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in the parish at the bottom of a cawell or basket carried on the back, when chance would have it that the cawell broke just in that neighbourhood, at a place called Pont y Llan. That accident is described, says Mr. Hughes, in the following doggerel, the origin of which I do not know
"E dorai 'r arwest, ede wan,
Brwnt y lle, ar Bont y Llan."
Curiously enough, the same cawell story used to be said of a widely-spread family in North Cardiganshire, whose surname was pronounced Massn and written Mason or Mazon; as my mother was of this family, I have often heard it. The cawell, if I remember rightly, was said, in this instance, to have come from Scotland, to which were traced three men who settled in North Cardiganshire. One had no descendants, but the other two, Mason and Peel (I think his name was Peel, but I am not sure about it, only that it was not Welsh), had so many, that the Masons, at any rate, are exceedingly numerous there; but a great many of them, owing to some extent, probably, to the cawell story, have been silly enough to change their surname into that of Jones within my knowledge. I have never heard it suggested that they were of aquatic origin, but, taking the cawell into consideration, and the popular account of the Smychiaid, I should be inclined to think that the cawell originally referred to some such a supposed descent. I only hope that somebody will help us with another and a longer cawell tale, which will make up for the brevity of these allusions. We may, however, assume, I think, that there was a tendency at one time in Arvon, if not in other parts of the Principality, to believe or pretend to believe, that the descendants of an Englishman or Scotchman, who settled among the old inhabitants, were of fairy origin, and that their history was somehow uncanny, which was all, of course, duly resented. This helps, to some extent, to explain how such names of doubtful origin have got
into these tales as Smychiaid, Cowperiaid, Pellings, Penelope, Leisa Bèla or Isabella, and the like. This association of the lake legends with intruders from without is what has, perhaps, to a great measure served to rescue them from oblivion.
As to a church at Corwrion, the tradition does not seem to be an old one, and it appears founded on one of the popular etymologies of the word Corwrion, which treats the first syllable as cor in the sense of a choir; but the word has other meanings, including among them that of an ox-stall or enclosure for cattle. Taking this as coming near the true explanation, it at once suggests itself that Creuwyryon in the Mabinogi of Math ab Mathonwy is the same place, for creu or crau also meant an enclosure for animals, not even excluding swine. In Irish the word is cró, an enclosure, a hut or hovel. The passage in the Mabinogi relates to Gwydion returning with the swine he had got by dint of magic and deceit from Pryderi prince of Dyfed, and runs thus in Lady Charlotte Guest's translation: “So they journeyed on to the highest town of Arllechwedd, and there they made a sty (creu) for the swine, and therefore was the name of Creuwyryon given to that town." As to wyrion or wyryon, which we find made into wrion in Corwrion according to the modern habit, it would seem to be no other word than the usual plural of wyr, a grandson, formerly also any descendant in the direct line. If so, the name of an ancestor must have originally followed, just as one of the places called Bettws was once "Bettws Wyrion Iddon"; but it is possible that "Wyrion" in Creu- or Cor-Wyrion was itself a man's name, though I have never met with it. It is right to add that the name appears in the record of Carnarvon as Creweryon, which carries us back to the first half of the fourteenth century. There it occurs as the name of a township containing eight gavels, and the particulars about it might, in the hand of a man familiar with the tenures
of that time, perhaps give us valuable information as to what have been its status at a still earlier date.
In the next number I hope to be able to say something of the versions of the lake legends which are extant at Drws y Coed and elsewhere, and I should be exceedingly thankful for any correction or any scrap of information bearing on this subject from any other part of the Principality. Nothing will be published without duly acknowledging whence it comes. If space should allow of it, some remarks will be added at the end on the general character of this kind of folk-lore, its place in Celtic mythology, and what it has in common with the legends of other nations. But I expect that the legends, when brought together, will to a great extent explain one another, and leave me little to do by way of explaining them.
A CELTO-SLAVONIC SUFFIX.
THE Britannic languages-Welsh, Cornish, and Breton-have among their substantives some which Welsh grammarians call Collectives and Singulatives. As the reader knows, Collectives are substantives which have a plural force without a plural ending; and the Singulatives, i.e., those forms which. are employed to designate a single object, have this peculiarity-they appear to be formed from the Collective. These Singulatives end in -in (now written -yn) for the masculine, and in -en for the feminine.
Adar, birds; aderyn, a bird.
Gwyth, arbores; guiden, arbor.
Kaol, des choux; kaolen, un chou.
Stered, des étoiles; stereden, une étoile.
Faô, des hêtres; faôen, un hêtre.
Gwenan, des abeilles; gwenanen, une abeille.3
Most Welsh grammarians record these facts under the heading, "Formation of the Singular from the Plural", and
1 Rowland's Welsh Grammar, 4th edit., p. 33. 2 Zeuss2, p. 297. 3 Le Gonidec, Grammaire bretonne, ed. La Villemarqué (prefixed to the Dict. breton-français), p. 17. It will be seen that Cornish and Breton have only the suffix -en; in Breton, singulatives in -en are always feminine. Hingant, Éléments de la grammaire bretonne, p. 12, n,
the Breton grammarians express themselves in the same way. The enormity of this theory does not strike them, and they look for no historic or organic explanation of this curious parallelism. However, an old Welsh grammarian, J. Davies, in his Antiquae Linguae Britannicae Rudimenta,1 had (as we are reminded by Zeuss, p. 295) caught a glimpse of, and formulated, a perfectly natural explanation, which we proceed to develop here.2
The explanation of these forms in -yn and -en is very simple; and that it did not present itself to the mind of the Welsh and Breton grammarians (J. Davies excepted), is due to the fact that the language has no longer any consciousness that these forms are diminutives. It is what has occurred, for instance, in French, in the case of such words as soleil from *"soliculus", sommeil from *"somniculus", abeille from "apicula”, grenouille from "ranuncula”, aiguille from “acicula”, etc. It is the case in German as regards mädchen, veilchen, etc. -diminutives of which the primitive has become almost or entirely obsolete, and which have by usage acquired the full force of the primitive which they have displaced. The same phenomenon occurred in Latin; as is seen by such words as annulus, oculus, puella, etc. The simple term is readily supplanted by the diminutive, especially when the former is a monosyllable; and then the language uses the derivative-originally diminutive without any recollection of the particular signification it bore when first formed.
1 Pp. 61-2 of the Oxford reprint in 12mo., 1809.
2 It is scarcely worth observing that to this class of nouns must be added those which, ending in -yn, masc.; and -en, fem.; "throw off these terminations when the plural termination is added" (Rowlands, p. 32). Example
Merlyn, pony (masc.)
Merlen, pony (fem.); pl., merlod.