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old as the substratum of Dovaston's verses.

The only version known to me in the Welsh language
of the ILynclys legend is to be found printed in the
Brython for 1863, p. 338, and it may be summarized as
follows : The ILynclys family were notorious for their
riotous living, and at their feasts a voice used to be heard
proclaiming, ' Vengeance is coming, coming,' but nobody
took it much to heart. However, one day a reckless
maid asked the voice, ' When ? ' The prompt reply
was to the effect that it was in the sixth generation :
the voice was heard no more. So one night, when the
sixth heir in descent from the time of the warning last
heard was giving a great drinking feast, and music had
been vigorously contributing to the entertainment of
host and guest, the harper went outside for a breath of

' I swallow,' answers, according to Welsh idiom, to the use of what would be
in English or Latin a participle. Similarly, when a compound is not used,
the verbal noun (in the genitive) is used : thus ' a feigned illness,' in Welsh
' a made illness,' is saldra gwneyd, literally ' an indisposition or illness of
making.' So ' the deuouryng of the Palace ' is incorrect, and based on
ILwyd's vorago Palatij instead of Palatium voratum.

1 For other occurrences of the name, see the Black Book, fol. 35" , 52",
and Morris' Celtic Remains, where, s. v. Benili, the Welsh name of Bardsey,
to wit, Ynys Entfi, is treated by somebody, doubtless rightly, as a shortening
of Ynys Fentti.


air ; but when he turned to come back, lo and behold !
the whole court had disappeared. Its place was occu-
pied by a quiet piece of water, on whose waves he saw
his harp floating, nothing more.

Here must, lastly, be added one more legend of sub-
mergence, namely, that supposed to have taken place
some time or other on the north coast of Carnarvonshire.
In the Brython for 1863, pp. 393-4, we have what pur-
ports to be a quotation from Owen Jones' Aberconwy CLI
Chyffiniau, 'Conway and its Environs,' a work which
I have not been able to find. Here one reads of
a tract of country supposed to have once extended
from the Gogarth *, ' the Great Orme,' to Bangor, and
from ILanfair Fechan to Ynys Seiriol, ' Priestholme
or Puffin Island/ and of its belonging to a wicked
prince named Helig ab Glannawc or Glannog 2 , from
whom it was called Tyno Helig, ' Helig's Hollow.'
Tradition, the writer says, fixes the spot where the
court stood about halfway between Penmaen Mawr and
Pen y Gogarth, ' the Great Orme's Head,' over against
Trwyn yr Wylfa ; and the story relates that here a
calamity had been foretold four generations before it
came, namely as the vengeance of Heaven on Helig ab
Glannog for his nefarious impiety. As that ancient
prince rode through his fertile heritage one day at the
approach of night, he heard the voice of an invisible
follower warning him that ' Vengeance is coming,
coming.' The wicked old prince once asked excitedly,
' When ?' The answer was, ' In the time of thy grand-
children, great-grandchildren, and their children.' Per-

1 The meaning of this name is not certain, but it seems to equate with the
Irish Pochard, anglicized Faughard, in County Louth : see O'Donovan's
Four Masters, A. D. 1595 ; also the Book of the Dun Cow, where it is Focherd.
genitive Fochcrda, dative Focheird, fo. 7O tj , 73 b , 75", 75'', 76", 77'.

a This is sometimes given as Glannach, which looks like the Goidelic form
of the name : witness Giraldus' Enislannach in his Itin. Kambrice, ii. 7 (p. 131).


adventure Helig calmed himself with the thought, that,
if such a thing came, it would not happen in his lifetime.
But on the occasion of a great feast held at the court,
and when the family down to the fifth generation
were present taking part in the festivities, one of the
servants noticed, when visiting the mead cellar to draw
more drink, that water was forcing its way in. He had
only time to warn the harper of the danger he was in,
when all the others, in the midst of their intoxication,
were overwhelmed by the flood.'

These inundation legends have many points of simi-
larity among themselves : thus in those of ILynclys,
Syfadon, ILyn Tegid, and Tyno Helig, though they
have a ring of austerity about them, the harper is a
favoured man, who always escapes when the banqueters
are all involved in the catastrophe. The story, more-
over, usually treats the submerged habitations as having
sunk intact, so that the ancient spires and church towers
may still at times be seen : nay the chimes of their bells
may be heard by those who have ears for such music.
In some cases there may have been, underlying the
legend, a trace of fact such as has been indicated to me
by Mr. Owen M. Edwards, of Lincoln College, in regard
to Bala Lake. When the surface of that water, he
says, is covered with broken ice, and a south-westerly
wind is blowing, the mass of fragments is driven towards
the north-eastern end near the town of Bala ; and he
has observed that the friction produces a somewhat
metallic noise which a quick imagination may convert
into something like a distant ringing of bells. Perhaps
the most remarkable instance remains to be mentioned :
I refer to Cantre'r Gwaelod, as the submerged country
of Gwycfno Garanhir is termed, see p. 382 above. To
one portion of his fabled realm the nearest actual
centres of population are Aberdovey and Borth on


either side of the estuary of the Dovey. / r of

Jesus College I had business in 1892 in tne uoiden
Valley of Herefordshire, and I stayed a day or two at
Dorstone enjoying the hospitality of the rectory, and
learning interesting facts from the rector, Mr. Prosser
Powell, and from Mrs. Powell in particular, as to the
folklore of the parish, which is still in several respects
very Welsh. Mrs. Powell, however, did not confine
herself to Dorstone or the Dore Valley, for she told me
as follows : ' I was at Aberdovey in 1852, and I dis-
tinctly remember that my childish imagination was
much excited by the legend of the city beneath the sea,
and the bells which I was told might be heard at night.
I used to lie awake trying, but in vain, to catch the
echoes of the chime. I was only seven years old, and
cannot remember who told me the story, though I have
never forgotten it.' Mrs. Powell added that she has
since heard it said, that at a certain stage of the tide at
the mouth of the Dovey, the way in which the waves
move the pebbles makes them produce a sort of jingling
noise which has been fancied to be the echo of distant
bells ringing.

These clues appeared too good to be dropped at
once, and the result of further inquiries led Mrs. Powell
afterwards to refer me to The Monthly Packet for the
year 1859, where I found an article headed ' Aberdovey
Legends,' and signed M. B., the initials, Mrs. Powell
thought, of Miss Bramston of Winchester. The writer
gives a sketch of the story of the country overflowed
by the neighbouring portion of Cardigan Bay, mention-
ing, p. 645, that once on a time there were great cities
on the banks of the Dovey and the Disynni. ' Cities
with marble wharfs,' she says, 'busy factories, and
churches whose towers resounded with beautiful peals
and chimes of bells.' She goes on to say that ' Mausna


is the name of the city on the Dovey ; its eastern
suburb was at the sand-bank now called Borth, its
western stretched far out into the sea.' What the name
Mausna may be I have no idea, unless it is the result
of some confusion with that of the great turbary
behind Borth, namely Mochno, or Cors Fochno, ' Bog
of Mochno.' The name Borth stands for Y Borth,
'the Harbour,' which, more adequately described,
was once Forth Wydno, 'Gwydno's Harbour.' The
writer, however, goes on with the story of the wicked
prince, who left open the sluices of the sea-wall pro-
tecting his country and its capital: we read on as
follows : ' But though the sea will not give back that
fair city to light and air, it is keeping it as a trust but
for a time, and even now sometimes, though very
rarely, eyes gazing down through the green waters can
see not only the fluted glistering sand dotted here and
there with shells and tufts of waving sea-weed, but the
wide streets and costly buildings of that now silent city.
Yet not always silent, for now and then will come
chimes and peals of bells, sometimes near, sometimes
distant, sounding low and sweet like a call to prayer, or
as rejoicing for a victory. Even by day these tones
arise, but more often they are heard in the long twilight
evenings, or by night. English ears have sometimes
heard these sounds even before they knew the tale,
and fancied that they must come from some church
among the hills, or on the other side of the water, but
no such church is there to give the call ; the sound and
its connexion is so pleasant, that one does not care to
break the spell by seeking for the origin of the legend,
as in the idler tales with which that neighbourhood

The dream about 'the wide streets and costly buildings
of that now silent city ' seems to have its counterpart on



the western coast of Erin somewhere, let us say, off
the cliffs of Moher\ in County Clare witness Gerald
Griffin's lines, to which a passing allusion has already
been made, p. 205 :

A story I heard on the cliffs of the West,
That oft, through the breakers dividing,

A city is seen on the ocean's wild breast,
In turreted majesty riding.

But brief is the glimpse of that phantom so bright :
Soon close the white waters to screen it.

The allusion to the submarine chimes would make
it unpardonable to pass by unnoticed the well-known
Welsh air called Clychau Aberdyft, ' The Bells of Aber-
dovey,' which I have always suspected of taking its
name from fairy bells 2 . This popular tune is of
unknown origin, and the words to which it is usually
sung make the bells say un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump,
chwech, ' one, two, three, four, five, six ' ; and I have
heard a charming Welsh vocalist putting on saith,
1 seven,' in her rendering of the song. This is not to be
wondered at, as her instincts must have rebelled against
such a commonplace number as six in a song redolent
of old-world sentiment. But our fairy bells ought to
have stopped at five : this would seem to have been
forgotten when the melody and the present words were
wedded together. At any rate our stories seem to
suggest that fairy counting did not go beyond the
fingering of one hand. The only Welsh fairy repre-
sented counting is made to do it all by fives : she counts
un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump ; un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump,
as hard as her tongue can go. For on the number of

1 See Choice Notes, p. 92, and Gerald Griffin's Poetical and Dramatic Works,
p. 106.

2 Failing to see this, various writers have tried to claim the honour of
owning the bells for Aberteifi, 'Cardigan,' or for Abertawe, 'Swansea* ; but
no arguments worthy of consideration have been urged on behalf of either
place: see Cyfailt yr Aelwyd for 1892, p. 184.


times she can repeat the five numerals at a single breath
depends the number of the live stock of each kind,
which are to form her dowry : see p. 8 above, and as to
music in fairy tales, see pp. 202, 206, 292.

Now that a number of our inundation stories have
been passed in review in this and the previous chapter,
some room may be given to the question of their
original form. They separate themselves, as it will
have been seen, into at least two groups : (i) those in
which the cause of the catastrophe is ethical, the punish-
ment of the wicked and dissolute ; and (2) those in which
no very distinct suggestion of the kind is made. It is
needless to say that everything points to the comparative
lateness of the fully developed ethical motive ; and we
are not forced to rest content with this theoretical
distinction, for in more than one of the instances we
have the two kinds of story. In the case of ILyn Tegid,
the less known and presumably the older story connects
the formation of the lake with the neglect to keep the
stone door of the well shut, while the more popular
story makes the catastrophe a punishment for wicked
and riotous living : compare pp. 377, 408, above. So with
the older story of Cantre'r Gwaelod, on which we found
the later one of the tipsy Seithennin as it were grafted,
P- 395- The keeping of the well shut in the former
case, as also in that of Ffynnon Gywer, was a precaution,
but the neglect of it was not the cause of the ensuing
misfortune. Even if we had stories like the Irish
ones, which make the sacred well burst forth in pursuit
of the intruder who has gazed into its depths, it would
by no means be of a piece with the punishment of riotous
and lawless living. Our comparison should rather be
with the story of the Curse of Pantannas, where a man
incurred the wrath of the fairies by ploughing up
ground which they wished to retain as a green sward ;

E e 2


but the threatened vengeance for that act of culture did
not come to pass for a century, till the time of one, in
fact, who is not charged with having done anything to
deserve it. The ethics of that legend are, it is clear,
not easy to discover, and in our inundation stories one
may trace stages of development from a similarly low
level. The case may be represented thus : a divinity is
offended by a man, and for some reason or other the
former wreaks his vengeance, not on the offender, but
on his descendants. This minimum granted, it is easy
to see, that in time the popular conscience would fail to
rest satisfied with the cruel idea of a jealous divinity
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children.
One may accordingly distinguish the following stages :

1. The legend lays it down as a fact that the father
was very wicked.

2. It makes his descendants also wicked like him.

3. It represents the same punishment overtaking
father and sons, ancestor and descendants.

4. The simplest way to secure this kind of equal
justice was, no doubt, to let the offending ancestors live
on to see their descendants of the generation for whose
time the vengeance had been fixed, and to let them be
swept away with them in one and the same cataclysm,
as in the Welsh versions of the Syfadon and Kenfig
legends, possibly also in those of ILyn Tegid and Tyno
Helig, which are not explicit on this point.

Let us for a moment examine the indications of the
time to which the vengeance is put off. In the case of
the landed families of ancient Wales, every member
of them had his position and liabilities settled by his
pedigree, which had to be exactly recorded down to the
eighth generation or eighth lifetime in Gwyned, and to
the seventh in Gwent and Dyfed. Those generations
were reckoned the limits of recognized family relation-


ship according to the Welsh Laws, and to keep any
practical reckoning of the kind, extending always back
some two centuries, must have employed a class of
professional men 1 . In any case the ninth generation,
called in Welsh y nawfed dch, which is a term in use
all over the Principality at the present day, is treated
as lying outside all recognized kinship. Thus if AB
wishes to say that he is no relation to CD, he will say
that he is not related o fewn y nawfed dch, ' within the
ninth degree,' or hyd y nawfed dch, ' up to the ninth
degree/ it being understood that in the ninth degree
and beyond it no relationship is reckoned. Folklore
stories, however, seem to suggest another interpretation
of the word dch, and fewer generations in the direct line
as indicated in the following table. For the sake of
simplicity the founder of the family is here assumed to
have at least two sons, A and B, and each succeeding
generation to consist of one son only ; and lastly the
women are omitted altogether :

Tad I (Father)

Brother A j II ; B Mab (Son)

2 2

i Cousin A ft ; III \ B a Wyr (Grandson)

3 3

ii Cousin A b ! IV ! B fc Gorwyr (Great-Grandson)

4 4

iii Cousin A V B c Esgynnytf (G.G.Grandson)

5 5

iv Cousin A d ' VI i B* Goresgynnyif(G.G.G.Grandson).

In reckoning the relationships between the collateral
members of the family, one counts not generations or
begettings, not removes or degrees, but ancestry or the
number of ancestors, so that the father or founder of

1 For some of the data as to the reckoning of the pedigrees and branching
of a family, see the first volume of Aneurin Owen's Ancient Laws Gwyned",
III. i. 12-5 (pp. 222-7) J Dyfed, II. i. 17-29 (pp. 408-11); Gwent, II. viii.
1-7 (pp. 700-3); also The Welsh People, pp. 230-1.


the family only counts once. Thus his descendants
A d and B d in the sixth generation or lifetime, are fourth
cousins separated from one another by nine ancestors :
that is, they are related in the ninth dch. In other words,
A d has five ancestors and B d has also five, but as they
have one ancestor in common, the father of the family,
they are not separated by 5 + 5 ancestors, but by
5 + 5 1, that is by 9. Similarly, one being always
subtracted, the third cousins A c and B c are related
in the seventh dch, and the second cousin in the fifth
dch : so with the others in odd numbers downwards, and
also with the relatives reckoned upwards to the seventh
or eighth generation, which would mean collaterals
separated by eleven or thirteen ancestors respectively.
This reckoning, which is purely conjectural, is based
chiefly on the Kenfig story, which foretold the ven-
geance to come in the ninth dch and otherwise in
the time of the goresgynnyct, that is to say in the sixth
lifetime. This works out all right if only by the ninth
dch we understand the generation or lifetime when the
collaterals are separated by nine ancestors, for that is
no other than the sixth from the founder of the family.
The Welsh version of the ILynclys legend fixes on the
same generation, as it says yn oes wyrion, gorwyrion,
esgynnyct a goresgynnyct, ' in the lifetime of grandsons,
great-grandsons, ascensors, and their children,' for these
last's time is the sixth generation. In the case of the
Syfadon legend the time of the vengeance is the ninth
cenhedlaeth or generation, which must be regarded as
probably a careless way of indicating the generation
when the collaterals are separated by nine ancestors,
that is to say the sixth from the father of the family.
It can hardly have the other meaning, as the sinning
ancestors are represented as then still living. The case
of the Tyno Helig legend is different, as we have the


time announced to the offending ancestor described as
amser dy wyrion, dy orzvyrton, a dy esgynyction, ' the time
of thy grandsons, thy great-grandsons, and thy ascen-
sors,' which would be only the fifth generation with
collaterals separated only by seven ancestors, and not
i ine. But the probability is that goresgynycKon has
been here accidentally omitted, and that the generation
indicated originally was the same as in the others. This,
however, will not explain the Bala legend, which fixes
the time for the third generation, namely, immediately
after the birth of the offending prince's first grandson.
If, however, as I am inclined to suppose, the sixth
generation with collaterals severed by nine ancestors
was the normal term in these stories, it is easy to
understand that the story-teller might wish to substitute
a generation nearer to the original offender, especially
if he was himself to be regarded as surviving to share
in the threatened punishment : his living to see the
birth of his first grandson postulated no extraordinary

The question why fairy vengeance is so often repre-
sented deferred for a long time can no longer be
put off. Here three or four answers suggest them-
selves :

1. The story of the Curse of Pantannas relates how
the offender was not the person punished, but one of
his descendants a hundred or more years after his time,
while the offender is represented escaping the fairies'
vengeance because he entreated them very hard to let
him go unpunished. All this seems to me but a sort
of protest against the inexorable character of the little
people, a protest, moreover, which was probably in-
vented comparatively late.

2. The next answer is the very antithesis of the Pan-
tannas one ; for it is, that the fairies delay in order to


involve all the more men and women in the vengeance
wreaked by them : I confess that I see no reason tc
entertain so sinister an idea.

3. A better answer, perhaps, is that the fairies wer
not always in a position to harm him who offende
them. This may well have been the belief as regard
any one who had at his command the dreaded potenc
of magic. Take for instance the Irish story of a kir
of Erin called Eochaid Airem, who, with the aid of his
magician or druid Dalan, defied the fairies, and dug into
the heart of their underground station, until, in fact, he
got possession of his queen, who had been carried
thither by a fairy chief named Mider. Eochaid, assisted
by his druid and the powerful Ogams which the latter
wrote on rods of yew, was too formidable for the
fairies, and their wrath was not executed till the time
of Eochaid's unoffending grandson, Conaire Mor, who
fell a victim to it, as related in the epic story of Bruden
Daderga, so called from the palace where Conaire was
slain l .

4. Lastly, it may be said that the fairies being sup-
posed deathless, there would be no reason why they
should hurry ; and even in case the delay meant a cen-
tury or two, that makes no perceptible approach to the
extravagant scale of time common enough in our fairy
tales, when, for instance, they make a man who has
whiled ages away in fairyland, deem it only so many
minutes 2 .

1 See the Book of the Dun Cow, fol. 99" & seq.

2 For instances, the reader may turn back to pp. 154 or 191, but there are
plenty more in the foregoing chapters ; and he may also consult Howells'
Cambrian Superstitions, pp. 123-8, 141-2, 146. In one case, p. 123, he
gives an instance of the contrary kind of imagination : the shepherd who
joined a fairy party on Frenni Fach was convinced, when his senses and his
memory returned, that, ' although he thought he had been absent so many
years, he had been only so many minutes.' The story has the ordinary
setting ; but can it be of popular origin 1 The Frenni Fach is a part of the


Whatever the causes may have been which gave our
stories their form in regard of the delay in the fairy
revenge, it is clear that Welsh folklore could not
allow this delay to extend beyond the sixth generation
with its cousinship of nine ancestries, if, as I gather, it
counted kinship no further. Had one projected it on
the seventh or the eighth generation, both of which are
contemplated in the Laws, it would not be folklore. It
would more likely be the lore of the landed gentry and
of the powerful families whose pedigrees and ramifica-
tions of kinship were minutely known to the professional
men on whom it was incumbent to keep themselves,
and those on whom they depended, well informed in
such matters.

It remains for me to consider the non-ethical motive
of the other stories, such as those which ascribe negli-
gence and the consequent inundation to the woman who
has the charge of the door or lid of the threatening
well. Her negligence is not the cause of the cata-
strophe, but it leaves the way open for it. What then
can have been regarded the cause ? One may gather
something to the point from the Irish story where the
divinity of the well is offended because a woman has
gazed into its depths, and here probably, as already
suggested (p. 392), we come across an ancient tabu
directed against women, which may have applied only
to certain wells of peculiarly sacred character. It
serves, however, to suggest that the divinities of the

mountain known as the Frenni Fawr, in the north-east of Pembrokeshire ;
the names mean respectively the Little Breni, and the Great Breni. The
obsolete word breni meant, in Old Welsh, the prow of a ship ; local habit
tends, however, to the solecism of Brenin Fawr, with brenin, 'king,' qualified
by an adjective mutated feminine ; but people at a distance who call it
Frenni Fawr, pronounce the former vocable with nn. Lastly, Y Vrevi Va6>
occurs in Maxen's Dream in the Red Book (Oxford Mab. p. 89) ; but in the

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