John Rhys.

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' ILyn y Vorwyn ' is the name of the former in the oldest
plan which they have. Inquiries have also been made


in the neighbourhood by my friend, Mr. Reynolds, who
found the old tenants of the Rhonda Fechan Farm
gone, and the neighbouring farm house of Dyffryn Saf-
rwch supplanted by colliers' cottages. But he calls my
attention to the fact, that perhaps the old name was
neither Nelferch nor Alfach, as Elfarch, which would
fit equally well, was once the name of a petty chieftain
of the adjoining Hundred of Senghenyd, for which
he refers me to Clark's Glamorgan Genealogies, p. 511.
But I have to thank him more especially for a longer
version of the fairy wife's call to her cattle, as given
in Glanffrwd's Phvyf ILanwyno, 'the Parish of ILan-
wynno' (Pontyp-rid, 1888), p. 117, as follows:

Prw me, prw me,

Prw 'ngwartheg i dre ;

Pt-w Melen a loco,

Tegiven a Rhitcfa,

Rhiict-frcch a Mocl-frech,

Pedair ILiain-frech ;

ILiain-frech ag Eli,

A phedair Wen-ladi,

Ladi a Chornwen,

A phedair Wynebiven ;

Nepiven a Rhivynog,

Tali Lieiniog;

Brech yn y Glyn

Dal yn dyn ;

Tair lygeityn,

Tair gyffrcdin,

Tair Caseg ctu, draw yn yr eithin,
Deuwch i gyd i lys y Brenin ;

Bwla, bwla,

Saif yn flaena',
Saf yn ol y wraig oV Ty-fry,
Fyth nts godri ngwartheg i !

The last lines slightly mended may be rendered :

Bull, bull !

Stand thou foremost.
Back ! thou wife of the House up Hill :
Never shalt thou milk my cows.

This seems to suggest that the quarrel was about


another woman, and that by the time when the fairy
came to call her live stock into the lake she had been
replaced by another woman who came from the Ty-fty,
or the House up Hill l . In that case this version comes
closer than any other to the story of Undine sup-
planted by Bertalda as her knight's favourite.
, Mr. Probert Evans having kindly given me the
address of an aged farmer who formerly lived in the
valley, my friend, Mr. ILywarch Reynolds, was good
enough to visit him. Mr. Reynolds shall report the
result in his own words, dated January 9, 1899, as
follows :

' I was at Pentyrch this morning, and went to see
Mr. David Evans, formerly of Cefn Colston.

' The old man is a very fine specimen of the better
class of Welsh farmer ; is in his eighty-third year ; hale
and hearty, intelligent, and in full possession of his
faculties. He was born and bred in the Rhonda Fechan
Valley, and lived there until some forty years ago. He
had often heard the lake story from an old aunt of his
who lived at the Maerdy Farm (a short distance north
of the lake), and who died a good many years ago, at
a very advanced age. He calls the lake "ILyn Elferch,"
and the story, as known to him, has several points in
common with the ILyn y Fan legend, which, however,
he did not appear to know. He could not give me
many details, but the following is the substance of the
story as he knows it: The young farmer, who lived
with his mother at the neighbouring farm, one day saw
the lady on the bank of the lake, combing her hair,
which reached down to her feet. He fell in love at

1 The Ty-fry is a house said to be some 200 years old, and situated about
two miles from Rhonda Fechan : more exactly it is about one-fourth of a mile
from the station of Ystrad Rhonda, and stands at the foot of Mynydyr Eglwys
on the Treorky side. It is now surrounded by the cottages of colliers, one of
whom occupies it. For this information I have to thank Mr. Probert Evans.


first sight, and tried to approach her ; but she evaded
him, and crying out, f)ali di ctim o Jl, eras dy fara !
(Thou wilt not catch me, thou of the crimped bread),
she sank into the water. He saw her on several subse-
quent occasions, and gave chase, but always with the
same result, until at length he got his mother to make
him some bread which was not baked (or not baked so
hard) ; and this he offered to the lady. She then agreed
to become his wife, subject to the condition that if he
offended her, or disagreed with her three times (ar yr
ammod, os byssa fa yn Y chroesi hi dair givaith) she
would leave him and return into the lake with all her

' i. The first disagreement (croes} was at the funeral
of a neighbour, a man in years, at which the lady gave
way to excessive weeping and lamentation. The hus-
band expressed surprise and annoyance at this excessive
grief for the death of a person not related to them, and
asked the reason for it ; and she replied that she grieved
for the defunct on account of the eternal misery that
was in store for him in the other world.

' 2. The second " croes " was at the death of an infant
child of the lady herself, at which she laughed im-
moderately ; and in reply to the husband's remonstrance,
she said she did so for joy at her child's escape from
this wicked world and its passage into a world of bliss.

' 3. The third " croes " Mr. Evans was unable to call
to mind, but equally with the other two it showed that
the lady was possessed of preternatural knowledge ;
and it resulted in her leaving her husband and return-
ing into the lake, taking the cattle, &c., with her. The
accepted explanation of the name of the lake was JLyn
El-ferch l (=Hela 'r ferch), "because of the young man
chasing the damsel" (hela 'r ferch).

1 It is to be borne in mind that the sound of h is uncertain in Glamorgan


' The following is the cattle-call, as given to me by
Mr. Evans' aged housekeeper, who migrated with the
family from Rhonda Fechan to Pentyrch :

Prw i, prw e l ,

Prw 'ngwartheg sha [ = tua\ Hire ;

Mil a mol a melyn gwtta;

Milfach a malfach ;

Petar [ =pedair\ llearfach ;

Llearfach ag aeli ;

Petar a lafi ;

Lafi a chornwan [ = -wen\, ;

[ . . . ] 'nepwan [ = -*],

'Nepwan drwynog ;

Drotwan [ = drocdx:en~\ litiog ;

Tair Bryncethin ;

Tair gyffretin ;

Tair casag d~u

Drazv yn yr ithin [ = eithht],

Dewch i gyd i lys y brenin.

' Mr. Evans told me that Dyffryn Safrwch was con-
sidered to be a corruption of Dyffryn Safn yr Hzvch,
"Valley of the Sow's Mouth"; so that the explanation
was not due to a minister with w T hom I foregathered on
my tramp near the lake the other day, and from whom
I heard it first.'

The similarity between Mr. Evans' version of this
legend and that of ILyn y Fan Fach, tends to add
emphasis to certain points which I had been inclined to
treat as merely accidental. In the Fan Fach legend
the young man's mother is a widow, and here he is
represented living with his mother. Here also some-
pronunciation, whether the language used is Welsh or English. The pro-
nunciation indicated, however, by Mr. Evans comes near enough to the
authentic form written Elfarch.

1 In the Snowdon district of GwynecT the call is drwi, drwi, drw-ibach, while
in North Cardiganshire it is trwi, trwi, trw-e fetch, also pronounced sometimes
with a surd r, produced by making the breath cause both lips to vibrate
tR'wi, tR'wi, which can hardly be distinguished from pR'wi, pR'wi. For the
more forcibly the lips are vibrated the more difficult it becomes to start by
closing them to pronounce p : so the tendency with R' is to make the
preceding consonant into some kind of a /.


thing depends on the young man's bread, but it is
abruptly introduced, suggesting that a part of the story
has been forgotten. Both stories, however, give one
the impression that the bread of the fairies was re-
garded as always imperfectly baked. In both stories
the young man's mother comes to his help with her
advice. Mr. Evans' version ascribes supernatural
knowledge to the fairy, though his version fails to sup-
port it ; and her moralizings read considerably later
than those which the Fan legend ascribes to the fairy
wife. Some of these points may be brought under the
reader's notice later, when he has been familiarized with
more facts illustrative of the belief in fairies.


On returning from South Wales to Carnarvonshire in
the summer of 1881, I tried to discover similar legends
connected with the lakes of North Wales, beginning
with Geirionyd, the waters of which form a stream
emptying itself into the Conwy, near Trefriw, a little
below ILanrwst. I only succeeded, however, in finding
an old man of the name of Pierce Williams, about
seventy years of age, who was very anxious to talk
about ' Bony's ' wars, but not about lake ladies. I was
obliged, in trying to make him understand what I wanted,
to use the word morforwyn, that is to say in English,
'mermaid'; he then told me, that in his younger days
he had heard people say that somebody had seen such
beings in the Trefriw river. But as my questions were
leading ones, his evidence is not worth much ; however,
I feel pretty sure that one who knew the neighbourhood
of Geirionyd; better would be able to find some frag-
ments of interesting legends still existing in that wild


I was more successful at ILanberis, though what
I found, at first, was not much ; but it was genuine,
and to the point. This is the substance of it : An old
woman, called Sian 1 Dafyd, lived at Helfa Fawr, in the
dingle called Cwm Brwynog, along the left side of
which you ascend as you go to the top of Snowdon,
from the village of lower ILanberis, or Coed y Bol,
as it is there called. She was a curious old person,
who made nice distinctions between the virtues of
the respective waters of the district: thus, no other
would do for her to cure her of the defaid gwytttion 2 ,
or cancerous warts, which she fancied that she had
in her mouth, than that of the spring of Tai Bach,
near the lake called ILyn Ffynnon y Gwas, though
she seldom found it out, when she was deceived by
a servant who cherished a convenient opinion of his
own, that a drop from a nearer spring would do just
as well. Old Sian has been dead over thirty-five years,
but I have it, on the testimony of two highly trustworthy
brothers, who are of her family, and now between sixty
and seventy years of age, that she used to relate to
them how a shepherd, once on a time, saw a fairy
maiden (un o'r Tylwyth Teg) on the surface of the tarn
called ILyn Du'r Ardu, and how, from bantering and

1 This is the Welsh form of the borrowed name Jane, and its pronuncia-
tion in North Cardiganshire is Sian, with si pronounced approximately
like the ti of such French words as nation and the like ; but of late years
I find the si. made into English sh under the influence, probably, to some
extent of the English taught at school. This happens in North Wales, even
in districts where there are still plenty of people who cannot approach the
English words fish and shilling nearer than^zss and silling. Sion and Sian
represent an old importation of English John and Jane, but they are now
considered old-fashioned and superseded by John and Jane, which I learned
to pronounce Dsion and Dsien, except that Sion survives as a family name,
written Shone, in the neighbourhood of Wrexham.

2 This term dafad (or dafaden}, ' a sheep,' also used for ' a wart,' and dafad
(or dafaderi) wyftt, literally ' a wild sheep,' for cancer or epithelioma, raises
a question which I am quite unable to answer : why should a wart have
been likened to a sheep ?


joking, their acquaintance ripened into courtship, when
the father and mother of the lake maiden appeared
to give the union their sanction, and to arrange the
marriage settlement. This was to the effect that the
husband was never to strike his wife with iron, and
that she was to bring her great wealth with her, con-
sisting of stock of all kinds for his mountain farm. All
duly took place, and they lived happily together until
one day, when trying to catch a pony, the husband
threw a bridle to his wife, and the iron in that struck
her. It was then all over with him, as the wife hurried
away with her property into the lake, so that nothing
more was seen or heard of her. Here I may as well
explain that the ILanberis side of the steep, near
the top of Snowdon, is called Clogwyn du'r Ardu,
or the Black Cliff of the Ardu, at the bottom of which
lies the tarn alluded to as the Black Lake of the Archi,
and near it stands a huge boulder, called Maen du'r
Arctu, all of which names are curious, as involving the
word du, black. Ardu itself has much the same meaning,
and refers to the whole precipitous side of the summit
with its dark shadows, and there is a similar Ardu near
Nanmor on the Merionethshire side of Bectgelert.

One of the brothers, I ought to have said, doubts
that the lake here mentioned was the one in old Sian's
tale; but he has forgotten which it was of the many
in the neighbourhood. Both, however, remembered
another short story about fairies, which they had
heard another old woman relate, namely, Mari Domos
Sion, who died some thirty years ago : it was merely
to the effect that a shepherd had once lost his way
in the mist on the mountain on the land of Caeau
Gwynion, towards Cwettyn l Lake, and got into a ring

' The name is probably a shortening of Caweityn, and that perhaps of
Caweli-lyn, l Creel or Basket Lake.' Its old name is said to have been ILyn


where the Tyhvyth Teg were dancing : it was only
after a very hard struggle that he was able, at length,
to get away from them.

To this I may add the testimony of a lady, for whose
veracity I can vouch, to the effect that, when she was
a child in Cwm Brwynog, from thirty to forty years
ago, she and her brothers and sisters used to be
frequently warned by their mother not to go far away
from the house when there happened to be thick mist
on the ground, lest they should come across the
Tyhvyth Teg dancing, and be carried away to their
abode beneath the lake. They were always, she says,
supposed to live in the lakes ; and the one here alluded
to was ILyn Dwythwch, which is one of those famous
for its torgochiaid or chars. The mother is still living ;
but she seems to have long since, like others, lost
her belief in the fairies.

After writing the above, I heard that a brother to
the foregoing brothers, namely, Mr. Thomas Davies,
of Mur Mawr, ILanberis, remembered a similar tale.
Mr. Davies is now sixty-four, and the persons from
whom he heard the tale were the same Sian Dafyct
of Helfa Fawr, and Mari Domos Sion of Tyn 1 Gadlas,
ILanberis : the two women were about seventy years
of age when he as a child heard it from them. At
my request, a friend of mine, Mr. Hugh D. Jones,
of Tyn Gadlas, also a member of this family, which
is one of the oldest perhaps in the place, has taken
down from Mr. Davies' mouth all he could remember,
word for word, as follows:

Yn perthyn i ffarm Bron y Fedw yr oect dyn ifanc

1 Tyn is a shortening of tydyn, which is not quite forgotten in the case of
Tyn Gadlas or Tyn Siarlas (for Tyefyn Siarlys), ' Charles' Tenement/ in the
immediate neighbourhood. Similarly the Anglesey Farm of Tyn yr Onnen
used at one time to be Tycfyn yr Onnen in the books of Jesus College, Oxford,
to which it belongs.




wedi cael ei fagu, nis gwydent faint cyn eu hamser
hwy. Arferai pan yn hogyn fynd i'r mynyct yn Cwm
Drywenyct a Mynyd' y Fedw ar ochr orffewinol y Wydfa
i fugeilio, a bydai yn faro ar hogan yn y mynyd: ; ac
wrth fynychu gweld eu gilyd' aethant yn ffrindiau mawr.
Arferent gyfarfod eu gilyct mewn tte neittduol yn
Cwm Drywenyd, tte'r oetfyr hogan a'r teulu yn byw, tte
y bydai pob danteithion, chwareuyd~iaethau a chanu
dihafal ; ond ni fydai'r hogyn yn gwneyd i fyny a neb
ohonynt ond yr hogan.

Diwed' y ffrindiaeth fu carwriaeth, a phan soniod' yr
hogyn am idi briodi, ni wnai ond ar un amod, sef y
bywiai hi hefo fo hyd nes y tarawai ef hi a haiarn.

Priodwyd hwy, a buont byw gydau gilyd: am nifer o

flynydbetf, a bu idynt blant ; ac ar ayd' marchnad yn

Gaernarfon yr oedy gwr a'r wraig yn medwl mynd ir

farchnad ar gefn tnerlod, fel pob ffarmwr yr amser

hwnnw. Awd ir mynyd' i d'al merlyn bob un.

Ar waelod Mynyd' y Fedw mae ffyn o ryw dri-ugain
neu gan Uath o hyd ac ugain neu deg Itath ar hugain o
led, ac y mae ar un ochr idb le teg, fford' y bydai' V
ceffylau yn rhedeg.

Daliod'y gwr ferlyn a rhoes ef i'r wraig i'w dal heb

ffrwyn, tra bydai ef yn dal merlyn araU, Ar ol rhoi

ffrwyn yn mhen ei ferlyn ei hun, taflod~ un aratt i'r wraig

i roi yn mhen ei merlyn hithau, ac wrth ei thaflu

tarawod~ bit y ffrwyn hi yn ei flaw. Gottyngod 'y wraig

y merlyn, ac aeth ar ei phen i'r ttyn, a dyna ftiwed~ y


' To the farm of Bron y Fedw there belonged a son,
who grew up to be a young man, the women knew not
how long before their time. He was in the habit of
going up the mountain to Cwm Drywenyd 1 and Mynyd

1 That is the pronunciation which I have learnt at ILanberis, but there is
another, which I have also heard, namely Derwenyft.


y Fedw, on the west side of Snowdon, to do the shep-
herding, and there he was wont to come across a lass
on the mountain, so that as the result of frequently
meeting one another, he and she became great friends.
They usually met at a particular spot in Cwm Dry-
wenyd", where the girl and her family lived, and where
there were all kinds of nice things to eat, of amuse-
ments, and of incomparable music ; but he did not make
up to anybody there except the girl. The friendship
ended in courtship ; but when the boy mentioned that
she should be married to him, she would only do so on
one condition, namely, that she would live with him
until he should strike her with iron. They were
wedded, and they lived together for a number of years,
and had children. Once on a time it happened to be
market day at Carnarvon, whither the husband and
wife thought of riding on ponies, like all the farmers of
that time. So they went to the mountain to catch a
pony each. At the bottom of MynycT y Fedw there is
a pool some sixty or one hundred yards long by twenty
or thirty broad, and on one side of it there is a level
space along which the horses used to run. The hus-
band caught a pony, and gave it to the wife to hold fast
without a bridle, while he should catch another. When
he had bridled his own pony, he threw another bridle
to his wife for her to secure hers ; but as he threw it,
the bit of the bridle struck her on one of her hands.
The wife let go the pony, and went headlong into the
pool, and that was the end of their wedded life.'

The following is a later tale, which Mr. Thomas
Davies heard from his mother, who died in 1832 :
she would be ninety years of age had she been still
living :

Pan oeft hi'n hogan yn yr Ha/ad, JLanberis, yr
oect hogan at ei hoed hin cael ei niagu yn Cwmglas,

D 2


ILanbcris, ac arferai ftweyd, pan yn hogan a thra y bu
byw, y bycfai yn cael arian gan y Tylwyth Teg yn Cwm

Yr oed'yn dweyd y bycfai ar foreuau niwliog, tywyU,yn
mynd i le penodol yn Cwm Cwmglas gy da dsygiad o le frith
or fnchcs a thywel glan, ac yn ei rocK ar garreg ; ac yn
mynd y no drachcfn, ac yn cael y tlestr yn wag, gyda darn
deuswtft neit hanner coron ac weithiau fivy wrf/i ei ochr.

' When she was a girl, living at Yr Hafod, ILanberis,
there was a girl of her age being brought up at Cwm-
glas in the same parish. The latter was in the habit of
saying, when she was a girl and so long as she lived,
that she used to have money from the Tylwyth Teg, in
the Cwmglas Hollow. Her account was, that on dark,
misty mornings she used to go to a particular spot in that
Hollow with a jugful of sweet milk from the milking
place, and a clean towel, and then place them on
a stone. She would return, and find the jug empty,
with a piece of money placed by its side : that is, two
shillings or half a crown, or at times even more.'

A daughter of that woman lives now at a farm,
Mr. Davies observes, called Plas Pennant, in the parish
of ILanfihangel yn Mhennant, in Carnarvonshire ; and
he adds, that it was a tale of a kind that was common
enough when he was a boy; but many laughed at it,
though the old people believed it to be a fact. To this
I may as well append another tale, which was brought
to the memory of an old man who happened to be
present when Mr. Jones and Mr. Davies were busy
with the foregoing. His name is John Roberts, and
his age is seventy-five: his present home is at Capel
Si'on, in the neighbouring parish of ILandeiniolen :

Yr oect ef 'pan yn hogyn yn gweini yn Towyn Trewcrn,
yn agos i Gaergybi, gyda hen wr o'r enw Owen Owens,
oectyr adeg Jionno at ei oed efyn bresennol.


Yr oedynt unwaith mewn hen adeilad ar y ffarm ; a
dyw edoctyr hen wr ei fod ef wedi cael ffawer o arian yn y
ite hwnnw panyn hogyn, a buasai wedi cael ychwaneg oni
bai ei dad.

Yr oed' wedi cudio yr arian yn y ty, ond daeth ei fam
o hyd idynt, a dywedod yr hanes wrth ei dad. Ofnai ei
fod yn fachgen drwg, mai eu ttadrata yr oed. Dyivedai
ei dad y gwnai idb dweyd yn mha le yr oed yn eu cael,
neu y tynnai ei groen tros ei ben ; ac aeth attan a thorod
wialen bwrpasol at orchwyl o'r fath.

Yr oed~ y bachgen yn gwrando aryrymdtdan rhwng ei
dad di fam, ac yr oed' yn benderfynol o gadw'r peth
yn dirgelwch fel yr oect wedi ei rybudio gan y Tylwyth

Aeth ir ty, a dechreuod y tad ei holt, ac yntau yn
gwrthod ateb ; yinbiliai a'i dad, a dywedai eu bod yn
berffaith onest id~o ef, acy cai ef ychwaneg os cadwai'r peth
yn d~irgelwch ; ond os dywedai, nad oecf dim ychwaneg i'w
gael. Modbynnag ni wrandawai y tad ar ei esgusion na'i
resymau, a'r wialen a orfu; dywedod'y bachgen mai gan
y Tylwyth Tegyr oectyn eu cael, a hynny ar yr amod nad
oed' i dweyd wrth neb. Mawr oed' edifeirwch yr hen bobl
am lad' yr wyd~ oed yn dodwy.

Aeth y bachgen irhen adeilad lawer gwaith ar ol hyn,
ond ni chafod byth ychwaneg o arian yno.

' When a lad, he was a servant at Towyn Trewern,
near Holyhead, to an old man about his own age at
present. They were one day in an old building on the
farm, and the old man told him that he had had much
money in that place when he was a lad, and that he
would have had more had it not been for his father.
He had hidden the money at home, where his mother
found it and told his father of the affair : she feared he
was a bad boy, and that it was by theft he got it. His
father said that he would make him say where he got it,


or else that he would strip him of the skin of his back,
at the same time that he went out and cut a rod fit for
effecting a purpose of the kind. The boy heard all this
talk between his father and his mother, and felt deter-
mined to keep the matter a secret, as he had been
warned by the Tylwyth Teg. He went into the house,
and his father began to question him, while he refused
to answer. He supplicatingly protested that the money
was honestly got, and that he should get more if he
kept it a secret, but that, if he did not, there would be
no more to be got. However, the father would give no
ear to his excuses or his reasons, and the rod pre-
vailed ; so that the boy said that it was from the Ty~
Iwyth Teg he used to get it, and that on condition of his
not telling anybody. Greatly did the old folks regret
having killed the goose that laid the eggs. The boy
went many a time afterwards to the old building, but he
never found any more money there.'


Through the Rev. Daniel Lewis, incumbent of Bettws
Garmon, I was directed to Mr. Samuel Rhys Williams,
of the Post Office of that place, who has kindly given
me the result of his inquiries when writing on the
subject of the antiquities of the neighbourhood for
a competition at a literary meeting held there a few
years ago. He tells me that he got the following short
tale from a native of Drws y Coed, whose name is
Margaret Williams. She has been living at Bettws
Garmon for many years, and is now over eighty. He
does not know whether the story is in print or not, but
he is certain that Margaret Williams never saw it, even
if it be. He further thinks he has heard it from
another person, to wit a man over seventy-seven years


of age, who has always lived at Drws y Coed, in the
parish of Beclgelert :

Y mae hanes am fab i amaethwr a breswyliai yn yr
Ysfrad 1 , Betws Gannon 2 , pan yn dychwelyd adref o daith
yn hwyr un noswaith, darfod ido weled cwmni o'r Tylwyth
Tegynghanol eu hafiaeth a'u glodest. Syfrdanwyd y tfanc
yn y fan gan degwch anghymarol un o'r rhianod liyn, fel
y beidiod neidio i ganol y cylch, a chymeryd ei eilun gydag

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