "this
is to me the most pleasing quest on which thou couldst have come;
and wilt thou tell me who thou art?" "I will tell thee, lord,"
said she. "I am Rhiannon, the daughter of Heveydd, and they sought
to give me a husband against my will. But no husband would I have,
and that because of my love for thee; neither will I yet have one,
unless thou reject me; and hither have I come to hear thy answer."
"By Heaven," said Pwyll, "behold this is my answer. If I might
choose among all the ladies and damsels in the world, thee would I
choose." "Verily," said she, "if thou art thus minded, make a
pledge to meet me ere I am given to another." "The sooner I may do
so, the more pleasing will it be to me," said Pwyll; "and
wheresoever thou wilt, there will I meet with thee." "I will that
thou meet me this day twelvemonth at the palace of Heveydd."
"Gladly," said he, "will I keep this tryst." So they parted, and
he went back to his hosts, and to them of his household. And
whatsoever questions they asked him respecting the damsel, he
always turned the discourse upon other matters.

And when a year from that time was gone, he caused a hundred
knights to equip themselves, and to go with him to the palace of
Heveydd. And he came to the palace, and there was great joy
concerning him, with much concourse of people, and great
rejoicing, and vast preparations for his coming. And the whole
court was placed under his orders.

And the hall was garnished, and they went to meat, and thus did
they sit: Heveydd was on one side of Pwyll, and Rhiannon on the
other; and all the rest according to their rank. And they ate and
feasted, and talked one with another. And at the beginning of the
carousal after the meat, there entered a tall, auburn-haired
youth, of royal bearing, clothed in a garment of satin. And when
he came into the hall, he saluted Pwyll and his companions. "The
greeting of Heaven be unto thee," said Pwyll; "come thou and sit
down." "Nay," said he, "a suitor am I, and I will do my errand."
"Do so willingly," said Pwyll. "Lord," said he, "my errand is unto
thee, and it is to crave a boon of thee that I come." "What boon
soever thou mayest ask of me, so far as I am able, thou shalt
have." "Ah!" said Rhiannon, "wherefore didst thou give that
answer?" "Has he not given it before the presence of these
nobles?" asked the youth. "My soul," said Pwyll, "what is the boon
thou askest?" "The lady whom best I love is to be thy bride this
night; I come to ask her of thee, with the feast and the banquet
that are in this place." And Pwyll was silent, because of the
promise which he had given. "Be silent as long as thou wilt," said
Rhiannon, "never did man make worse use of his wits than thou hast
done." "Lady," said he, "I knew not who he was." "Behold, this is
the man to whom they would have given me against my will," said
she; "and he is Gawl, the son of Clud, a man of great power and
wealth, and because of the word thou hast spoken, bestow me upon
him, lest shame befall thee." "Lady," said he, "I understand not
thy answer; never can I do as thou sayest." "Bestow me upon him,"
said she, "and I will cause that I shall never be his." "By what
means will that be?" asked Pwyll. Then she told him the thought
that was in her mind. And they talked long together. Then Gawl
said, "Lord, it is meet that I have an answer to my request." "As
much of that thou hast asked as it is in my power to give, thou
shalt have," replied Pwyll. "My soul," said Rhiannon unto Gawl,
"as for the feast and the banquet that are here, I have bestowed
them upon the men of Dyved, and the household and the warriors
that are with us. These can I not suffer to be given to any. In a
year from to-night, a banquet shall be prepared for thee in this
palace, that I may become thy bride."

So Gawl went forth to his possessions, and Pwyll went also back to
Dyved. And they both spent that year until it was the time for the
feast at the palace of Heveydd. Then Gawl, the son of Clud, set
out to the feast that was prepared for him; and he came to the
palace, and was received there with rejoicing. Pwyll, also, the
chief of Dyved, came to the orchard with a hundred knights, as
Rhiannon had commanded him. And Pwyll was clad in coarse and
ragged garments, and wore large, clumsy old shoes upon his feet.
And when he knew that the carousal after the meat had begun, he
went toward the hall; and when he came into the hall he saluted
Gawl, the son of Clud, and his company, both men and women.
"Heaven prosper thee," said Gawl, "and friendly greeting be unto
thee!" "Lord," said he, "may Heaven reward thee! I have an errand
unto thee." "Welcome be thine errand, and if thou ask of me that
which is right, thou shalt have it gladly." "It is fitting,"
answered he; "I crave but from want, and the boon I ask is to have
this small bag that thou seest filled with meat." "A request
within reason is this," said he, "and gladly shalt thou have it.
Bring him food." A great number of attendants arose and began to
fill the bag; but for all they put into it, it was no fuller than
at first. "My soul," said Gawl, "will thy bag ever be full?" "It
will not, I declare to Heaven," said he, "for all that may be put
into it, unless one possessed of lands, and domains, and treasure,
shall arise and tread down with both his feet the food that is
within the bag, and shall say, 'Enough has been put therein.'"
Then said Rhiannon unto Gawl, the son of Clud, "Rise up quickly."
"I will willingly arise," said he. So he rose up, and put his two
feet into the bag. And Pwyll turned up the sides of the bag, so
that Gawl was over his head in it. And he shut it up quickly, and
slipped a knot upon the thongs, and blew his horn. And thereupon,
behold, his knights came down upon the palace. And they seized all
the host that had come with Gawl, and cast them into his own
prison. And Pwyll threw off his rags, and his old shoes, and his
tattered array. And as they came in, every one of Pwyll's knights
struck a blow upon the bag, and asked, "What is here?" "A badger,"
said they. And in this manner they played, each of them striking
the bag, either with his foot or with a staff. And thus played
they with the bag. And then was the game of Badger in the Bag
first played.

"Lord," said the man in the bag, "if thou wouldst but hear me, I
merit not to be slain in a bag." Said Heveydd, "Lord, he speaks
truth; it were fitting that thou listen to him, for he deserves
not this." "Verily," said Pwyll, "I will do thy counsel concerning
him." "Behold, this is my counsel then," said Rhiannon. "Thou art
now in a position in which it behooves thee to satisfy suitors and
minstrels. Let him give unto them in thy stead, and take a pledge
from him that he will never seek to revenge that which has been
done to him. And this will be punishment enough." "I will do this
gladly," said the man in the bag. "And gladly will I accept it,"
said Pwyll, "since it is the counsel of Heveydd and Rhiannon. Seek
thyself sureties." "We will be for him," said Heveydd, "until his
men be free to answer for him." And upon this he was let out of
the bag, and his liegemen were liberated. "Verily, lord," said
Gawl, "I am greatly hurt, and I have many bruises. With thy leave,
I will go forth. I will leave nobles in my stead to answer for me
in all that thou shalt require." "Willingly," said Pwyll, "mayest
thou do this." So Gawl went to his own possessions.

And the hall was set in order for Pwyll and the men of his host,
and for them also of the palace, and they went to the tables and
sat down. And as they had sat that time twelvemonth, so sat they
that night. And they ate and feasted, and spent the night in mirth
and tranquility. And the time came that they should sleep, and
Pwyll and Rhiannon went to their chamber.

And next morning at break of day, "My lord," said Rhiannon, "arise
and begin to give thy gifts unto the minstrels. Refuse no one to-
day that may claim thy bounty." "Thus shall it be gladly," said
Pwyll, "both to-day and every day while the feast shall last." So
Pwyll arose, and he caused silence to be proclaimed, and desired
all the suitors and minstrels to show and to point out what gifts
they desired. And this being done, the feast went on, and he
denied no one while it lasted. And when the feast was ended, Pwyll
said unto Heveydd, "My lord, with thy permission, I will set out
for Dyved to-morrow." "Certainly," said Heveydd; "may Heaven
prosper thee! Fix also a time when Rhiannon shall follow thee."
"By Heaven," said Pwyll, "we will go hence together." "Willest
thou this, lord?" said Heveydd. "Yes, lord," answered Pwyll.

And the next, day they set forward towards Dyved, and journeyed to
the palace of Narberth, where a feast was made ready for them. And
there came to them great numbers of the chief men and the most
noble ladies of the land, and of these there were none to whom
Rhiannon did not give some rich gift, either a bracelet, or a
ring, or a precious stone. And they ruled the land prosperously
that year and the next.



Bendigeid Vran, the son of Llyr, was the crowned king of this
island, and he was exalted from the crown of London. And one
afternoon he was at Harlech, in Ardudwy, at his court; and he sat
upon the rock of Harlech, looking over the sea. And with him were
his brother, Manawyddan, the son of Llyr, and his brothers by the
mother's side, Nissyen and Evnissyen, and many nobles likewise, as
was fitting to see around a king. His two brothers by the mother's
side were the sons of Euroswydd, and one of these youths was a
good youth, and of gentle nature, and would make peace between his
kindred, and cause his family to be friends when their wrath was
at the highest, and this one was Nissyen; but the other would
cause strife between his two brothers when they were most at
peace. And as they sat thus they beheld thirteen ships coming from
the south of Ireland, and making towards them; and they came with
a swift motion, the wind being behind them; and they neared them
rapidly. "I see ships afar," said the king, "coming swiftly
towards the land. Command the men of the court that they equip
themselves, and go and learn their intent." So the men equipped
themselves, and went down towards them. And when they saw the
ships near, certain were they that they had never seen ships
better furnished. Beautiful flags of satin were upon them. And,
behold, one of the ships outstripped the others, and they saw a
shield lifted up above the side of the ship, and the point of the
shield was upwards, in token of peace. And the men drew near, that
they might hold converse. Then they put out boats, and came toward
the land. And they saluted the king. Now the king could hear them
from the place where he was upon the rock above their heads.
"Heaven prosper you." said he, "and be ye welcome! To whom do
these ships belong, and who is the chief amongst you?" "Lord,"
said they, "Matholch, king of Ireland, is here, and these ships
belong to him." "Wherefore comes he?" asked the king, "and will he
come to the land?" "He is a suitor unto thee, lord," said they,
"and he will not land unless he have his boon." "And what may that
be?" inquired the king. "He desires to ally himself, lord, with
thee," said they, "and he comes to ask Branwen, the daughter of
Llyr, that, if it seem well to thee, the Island of the Mighty
[Footnote: The Island of the Mighty is one of the many names
bestowed upon Britain by the Welsh.] may be leagued with Ireland,
and both become more powerful." "Verily," said he, "let him come
to land, and we will take counsel thereupon." And this answer was
brought to Matholch. "I will go willingly," said he. So he landed,
and they received him joyfully; and great was the throng in the
palace that night, between his hosts and those of the court; and
next day they took counsel, and they resolved to bestow Branwen
upon Matholch. Now she was one of the three chief ladies of this
island, and she was the fairest damsel in the world.

And they fixed upon Aberfraw as the place where she should become
his bride. And they went thence, and towards Aberfraw the hosts
proceeded, Matholch and his host in their ships, Bendigeid Vran
and his host by land, until they came to Aberfraw. And at Aberfraw
they began the feast, and sat down. And thus sat they: the king of
the Island of the Mighty and Manawyddan, the son of Llyr, on one
side, and Matholch on the other side, and Branwen, the daughter of
Llyr, beside him. And they were not within a house, but under
tents. No house could ever contain Bendigeid Vran. And they began
the banquet, and caroused and discoursed. And when it was more
pleasing to them to sleep than to carouse, they went to rest, and
Branwen became Matholch's bride.

And next day they arose, and all they of the court, and the
officers began to equip, and to range the horses and the
attendants, and they ranged them in order as far as the sea.

And, behold, one day Evnissyen, the quarrelsome man, of whom it is
spoken above, came by chance into the place where the horses of
Matholch were, and asked whose horses they might be. "They are the
horses of Matholch, king of Ireland, who is married to Branwen,
thy sister; his horses are they." "And is it thus they have done
with a maiden such as she, and moreover my sister, bestowing her
without my consent? They could have offered no greater insult to
me than this," said he. And thereupon he rushed under the horses,
and cut off their lips at the teeth, and their ears close to their
heads, and their tails close to their backs; and he disfigured the
horses, and rendered them useless.

And they came with these tidings unto Matholch, saying that the
horses were disfigured and injured, so that not one of them could
ever be of any use again. "Verily, lord," said one, "it was an
insult unto thee, and as such was it meant." "Of a truth, it is a
marvel to me that, if they desire to insult me, they should have
given me a maiden of such high rank, and so much beloved of her
kindred, as they have done." "Lord," said another, "thou seest
that thus it is, and there is nothing for thee to do but to go to
thy ships." And thereupon towards his ships he set out.

And tidings came to Bendigeid Vran that Matholch was quitting the
court without asking leave, and messengers were sent to inquire of
him wherefore he did so. And the messengers that went were Iddic,
the son of Anarawd, and Heveyd Hir. And these overtook him, and
asked of him what he designed to do, and wherefore he went forth.
"Of a truth," said he, "if I had known, I had not come hither. I
have been altogether insulted; no one had ever worse treatment
than I have had here." "Truly, lord, it was not the will of any
that are of the court," said they, "nor of any that are of the
council, that thou shouldst have received this insult; and as thou
hast been insulted, the dishonor is greater unto Bendigeid Vran
than unto thee." "Verily," said he, "I think so. Nevertheless, he
cannot recall the insult." These men returned with that answer to
the place where Bendigeid Vran was, and they told him what reply
Matholch had given them. "Truly," said he, "there are no means by
which we may prevent his going away at enmity with us that we will
not take." "Well, lord," said they, "send after him another
embassy." "I will do so," said he. "Arise, Manawyddan, son of
Llyr, and Heveyd Hir, and go after him, and tell him that he shall
have a sound horse for every one that has been injured. And beside
that, as an atonement for the insult, he shall have a staff of
silver as large and as tall as himself, and a plate of gold of the
breadth of his face. And show unto him who it was that did this,
and that it was done against my will; but that he who did it is my
brother, and therefore it would be hard for me to put him to
death. And let him come and meet me," said he, "and we will make
peace in any way he may desire."

The embassy went after Matholch, and told him all these sayings in
a friendly manner; and he listened thereunto. "Men," said he, "I
will take counsel." So to the council he went. And in the council
they considered that, if they should refuse this, they were likely
to have more shame rather than to obtain so great an atonement.
They resolved, therefore, to accept it, and they returned to the
court in peace.

Then the pavilions and the tents were set in order, after the
fashion of a hall; and they went to meat, and as they had sat at
the beginning of the feast so sat they there. And Matholch and
Bendigeid Vran began to discourse; and, behold, it seemed to
Bendigeid Vran, while they talked, that Matholch was not so
cheerful as he had been before. And he thought that the chieftain
might be sad because of the smallness of the atonement which he
had for the wrong that had been done him. "O man," said Bendigeid
Vran, "thou dost not discourse to-night so cheerfully as thou wast
wont. And if it be because of the smallness of the atonement, thou
shalt add thereunto whatsoever thou mayest choose, and to-morrow I
will pay thee for the horses." "Lord," said he, "Heaven reward
thee!" "And I will enhance the atonement," said Bendigeid Vran,
"for I will give unto thee a caldron, the property of which is,
that if one of thy men be slain to-day, and be cast therein, to-
morrow he will be as well as ever he was at the best, except that
he will not regain his speech." And thereupon he gave him great
thanks, and very joyful was he for that cause.

That night they continued to discourse as much as they would, and
had minstrelsy and carousing; and when it was more pleasant to
them to sleep than to sit longer, they went to rest. And thus was
the banquet carried on with joyousness; and when it was finished,
Matholch journeyed towards Ireland, and Branwen with him; and they
went from Aber Menei with thirteen ships, and came to Ireland. And
in Ireland was there great joy because of their coming. And not
one great man nor noble lady visited Branwen unto whom she gave
not either a clasp or a ring, or a royal jewel to keep, such as it
was honorable to be seen departing with. And in these things she
spent that year in much renown, and she passed her time
pleasantly, enjoying honor and friendship. And in due time a son
was born unto her, and the name that they gave him was Gwern, the
son of Matholch, and they put the boy out to be nursed in a place
where were the best men of Ireland.

And, behold, in the second year a tumult arose in Ireland, on
account of the insult which Matholch had received in Wales, and
the payment made him for his horses. And his foster-brothers, and
such as were nearest to him, blamed him openly for that matter.
And he might have no peace by reason of the tumult, until they
should revenge upon him this disgrace. And the vengeance which
they took was to drive away Branwen from the same chamber with
him, and to make her cook for the court; and they caused the
butcher, after he had cut up the meat, to come to her and give her
every day a blow on the ear; and such they made her punishment.

"Verily, lord," said his men to Matholch, "forbid now the ships
and the ferry-boats, and the coracles, that they go not into
Wales, and such as come over from Wales hither, imprison them,
that they go not back for this thing to be known there." And he
did so; and it was thus for no less than three years.

And Branwen reared a starling in the cover of the kneading-trough,
and she taught it to speak, and she taught the bird what manner of
man her brother was. And she wrote a letter of her woes, and the
despite with which she was treated, and she bound the letter to
the root of the bird's wing, and sent it toward Wales. And the
bird came to that island; and one day it found Bendigeid Vran at
Caer Seiont in Arvon, conferring there, and it alighted upon his
shoulder, and ruffled its feathers, so that the letter was seen,
and they knew that the bird had been reared in a domestic manner.

Then Bendigeid Vran took the letter and looked upon it. And when
he had read the letter, he grieved exceedingly at the tidings of
Branwen's woes. And immediately he began sending messengers to
summon the island together. And he caused seven-score and four of
his chief men to come unto him, and he complained to them of the
grief that his sister endured. So they took counsel. And in the
counsel they resolved to go to Ireland, and to leave seven men as
princes at home, and Caradoc, [Footnote: Caractacus.] the son of
Bran, as the chief of them.

Bendigeid Vran, with the host of which we spoke, sailed towards
Ireland; and it was not far across the sea, and he came to shoal
water. Now the swine-herds of Matholch were upon the sea-shore,
and they came to Matholch. "Lord," said they, "greeting be unto
thee." "Heaven protect you!" said he; "have you any news?" "Lord,"
said they, "we have marvellous news. A wood have we seen upon the
sea, in a place where we never yet saw a single tree." "This is
indeed a marvel," said he; "saw you aught else?" "We saw, lord,"
said they, "a vast mountain beside the wood, which moved, and
there was a lofty ridge on the top of the mountain, and a lake on
each side of the ridge. And the wood and the mountain, and all
these things, moved." "Verily," said he, "there is none who can
know aught concerning this unless it be Branwen."

Messengers then went unto Branwen. "Lady," said they, "what
thinkest thou that this is?" "The men of the Island of the Mighty,
who have come hither on hearing of my ill-treatment and of my
woes." "What is the forest that is seen upon the sea?" asked they.
"The yards and the masts of ships," she answered. "Alas!" said
they; "what is the mountain that is seen by the side of the
ships?" "Bendigeid Vran, my brother," she replied, "coming to
shoal water, and he is wading to the land." "What is the lofty
ridge, with the lake on each side thereof?" "On looking towards
this island he is wroth, and his two eyes on each side of his nose
are the two lakes on each side of the ridge."

The warriors and chief men of Ireland were brought together in
haste, and they took counsel. "Lord," said the neighbors unto
Matholch, "there is no other counsel than this alone. Thou shalt
give the kingdom to Gwern, the son of Branwen his sister, as a
compensation for the wrong and despite that have been done unto
Branwen. And he will make peace with thee." And in the council it
was resolved that this message should be sent to Bendigeid Vran,
lest the country should be destroyed. And this peace was made. And
Matholch caused a great house to be built for Bendigeid Vran, and
his host. Thereupon came the hosts into the house. The men of the
island of Ireland entered the house on the one side, and the men
of the Island of the Mighty on the other. And as soon as they had
sat down, there was concord between them; and the sovereignty was
conferred upon the boy. When the peace was concluded, Bendigeid
Vran called the boy unto him, and from Bendigeid Vran the boy went
unto Manawyddan; and he was beloved by all that beheld him. And
from Manawyddan the boy was called by Nissyen, the son of
Euroswydd, and the boy went unto him lovingly. "Wherefore," said
Evnissyen, "comes not my nephew, the son of my sister, unto me?
Though he were not king of Ireland, yet willingly would I fondle
the boy." "Cheerfully let him go to thee," said Bendigeid Vran;
and the boy went unto him cheerfully. "By my confession to
Heaven," said Evnissyen in his heart, "unthought of is the
slaughter that I will this instant commit."

Then he arose and took up the boy, and before any one in the house
could seize hold of him he thrust the boy headlong into the
blazing fire. And when Branwen saw her son burning in the fire,
she strove to leap into the fire also, from the place where she
sat between her two brothers. But Bendigeid Vran grasped her with
one hand, and his shield with the other. Then they all hurried
about the house, and never was there made so great a tumult by any
host in one house as was made by them, as each man armed himself.
And while they all sought their arms Bendigeid Vran supported
Branwen between his shield and his shoulder. And they fought.

Then the Irish kindled a fire under the caldron of renovation, and
they cast the dead bodies into the caldron until it was full; and
the next day they came forth fighting men, as good as before,
except that they were not able to speak. Then when Evnissyen saw
the dead bodies of the men of the Island of the Mighty nowhere
resuscitated, he said in his heart, "Alas! woe is me, that I
should have been the cause of bringing the men of the Island of
the Mighty into so great a strait. Evil betide me if I find not a
deliverance therefrom." And he cast himself among the dead bodies
of the Irish; and two unshod Irishmen came to him, and, taking him
to be one of the Irish, flung him into the caldron. And he
stretched himself out in the caldron, so that he rent the caldron
into four pieces, and burst his own heart also.

In consequence of this, the men of the Island of the Mighty
obtained such success as they had; but they were not victorious,
for only seven men of them all escaped, and Bendigeid Vran himself
was wounded in the foot with a poisoned dart. Now the men that
escaped were Pryderi, Manawyddan, Taliesin, and four others.

And Bendigeid Vran commanded them that they should cut off his
head. "And take you my head," said he, "and bear it even unto the
White Mount in London, and bury it there with the face towards
France. And so long as it lies there, no enemy shall ever land on
the island." So they cut off his head, and these seven went
forward therewith. And Branwen was the eighth with them. And they
came to land on Aber Alaw, and they sat down to rest. And Branwen
looked towards Ireland, and towards the Island of the Mighty, to
see if she could descry them. "Alas!" said she, "woe is me that I
was ever born; two islands have been destroyed because of me."
Then she uttered a groan, and there broke her heart. And they made
her a four-sided grave, and buried her upon the banks of the Alaw.

Then the seven men journeyed forward, bearing the head with them;
and as they went, behold there met them a multitude of men and
women. "Have you any tidings?" said Manawyddan. "We have none,"
said they, "save that Caswallawn, [Footnote: Cassivellaunus.] the
son of Beli, has conquered the Island of the Mighty, and is
crowned king in London." "What has become," said they, "of
Caradoc, the son of Bran, and the seven men who were left with him
in this island?" "Caswallawn came upon them, and slew six of the
men, and Caradoc's heart broke for grief thereof." And the seven
men journeyed on towards London, and they buried the head in the
White Mount, as Bendigeid Vran had directed them. [Footnote: There
is a Triad upon the story of the head buried under the White Tower
of London, as a charm against invasion. Arthur, it seems, proudly
disinterred the head, preferring to hold the island by his own
strength alone.]



Pwyll and Rhiannon had a son, whom they named Pryderi. And when he
was grown up, Pwyll, his father, died. And Pryderi married Kicva,
the daughter of Gwynn Gloy.

Now Manawyddan returned from the war in Ireland, and he found that
his cousin had seized all his possessions, and much grief and
heaviness came upon him. "Alas! woe is me!" he exclaimed; "there
is none save myself without a home and a resting-place." "Lord,"
said Pryderi, "be not so sorrowful. Thy cousin is king of the
Island of the Mighty, and though he has done thee wrong, thou hast
never been a claimant of land or possessions." "Yea," answered he,
"but although this man is my cousin, it grieveth me to see any one
in the place of my brother, Bendigeid Vran; neither can I be happy
in the same dwelling with him." "Wilt thou follow the counsel of
another?" said Pryderi. "I stand in need of counsel," he answered,
"and what may that counsel be?" "Seven cantrevs belong unto me,"
said Pryderi, "wherein Rhiannon, my mother, dwells. I will bestow
her upon thee, and the seven cantrevs with her; and though thou
hadst no possessions but those cantrevs only, thou couldst not
have any fairer than they. Do thou and Rhiannon enjoy them, and if
thou desire any possessions thou wilt not despise these." "I do
not, chieftain," said he. "Heaven reward thee for the friendship!
I will go with thee to seek Rhiannon, and to look at thy
possessions." "Thou wilt do well," he answered; "and I believe
that thou didst never hear a lady discourse better than she, and
when she was in her prime, none was ever fairer. Even now her
aspect is not uncomely."

They set forth, and, however long the journey, they came at last
to Dyved; and a feast was prepared for them by Rhiannon and Kicva.
Then began Manawyddan and Rhiannon to sit and to talk together;
and his mind and his thoughts became warmed towards her, and he
thought in his heart he had never beheld any lady more fulfilled
of grace and beauty than she. "Pryderi," said he, "I will that it
be as thou didst say." "What saying was that?" asked Rhiannon.
"Lady," said Pryderi, "I did offer thee as a wife to Manawyddan,
the son of Llyr." "By that will I gladly abide," said Rhiannon.
"Right glad am I also," said Manawyddan, "may Heaven reward him
who hath shown unto me friendship so perfect as this!"

And before the feast was over she became his bride. Said Pryderi,
"Tarry ye here the rest of the feast, and I will go into England
to tender my homage unto Caswallawn, the son of Beli." "Lord,"
said Rhiannon, "Caswallawn is in Kent; thou mayest therefore tarry
at the feast, and wait until he shall be nearer." "We will wait,"
he answered. So they finished the feast. And they began to make
the circuit of Dyved, and to hunt, and to take their pleasure. And
as they went through the country, they had never seen lands more
pleasant to live in, nor better hunting grounds, nor greater
plenty of honey and fish. And such was the friendship between
these four, that they would not be parted from each other by night
nor by day.

And in the midst of all this he went to Caswallawn at Oxford, and
tendered his homage; and honorable was his reception there, and
highly was he praised for offering his homage.

And after his return Pryderi and Manawyddan feasted and took their
ease and pleasure. And they began a feast at Narberth, for it was
the chief palace. And when they had ended the first meal, while
those who served them ate, they arose and went forth, and
proceeded to the Gorsedd, that is, the Mount of Narberth, and
their retinue with them. And as they sat thus, behold a peal of
thunder, and with the violence of the thunder-storm, lo! there
came a fall of mist, so thick that not one of them could see the
other. And after the mist it became light all around. And when
they looked towards the place where they were wont to see the
cattle and herds and dwellings, they saw nothing now, neither
house, nor beast, nor smoke, nor fire, nor man, nor dwelling, but
the buildings of the court empty, and desert, and uninhabited,
without either man or beast within them. And truly all their
companions were lost to them, without their knowing aught of what
had befallen them, save those four only.

"In the name of Heaven," said Manawyddan, "where are they of the
court, and all my host beside? Let us go and see."

So they came to the castle, and saw no man, and into the hall, and
to the sleeping-place, and there was none; and in the mead-cellar
and in the kitchen there was naught but desolation. Then they
began to go through the land, and all the possessions that they
had; and they visited the houses and dwellings, and found nothing
but wild beasts. And when they had consumed their feast and all
their provisions, they fed upon the prey they killed in hunting,
and the honey of the wild swans.

And one morning Pryderi and Manawyddan rose up to hunt, and they
ranged their dogs and went forth. And some of the dogs ran before
them, and came to a bush which was near at hand; but as soon as
they were come to the bush, they hastily drew back, and returned
to the men, their hair bristling up greatly. "Let us go near to
the bush," said Pryderi, "and see what is in it." And as they came
near, behold, a wild boar of a pure white color rose up from the
bush. Then the dogs, being set on by the men, rushed towards him;
but he left the bush, and fell back a little way from the men, and
made a stand against the dogs, without retreating from them, until
the men had come near. And when the men came up, he fell back a
second time, and betook him to flight. Then they pursued the boar
until they beheld a vast and lofty castle, all newly built, in a
place where they had never before seen either stone or building.
And the boar ran swiftly into the castle, and the dogs after him.
Now when the boar and the dogs had gone into the castle, the men
began to wonder at finding a castle in a place where they had
never before seen any building whatsoever. And from the top of the
Gorsedd they looked and listened for the dogs. But so long as they
were there, they heard not one of the dogs, nor aught concerning

"Lord," said Pryderi, "I will go into the castle to get tidings of
the dogs." "Truly," he replied, "thou wouldst be unwise to go into
this castle, which thou hast never seen till now. If thou wouldst
follow my counsel, thou wouldst not enter therein. Whosoever has
cast a spell over this land, has caused this castle to be here."
"Of a truth," answered Pryderi, "I cannot thus give up my dogs."
And for all the counsel that Manawyddan gave him, yet to the
castle he went.

When he came within the castle, neither man nor beast, nor boar,
nor dogs, nor house, nor dwelling, saw he within it. But in the
centre of the castle-floor he beheld a fountain with marble-work
around it, and on the margin of the fountain a golden bowl upon a
marble slab, and chains hanging from the air, to which he saw no

And he was greatly pleased with the beauty of the gold, and with
the rich workmanship of the bowl; and he went up to the bowl, and
laid hold of it. And when he had taken hold of its his hands stuck
to the bowl, and his feet to the slab on which the bowl was
placed; and all his joyousness forsook him, so that he could not
utter a word. And thus he stood.

And Manawyddan waited for him till near the close of the day. And
late in the evening, being certain that he should have no tidings
of Pryderi or the dogs, he went back to the palace. And as he
entered, Rhiannon looked at him. "Where," said she, "are thy
companion and thy dogs?" "Behold," he answered, "the adventure
that has befallen me." And he related it all unto her. "An evil
companion hast thou been," said Rhiannon, "and a good companion
hast thou lost." And with that word she went out, and proceeded
towards the castle, according to the direction which he gave her.
The gate of the castle she found open. She was nothing daunted,
and she went in. And as she went in, she perceived Pryderi laying
hold of the bowl, and she went towards him. "O my lord," said she,
"what dost thou here?" And she took hold of the bowl with him; and
as she did so, her hands also became fast to the bowl, and her
feet to the slab, and she was not able to utter a word. And with
that, as it became night, lo! there came thunder upon them, and a
fall of mist; and thereupon the castle vanished, and they with it.

When Kicva, the daughter of Gwynn Gloy, saw that there was no one
in the palace but herself and Manawyddan, she sorrowed so that she
cared not whether she lived or died. And Manawyddan saw this.
"Thou art in the wrong," said he, "if through fear of me thou
grievest thus. I call Heaven to witness that thou hast never seen
friendship more pure than that which I will bear thee as long as
Heaven will that thou shouldst be thus. I declare to thee, that,
were I in the dawn of youth, I would keep my faith unto Pryderi,
and unto thee also will I keep it. Be there no fear upon thee,
therefore." "Heaven reward thee!" she said; "and that is what I
deemed of thee." And the damsel thereupon took courage, and was

"Truly, lady," said Manawyddan, "it is not fitting for us to stay
here; we have lost our dogs, and cannot get food. Let us go into
England; it is easiest for us to find support there." "Gladly,
lord," said she, "we will do so." And they set forth together to

"Lord," said she, "what craft wilt thou follow? Take up one that
is seemly." "None other will I take," answered he, "but that of
making shoes." "Lord," said she, "such a craft becomes not a man
so nobly born as thou." "By that however will I abide," said he.
"I know nothing thereof," said Kicva. "But I know," answered
Manawyddan, "and I will teach thee to stitch. We will not attempt
to dress the leather, but we will buy it ready dressed, and will
make the shoes from it."

So they went into England, and went as far as Hereford; and they
betook themselves to making shoes. And he began by buying the best
cordwain that could be had in the town, and none other would buy.
And he associated himself with the best goldsmith in the town, and
caused him to make clasps for the shoes, and to gild the clasps;
and he marked how it was done until he learned the method. And
therefore is he called one of the three makers of gold shoes. And
when they could be had from him, not a shoe nor hose was bought of
any of the cordwainers in the town. But when the cordwainers
perceived that their gains were failing (for as Manawyddan shaped
the work, so Kicva stitched it), they came together and took
counsel, and agreed that they would slay them. And he had warning
thereof, and it was told him how the cordwainers had agreed
together to slay him.

"Lord," said Kicva, "wherefore should this be borne from these
boors?" "Nay," said he, "we will go back unto Dyved." So towards
Dyved they set forth.

Now Manawyddan, when he set out to return to Dyved, took with him
a burden of wheat. And he proceeded towards Narberth, and there he
dwelt. And never was he better pleased than when he saw Narberth
again, and the lands where he had been wont to hunt with Pryderi
and with Rhiannon. And he accustomed himself to fish, and to hunt
the deer in their covert. And then he began to prepare some
ground, and he sowed a croft, and a second, and a third. And no
wheat in the world ever sprung up better. And the three crofts
prospered with perfect growth, and no man ever saw fairer wheat
than it.

And thus passed the seasons of the year until the harvest came.
And he went to look at one of his crofts, and, behold, it was
ripe. "I will reap this to-morrow," said he. And that night he
went back to Narberth, and on the morrow, in the gray dawn, he
went to reap the croft; and when he came there, he found nothing
but the bare straw. Every one of the ears of the wheat was cut off
from the stalk, and all the ears carried entirely away, and
nothing but the straw left. And at this he marvelled greatly.

Then he went to look at another croft, and, behold, that also was
ripe. "Verily," said he, "this will I reap to-morrow." And on the
morrow he came with the intent to reap it; and when he came there,
he found nothing but the bare straw. "O gracious Heaven!" he
exclaimed. "I know that whosoever has begun my ruin is completing
it, and has also destroyed the country with me."

Then he went to look at the third croft; and when he came there,
finer wheat had there never been seen, and this also was ripe.
"Evil betide me," said he, "if I watch not here to-night. Whoever
carried off the other corn will come in like manner to take this,
and I will know who it is." And he told Kicva all that had
befallen. "Verily," said she, "what thinkest thou to do?" "I will
watch the croft to-night," said he. And he went to watch the

And at midnight he heard something stirring among the wheat; and
he looked, and behold, the mightiest host of mice in the world,
which could neither be numbered nor measured. And he knew not what
it was until the mice had made their way into the croft, and each
of them, climbing up the straw, and bending it down with its
weight, had cut off one of the ears of wheat, and had carried it
away, leaving there the stalk; and he saw not a single straw there
that had not a mouse to it. And they all took their way, carrying
the ears with them.

In wrath and anger did he rush upon the mice; but he could no more
come up with them than if they had been gnats or birds of the air,
except one only, which, though it was but sluggish, went so fast
that a man on foot could scarce overtake it. And after this one he
went, and he caught it, and put it in his glove, and tied up the
opening of the glove with a string, and kept it with him, and
returned to the palace. Then he came to the hall where Kicva was,
and he lighted a fire, and hung the glove by the string upon a
peg. "What hast thou there, lord?" said Kicva. "A thief," said he,
"that I found robbing me." "What kind of a thief may it be, lord,
that thou couldst put into thy glove?" said she. Then he told her
how the mice came to the last of the fields in his sight. "And one
of them was less nimble than the rest, and is now in my glove; to-
morrow I will hang it." "My lord," said she, "this is marvellous;
but yet it would be unseemly for a man of dignity like thee to be
hanging such a reptile as this." "Woe betide me," said he, "if I
would not hang them all, could I catch them, and such as I have I
will hang." "Verily, lord," said she, "there is no reason that I
should succor this reptile, except to prevent discredit unto thee.
Do therefore, lord, as thou wilt."

Then he went to the Mound of Narberth, taking the mouse with him.
And he set up two forks on the highest part of the mound. And
while he was doing this, behold, he saw a scholar coming towards
him, in old and poor and tattered garments. And it was now seven
years since he had seen in that place either man or beast, except
those four persons who had remained together until two of them
were lost.

"My lord," said the scholar, "good-day to thee." "Heaven prosper
thee, and my greeting be unto thee! And whence dost thou come,
scholar?" asked he. "I come, lord, from singing in England; and
wherefore dost thou inquire?" "Because for the last seven years,"
answered he, "I have seen no man here save four secluded persons,
and thyself this moment." "Truly, lord," said he, "I go through
this land unto mine own. And what work art thou upon, lord?" "I am
hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said he. "What manner
of thief is that?" asked the scholar. "I see a creature in thy
hand like unto a mouse, and ill does it become a man of rank equal
to thine to touch a reptile such as this. Let it go forth free."
"I will not let it go free, by Heaven," said he; "I caught it
robbing me, and the doom of a thief will I inflict upon it, and I
will hang it." "Lord," said he, "rather than see a man of rank
equal to thine at such a work as this, I would give thee a pound,
which I have received as alms, to let the reptile go forth free."
"I will not let it go free," said he, "neither will I sell it."
"As thou wilt, lord," he answered; "I care naught." And the
scholar went his way.

And as he was placing the cross-beam upon the two forks, behold, a
priest came towards him, upon a horse covered with trappings.
"Good day to thee, lord," said he. "Heaven prosper thee!" said
Manawyddan; "thy blessing." "The blessing of Heaven be upon thee!
And what, lord, art thou doing?" "I am hanging a thief that I
caught robbing me," said he. "What manner of thief, lord?" asked
he. "A creature," he answered, "in form of a mouse. It has been
robbing me, and I am inflicting upon it the doom of a thief."
"Lord," said he, "rather than see thee touch this reptile, I would
purchase its freedom." "By my confession to Heaven, neither will I
sell it nor set it free." "It is true, lord, that it is worth
nothing to buy; but rather than see thee defile thyself by
touching such a reptile as this, I will give thee three pounds to
let it go." "I will not, by Heaven," said he, "take any price for
it. As it ought, so shall it be hanged." And the priest went his

Then he noosed the string around the mouse's neck, and as he was
about to draw it up, behold, he saw a bishop's retinue, with his
sumpter-horses and his attendants. And the bishop himself came
towards him. And he stayed his work. "Lord Bishop," said he, "thy
blessing." "Heaven's blessing be unto thee!" said he. "What work
art thou upon?" "Hanging a thief that I caught robbing me," said
he. "Is not that a mouse that I see in thy hand?" "Yes," answered
he, "and she has robbed me." "Ay," said he, "since I have come at
the doom of this reptile I will ransom it of thee. I will give
thee seven pounds for it, and that rather than see a man of rank
equal to thine destroying so vile a reptile as this. Let it loose,
and thou shalt have the money." "I declare to Heaven that I will
not let it loose." "If thou wilt not loose it for this, I will
give thee four and twenty pounds of ready money to set it free."
"I will not set it free, by Heaven, for as much again," said he.
"If thou wilt not set it free for this, I will give thee all the
horses that thou seest in this plain, and the seven loads of
baggage, and the seven horses that they are upon." "By Heaven, I
will not," he replied. "Since for this thou wilt not set it free,
do so at what price soever thou wilt." "I will that Rhiannon and
Pryderi be free," said he. "That thou shalt have," he answered.
"Not yet will I loose the mouse, by Heaven." "What then wouldst
thou?" "That the charm and the illusion be removed from the seven
cantrevs of Dyved." "This shalt thou have also; set therefore the
mouse free." "I will not set it free, by Heaven," said he, "till I
know who the mouse may be." "She is my wife." "Wherefore came she
to me?" "To despoil thee," he answered. "I am Lloyd, the son of
Kilwed, and I cast the charm over the seven cantrevs of Dyved. And
it was to avenge Gawl, the son of Clud, from the friendship I had
towards him, that I cast the charm. And upon Pryderi did I avenge
Gawl, the son of Clud, for the game of Badger in the Bag, that
Pwyll, the son of Auwyn, played upon him. And when it was known
that thou wast come to dwell in the land, my household came and
besought me to transform them into mice, that they might destroy
thy corn. And they went the first and the second night, and
destroyed thy two crops. And the third night came unto me my wife
and the ladies of the court, and besought me to transform them.
And I transformed them. Now she is not in her usual health. And
had she been in her usual health, thou wouldst not have been able
to overtake her; but since this has taken place, and she has been
caught, I will restore to thee Pryderi and Rhiannon, and I will
take the charm and illusion from off Dyved. Set her therefore
free." "I will not set her free yet." "What wilt thou more?" he
asked. "I will that there be no more charm upon the seven cantrevs
of Dyved, and that none shall be put upon it henceforth; moreover,
that vengeance be never taken for this, either upon Pryderi or
Rhiannon, or upon me." "All this shalt thou have. And truly thou
hast done wisely in asking this. Upon thy head would have lit all
this trouble." "Yea," said he, "for fear thereof was it that I
required this." "Set now my wife at liberty." "I will not," said
he, "until I see Pryderi and Rhiannon with me free." "Behold, here
they come," he answered.

And thereupon behold Pryderi and Rhiannon. And he rose up to meet
them, and greeted them, and sat down beside them. "Ah, chieftain,
set now my wife at liberty," said the bishop. "Hast thou not
received all thou didst ask?" "I will release her, gladly," said
he. And thereupon he set her free.

Then he struck her with a magic wand, and she was changed back
into a young woman, the fairest ever seen. "Look round upon thy
land," said he, "and thou wilt see it all tilled and peopled as it
was in its best estate." And he rose up and looked forth. And when
he looked he saw all the lands tilled, and full of herds and

And thus ends this portion of the Mabinogi.

The following allusions to the preceding story are found in a
letter of the poet Southey to John Rickman, Esq., dated June 6th,

"You will read the Mabinogeon, concerning which I ought to have
talked to you. In the last, that most odd and Arabian-like story
of the mouse, mention is made of a begging scholar, that helps to
the date; but where did the Cymri get the imagination that could
produce such a tale? That enchantment of the basin hanging by the
chain from heaven is in the wildest spirit of the Arabian Nights.
I am perfectly astonished that such fictions should exist in
Welsh. They throw no light on the origin of romance, everything
being utterly dissimilar to what we mean by that term, but they do
open a new world of fiction; and if the date of their language be
fixed about the twelfth or thirteenth century, I cannot but think
the mythological substance is of far earlier date; very probably
brought from the East by some of the first settlers or



Kilydd, a son of Prince Kelyddon, desired a wife as a helpmate,
and the wife that he chose was Goleudid, the daughter of Prince
Anlawd. And after their union the people put up prayers that they
might have an heir. And they had a son through the prayers of the
people; and called his name Kilwich.

After this the boy's mother, Goleudid, the daughter of Prince
Anlawd, fell sick. Then she called her husband to her, and said to
him, "Of this sickness I shall die, and thou wilt take another
wife. Now wives are the gift of the Lord, but it would be wrong
for thee to harm thy son. Therefore I charge thee that thou take
not a wife until thou see a briar with two blossoms upon my
grave." And this he promised her. Then she besought him to dress
her grave every year, that no weeds might grow thereon. So the
queen died. Now the king sent an attendant every morning to see if
anything were growing upon the grave. And at the end of the
seventh year they neglected that which they had promised to the

One day the king went to hunt; and he rode to the place of burial,
to see the grave, and to know if it were time that he should take
a wife: and the King saw the briar. And when he saw it, the king
took counsel where he should find a wife. Said one of his
counsellors, "I know a wife that will suit thee well; and she is
the wife of King Doged." And they resolved to go to seek her; and
they slew the king, and brought away his wife. And they conquered
the kings' lands. And he married the widow of King Doged, the
sister of Yspadaden Penkawr.

And one day his stepmother said to Kilwich, "It were well for thee
to have a wife." "I am not yet of an age to wed," answered the
youth. Then said she unto him, "I declare to thee that it is thy
destiny not to be suited with a wife until thou obtain Olwen, the
daughter of Yspadaden Penkawr." And the youth blushed, and the
love of the maiden diffused itself through all his frame, although
he had never seen her. And his father inquired of him, "What has
come over thee, my son, and what aileth thee?" "My stepmother has
declared to me that I shall never have a wife until I obtain
Olwen, the daughter of Yspadaden Penkawr." "That will be easy for
thee," answered his father. "Arthur is thy cousin. Go, therefore,
unto Arthur, to cut thy hair, and ask this of him as a boon."

And the youth pricked forth upon a steed with head dappled gray,
four winters old, firm of limb, with shell-formed hoofs, having a
bridle of linked gold on his head, and upon him a saddle of costly
gold. And in the youth's hand were two spears of silver, sharp,
well-tempered, headed with steel, three ells in length, of an
edge to wound the wind, and cause blood to flow, and swifter than
the fall of the dew-drop from the blade of reed-grass, when the
dew of June is at the heaviest. A gold-hilted sword was upon his
thigh, the blade of which was gilded, bearing a cross of inlaid
gold of the hue of the lightning of heaven. His war-horn was of
ivory. Before him were two brindled, white-breasted greyhounds,
having strong collars of rubies about their necks, reaching from
the shoulder to the ear. And the one that was upon the left side
bounded across to the right side, and the one on the right to the
left, and, like two sea-swallows, sported around him. And his
courser cast up four sods, with his four hoofs, like four swallows
in the air, about his head, now above, now below. About him was a
four-cornered cloth of purple, and an apple of gold was at each
corner, and every one of the apples was of the value of an hundred
kine. And there was precious gold of the value of three hundred
kine upon his shoes, and upon his stirrups, from his knee to the
tip of his toe. And the blade of grass bent not beneath him, so
light was his courser's tread, as he journeyed toward the gate of
Arthur's palace.

Spoke the youth: "Is there a porter?" "There is; and if thou
holdest not thy peace, small will be thy welcome. I am Arthur's
porter every first day of January." "Open the portal." "I will not
open it." "Wherefore not?" "The knife is in the meat, and the
drink is in the horn, and there is revelry in Arthur's hall; and
none may enter therein but the son of a king of a privileged
country, or a craftsman bringing his craft. But there will be
refreshment for thy dogs and for thy horse; and for thee there
will be collops cooked and peppered, and luscious wine, and
mirthful songs; and food for fifty men shall be brought unto thee
in the guest-chamber, where the stranger and the sons of other
countries eat, who come not into the precincts of the palace of
Arthur. Thou wilt fare no worse there than thou wouldst with
Arthur in the court. A lady shall smooth thy couch, and shall lull
thee with songs; and early to-morrow morning, when the gate is
open for the multitude that came hither to-day, for thee shall it
be opened first, and thou mayest sit in the place that thou shalt
choose in Arthur's hall, from the upper end to the lower." Said
the youth: "That will I not do. If thou openest the gate, it is
well. If thou dost not open it, I will bring disgrace upon thy
lord, and evil report upon thee. And I will set up three shouts at
this very gate, than which none were ever heard more deadly."
"What clamor soever thou mayest make," said Glewlwyd, the porter,
"against the laws of Arthur's palace, shalt thou not enter
therein, until I first go and speak with Arthur."

Then Glewlwyd went into the hall. And Arthur said to him, "Hast
thou news from the gate?" "Half of my life is passed," said
Glewlwyd, "and half of thine. I was heretofore in Kaer Se and
Asse, in Sach and Salach, in Lotor and Fotor, and I have been in
India the Great and India the Lesser, and I have also been in
Europe and Africa, and in the islands of Corsica, and I was
present when thou didst conquer Greece in the East. Nine supreme
sovereigns, handsome men, saw we there, but never did I behold a
man of equal dignity with him who is now at the door of the
portal." Then said Arthur: "If walking thou didst enter here,
return thou running. It is unbecoming to keep such a man as thou
sayest he is in the wind and the rain." Said Kay: "By the hand of
my friend, if thou wouldst follow my counsel, thou wouldst not
break through the laws of the court because of him." "Not so,
blessed Kay," said Arthur; "it is an honor to us to be resorted
to, and the greater our courtesy, the greater will be our renown
and our fame and our glory."

And Glewlwyd came to the gate, and opened the gate before Kilwich:
and although all dismounted upon the horse-block at the gate, yet
did he not dismount, but he rode in upon his charger. Then said
he, "Greeting be unto thee, sovereign ruler of this island, and be
this greeting no less unto the lowest than unto the highest, and
be it equally unto thy guests, and thy warriors, and thy
chieftains; let all partake of it as completely as thyself. And
complete be thy favor, and thy fame, and thy glory, throughout all
this island." "Greeting unto thee also," said Arthur; "sit thou
between two of my warriors, and thou shalt have minstrels before
thee, and thou shalt enjoy the privileges of a king born to a
throne, as long as thou remainest here. And when I disperse my
presents to the visitors and strangers in this court, they shall
be in thy hand at my commencing." Said the youth, "I came not here
to consume meat and drink; but if I obtain the boon that I seek, I
will requite it thee, and extol thee; but if I have it not, I will
bear forth thy dispraise to the four quarters of the world, as far
as thy renown has extended." Then said Arthur, "Since thou wilt
not remain here, chieftain, thou shalt receive the boon,
whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the wind dries, and the
rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea encircles, and
the earth extends; save only my ship Prydwen, and my mantle, and
Caliburn, my sword, and Rhongomyant, my lance, and Guenever, my
wife. By the truth of Heaven, thou shalt have it cheerfuly, name
what thou wilt." "I would that thou bless my hair," said he. "That
shall be granted thee."

And Arthur took a golden comb, and scissors whereof the loops were
of silver, and he combed his hair. And Arthur inquired of him who
he was; "for my heart warms unto thee, and I know that thou art
come of my blood. Tell me, therefore, who thou art." "I will tell
thee," said the youth. "I am Kilwich, the son of Kilydd, the son
of Prince Kelyddon, by Goleudyd, my mother, the daughter of Prince
Anlawd." "That is true," said Arthur; "thou art my cousin.
Whatsoever boon thou mayest ask, thou shalt receive, be it what it
may that thy tongue shall name." "Pledge the truth of Heaven and
the faith of thy kingdom thereof." "I pledge it thee gladly." "I
crave of thee, then, that thou obtain for me Olwen, the daughter
of Yspadaden Penkawr, to wife; and this boon I likewise seek at
the hands of thy warriors. I seek it from Kay and from Bedwyr; and
from Gwynn, the son of Nudd, and Gadwy, the son of Geraint, and
Prince Flewddur Flam and Iona, king of France, and Sel, the son of
Selgi, and Taliesin, the chief of the bards, and Geraint, the son
of Erbin, Garanwyn, the son of Kay, and Amren, the son of Bedwyr,
Ol, the son of Olwyd, Bedwin, the bishop, Guenever, the chief
lady, and Guenhywach, her sister, Morved, the daughter of Urien,
and Gwenlian Deg, the majestic maiden, Creiddylad, [Footnote:
Creiddylad is no other than Shakspeare's Cordelia, whose father,
King Lear, is by the Welsh authorities called indiscriminately
Llyr or Lludd. All the old chronicles give the story of her
devotion to her aged parent, but none of them seem to have been
aware that she is destined to remain with him till the day of
doom, whilst Gwyn ap Nudd, the king of the fairies, and Gwythyr op
Greidiol, fight for her every first of May, and whichever of them
may be fortunate enough to be the conqueror at that time will
obtain her as a bride.] the daughter of Lludd, the constant
maiden, and Ewaedah, the daughter of Kynvelyn, [Footnote: The
Welsh have a fable on the subject of the half man, taken to be
illustrative of the force of habit. In this allegory Arthur is
supposed to be met by a sprite, who appears at first in a small
and indistinct form, but who, on approaching nearer, increases in
size, and, assuming the semblance of half a man, endeavors to
provoke the king to wrestle. Despising his weakness, and
considering that he should gain no credit by the encounter, Arthur
refuses to do so, and delays the contest until at length the half
man (Habit) becomes so strong that it requires his utmost efforts
to overcome him.] the half-man." All these did Kilwich, the son of
Kilydd, adjure to obtain his boon.

Then said Arthur, "O chieftain, I have never heard of the maiden
of whom thou speakest, nor of her kindred, but I will gladly send
messengers in search of her. Give me time to seek her." And the
youth said, "I will willingly grant from this night to that at the
end of the year to do so." Then Arthur sent messengers to every
land within his dominions to seek for the maiden, and at the end
of the year Arthur's messengers returned without having gained any
knowledge or intelligence concerning Olwen, more than on the first
day. Then said Kilwich, "Every one has received his boon, and I
yet lack mine. I will depart, and bear away thy honor with me."
Then said Kay, "Rash chieftain! dost thou reproach Arthur? Go with
us, and we will not part until thou dost either confess that the
maiden exists not in the world, or until we obtain her." Thereupon
Kay rose up. And Arthur called Bedwyr, who never shrank from any
enterprise upon which Kay was bound. None were equal to him in
swiftness throughout this island except Arthur alone; and although
he was one handed; three warriors could not shed blood faster than
he on the field of battle.

And Arthur called to Kyndelig, the guide, "Go thou upon this
expedition with the chieftain." For as good a guide was he in a
land which he had never seen as he was in his own.

He called Gurhyr Gwalstat, because he knew all tongues.

He called Gawain, the son of Gwyar, because he never returned home
without achieving the adventure of which he went in quest.

And Arthur called Meneu, the son of Teirgwed, in order that, if
they went into a savage country, he might cast a charm and an
illusion over them, so that none might see them, whilst they could
see every one.

They journeyed until they came to a vast open plain, wherein they
saw a great castle, which was the fairest of the castles of the
world. And when they came before the castle, they beheld a vast
flock of sheep. And upon the top of a mound there was a herdsman
keeping the sheep. And a rug made of skins was upon him, and by
his side was a shaggy mastiff, larger than a steed nine winters

Then said Kay, "Gurhyr Gwalstat, go thou and salute yonder man."
"Kay," said he, "I engaged not to go further than thou thyself."
"Let us go then together." answered Kay. Said Meneu, "Fear not to
go thither, for I will cast a spell upon the dog, so that he shall
injure no one." And they went up to the mound whereon the herdsman
was, and they said to him, "How dost thou fare, herdsman?" "Not
less fair be it to you than to me." "Whose are the sheep that thou
dost keep, and to whom does yonder castle belong?" "Stupid are ye,
truly! not to know that this is the castle of Yspadaden Penkawr.
And ye also, who are ye?" "We are an embassy from Arthur, come to
seek Olwen, the daughter of Yspadaden Penkawr." "O men! the mercy
of Heaven be upon you; do not that for all the world. None who
ever came hither on this quest has returned alive." And the
herdsman rose up. And as he rose Kilwich gave unto him a ring of
gold. And he went home and gave the ring to his spouse to keep.
And she took the ring when it was given her, and she said, "Whence
came this ring, for thou art not wont to have good fortune." "O
wife, him to whom this ring belonged thou shalt see here this
evening." "And who is he?" asked the woman. "Kilwich, the son of
Kilydd, by Goleudid, the daughter of Prince Anlawd, who is come to
seek Olwen as his wife." And when she heard that, she had joy that
her nephew, the son of her sister, was coming to her, and sorrow,
because she had never known any one depart alive who had come on
that quest.

And the men went forward to the gate of the herdsman's dwelling.
And when she heard their footsteps approaching, she ran out with
joy to meet them. And Kay snatched a billet out of the pile. And
when she met them, she sought to throw her arms about their necks.
And Kay placed the log between her two hands, and she squeezed it
so that it became a twisted coil. "O woman," said Kay, "if thou
hadst squeezed me thus, none could ever again have set their
affections on me. Evil love were this." They entered into the
house and were served; and soon after, they all went forth to
amuse themselves. Then the woman opened a stone chest that was
before the chimney-corner, and out of it arose a youth with
yellow, curling hair. Said Gurhyr, "It is a pity to hide this
youth. I know that it is not his own crime that is thus visited
upon him." "This is but a remnant," said the woman. "Three and
twenty of my sons has Yspadaden Penkawr slain, and I have no more
hope of this one than of the others." Then said Kay, "Let him come
and be a companion with me, and he shall not be slain unless I
also am slain with him." And they ate. And the woman asked them,
"Upon what errand come you here?" "We come to seek Olwen for this
youth." Then said the woman, "In the name of Heaven, since no one
from the castle hath yet seen you, return again whence you came."
"Heaven is our witness, that we will not return until we have seen
the maiden. Does she ever come hither, so that she may be seen?"
"She comes here every Saturday to wash her head, and in the vessel
where she washes she leaves all her rings, and she never either
comes herself or sends any messengers to fetch them." "Will she
come here if she is sent to?" "Heaven knows that I will not
destroy my soul, nor will I betray those that trust me; unless you
will pledge me your faith that you will not harm her, I will not
send to her." "We pledge it," said they. So a message was sent,
and she came.

The maiden was clothed in a robe of flame-colored silk, and about
her neck was a collar of ruddy gold, on which were precious
emeralds and rubies. More yellow was her head than the flower of
the broom, [Footnote: The romancers dwell with great complacency
on the fair hair and delicate complexion of their heroines. This
taste continued for a long time, and to render the hair light was
an object of education. Even when wigs came into fashion they were
all flaxen. Such was the color of the hair of the Gauls and of
their German conquerors. It required some centuries to reconcile
their eyes to the swarthy beauties of their Spanish and Italian
neighbors.] and her skin was whiter than the foam of the wave, and
fairer were her hands and her fingers than the blossoms of the
wood-anemone amidst the spray of the meadow fountain. The eye of
the trained hawk was not brighter than hers. Her bosom was more
snowy than the breast of the white swan, her cheek was redder than
the reddest roses. Whoso beheld her was filled with her love. Four
white trefoils sprung up wherever she trod. And therefore was she
called Olwen.

She entered the house and sat beside Kilwich upon the foremost
bench; and as soon as he saw her, he knew her. And Kilwich said
unto her, "Ah! maiden, thou art she whom I have loved; come away
with me, lest they speak evil of thee and of me. Many a day have I
loved thee." "I cannot do this, for I have pledged my faith to my


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