The Son Of Llech Y Derwydd And The Fairies

: 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