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The Son Of Llech Y Derwydd And The Fairies


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

The son of Llech y Derwydd was the only son of his parents and heir to
the farm. He was very dear to his father and mother, yea, he was as the
very light of their eyes. The son and the head servant man were bosom
friends, they were like two brothers, or rather twins. As they were such
close friends the farmer's wife was in the habit of clothing them exactly
alike. The two friends fell in love with two young handsome women who
were highly respected in the neighbourhood. This event gave the old
people great satisfaction, and ere long the two couples were joined in
holy wedlock, and great was the merry-making on the occasion. The
servant man obtained a convenient place to live in on the grounds of
Llech y Derwydd. About six months after the marriage of the son, he and
the servant man went out to hunt. The servant penetrated to a ravine
filled with brushwood to look for game, and presently returned to his
friend, but by the time he came back the son was nowhere to be seen. He
continued awhile looking about for his absent friend, shouting and
whistling to attract his attention, but there was no answer to his calls.
By and by he went home to Llech y Derwydd, expecting to find him there,
but no one knew anything about him. Great was the grief of the family
throughout the night, but it was even greater the next day. They went to
inspect the place where the son had last been seen. His mother and his
wife wept bitterly, but the father had greater control over himself,
still he appeared as half mad. They inspected the place where the
servant man had last seen his friend, and, to their great surprise and
sorrow, observed a Fairy ring close by the spot, and the servant
recollected that he had heard seductive music somewhere about the time
that he parted with his friend. They came to the conclusion at once that
the man had been so unfortunate as to enter the Fairy ring, and they
conjectured that he had been transported no one knew where. Weary weeks
and months passed away, and a son was born to the absent man. The little
one grew up the very image of his father, and very precious was he to his
grandfather and grandmother. In fact, he was everything to them. He
grew up to man's estate and married a pretty girl in the neighbourhood,
but her people had not the reputation of being kind-hearted. The old
folks died, and also their daughter-in-law.

One windy afternoon in the month of October, the family of Llech y
Derwydd saw a tall thin old man with beard and hair as white as snow, who
they thought was a Jew, approaching slowly, very slowly, towards the
house. The servant girls stared mockingly through the window at him, and
their mistress laughed unfeelingly at the old Jew, and lifted the
children up, one after the other, to get a sight of him as he neared the
house. He came to the door, and entered the house boldly enough, and
inquired after his parents. The mistress answered him in a surly and
unusually contemptuous manner, and wished to know What the drunken old
Jew wanted there, for they thought he must have been drinking or he
would never have spoken in the way he did. The old man looked at
everything in the house with surprise and bewilderment, but the little
children about the floor took his attention more than anything else. His
looks betrayed sorrow and deep disappointment. He related his whole
history, that, yesterday he had gone out to hunt, and that he had now
returned. The mistress told him that she had heard a story about her
husband's father, which occurred before she was born, that he had been
lost whilst hunting, but that her father had told her that the story was
not true, but that he had been killed. The woman became uneasy and angry
that the old Jew did not depart. The old man was roused and said that
the house was his, and that he would have his rights. He went to inspect
his possessions, and shortly afterwards directed his steps to the
servant's house. To his surprise he saw that things there were greatly
changed. After conversing awhile with an aged man who sat by the fire,
they carefully looked each other in the face, and the old man by the fire
related the sad history of his lost friend, the son of Llech y Derwydd.
They conversed together deliberately on the events of their youth, but
all seemed like a dream. However, the old man in the corner came to the
conclusion that his visitor was his dear friend, the son of Llech y
Derwydd, returned from the land of the Fairies after having spent there
half a hundred years. The old man with the white beard believed the
story related by his friend, and long was the talk and many were the
questions which the one gave to the other. The visitor was informed that
the master of Llech y Derwydd was from home that day, and he was
persuaded to eat some food; but, to the horror of all, when he had done
so, he instantly fell down dead.

Such is the story. The writer adds that the tale relates that the cause
of this man's sudden death was that he ate food after having been so long
in the land of the Fairies, and he further states that the faithful old
servant insisted on his dead friend's being buried with his ancestors,
and the rudeness of the mistress of Llech y Derwydd to her father-in-law
brought a curse upon the place and family, and her offence was not
expiated until the farm had been sold nine times.

The next tale that I shall relate is recorded by Glasynys in Cymru
Fu, pp. 177-179. Professor Rhys in his Welsh Fairy Tales, Y
Cymmrodor, vol. v., pp. 81-84, gives a translation of this story. The
Professor prefaces the tale with a caution that Glasynys had elaborated
the story, and that the proper names were undoubtedly his own. The
reverend author informs his readers that he heard his mother relate the
tale many times, but it certainly appears that he has ornamented the
simple narrative after his own fashion, for he was professedly a believer
in words; however, in its general outline, it bears the impress of
antiquity, and strongly resembles other Welsh Fairy tales. It belongs to
that species of Fairy stories which compose this chapter, and therefore
it is here given as translated by Professor Rhys. I will for the sake of
reference give the tale a name, and describe it under the following

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

Previous: A Man Who Spent Twelve Months And A Day With The Fairies

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