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Flying Serpents


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

The traditional origin of these imaginary creatures was that they were
snakes, which by having drunk the milk of a woman, and by having eaten of
bread consecrated for the Holy Communion, became transformed into winged
serpents or dragons.

These dangerous creatures had their lurking places in many districts, and
they attacked everyone that crossed their paths. There was said to have
been one such den on Moel Bentyrch. Old Mrs. Davies, Plas, Dolanog, who
died 1890, aged 92, told the Rev. D. R. Evans, B.A., son of the Vicar of
Dolanog, that once, when she was a young woman, she went to Llanfair
market, and on the way she sat on a stile, and she saw smoke and fire
issuing from a hole on Moel Bentyrch, where the Gwiber, or Flying
Serpent, had its abode. She ran, and never stopped until she had placed
a good distance between her and the hill. She believed that both the
smoke and fire were caused by the serpent. There is also a tradition
still current in Dolanog that this flying serpent was destroyed by
wrapping some red material round a post into which sharp nails were
driven. The serpent, attacking this post with furious onslaughts, was
lacerated by the sharp spikes, and died. A like tradition is current in
Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant in connection with the Post Coch, or
Post-y-Wiber, or Maen Hir y Maes-Mochnant.

Mr. Hancock in his History of Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant, writes as

The legend connected with this stone pillar is, that it was raised
in order to prevent the devastation which a winged serpent or dragon
(a Wiber) was committing in the surrounding country. The stone was
draped with scarlet cloth, to allure and excite the creature to a
furor, scarlet being a colour most intolerably hateful and provoking
to it. It was studded with iron spikes, that the reptile might wound
or kill itself by beating itself against it. Its destruction, it is
alleged, was effected by this artifice. It is said to have had two
lurking places in the neighbourhood, which are still called
Nant-y-Wiber, one at Penygarnedd, the other near Bwlch Sychtyn, in
the parish of Llansilin, and this post was in the direct line of its
flight. Similar legends referring to winged serpents exist in
various parts of Wales. In the adjoining parish of
Llanarmon-Dyffryn-Ceiriog there is a place called Sarffle (the
serpent's hole).--Montgomeryshire Collections, vol. ix., 237.

Next: Snake Rings Or Glain Nadroedd

Previous: The Snake Serpent

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