THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE
Fairy treasures seen by a Man near Ogwen Lake
Another tale, similar to the preceding one, is told by my friend, Mr. Hugh Derfel Hughes, in his Hynafiaethau Llandegai a Llanllechid, pp. 35, 36. The following is a translation of Mr. Hughes’s story:-
It is said that a servant man penetrated into the recesses of the mountains in the neighbourhood of Ogwen Lake, and that he there discovered a cave within which there was a large quantity of brazen vessels of every shape and description. In the joy of his heart at his good fortune, he seized one of the vessels, with the intention of carrying it away with him, as an earnest that the rest likewise were his.
But, alas, it was too heavy for any man to move. Therefore, with the intention of returning the following morning to the cave with a friend to assist him in carrying the vessels away, he closed its month with stones, and thus he securely hid from view the entrance to the cave. When he had done this it flashed upon his mind that he had heard of people who had accidentally come across caves, just as he had, but that they, poor things, had afterwards lost all traces of them. And lest a similar misfortune should befall him, he determined to place a mark on the mouth of the cave, which would enable him to come upon it again, and also he bethought himself that it would be necessary, for further security, to indicate by some marks the way from his house to the cave. He had however nothing at hand to enable him to carry out this latter design, but his walking stick. This he began to chip with his knife, and he placed the chips at certain distances all along the way homewards. In this way he cut up his staff, and he was satisfied with what he had done, for he hoped to find the cave by means of the chips. Early the next morning he and a friend started for the mountain in the fond hope of securing the treasures, but when they arrived at the spot where the chip-marked pathway ought to begin, they failed to discover a single chip, because, as it was reported-“They had been gathered up by the Fairies.” And thus this vision was in vain.
The author adds to the tale these words:–“But, reader, things are not always to be so. There is a tradition in the Nant, that a Gwyddel is to have these treasures and this is how it will come to pass. A Gwyddel Shepherd will come to live in the neighbourhood, and on one of his journeys to the mountain to shepherd his sheep, when fate shall see fit to bring it about, there will run before him into the cave a black sheep with a speckled head, and the Gwyddel shepherd will follow it into the cave to catch it, and on entering, to his great astonishment, he will discover the treasures and take possession of them. And in this way it will come to pass, in some future age, that the property of the Gwyddelod will return to them.”
The Fairies giving Money to a Man for joining them in their Dance
The following story came to me through the Rev. Owen Jones, Vicar of Pentrevoelas. The occurrence is said to have taken place near Pentrevoelas. The following are the particulars:
Tomas Moris, Ty’n-y-Pant, returning home one delightful summer night from Llanrwst fair, came suddenly upon a company of Fairies dancing in a ring. In the center of the circle were a number of speckled dogs, small in size, and they too were dancing with all their might. After the dance came to an end, the Fairies persuaded Tomas to accompany them to Hafod Bryn Mullt, and there the dance was resumed, and did not terminate until the break of day. Ere the Fairies departed they requested their visitor to join them the following night at the same place, and they promised, if he would do so, to enrich him with gifts of money, but they made him promise that he would not reveal to any one the place where they held their revels. This Tomas did, and night after night was spent pleasantly by him in the company of his merry newly-made friends. True to their word, he nightly parted company with them, laden with money, and thus he had no need to spend his days as heretofore, in manual labour. This went on as long as Tomas Moris kept his word, but alas, one day, he divulged to a neighbour the secret of his riches. That night, as usual, he went to Hafod Bryn Mullt, but his generous friends were not there, and he noticed that in the place where they were wont to dance there was nothing but cockle shells.
In certain parts of Wales it was believed that Fairy money, on close inspection, would be found to be cockle shells. Mrs. Hugh Jones, Corlanau, who has already been mentioned, told the writer that a man found a crock filled, as he thought when he first saw it, with gold, but on taking it home he discovered that he had carried home from the mountain nothing but cockle shells. This Mrs. Jones told me was Fairy money.
The Fairies rewarding a Woman for taking care of their Dog
Mention has already been made of Fairy Dogs. It would appear that now and again these dogs, just like any other dogs, strayed from home; but the Fairies were fond of their pets, and when lost, sought for them, and rewarded those mortals who had shown kindness to the animals. For the following tale I am indebted to the Rev. Owen Jones.
One day when going home from Pentrevoelas Church, the wife of Hafod y Gareg found on the ground in an exhausted state a Fairy dog. She took it up tenderly, and carried it home in her apron. She showed this kindness to the poor little thing from fear, for she remembered what had happened to the wife of Bryn Heilyn, who had found one of the Fairy dogs, but had behaved cruelly towards it, and consequently had fallen down dead. The wife of Hafod y Gareg therefore made a nice soft bed for the Fairy dog in the pantry, and placed over it a brass pot. In the night succeeding the day that she had found the dog, a company of Fairies came to Hafod y Gareg to make inquiries after it. The woman told them that it was safe and sound, and that they were welcome to take it away with them. She willingly gave it up to its masters. Her conduct pleased the Fairies greatly, and so, before departing with the dog, they asked her which she would prefer, a clean or a dirty cow? Her answer was, “A dirty one.” And so it came to pass that from that time forward to the end of her life, her cows gave more milk than the very best cows in the very best farms in her neighbor-hood. In this way was she rewarded for her kindness to the dog, by the Fairies.
TITLE: Welsh Folk-Lore (1887)
BY: Elias Owen