The Legend of Rhiannon and Pwyll

Pwyll Prince of Dyfed, was Lord of the seven Cantrevs of Dyfed; and once apon a time Pwyll was at Narberth, his chief palace, where a feast had been prepared for him, and with him was great host of men. After the first meal, Pwyll arose to walk, and went to the top of a mound that was above the palace, and was called Gorseth Arberth. There was a legend about this mound, that whoever sat apon it, would not leave without either receiving wounds or else seeing a wonder. Pwyll wasn't worried about the wounds, as he had a great host with him, who were there for the feast, but he really wanted to see wonders, so he went and sat apon the hill.

And when he went and sat there, he saw a Lady, on a pure white horse of large size, wearing a garment of shining gold, coming along the path that led to the mound; The horse was moving at a slow pace and coming toward the mound. Pwyll asked his men if anyone knew who the Lady was, and know one knew, so he sent one of them to meet her. As the man went to meet her, she passed him by and he turned to follow her The faster he pursued her, the farther she was away from him...and he realized that he would never catch up with her. So Pwyll sent him to the palace for his horse. He took the horse, and followed her, but to no avail, the faster he went, the further she was from him. Pwyll felt that there was some kind of illusion or trickery, so they decided to go back to the palace. Next day, they went back to the mound, and saw the same Lady, on the Same horse. Pwyll sent a youth on horse back to pursue her. But to know avail, he couldn't catch up with her.

The next day, he went to the mound again, and saw the Lady...this time Pwyll took to horseback himself , and he couldn't catch up with her. So he cried out to her to stop and speak with him. As soon as he did this, she stopped, and said he should've called out before. Pwyll asked her what she was doing and where was she going. She said that she had her own errand and that she was glad to see him.

He asked what her errand was. She said that her chief quest was to seek out Pwyll. He asked who she was. She said that she was Rhiannon daughter of Heveyth Hen, and that her father was seeking to marry her off against her will. So she ran away, because she was in love with Pwyll only, and would not marry her fathers choice, unless Pwyll rejected her. So Pwyll said that he would marry her. Rhiannon said that Pwyll should pledge to meet her before she was given away to another, and that he should meet her on the same day, in the Twelfth month, at her fathers palace. He said he would keep the date. Whenever Pwyll was asked by others, what he had spoken of with the maiden, he would change the subject.

When the twelfth month came, Pwyll took a hundred knights, and went to the Palace of Heveyth Hen, so that he could marry Rhiannon. There was great joy at his arrival, and he was put in charge of the whole court


When they went to the feast, Pwyll was seated on one side of Heveyth Hen, and Rhiannon on the other. As they finished the feast, a tall Auburn haired youth came into the hall ...Pwyll asked him to join the table, and the youth said no, that he was a suitor and would finish his errand.

So Pwyll said that he would grant the youth anything that he could to help him with his errand....and asked what he wanted. The youth said, that the lady whom he wanted was Rhiannon, and that he realized that she was to marry Pwyll, but nevertheless Pwyll had given him his word. Rhiannon asked what Pwyll had done, for he just promised her to the man that her father had wanted her to marry before, his name was Gwawl, and he was wealthy and powerful, and because Pwyll had given him his word, she would now have to marry Gwawl. Pwyll said that he would not allow this, but Rhiannon said that he must, but she would make it so that she would never be Gwawl's.

Rhiannon gave Pwyll a small bag and told him to keep it safe, and that she would arrange to marry Gwawl the next Twelfth month, and would prepare a large banquet. Pwyll should come there then and bring a hundred knights with him, but to hide them in the orchard, and come to the palace dressed in rags, carrying the bag. Pwyll should then say that he came in search of food...and Rhiannon would make the bag so that it could be filled with all the food in the palace, but would appear no fuller.

Pwyll was then to say that the bag would never be full until a man of noble birth and power, would press the food into the bag with both his feet and say"enough has been put tin the bag". Rhiannon said that when Gwawl treads on the food in the bag, Pwyll should pull the bag over his head and knot it...then sound his horn to call all the knights to the palace.

So Pwyll told Gwawl that he could have the hand of Rhiannon...and Rhiannon set the date for the feast, the next twelfth month. The next twelfth month came and Gwawl arrived at the palace for his nuptial feast. After the feast had begun, Pwyll came in disguised in his rags and begged for food.....No matter how much food was placed in the bag, it got no fuller. Pwyll told Gwawl as planned, that only a man of noble birth and power could fill the bag by pressing the food into the bag with both his feet, and saying that enough had been placed in the bag. Gwawl did this, and was captured by Pwyll.

Pwyll sounded his horn, threw off his rags, and the knights appeared in the palace. Everyone of his knights struck a blow apon the bag, and asked "what's in the bag?" Pwyll said that there was a badger in the bag. So they played the game of "Badger in the bag" by striking and kicking the bag with their feet and staffs. After this had gone on for a while, Gwawl cried out from inside the bag that he didn't want to be slain in a bag.

Rhiannon's father said that Pwyll should listen as no man deserves this treatment. Pwyll asked for Rhiannon's council. Rhiannon said that that she would take Gwawl's pledge that he would never seek revenge for what has happened to him, and she would let him out of the bag. Gwawl said he would pledge this. Pwyll said that this will be done, but that he wanted a covenant to be drawn up. And the covenant was drawn, that Gwawl would be set free, and Pwyll would keep Gwawl's counselors in the Palace, as a surety that no revenge would be taken.

Gwawl was set free, and returned to his own palace to heal from his wounds


The next day, Rhiannon said to Pwyll, that he should give gifts to all the minstrels and should refuse no one his bounty. So Pwyll called all the court together and said for them to point out what they wanted as a gift. And he gave freely from all that he had.

So Pwyll and Rhiannon were married, and set off for Dyfed, to the palace of Narberth, and Rhiannon gave precious gifts to all of the noble Lords and Ladies of the land.

They ruled the land prosperously for four years.

In the forth year of a son was born to them, and women were brought to watch the child at night. Instead of caring for the baby, the women fell asleep, and when they awoke, the looked in the cradle, and the child was not there.

They became frightened and plotted together to accuse Rhiannon of murdering the child before their own eyes. Rhiannon pleaded with them not to accuse her falsely, and that if they told the truth, she would defend them before the Gods. But they said that they would not, for Pwyll would surely kill them for having slept, and not watching over the baby.

And Pwyll the Prince of Anuvyn, arose and the Nurses told him falsely of what happened. Word got around to all the nobles of the land, and they came and pleaded with Pwyll to execute his wife. But this he would not do.

Rhiannon, in her spirit, could not bring herself to punish the women, so she decided that she would take a penance from Pwyll, and that for Seven years she would sit everyday by the horseblock at the gates of the Palace, and offer anyone who came that she would carry them into the Palace on her back


And she did this for most of a year. Tiernyon Twryv Vliant was Lord of Gwent Is Coed, and he was the best man in the world. And into his house there belonged a mare, and there was no other horse in the kingdom as beautiful as she.

Every year on Beltane, she foaled and no one ever knew what became of the colt. One night Tiernyon asked his wife, what could be done about the disappearing colts. and his wife couldn't answer.

The next Beltane, Tiernyon hid in the stable and when the mare foaled, he saw a great claw come in the window and grab the colt by it's mane.

Tiernyon drew his sword and cut off the arm by the elbow and heard a great wailing. He rushed off after the creature and followed it, but he remembered that he had left the door open, so he went back and at the door was an infant baby boy, wrapped in the purest silk. So he took the baby to his wife, and as they had no other children, she kept the baby for her own.

They named the baby Goldenlocks" and he grew more strongly and quickly than any other child.

By the time two years had passed the child was as big as a six year old.

So at a certain age, they gave the colt that had been saved from the beast, to the child, being that the colt was born on the night the child was found.

Rumor came to Tiernyon of the plight of Rhiannon, and he wondered on it. And as the child grew, he noticed a strong likeness between the child and Pwyll Prince of Annuvyn, for Tiernyon had once been in the court of Pwyll.

So Tienyon said to his wife that they should not keep the boy, and send him back to Pwyll and release Rhiannon from her punishment and that Pwyll would reward them greatly for raising the child.

So Tiernyon set off for Dyfed with the child. He met Rhiannon at the gate, and both him and the child refused to be carried in on Rhiannon's back


They went to Pwyll and presented the child as his long lost son. And Rhiannon asked what name they had given him. Tiernyon said that they called the child Goldenlocks. And Pwyll said that from hence forth the child shall be called Pryderi, which is "end of trouble" for this ends the punishment of Rhiannon.

Pwyll richly rewarded Tiernyon and all his company, and said that the child and he would support them for all of their life. and Tiernyon and his wife became the foster parents of the child, that they would be able to be with him during his life.

And Pryderi, son of Pwyll prince of Dyfed, grew up strong and fair and ruled fairly for many a year .

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