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A Young Man Marries A Fairy Lady In Fairy Land And Brings Her To Live With Him Among His Own People


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

Once on a time a shepherd boy had gone up the mountain. That day, like
many a day before and after, was exceedingly misty. Now, though he was
well acquainted with the place, he lost his way, and walked backwards and
forwards for many a long hour. At last he got into a low rushy spot,
where he saw before him many circular rings. He at once recalled the
place, and began to fear the worst. He had heard, many hundreds of
times, of the bitter experiences in those rings of many a shepherd who
had happened to chance on the dancing-place or the circles of the Fair
Family. He hastened away as fast as ever he could, lest he should be
ruined like the rest; but though he exerted himself to the point of
perspiring, and losing his breath, there he was, and there he continued
to be, a long time. At last he was met by a little fat old man with
merry blue eyes, who asked him what he was doing. He answered that he
was trying to find his way homeward. 'Oh,' said he, 'come after me, and
do not utter a word until I bid thee.' This he did, following him on and
on until they came to an oval stone, and the little old fat man lifted
it, after tapping the middle of it three times with his walking stick.
There was there a narrow path with stairs to be seen here and there, and
a sort of whitish light, inclining to grey and blue, was to be seen
radiating from the stones. 'Follow me fearlessly,' said the fat man, 'no
harm will be done thee.' So on the poor youth went, as reluctantly as a
dog to be hanged; but presently a fine-wooded, fertile country spread
itself out before them, with well arranged mansions dotting it over,
while every kind of apparent magnificence met the eye, and seemed to
smile in its landscape; the bright waters of its rivers meandered in
twisted streams, and its hills were covered with the luxuriant verdure of
their grassy growth, and the mountains with a glossy fleece of smooth
pasture. By the time they had reached the stout gentleman's mansion, the
young man's senses had been bewildered by the sweet cadence of the music
which the birds poured forth from the groves, then there was gold there
to dazzle his eyes and silver flashing on his sight. He saw there all
kinds of musical instruments and all sorts of things for playing, but he
could discern no inhabitant in the whole place; and when he sat down to
eat, the dishes on the table came to their places of themselves and
disappeared when one had done with them. This puzzled him beyond
measure; moreover, he heard people talking together around him, but for
the life of him he could see no one but his old friend. At length the
fat man said to him, 'Thou canst now talk as much as it may please thee;'
but when he attempted to move his tongue it would no more stir than if it
had been a lump of ice, which greatly frightened him. At this point, a
fine old lady, with health and benevolence beaming in her face, came to
them and slightly smiled at the shepherd. The mother was followed by her
three daughters, who were remarkably beautiful. They gazed with somewhat
playful looks at him, and at length began to talk to him, but his tongue
would not wag. Then one of the girls came to him, and, playing with his
yellow and curly locks, gave him a smart kiss on his ruddy lips. This
loosened the string that bound his tongue, and he began to talk freely
and eloquently. There he was, under the charm of that kiss, in the bliss
of happiness, and there he remained a year and a day without knowing that
he had passed more than a day among them, for he had got into a country
where there was no reckoning of time. But by and by he began to feel
somewhat of a longing to visit his old home, and asked the stout man if
he might go. 'Stay a little yet,' said he, 'and thou shalt go for a
while.' That passed, he stayed on; but Olwen, for that was the name of
the damsel that had kissed him, was very unwilling that he should depart.
She looked sad every time he talked of going away, nor was he himself
without feeling a sort of a cold thrill passing through him at the
thought of leaving her. On condition, however, of returning, he obtained
leave to go, provided with plenty of gold and silver, of trinkets and
gems. When he reached home, nobody knew who he was; it had been the
belief that he had been killed by another shepherd, who found it
necessary to betake himself hastily far away to America, lest he should
be hanged without delay. But here is Einion Las at home, and everybody
wonders especially to see that the shepherd had got to look like a
wealthy man; his manners, his dress, his language, and the treasure he
had with him, all conspired to give him the air of a gentleman. He went
back one Thursday night, the first of the moon that month, as suddenly as
he had left the first time, and nobody knew whither. There was great joy
in the country below when Einion returned thither, and nobody was more
rejoiced at it than Olwen, his beloved. The two were right impatient to
get married, but it was necessary to do that quietly, for the family
below hated nothing more than fuss and noise; so, in a sort of a
half-secret fashion, they were wedded. Einion was very desirous to go
once more among his own people, accompanied, to be sure, by his wife.
After he had been long entreating the old man for leave, they set out on
two white ponies, that were, in fact, more like snow than anything else
in point of colour; so he arrived with his consort in his old home, and
it was the opinion of all that Einion's wife was the handsomest person
they had anywhere seen. Whilst at home, a son was born to them, to whom
they gave the name of Taliesin. Einion was now in the enjoyment of high
repute, and his wife received proper respect. Their wealth was immense,
and soon they acquired a large estate; but it was not long till people
began to inquire after the pedigree of Einion's wife--the country was of
opinion that it was not the right thing to be without a pedigree. Einion
was questioned about it, without his giving any satisfactory answer, and
one came to the conclusion that she was one of the Fair Family (Tylwyth
Teg). 'Certainly,' replied Einion, 'there can be no doubt that she
comes from a very fair family, for she has two sisters who are as fair as
she, and if you saw them together, you would admit that name to be a
capital one.' This, then, is the reason why the remarkable family in the
land of charm and phantasy (Hud a Lledrith) are called the Fair

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