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Jenkin Morgan. The only spot near Mr. Williams' home, that used to be frequented by the fairies, was Cefn y Ceirw, 'the Stag's Ridge,' a large farm, so called from having been kept as a park for their deer by the Lewises of Aber Nant Bychan. He adds that the late Mr. Philipps, of Aberglasney, was very fond of talking of things in his native neighbourhood, and of mentioning the fairies at Cefn y Ceirw. It was after moving to Verwig that Mr. Williams began to put the tales he heard on paper: then he came in contact with three brothers, whose names were John, Owen, and Thomas Evans. They were well-to-do and respectable bachelors, living together on the large farm of Hafod Ruffyd~. Thomas was a man of very strong common sense, and worth consulting on any subject: he was a good arithmetician, and a constant reader of the Baptist periodical, Seren Gomer, from its first appearance. He thoroughly understood the bardic metres, and had a fair knowledge of music. He was well versed in Scripture, and filled the office of deacon at the Baptist Chapel. His death took place in the year 1864. Now, the eldest of the three brothers, the one named John, or Si6n, was then about seventy-five years of age, and he thoroughly believed in the tales about the fairies, as will be seen from the following short dialogue:—
Sion: Williams bach, ma'n rhaid i bod nhwi gal: yr w i'n cqfio yn amser Bone fod marclmad Aberteifi yn ttawn o lafir yn y bore—digon yno am fis—ond cin pen hanner awr yr 6d y cwbwl wedi darfod. Nid oit possib i gweld nhwi: ma gida nhwi faint a fynnott nhwi o arian.
Williams: Siwt na fyse dynion yn i gweld nhwi ynte, Sion?
Sion: O ma gida nhwi dynion fcl ninne yn pryni drostyn nhwi; ag y ma nhwi fel yr hen sidwmin yna yn getti gneid pob tric.
John: 'My dear Williams, it must be that they exist: I remember Cardigan market, in the time of Bonaparte, full of corn in the morning—enough for a month— but in less than half an hour it was all gone. It was impossible to see them: they have as much money as they like.'
Williams: 'How is it, then, that men did not see them, John?'
John: 'Oh, they have men like us to do the buying for them; and they can, like those old showmen, do every kind of trick.'
At this kind of display of simplicity on the part of his brother, Thomas used to smile and say: 'My brother John believes such things as those;' for he had no belief in them himself. Still it is from his mouth that Mr. Williams published the tales in the Brython, which have been reproduced here, that of 'Pergrin and the Mermaid,' and all about the 'Heir of ILech y Derwyd,' not to mention the ethical element in the account of Rhys Dwfn's country and its people, the product probably of his mind. Thomas Evans, or as he was really called, Tommos Han, was given rather to grappling with the question of the origin of such beliefs; so one day he called Mr. Williams out, and led him to a spot about four hundred yards from Bol y Fron, where the latter then lived: he pointed to the setting sun, and asked Mr. Williams what he thought of the glorious sunset before them. 'It is all produced,' he then observed, 'by the reflection of the sun's rays on the mist: one might think,' he went on to say, 'that there was there a paradise of a country full of fields, forests, and everything that is desirable.' And before they had moved away the grand scene had disappeared, when Thomas suggested that the idea of the existence of the country of Rhys Bwfn's Children arose from the contemplation of that phenomenon. One may say that Thomas Evans was probably far ahead of the Welsh historians who try to extract history from the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod, 'the Bottom Hundred,' beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay; but what was seen was probably an instance of the mirage to be mentioned presently. Lastly, besides Mr. Williams' contributions to the Brython, and a small volume of poetry, entitled Briatten glan Cert, some tales of his were published by ILattawg in Bygones some years ago, and he had the prize at the Cardigan Eistedfod of 1866 for the best collection in Welsh of the folklore of Dyfed: his recollection was that it contained in all thirty-six tales of all kinds; but since the manuscript, as the property of the Committee of that Eistedfod, was sold, he could not now consult it: in fact he is not certain as to who the owner of it may now be, though he has an idea that it is either the Rev. Rees Williams, vicar of Whitchurch, near Solva, Pembrokeshire, or R. D. Jenkins, Esq., of Cilbronnau, Cardiganshire. Whoever the owner may be, he would probably be only too glad to have it published, and I mention this merely to call attention to it. The Eistedfod is to be commended for encouraging local research, and sometimes even for burying the results in obscurity, but not always.
Before leaving Dyfed I wish to revert to the extract from Mr. Sikes, p. 161 above. He had been helped partly by the article on Gavran, in the Cambrian Biography, by William Owen, better known since as William Owen Pughe and Dr. Pughe, and partly by a note of Southey's on the following words in his Madoc (London, 1815), i. in:—
Where are the sons of Gavran? where his tribe,
The Gavran story, I may premise, is based on one of the Welsh Triads—i. 34, ii. 41, iii. 80—and Southey cites the article in the Cambrian Biography; but he goes on to give the following statements without indicating on what sources he was drawing—the reader has, however, been made acquainted already with the virtue of a blade of grass, by the brief mention of ILyn Irdyn above, p. 148 :—
'Of these Islands, or Green Spots of the Floods, there are some singular superstitions. They are the abode of the Tylwyth Teg, or the fair family, the souls of the virtuous Druids, who, not having been Christians, cannot enter the Christian heaven, but enjoy this heaven of their own. They however discover a love of mischief, neither becoming happy spirits, nor consistent with their original character; for they love to visit the earth, and, seizing a man, inquire whether he will travel above wind, mid wind, or below wind; above wind is a giddy and terrible passage, below wind is through bush and brake, the middle is a safe course. But the spell of security is, to catch hold of the grass, for these Beings have not power to destroy a blade of grass. In their better moods they come over and carry the Welsh in their boats. He who visits these Islands imagines on his return that he has been absent only a few hours, when, in truth, whole centuries have passed away. If you take a turf from St. David's churchyard, and stand pon it on the sea shore, you behold these Islands. A man once, who thus obtained sight of them, immediately put to sea to find them; but they disappeared, and his search was in vain. He returned, looked at them again from the enchanted turf, again set sail, and failed again. The third time he took the turf into his vessel, and stood upon it till he reached them.'
A correspondent signing himself' the Antient Mariner,' and writing, in the Pembroke County Guardian, from Newport, Pembrokeshire, Oct. 26, 1896, cites Southey's notes, and adds to them the statement, that some fifty years ago there was a tradition amongst the inhabitants of Trevine (Trefin) in his county, that these Islands could be seen from ILan Non, or Eglwys Non, in that neighbourhood. To return to Madoc, Southey adds to the note already quoted a reference to the inhabitants of Arran More, on the coast of Galway, to the effect that they think that they can on a clear day see Hy-Breasail, the Enchanted Island supposed to be the Paradise of the Pagan Irish: compare the Phantom City seen in the same sea from the coast of Clare. Then he asks a question suggestive of the explanation, that all this is due to ' that very extraordinary phenomenon, known in Sicily by the name of Morgaine le Fay's works.' In connexion with this question of mirage I venture to quote again from the Pembroke County Guardian. Mr. Ferrar Fenton, already mentioned, writes in the issue of Nov. 1, 1896, giving a report which he had received one summer morning from Captain John Evans, since deceased. It is to the effect 'that once when trending up the Channel, and \ issing Grasholm Island, in what he had always known as deep water, he was surprised to see to windward of him a large tract of land covered with a beautiful green meadow. It was not, however, above water, but just a few feet below, say two or three, so that the grass waved and swam about