Gwragedd Annwn

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In Welsh folklore the Gwragedd Annwn (singular gwraig annwn [1] ) are beautiful female fairies who live beneath lakes and rivers [2] [3] and are counted among the Tylwyth Teg or Welsh fairy folk. [3] [4] They are also known as Lake Maidens. [5]

Fairy mythical being or legendary creature

A fairy is a type of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural.

Tylwyth Teg is the most usual term in Wales for the mythological creatures corresponding to the fairy folk of English and Continental folklore and the Irish Aos Sí. Other names for them include Bendith y Mamau, Gwyllion and Ellyllon.

Contents

Folklore

The Gwragedd Annwn sometimes become the wives of human men. One such tale recorded by John Rhys in Celtic Folklore, considered by him to be the most complete and representative of its type, recounts how in the twelfth century there lived a widow at Blaensawdde near Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire. One day she sent her son to graze their cattle on the Black Mountain range near the lake of Llyn y Fan Fach, and there he saw a beautiful maiden sitting on the surface of the lake combing her hair. He tried to court her by offering her some bread and cheese, but she gently refused saying the bread was too hard, and she disappeared beneath the water. When he returned home and told his mother what happened, she advised him to try again next time using some unbaked dough. The maiden again kindly refused, saying this time the bread was too soft. The young farmer's mother then suggested using some bread that was lightly baked, and this time after offering it to her the maiden consented to marry him. However, she stipulated the condition that they should only be together until he struck her three times without cause, upon which she would leave him forever, and to this he readily agreed. [6]

John Rhys British celticist

Sir John Rhys, was a Welsh scholar, fellow of the British Academy, Celticist and the first Professor of Celtic at Oxford University.

Llanddeusant is a community in the Black Mountain (range) of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is about 5 miles southeast of Llangadog.

Black Mountain (range) mountain range at the west of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The Black Mountain is a mountain range in South and West Wales, straddling the county boundary between Carmarthenshire and Brecknockshire and forming the westernmost range of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Its highest point is Fan Brycheiniog at 802 metres or 2,631 ft. The Black Mountain also forms a part of the Fforest Fawr Geopark.

The fairy maiden then dived into the lake and reappeared a short time later with her father and twin sister. The father said he would consent to the marriage provided the young man could tell which of the two identical ladies was the true object of his affection. A slight movement of his beloved's foot, and an observation of the unique way in which she had tied her sandal laces, enabled him to make the correct decision. The maiden's father gave her a dowry of as many sheep, cattle, goats and horses as she could count of each without drawing breath, and reminded the young man that if he ever struck her three times without cause then she would leave him forever and the dowry would be forfeit. [7]

A dowry [Dahej ] is a transfer of parental property, gifts, or money at the marriage of a daughter. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price and dower. While bride price or bride service is a payment by the groom or his family to the bride's parents, dowry is the wealth transferred from the bride's family to the groom or his family, ostensibly for the bride. Similarly, dower is the property settled on the bride herself, by the groom at the time of marriage, and which remains under her ownership and control. Dowry is an ancient custom, and its existence may well predate records of it. Dowries continue to be expected and demanded as a condition to accept a marriage proposal in some parts of the world, mainly in parts of Asia, Northern Africa and the Balkans. In some parts of the world, disputes related to dowry sometimes result in acts of violence against women, including killings and acid attacks. The custom of dowry is most common in cultures that are strongly patrilineal and that expect women to reside with or near their husband's family (patrilocality). Dowries have long histories in Europe, South Asia, Africa and other parts of the world.

When they were married they went to live at a farm called Esgair Llaethdy near the village of Myddfai. They were happy and prosperous and became the parents of three beautiful sons, the eldest named Rhiwallon, but the wife continued to exhibit strange fairy behaviour such as weeping at weddings (because marriage often brings trouble) and laughing at funerals (because death brings release from trouble). At each instance of this her husband struck her a blow, not an angry or harmful one, but enough to break the terms of their marriage contract. Upon the third one she left him forever and took all their livestock back with her to the fairy realm. However, she did not completely abandon her sons. From time to time she would reunite with them on the shores of the lake and teach them the arts of healing so that they and their descendants would become the greatest physicians in the entire country. They were rewarded with land, rank and privilege, and became known as the Physicians of Myddfai. [8]

Myddfai village in United Kingdom

Myddfai is a small village and community in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is situated south of Llandovery in the Brecon Beacons, and has a population of 415, decreasing to 398 at the 2011 census.

Fairyland, in English and Anglo-Scottish folklore, is the fabulous land or abode of fairies or fays. Old French faierie referred to an illusion, or enchantment; the land of the Faes. Modern English fairy transferred the name of the realm of the fays to its inhabitants, e.g. the expression fairie knight in Spenser refers to a "supernatural knight" or a "knight of Faerie" but was later re-interpreted as referring to a knight who is "a fairy".

The Physicians of Myddfai were, according to local folklore, a succession of physicians who lived in the parish of Myddfai in Carmarthenshire, Wales.

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References

Citations

  1. Sikes 1880, pp. 39–43.
  2. Sikes 1880, pp. 12, 34.
  3. 1 2 Davies 1911, p. 89.
  4. Sikes 1880, p. 12.
  5. Rhys 1901, p. 17.
  6. Rhys 1901, pp. 2–7.
  7. Rhys 1901, pp. 7–8.
  8. Rhys 1901, pp. 8–12.

Bibliography

Jonathan Ceredig Davies was a Welsh traveller, and writer, from the Llangunllo area, Cardiganshire. In 1875, aged 16, he travelled to the recently formed Welsh colony in Patagonia. In 1891, he returned to Wales, where from 1892 he is known to have been responsible for editing 'Yr Athrofa'. In 1898 he left for a four year long visit to Western Australia. He was interested in studying native populations and their local customs. He made a further trip to Western Australia in 1907, and in later years visited Spain and France, but settled in Wales and devoted the remainder of his life to his studies of the country's history, folk-lore, and genealogy.

William Wirt Sikes was an American journalist and writer, perhaps best known today for his writings on Welsh folklore and customs.

See also

Annwn, Annwfn, or Annwfyn is the Otherworld in Welsh mythology. Ruled by Arawn, it was essentially a world of delights and eternal youth where disease was absent and food was ever-abundant. It became identified with the Christian afterlife in paradise.

Lady of the Lake ruler of Avalon in the Arthurian legend

The Lady of the Lake is an enchantress in the Matter of Britain, the body of medieval literature and legend associated with King Arthur. She plays a pivotal role in many stories, including giving Arthur his sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father. At least two different sorceresses bearing the title "the Lady of the Lake" appear as separate characters in some versions and adaptations since the Post-Vulgate Cycle and consequently Le Morte d'Arthur.

Rule of three (writing)

The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers. The audience of this form of text is also thereby more likely to remember the information conveyed because having three entities combines both brevity and rhythm with having the smallest amount of information to create a pattern. It makes the author or speaker appear knowledgeable while being both simple and catchy.