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Whatever quantity thou eatest drink thrice.
God will send food to washed hands.
Drink water like an ox, and wine like a king.
One egg is economy, two is gentility, three is greediness, and the fourth is wastefulness.
If persons knew how good a hen is in January, none would be left on the roost.
The cheese of sheep, the milk of goats, and the butter of cows are the best.
The three victuals of health, honey, butter, and milk.
The three victuals of sickness, flesh meat, ale, and vinegar.
Take not thy coat off before Ascension day.
If thou wilt become unwell, wash thy head, and go to sleep.
In pottage without herbs there is neither goodness, nor nourishment. If thou wilt die, eat roast mutton, and sleep soon after it.
If thou wilt eat a bad thing, eat roast hare.
Mustard after food.
He who cleans his teeth with the point of his knife, may soon clean them with the haft.
A dry cough is the trumpet of death."
In conclusion, we beg to congratulate the Welsh MSS. Society, under whose auspices the present volume is published, upon its selection of a Translator. Mr. Pughe, himself a member of the medical profession and a good Welsh Scholar, has done full justice to a work, the execution of which required skill and judgment of no ordinary kind. We are sure that the country will appreciate his labours.
Our thanks are greatly due to Lord Llanover for the liberal use of his MS., likewise to the Rev. Robert Owen, B.D., Jesus College, Oxford, for the very kind and careful manner in which he collated the Tonn MS. with the Red Book version; also to Mr. Rees of Tonn, for his kindness in lending his MS. for that purpose, and for the pains with which he compiled the Myddvai Legend; when gratuitous aids of such a kind are so rare, they deserve special acknowledgment.
Feast of St. David, 1861.
LEGEND OF LLYN-Y-VAN-VACH,
OR THE ORIGIN OF
Che Meddygan Myddfai,
COLLECTED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES,* IN THE YEAR 1841.+
WHEN the eventful struggle made by the Princes of South Wales to preserve the independence of their country was drawing to its close in the twelvth century, there lived at Blaensawdde‡ near Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire, a widowed woman, the relict of a farmer who had fallen in those disastrous troubles.
The widow had an only son to bring up, and Providence smiled upon her, and, despite her forlorn condition, her live stock had so increased in course of time that she could not well depasture them upon her farm, so she sent a portion of her cattle to graze on the adjoining Black Mountain, and their most favourite place was near the small lake called Llyn-y-Van-Vach, on the North Western side of the Carmarthenshire Vans.
* Written down by Mr. William Rees, of Tonn, near Llandovery, from the oral recitations of the late Mr. John Evans, Tiler, Myddvai; Mr. David Williams, Mason, Morfa, Myddvai; (about 90 years old) and Mrs. Elizabeth Morgan, of Henllys Lodge, near Llandovery, a native of Myddvai,
+ Mr. Rees begs to acknowledge his obligations to J. Joseph, Esq. F.S.A. Brecon, for collecting several particulars and incidents of the Legend from amongst the old inhabitants of the Parish of Llanddeusant.
Blaensawdde, or the upper end of the river Sawdde-is situate about three quarters of a mile S. E. from the village of Llanddeusant. It gives its name to one of the hamlets of that parish. The Sawdde has its source in Llyn-y-VanVach, which is nearly two miles distant from Blaensawdde house,
The son grew up to manhood, and was generally sent by his mother to look after the cattle on the mountain. One day in his peregrinations along the margin of the lake, to his great astonishment, he beheld, sitting on the unruffled surface of the water, a Lady; one of the most beautiful creatures that mortal eyes ever beheld, her hair flowed gracefully in ringlets over her shoulders, the tresses of which she arranged with a comb, whilst the glassy surface of her watery couch served for the purpose of a mirror, reflecting back her own image. Suddenly she beheld the young man standing on the brink of the lake, with his eyes rivetted on her, and unconsciously offering to herself the provision of barley bread and cheese with which he had been provided when he left his home.
Bewildered by a feeling of love and admiration for the object before him, he continued to hold out his hand towards the lady, who imperceptibly glided near to him, but gently refused the offer of his provisions. He attempted to touch her, but she eluded hist grasp, saying
"Cras dy fara!
Nid hawdd fy nala."
Hard baked is thy bread!
and immediately dived under the water, and disappeared, leaving the love stricken youth to return home, a prey to disappointment and regret that he had been unable to make further acquaintance with one, in comparison with whom the whole of the fair maidens of Llanddeusant and Myddvai,* whom he had ever seen were as nothing.
*Myddvai parish was, in former times, celebrated for its fair maidens, but whether they were descendants of the Lady of the Lake or otherwise cannot be determined. An old pennill records the fact of their beauty thus:
Which may be translated,
"Mae eira gwyn
Ar ben y bryn,
A'r glasgoed yn y Ferdre,
Mae bedw mân
A merched glân yn Myddfe,"
There is white snow
On the mountain's brow,
And greenwood at the Verdre,
Young birch so good
In Cwm-brân wood,
And lovely girls in Myddve,