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to mention that of the lakes two are said to have burst forth at the digging of graves. Thus, A.M. 2535, The Four Masters have the following : ‘Laighlinne, son of Parthalon, died in this year. When his grave was dug, Loch Laighlinne sprang forth in Ui Mac Uais, and from him it is named 1.' O'Donovan, the editor and translator of The Four Masters, supposes it to be somewhere to the south-west of Tara, in Meath. Similarly, A.M. 4694, they say of a certain Melghe Molbthach, 'When his grave was digging, Loch Melghe burst forth over the land in Cairbre, so that it was named from him.' This is said to be now called Lough Melvin, on the confines of the counties of Donegal, Leitrim, and Fermanagh. These two instances are mentioned by The Four Masters; and here is one given by Stokes in the Rennes Dindsenchas: see the Revue Celtique, xv. 428-9. It has to do with Loch Garman, as Wexford Harbour was called in Irish, and it runs thus : 'Loch Garman, whence is it? Easy to say. Garman Glas, son of Dega, was buried there, and when his grave was dug then the lake burst throughout the land. Whence Loch Garman.' It matters not here that there are alternative accounts of the name.
The meaning of all this seems to be that cutting the green sward or disturbing the earth beneath was believed in certain cases to give offence to some underground divinity or other connected with the world of waters. That divinity avenged the annoyance or offence given him by causing water to burst forth and form a lake forthwith. The nearness of such divinities to the surface seems not a little remarkable, and it is shown not only in the folklore which has been preserved for us by The Four Masters, but also by the usual kind of story about a neglected well door. These remarks suggest the question whether it was not one of the notions which determined surface burials, that is, burials in which no cutting of the ground took place, the cists or chambers and the bodies placed in them being covered over by the heaping on of earth or stones brought from a more or less convenient distance. It might perhaps be said that all this only implied individuals of a character to desecrate the ground and call forth the displeasure of the divinities concerned; and for that suggestion folklore parallels, it is true, could be adduced. But it is hardly adequate : the facts seem to indicate a more general objection on the part of the powers in point; and they remind one rather of the clause said to be inserted in mining leases in China with the object, if one may trust the newspapers, of preventing shafts from being sunk below a certain depth, for fear of offending the susceptibilities of the demons or dragons ruling underground.
* It is right to say that another account is given in the Rennes Dindsenchas, published by Stokes in the Revue Celtique, xvi. 164, namely, that Laiglinne with fifty warriors came to the well of Dera son of Scera. A wave burst over them and drowned Laiglinne with his fifty warriors, and thereof a lake was made. Hence we say Loch Laiglinni, Laiglinne's Lake.'
It is interesting to note the fact, that Celtic folklore connects the underground divinities intimately with water; for one may briefly say that they have access wherever water can take them. With this qualification the belief may be said to have lingered lately in Wales, for instance, in connexion with Lyn Barfog, near Aberdovey. “It is believed to be very perilous,' Mr. Pughe says, p. 142 above, 'to let the waters out of the lake'; and not long before he wrote, in 1853, an aged inhabitant of the district informed him that she recollected this being done during a period of long drought, in order to procure motive power for Lyn Pair Mill, and that long-continued heavy rains followed.' Then we have the story related to Mr. Reynolds as to Lyn y Fan Fach, how there emerged from the water a huge hairy fellow of hideous aspect, who stormed at the disturbers of his peace, and uttered the threat that unless they left him alone in his own place he would drown a whole town. Thus the power of the water spirit is represented as equal to producing excessive wet weather and destructive floods. He is in all probability not to be dissociated from the afanc in the Conwy story which has already been given (pp. 130-3). Now the local belief is that the reason why the afanc had to be dragged out of the river was that he caused floods in the river and made it impossible for people to cross on their way to market at Lanrwst. Some such a local legend has been generalized into a sort of universal flood story in the late Triad, iii. 97, as follows:- Three masterpieces of the Isle of Prydain : the Ship of Nefyd Naf Neifion, that carried in her male and female of every kind when the Lake of Lion burst; and Hu the Mighty's Ychen Bannog dragging the afanc of the lake to land, so that the lake burst no more; and the Stones of Gwyđon Ganhebon, on which one read all the arts and sciences of the world. A story similar to the Conwy one, but no longer to be got so complete, as far as I know, seems to have been current in various parts of the Principality, especially around Lyn Syfađon and on the banks of the Anglesey pool called Lyn yr Wyth Eidion, 'the Pool of the Eight Oxen,' for so many is Hu represented here as requiring in dealing with the Anglesey afanc. According to Mr. Pughe of Aberdovey, the same feat was performed at Lyn Barfog, not, however, by Hu and his oxen, but by Arthur and his horse. To be more exact the task may be here considered as done by Arthur superseding Hu: see p. 142 above. That, however, is of no consequence here, and I return to the afanc : the Fan Fach legend told to Mr. Reynolds
makes the lake ruler huge and hairy, hideous and rough-spoken, but he expresses himself in human speech, in fact in two lines of doggerel: see p. 19 above. On the other hand, the Lyn Cwm Lwch story, which puts the same doggerel, p. 21, into the mouth of the threatening figure in red who sits in a chair on the face of that lake, suggests nothing abnormal about his personal appearance. Then as to the Conwy afanc, he is very heavy, it is true, but he also speaks the language of the country. He is lured, be it noticed, out of his home in the lake by the attractions of a young woman, who lets him rest his head in her lap and fall asleep. When he wakes to find himself in chains he takes a cruel revenge on her. But with infinite toil and labour he is dragged beyond the Conwy watershed into one of the highest tarns on Snowdon ; for there is here no question of killing him, but only of removing him where he cannot harm the people of the Conwy Valley. It is true that the story of Peredur represents that knight cutting an afanc's head off, but so much the worse for the compiler of that romance, as we have doubtless in the afanc some kind of a deathless being. However, the description which the Peredur story gives of him is interesting : he lives in a cave at the door of which is a stone pillar: he sees everybody that comes without anybody seeing him; and from behind the pillar he kills all comers with a poisoned spear.
Hitherto we have the afanc described mostly from a hostile point of view: let us change our position, which some of the stories already given enable us to do. Take for instance the first of the whole series, where it describes, p. 7, the Fan Fach youth's despair when the lake damsel, whose love he had gained, suddenly dived to fetch her father and her sister.
· The Oxford Mabinogion, p. 224, and Guest's, i. 343.
There emerged, it says, out of the lake two most beautiful ladies, accompanied by a hoary-headed man of noble mien and extraordinary stature, but having otherwise all the force and strength of youth. This hoary-headed man of noble mien owned herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, a number of which were allowed to come out of the lake to form his daughter's dowry, as the narrative goes on to show. In the story of Lyn Du'r Arđu, p. 32, he has a consort who appears with him to join in giving the parental sanction to the marriage which their daughter was about to make with the Snowdon shepherd. In neither of these stories has this extraordinary figure any name given him, and it appears prima facie probable that the term afanc is rather one of abuse in harmony with the unlovely description of him supplied by the other stories. But neither in them does the term yr afanc suit the monster meant, for there can be no doubt that in the word afanc we have the etymological equivalent of the Irish word abacc, 'a dwarf'; and till further light is shed on these words one may assume that at one time afanc also meant a dwarf or pigmy in Welsh. In modern Welsh it has been regarded as meaning a beaver, but as that was too small an animal to suit the popular stories, the word has been also gravely treated as meaning a crocodile 1: this is in the teeth of the unanimous treatment of him as anthropomorphic in the legends in point. If one is to abide by the meaning dwarf or pigmy, one is bound to regard afanc as one of the terms originally applied to the fairies in their more unlovely aspects: compare the use of crimbil, p. 263. Here may also be mentioned pegor, 'a dwarf
See Afanc in the Geiriadur of Silvan Evans, who cites instances in point.