The Gloddaeth Ghost


The following tale was told the Rev. Owen Jones, Pentrevoelas, by Thomas

Davies, Tycoch, Rhyl, the hero in the story.

I may say that Gloddaeth Wood is a remnant of the primaeval forest that

is mentioned by Sir John Wynn, in his History of the Gwydir Family, as

extending over a large tract of the country. This wood, being

undisturbed and in its original wild condition, was the home of foxes and

other verm
n, for whose destruction the surrounding parishes willingly

paid half-a-crown per head. This reward was an inducement to men who had

leisure, to trap and hunt these obnoxious animals. Thomas Davies was

engaged in this work, and, taking a walk through the wood one day for the

purpose of discovering traces of foxes, he came upon a fox's den, and

from the marks about the burrow he ascertained that there were young

foxes in the hole. This was to him a grand discovery, for, in

anticipation, cubs and vixen were already his. Looking about him, he

noticed that there was opposite the fox's den a large oak tree with

forked branches, and this sight settled his plan of operation. He saw

that he could place himself in this tree in such a position that he could

see the vixen leave, and return to her den, and, from his knowledge of

the habits of the animal, he knew she would commence foraging when

darkness and stillness prevailed. He therefore determined to commence

the campaign forthwith, and so he went home to make his preparations.

I should say that the sea was close to the wood, and that small craft

often came to grief on the coast. I will now proceed with the story.

Davies had taken his seat on a bough opposite the fox's den, when he

heard a horrible scream in the direction of the sea, which apparently was

that of a man in distress, and the sound uttered was Oh, Oh. Thus

Davies's attention was divided between the dismal, Oh, and his fox.

But, as the sound was a far way off, he felt disinclined to heed it, for

he did not think it incumbent on him to ascertain the cause of that

distressing utterance, nor did he think it his duty to go to the relief

of a suffering fellow creature. He therefore did not leave his seat on

the tree. But the cry of anguish, every now and again, reached his ears,

and evidently, it was approaching the tree on which Davies sat. He now

listened the more to the awful sounds, which at intervals reverberated

through the wood, and he could no longer be mistaken--they were coming in

his direction. Nearer and nearer came the dismal Oh! Oh! and with its

approach, the night became pitch dark, and now the Oh! Oh! Oh! was

only a few yards off, but nothing could be seen in consequence of the

deep darkness. The sounds however ceased, but a horrible sight was

presented to the frightened man's view. There, he saw before him, a nude

being with eyes burning like fire, and these glittering balls were

directed towards him. The awful being was only a dozen yards or so off.

And now it crouched, and now it stood erect, but it never for a single

instant withdrew its terrible eyes from the miserable man in the tree,

who would have fallen to the ground were it not for the protecting

boughs. Many times Davies thought that his last moment had come, for it

seemed that the owner of those fiery eyes was about to spring upon him.

As he did not do so, Davies somewhat regained his self possession, and

thought of firing at the horrible being; but his courage failed, and

there he sat motionless, not knowing what the end might be. He closed

his eyes to avoid that gaze, which seemed to burn into him, but this was

a short relief, for he felt constrained to look into those burning orbs,

still it was a relief even to close his eyes: and so again and again he

closed them, only, however, to open them on those balls of fire. About 4

o'clock in the morning, he heard a cock crow at Penbryn farm, and at the

moment his eyes were closed, but at the welcome sound he opened them, and

looked for those balls of fire, but, oh! what pleasure, they were no

longer before him, for, at the crowing of the cock, they, and the being

to whom they belonged, had disappeared.