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


Once on a time a shepherd boy had gone up the mountain. That day, like

many a day before and after, was exceedingly misty. Now, though he was

well acquainted with the place, he lost his way, and walked backwards and

forwards for many a long hour. At last he got into a low rushy spot,

where he saw before him many circular rings. He at once recalled the

place, and began to fear the worst. He had heard, many hundreds of

/> times, of the bitter experiences in those rings of many a shepherd who

had happened to chance on the dancing-place or the circles of the Fair

Family. He hastened away as fast as ever he could, lest he should be

ruined like the rest; but though he exerted himself to the point of

perspiring, and losing his breath, there he was, and there he continued

to be, a long time. At last he was met by a little fat old man with

merry blue eyes, who asked him what he was doing. He answered that he

was trying to find his way homeward. 'Oh,' said he, 'come after me, and

do not utter a word until I bid thee.' This he did, following him on and

on until they came to an oval stone, and the little old fat man lifted

it, after tapping the middle of it three times with his walking stick.

There was there a narrow path with stairs to be seen here and there, and

a sort of whitish light, inclining to grey and blue, was to be seen

radiating from the stones. 'Follow me fearlessly,' said the fat man, 'no

harm will be done thee.' So on the poor youth went, as reluctantly as a

dog to be hanged; but presently a fine-wooded, fertile country spread

itself out before them, with well arranged mansions dotting it over,

while every kind of apparent magnificence met the eye, and seemed to

smile in its landscape; the bright waters of its rivers meandered in

twisted streams, and its hills were covered with the luxuriant verdure of

their grassy growth, and the mountains with a glossy fleece of smooth

pasture. By the time they had reached the stout gentleman's mansion, the

young man's senses had been bewildered by the sweet cadence of the music

which the birds poured forth from the groves, then there was gold there

to dazzle his eyes and silver flashing on his sight. He saw there all

kinds of musical instruments and all sorts of things for playing, but he

could discern no inhabitant in the whole place; and when he sat down to

eat, the dishes on the table came to their places of themselves and

disappeared when one had done with them. This puzzled him beyond

measure; moreover, he heard people talking together around him, but for

the life of him he could see no one but his old friend. At length the

fat man said to him, 'Thou canst now talk as much as it may please thee;'

but when he attempted to move his tongue it would no more stir than if it

had been a lump of ice, which greatly frightened him. At this point, a

fine old lady, with health and benevolence beaming in her face, came to

them and slightly smiled at the shepherd. The mother was followed by her

three daughters, who were remarkably beautiful. They gazed with somewhat

playful looks at him, and at length began to talk to him, but his tongue

would not wag. Then one of the girls came to him, and, playing with his

yellow and curly locks, gave him a smart kiss on his ruddy lips. This

loosened the string that bound his tongue, and he began to talk freely

and eloquently. There he was, under the charm of that kiss, in the bliss

of happiness, and there he remained a year and a day without knowing that

he had passed more than a day among them, for he had got into a country

where there was no reckoning of time. But by and by he began to feel

somewhat of a longing to visit his old home, and asked the stout man if

he might go. 'Stay a little yet,' said he, 'and thou shalt go for a

while.' That passed, he stayed on; but Olwen, for that was the name of

the damsel that had kissed him, was very unwilling that he should depart.

She looked sad every time he talked of going away, nor was he himself

without feeling a sort of a cold thrill passing through him at the

thought of leaving her. On condition, however, of returning, he obtained

leave to go, provided with plenty of gold and silver, of trinkets and

gems. When he reached home, nobody knew who he was; it had been the

belief that he had been killed by another shepherd, who found it

necessary to betake himself hastily far away to America, lest he should

be hanged without delay. But here is Einion Las at home, and everybody

wonders especially to see that the shepherd had got to look like a

wealthy man; his manners, his dress, his language, and the treasure he

had with him, all conspired to give him the air of a gentleman. He went

back one Thursday night, the first of the moon that month, as suddenly as

he had left the first time, and nobody knew whither. There was great joy

in the country below when Einion returned thither, and nobody was more

rejoiced at it than Olwen, his beloved. The two were right impatient to

get married, but it was necessary to do that quietly, for the family

below hated nothing more than fuss and noise; so, in a sort of a

half-secret fashion, they were wedded. Einion was very desirous to go

once more among his own people, accompanied, to be sure, by his wife.

After he had been long entreating the old man for leave, they set out on

two white ponies, that were, in fact, more like snow than anything else

in point of colour; so he arrived with his consort in his old home, and

it was the opinion of all that Einion's wife was the handsomest person

they had anywhere seen. Whilst at home, a son was born to them, to whom

they gave the name of Taliesin. Einion was now in the enjoyment of high

repute, and his wife received proper respect. Their wealth was immense,

and soon they acquired a large estate; but it was not long till people

began to inquire after the pedigree of Einion's wife--the country was of

opinion that it was not the right thing to be without a pedigree. Einion

was questioned about it, without his giving any satisfactory answer, and

one came to the conclusion that she was one of the Fair Family (Tylwyth

Teg). 'Certainly,' replied Einion, 'there can be no doubt that she

comes from a very fair family, for she has two sisters who are as fair as

she, and if you saw them together, you would admit that name to be a

capital one.' This, then, is the reason why the remarkable family in the

land of charm and phantasy (Hud a Lledrith) are called the Fair