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moved the stone back to its place the farmer lost sight
of him. When the year had lapsed the farmer happened
to pass again that way, but, though he made a long and



464 CELTIC FOLKLORE ]CH.

careful search, he failed completely to find the stone at
the mouth of the cave.

To return to lolo's yarn, one may say that there are
traces of his story as at one time current in Merioneth-
shire, but with the variation that the Welshman met the
wizard not on London Bridge but at a fair at Bala, and
that the cave was somewhere in Merioneth : the hero
was Arthur, and the cave was known as Ogof Arthur.
Whether any such cave is still known I cannot tell ;
but a third and interestingly told version is given in the
Brython for 1858, p. 179, by the late Gwynionyd, who
gives the story as the popular belief in his native parish
of Troed yr Aur, halfway between Newcastle Emlyn
and Aber Forth, in South Cardiganshire. In this last
version the hero is not Arthur, but the later man as
follows : Not the least of the wonders of imagination
wont to exercise the minds of the old people was the
story of Owen Lawgoch. One sometimes hears sung
in our fairs the words :

Yr Owain hwn yw Harri 'r Nawfed This Owen is Henry the Ninth,

trigo 'ngwlad estronied, &c. Who tarries in a foreign land, &c.



But this Owen Lawgoch, the national deliverer of our
ancient race of Brythons, did not, according to the Troed
yr Aur people, tarry in a foreign land, but somewhere in
Wales, not far from OfTa's Dyke. They used to say that
one Dafyd Meirig of Bettws Bledrws, having quarrelled
with his father, left for ILoegr \ ' England.' When he
had got a considerable distance from home, he struck a
bargain with a cattle dealer to drive a herd of his beasts
to London. Somewhere at the corner of a vast moor
Dafyd cut a very remarkable hazel stick ; for a good
staff is as essential to the vocation of a good drover as

This is an interesting word of obscure origin, to which I should like our
ingenious etymologists to direct their attention.



vni] WELSH CAVE LEGENDS 465

teeth are to a dog. So while his comrades had had
their sticks broken before reaching London, Dafyd's
remained as it was, and whilst they were conversing
together on London Bridge a stranger accosted Dafyd",
wishing to know where he had obtained that wonderful
stick. He replied that it was in Wales he had had it,
and on the stranger's assuring him that there were
wondrous things beneath the tree on which it had
grown, they both set out for Wales. When they reached
the spot and dug a little they found that there was a
great hollow place beneath. As night was spreading
out her sable mantle, and as they were getting deeper,
what should they find but stairs easy to step and great
lamps illumining the vast chamber! They descended
slowly, with mixed emotions of dread and invincible
desire to see the place. When they reached the bottom
of the stairs, they found themselves near a large table,
at one end of which they beheld sitting a tall man of
about seven foot. He occupied an old-fashioned chair
and rested his head on his left hand, while the other
hand, all red, lay on the table and grasped a great
sword. He was withal enjoying a wondrously serene
sleep ; and at his feet on the floor lay a big dog. After
casting a glance at them, the wizard said to Dafyd:
'This is Owen Lawgoch, who is to sleep on till a
special time, when he will wake and reign over the
Brythons. That weapon in his hand is one of the
swords of the ancient kings of Prydain. No battle was
ever lost in which that sword was used.' Then they
moved slowly on, gazing at the wonders of that sub-
terranean chamber; and they beheld everywhere the
arms of ages long past, and on the table thousands of
gold pieces bearing the images of the different kings of
Prydain. They got to understand that it was permitted
them to take a handful of each, but not to put any in

RHYS H h



466 CELTIC FOLKLORE [CH.

their purses. They both visited the cave several times,
but at last Dafyd put in his purse a little of the gold
bearing the image of one of the bravest of Owen's
ancestors. But after coming out again they were never
able any more to find Owen's subterranean palace.

Those are, says Gwynionyd, the ideas cherished by
the old people of Troed yr Aur in Keredigion, and the
editor adds a note that the same sort of story is current
among the peasantry of Cumberland, and perhaps of
other parts of Britain. This remark will at once recall
to the reader's mind the well-known verses l of the
Scottish poet, Leyden, as to Arthur asleep in a cave in
the Eildon Hills in the neighbourhood of Melrose Abbey.
But he will naturally ask why London Bridge is intro-
duced into this and lolo's story, and in answer I have
to say, firstly, that London Bridge formerly loomed
very large in the popular imagination as one of the chief
wonders of London, itself the most wonderful city in
the world. Such at any rate was the notion cherished
as to London and London Bridge by the country people
of Wales, even within my own memory. Secondly, the
fashion of selecting London Bridge as the opening
scene of a treasure legend had been set, perhaps, by a
widely spread English story to the following effect :
A certain pedlar of Swaftham in Norfolk had a dream,
that if he went and stood on London Bridge he would
have very joyful news ; as the dream was doubled and
trebled he decided to go. So he stood on the bridge
two or three days, when at last a shopkeeper, observing
that he loitered there so long, neither offering anything
for sale nor asking for alms, inquired of him as to his
business. The pedlar told him his errand, and was
heartily laughed at by the shopkeeper, who said that he

1 See the Poetical Works of John Leyden (Edinburgh, 1875), p. 36 (Seems
of Infancy, part 11; ; also my Arthurian Legend, p. 18.



viii] WELSH CAVE LEGENDS 467

had dreamt that night that he was at a place called
Swaffham in Norfolk, and that if he only dug under
a great oak tree in an orchard behind a pedlar's house
there, he would find a vast treasure ; but the place was
utterly unknown to him, and he was not such a fool as
to follow a silly dream. No, he was wiser than that ;
so he advised the pedlar to go home to mind his
business. The pedlar very quietly took in the words
as to the dream, and hastened home to Swaffham,
where he found the treasure in his own orchard. The
rest of the story need not be related here, as it is quite
different from the Welsh ones, which the reader has
just had brought under his notice l ,

To return to Owen Lawgoch, for we have by no
means done with him : on the farm of Cil yr Ychen
there stands a remarkable limestone hill called y f)mas,
1 the Fortress,' hardly a mile to the north of the village
of ILandybTe, in Carmarthenshire. This dinas and the
lime-kilns that are gradually consuming it are to be
seen on the right from the railway as you go from
ILandeilo to ILandybTe. It is a steep high rock which
forms a very good natural fortification, and in the level
area on the top is the mouth of a very long cavern,
known as Ogo'r)mas, 'the Dinas Cave.' The entrance
into it is small and low, but it gradually widens out,
becoming in one place lofty and roomy with several
smaller branch caves leading out of it ; and it is believed
that some of them connect Ogo'r Dinas with smaller
caves at Pant y ILyn, 'the Lake Hollow,' where, as the

1 I am indebted for the English story to an article entitled ' The Two
Pedlar Legends of Lambeth and Swaffham,' contributed by Mr. Gomme to the
pages of the Antiquary, x. 202-5, in which he gives local details and makes
valuable comparisons. I have to thank Mr. Gomme also for a cutting from the
weekly issue of the Leeds Mercury for Jan. 3, 1885, devoted to ' Local Notes
and Queries' (No. cccxii), where practically the same story is given at
greater length as located at Upsall Castle in Yorkshire.

H h 2



468 CELTIC FOLKLORE [CK.

name indicates, there is a small lake a little higher up :
both Ogo'r >inas and Panty ILyn are within a mile of the
village of ILandybTe l . Now I am informed, in a letter
written in 1893 by one native, that the local legend
about Ogo'r Dinas is that Owen Lawgoch and his men
are lying asleep in it, while another native, Mr. Fisher,
writing in the same year, but on the authority of some-
what later hearsay, expresses himself as follows : ' I re-
member hearing two traditions respecting Ogo'r Binas :
(i) that King Arthur and his warriors lie sleeping in it
with their right hands clasping the hilts of their drawn
swords ready to encounter anyone who may venture to
disturb their repose is there not a dinas somewhere in
Carnarvonshire with a similar legend ? (2) That Owen
Lawgoch lived in it some time or other : that is all that
I remember having heard about him in connection with
this ogof.' Mr. Fisher proceeds, moreover, to state that
it is said of an ogof at Pant y ILyn, that Owen Lawgoch
and his men on a certain occasion took refuge in it,
where they were shut up and starved to death. He
adds that, however this may be, it is a fact that in the
year 1813 ten or more human skeletons of unusual
stature were discovered in an ogof there 2 .

1 I have never been to the spot, and I owe these particulars partly to
Mr. J. P. Owen, of 72 Comeragh Road, Kensington, and partly to the Rev.
John Fisher, already quoted at p. 379. This is the parish where some would
locate the story of the sin-eater, which others stoutly deny, as certain
periodical outbursts of polemics in the pages of the Academy and elsewhere
have shown. Mr. Owen, writing to me in 1893, states, that, when he last
visited the dinas some thirty years previously, he found the mouth of th-
cave stopped up in order to prevent cattle and sheep straying into it.

1 Mr. Fisher refers me to an account of the discovery published in the
Cambrian newspaper for Aug. 14, 1813, a complete file of which exists as he

forms me, in the library of the Royal Institution of South Wales at Swan-
sea Further, at the Cambrians' meeting in 1892 that account was discussed
and corrected by Mr. Stepney-Gulston : see the Archceologia Cambrensis for

?3, pp. 163-7. He also < pointed out that on the opposite side of the

gap in the ridge the noted cave of Owain Law Goch was to be found. Near

t-y-ttyn bone caves is a place called Craig Derwydon, and close by is



vin] WELSH CAVE LEGENDS 469

To this I may append a reference to the Geninen for
1896, p. 84, where Mr. ILeufer Thomas, who is also a
native of the district, alludes to the local belief that
Owen Lawgoch and his men are asleep, as already
mentioned, in the cave of Pant y ILyn, and that they are
to go on sleeping there till a trumpet blast and the
clash of arms on Rhiw Goch rouse them to sally forth
to combat the Saxons and to conquer, as set forth by
Howells: see p. 381 above. It is needless to say that
there is no reason, as will be seen presently, to suppose
Owen Lawgoch to have ever been near any of the caves
to which allusion has here been made ; but that does
not appreciably detract from the fascination of the legend
which has gathered round his personality ; and in pass-
ing I may be allowed to express my surprise that in
such stories as these the earlier Owen has not been
eclipsed by Owen Glyndwr : there must be some his-
torical reason why that has not taken place. Can it be
that a habit of caution made Welshmen speak of Owen
Lawgoch when the other Owen was really meant ?

The passage I have cited from Mr. Fisher's letter
raises the question of a dinas in Carnarvonshire, which
that of his native parish recalled to his mind ; and this
is to be considered next. Doubtless he meant Dinas
Emrys formerly called Din Emreis \ ' the Fortress of
Ambrosius,' situated near Bedgelert, and known in the
neighbourhood simply as y Dinas, 'the Fort.' It is
celebrated in the Vortigern legend as the place where
the dragons had been hidden, that frustrated the build-

the scene of the exploits of Owain Law Goch, a character who appears to
have absorbed some of the features of Arthurian romance. A cave in the
locality bears Owain's name.'

1 As in ILewelyn's charter to the Monks of Aberconwy, where we have,
according to Dugdale's Monasticon, v. 673*, a Scubordynemreis, that is Satbor
Dyn Emreis, ' Din-Emreis Barn,' supposed to be Hafod y Berth, near Betf-
gelert : see Jenkins' Beit Gelert, p. 198. In the Myvyrian, i. 195", it has been
printed Din Emrais.



470



CELTIC FOLKLORE [CH.



ing of that king's castle ; and the spot is described in
Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales, in the article
on Bethgelart (Beti-Celeri], as an isolated rocky emi-
nence with an extensive top area, which is defended by
walls of loose stones, and accessible only on one side.
He adds that the entrance appears to have been guarded
by two towers, and that within the enclosed area are the
foundations of circular buildings of loose stones forming
walls of about five feet in thickness. Concerning that
Dinas we read in the Brython for 1861, p. 329, a legend
to the following effect : Now after the departure of
Vortigern, Myrctin, or Merlin as he is called in English,
remained himself in the Dinas for a long time, until, in
fact, he went away with Emrys Ben-aur, ' Ambrosius the
Gold-headed ' evidently Aurelius Ambrosius is meant.
When he was about to set out with the latter, he put all
his treasure and wealth into a crochan aur, ' a gold
cauldron,' and hid it in a cave in the Dinas, and on the
mouth of the cave he rolled a huge stone, which he
covered up with earth and sods, so that it was impossible
for any one to find it. He intended this wealth to be
the property of some special person in a future genera-
tion, and it is said that the heir to it is to be a youth with
yellow hair and blue eyes. When that one comes near
to the Dinas a bell will ring to invite him to the cave,
which will open of itself as soon as his foot touches it.
Now the fact that some such legend was once currently
believed about Bedgelert and Nanhwynain is proved by
the curious stories as to various attempts made to find
the treasure, and the thunderstorms and portents which
used to vanquish the local greed for gold. For several
instances in point see the Brython, pp. 329-30; and for
others, showing how hidden treasure is carefully re-
served for the right sort of heir, see p. 148 above. To
prove how widely this idea prevailed in Carnarvonshire,



vm] WELSH CAVE LEGENDS 471

I may add a short story which Mrs. Williams-Ellis of
Glasfryn got from the engineer who told her of the
sacred eel of ILangybi (p. 366): There was on Pentyrch,
the hill above ILangybi, he said, a large stone so heavy
and fixed so fast in the ground that no horses, no men
could move it : it had often been tried. One day,
however, a little girl happened to be playing by the
stone, and at the touch of her little hand the stone
moved. A hoard of coins was found under it, and that
at a time when the little girl's parents happened to be
in dire need of it. Search had long been made by
undeserving men for treasure supposed to be hidden at
that spot; but it was always unsuccessful until the
right person touched the stone to move. The failure
of the wrong person to secure the treasure, even when
discovered, is illustrated by a story given by Mr. Derfel
Hughes in his Antiquities of ILandegai and JLanttechid,
pp. 35-6, to the effect that a servant man, somewhere
up among the mountains near Ogwen Lake, chanced to
come across the mouth of a cave with abundance of
vessels of brass (pres) of every shape and description
within it. He went at once and seized one of them, but,
alas ! it was too heavy for him to stir it. So he resolved
to go away and return early on the morrow with a friend
to help him ; but before going he closed the mouth of
the cave with stones and sods so as to leave it safe.
While thus engaged he remembered having heard how
others had like him found caves and failed to refind
them. He could procure nothing readily that would
satisfy him as a mark, so it occurred to him to dot his
path with the chippings of his stick, which he whittled
all the way as he went back until he came to a familiar
track : the chips were to guide him back to the cave.
So when the morning came he and his friend set out,
but when they reached the point where the chips should



472 CELTIC FOLKLORE [CH.

begin, not one was to be seen : the Tylwyth Teg had
picked up every one of them. So that discovery of
articles of brass more probably bronze was in vain.
But, says the writer, it is not fated to be always in vain,
for there is a tradition in the valley that it is a Gwydel,
' Goidel, Irishman/ who is to have these treasures, and
that it will happen in this wise : A Gwydel will come
to the neighbourhood to be a shepherd, and one day
when he goes up the mountain to see to the sheep, just
when it pleases the fates a black sheep with a speckled
head will run before him and make straight for the cave :
the sheep will go in, with the Gwydel in pursuit trying
to catch him. When the Gwydel enters he sees the
treasures, looks at them with surprise, and takes posses-
sion of them ; and thus, in some generation to come,
the Gwydyl will have their own restored to them.
That is the tradition which Derfel Hughes found in the
vale of the Ogwen, and he draws from it the inference
which it seems to warrant, in words to the following
effect : Perhaps this shows us that the Gwydyl had
some time or other something to do with these parts,
and that we are not to regard as stories without founda-
tions all that is said of that nation ; and the sayings of
old people to this day show that there is always some
spite between our nation and the Gwydyl. Thus, for
instance, he goes on to say, if a man proves changeable,
he is said to have become a Gwydel ( Y niae wedi troi 'n
Wydel), or if one is very shameless and cheeky he is
called a Gwyctel and told to hold his tongue (Taw yr
hen Wyctet) ; and a number of such locutions used by
our people proves, he thinks, the former prevalence of
much contention between the two sister-nations. Ex-
pressions of the kind mentioned by Mr. Hughes are
well known in all parts of the Principality, and it is
difficult to account for them except on the supposition



vni] WELSH CAVE LEGEXDS 473

that Goidels and Brythons lived for a long time face
to face, so to say, with one another over large areas in
the west of our island.

The next story to be mentioned belongs to the same
Snowdonian neighbourhood, and brings us back to
Arthur and his Men. For a writer who has already
been quoted from the Brython for 1861, p. 331, makes
Arthur and his following set out from Dinas Emrys and
cross Hafod y Borth mountain for a place above the
upper reach of Cwmftan, called Tregalan, where they
found their antagonists. From Tregalan the latter were
pushed up the bwlch or pass, towards Cwm Dyli ; but
when the vanguard of the army with Arthur leading had
reached the top of the pass, the enemy discharged a
shower of arrows at them. There Arthur fell, and his
body was buried in the pass so that no enemy might
march that way so long as Arthur's dust rested there.
That, he says, is the story, and there to this day remains
in the pass, he asserts, the heap of stones called Carned
Arthur, ' Arthur's Cairn ' : the pass is called Bwlch y
Saethau, ' the Pass of the Arrows.' Then Ogof ILanciau
Eryri is the subject of the following story given at p. 371
of the same volume : After Arthur's death on Bwlch
y Saethau, his men ascended to the ridge of the ILiwed"
and descended thence into a vast cave called Ogof
Lanciau Eryri, ' the young Men of Snowdonia's Cave,'
which is in the precipitous cliff on the left-hand side
near the top of ILyn ILydaw. This is in Cwm Dyli,
and there in that cave those warriors are said to be
still, sleeping in their armour and awaiting the second
coming of Arthur to restore the crown of Britain to the
Kymry. For the saying is :

ILanct'a' 'Ryri a'u gwyn gylt a'i hennitt In.

Snowdonia's youths with their white hazels will win it.

As the local shepherds were one day long ago collecting



474



CELTIC FOLKLORE [CH.



their sheep on the ILiwect, one sheep fell down to a shelf
in this precipice, and when the Cwm Dyli shepherd
made his way to the spot he perceived that the ledge of
rock on which he stood led to the hidden cave of ILanciau
Eryri. There was light within : he looked in and beheld
a host of warriors without number all asleep, resting on
their arms and ready equipped for battle. Seeing that
they were all asleep, he felt a strong desire to explore the
whole place ; but as he was squeezing in he struck his
head against the bell hanging in the entrance. It rang
so that every corner of the immense cave rang again,
and all the warriors woke uttering a terrible shout,
which so frightened the shepherd that he never more
enjoyed a day's health ; nor has anybody since dared
as much as to approach the mouth of the cave.

Thus far the Brython, and I have only to remark that
this legend is somewhat remarkable for the fact of its
representing the Youths of Eryri sleeping away in their
cave without Arthur among them. In fact, that hero is
described as buried not very far off beneath a carnect or
cairn on Bwlch y Saethau. As to the exact situation
of that cairn, I may say that my attention was drawn
some time ago to the following lines by Mr. William
Owen, better known as Glaslyn, a living bard bred and
born in the district :

Gertfaw Carnetf Arthur ar ysgwyct y Wyctfa
Y gorwed gwecf it/ion y caivr enwog Ricca.

Near Arthur's Cairn on the shoulder of Snowdon
Lie the remains of the famous giant Ricca.

These words recall an older couplet in a poem by Rhys
Goch Eryri, who is said to have died in the year 1420.
He was a native of the parish of Bedgelert, and his
words in point run thus :

Ar y drum oer dramawr, On the ridge cold and vast

Yno gorwed Ricca Gawr. There the Giant Ricca lies.



vni] WELSH CAVE LEGENDS 475

From this it is clear that Rhys Goch meant that the
cairn on the top of Snowdon covered the remains of the
giant whose name has been variously written Ricca,
Ritta, and Rhita. So I was impelled to ascertain from
Glaslyn whether I had correctly understood his lines,
and he has been good enough to help me out of some
of my difficulties, as I do not know Snowdon by heart,
especially the Nanhwynain and Bedgelert side of the
mountain : The cairn on the summit of Snowdon was
the Giant's before it was demolished and made into a
sort of tower which existed before the hotel was made.
Glaslyn has not heard it called after Ricca's name, but
he states that old people used to call it Carnect y Cawr,
'the Giant's Cairn.' In 1850 Carne^ Arthur, 'Arthur's
Cairn/ was to be seen on the top of Bwlch y Saethau,
but he does not know whether it is still so, as he has
not been up there since the building of the hotel.
Bwlch y Saethau is a lofty shoulder of Snowdon
extending in the direction of Nanhwynain, and the
distance from the top of Snowdon to it is not great;
it would take you half an hour or perhaps a little more
to walk from the one carned'to the other. It is possible
to trace Arthur's march from Dinas Emrys up the slopes
of Hafod y Borth, over the shoulder of the Aran and
Braich yr Oen to Tregalan or Cwm Tregalan, as it is
now called but from Tregalan he would have to climb
in a north-easterly direction in order to reach Bwlch y
Saethau, where he is related to have fallen and to
have been interred beneath a cairn. This may be
regarded as an ordinary or commonplace account of his
death. But the scene suggests a far more romantic
picture; for down below was ILyn ILydaw with its
sequestered isle, connected then by means only of a
primitive canoe with a shore occupied by men engaged
in working the ore of Eryri. Nay with the eyes of



476 CELTIC FOLKLORE [CH.

Malory we seem to watch Bedivere making, with
Excalibur in his hands, his three reluctant journeys to
the lake ere he yielded it to the arm emerging from the
deep. We fancy we behold how ' euyn fast by the
banke houed a lytyl barge wyth many fayr ladyes in hit/
which was to carry the wounded Arthur away to the
accompaniment of mourning and loud lamentation ; but
the legend of the Marchlyn bids us modify Malory's
language as to the barge containing many ladies all
wearing black hoods, and take our last look at the
warrior departing rather in a coracle with three won-
drously fair women attending to his wounds 1 .

Some further notes on Snowdon, together with a
curious account of the Cave of DLanciau Eryri, have



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