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Brittia, to which Procopius describes the souls of the departed being shipped from the shores of the Continent, the Isle of Avallon in the Romances, that of Gwales in the Mabinogion, Ynys Entti or Bardsey, in which Merlin and his retinue enter the Glass House !, and the island of which we read in the pages of Plutarch, that it contains Cronus held in the bonds of perennial sleep a.
Let us return to the more anthropomorphic figure of the afanc, and take as his more favoured representative the virile personage described emerging from the Fan Fach Lake to give his sanction to the marriage of his daughter with the My&fai shepherd. It is probable that a divinity of the same order belonged to every other lake of any considerable dimensions in the country. But it will be remembered that in the case of the story of Lyn Du'r Arđu two parents appeared with the lake maiden- her father and her mother and we may suppose that they were divinities of the waterworld. The same thing also may be inferred from the late Triad, iii. 13, which speaks of the bursting of the lake of Lion, causing all the lands to be inundated so that all the human race was drowned except Dwyfan and Dwyfach, who escaped in a mastless ship: it was from them that the island of Prydain was repeopled. A similar Triad, iii. 97, but evidently of a different origin, has already been mentioned as speaking of the Ship of Nefyd Naf Neifion, that carried in it a male and female of every kind when the lake of Lïon burst. This later Triad evidently supplies what had been forgotten in the previous one, namely, a pair of each kind of animal life, and not of mankind alone. But from the
1 This comes from the late series of Triads, iii. 10, where Merlin's nine companions are called naw beirt cylfeird : cylfeird should be the plural of cylfart, which must be the same word as the Irish culbard, name of one of the bardic grades in Ireland.
For some more remarks on this subject generally, see my Arthurian Legend, chapter xv, on the Isles of the Dead.'
names Dwyfan and Dwyfach I infer that the writer of Triad iii. 13 has developed his universal deluge on the basis of the scriptural account of it, for those names belonged in all probability to wells and rivers : in other terms, they were the names of water divinities. At any rate there seems to be some evidence that two springs, whose waters flow into Bala Lake, were at one time called Dwyfan and Dwyfach, these names being borne both by the springs themselves and the rivers flowing from them. The Dwyfan and the Dwyfach were regarded as uniting in the lake, while the water on its issuing from the lake is called Dyfrdwy. Now Dyfrdwy stands for an older Dyfr-dwyf, which in Old Welsh was Dubr duiu, 'the water of the divinity. One of the names of that divinity was Donwy, standing for an early form Danuvios or Danuvia, according as it was masculine or feminine. In either case it was practically the same name as that of the Danube or Danuvios, derived from a word which is represented in Irish by the adjective dána, 'audax, fortis, intrepidus.' The Dee has in Welsh poetry still another name, Aerfen, which seems to mean a martial goddess or the spirit of the battlefield, which is corroborated and explained by Giraldus?, who represents the river as the accredited arbiter of the fortunes of the wars in its country between the Welsh and the English. The name Dyfrdonwy occurs in a poem by Lywarch Brydyd y Moch, a poet who flourished towards the end of the twelfth century, as follows: Nid kywiws a #wfyr dwfyr dyfyr. With a coward Dyfrdonwy water ill donwy
agrees: Kereist oth uebyd gwryd garwy. From thy boyhood hast thou loved
Garwy's valour. See his Itinerarium Kambriæ, ii, ii (p. 139); also my Celtic Britain, p. 68, and Arthurian Legend, p. 364. ? From the Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, i. 302. : I regard nid kywiw as a corruption of ni chywiw from cyf-yw, an instance
The prince praised was Lywelyn ab Iorwerth, whom the poet seems to identify here with the Dee, and it looks as if the water of the Dee formed some sort of a test which no coward could face: compare the case of the discreet cauldron that would not boil meat for a coward'.
The dwy, dwyf, duiu, of the river's Welsh name represent an early form dēva or dēiva, whence the Romans called their station on its banks Deva, possibly as a shortening of ad Devam; but that Dēva should have simply and directly meant the river is rendered probable by the fact that Ptolemy elsewhere gives it as the name of the northern Dee, which enters the sea near Aberdeen. From the same stem were formed the names Dwyf-an and Dwyf-ach, which are treated in the Triads as masculine and feminine respectively. In its course the Welsh Dee receives a river Ceirw not far above Corwen, and that river flows through farms called Ar-dwyfan and Hendre' Ar-đwyfan, and adjoining Ardwyfan is another farm called Foty Ardwyfan, 'Shielings of Arđwyfan,' while Hendre' Ardwyfan means the old stead or winter abode of Ardwyfan. Arđwyfan itself would seem to mean ‘On Dwyfan,' and Hendre' Ardwyfan, which may be supposed the original homestead, stands near a burn which flows into the Ceirw. That burn I should suppose to have been the Dwyfan, and perhaps the name extended to the Ceirw itself; but Dwyfan is not now known as the name
of the verb corresponding to cymod ( = cym-bod), 'peace, conciliation.' The preterite has, in the Oxford Bruts, A. D. 1217 (p. 358), been printed kynni for what one may read kymu : the words would then be y kymu reinald y brebys ar brenhin, that Reginald de Breos was reconciled with the king, or settled matters with him.'
See the Book of Taliessin, poem xxx, in Skene's Four Ancient Books, ii, 181; also Guest's Mabinogion, ii. 354, and the Brython for 1860, p. 372", where more than one article of similar capacity of distinguishing brave men from cowards is mentioned.
of any stream in the neighbourhood. Elsewhere we have two rivers called Dwyfor or Dwyfawr and Dwyfach, which unite a little below the village of Lan Ystumdwy; and from there to the sea, the stream is called Dwyfor, the mouth of which is between Criccieth and Afon Wen, in Carnarvonshire. Ystumdwy, commonly corrupted into Stindwy, seems to mean Ystum-dwy, the bend of the Dwy’; so that here also we have Dwyfach and Dwy, as in the case of the Dee. Possibly Dwyfor was previously called simply Dwy or even Dwyfan; but it is now explained as Dwy-fawr, 'great Dwy,' which was most likely suggested by Dwyfach, as this latter explains itself to the country people as Dwy-fach, "little Dwy. However, it is but right to say that in ILywelyn ab Gruffyd's grant of lands to the monks of Aber Conwy they seem to be called Dwyuech and Dwyuaur.
All these waters have in common the reputation of being liable to sudden and dangerous floods, especially the Dwyfor, which drains Cwm Straftyn and its lake lying behind the great rocky barrier on the left as one goes from Tremadoc towards Aber Glaslyn Bridge. Still more so is this the case with the Dee and Bala Lake, which is wont to rise at times from seven to nine feet above its ordinary level. The inundation which then invades the valley from Bala down presents a sight more magnificent than comfortable to contemplate. In fact nothing could have been more natural than for the story elaborated by the writer of certain of the late Triads to have connected the most remarkable inundations with the largest piece of water in the Principality, and one liable to such sudden changes of level: in other words, that one should treat Lyn Lïon as merely
See Dugdale's Monasticon, v. 672, where they are printed Dwynech and Dwynaur respectively.
one of the names of Bala Lake, now called in Welsh ILyn Tegid, and formerly sometimes Lyn Aerfen.
While touching at p. 286 on Gwaen Lifon with its ILyn Pencraig as one of those claiming to be the Lyn Lion of the Triads, it was hinted that Lion was but a thinner form of Lifon. Here one might mention perhaps another Lifon, for which, however, no case could be made. I allude to the name of the residence of the Wynns descended from Gilmin Troedđu, namely, Glyn Lifon, which means the river Lifon's Glen; but one could not feel surprised if the neighbouring Lyfni, draining the lakes of Nanttte, should prove to have once been also known as a Lifon, with the Nanttle waters conforming by being called Lyn Lifon. But however that may be, one may say as to the flood caused by the bursting of any such lake, that the notion of the universality of the catastrophe was probably contributed by the author of Triad iii. 13, from a non-Welsh source. He may have, however, not invented the vessel in which he places Dwyfan and Dwyfach : at all events, one version of the story of the Fan Fach represents the Lake Lady arriving in a boat. As to the writer of the other Triad, iii. 97, he says nothing about Dwyfan and his wife, but borrows Nefyd Naf Neifion's ship to save all that were to be saved; and here one may probably venture to identify Nefyd with Nemed", genitive Nemid, a name borne in Irish legend by a rover who is represented as one of the early colonizers of Erin. As to the rest, the name Neifion by itself is used in Welsh for Neptune and the sea, as in the following couplet of D. ab Gwilym's poem lv :
Nofiad a wnaeth hen Neifion It is old Neptune that has swam O Droia fawr draw i Fón. From great Troy afar to Mona.