The Witches' Revenge On Huw Llwyd

: Welsh Folk-lore

Several months after the occurrence recorded above of Huw Llwyd, when he

had just started from his home one Sunday morning to go to his Church to

officiate there, for he was the parson of Llan Festiniog, he observed

that the Bettws-y-Coed ladies were approaching his house, and he

perceived that their object was to witch him. He knew full well that as

long as his back was turned towards them he was in their power, but that
/> when he faced them they could do him no harm; so; to avoid their evil

influence, and to frustrate their designs, he faced them, and walked

backwards every step from Cynvael to the Llan, and in this way he escaped

being injured by his female enemies. But this was not all. Huw Llwyd

knew that when he reached the Church porch he was beyond witchcraft's

reach. Having arrived there he shouted out--I defy you now, and before

I leave the Church I will make you that you can never again witch

anyone. He was as good as his word, for by his skill in the black art,

he deprived those two ladies, ere he left the Church, of their power to

witch people, and during the rest of their lives they were like other


Huw Llwyd, who was born 1533, and died 1620, was a clergyman, and it was

generally believed that priests could counteract the evils of the enemy

of mankind.

The wide-spread belief of witches being able to transform themselves into

animals is shown in the legends of many countries, and, as in the case of

fairy stories, the same tale, slightly changed, may be heard in various

places. The possibility of injuring or marking the witch in her

assumed form so deeply that the bruise remained a mark on her in her

natural form was a common belief. A tale in certain points like the one

recorded of Huw Llwyd and the witches who turned themselves into cats is

to be heard in many parts of Wales. It is as follows. I quote the main

facts from my friend Mr. Hamer's account of Llanidloes, published in the

Montgomeryshire Collections, vol. x., p. 243:--