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the family only counts once. Thus his descendants Ad and Ba in the sixth generation or lifetime, are fourth cousins separated from one another by nine ancestors: that is, they are related in the ninth âch. In other words, Ad has five ancestors and Bd has also five, but as they have one ancestor in common, the father of the family, they are not separated by 5 + 5 ancestors, but by 5 + 5 - I, that is by 9. Similarly, one being always subtracted, the third cousins AC and Bo are related in the seventh âch, and the second cousin in the fifth âch : so with the others in odd numbers downwards, and also with the relatives reckoned upwards to the seventh or eighth generation, which would mean collaterals separated by eleven or thirteen ancestors respectively. This reckoning, which is purely conjectural, is based chiefly on the Kenfig story, which foretold the vengeance to come in the ninth âch and otherwise in the time of the goresgynnya, that is to say in the sixth lifetime. This works out all right if only by the ninth âch we understand the generation or lifetime when the collaterals are separated by nine ancestors, for that is no other than the sixth from the founder of the family. The Welsh version of the Lynclys legend fixes on the same generation, as it says yn oes wyrion, gorwyrion, esgynnyd a goresgynnya, “in the lifetime of grandsons, great-grandsons, ascensors, and their children,' for these last's time is the sixth generation. In the case of the Syfađon legend the time of the vengeance is the ninth cenhedlaeth or generation, which must be regarded as probably a careless way of indicating the generation when the collaterals are separated by nine ancestors, that is to say the sixth from the father of the family. It can hardly have the other meaning, as the sinning ancestors are represented as then still living. The case of the Tyno Helig legend is different, as we have the
time announced to the offending ancestor described as amser dy wyrion, dy orwyrion, a dy esgynydion, the time of thy grandsons, thy great-grandsons, and thy ascensors, which would be only the fifth generation with collaterals separated only by seven ancestors, and not nine. But the probability is that goresgynydion has been here accidentally omitted, and that the generation indicated originally was the same as in the others. This, however, will not explain the Bala legend, which fixes the time for the third generation, namely, immediately after the birth of the offending prince's first grandson. If, however, as I am inclined to suppose, the sixth generation with collaterals severed by nine ancestors was the normal term in these stories, it is easy to understand that the story-teller might wish to substitute a generation nearer to the original offender, especially if he was himself to be regarded as surviving to share in the threatened punishment: his living to see the birth of his first grandson postulated no extraordinary longevity.
The question why fairy vengeance is so often represented deferred for a long time can no longer be put off. Here three or four answers suggest themselves :
1. The story of the Curse of Pantannas relates how the offender was not the person punished, but one of his descendants a hundred or more years after his time, while the offender is represented escaping the fairies' vengeance because he entreated them very hard to let him go unpunished. All this seems to me but a sort of protest against the inexorable character of the little people, a protest, moreover, which was probably invented comparatively late.
2. The next answer is the very antithesis of the Pantannas one ; for it is, that the fairies delay in order to involve all the more men and women in the vengeance wreaked by them: I confess that I see no reason to entertain so sinister an idea.
3. A better answer, perhaps, is that the fairies were not always in a position to harm him who offended them. This may well have been the belief as regards any one who had at his command the dreaded potency of magic. Take for instance the Irish story of a king of Erin called Eochaid Airem, who, with the aid of his magician or druid Dalán, defied the fairies, and dug into the heart of their underground station, until, in fact, he got possession of his queen, who had been carried thither by a fairy chief named Mider. Eochaid, assisted by his druid and the powerful Ogams which the latter wrote on rods of yew, was too formidable for the fairies, and their wrath was not executed till the time of Eochaid's unoffending grandson, Conaire Mór, who fell a victim to it, as related in the epic story of Bruden Dáderga, so called from the palace where Conaire was slain
4. Lastly, it may be said that the fairies being supposed deathless, there would be no reason why they should hurry; and even in case the delay meant a century or two, that makes no perceptible approach to the extravagant scale of time common enough in our fairy tales, when, for instance, they make a man who has whiled ages away in fairyland, deem it only so many minutes ?
1 See the Book of the Dun Cow, fol. 99* & seq.
? For instances, the reader may turn back to pp. 154 or 191, but there are plenty more in the foregoing chapters; and he may also consult Howells' Cambrian Superstitions, pp. 123-8, 141-2, 146. In one case, p. 123, he gives an instance of the contrary kind of imagination: the shepherd who joined a fairy party on Frenni Fach was convinced, when his senses and his memory returned, that, "although he thought he had been absent so many years, he had been only so many minutes. The story has the ordinary setting ; but can it be of popular origin? The Frenni Fach is a part of the mountain known as the Frenni Fawr, in the north-east of Pembrokeshire; the names mean respectively the Little Breni, and the Great Breni. The obsolete word breni meant, in Old Welsh, the prow of a ship; local habit tends, however, to the solecism of Brenin Fawr, with brenin,ʻking,' qualified by an adjective mutated feminine; but people at a distance who call it Frenni Fawr, pronounce the former vocable with nn. Lastly, Y Vrevi Vabr occurs in Maxen's Dream in the Red Book (Oxford Mab. p. 89); but in the White Book (in the Peniarth collection), col. 187, the proper name is written Freni: for this information I have to thank Mr. Gwenogvryn Evans.
Whatever the causes may have been which gave our stories their form in regard of the delay in the fairy revenge, it is clear that Welsh folklore could not allow this delay to extend beyond the sixth generation with its cousinship of nine ancestries, if, as I gather, it counted kinship no further. Had one projected it on the seventh or the eighth generation, both of which are contemplated in the Laws, it would not be folklore. It would more likely be the lore of the landed gentry and of the powerful families whose pedigrees and ramifications of kinship were minutely known to the professional men on whom it was incumbent to keep themselves, and those on whom they depended, well informed in such matters.
It remains for me to consider the non-ethical motive of the other stories, such as those which ascribe negligence and the consequent inundation to the woman who has the charge of the door or lid of the threatening well. Her negligence is not the cause of the catastrophe, but it leaves the way open for it. What then can have been regarded the cause ? One may gather something to the point from the Irish story where the divinity of the well is offended because a woman has gazed into its depths, and here probably, as already suggested (p. 392), we come across an ancient tabu directed against women, which may have applied only to certain wells of peculiarly sacred character. It serves, however, to suggest that the divinities of the
water-world were not disinclined to seize every opportunity of extending their domain on the earth's surface; and I am persuaded that this was once a universal creed of some race or other in possession of these islands. Besides the Irish legends already mentioned (pp. 382, 384) of the formation of Lough Neagh, Lough Ree, and others, witness the legendary annals of early Ireland, which, by the side of battles, the clearing of forests, and the construction of causeways, mention the bursting forth of lakes and rivers; that is to say, the formation or the coming into existence, or else the serious expansion, of certain of the actual waters of the country. For the present purpose the details given by The Four Masters are sufficient, and I have hurriedly counted their instances as follows:
Anno MUNDI 2532, number of the lakes formed, 2.
This makes an aggregate of thirty-five lakes and forty-six rivers, that is to say a total of eighty-one eruptions. But I ought, perhaps, to explain that under the head of lakes I have included not only separate pieces of water, but also six inlets of the sea, such as Strangford Lough and the like. Still more to the point is it