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is the name of the city on the Dovey; its eastern suburb was at the sand-bank now called Borth, its western stretched far out into the sea.' What the name Mausna may be I have no idea, unless it is the result of some confusion with that of the great turbary behind Borth, namely Mochno, or Cors Fochno, ‘Bog of Mochno. The name Borth stands for Y Borth, 'the Harbour,' which, more adequately described, was once Porth Wyđno, Gwyđno's Harbour. The writer, however, goes on with the story of the wicked prince, who left open the sluices of the sea-wall protecting his country and its capital: we read on as follows : – But though the sea will not give back that fair city to light and air, it is keeping it as a trust but for a time, and even now sometimes, though very rarely, eyes gazing down through the green waters can see not only the fluted glistering sand dotted here and there with shells and tufts of waving sea-weed, but the wide streets and costly buildings of that now silent city. Yet not always silent, for now and then will come chimes and peals of bells, sometimes near, sometimes distant, sounding low and sweet like a call to prayer, or as rejoicing for a victory. Even by day these tones arise, but more often they are heard in the long twilight evenings, or by night. English ears have sometimes heard these sounds even before they knew the tale, and fancied that they must come from some church among the hills, or on the other side of the water, but no such church is there to give the call; the sound and its connexion is so pleasant, that one does not care to break the spell by seeking for the origin of the legend, as in the idler tales with which that neighbourhood abounds.'
The dream about the wide streets and costly buildings of that now silent city'seems to have its counterpart on
the western coast of Erin--somewhere, let us say, off the cliffs of Moher', in County Clare-witness Gerald Griffin's lines, to which a passing allusion has already been made, p. 205:
A story I heard on the cliffs of the West,
That oft, through the breakers dividing,
In turreted majesty riding.
Soon close the white waters to screen it.
The allusion to the submarine chimes would make it unpardonable to pass by unnoticed the well-known Welsh air called Clychau Aberdyfi, 'The Bells of Aberdovey,' which I have always suspected of taking its name from fairy bells ?. This popular tune is of unknown origin, and the words to which it is usually sung make the bells say un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump, chwech, 'one, two, three, four, five, six'; and I have heard a charming Welsh vocalist putting on saith,
seven,’in her rendering of the song. This is not to be wondered at, as her instincts must have rebelled against such a commonplace number as six in a song redolent of old-world sentiment. But our fairy bells ought to have stopped at five: this would seem to have been forgotten when the melody and the present words were wedded together. At any rate our stories seem to suggest that fairy counting did not go beyond the fingering of one hand. The only Welsh fairy represented counting is made to do it all by fives: she counts un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump; un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump, as hard as her tongue can go. For on the number of
· See Choice Notes, p. 92, and Gerald Griffin's Poetical and Dramatic Works,
: Failing to see this, various writers have tried to claim the honour of owning the bells for Aberteifi, 'Cardigan,' or for Abertawe, ‘Swansea’; but no arguments worthy of consideration have been urged on behalf of either place: see Cyfaill yr Aelwyd for 1892, p. 184.
times she can repeat the five numerals at a single breath depends the number of the live stock of each kind, which are to form her dowry: see p. 8 above, and as to music in fairy tales, see pp. 202, 206, 292.
Now that a number of our inundation stories have been passed in review in this and the previous chapter, some room may be given to the question of their original form. They separate themselves, as it will have been seen, into at least two groups: (1) those in which the cause of the catastrophe is ethical, the punishment of the wicked and dissolute; and (2) those in which no very distinct suggestion of the kind is made. It is needless to say that everything points to the comparative lateness of the fully developed ethical motive; and we are not forced to rest content with this theoretical distinction, for in more than one of the instances we have the two kinds of story. In the case of Lyn Tegid, the less known and presumably the older story connects the formation of the lake with the neglect to keep the stone door of the well shut, while the more popular story makes the catastrophe a punishment for wicked and riotous living: compare pp. 377, 408, above. So with the older story of Cantre'r Gwaelod, on which we found the later one of the tipsy Seithennin as it were grafted, p. 395. The keeping of the well shut in the former case, as also in that of Ffynnon Gywer, was a precaution, but the neglect of it was not the cause of the ensuing misfortune. Even if we had stories like the Irish ones, which make the sacred well burst forth in pursuit of the intruder who has gazed into its depths, it would by no means be of a piece with the punishment of riotous and lawless living. Our comparison should rather be with the story of the Curse of Pantannas, where a man incurred the wrath of the fairies by ploughing up ground which they wished to retain as a green sward; but the threatened vengeance for that act of culture did not come to pass for a century, till the time of one, in fact, who is not charged with having done anything to deserve it. The ethics of that legend are, it is clear, not easy to discover, and in our inundation stories one may trace stages of development from a similarly low level. The case may be represented thus: a divinity is offended by a man, and for some reason or other the former wreaks his vengeance, not on the offender, but on his descendants. This minimum granted, it is easy to see, that in time the popular conscience would fail to rest satisfied with the cruel idea of a jealous divinity visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children. One may accordingly distinguish the following stages :
1. The legend lays it down as a fact that the father was very wicked.
2. It makes his descendants also wicked like him.
3. It represents the same punishment overtaking father and sons, ancestor and descendants.
4. The simplest way to secure this kind of equal justice was, no doubt, to let the offending ancestors live on to see their descendants of the generation for whose time the vengeance had been fixed, and to let them be swept away with them in one and the same cataclysm, as in the Welsh versions of the Syfađon and Kenfig legends, possibly also in those of ILyn Tegid and Tyno Helig, which are not explicit on this point.
Let us for a moment examine the indications of the time to which the vengeance is put off. In the case of the landed families of ancient Wales, every member of them had his position and liabilities settled by his pedigree, which had to be exactly recorded down to the eighth generation or eighth lifetime in Gwyneđ, and to the seventh in Gwent and Dyfed. Those generations were reckoned the limits of recognized family relation
ship according to the Welsh Laws, and to keep any practical reckoning of the kind, extending always back some two centuries, must have employed a class of professional men'. In any case the ninth generation, called in Welsh y nawfed âch, which is a term in use all over the Principality at the present day, is treated as lying outside all recognized kinship. Thus if AB wishes to say that he is no relation to CD, he will say that he is not related o fewn y nawfed âch, 'within the ninth degree, or hyd y nawfed âch, 'up to the ninth degree,' it being understood that in the ninth degree and beyond it no relationship is reckoned. Folklore stories, however, seem to suggest another interpretation of the word âch, and fewer generations in the direct line as indicated in the following table. For the sake of simplicity the founder of the family is here assumed to have at least two sons, A and B, and each succeeding generation to consist of one son only; and lastly the women are omitted altogether :
Tâd I (Father)
iii Cousin AC
Bo Esgynnyť (G.G.Grandson) 5
5 iv Cousin Aa
VI Bd Goresgynnyd (G.G.G.Grandson). In reckoning the relationships between the collateral members of the family, one counts not generations or begettings, not removes or degrees, but ancestry or the number of ancestors, so that the father or founder of
· For some of the data as to the reckoning of the pedigrees and branching of a family, see the first volume of Aneurin Owen's Ancient Laws Gwyned, III. i. 12-5 (pp. 222–7); Dyfed, II. i. 17-29 (pp. 408-11); Gwent, II. viii. 1-7 (pp. 700-3); also The Welsh People, pp. 230-1.