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Dick The Fiddler And The Fairy Crown-piece


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

For the following story I am indebted to my friend, Mr Hamer, who records
it in his Parochial account of Llanidloes, published in the
Montgomeryshire Collections, vol. x., pp. 252-3-4. Mr Hamer states
that the tale was related to him by Mr. Nicholas Bennett, Glanrafon,

Dick the Fiddler was in the habit of going about the country to play at
merry-makings, fairs, etc. This worthy, after a week's fuddle at
Darowen, wending his way homeward, had to walk down 'Fairy Green Lane,'
just above the farmstead of Cefn Cloddiau, and to banish fear, which he
felt was gradually obtaining the mastery over him, instead of whistling,
drew out from the skirt pocket of his long-tailed great coat his
favourite instrument. After tuning it, be commenced elbowing his way
through his favourite air, Aden Ddu'r Fran (the Crow's Black Wing).
When he passed over the green sward where the Tylwyth Teg, or Fairies,
held their merry meetings, he heard something rattle in his fiddle, and
this something continued rattling and tinkling until he reached Llwybr
Scriw Riw, his home, almost out of his senses at the fright caused by
that everlasting 'tink, rink, jink,' which was ever sounding in his ears.
Having entered the cottage he soon heard music of a different kind, in
the harsh angry voice of his better half, who justly incensed at his
absence, began lecturing him in a style, which, unfortunately, Dick, from
habit, could not wholly appreciate. He was called a worthless fool, a
regular drunkard and idler. 'How is it possible for me to beg enough for
myself and half a house-full of children nearly naked, while you go about
the country and bring me nothing home.' 'Hush, hush, my good woman,'
said Dick, 'see what's in the blessed old fiddle.' She obeyed, shook it,
and out tumbled, to their great surprise, a five-shilling piece. The
wife looked up into the husband's face, saw that it was 'as pale as a
sheet' with fright: and also noting that he had such an unusually large
sum in his possession, she came to the conclusion that he could not live
long, and accordingly changed her style saying, 'Good man go to
Llanidloes to-morrow, it is market-day and buy some shirting for
yourself, for it may never be your good fortune to have such a sum of
money again.' The following day, according to his wife's wishes, Dick
wended his way to Llanidloes, musing, as he went along, upon his
extraordinary luck, and unable to account for it. Arrived in the town,
he entered Richard Evans's shop, and called for shirting linen to the
value of five shillings, for which he gave the shopkeeper the crown piece
taken out of the fiddle. Mr. Evans placed it in the till, and our worthy
Dick betook himself to Betty Brunt's public-house (now known as the
Unicorn) in high glee with the capital piece of linen in the skirt pocket
of his long-tailed top coat. He had not, however, been long seated
before Mr. Evans came in, and made sharp enquiries as to how and where he
obtained possession of the crown piece with which he had paid for the
linen. Dick assumed a solemn look, and then briefly related where and
how he had received the coin. 'Say you so,' said Evans, 'I thought as
much, for when I looked into the till, shortly after you left the shop,
to my great surprise it was changed into a heap of musty horse dung.'

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