Dick The Fiddler And The Fairy Crown-piece





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,

Trefeglwys.



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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