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the mother and the baby. She had no idea who attended on them, or who prepared all the things they required, for it was all done noiselessly and secretly. The mother was a charming person, of an excellent temper and easy to manage. Morning and evening, as she finished washing the baby, Pali had a certain ointment given her to rub the baby with. She was charged not to touch it but with her hand, and especially not to put any near her eyes. This was carried out for some time, but one day, as she was dressing the baby, her eyes happened to itch, and she rubbed them with her hand. Then at once she saw a great many wonders she had not before perceived; and the whole place assumed a new aspect to her. She said nothing, and in the course of the day she saw a great deal more. Among other things, she observed small men and small women going in and out, following a variety of occupations. But their movements were as light as the morning breeze. To move about was no trouble to them, and they brought things into the room with the greatest quickness. They prepared dainty food for the confined lady with the utmost order and skill, and the air of kindness and affection with which they served her was truly remarkable. In the evening, as she was dressing the baby, the midwife said to the lady, 'You have had a great many visitors to-day.' To this she replied, 'How do you know that? Have you been putting the ointment to your eyes?' Thereupon she jumped out of bed, and blew into her eyes, saying, 'Now you will see no more.' She never afterwards could see the fairies, however much she tried, nor was the ointment entrusted to her after that day. According, however, to another version which I heard, she was told, on being found out, not to apply the ointment to her eyes any more. She promised she would not; but the narrator thought she broke that promise, as she continued to see the fairies as long as she lived.
Mr. D. IL. Davies has also a version like the North Wales ones. He obtained it from a woman of seventyeight at Bronnant, near Aberystwyth, who had heard it from one of her ancestors. According to her, the midwife went to the fair called Ffair Rhos, which was held between Ystrad Meurig and Pont Rhyd Fendigaid1. There she saw a great many of the Tylwyth very busily engaged, and among others the lady she had been attending upon. That being so, she walked up to her and saluted her. The fairy lady angrily asked how she saw her, and spat in her face, which had the result of putting an end for ever to her power of seeing her or anybody of her race.
The same aged woman at Bronnant has communicated to Mr. D. IL. Davies another tale which differs from all those of the same kind that I happen to know of. On
a certain day in spring the farmer living at
(Mr. Davies does not remember the name of the farm) lost his calves; and the servant man and the servant girl went out to look for them, but as they Were both crossing a marshy flat, the man suddenly missed the girl. He looked for her, and as he could not see her he concluded that she was playing a trick on him. However, after much shouting and searching about the place, he began to think that she must have found her way home, so he turned back and asked if the girl had come in, when he found to his surprise that nobody had seen her come back. The news of her being lost caused great excitement in the country around, since many suspected that he had for some reason put an end to her life: some accounted for it in this way, and some in another. But as nothing could be found out about her, the servant man was taken into custody on the charge of having murdered her. He protested with all his heart, and no evidence could be produced that he had killed the girl. Now, as some had an idea that she had gone to the fairies, it was resolved to send to 'the wise man' (Y dyn hysbys). This was done, and he found out that the missing girl was with the fairies: the trial was delayed, and he gave the servant man directions of the usual kind as to how to get her out. She was watched at the end of the period of twelve months and a day coming round in the dance in the fairy ring at the place where she was lost, and she was successfully drawn out of the ring; but the servant man had to be there in the same clothes as he had on when she left him. As soon as she was released and saw the servant she asked about the calves. On the way home she told her master, the servant man, and the others, that she would stay with them until her master should strike her with iron, but they went their way home in great joy at having found her. One day, however, when her master was about to start from home, and whilst he was getting the horse and cart ready, he asked the girl to assist him, which she did willingly; but as he was bridling the horse, the bit touched the girl and she disappeared instantly, and was never seen from that day forth. I cannot explain this story, unless we regard it as made up of pieces of two different stories which had originally nothing to do with one another; consistency, however, is not to be expected in such matters. Mr. D. IL. Davies has kindly given me two more tales like the first part of the one I have last summarized, also one in which the missing person, a little boy sent by his mother to fetch some barm for her, comes home of himself after being away a year or more playing with the Tylwyth Teg, whom he found to be very nice, pleasant people; they had been exceedingly kind to him, and they even allowed him to take the bottle with the barm home at the last. This was somewhere between Swyd Ffynnon and Carmarthen.
1 This name means the Bridge of the Blessed Ford, but how the ford came to be so called I know not. The word bendigaid, 'blessed,' comes from the Latin verb benedico, ' I bless,' and should, but for the objection to nd in book Welsh, be bendigaid, which, in fact, it is approximately in the northern part of the county, where it is colloquially sounded Pont Rhyd Fytutiged, Fydiged, or even Fdigcd, also Pont Rhyd mdiged, which represents the result of the unmutated form Bdiged coming directly after the d of rhyd. Somewhat the same is the case with the name of the herb Daily Fendigaid, literally ' the Leaves of the Blessed' (in the feminine singular without any further indication of the noun to be supplied). This name means, I find, 'hypericum androsamum, tutsan,' and in North Cardiganshire we call it Dail y Fymtiged or Fdiged, but in Carnarvonshire the adjective is made to qualify dail, so that it sounds Dail Bydigad or Bdigad, ' Blessed Leaves.'
Mr. D. IL. Davies finds, what I have not found anywhere else, that it was a common idea among the old people in Cardiganshire, that once you came across one of the fairies you could not easily be rid of him; since the fairies were little beings of a very devoted nature. Once a man had become friendly with one of them, the latter would be present with him almost everywhere he went, until it became a burden to him. However, popular belief did not adopt this item of faith without another to neutralize it if necessary: so if one was determined to get rid of the fairy companion, one had in the last resort only to throw a piece of rusty iron at him to be quit of him for ever. Nothing was a greater insult to the fairies. But though they were not difficult to make friends of, they never forgave those who offended them: forgiveness was not an element in their nature. The general account my informant gives of the outward appearance of the fairies as he finds them in the popular belief, is that they were a small handsome race, and that their women dressed gorgeously in white, while the men were content with garments of a dark grey colour, usually including knee-breeches. As might be expected, the descriptions differ very much in different neighbourhoods, and even in different tales from the same neighbourhood: this will surprise no one. It was in the night they came out, generally near water, to sing and dance, and also to steal whatever took their fancy; for thieving was always natural to them; but no one ever complained of it, as it was supposed to bring good luck.
Mr. Richard L. Davies, teacher of the Board School at Ystalyfera, in the Tawe Valley, has been kind enough to write out for me a budget of ideas about the Cwm Tawe Fairies, as retailed to him by a native who took great delight in the traditions of his neighbourhood, John Davies (Shon o'r Bont), who was a storekeeper at Ystalyfera. He died an old man about three years ago. I give his stories as transmitted to me by Mr. Davies, but the reader will find them a little hazy now and then, as when the fairies are made into ordinary conjurer's devils:—
Rhywbeth rhyfed yw yr hen Gastett yna (gan olygu Craig Ynys Geinon): yr wyf yn cqfio yr amser pan y bydai yn aychryn gan bobl fyned yn agos ato—yn enwedig y nos: yr oat yn dra pheryglus rhag i ayn gael ei gymeryd at Bendith eu Mamait. Fe dywedir fod wmred o'r rheiny yna, er nawnipale y ntaentyn cadw. 'R oed yr hen bobl yn arferol o dweyd fod pwtt yn rhywle bron canol y Castett, tua ttathen o led, ac yn bump neu chwech ttath o dyfnder, a charreg tua thair tynnett o bwysau ar ei wyneb e\ a bod fford dan y daear gandynt o'r pwtt hynny bob cam i ogof Tan yr Ogof, bron blaen y Cwm (yn agos i balas Adelina Patti, sef Castett Craig y Nos), mat yno y maent yn treulio eu