(Translation by Lady Charlotte Guest

Notes by Joseph Loth, my English translation)



Kilydd the son of Prince Kelyddon desired a wife as a helpmate, and the wife that he chose was Goleuddydd (1), the daughter of Prince Anlawdd (2). And after their union, the people put up prayers that they might have an heir. And they had a son through the prayers of the people.


(1)  Goleuddydd,  shiny day;” ref. Breton  gouloudeiz.


(2)  In  Achau saint ynys Prydain (Myv., p. 431, collar. 2) or Genealogies of the saints  of the island of Brittany,  Amlawdd Wledic is said to be the father of Tywanwedd or Dwywanwedd, who was mother of several saints, specially of  Tyvrydoc,  honoured with Llandyvrydocen Mon  (Anglesey).  Tyvrydoc gave  its name, in  Armorica, to Saint-Evarzec, district of Quimper, in the XIIth century,  Sent-Defridec,  during the XIVth  Saint-Teffredeuc  and  Saint-Effredeuc.  The Brut Tysilio makes of Eigr, Gaufrei of Monmouth’s Igerna, and in his opinion, the mother of Arthur, a daughter  of Amlawd Wledic (Myv.  arch., 2nd ed.. p, 481, col. 1). This detail is not in Gaufrei; it is found in a manuscript that  Myv. declares to be five hundred years old,  p.587, and which is a Welsh version of Gaufrei (Eigyr verch Amlawd wledic; this manuscript gives as Gorloes, more correct and Cornic than Gwrlais).


From the time of her pregnancy Goleuddydd became wild, and wandered about, without habitation; but when her delivery was at hand, her reason came back to her. Then she went to a mountain where there was a swineherd, keeping a herd of swine. And through fear of the swine the queen was delivered. And the swineherd took the boy, and brought him to the palace; and he was christened, and they called him Culhwck (1), because he had been found in a swine's burrow. Nevertheless the boy was of gentle lineage, and cousin unto Arthur (2); and they put him out to nurse.


 (1)  Kulhwch.  This is one of these whimsical etymologies, as met from time to time in the Mabinogion, and, in general, in the Middle Ages texts. The author, breaking up the word into  kul  and  hwch,  saw in  kul  the word  cil,  “hiding-place, retirement, corner, or narrow bottom,” and in  hwch  the word  hwch,  today  sow,  but formerly  pig  in general (ref. Armorican, houch, pig”). The name Kulhwch  is preserved in  Tref Culhwch, close to Pencaer in Pembrokeshire (Egerton Phillimore,  Owen's Pembrok.,  72. b. 322, notes).


(2)  Arthur. The name of Arthur is marked neither by Gildas, nor by Bede. It appears for the first time in Nennius. According to the author  of Historia Britonum,  Arthur was war leader against the Saxons at the end of the 5th century; he would have gained over them twelve victories. A part that perhaps does not even belong to primitive work, mentions a hunt for the monster called  porcum Troit, by Arthur and his dog Cavall.  Historia,  in its original parts, dates from the IXth century (See Arthur de la Borderie,  Historia Britonum, allotted to Nennius. Paris, 1832;  Heeger,  Die Trojanersage der Britten.  Munich,  1887;  Zimmer,  Nennius vindicatus). The Cambriae Annals,  in their oldest part, whose drafting appears to be of Xth century (they were written between 954 and 955, as shown by Egerton Philimore,  Y Cymmrodor,  IX, p. 141-189 - the oldest manuscript, called Harblian, is more than one century younger), says that Arthur carried the cross three days and three nights on his shoulders, during the battle of Badon mount, of which Gildas speaks also, and which looks like having been a very serious defeat for the Saxons. According to these same annals, Arthur would have perished with his nephew and foe Medraut, in 537, at the battle of Camlann. In Gaufrei of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae, the history of Arthur appears singularly pushed forward: he is the son of Uther, king of the Bretons, and of  Igerna, wife of Gorlois, the duke of Cornwall; he beats not only the Saxons, but the Irishmen and the Romans; he conquers a good part of Europe. His nephew Modred seizes, in his absence, his throne and his wife. Arthur succeeds in beating him in spite of Modred’s alliance with the Saxons; but he is mortally wounded and is carried to the island of Avallon to tend his wounds. From there, the Bretons of England and France awaited his arrival since a long time. The history of the birth of Arthur, of the love of Igerna and Uter, perhaps inspired by Ovid (as pointed out Mr. Paulin Paris in his Les Romans de la Table Ronde, I, p. 48), are not only drawn upon Gaufrei’s imagination; his quarrel with Medraut, his wound and his retirement with Avallon belong to the Breton traditions, Gaufrei, does of him a son of Uther, perhaps commented this text of Nennius, where it is said as that, because of his passion for war,  the Bretons had called him Mab Uter, i.e. filius horribilis; from the Middle Welsh uthr , ‘surprising, marvellous’. In the Welsh Traditions and the poetry, he is often an supernatural character; the properties of his sword, of his coat, recall those of some of the  heroes of the Irish epic. One would need a volume to gather everything found in the Welsh literature about this Breton hero. If he really existed (doubting it would cost your life, during the Middle Ages, in Breton country), the legend, undoubtedly, allotted to him the features of heroes or older demigods. (For more information on the legend of Arthur, ref. to Gaston Paris, Hist. litt., XXX, p. 3 and following; San-Marte, Die Arthursage, Quedlinburg, 1842; John Rhys, Arthurian Legend, 1891; Celtic Folklore, 2 vol. 1901, passim; on the many localities that bore the name of Arthur see Stuart Glennie. Arthurian Localities, Edinburgh, 1869). One still says in French Brittany: strong as an Artu.


After this the boy's mother, Goleuddydd, the daughter of Prince Anlawdd, fell sick. Then she called her husband unto her, and said to him, “Of this sickness I shall die, and thou wilt take another wife. Now wives are the gift of the Lord, but it would be wrong for thee to harm thy son. Therefore I charge thee that thou take not a wife until thou see a briar with two blossoms upon my grave.” And this he promised her. Then she besought him to dress her grave every year, that nothing might grow thereon. So the queen died. Now the king sent an attendant (1) [should be: ‘family teacher’] every morning to see if anything were growing upon the grave. And at the end of the seventh year the master neglected that which he had promised to the queen.

One day the king went to hunt, and he rode to the place of burial to see the grave, and to know if it were time that he should take a wife; and the king saw the briar. And when he saw it, the king took counsel where he should find a wife. Said one of his counsellors :


(1) Athraw or Athro. Former Welsh had the habit to have a athraw in the family: There are three things that a Welshman, owner of ground, must keep and maintain: a legitimate woman, an armed man, if it cannot itself carry weapons, and a private teacher” (Athraw leuluaidd. Ancient laws, II, p. 514, 31). The bardd often played this role; and, in particular, held the genealogies. Athro might rather point at the confessor perhaps here, or rather one of these family clerks called ‘latiniers,’ (‘latiners’) who, in XIIIth c., France cumulated the functions of interpreter, writer and chaplain (See Lecoy de la Marche,, La Société au XIIIème siècle, p.191).


“I know a wife that will suit thee well, and she is the wife of King Doged. (1)” And they resolved to go to seek her; and they slew the king, and brought away his wife and one daughter that she had along with her. And they conquered the king's lands.


On a certain day, as the lady walked abroad, she came to the house of an old crone (2) [should be: witch] that dwelt in the town, and that had no tooth in her head. And the queen said to her, “Old woman, tell me that which I shall ask thee, for the love of Heaven. Where are the children of the man who has carried me away by violence?" Said the crone, “He has not children.” Said the queen, “Woe is me, that I should have come to one who is childless!" Then said the hag, “Thou needest not lament on account of that, for there is a prediction that he shall have an heir by thee, and by none other. Moreover, be not sorrowful, for he has one son.”


The lady returned home with joy; and she asked her consort, “Wherefore hast thou concealed thy children from me?" The king said, “I will do so no longer. (3)” And he sent messengers for his son, and he was brought to the Court. His stepmother said unto him, “It were well for thee to have a wife, and I have a daughter who is sought of every man of renown in the world.”


(1) According to Rees, Welsh Saints, p. 209 (see Lady Guest, Mab., II, p.320), there was a king Doged, son of Cedig ab Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig, brother of the bishop Avan, founder of Llan-Avan in Breconshire. He was put amongst the saints, and gave his name to Llan-Ddoged, in Denbighshire. He could have lived from 500 to 542.

(2) Old witch in the figurative meaning of the word (ref. old fay). The Breton word groac'h has all the meanings of Welsh gwrach.

(3) This whole text is in the Welsh version of the Seven Wise ones of Rome of the Selections from Hengwrt mss. II, p. 301, see J. Loth, Revue Celtique, XXIII, p. 349.


“I am not yet of an age to wed (1),” answered the youth. Then she said unto him, “I declare to thee, that it is thy destiny not to be suited with a wife until thou obtain Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr.” And the youth blushed, and the love of the maiden diffused itself through all his frame, although he had never seen her. And his father inquired of him, “What has come over thee my son, and what aileth thee?”

“My stepmother has declared to me that I shall never have a wife until I obtain Olwen (2), the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr.”

“That will be easy for thee,” answered his father.

“Arthur is thy cousin. Go, therefore, unto Arthur, to cut thy hair (3), and ask this of him as a boon.”


(1) According to the oldest drafting of the Welsh laws, the one of Gwynedd or North-Wales, girls could be married (‘to give them to a husband’: rody y wr) at twelve. Boys could be married at fourteen years, because, at this age, he was a master of his actions, he can own things; his father does not have any more a right of beating him (Ancient laws, I, p. 202, 8; 204, 3). It goes without saying that Kulhwch’s answer does not refer to the age fixed by law.

(2) Dafydd ab Gwilym, singing a woman, calls her fain Olwen “thin, slender Olwen” (p. 162); a similar comparison is found in Iolo mss., p. 239.

(3) According to Rees’ Cyclopaedia, quoted by Lady Guest, families of standing during the VIIIth century used to ask a well-considered person to perform the first haircut of their children: these people would become something like the children’s spiritual fathers or godfathers. Constantin sent to the Pope the hair of his son Heraclius, as a pledge of his wish to see him become an adoptive father to Heraclius. Guortigern had a son with his daughter, and convinced her to carry the child to bishop Germain, declaring who was the father. Germain said to the child: Pater tibi ero, nec le permittam nisi mihi novacula cum forcipe et pectine detur, et ad patrem tuum carnalem tibi dare liceat.” The child goes straight to Guortigern, and says: “Pater meus es tu, caput meum tonde, et comam capitis mei pecte.” (Hist., XXXIX). The word diwyn indicates here thus the action to put in order, to cut and comb the hair. This same habit existed in the Germanic world (See Loth, Revue Celt., 1890, p. 495-496). The present example does not support, however, that this operation would be intended to provide a child with a spiritual father, but that it was reserved to the father and to the parents.


And the youth pricked forth upon a steed with head dappled grey, of four winters old, firm of limb, with shell-formed hoofs, having a bridle of linked gold on his head, and upon him a saddle of costly gold. And in the youth's hand were two spears of silver, sharp, well-tempered, headed with steel (1), three ells in length, of an edge to wound the wind, and cause blood to flow, and swifter than the fall of the dewdrop from the blade of reed-grass upon the earth when the dew of June is at the heaviest. A gold-hilted sword was upon his thigh, the blade of which was of gold, bearing a cross of inlaid gold of the hue of the lightning of heaven: his war-horn was of ivory (2). Before him were two brindled white-breasted greyhounds, having strong collars of rubies about their necks, reaching from the shoulder to the ear. And the one that was on the left side bounded across to the right side, and the one on the right to the left, and like two sea-swallows sported around him. And his courser cast up four sods with his four hoofs, like four swallows in the air, about his head, now above, now below. About him was a four-cornered cloth of purple, and an apple of gold was at each corner, and every one of the apples was of the value of a hundred kine (3). And there was precious gold of the value of three hundred kine upon his shoes, and upon his stirrups, from his knee to the tip of his toe.


(1) [Loth comments on his translation of Welsh gleif by spear and not by broadsword, as a French speaker would expect.] What is called a glaive (broadsword) in the Middle Age French novels, is a spear. The Welsh gleif, borrowed from French glaive, has the same meaning. In Brut Gr. ab Arthur (Myv. Arch., 532.2), Arthur takes his sword Caletvwlch; then takes a gleif named Ron uwchel. However in the corresponding Nod., found in a XIIth.-XIIIth century manuscript (Myv. arch., p. 589, n° 510), the word gleif is replaced by gwaew; spear. In the same way in Brut Tysilio. (ibid., 463.1), the spear is called Rongymyniat: in Kulhwch its name is Rongomiant.

(2) the Welsh text says lugorn olifant yndi (and an ivory lugorn in it). It could be possible to translate lugorn by war horn [as Lady Guest does] but it is a very rare meaning. It evokes perhaps of a lantern in the cross or the pommel of the sword. Sometimes lantern indicated, in the Middle Ages, a jewel containing scented balls; according to Littré, this name is still given to the open worked part of the cross of a bishop, or stick of a priest helper. The pommels of sword, in the Middle Ages, were often open worked; and would contain, under a bezel, relics to swear upon (See Viollet-le-Duc, Dictionnaire du mobilier français, V, p. 378). Peniarth, IV (L Blanc 483), instead of lugorn, says lloring of unknown meaning.

(3) By the old Britons, as among Irishmen, the commercial value was appreciated in cattle heads. It is still the way of counting, in the laws of Howel Da, written during the tenth century, but of which the oldest manuscript is dated of the twelfth century. It recalls the times when wealth consisted mainly of herds.


And the blade of grass bent not beneath him, so light was his courser's tread as he journeyed towards the gate of Arthur's Palace.


Spoke the youth, “Is there a porter?”

“There is; and if thou holdest not thy peace, small will be thy welcome [Loth notices a gap here]. I am Arthur's porter every first day of January. And during every other part of the year but this, the office is filled by Huandaw (1), and Gogigwc, and Llaeskenym, and Pennpingyon, who goes upon his head to save his feet, neither towards the sky nor towards the earth, but like a rolling stone upon the floor of the court.”

“Open the portal.”

“I will not open it.”

“Wherefore not?”

“The knife is in the meat, and the drink is in the horn (2), and there is revelry in Arthur's hall, and none may enter therein but the son of a king of a privileged country, or a craftsman bringing his craft (3).

But there will be refreshment for thy dogs, and for thy horses; and for thee there will be collops cooked and peppered (4), and luscious wine and mirthful songs, and food for fifty men shall be brought unto thee in the guest chamber, where the stranger and the sons of other countries eat, who come not unto the precincts of the Palace of Arthur. Thou wilt fare no worse there than thou wouldest with Arthur in the Court. A lady shall smooth thy couch [more straightforwardly: “a woman to lie with”], and shall lull thee with songs; and early to-morrow morning, when the gate is open for the multitude that came hither to-day, for thee shall it be opened first, and thou mayest sit in the place that thou shalt choose in Arthur's Hall, from the upper end to the lower.”


(1) Huandaw, who hears well; Gogigwc is probably a fault of the copyist for Gogihwc, an epithet which one finds in Aneurin’s Gododin (Skene, Four ancient books of Wales, p. 90, verse 13), but whose meaning is not certain; Llaesgenym might be also distorted, Pen. 4.  Laes Kemyn perhaps for Llaes Kevyn; the first term, llaes, come from Latin laxus; Owen Pughe gives to Pennpingion read meaning of branchy head, by linking pingion and pingc.

(2) The Welsh word indicates that the drinking horn with was made originally and usually also, of buffalo horn or wild ox.. According to the Welsh laws, the drinking horn of the king, the one he would carry during is raids, and the horn of the chief hunter, were to be of wild ox (Ancient laws, II p. 991).

(3) The same life-style feature is found among former Irishmen. When Lug, son of Eithlenn, a kind of Irish Mercury, arrives at the royal palace of Tared, the gatekeeper refuses entrance to him, unless he masters some art or profession (O' Curry, One the manners, III, p, 42).

(4) The dystein or the king’s bailiff had to provide some herbs to the cook; only pepper is explicitly spoken of (Ancient laws, I, p. 48). The peppered meats are in honour also in our tales of chivalry: poons rostis, et bons cisnes (cygnes) pevreis,(“roasted meats and good peppered swans”) (about 1560, in Raoul de Cambrai, ‘Société des anciens textes français’ edition.


Said the youth, “That I will not do. If thou openest the gate, it is well. If thou dost not open it, I will bring disgrace upon thy Lord, and evil report upon thee. And I will set up three shouts (1) at this very gate, than which none were ever more deadly, from the top of Pengwaed (2) in Cornwall (3) [called Kernyw in the Welsh text] to the bottom of Dinsol, in the North (4), and to Esgair Oervel(5), in Ireland [called Iwerddon in the Welsh text].  And all the women in this Palace that are pregnant shall lose their offspring; and such as are not pregnant, their hearts shall be turned by illness, so that they shall never bear children from this day forward.”


(1) The piercing cry (diaspad) was a legal means of protest according to the Laws. It was still of use, according to the code of Gwynedd, if a descendant to the ninth degree would come claiming that some ground belonged to him: it was called diaspat uwch annwvyn, that is ‘cry deeper than the chasm’ (Ancient laws I, 173,174.2). According to the Gwent code, the diaspat egwan or distress cry, was legal for the Welshman whom assistance of the law in the king court or in front of the judges was refused, about his inheritance. The same for the ninth degree descendants, to protest against a property forfeiture (Ancient laws, I, p. 774, 1). On shouting as protest against a decree of the sovereign among Frenchmen, see Paulin, Paris, Romans de la Table Ronde, IV, notes.

(2) In the Laws, 1, p. 184, we  find the name Penryn Penwaed y Kernyw. It would have become, according to the editor, Penwith in Cornwall, place of Pen Blathaon yn y Gogled, while the Laws show Penryn Blathaon ym Prydyn, i.e. Scotland; this place is supposed to be Caithness. According to the Laws, Dyvynwal Moelmut would have had the island of Brittany measure and found, from Penryn Blathaon in Penryn Penwaed, 900 miles, and form Crygyll in Anglesey until the Channel, 500 miles. Din Sol is the old name of Michaelmas Mount in Cornwall; Esgeir Oervel is unknown.

(3) Kernyw is the Welsh name of British Cornwall, same name as that the one Armorican Cornwall: Kernèo and Kerné. Kernyw is sometimes confused with Devonshire. Dyvneint (Devon) points at the whole territory of old Domononii, the second large tribe emigrated in Armorica after the Saxon invasions. [Loth now shows ancient traces of the confusion of the names Kernyw  and Dyvneint]. It is not without surprise that I found in a Welsh poet of the twelfth century, Llywarch ab Llywelyn speaking of Penwaedd, Dyvneint, the Welsh name of Devon in the place of Kernyw: O Pennwaed Dyvneint hyd to pentir Gafran (Myv. arch., p. 200, col. 1); in the same way in an extremely curious anonymous poem, the table of Arthur is placed in Dyvneint (Myv. arch., p. 130, col. 12). Egerton Phillimore (Owen' S Pembrokeshire II, p. 372, note of the page 371) wants to merge Penwaedd to Penwith, i.e. the farthest point of Land's End in Cornwal. This merge is phonetically impossible: as far as we can go back in time, we find Penwith or Penwiđ (Penwiđ, ‘end point in sight’: cf. Gwiđ-va). In Oxford Bruts, p. 292, it is said as that Henri the 1st gathered the troops of his whole kingdom in 1111, from Penryn Pengwaedd in Ireland until Penryn Blataon in the North. Penryn Blataon is the Pen Blathaon that in the present novel (see lower)  is put in Scotland. the Bruts, p. 73, mention however a Penryn Kernyw, which must be Penryn close Falmouth. The error for Pengwaedd is obvious. There is Penwaed in Wales; wng Penwaed barth has plorth Gemais (Myv. arch., 132.2).

(4) In the Mabinogion, the North is Briton country of the North of England, from Cumberland to the Clyde. According to the life of Saint Cadoc (Rees, Lives of the Cambro-brit. saints, p. 65), Dinsol is the Cornic name of Michaelmas Mount, in Cornwall in bay of Penzance (J. Loth, Revue Celt., 1899, p. 207).

(6) As pointed out Kuno Meyer (Early relations between Gael and Brython, Society of Cymmrodorion, 1896, p. 35), this is a deformation of Sescenn Uairbhéoil in Leinster, frequently mentioned as the staying place of heroes.



“What clamour soever thou mayest make,” said Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr (1), “against the laws of Arthur's Palace shalt thou not enter therein, until I first go and speak with Arthur.”

Then Glewlwyd went into the Hall. And Arthur said to him, “Hast thou news from the gate?"--"Half of my life is past, and half of thine. I was heretofore in Kaer Se and Asse, in Sach and Salach, in Lotor and Fotor; and I have been heretofore in India the Great and India the Lesser; and I was in the battle of Dau Ynyr (2), when the twelve hostages were brought from Llychlyn. And I have also been in Europe, and in Africa, and in the islands of Corsica, and in Caer Brythwch, and Brythach, and Verthach; and I was present when formerly thou didst slay the family of Clis the son of Merin, and when thou didst slay Mil Du the son of Ducum, and when thou didst conquer Greece in the East. And I have been in Caer Oeth and Annoeth (3), and in Caer Nevenhyr; nine supreme sovereigns, handsome men, saw we there, but never did I behold a man of equal dignity with him who is now at the door of the portal.” Then said Arthur, “If walking thou didst enter in here, return thou running. And every one that beholds the light, and every one that opens and shuts the eye, let them shew him respect, and serve him, some with gold-mounted drinking-horns, others with collops cooked and peppered, until food and drink can be prepared for him. It is unbecoming to keep such a man as thou sayest he is, in the wind and the rain.”


(1) Glewlwyt of  the strong grip. He is already found in the black Book, fulfilling his functions of gatekeeper, but not, so it seems, those of Arthur’s gatekeeper (Skene, II, p. 50, See 24).

(2) The Welsh legend distinguishes two Ynyr: Ynyr Gwent and Ynyr Llydaw or  the Armorican Ynyr. Ynyr Gwent would be, according to the Liber Laudavensis, p. 111, the father of one prince Idon, contemporary of saint Teliaw. Armorican Ynyr would be son of king Alan, and nephew of Cadwaladr (Gaufrei of Monmouth, San-Marte ed., XII, 19, written Iny; Brut Tysilio, p. 475, col. 2). Taliesin sings the achievements of Ynyr (Skene, II, p. 167, See 25; p. 168, verse 8 and following; at line 25 the poet speaks of the gwystlon or hostages of Ynyr).

(3) Instead of Kaer Oeth ac Anoeth, one generally reads Carchar (jail) Oeth ac Anoeth. The black Book mentions family of Oeth and Anoeth (Skene, 31, 8). According to the Triads of the Red Book (Mab., p. 300, 1; 306, 9), Arthur would have been three nights in this prison with Llyr Lledyeith, Mabon, son of Modron, and Geir, son of Geiryoed; he was made free by Goreu, son of Kustennin, his cousin. We find several of these characters in our mabinogi. The names of the prisoners differ (see below in connection with Modron). The meaning of oeth and anoeth here is not sure. Oeth has also the meaning of wealth, jewels, gift, like anoeth: (ref. to - oeth in cyf-oeth, richness, power; ref. to Irish, cumachte).


Said Kai, “By the hand of my friend (1), if thou wouldest follow my counsel, thou wouldest not break through the laws of the Court because of him.” "Not so, blessed Kai. It is an honour to us to be resorted to, and the greater our courtesy the greater will be our renown, and our fame, and our glory.”


And Glewlwyd came to the gate, and opened the gate before him; and although all dismounted upon the horse-block at the gate, yet did he not dismount, but rode in upon his charger. Then said Culhwck, “Greeting be unto thee, Sovereign Ruler of this Island; and be this greeting no less unto the lowest than unto the highest, and be it equally unto thy guests, and thy warriors, and thy chieftains--let all partake of it as completely as thyself (2). And complete be thy favour, and thy fame, and thy glory, throughout all this Island.” "Greeting unto thee also,” said Arthur; "sit thou between two of my warriors, and thou shalt have minstrels before thee, and thou shalt enjoy the privileges of a king born to a throne, as long as thou remainest here. And when I dispense my presents to the visitors and strangers in this Court, they shall be in thy hand at my commencing.” Said the youth, “I came not here to consume meat and drink; but if I obtain the boon that I seek, I will requite it thee, and extol thee; and if I have it not, I will bear forth thy dispraise to the four quarters of the world, as far as thy renown has extended.” Then said Arthur, “Since thou wilt not remain here, chieftain, thou shalt receive the boon whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the wind dries, and the rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea encircles, and the earth extends;


(1) Kei is one of the best known characters of the Welsh legends. In the mabinogion since they received some French influence, and in the French novels, he is courageous, but talkative, (old French: gabeur = blabbermouth), and it is not always happy in its fights. In this mabinogi he is truly shown ; he however starts already to blabber. The Black Book presents him as a companion of Arthur, and a terrible warrior when he drank, he drank against four, when he went to combat, he fought against hundred” (Skene, p. 50, XXXII; 52, verse 5, verse 17 and following). According to the  Triads (Mab., 303, 3), he is one of the three taleithawc or chiefs carrying a broad gold crown on their helmet, together with Gweir, son of Gwystyl, and Drystan, son of Tallwch. The Welsh poets of the Middle Ages (Gogynveirdd), form the XIIth to the XVth century, allude frequently to Kei: Myv. arch., 978, col. 2: Mae yn gyveill grymus val Kei gwynn (he is a strong friend like blessed Kei); ibid., p. 328, col. 2: Wryd Cai (Kei’s courage); ibid., p. 329, col. 1: Cai boneddigaidd (noble as Kei); ibid., p. 332, col. 1: Pwyll Cai (the reason, the understanding of Kei); Davydd ab Gwilym, p. 323 (1873 edition), against Rhys Meigen: Nid gwrol Gai hir, he is not a brave man like Cai the Long; Llewis Glyn Cothi, p. 309, 15, quotes also Kai hir (Kai the Long). He is the son of Kynyr, but it seems, according to a sentence of our mabinogi and a most singular poem of Myv. arch., that there were divergences of opinion or doubts about this point. In this poem, which is a dialogue between Gwenhwyvar and Arthur she did not recognize, he is called son of Sevyn. Gwenhwyvar praises him like an incomparable warrior; she states in front of  Arthur that, judging form his stature, he would not hold Cai, even if he was the hundredth to attack; to that Arthur answers that, though he is small, it would resist alone a whole hundred (Myv. arch., p. 130, col. 2). The marvellous qualities of Kei are given a bit below in the present text. Gaufrei of Monmouth describes him as being Arthur’s dapifer (IX, 11, 12, 13; X, 3, 6, 9. 13); he has, indeed, the roles of  a  dystein in the  mabinogi of Owen and Lunet. The form of its name, in the French novels, Keu (pronounce Keï), is quite Welsh. According to our mabinogi, he would have been killed by Gwyddawc ab Menestyr (149).

(2) A similarly elaborated formula of salute is found in a poem of Myv. arch., p. 248, col. 2, and attributed to Elidyr Sais (XII-XIIIth c.).



save only my ship; and my mantle; and Caledvwlch (1), my sword; and Rhongomyant, my lance; and Wynebgwrthucher, my shield (2); and Carnwenhau (3), my dagger; and Gwenhwyvar (4), my wife. By the truth of Heaven, thou shalt have it cheerfully, name what thou wilt.”

“I would that thou bless my hair.” [as understood two lines below, it should be : “I wish you put my hair in order.”]

“That shall be granted thee.”


(1) Caledvwlch, from calet hard,” and bwlch notch, breach” : hard to notch?” or “notches strongly.” A famous sword in Irish epics, the sword of Leité, which came to him from fairy place, bears a similar name, Calad-holg, which O' Curry translated by “hard-bulging(O' Curry, On the manners II, p. 320). - Rongomyant: ron means spear; the second term is not clear. The Brut Gr.  ab Arthur (Myv. arch., p. 32,2 and Nod. 500) gives Ron uwchel and Rongoruchel, and in  Brut Tysilio (ibid., p. 163-178) Rongymynyat or Spear which cuts.

 (2) Gwyneb Gwrthucher: gwyneb, face,” gwrthucher evening” (ref. Cornic gwrthuher: Cornic Vocabulary, Zeuss, Gr. Celt. appendix).

(3) Karnwenhan; the first term, carn, means “handle;” gwenan has, in the dictionaries, the meaning of bulb or pimple under the skin; it is more probable than one deals here with a diminutive of gwen white : the gender of kyllell, knife,” is feminine : Karnwenhan with a white (or whitish) handle.”

(4) Gwenhwyvar, Gaufrei of Monmouth’s Gvanhumara, and ‘Guenièvre’ in the French novels. According to Gaufrei, IX, 9, it would be of Roman race, and raised by Cador, duke of Cornwall. All Welsh traditions give her, as a father, Gogrvan or Gogvran Gawr, even Brut Tysilio, Myv., p. 464, col. 1; Triads of the Red Book, Mabin., p. 302, 10 (ref. Myv. arch., p. 396, 16): Three main ladies of Arthur; Gwenhwyvar, the daughter of Gwryt Gwent, Gwenhwyvar, the daughter of [ Gwythyr ], son of Greidiawl, and Gwenhwyvar, the daughter of Ocurvan Gawr” (Myv.: Ocurvran Gawr). There is a Caer Ogrvan one mile North of Oswestry, according to the editors of Llewis Glyn Cothi, p.307, verse 28: the poet (XVth c.) mentions Kaer Ogyrvan. According to the Triads, the snub Gwenhwyvach gives her causes the battle of Camlan, where Arthur dies; she would have been also torn off her royal chair in Kelli Wic, in Kernyw, by Medrawt, Arthur’s nephew, and slapped by him (Mab. Triads, 301, 18, 24, 25; Myv. arch., p. 398, col. 2); a triad adds that she would have had a criminal relationship with him (Myv., p. 406, col. 1). Gaufrei says she was abducted by Medrawt; upon Arthur’s arrival, she enters a monastery. The French novels make of her Lancelot of the Lake’s lover. A Welsh proverb preserved the memory of Gwenhwyvar

Gwenhwyvar merch Ogyrvan Gawr

Drwg yn vechan, waeth yn vawr.

“Gwenhwyvar, the daughter of Gogyrvan Gawr , bad when young, becoming worse while aging” (Myv. arch., p 863, column 1l.

Gwenhwyvar (white phantom or white fairy) is identical to Irish Finnabair: the two words are composed of vindo - (fem. vindā, vendā), white and of seimari or seibari, phantom, fairy: ref. Middle Irish will siabhra; Gaelic siabhrach, a fairy; Middle Irish Siabur = Seibaro.


And Arthur took a golden comb, and scissors, whereof the loops were of silver, and he combed his hair. And Arthur inquired of him who he was.

“For my heart warms unto thee, and I know that thou art come of my blood. Tell me, therefore, who thou art.” "I will tell thee, “ said the youth, “I am Culhwck, the son of Kilydd, the son of Prince Kelyddon, by Goleuddydd, my mother, the daughter of Prince Anlawdd.”

“That is true,” said Arthur; "thou art my cousin. Whatsoever boon thou mayest ask, thou shalt receive, be it what it may that thy tongue shall name.”

“Pledge the truth of Heaven and the faith of thy kingdom thereof.”

“I pledge it thee, gladly.”

“I crave of thee then, that thou obtain for me Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr; and this boon I likewise seek at the hands of thy warriors. I seek it from Kai, and Bedwyr, and Greidawl Galldonyd (1), and Gwythyr the son of Greidawl, and Greid the son of Eri, and Kynddelig Kyvarwydd (2), and Tathal Twyll Goleu (3), and Maelwys the son of Baeddan (4), and Crychwr the son of Nes (5), and Cubert the son of Daere (6),


(1) One of the three main Gallovydd or engine master of the island of Brittany, together with Drystan, son of Tallwch and Gwgon, son of Gwron (Mab Triads., p. 304, 21). According to other triads, he is the son of Envael Adran (Skene, I1, appendix, p. 458 who gives, instead of Gwgon Gwron, Gweir Gwrhyt Vawr).

(2) In the poems on the graves, Black Book, Skene ed., p. 32, the grave of one Kindilic, Corknud’s son, is mentioned as the grave of an alltud or foreigner. It is also the name of one of Llywarch Hen’ sons (Black Book, p. 48, 34; 61. 25).

(3) Tywyll Goleu, half dark, half light.”

(4) The author saw a relationship between the second word wys, in Maetwys, and Baeddan: Gwys , ref. Breton gwes, sow” ; Baeddan, diminutive of baedd, pig or male wild boar.

(5) This is the name of famous Ulster king Conchobar mac Nessa (Kuno Meyer, Early relations between Gael and Brython, 1896, p. 35).

(6) Kubert is, undoubtedly, a fault of the copyist or several successive copyists. There is one well-known Daere’s son, who is Conroi or Cúroi. Curoi, king de West Munster, was killed treacherously by the biggest hero of Irish epic, Cuchulain, who took along with him in Ulster Blanait, Curoi’ wife. Curoi’s faithful bard and harpist, Fercoirtne, went to the court of Cuchulain, one day when the leaders were gathered in Rinn Chin Bearraidhe, on a cliffy hill; he came near Blanait, and while talking to her, brought her at the edge of the cliff, and throwing his arms around her body, thrown the both of them down the cliff. One finds, among the poems allotted to Taliesin, an elegy on the death of Conroi mab Dayry; the name of Cuchulain is mentioned there (Cocholyn). The poem was not understood by Stephens, like points out by Skene, who besides mistranslated it as well. On Conroi, see O' Curry, On the manners, II, p. 9, 10, 97, 199. 358; III, t5, 75, etc.


and Percos the son of Poch, and Lluber Beuthach, and Corvil Bervach, [missing: Gwynn the son of  Nwyvre (1)], and Gwynn the son of Nudd, and Edeyrn (2) the son of Nudd, and Gadwy (3) the son of Geraint, and Prince Fflewddur Fflam (4), and Ruawn Pebyr the son of Dorath (5), and Bradwen the son of Moren Mynawc,


(1) Nwyvre, firmament, Empyrean.

(2) Edern, which plays a significant role in the mabinogi of Geraint ab Erbin, became, like many other heroes, a saint. He gave his name to Bod-Edern, in Anglesey, and to Lann-Edern, subdivision of  Châteaulin, Finistère (France. See Myv. arch., p. 424, col. 1). The poets use to mention him. Edern llit, “the anger of Edern,” Myv. arch., p. 282, col. 1; Ochain Edern “a sigh like the one of Edern” (Myv. arch., p. 302, column XIII. - XIVth c.).

(3) The manuscript carries Adwy: it is a mistake for Arvy, which itself replaces Garwy. Garwy, son of Geraint, are one of the most often quoted characters: Myv. arch., p. 411, col. 1. He is one of the loving and generous three knights of Arthur’s court, together with Gwalchmei and Cadeir, son of Seithin Saidi; a poet quotes his courage (Myv., p. 293, col. 2; 323. col. 1), another his generosity (Myv., p. 328, col. 2), cf. Llew-Glyn Cothi, p. 161, verse 21: Gwryd Garwy, “the courage of Garwy;” Daf ab Gwil., p. 191; he is  Creirwy’s lover: the poet Hywel ab Einiawn Llygliw (1330-1370) compares a woman to the beautiful Creirwy, who bewitched him as she did Garwy (Myv. arch., p. 339, col. 1).

(4) One of the three unbenn (prince, leader) of Arthur’s court, with Goronwy, son of Echel, and Kadyrieith (Mab. Triads, 303, 13; cf. Triads, Skene, II, p. 456); Pen-4 (L Rh. 460): Flewdwr Flam wledic: flam is borrowed from Latin flamma.

(5) One of the three Gwyndeyrn (beautiful kings or blessed kings) of the island of Brittany, with Owein, son of Uryen, and Run, son of Maelgwn. The name of his father is sometimes Dorarth, sometimes Deorath; we should perhaps read Deorarth? (Mab. Triads, 303, 8; cf. Triads, Skene, II, p. 456). There are another better known Ruvawn, son of Gwyddno. It seems better to use the form Ruvawn - Rōmānus; old Welsh Rumaun (Middle Briton Rumon); one finds it in the genealogies of the Harleian mss. 3.859 (See volume II, p. 323).


and Moren Mynawc himself, and Dalldav the son of Kimin Côv (1), and the son of Alun Dyved (2), and the son of Saidi, and the son of Gwryon, and Uchtryd Ardywad Kad (3), and Kynwas Curvagyl, and Gwrhyr Gwarthegvras (4), and Isperyr Ewingath (5), and Gallcoyt Govynynat, and Duach, and Grathach (6), and Nerthach, the sons of Gwawrddur Kyrvach (these men came forth from the confines of hell),


(1) He is one of the three pairs of Arthur’s court together with Ryhawt, son of Morgant, and Drystan, son of March (Myv. arch. , p. 393, 89.) His horse, Fer-las (blue ankle), is one of the three Gordderch varch (horse of a lover) from the island (Mab. Triads, 307, 3). Instead of Kimin, one finds also Kunin.

(2) The text carries only: son of Dyvet Alum. Black Book, 30, 26, 27: Bet Run mab Alun Diwed, grave of Run, son of Dyved Alum;” the tomb of Alum is also mentioned as that of a valiant warrior. There is a Dyvyr, also given as Alun Dyved’s son (Mab., 159, 30; 2-5, 17).

(3) Ychtryt vab Etwin is mentioned in the Brut y Tywysogyon, Myv. arch., p. 612, col. 2; a canton of Carmarthenshire had the name Uchtryd; the text gives ardywat; it is probably necessary to read ardwyat cat, director, regulator of the combat.” (Confirmed by Pen, 4 (L Rh. 460): ardwyat).

(4) Gwarthegvras, of the big cattle.

(5) He is mentioned in Chwedlau y Doethion. (words of the wise ones). Ewingath means nail of cat.

(6) Pen. 4 (White Book) shows Brathach which seems to be better (Brath, prick, bite).



and Kilydd Canhastyr, and Canastyr Kanllaw (1), and Cors Cant-Ewin (2), and Esgeir Gulhwch Govynkawn, and Drustwrn Hayarn, and Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr, and Lloch Llawwynnyawc (3), and Aunwas Adeiniawc (4), and Sinnoch the son of Seithved (5), and Gwennwynwyn the son of Naw (6), and Bedyw the son of Seithved,


(1) Kanllaw, help, support; Kanhastyr or Kanastr is translated by Owen Pughe, by “hundred connections, hundred recourses;” the word designates, in any case, some kind embarrassment; it contrasts with Kanllaw (ref. Tywyll Goleu and Rwydd Dyrys). This term appears in the Laws: Cyhyryn canhastyr is said of “the stolen meat that reaches the hundredth hand.” There could have been hundred men taking part to the thievery, the one who is caught carrying the theft is liable to a fine (Richards, Welsh Dict., according to Wotton).

(2) One finds also Kwrs; Kors is better; one finds a Kors, son of Erbig, and another, son of Gafran, in the Liber Land., p. 466, 487. Kant ewin with the hundred nails.”

(3) Lloch Llawwynnawc “of the white hand” is mentioned in the Black Book, 51, 14, among Arthur’s companions (Lluch Llawynnauc). Lloch appears to be Loth or Batch of the Romans de la Table Ronde (on Loth, ref. to J. Loth, Rev. celt., 1897, p. 84. )

(4) adeinawc “the winged one” is mentioned beside Llwch Llawwynnyawc in the Black Book (51, 15). This is probably the same character as the one under the name of Edenawc (Pen 4. L. Rh. 461 gives: Edeinawc), as one of the three valiant ones who never returned from the combat but on a stretcher: Grudnei, Henpen and Edenawc, son of Gleissiar of the North (Triads, Skene, II, p. 458; Mab. Triads, 304, 15 gives: Aedenawc).

(5) We have also a Seitwet (Mab. Triads, 302, 16), but he is perhaps a different character; seithvet means seventh.

(6) The text gives Naw, but the Red Book reproduces a manuscript in which the sign indicating w also has, sometimes, value v: Pen. 4 (L. Rh. 461) adds after Naw: mab Seithvet; Gwennwynwyn is one of the three leaders of the Brittany fleet, with Geraint ab Erbin and March ab Meirchion; each one had a hundred and twenty ships, each one carrying a hundred and twenty men (Myv. arch., p. 407, 68). One of the three masterpieces of the island is the ship of Nefydd Nef Neifion, which carried a male and a female of each species of animals when the pond of Llion broke (Myv. arch., p. 409, col. 97). Neifion would have swam from Troy to the island of Anglesey, according to a passage of Daf ab Gwil, p.73: Nofiad a wnaeth hen Neifion o Droia vawr draws i Fon.- Naf Eidin is referred at by a poet of the XIIIth and XIVth century, Myv. arch., p. 290, col. 2.


and Gobrwy the son of Echel Vorddwyttwll (1), and Echel Vorddwyttwll himself, and Mael the son of Roycol, and Dadweir Dallpenn (2), and Garwyli the son of Gwythawc Gwyr, and Gwythawc Gwyr himself, and Gormant the son of Ricca (3), and Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, and Digon the son of Alar (4), and Selyf the son of Smoit, and Gusg the son of Atheu, and Nerth the son of Kedarn (5), and Drudwas the son of Tryffin (6),


(1) Echel is identified by the Welsh poets to the name of Achilles. Morddwyt Twll (‘one with the pierced thigh’).

(2) The text shows Datweir, but the Dallweir form is further and in other texts. Coll, son of Collfrewi, was the pig-keeper of Dallweir Dallbenn and was one of the three big pig-keepers of the island. See lower the note on Coll and the pigs of Dallweir at Twrch Trwyth.

(3) Instead of Ricca, read Rita: See lower, and the Triads. [I will put them online much later, sorry.] This name is represented today still in  North-Wales toponomy (J. Rhys, Celtic Folkl., II, pp. 477-80; 566-4.)

 (4) Digon, enough, Alar dislike, satiety.

(5) Nerth, strength, Kadarn, strong.

(6) According to a letter written by Robert Vaugban to Meredith Llwyd, July 24, 1655, published by Cambrian Register, III, p. 311, and reproduced by Lady Guest, one played still of  his time, a tune known as Caniad Adar Llwch Gwin, song of the birds of Llwch Gwin. A Triad gives Drudwas ab Tryphin as one of the three aurdafodogion or men of the gold tongue, of Arthur’s court, with Gwalchmai and Madawc ab Uthur (Myv., p. 410, 121).



and Twrch the son of Perif, and Twrch the son of Annwas, and Iona king of France, and Sel the son of Selgi, and Teregud the son of Iaen, and Sulyen the son of Iaen, and Bradwen the son of Iaen, and Moren the son of Iaen, and Siawn the son of Iaen, and Cradawc the son of Iaen. (They were men of Caerdathal (1), of Arthur's kindred on his father's side.) Dirmyg the son of Kaw (2), and Justic the son of Kaw, and Etmic the son of Kaw, and Anghawd the son of Kaw, and Ovan the son of Kaw, and Kelin the son of Kaw, and Connyn the son of Kaw, and Mabsant the son of Kaw, and Gwyngad the son of Kaw, and Llwybyr the son of Kaw, and Coth the son of Kaw, and Meilic the son of Kaw, and Kynwas the son of Kaw, and Ardwyad the son of Kaw, and Ergyryad the son of Kaw, and Neb the son of Kaw, and Gilda the son of Kaw, and Calcas the son of Kaw,


(1) Kaer Dathl, see p. 175, n° 4. [Here is this footnote : * Caer Dathl, or, with an irrational or euphonic vowel, Caer Dathyl and Dathal. It is still a place name in Caernarvonshire. The caer or stronghold was on an eminence close to Llanrwst (Lady Guest, according to Cambro-Briton, II, p. 3). The Mab. and other texts refer to it quite often  (Myv. arch., p. 151 col. 1; Llewis Glyn Cothi, IV, 1, 7).” ]

(2) Kaw of Prydyn (Scotland), lord of Cwm Cawlwyd, would have been driven out of its country by the Picts and would have taken refuge in Wales, where Arthur and Maelgwn would have given him land. There are an obviously satirical intent in Neb, son of Kaw, word for word: someone, no matter whom son of Kaw! Similar satire in Dirmyc (mistaken), Etmyc (respect), Mabsant (saint patron), Llwybyr (path). Best known of his sons is Gildas, whom a genealogy allots also four children, four saints. Names vary largely in the various genealogies. Instead of Dirmyc, one generally finds Dirinic; instead of Iustic there is Ustic; Meilic is quoted besides Nonn by Llewis Glyn Cothi, p. 108, verse 24.



and Hueil (1) the son of Kaw (he never yet made a request at the hand of any Lord).

And Samson Vinsych (2), and Taliesin the chief of the bards (3), and Manawyddan the son of Llyr (4), and Llary (5) the son of Prince Kasnar, and Ysperni the son of Fflergant (6) king of Armorica, and Saranhon, the son of Glythwyr, and Llawr Eilerw (7),


(1) According to a tradition mentioned by Tegid (Llew. Glyn Cothi, p. 199, See 21), Hueil was beheaded in Rhuthyn, in Denbighshire, on Arthur’s order. Lady Guest tells it at length from Jones, Welsh Bards, p. 22. Hueil would have been impudent (and unwise)  to court the same woman as Arthur, whereupon a duel  occurred in which Arthur was seriously wounded at the thigh. He cured, but remained slightly lame. Arthur made promise Hueil to never utter word under death penalty. Some time afterwards, Arthur fell in love with a lady from Rhuthyn. He disguised himself as a woman to meet her. One day as he danced with her and some friends, Hueil caught him, recognized him and cried  The dance would be very well, thigh withstanding!” Arthur had him beheaded on a stone now named Maen Hueil. The poets name him quite often (Myv. arch., p. 281, col. 2),

(2) Samson with the dry lips.

(3) Taliessin pennbeird, or chief of the bards.

(4) See the mabinogi bearing this name.

(5) Llary, generous.

(6) See Mab. of Math [note for the three unfair families in the mabinogi of Math.]

(7) Llawr, ground; Erw, furrow .”


and Annyanniawc (1) the son of Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, and Gwynn the son of Nwyvre, and Fflam the son of Nwyvre, and Geraint the son of Erbin, and Ermid the son of Erbin, and Dyvel the son of Erbin, and Gwynn the son of Ermid, and Kyndrwyn the son of Ermid, and Hyveidd Unllenn (2), and Eiddon Vawr Vrydic (3), and Reidwn Arwy, and Gormant the son of Ricca (Arthur's brother by his mother's side; the Penhynev of Cornwall (4) was his father), and Llawnrodded Varvawc (5), and Nodawl Varyf Twrch (6), and Berth the son of Kado (7),


(1) Annyannawc, well endowed, Menw, intelligence.

(2) Hyveidd Unllen, with only one coat.” See Mabinogi of Pwyll, notes at Heveidd Hen.

(3) Mawrvrydic, magnanimous.”

(4) Pennhynev, “the leader of the old men.” The name misses. It should be, undoubtedly, Kadwr, count de Cornwall. According to Triads (Skene, II, p.456), there is a pennhyneif in each of Arthur’s courts: Maelgwn Gwynedd in Mynyw; Karadawc Vreichvras at Kelliwic, in Kernyw. Gwrthmwl Wledic in Pen Rionydd, in the North.

(5) This character is often confused with another: Llawfrodedd, also called Varvawc, “the bearded one” (Myv. arch., 166, col. 2; 148, col. 1; 303, col. 1). According to a Triad, he is one of the three shepherds of Brittany; He takes care of the oxen of Nudd Hael (Myv. arch., p. 408, 85); there were, in this herd, 20,001 milk cows. In the list of the thirteen wonders of Brittany given by Lady Guest, according to an old manuscript, she says, his knife is ranked the sixth one; he was used to eat with twenty-four men at the same table (Mab., III, p. 354). (Allusions to Llawnroddet are found in Myv. arch., p. 297, col. 2; 299, col. 2, spelled ‘Llawrodded’.) In the Dream of Rhonabwy, a Llawroded Varyvawc is found.

(6) Baryv Twrch, wild boar beard.”

(7) Below, he is given as a powerful chief in Scotland. According to the Triads, Kado is one of the three who had Adam’s wisdom; the others are Beda and Sibli doeth, wise” (Mab. 297, 6). It is not difficult to recognize in this one Cato, old man Cato.” it is called even Cado hen, “the old man.” Armorican saint Kado is different even by the name. The Vannetais langage pronounces, Kadaw or Kadew (= * Catavos). Berth means rich.


and Rheidwn the son of Beli, and Iscovan Hael, and Iscawin the son of Panon, and Morvran the son of Tegid (no one struck him in the battle of Camlan by reason of his ugliness; all thought he was an auxiliary devil. Hair had he upon him like the hair of a stag).


(1) Morvran. sea crow.” [almost always, the French call ‘raven’ (corbeau) what is a crow. I guessed that Loth would too.] According to the life of Taliesin, he would be son of Tegid Voel,” the Bald,” and of Ceridwen. He is one of the three ysgymydd aereu or esgemydd aereu (esgemydd, according to E. Lhwyd, had the meaning of bench; Cf. istomid in the cart. of Redon, to be corrected into iscomid = ysgymydd); the others were Gilbert, son of Catgyffro and Gwynn Cleddyfrudd (Skene, II, p. 458; Mab. Triads, 304, 25); they returned from combat only on stretchers, when they could stir neither finger nor tongue (Myv. arch, p. 404, 33). The third, who escaped from Kamlan, is Glewlwyd Gavael Vawr. (Myv., p. 392. 85).

(2) Cambriae Annals carry, at year 537, the mention Gueith Camlann, the battle of Camlann, where Arthur and Medraut fell; there was great mortality in Brittany and Ireland.” According to the Triads, he would be one of the three overgad or combat superfluous, frivolous; it was supposed to have been caused by the slap Gwenhwyach (or Gwenhwyvach) gave to Gwenhwyvar, Arthur’s wife (Mab. Triads, p. 301, 18; Myv. arch., 391, col. 2). According to Gaufrei of Monmouth, Arthur battled with Medrawt, his nephew, who abducted Gwenhwyvar and usurped the crown of Brittany. Arthur seems to  have been victorious, but seriously wounded. He was carried to the island of Avallach, where from the Britons await his return. According to a Triad of the Red Book, he would have been buried there (Mab., 299, 30). Llewis Gl. Cothi calls this battle the battle of Avallach, p. 318, verse 3. Gaufrei calls this Avallon island. See, on this battle, the Dream of Rhonabwy. The name of this battle often comes back in the mouth of the poets (Myv. arch., p. 269, col. 1; Daf. ab Gwil, p. 295). According to the laws of Gwent (Ancient laws, I, p.678), when the queen wished a song, the bard was ‘gently forced’ to choose the song on the battle of Kamlan. Medrawt would be allied here to the Saxons and the Irishmen. The Triads give to Morvran and Sandde the same role as the mabinogi of Kulhwch (Myv. arch., p. 393, col. 2). Camlann (Old-Celtic tongue Cambo-glannà means curved bank,) and there are also some Camlann in Brittany as well as in Wales. In Wales: hamlet of Camlan in Mallwyd, Merionethshire; Maes Camlan, Bron Camlan in Aberangell, Montgomeryshire (Jones Cymru I, p.99). According to the Black Book, the son of Osvran was buried in Camlan (F-a-B, T I, p. 29, 22).


And Sandde Bryd Angel (1)(no one touched him with a spear in the battle of Camlan because of his beauty; all thought he was a ministering angel). And Kynwyl Sant (the third man that escaped from the battle of Camlan, and he was the last who parted from Arthur on Hengroen (2) his horse). And Uchtryd the son of Erim (3), and Eus the son of Erim, and Henwas Adeinawg the son of Erim, and Henbedestyr (4) the son of Erim, and Sgilti Yscawndroed the son of Erim. (Unto these three men belonged these three qualities,--With Henbedestyr there was not any one who could keep pace, either on horseback or on foot; with Henwas Adeinawg, no four-footed beast could run the distance of an acre, much less could it go beyond it; and as to Sgilti Yscawndroed (5), when he intended to go upon a message for his Lord,


(1) Pryd-angell, angel face.”

(2) Hen-groen, old skin .”

(3) This  name originates perhaps from Irish érimm, race, runner (Kuno Meyer, Gael and Brython, p. 35, note 5).

 (4) Hen-beddestyr, old pedestrian.”

(5) Ysgavndroet, with a light foot.”


he never sought to find a path, but knowing whither he was to go, if his way lay through a wood he went along the tops of the trees (1). During his whole life, a blade of reed grass bent not beneath his feet, much less did one ever break, so lightly did he tread.) Teithi Hên the son of Gwynhan (his dominions were swallowed up by the sea, and he himself hardly escaped, and he came to Arthur; and his knife had this peculiarity, that from the time that he came there no haft would ever remain upon it, and owing to this a sickness came over him, and he pined away during the remainder of his life, and of this he died). And Carneddyr the son of Govynyon Hên, and Gwenwynwyn the son of Nav Gyssevin (2), Arthur's champion, and Llysgadrudd Emys (3), and Gwrbothu Hên, (uncles unto Arthur were they, his mother's brothers). Kulvanawyd (4) the son of Goryon, and Llenlleawg Wyddel (5)


(1) Pen. 4 (L. Rh. 463) adds: as long as he was on a mountain, he would walk on the top of the reeds.

(2) Nav Gyssevin, Naf, the first”; gyssevin could be also associated to rysswr, the whole meaning then: the first warrior or champion. He is the Welsh Noah.

(3) Llygad-rudd, red eye; emys, “steed.”

(4) Kulvanawyd or Kulvynawyd (mynawyd, Armorican menaoued, awl;” cul, “narrow” ) is the father of the three shameless women of Brittany: Essyllt Fynwen, Trystan’s lover; Penarwen,  Owen ab Urien’s wife; Bun, wife of Flamddwyn (Ida, torch carrier). He is from Prydein (Myv. arch., p. 392, col. 1).

(5) This name is also written Llenvleawc; it seems to be corrupted in both cases.


from the headland of Ganion (1), and Dyvynwal Moel (2), and Dunard (3) king of the North, Teirnon Twryf Bliant (4), and Tegvan Gloff (5), and Tegyr Talgellawg, Gwrdinal the son of Ebrei, and Morgant Hael (6), Gwystyl (7) the son of Rhun the son of Nwython,


(1) Ganion is perhaps better [Loth gives Gamon in his translation, unlike Lady Guest.]. According to Richards’ dictionary, there would have been a headland of this name in Ireland. John Rhys (Celtic Britain, p. 298) claims that Ptolemy speaks of the headland of the Gangani that  could be placed in Carnarvonshire: Ganion would be equivalent to Gangnones. However, the reading adopted by Müller in the new Didot’s edition is : the headland of Ceangani (Ptol., III, § 2). There are many variations on this name in the various mss., but the Ceangani lesson is certain. In Chester and at the mouth of the Mersey, ere found lead weights carrying, for one Ceangi(s), for the second Cea, for the third Ceang (Hübner, Inscr. Brit. lat., 1204, 1205, 1206). John Rhys’ assumption is thus not founded. Tacitus, Ann., 12, 31, mentions Cangos; the Ravenne anonymous, Ceganges.

(2) Better known under the name of Dyvynwal Moelmut. According to the Triads, it is one of the three post-cenedl, pillars of race” , of the island of Brittany, and a great legislator (Myv. arch., p 400, col. 2). The Laws give curious details about this legendary character and his works (Ancient laws, I, p. 183-184). Gaufrei of Monmouth calls him Dunvallo Molmutius and claims him to be son of Cloten, king of Cornwall (II, p. 17).

(3) Perhaps Dyvnarth.

(4) See higher, p. 22 and 108. [ p. 22: remarks on the orthography of the Old and Middle Welsh (the one of the Mabinogion). p 108: bliant is “the name of a kind of fine fabric or cambric.” ]

(5) Cloff, “the lame one.”

(6) The same one appears as Morgan Mwynvawr. He is one of the three Ruddvoawc (doublet ruddvaawc), who make red the ground, with Run, son of Beli and Llew Llawgyffes; nothing grew, neither grass nor plant, where they went, for one year; Arthur was more ruddvaawc that them: nothing grew after him during seven years (Tr. Mab., p. 303, 5; cf. Myv. arch., p. 405, col. 1).

(7) His son Gweir is better known. He is one of the three Taleithawc (headband carrier) of Arthur’s court (Tr. Mab., 303, 4); the poets speak of him: Estimated like Gweir, son of Gwestyl” (Myv. arch, p. 233. column 1; cf. ibid, 300, col. 2; 294, col. 1).


and Llwyddeu the son of Nwython, and Gwydre the son of Llwyddeu (Gwenabwy the daughter of [Kaw] was his mother, Hueil his uncle stabbed him, and hatred was between Hueil and Arthur because of the wound). Drem the son of Dremidyd (when the gnat arose in the morning with the sun, he could see it from Gelli Wic in Cornwall, as far off as Pen Blathaon in North Britain.)


(1) Drem, sight, aspect; dremidydd, that one who sees.” The Englynion y Clyweid and a poet of XVth century speak of him, Iolo Goch (Lady Guest, II, p. 341).

(2) Prydyn. That is the name given to Scotland by the Britons. It corresponds to Cruithni, a name for the Picts (Briton p corresponds to an ancient old-Celtic q). According to an Irish author, quoted by Todd in a note on the Irish version of Nennius, the word would come from cruth (Welsh, pryd), form, shape.” Cruithni would then point at people who paint on their face and body the shapes of animals, birds and fishes (Rhys, Celt. Brit., p. 240). This is extremely doubtful: ref. Whitley Stokes, Urkelt. Sprachschatz, p. 63. Prydein instead of Prydyn is also found; Prydein is used especially to indicate the part of the island representing current England, i.e. insular Brittany [Loth’s way of seeing England as a kind of extension of French Brittany. Be merely amused by it, please.]. Moreover, instead of Britannia, old geographers say Pretania (on Pretania, ref. d'Arbois de Jubainville : L'île Prétanique, les îles Prétaniques, les Brettones ou Britanni, Rev. Celt., XIII, p. 398, 519). Stéphane de Byzance testimonies that it was Marcianus’, Heracly’s and Ptolemy’s spelling. Dindorf, in a note in Geographici minores of Didot, p. 517, noted that, according to the best manuscripts, it was the correct form and for Ptolemy and Strabon. The ethnic names of the Britons are Brittia for their country, where from Breiz, Vannetais language, Breh; the people of these lands a re called Brittones, where from Welsh Brython, and Armorican Brezonec, Brehonec or the Breton language. The Brut Gr.  ab. Arthur (Myv. arch., 530. 2) gives: Penryn Bladon.



And Eidyol (1) the son of Ner, and Glywyddn Saer (2) (who constructed Ehangwen (3), Arthur's Hall). Kynyr Keinvarvawc (4) [French version: Kei was said to be his son](when he was told he had a son born he said to his wife, 'Damsel, if thy son be mine, his heart will be always cold, and there will be no warmth in his hands; and he will have another peculiarity, if he is my son he will always be stubborn (5); and he will have another peculiarity, when he carries a burden, whether it be large or small, no one will be able to see it, either before him or at his back; and he will have another peculiarity, no one will be able to resist fire and water so well as he will; and he will have another peculiarity, there will never be a servant or an officer equal to him').


(1) Eidyol. Pen.4 gives Eidoet thus Eidiol should read Eideol; ref. Black Book, Evans ed. Eidoel also for Eideol, Eidiol as the rhyme proves it. We shall meet below Eidoel, [cousin to Mabon, and the only  person able to find him back.] see below. Eidiol the Strong, during the treason of Caersallawg, killed six hundred and sixty Saxon with a distaff made of service wood (Myv. arch., p. 407, 60).

(2) Saer, workman, working stone or wood, here a carpenter. On the saer, to see Trioedd Doethineb beirdd, the Triads of bards’ wisdom, Myv. arch., p. 927, col.1; Brut Tysilio, ibid, p. 459, col. 2; In Irish, the saer is a also carpenter, mason, architect (O' Curry. On the manners, III, p. 40-42; Cornic vocabulary, sair).

(3) Ehangwen, broad and white.”

(4) A poet of XIVth century, Madawc Dwygraig, singing Gruffudd ab Madawc, says that the men of Kynyrle country cry. However, Madawc is of Ystrad Llechwedd, i.e. the country between Bangor and Conwy (Myv. arch., p. 21, column, 1). Some Triads give Kynyr Kynvarvawc (Skene, II, p. 458).

(5) It was not however most obstinate of the Britons. The three obstinate ones in the Triads are: Eiddilic Gorr, Trystan ab Tallwch and Gweirwerydd Vawr. One could never make them change their mind (Myv. arch., p. 408, 78).



Henwas, and Henwyneb (an old companion to Arthur) (1). Gwallgoyc (another; when he came to a town, though there were three hundred houses in it, if he wanted anything, he would not let sleep come to the eyes of any one whilst he remained there). Berwyn, the son of Gerenhir (2), and Paris king of France, and Osla Gyllellvawr (3)(who bore a short broad dagger. When Arthur and his hosts came before a torrent, they would seek for a narrow place where they might pass the water, and would lay the sheathed dagger across the torrent, and it would form a bridge sufficient for the armies of the three Islands of Britain, and of the three islands adjacent, with their spoil). Gwyddawg the son of Menestyr (who slew Kai, and whom Arthur slew, together with his brothers, to revenge Kai). Garanwyn the son of Kai, and Amren the son of Bedwyr,


(1) Henwas, old servant"; ref. Anwas; Hen wyneb, old face"; Hen gedymdeith, old companion.”

(2) The text shows Gerenhir. Ceraint is the first who made a proper beer. He just finished boiling the malt with field flowers and honey when a wild boar arrived, drank some of it, and dropped down its scum, that made the beer ferment. Geraint was took to drink and died of it.

(3) Osla, with a large knife.” In the Dream of Ronabwy, Arthur must fight him in Kaer Vaddon. His name is also once written Ossa, which would bring us easily to Offa, a well-known Welsh name. In the Irish account, known under the name of Bruighean Daderga, appears, at the court of Daderg, three Saxon princes one of which bears the name of Osalt (O' Curry, On the manners, III, p. 146).


 and Ely Amyr (1), and Rheu Rhwyd Dyrys (2), and Rhun Rhudwern, and Eli, and Trachmyr (Arthur's chief huntsmen). And Llwyddeu the son of Kelcoed, and Hunabwy the son of Gwryon, and Gwynn Godyvron (4), and Gweir (5) Datharwenniddawg, and Gweir the son of Cadell the son of Talaryant, and Gweir Gwrhyd Ennwir, and Gweir Paladyr Hir (the uncles of Arthur, the brothers of his mother). The sons of Llwch Llawwynnyawg (from beyond the raging sea). Llenlleawg Wyddel, and Ardderchawg Prydain (6). Cas the son of Saidi (7),


(1) Perhaps a mistake of the copyist for Ely and Trachmyr spoken of one line lower.

(2) Reu is probably for Rew, cold ; rwydd, easy, free ; dyrys, embarrassed .

(3) This son of Kelcoet is called Llwyd by Dafydd ab Gwilym, p. 114.

(4) Gwynn Gotyvron appears in the Black Book, in the dialogue between Arthur and Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr. He is given as one of Arthur’s servants, p. 51, verse 4: Guin Godybrion or, more probably, Godybron.

(5) Gweir, son of Gwestyl, is more famous than these Gweir. There is another Gweir, son of Ruvawn, who would have composed a book of laws (Ancient laws I, p. 218). Talaryant silver forehead”; paladyr hir, with the long spear”. For Llwch, see higher, at Lloch, Pen. 4 (L. Rh. 466.); Gweir Gwrhyt Baladyr.

(6) It is possible that Arderchawc Prydein does not refer to Llenlleawc and designates another character.

(7) Cas, object of hatred, hateful; it is probably Seithynin, son of Seithyn Saidi, king de Dyvet, one of the three hardened drunkards of the island of Brittany, which, in one day of intoxication, released the sea on the country called Cantrev y Gwaelod (Myv. arch., p.104, col. 2; cf. Black Book, p. 59). Llewei, daughter of Seithwedd Saidi, is one of the three Amazon (gwrvorwyn, man-woman”) of Brittany.


Gwrvan Gwallt Avwyn (1), and Gwyllennhin the king of France, and Gwittart the son of Oedd (2) king of Ireland, Garselit (3) Wyddel, Panawr Pen Bagad, and Ffleudor the son of Nav, Gwynnhyvar (4) mayor of Cornwall and Devon (the ninth man that rallied the battle of Camlan). Keli and Kueli, and Gilla Coes Hydd (5)(he would clear three hundred acres at one bound: the chief leaper of Ireland was he). Sol, and Gwadyn Ossol, and Gawdyn Odyeith (6). (Sol could stand all day upon one foot), Gwadyn Ossol, if he stood upon the top of the highest mountain in the world, it would become a level plain under his feet. Gwadyn Odyeith, the soles of his feet emitted sparks of fire when they struck upon things hard, like the heated mass when drawn out of the forge. He cleared the way for Arthur when he came to any stoppage.)


(1) Gwallt, hair; avwgn, ””reins,” from the Latin abêna (habena).

(2) The Red Book has Oed; I adopt the lesson of Pen. 4, Aedd, because he is a king of Ireland.

(3) Garselit bears an Irish name meaning (the man) with a short span of time (Kuno Meyer, Guel and Brython p. 35, note 5: Irish Gearr-selut).

(4) The maer was a significant character; he carried the high monitoring of the servile tenures and who divided the lands which depended of it. Maer comes from Latin major. there was also at the court a maer (see Ancient laws, I, passim).

(5) Coes hydd, with the leg of a stag : Gilla is Irish gilla, modern Irish giolla, companion, page, servant.

(6) Gwadyn or gwadn, signifie “foot sole.” Odyeith has the meaning of "rare, extraordinary . For ground, one would rather expect sawdl, heel” (Middle Breton, seuzl, now seul). It is possible that the scribe had sodl under the eyes or reproduced an oral form of Irish sál. Sol from Latin solum has into Briton, sometimes, the meaning of sole.


Hirerwm and Hiratrwm (1) (The day they went on a visit three Cantrevs provided for their entertainment, and they feasted until noon and drank until night, when they went to sleep. And then they devoured the heads of the vermin through hunger, as if they had never eaten anything. When they made a visit they left neither the fat nor the lean, neither the hot nor the cold, the sour nor the sweet, the fresh nor the salt, the boiled nor the raw.) Huarwar the son of Aflawn (2) (who asked Arthur such a boon as would satisfy him. It was the third great plague of Cornwall (3) when he received it. None could get a smile from him but when he was satisfied.) Gware Gwallt Euryn (4). The two cubs of Gast Rhymi (5), Gwyddrud and Gwyddneu Astrus (6).


(1) These two uncommon characters are mentioned together in a poem of Myv. arch., p. 129, col. 1 (Englynion y Klyweit. The first name is mistreated: Llucrum; but assonance shows that it is necessary to correct cruor in crwm.)

(2) Avlawn, non full ; Huarwar, easy to alleviate .

(3) Pen.4 (L. Rh. 467) adds: and of Dyvneint (Devon).

(4) Probably Gwri Wallt Euryn, Gwri with the golden hair,” better known under the name of Pryderi. See the mabinogion of Pwyll, and Math, son of Mathonwy. Dafydd ab Gwilym mentions Gwri Gwallt Euryn.

(5) Gast, bitch.” Rymi, written also as Rymhi, is for Rymni.

(6) Astrus, tangled up.


Sugyn (1) the son of Sugnedydd (who would suck up the sea on which were three hundred ships, so as to leave nothing but a dry strand. He was broad-chested). Rhacymwri, the attendant of Arthur (whatever barn he was shown, were there the produce of thirty ploughs within it, he would strike it with an iron flail until the rafters, the beams, and the boards were no better than the small oats in the mow upon the floor of the barn). Dygyflwng, and Anoeth Veidawg (2). And Hir Eiddyl, and Hir Amren (3) (they were two attendants of Arthur). And Gwevyl (4) the son of Gwestad (on the day that he was sad, he would let one of his lips drop below his waist, while he turned upon the other like a cap upon his head). Uchtryd Varyf Draws (5) (who spread his red untrimmed beard over the eight-and-forty rafters (6) which were in Arthur's Hall).


(1) Sugyn, act of sucking ; sugnedydd, which sucks, which pumps” (ref. sugno, to suck, suckle;” Armorican, suno, seuno or cheuno).

(2) Beiddiawc, daring.”

(3) Hir, long”, eiddil, thin”.

(4) Gwevyt or Gwevl, lip”. Instead of Gwestat, Pen. 4 a. : Gwastat.

(5) Baryvdraws, slanted beard or with the rough beard; traws has also the meaning of hard, violent. The royal house, made of wood, had, according to the Laws, six columns only. The same hold for all houses, be them housing people of nobility or not. (Ancient laws, I, p. 292).

(6) Pen. 4 (L. Rh. 468) gives: fifty beams.


 Elidyr Gyvarwydd. Yskyrdav, the Yscudydd (2) (two attendants of Gwenhywyvar were they. Their feet were swift as their thoughts when bearing a message). Brys the son of Bryssethach (from the Hill of the Black Fernbrake (3) in North Britain). And Grudlwyn Gorr (4). Bwlch, and Kyfwlch (5), and Sefwlch, the sons of Cleddyf Kyfwlch, the grandsons of Cleddyf Difwlch. (Their three shields were three gleaming glitterers; their three spears were three pointed piercers; their three swords were three griding gashers;


(1) Kyvarwydd, guide, who informs and, also, is skilful . Kyvarwyddon means sometimes enchantments, magic spells (See Campeu Charlymaen in the Selections from Hengwrt mss., XVII; cf. dorguid, Gloses of Orleans, Middle Welsh derwydd soothsayer, prophet” ).

(2) Yscudydd of ysgud, rapid; ysgudo, to run hurriedly”; ysgyrdaf, perhaps for ysgrydaf of ysgryd, shiver, tremor.

(3) Tal, “the end, the forehead”; redynawc, of redyn, fern” , = Armorican, radenec, fernbrake” , du black .”

(4) Corr, dwarf .”

(5) Kyvwlch. This name appears in the Codex Lichf., (Th. Rovk of Llandav, Rhys-Evans ed. XVI): Arthan filius Cimulch. However, in the Black Book, in connection with the grave of Eiddiwlch it seems that there is a pun on this name: mab Arthan gywlavan gyvwlch. F B a. If, See 22). Bwlch means notch, breach; Divwlch, without notch and figuratively without defect and continuous; eyvwlch has the meaning of complete, perfect; Cleddyv, means sword.

The text shows: CledyvKyvwlch, but according to another part, below, it is necessary to read Divwlch. Kyvwlch in Bwlch Kyvwlch, Sevwlch is obviously incorrect. I would propose by merging the two parts: Bwlch, Hyvwlch (which cuts, prunes well), Syvwlch, son of Kilydd Kyvwlch, grandson of Cleddyv Divwlch.


Glas, Glessic, and Gleisad. Their three dogs (1), Call, Cuall, and Cavall (2). Their three horses, Hwyrdyddwd, and Drwgdyddwd (3), and Llwyrdyddwg. Their three wives, Och, and Garym, and Diaspad (4). Their three grandchildren, Lluched, and Neved, and Eissiwed (5). Their three daughters, Drwg, and Gwaeth, and Gwaethav Oll (6). Their three handmaids, Eheubryd the daughter of Kyfwlch, Gorascwrn the daughter of Nerth, Ewaedan the daughter of Kynvelyn Keudawd (7) Pwyll the half-man (8)).


(1) When the God Lug appears at the gate of Tara royal palace, among the talents he lists in order to enter, he gives the one of cup-carrier; he is answered that there are already some quoted as Glei, Glan, Gleisi, names different from the above, but invented according to the same process and probably distorted (O' Curry, On the manners, III, p. 43). Glas means greenish or whitish; gleissic, gleissat are two derivatives.

(2) Kall, thin”; Kuall, cruel, wild; Kavall is the name of the dog Arthur’s, according to Nennius and Mab. (Nennius, Petrie ed., Mon. Hist. brit., 79); for Kavall, see below; something misses in the text.

(3) Dyddwc who carries”; hwyr, late”, llwyr,” complete; drwc, badly, bad. It seems that there is inversion in the text; Hwyrdyddwc, Drwcdyddwc or Hwyrdyddwc would be adapted better as horses names; Och, Garym and Diaspat would go well as women names. [Lady Guest did inverse the ordering, as you can see.]

(4) Och, exclamation of pain, moaning”; garym or garam, with a euphonic or irrational vowel for garm, cry”; diaspat, piercing cry .”

(5) Lluchet lightning” , Eisiwed, poverty: perhaps Luddet, Nychet and Eisiwet.

(6) Drwc, bad” , gwaeth, worse”; gwaethav oll, “the worst of all.

(7) It is possible that Keudawt should be separated from Kynvelin. The text is in bad condition.

(8) Hanner dyn, half of man”; according to Lady Guest, there would be a Welsh fable, according to which Arthur would have seen, one day, come to him a kind of imp who, from far, had an indistinct form, and while approaching appeared to increase little by little; arrived close to him, it was a half-man. The half-man challenges him. Arthur refuses the fight by contempt, so that the half-man grows and that Arthur, finally, needs all his forces to take the better. It would be, according to Lady Guest, an allegory intended to show the result of exercise and practice.


Dwnn Diessic Unbenn (1), Eiladyr the son of Pen Llarcan (2), Kynedyr Wyllt (3) the son of Hettwn Talaryant, Sawyl Ben Uchel (4), Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar, Gwalhaved the son of Gwyar, Gwrhyr Gwastawd Ieithoedd (5) (to whom all tongues were known), and Kethcrwm the Priest. Clust the son of Clustveinad (7) (though he were buried seven cubits beneath the earth, he would hear the ant fifty miles off rise from her nest in the morning).


(1) Unbenn, prince or simply lord, originally monarch.

(2) The text holds Harcan; another passage gives Pennlloran; llorcan should probably be read: pennllorcan, with the head of green woodpecker. Llorcan is also the name of a king de Munster (O' Curry, On the manners, II, p. 98).

(3) Kyvedyr, elsewhere Kyledyr and even Kynedyr; gwyllt, savage, insane .”

(4) Samuel with the head up, one of the three proud ones of Brittany (Triad. Mab., 304, 17; Triad., Skene, II, p. 458). Gaufrei of Monmouth speaks of king Samuil Pennissel, or Samuel with the lowered head (Hist., II1, 19).

(5) See six pages further.

(G) See five pages further.

(7) Clust, ear”; Clustveinad, with the fine ear”; according to Owen Pughe, “who opens up the ears, who listens attentively”


Medyr the son of Methredydd (from Gelli Wic he could, in a twinkling, shoot the wren through the two legs upon Esgeir Oervel in Ireland). Gwiawn Llygad Cath (1)(who could cut a haw from the eye of the gnat without hurting him). Ol the son of Olwydd (2)(seven years before he was born his father's swine were carried off, and when he grew up a man he tracked the swine, and brought them back in seven herds). Bedwini (3) the Bishop (who blessed Arthur's meat and drink). For the sake of the golden-chained daughters of this island. For the sake of Gwenhwyvar its chief lady, and Gwennhwyach her sister, and Rathtyeu the only daughter of Clemenhill, and Rhelemon the daughter of Kai, and Tannwen the daughter of Gweir Datharwenîddawg. Gwenn Alarch (4) the daughter of Kynwyl Canbwch.


(1) Llyyat cath, with the cats eye. There is a Gwiawn who does not bear this nickname and who is better known; he is described as dewin, soothsayer”, by Gwilym Ddu, poet of the XIIIth-XIVth century (Myv. arch., p.277, col.1; ref. Taliesin in Skene, II, p. 130, 9 153, 23). Medyr has here the meaning of skill or skilful to aim; Methredydd (medrydydd) is a derivative: cf. Drem son of Dremhidydd.

(2) Ol, track, action to follow”; Olwydd, who follows the tracks.”

(3) Dafydd ab Gwilym refers to the coat of Bedwini. The Triads show him as head of the bishops in Arthur’s court with Kelli Wic, in Kernyw (Triads, Skene, II, p. 455). The Dream of Ronabwy speaks also of him.

(4) Gwenn, white”; alarch, swan.”


Eurneid the daughter of Clydno Eiddin (1). Eneuawc the daughter of Bedwyr. Enrydreg the daughter of Tudvathar. Gwennwledyr the daughter of Gwaledyr Kyrvach (2). Erddudnid the daughter of Tryffin. Eurolwen the daughter of Gwdolwyn Gorr. Teleri the daughter of Peul. Indeg the daughter of Garwy Hir. Morvudd (3) the daughter of Urien Rheged. Gwenllian Deg (4) the majestic maiden. Creiddylad (5) the daughter of Lludd Llaw Ereint (6). (She was the most splendid maiden in the three Islands of the mighty, and in the three Islands adjacent, and for her Gwythyr the son of Greidawl and Gwynn the son of Nudd fight every first of May until the day of doom.)


(1) Chief of the North, probably, according to his nickname, around Edinburgh. According to the Laws, he would have come in Wales with Nudd Hael and others to avenge Elidyr the Generous’ death, killed in Arvon; the Welsh had Run, son of Maelgwn, as leader (Ancient laws, 1, p. 104). The courage shown by the men of Arvon against him seem to be at the root of their privileges, as listed there by the Laws. According to the Triads about the nobility of the Northern Britons, he would be son of Kynnwyd Kynnwydyon, and from the large Coel tribe (Triads, Skene, II, p. 454). The Welsh poets often speak of Clydno’s glory, Clot Clydno, an epithet brought by alliteration and form analogy (Myv. arch., p. 246, col. 2; 290, col. 1; 293, col. 2).

(2) Pen, 4 (L. Rh. 569) Gwaredur; read Gwawrddur.

(3) She was one of the three women loved by Arthur (Triads Mab., p. 302, 14). Its name is synonymous to beauty among poets (Daf. ab Gwil., p. 27).

(4) Tec, beautiful.

(5) She was identified the Cordelia of Gaufrei of Monmouth, II, 11; Cordelia is however the daughter of king Llyr. The Triads confuse Lludd and Llyr; to see on Lludd Llaw Ereint the note below. In the Black Book, 51,18, Gwyn ab Nudd says he is Kreurdilad’s lover, daughter of Lludd.

(6) Llaw Ereint, with the silver hand.


Ellylw the daughter of Neol Kynn-Crog (she lived three ages). Essyllt Vinwen, and Essyllt Vingul (1).” And all these did Culhwck son of Kilydd adjure to obtain his boon.

Then said Arthur, “Oh! Chieftain, I have never heard of the maiden of whom thou speakest, nor of her kindred, but I will gladly send messengers in search of her. Give me time to seek her.” And the youth said, “I will willingly grant from this night to that at the end of the year to do so.” Then Arthur sent messengers to every land within his dominions to seek for the maiden; and at the end of the year Arthur's messengers returned without having gained any knowledge or intelligence concerning Olwen more than on the first day. Then said Culhwck, “Every one has received his boon, and I yet lack mine. I will depart and bear away thy honour (2) with me.” Then said Kai, “Rash chieftain! doest thou reproach Arthur? Go with us, and we will not part until thou dost either confess that the maiden exists not in the world, or until we obtain her.” Thereupon Kai rose up. Kai had this peculiarity, that his breath lasted nine nights and nine days under water, and he could exist nine nights and nine days without sleep. A wound from Kai's sword no physician could heal. Very subtle was Kai. When it pleased him he could render himself as tall as the highest tree in the forest. And he had another peculiarity,- so great was the heat of his nature, that, when it rained hardest, whatever he carried remained dry for a handbreadth above and a handbreadth below his hand; and when his companions were coldest, it was to them as fuel with which to light their fire.


 (1) Essyllt is the name which became Iseult in the French novels. Min has the meaning of lips. Essyllt Vinwen, daughter of Kulvanawyt, is one of the three shameless women of the island she is Trystan’s lover (Myv. arch., p. 392, col. 1; there her name is Fyngwen, white mane”). It is also curious that Essyllt Vinwen would become Iseult aux blanches mains (with the white hands). Could min had been wrongly understood? Minwen, white lips”; mingul, thin lips.” Caradawc Vreichvras, or Caradawc with the large arms,” became in the same way, in our French novels, Brie-arm. On Essyllt, See J. Loth, Contributions à l'étude des romans de la Table Ronde, p. 23 and following

(2) Word for word: your face (dy wyneb).



And Arthur called Bedwyr (1), who never shrank from any enterprise upon which Kai was bound. None was equal to him in swiftness throughout this Island except Arthur and Drych Ail Kibddar. And although he was one-handed, three warriors could not shed blood faster than he on the field of battle. Another property he had; his lance would produce a wound equal to those of nine opposing lances [Loth: his lance would produce one wound (coming in), and nine coming out](3).

And Arthur called to Kynddelig the Guide, “Go thou upon this expedition with the chieftain.” For as good a guide was he in a land which he had never seen as he was in his own.

He called Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, because he knew all tongues.


(1) A triad puts him above the three taleithiawc or diadem carrier of the island, i.e. of Drystan, Hueil, son of Kaw and Kei (Myv. arch., p. 389, col. 2; Mab. Triads, p. 307, 16). The Black Book puts his tomb at Allt Tryvan, in Carnarvonshire (p. 51, 34); Arthur, in the same book, prides his worth (p. 51, See 37; 52, 11). Llewis Glyn CoCothi compares two valiant Welsh with the two thumbs of Bedwyr (Dwy vawd Vedwyr oeddynt, p. 396, verse 25; ref. ibid., p. 345, verse 22).

(2) Drych, look, glance”; Cibddar is, in the Triads, together with Coll, son of Collvrewi, and Menw, one of the three prif Lledrithiawc or first magicians, skilful to change or to metamorphose themselves (Myv. arch., p. 390,33); another tradition gives him for Elmur son, which is of the three tarw unbenn or princes bulls of combat (Myv. arch., 408, col. 1).

(3) We had here to explain rather than to translate the text; the text says that the spear of Bedwyr had a blow, a wound, and nine consequences (gwrth-wan; gwan, action of boring.” It seems that this weapon was of the same kind as the gae bulga of the Irish hero Cuchulain. The gae bulga or belly javelin made one only wound while entering, and thirty while being withdrawn; it would spread out a series of points laid out like hooks. To take it out, it was often necessary to open the body. Cuchulain would aim such weapon at the belly of his enemies (O' Curry, On the manners, II, p. 309). Spears with points (generally five) are often mentioned in Irish epics, in particular in Táin Bó Cualgne.

(4) Gwrhyr, the Master or rather the interpreter of the languages. He is mentioned in the Dream of Ronabwy and the novel of Gereint ab Erbin.


He called Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar (1), because he never returned home without achieving the adventure of which he went in quest. He was the best of footmen and the best of knights. He was nephew to Arthur, the son of his sister, and his cousin.

And Arthur called Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, in order that if they went into a savage country, he might cast a charm and an illusion over them, so that none might see them whilst they could see every one.

They journeyed until they came to a vast open plain, wherein they saw a great castle, which was the fairest of the castles of the world. And they journeyed that day until the evening, and when they thought they were nigh to the castle, they were no nearer to it than they had been in the morning. And the second and the third day they journeyed, and even then scarcely could they reach so far. And when they came before the castle, they beheld a vast flock of sheep, which was boundless and without an end. And upon the top of a mound there was a herdsman, keeping the sheep. And a rug made of skins was upon him; and by his side was a shaggy mastiff, larger than a steed nine winters old. Never had he lost even a lamb from his flock, much less a large sheep. He let no occasion ever pass without doing some hurt and harm. All the dead trees and bushes in the plain he burnt with his breath down to the very ground.

Then said Kai, “Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, go thou and salute yonder man.”

“Kai,” said he, “I engaged not to go further than thou thyself.”

“Let us go then together,” answered Kai. Said Menw (2) the son of Teirgwaedd, “Fear not to go thither, for I will cast a spell upon the dog, so that he shall injure no one.”


(1) Gwalchmei: the first term, gwalch, mean male falcon, gwyar means blood. It is useful to notice that this name is most probably found in thecartulaire’ of Redon; where the same character is called there Waltmoe and Walcmoel; the form that explains best the error is Walc-Moei. He is one of the most significant characters of the Mabinogion, he appears nevertheless only in the Mabinogion speaking of Arthur. He has the same features in the Triads as in the Mabin. He is one of the three eurdavodogion or people with the golden language”; he is one of the best knights of Arthur’s court for the hosts and the foreigners (Myv. arch., p. 393, col. 1, col. 2; ibid., p. 407, col. 2). There is an interesting verse dialogue, in Myv. arch., between him and Trystan; he succeeds, by his courtesy, to bring him back to Arthur’s court. He fulfils a similar roles in Peredur, in the mabinogi bearing this name. In this poem, he calls himself, Arthur’s nephew (Myv. arch. p. 132, col. 1). There is no name that would more often uttered by the poets (Myv. arch., p. 278, col. 2; 286, col. 2, etc,; Black Book, Skene, p. 29, 10; 10, 12: His horse is called Keincaled). He is the Gauvain of our Romans de la Table Ronde. He is the son of Lloch Llawwynnyawc (Loth or Batch in the French novels), and Arthur’s cousin. See on Gauvain, Gaston Paris, Hist. litt., XXX, 29-45. One of Cymmwd de Rhos in Pembrokeshire gets its name from him: Walwyn's Castle, in Welsh: Castell Gwalchmai (Eg. Phillimore, Owen’s Pembrok., II, p. 318, note 6).

(2) Menw, spirit, intelligence. The magic of Menw, he learned from Uthur Penndragon, the magic of Math, son of Mathonwy, who taught it to Gwydyon, son of Don, and that of Rudlwm Gorr who taught it to Koll, son of Kollvrewi, are the three principal Magics of Brittany (Triads Mab., p. 302, 23; cf. Myv. arch., p. 390, col. 1). According to a passage of Daf ab. Gwilym, the three magicians would be Menw, Eiddilic Corr and Maeth (sic), p. 143 (Eiddilic Corr, Wyddel call, subtle Gael”).


And they went up to the mound whereon the herdsman was, and they said to him, “How dost thou fare? O herdsman! (1)”

“No less fair be it to you than to me.”

“Truly, art thou the chief?”

“There is no hurt to injure me but my own.”

“Whose are the sheep that thou dost keep, and to whom does yonder castle belong?”

“Stupid are ye, truly! Through the whole world is it known that this is the castle of Yspaddaden Penkawr. (2)”

“And who art thou?”

“I am called Custennin the son of Dyfnedig, and my brother Yspaddaden Penkawr oppressed me because of my possessions. And ye also, who are ye?”

“We are an embassy from Arthur, come to seek Olwen the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr.”

“Oh men! the mercy of Heaven be upon you, do not that for all the world. None who ever came hither on this quest has returned alive.” And the herdsman rose up. And as he arose, Culhwck gave unto him a ring of gold. And he sought to put on the ring, but it was too small for him, so he placed it in the finger of his glove. And he went home, and gave the glove to his spouse to keep. And she took the ring from the glove when it was given her, and she said, “Whence came this ring (3), for thou art not wont to have good fortune?”

“I went,” said he, “to the sea to seek for fish, and lo, I saw a corpse borne by the waves. And a fairer corpse than it did I never behold. And from its finger did I take this ring.”

“O man! does the sea permit its dead to wear jewels (4) [Loth: the sea does not stand dead jewels?] Show me then this body.”


(1) This whole dialogue is unclear. There is a probable pun on berth, and another on priawt. Berth means beautiful, shining. It could be possible to be a welcome similar to French: Are you in good shape? The shepherd takes this word in the meaning of richness, as seems to prove the exclamation of his interlocutor. Priawt means indeed clean, and also applies to the legitimate woman. His brother-in-law Yspaddaden, as the account will show, killed all his children but one, which is hidden, to grasp his goods. The gift of a gold ring seems well to show that the travellers intend to buy the kindness of the shepherd, and validates the meaning we gave to berth. The text seems here still to be distorted.

(2) Yspaddaden with the head of giant.

(3) For the reconstitution from the text, See Critical notes. [ J Loth explains there, for the Welsh language experts, how he reconstituted a text from two Welsh versions. ]

(4) Refer to Anc. Laws, II, p. 258: Kanys pabeth bynac has vo yn varw yn y mor tri llanw a thri tray y brenyn biev (something that remained in a state of being dead in the sea during three forward and three backward flows, belongs to the king).


“O wife, him to whom this ring belonged thou shalt see here in the evening.(1)”

“And who is he?" asked the woman.

“Culhwck the son of Kilydd, the son of Prince Kelyddon, by Goleuddydd the daughter of Prince Anlawdd, his mother, who is come to seek Olwen as his wife.” And when she heard that, her feelings were divided between the joy that she had that her nephew, the son of her sister, was coming to her, and sorrow because she had never known any one depart alive who had come on that quest.

And they went forward to the gate of Custennin the herdsman's dwelling. And when she heard their footsteps approaching, she ran out with joy to meet them. And Kai snatched a billet out of the pile. And when she met them she sought to throw her arms about their necks. And Kai placed the log between her two hands, and she squeezed it so that it became a twisted coil.

“Oh woman,” said Kai, “if thou hadst squeezed me thus, none could ever again have set their affections on me. Evil love were this.” They entered into the house, and were served; and soon after they all went forth to amuse themselves. Then the woman opened a stone chest that was before the chimney-corner (2), and out of it arose a youth with yellow curling hair. Said Gwrhyr, “It is a pity to hide this youth. I know that it is not his own crime that is thus visited upon him.”

“This is but a remnant,” said the woman.

“Three-and-twenty of my sons has Yspaddaden Penkawr slain, and I have no more hope of this one than of the others.” Then said Kai, “Let him come and be a companion with me, and he shall not be slain unless I also am slain with him.” And they ate. And the woman asked them, “Upon what errand come you here?”

“We come to seek Olwen for this youth.” Then said the woman, “In the name of Heaven, since no one from the castle hath yet seen you, return again whence you came.”

“Heaven is our witness, that we will not return until we have seen the maiden.” Said Kai, “Does she ever come hither, so that she may be seen?”

“She comes here every Saturday to wash her head, and in the vessel where she washes, she leaves all her rings, and she never either comes herself or sends any messengers to fetch them.”


(1) The account was watered down here, undoubtedly, by an awkward arranger. I imagine that the primitive dialogue was to be something like that: I took this jewel on the corpse, most beautiful I ever saw.” -  “Which corpse?” – “You will see, it is Kulhwch your nephew.” The shepherd looks upon Kulhwch as a dead man. The arranger will not have understood that, and tried to explain it by using Kustennin’s words. However, there can be simply a defect in the way of speech; the meaning is obvious.

(2) The hearth stone had a particular importance in the Welsh laws. The houses being out of wood, the hearth stone was the most difficult part to destroy. The fire was undoubtedly in the middle of the house,  level with the ground. It is, indeed, question in the Laws of the case or of the pigs entering a house, scatter fire and cause the destruction of the house (Ancient laws I, p. 260; for the pentan, see ibid., p. 76, 452, 455, etc.; II, p. 774). Pentan has also the meaning of tripod (Ancient laws, II, p. 865).



“Will she come here if she is sent to?”

“Heaven knows that I will not destroy my soul, nor will I betray those that trust me; unless you will pledge me your faith that you will not harm her, I will not send to her.” "We pledge it,” said they. So a message was sent, and she came.


The maiden was clothed in a robe of flame-coloured silk, and about her neck was a collar of ruddy gold, on which were precious emeralds and rubies. More yellow was her head than the flower of the broom, and her skin was whiter than the foam of the wave, and fairer were her hands and her fingers than the blossoms of the wood anemone amidst the spray of the meadow fountain (1). The eye of the trained hawk, the glance of the three-mewed falcon (2) was not brighter than hers. Her bosom was more snowy than the breast of the white swan, her cheek was redder than the reddest roses. Whoso beheld her was filled with her love. Four white trefoils sprung up wherever she trod. And therefore was she called Olwen (3) [white trace].


She entered the house, and sat beside Culhwck upon the foremost bench; and as soon as he saw her he knew her. And Culhwck said unto her, “Ah! maiden, thou art she whom I have loved; come away with me, lest they speak evil of thee and of me. Many a day have I loved thee.

“I cannot do this, for I have pledged my faith to my father not to go without his counsel, for his life will last only until the time of my espousals. Whatever is, must be. But I will give thee advice if thou wilt take it. Go, ask me of my father, and that which he shall require of thee, grant it, and thou wilt obtain me; but it thou deny him anything, thou wilt not obtain me, and it will be well for thee if thou escape with thy life.”

“I promise all this, if occasion offer,” said he.


She returned to her chamber, and they all rose up and followed her to the castle. And they slew the nine porters that were at the nine gates in silence. And they slew the nine watch-dogs without one of them barking. And they went forward to the hall.


“The greeting of heaven and of man be unto thee, Yspaddaden Penkawr (4),” said they.

“And you, wherefore come you?”

“We come to ask thy daughter Olwen, for Culhwck the son of Kilydd, the son of Prince Kelyddon.” "Where are my pages and my servants? Raise up the forks beneath my two eyebrows which have fallen over my eyes, that I may see the fashion of my son-in-law.” And they did so.

“Come hither to-morrow, and you shall have an answer.”


(1) The comparison is as gracious as exact. The flower of the trifoliate menyanthium , or watery clover, is one of most charming of our countries. It shows a deep whiteness together with very light purpurin dye; it likes spring waters. When the stalks go out of water, the flower they carry is not spread out yet; it looks like a chalice with three angles.

(2) According to the Welsh laws, the falcon after its moulting has a greater value than before, especially if it becomes white (Ancient laws, I, p 282). The comparison with the eye of the falcon is frequent: Myv. arch., p. 252, col. 2. a warrior is called trimud aer-walch; cf. ibid., 221, col. 1; 257, col. 2). The primitive mut of trimud is which has three moults; but because of its resemblance to mut “mute,”, its meaning evolved, and trimut, termut, finally means mute, as proved by the following passage of Llywarch ab Llewelyn, poet of twelvth and thirteenth century:

rei tra llwfyr tra llafar eu son

ac ereill taerlew termudion

some very cowards, very loquacious,

the others valiant and firm, completely silent”

(Myv. arch., p. 201, col. 2). Gwalch must be translated by male falcon. The Laws (Ancient laws, II, p. 197) speak ( hebawc) wyedic or male falcon as gwalch. Its price lower than the hebawc or simple falcon, i.e. the female falcon. Aneurin Owen, in Laws vol. I, p. 788, is thus mistaken by translating gwalch by buzzard. The moult benefited the falcon; its coat was complete after three moults only. While speaking about the moult, François de Saint-Aulaire (Fauconnerie, Paris, 1819) says that “the falcon becomes more beautiful and more pleasant about it as a person newly suited.”

(3) The author breaks up the word into ol, trace” , and aven, white.”

(4) Yspaddaden ‘of the head of a giant’ somewhat looks like Irish Balór. This can even be used to explain some oddities of this obviously mutilated account. Balór, god of Fomorians, a famous population of Ireland, has his eyelids usually folded back on his eyes, and when he raises them, his glance kills his foes. He is killed by his grandson Lug, god of the Túatha Dé Danann. Yspaddaden, as well, has lowered eyelids; nothing says he has the evil eye, but this is undoubtedly a gap in the present tale. He is killed by his nephew Goreu. Lug kills Balor with a sling stone. Yspaddaden uses as well a stone javelin and is struck by it in turn. This llechwaew or stone javelin becomes, one line below, an iron weapon; but these contradictions show all the better the antiquity of the legend: the word llechwaew was no longer understood.


They rose to go forth, and Yspaddaden Penkawr (1) seized one of the three poisoned darts that lay beside him, and threw it after them. And Bedwyr caught it, and flung it, and pierced Yspaddaden Penkawr grievously with it through the knee. Then he said, “A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly. I shall ever walk the worse for his rudeness, and shall ever be without a cure. This poisoned iron pains me like the bite of a gadfly. Cursed be the smith who forged it, and the anvil whereon it was wrought! So sharp is it!"


That night also they took up their abode in the house of Custennin the herdsman. The next day with the dawn, they arrayed themselves in haste [their hair carefully combed (2)] and proceeded to the castle, and entered the hall, and they said, “Yspaddaden Penkawr, give us thy daughter in consideration of her dower and her maiden fee, which we will pay [agweddi and amobyr (3)] to thee and to her two kinswomen likewise. And unless thou wilt do so, thou shalt meet with thy death on her account.” Then he said, “Her four great-grandmothers, and her four great-grandsires are yet alive, it is needful that I take counsel of them.”

“Be it so,” answered they, “we will go to meat.” As they rose up, he took the second dart that was beside him, and cast it after them. And Menw the son of Gwaedd caught it, and flung it back at him, and wounded him in the centre of the breast, so that it came out at the small of his back.

“A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly,” said he, “the hard iron pains me like the bite of a horse-leech. Cursed be the hearth whereon it was heated, and the smith who formed it! So sharp is it! Henceforth, whenever I go up a hill, I shall have a scant in my breath, and a pain in my chest, and I shall often loathe my food.” And they went to meat.


And the third day they returned to the palace. And Yspaddaden Penkawr said to them, “Shoot not at me again unless you desire death. Where are my attendants? Lift up the forks of my eyebrows which have fallen over my eyeballs, that I may see the fashion of my son-in-law.” Then they arose, and, as they did so, Yspaddaden Penkawr took the third poisoned dart and cast it at them. And Culhwck caught it and threw it vigorously, and wounded him through the eyeball, so that the dart came out at the back of his head.

“A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly! As long as I remain alive, my eyesight will be the worse. Whenever I go against the wind, my eyes will water; and peradventure my head will burn, and I shall have a giddiness every new moon. Cursed be the fire in which it was forged. Like the bite of a mad dog is the stroke of this poisoned iron.” And they went to meat.


And the next day they came again to the palace, and they said, “Shoot not at us any more, unless thou desirest such hurt, and harm, and torture as thou now hast, and even more.”

“Give me thy daughter, and if thou wilt not give her, thou shalt receive thy death because of her.” "Where is he that seeks my daughter? Come hither where I may see thee.” And they placed him a chair face to face with him.


Said Yspaddaden Penkawr, “Is it thou that seekest my daughter?”

“It is I,” answered Culhwck.

“I must have thy pledge that thou wilt not do towards me otherwise than is just, and when I have gotten that which I shall name, my daughter thou shalt have.”

“I promise thee that willingly,” said Culhwck, “name what thou wilt.”

“I will do so,” said he.


“Seest thou yonder vast hill?”

“I see it.” "I require that it be rooted up, and that the grubbings be burned for manure on the face of the land, and that it be ploughed and sown in one day, and in one day that the grain ripen. And of that wheat I intend to make food and liquor fit for the wedding of thee and my daughter. And all this I require done in one day.”


“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”


“Though this be easy for thee, there is yet that which will not be so. No husbandman can till or prepare this land, so wild is it, except Amaethon the son of Don (4), and he will not come with thee by his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.


(1) The proper word is llechwaew, which three times repeated. It is difficult to suppose an error of the scribe for lluchwaew, spear to throw, javelin.” Llech means flat stone. Precisely, there existed in Ireland a weapon of this kind, and bearing about the same name: lai laimhe or hand flat stone. it is described in an Irish poem with the highest degree of accuracy: it was a stone which was narrowing, flat and very acute; it was often hidden in the hollow of the shield (O' Curry, On the manners, II, p. 287, 263, 261; I, p. 338, §456). The memory of this prehistoric weapon is preserved perhaps in some Armorican proper names, in Maen, stone: Maen-uuethen, who fights with the stone; Maen- finit, who launches the stone; Maen-uuoret, ” who defends with the stone”; Maen-uuolou, brilliant stone” , etc., (Cart. de Redon). As for the poisoned weapons, Irish poems often mention them (O' Curry, On the manners, II1, p. 131). The word llechwaew is finds only once apart from Kulhwch and Olwen in Mabinogion, in the novel of Peredur ab Evrawc.

(2) Word for word: after running a valuable comb through their hair. The comb, in the Middle Ages, was a noble object, often a real work of art. In the Romans de la Table Ronde, one sees a lady sending to his lover a rich person combs full of with her hair (Paulin Paris, Romans de la Table Ronde, IV, notes); See my critical notes [where Loth argues for his translation by criticizing Lady Guest’s one].

(3) According to the laws of Gwynedd or North-Wales, the one who delivered the maid to her husband, be him father or tutor, had to pay the  amobyr (Ancient laws, 1, p. 88, 204). According to other texts, this amobyr was paid  to the father of the girl or to the lord. Agweddi point at the dowry that the girl brings while marrying, or the gift made by the husband to his wife after the consummation of the marriage: For agweddi in this last meaning see ‘The dream of Maxen’, notes about the marital gift. It seems here that the applicant wants show generosity; and instead of asking amobyr and agweddi, he offers to give their value to Yspaddaden (See on agweddi, Ancient laws, 1, p. 82, 88 and following; amobyr, ibid., p. 88, 204 and following). The talk Yspaddaden must have with the girl’s other parents follows the spirit of the Welsh legislation, event though it is not spoken of in the Laws.

(4) Amaethon is the least famous of Don’s children. He should be an important farmer, according to his  name, derived from amaeth, ploughman” = ambactos. [follows a citation from the forged Iolo mss.:  According to Iolo mss., Don would be a king of Scandinavia and Dublin who would have brought Gaels in the north of Wales in 267 AD.. They would have remained there hundred twenty nine years. They would have been driven out by the Northern Britons, under the leadership of Cunedda and his/her children (Iolo mss., p.77, 78, 81).] In the Irish legend, Don is elder son of Milet and brings the ancestors of the Irishmen in Ireland (O' Curry, On the manners, p. 189). [Here follows a ‘subnote’ of Loth where he criticizes the Iolo mss information: “Iolo mss., the authority of which, no matter what some said, is thin on historical matters, does not agree with the Mabinogion which by no means introduce Don and his children as being  Gaels”]. Amaethon is mentioned by Taliessin with Math and Gwydyon (Skene, Four ancient books, II, p. 200, line 2; ibid., p. 158, 14, 26). Amaethon appears also at the battle of Goddeu, one of the three frivolous battles of the island of Brittany; it took place because of a roe-deer and a plover, and there were killed seventy one thousand men (Myv. arch., p. 405. 50). A note to a poetic fragment of the Myv. adds that Amaethon fought there with Arawn, king of Annwn, and that it was victorious thanks to his brother Gwydyon: there were on the battle field a man and a woman of whom none could triumph, unless he knew their names Gwydyon guessed them. The woman was called Achren; this is why this battle is called cat Achren or cat Goddeu (Myv arch., p. 127, note. 2).


“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Govannon (1) the son of Don to come to the headland to rid the iron, he will do no work of his own good will except for a lawful king, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; the two dun oxen of Gwlwlyd (2), both yoked together [as companions (3)], to plough the wild land yonder stoutly. He will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; the yellow and the brindled bull [the ox Melyn Gwanwyn and the ox Brych (4). ] yoked together do I require.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; the two horned oxen, one of which is beyond, and the other this side of the peaked mountain, yoked together in the same plough. And these are Nynniaw and Peibaw (5), whom God turned into oxen on account of their sins.”


(1) Govannon, See Mabinogi of Math, notes for Govannon .

(2) The three principal oxen of the island were: Melyn Gwanwyn (also possible: Gwaynhwyn), Gwyneu, Gwlwlyd’s ox, and the large mottled” Brych ox (Myv. arch., p. 394, 10). The text here is hardly readable. Gwineu, brown,” qualifies Gwlwlyd in the Mabinogion, and, in the Triads, the name of one of the oxen.

(3) Companions (French compagnons) in its etymological meaning, more understandable in the French singular compain. Cyd-preiniawc means properly who eats with (preiniawc is derived from prein, of Latin prandium).

(4) Melyn, yellow, fair;” gwanwyn. spring;” melyn y gwanwyn is also the name of a plant: See note 2. The ox Brych was undoubtedly well-known in Welsh mythology according to this passage of Taliesin: “they do not know, these people, the ox Brych which has a hundred and twenty knots (?) in its collar” (Skene, Four anc. books, 182. towards 13).

(5) Nynniaw and Pebiaw. The Liber. Landav,  p. 75 and following, tells that one Pepiau, king of Erchyng (Archenfield, in Herefordshire, South-west of the Wye), the father of saint Dyvric (Dubricius), saint of VIth century.

The two horned oxen (ychain bannawc) most famous in the Triads are those of Hu Gadarn, which would have trailed to the shore the avanc of the pond of Llion (the avanc or addanc is here a mysterious monster); since this time, the pond is said to have stopped to break its dams. It is supposed to be one of the three great wonders of the island (Myv. arch., p. 409, 97). Before the arrival of the Kymry, there were no other inhabitants in Brittany than bears, wolves, eveinc (plural of avanc) and ychain bannoy or horned oxen (Myv. arch., p. 400, 1). see a well-documented article of Silvan Evans’ Welsh Dict., at the word afang. But the author should have compared Welsh and Breton the avanc, Middle Irish abacc: the proper meaning is beaver.


“It will be easy for me to compass this.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Seest thou yonder red tilled ground?"

“I see it.”

“When first I met the mother of this maiden, nine bushels of flax were sown therein, and none has yet sprung up, neither white nor black; and I have the measure by me still. I require to have the flax to sow in the new land under, that when it grows up it may make a white wimple, for my daughter's head, on the day of thy wedding.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou gets this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Honey that is nine times sweeter than the honey of the virgin swarm (1), without scum and bees, do I require to make bragget (2) for the feast.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“The vessel of Llwyr the son of Llwyryon, which is of the utmost value [that contains a penllad (3)]. There is no other vessel in the world that can hold this drink. Of his free will thou wilt not get it, and thou canst not compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The basket of Gwyddneu Garanhir (4), if the whole world should come together, thrice nine men at a time, the meat that each of them desired would be found within it. I require to eat therefrom on the night that my daughter becomes thy bride. He will give it to no one of his own free will, and thou canst not compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The horn of Gwlgawd Gododin (5) to serve us with liquor that night. He will not give it of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The harp of Teirtu (6) to play to us that night. When a man desires that it should play, it does so of itself, and when he desires that it should cease, it ceases. And this he will not give of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”


(1) The first swarm, which is indeed most vigorous, is priced at a higher price in the Laws (Ancient laws, 1, p. 284). The expression without (scum and) bees is very right; if one tolerates the bees to stay in the honeycombs, once the first honey done, honey deceases in quality.

(2) Bragodi is taken here in a general meaning. It is probably not exactly the drink called bragawd, of which the English made bragget, [and as translated by Lady Guest] a drink made of malt, water, honey and some spices. The other drinks of Breton were the cwrv (cwryv and cwrwv with an irrational vowel, today cwrw = curmen), that is beer, and the medd, Middle Breton mez mead” (where from Armorican mezo, Welsh meddw, drunk” ). In a passage of the Laws which deals with the amount of liquor due to certain court officers, it is known as that they are entitled to a full measure of cwrw, to a half measure filled with bragawd, and to the one third measure of medd (Ancient laws, I, p. 44).

(3) The penllad, which has also the meaning of sovereign good, source of blessings, appears to have here a more material meaning; according to Davies it is a measure of two llad, an amount equivalent to twelve bushels of oats. The penllad would thus be worth twenty-four bushels. The word Kib (from Latin cupa), vase, cut, has in the Laws the proper meaning of half-bushel or an amount of four gallons (the gallon is worth 4 litres 54).

(4) According to an already quoted manuscript speaking of the thirteen jewels of the island of Brittany, the basket of Gwyddno had this property that, if you would put in it a man’s food, when it was reopened, it showed the food of hundred ones (Lady Guest, Mab., II, p.354). Gwyddno is a famous character. Seithynin the drunkard, king de Dyvet, during one intoxicated day, released the sea on the estates de Gwyddno Garanhir, i.e. on Cantrev y Gwaelod (gwaelod, lowest part, bottom”) (Myv. arch., p. 409, 37). The Black Book describes a curious dialogue between this character and the god Gwynn ab Nudd (Skene, Four anc. books, II, p. 54, XXXIII; cf. Myv. arch., p. 299, col. 1, allusions to Gwyddneu; on the flood of his estates, See Black Book, p. 59, XXXVIII); Ref. to J. Loth, La légende de Maes Gwyddneu, Revue celt., XXIV, 349). These Gwyddno’s estates are believed to have been on the site of today bay of Cardigan.

(5) According to another tradition, the magic horn would be the one of Bran Galed: it poured the liquor one wished for (Lady Guest, Mab., H, p. 351). - the ms, Yen. 4, L. Rh. 481 shows the interesting alternative: Gododin.

(6) A poet of the midst XVth century, Davydd ab Edmwnt, referred to this harp he calls the harp of Teirtud. According to Lady Guest, from whom I borrow this quotation, there would exist about this harp a Welsh nurse tale: a dwarf, called Dewryn Vyehan, would have stolen the harp of a giant, but this harp started to play, and the giant rushed after the thief. There is also a magic harp in the Irish epic, the one of Dagdé. The Liber Land., mentions Castell Teirtud, in Buellt, in Breconshire (p. 374).


“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The cauldron (1) of Diwrnach Wyddel, the steward of Odgar the son of Aedd, king of Ireland, to boil the meat for thy marriage feast.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. It is needful for me to wash my head, and shave my beard, and I require the tusk of Yskithyrwyn Benbaedd  (2) to shave myself withal, neither shall I profit by its use if it be not plucked alive out of his head.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. There is no one in the world that can pluck it out of his head except Odgar the son of Aedd, king of Ireland.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. I will not trust any one to keep the tusk except Gado of North Britain. Now the threescore [sixty] Cantrevs (3) of North Britain are under his sway, and of his own free will he will not come out of his kingdom, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. I must spread out my hair in order to shave it, and it will never be spread out unless I have the blood of the jet black sorceress (4), the daughter of the pure white sorceress, from Pen Nant Govid, on the confines of Hell.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. I will not have the blood unless I have it warm, and no vessels will keep warm the liquid that is put therein except the bottles of Gwyddolwyn Gorr (5), which preserve the heat of the liquor that is put into them in the east, until they arrive at the west. And he will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Some will desire fresh milk, and it will not be possible to have fresh milk for all, unless we have the bottles of Rhinnon Rhin (6) Barnawd, wherein no liquor ever turns sour. And he will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is not a comb or scissors with which I can arrange my hair, on account of its rankness, except the comb and scissors that are between the two ears of Twrch Trwyth (7), the son of Prince Tared. He will not give them of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”


(1) Nothing is said of its functions. It certainly would look like the cauldron of Dagdé that one did not leave without being full, spoken of in Leab har Gabala or The Book of Conquests,. The cauldron of Tyrnog was more intelligent; if the meat to boil was for a coward, it did not boil; for a courageous one, it was done at once (Lady Guest, Mab., II, p. 354). The Mab. Pwyll refers also to another marvellous cauldron.

(2) Ysgithyr means tusk, fangs;” penbeidd,  leader of the wild boars. Pen. 4 (L. Rh. 482) shows this interesting passage which thered Book misses: if you obtain it, there is a thing you will not obtain: the birds of Rhiannon, that awake the  dead  and put to sleep the living ones, I want them to entertain me this night,  [ The Mabinogi de Branwen contains an allusion to these birds. In Hardlech you will remain seven years sitting at your table, while the birds of Rhiannon sing for you.” ]

(3) Cantrev, See the Mabinogi of Pwyll. There is here a pun on Kadw, to keep and Kado: Pen. 4 (L RII.482) has even Kadw instead of Kado. Prydein indicates Brittany itself (Prydyn is Scotland): it is a correctly evolved form of Pretania or Pritania; Britannia is a form redone according to Brittones. Prydain, and the Irishman Cruithne (more precisely Pict country) come from Old Celtic Qritonia.

(4) Gorddu, very black; gorwen, “very white.” Pennant means the end of the ravine or the brook (Armorican ant for nant, coming from an nant, the gully between two furrows), French patois, an nant Govud, affliction.”

(5) Gwidolwyn-the-dwarf has a daughter Eurolwen, as above mentioned.

(6) Rin, secrecy,” mysterious virtue. Pen. 4 (L. Rh.488): Rin Barvawt.

(7) The first mention of Twrch Trwyth or Trwyth pig is found in Nennius LXXIX: by hunting the pig Troit (porcum Terit, can be also Troit), Arthur’s dog, Cabal, is said to have printed the mark of its foot on a stone; Arthur had made at this place a carn (cluster of stones) which bears the name of CarnCabal; one can remove this stone and carry it away by a walk  of one day and one night, it always comes back to the same spot; this carn would be in Buellt, Breconshire. It is not useless to add that this passage probably does not belong to Nennius’ primitive work (ref. to . de La Borderie, Nennius; George Heeger, Die Trojanersage der Britten, Munich, 1896, p. 21 and following). According to Lady Guest, Carncavall is a mountain of the Builh district, to the south of Rhayader Gwy, Brecon. There would still exist on the top of this mountain a stone carrying a print resembling to a dog leg, and she even drew a picture of it (Mab., II, p. 359). The book of Aneurin probably contains an allusion to Twrch Trwyth (Skene, Four anc. books, II, p. 94). The history of Twrch Trwyth resembles singularly the one of Henwen, the sow of Dallweir Dallbenn. Henwen was pregnant; however, it was predicted that the island would have to suffer from its progeny. Arthur gathers his troops to destroy it. The guard of sow, Coll, Collvrewi’s son, always leaves a hand in its (the sow) hairs everywhere where he goes. The sow gives birth, at first, to a wheat grain, then to a barley grain, then still to a wolf cub, and finally to a cat that Coll launches in the Menei strait. The children of Paluc took care of it and raised this cat which became one of the three wounds of Mon (Anglesey) (see Triads Mab., p. 307, 18; Skene, II, p. 458). Twrch is the name of two rivers in Wales and a Finistère commune, close to Quimper. Tourch, in Armorican Breton, has the meaning of male piglet. On the hunting of Twrch Trwyth, cf. John Rhys, Transactions of the Cymmrod society, 1891-1895, p. 100. Twrch Trwyth is Orc Treith of the Glossary of Cormac (name of a son of a king, known as Cormac, Triath (nominative form) enim rex vocatur). For a similar hunt, in Ireland, cf. The Rennes Dindshenchas, Revue celtique, XV, p. 474-475. Ferd. Lot compared Twrch Tr. to the White Pig of Guingamor and also pointed out that Henwen means Old- she-White (Romania, XXX, p. 14, 590).

The form Trwyth was influenced by the Irish form or is more probably due to a scribe error. The true form is Trwyt (or Trwyd): this is Nennius one and also in the Book of Aneurin (F A. B., II, p. 94, verse 23). Silvan Evans (ibid., p. 392,393) also quotes a form Trwyd in Cynddelw, a poet of second half of the XIIth century, and another in Llewis Glyn Cothi, a poet of the XVth century.


“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. It will not be possible to hunt Twrch Trwyth without Drudwyn the whelp of Greid, the son of Eri.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is not a leash that can hold him, except the leash of Cwrs Cant Ewin.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is no collar that will hold the leash except the collar of Canhastyr Canllaw.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The chain of Kilydd Canhastyr to fasten the collar to the leash.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is not a huntsman who can hunt with this dog, except Mabon the son of Modron. He was taken from his mother when three nights old (1), and it is not known where he now is, nor whether he is living or dead.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Gwynn Mygdwn (2), the horse of Gweddw, that is as swift as the wave, to carry Mabon the son of Modron to hunt the boar Trwyth. He will not give him of his own free will, and thou wilt not be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Thou wilt not get Mabon, for it is not known where he is, unless thou find Eidoel (3), his kinsman in blood, the son of Aer. For it would be useless to seek for him. He is his cousin.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Garselit the Gwyddelian (4) is the chief huntsman of Ireland; the Twrch Trwyth can never be hunted without him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. A leash made from the beard of Dissull Varvawc, for that is the only one that can hold those two cubs. And the leash will be of no avail unless it be plucked from his beard while he is alive, and twitched out with wooden tweezers. While he lives he will not suffer this to be done to him, and the leash will be of no use should he be dead, because it will be brittle.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Throughout the world there is no huntsman that can hold those two whelps except Kynedyr Wyllt, the son of Hettwn Glafyrawc (5); he is nine times more wild than the wildest beast upon the mountains. Him wilt thou never get, neither wilt thou ever get my daughter.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. It is not possible to hunt the boar Trwyth without Gwynn (6) the son of Nudd, whom God has placed over the brood of devils in Annwn, lest they should destroy the present race. He will never be spared thence.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”


(1) Note that, in this novel, the Welsh count time per nights, which was also the practice among the Gaul according to Caesar. Besides the week is called, in Welsh, wythnos, eight nights.” Cornic and Breton borrowed the Latin word septimana.

(2) Gwynn, white; mygdwnn for myngdwnn, “with the dark mane.

(3) See before.

(4) Cited in Englynion y Klyweit, collection of proverbs or good advice, each uttered by  famous or less famous character; they are epigrams of three lines and beginning with a glywaist ti, did you hear?” (Myv. arch., p. 429, col. 2). See earlier, note  on Garselit.

(5) Clavyrawc, “the leprous one.”

(6) Nothing shows better the evolution of the mythological characters than the history of Gwynn. Nudd is the regular nominative Welsh form, of the name of god found in the dative form in the Latin Inscriptions of Brittany: Nodenti deo (Inscript. Brit. lat. Hübner, p. 42, XIV). Traces of a temple devoted to this god were found in Lydney, Gloucestershire. The nominative Irish form of this name is Núada. Núada of the silver hand is a king of the Túatha Dé Danann. Gwynn was sent in hell by the Christian priests. Its name is synonymous with devil. Dafydd ab Gwilym, instead of saying: Let the devil carry me away! says: Let Gwynn, son of Nudd, carry me away! (p. 170; cf. ibid., p. 260: the owl is called the bird of Gwynn, son of Nudd). The legend of saint Collen, who gave his name to Llan-gollen, in Denbigshire and to Lan-golen, near Quimper, shows that it is not without trouble that the Christian priests succeeded in blackening this former god in the Welsh minds. After a brilliant and valiant life abroad, Collen became an abbot of Glastonbury. It wanted to flee honours and withdrew in a cell on a mountain. One day, he heard two men  celebrating the power and the richness of Gwynn, son of Nudd, king of Annwvn. Collen hold it, he put his head outside of his cell and said to them: Gwynn and his followers are nothing but devils!” – “Keep silent yourself,” they answered, “fear his anger.” Indeed, the following day, he received from Gwynn an invitation to an appointment on a mountain. Collen did not go there. The next day, same invitation same result. The third time, frightened by threats of Gwynn. and prudently provided with a bottle  of holy water,  he obeyed. He was introduced in a dazzling castle; Gwynn was sitting on a golden seat, surrounded by richly clothed young men and girls. The clothes of Gwynn’s people were red and blue. Gwynn perfectly welcomed Collen and placed everything at his disposal. After a short conversation, after having said to the king, who asked him his feelings on the livery of his people, that red meant brilliant heat, and blue meant coldness, he sprayed holy water on him and his people, and everything disappeared (Lady Guest, according to the Greal collection, p. 337, London, 1805). The god Gwynn, son of Nudd, thus play the same role in Wales as Núada and the Túatha Dé Danann in Ireland. Among some poets, Gwynn is not this devilish; he is a hero like many others; Gwynn is made a mere man. In the Black Book, 55, XXXIII, he is given as the lover of Kreurdilat, daughter of Lludd; it attended many battles, and many heroes’ death. Our Mabinogi reconciles the Christian and pagan legend. Not being able to tear him off hell, where holy Collen and his friends irrevocably installed him, the author explains why is to subdue the demons and to prevent them from harming the mortals. The paradise of the Celts was called by the Gaels: Findmag, and by the Welsh: Gwynva, “the white or happy field” , or perhaps the Gwynn’s field (Gwynva = *Vindo-magos).


“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. There is not a horse in the world that can carry Gwynn to hunt the Twrch Trwyth, except Du, the horse of Mor of Oerveddawg (1).”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Until Gilennhin the king of France shall come, the Twrch Trwyth cannot be hunted. It will be unseemly for him to leave his kingdom for thy sake, and he will never come hither.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The Twrch Trwyth can never be hunted without the son of Alun Dyved; he is well skilled in letting loose the dogs.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The Twrch Trwyth cannot be hunted unless thou get Aned and Aethlem (2). They are as swift as the gale of wind, and they were never let loose upon a beast that they did not kill him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get; Arthur and his companions to hunt the Twrch Trwyth. He is a mighty man, and he will not come for thee, neither wilt thou be able to compel him (3).”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The Twrch Trwyth cannot be hunted unless thou get Bwlch, and Kyfwlch [and Sefwlch], the grandsons of Cleddyf Difwlch. Their three shields are three gleaming glitterers Their three spears are three pointed piercers. Their three swords are three griding gashers, Glas, Glessic, and Clersag. Their three dogs, Call, Cuall, and Cavall. Their three horses, Hwyrdydwg, and Drwgdydwg, and Llwyrdydwg. Their three wives, Och, and Garam, and Diaspad. Their three grandchildren, Lluched, and Vyned, and Eissiwed. Their three daughters, Drwg, and Gwaeth, and Gwaethav Oll. Their three handmaids [Eheubryd, the daughter of Kyfwlch; Gorasgwrn, the daughter of Nerth; and Gwaedan, the daughter of Kynvelyn]. These three men shall sound the horn, and all the others shall shout, so that all will think that the sky is falling to the earth.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”

“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. The sword of Gwrnach the Giant (4); he will never be slain except therewith. O his own free will he will not give it, either for a price or as a gift, and thou wilt never be able to compel him.”

“It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think that it will not be easy.”


“Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Difficulties shalt thou meet with, and nights without sleep, in seeking this, and if thou obtain it not, neither shalt thou obtain my daughter.”

“Horses shall I have, and chivalry; and my lord and kinsman Arthur will obtain for me all these things. And I shall gain thy daughter, and thou shalt lose thy life.”

“Go forward. And thou shalt not be chargeable for food or raiment for my daughter while thou art seeking these things; and when thou hast compassed all these marvels, thou shalt have my daughter for thy wife.”

All that day they journeyed until the evening, and then they beheld a vast castle, which was the largest in the world. And lo, a black man, huger than three of the men of this world, came out from the castle. And they spoke unto him, “Whence comest thou, O man?”

“From the castle which you see yonder.”

“Whose castle is that?" asked they.

“Stupid are ye truly, O men. There is no one in the world that does not know to whom this castle belongs. It is the castle of Gwrnach the Giant.” "What treatment is there for guests and strangers that alight in that castle?”

“Oh! Chieftain, Heaven protect thee. No guest ever returned thence alive, and no one may enter therein unless he brings with him his craft.”

Then they proceeded towards the gate. Said Gwrhyr Gwalstawd Ieithoedd, “Is there a porter?”

“There is. And thou, if thy tongue be not mute in thy head, wherefore dost thou call?”

“Open the gate.”

“I will not open it.”

“Wherefore wilt thou not?”

“The knife is in the meat, and the drink is in the horn, and there is revelry in the hall of Gwrnach the Giant, and except for a craftsman who brings his craft, the gate will not be opened to-night.” "Verily, porter,” then said Kai, “my craft bring I with me.” "What is thy craft?”

“The best burnisher of swords am I in the world.” "I will go and tell this unto Gwrnach the Giant, and I will bring thee an answer.”


So the porter went in, and Gwrnach said to him, “Hast thou any news from the gate?”

“I have. There is a party at the door of the gate who desire to come in.”

“Didst thou inquire of them if they possessed any art?”

“I did inquire,” said he, “and one told me that he was well skilled in the burnishing of swords.” "We have need of him then. For some time have I sought for some one to polish my sword, and could find no one. Let this man enter, since he brings with him his craft.” The porter thereupon returned and opened the gate. And Kai went in by himself, and he saluted Gwrnach the Giant. And a chair was placed for him opposite to Gwrnach. And Gwrnach said to him, “Oh man! is it true that is reported of thee that thou knowest how to burnish swords?”

“I know full well how to do so,” answered Kai. Then was the sword of Gwrnach brought to him. And Kai took a blue whetstone from under his arm, and asked him whether he would have it burnished white or blue.

“Do with it as it seems good to thee, and as though wouldest if it were thine own.” Then Kai polished one half of the blade and put it in his hand.

“Will this please thee?" asked he.

“I would rather than all that is in my dominions that the whole of it were like unto this. It is a marvel to me that such a man as thou should be without a companion.”

“Oh! noble sir, I have a companion, albeit he is not skilled in this art.”

“Who may he be?”

“Let the porter go forth and I will tell him whereby he may know him. The head of his lance will leave its shaft, and draw blood from the wind, and will descend upon its shaft again.” Then the gate was opened, and Bedwyr entered. And Kai said, “Bedwyr is very skilful, although he knows not this art.”


And there was much discourse among those who were without, because that Kai and Bedwyr had gone in. And a young man who was with them, the only son of Custennin the herdsman, got in also. And he caused all his companions to keep close to him as he passed the three wards (5), and until he came into the midst of the castle. And his companions said unto the son of Custennin, “Thou hast done this! Thou art the best of all men.” And thenceforth he was called Goreu, the son of Custennin. Then they dispersed to their lodgings, that they might slay those who lodged therein, unknown to the Giant.


(1) aerveddawc is another possible reading. The three aer-veddawc are Selyv ab Cynan Garwyn; Avaon son of Taliesin, and Gwallawc ab Lleenawc. They were called so because they avenged the wrongs that were done to them, even from their grave (Myv. arch., p. 408, 76).

(2) Aethlem (for Aethlym? ) acute, poignant.

(3) Pen. 4 (L. Rh. 495) additions the curious following explanation Here is the cause it is under my hand.”

(4) This marvellous sword, counted among the thirteen jewels of the island, is the one of Rhydderch Hael. If another but him would draw from its sheath, it blazed up from the handle to the point. He gave it to all those who asked him, and this is why he was given the name of Rhydderch the Generous, but everyone gave it back because of this feature (Lady Guest, II, p. 354). The name of Daronwy is preserved in the name of a farm of Llanfachreth close to Carnarwon (L Rhys, Celt. Folklore, II, p. 567).

 (5) The cadlys corresponds, undoubtedly, to the Irish  air-lis. Each lis, residence of noble surrounded by an earth wall, contained at least an inside square (air-lis) where the herds took refuge (O' Curry, On the manners, 1, p. 304). Cad probably does not mean here combat, but belongs to the same root as cadw, to keep. The cadlys was protected by palisades or other means of defence. In certain British camps (camps of the Celtic time in the island of Brittany), the circular enclosure, in general reserved for the cattle, is perfectly recognizable.



The sword was now polished, and Kai gave it unto the hand of Gwrnach the Giant, to see if he were pleased with his work. And the Giant said, “The work is good, I am content therewith.” Said Kai, “It is thy scabbard that hath rusted thy sword, give it to me that I may take out the wooden sides of it and put in new ones.” And he took the scabbard from him, and the sword in the other hand. And he came and stood over against the Giant, as if he would have put the sword into the scabbard; and with it he struck at the head of the Giant, and cut off his head at one blow. Then they despoiled the castle, and took from it what goods and jewels (1) they would. And again on the same day, at the beginning of the year, they came to Arthur's Court, bearing with them the sword of Gwrnach the Giant.


Now, when they told Arthur how they had sped, Arthur said, “Which of these marvels will it be best for us to seek first?”

“It will be best,” said they, “to seek Mabon the son of Modron; and he will not be found unless we first find Eidoel, the son of Aer, his kinsman.” Then Arthur rose up, and the warriors of the Islands of Britain with him, to seek for Eidoel; and they proceeded until they came before the Castle of Glivi, where Eidoel was imprisoned. Glivi stood on the summit of his castle, and he said, “Arthur, what requirest thou of me, since nothing remains to me in this fortress, and I have neither joy nor pleasure in it; neither wheat nor oats? Seek not therefore to do me harm.” Said Arthur, “Not to injure thee came I hither, but to seek for the prisoner that is with thee.”

“I will give thee my prisoner, though I had not thought to give him up to any one; and therewith shalt thou have my support and my aid.”


His followers said unto Arthur, “Lord, go thou home, thou canst not proceed with thy host in quest of such small adventures as these.” Then said Arthur, “It were well for thee, Gwrhyr Gwalstawd Ieithoedd, to go upon this quest, for thou knowest all languages, and art familiar with those of the birds and the beasts. Thou, Eidoel, oughtest likewise to go with my men in search of thy cousin. And as for you, Kai and Bedwyr, I have hope of whatever adventure ye are in quest of, that ye will achieve it. Achieve ye this adventure for me.”


They went forward until they came to the Ousel [‘blackbird’ in the French transaltion] of Cilgwri (2). And Gwrhyr adjured her for the sake of Heaven, saying, “Tell me if thou knowest aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken when three nights old from between his mother and the wall.” And the Ousel answered, “When I first came here, there was a smith's anvil in this place, and I was then a young bird; and from that time no work has been done upon it, save the pecking of my beak every evening, and now there is not so much as the size of a nut remaining thereof; yet the vengeance of Heaven be upon me, if during all that time I have ever heard of the man for whom you inquire. Nevertheless I will do that which is right, and that which it is fitting that I should do for an embassy from Arthur. There is a race of animals who were formed before me, and I will be your guide to them.”


So they proceeded to the place where was the Stag of Redynvre (3).

“Stag of Redynvre, behold we are come to thee, an embassy from Arthur, for we have not heard of any animal older than thou. Say, knowest thou aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken from his mother when three nights old?" The Stag said, “When I first came hither, [Loth: I had one spike (4) only on my head and] there was a plain all around me, without any trees save one oak sapling, which grew up to be an oak with an hundred branches. And that oak has since perished, so that now nothing remains of it but the withered stump; and from that day to this I have been here, yet have I never heard of the man for whom you inquire. Nevertheless, being an embassy from Arthur, I will be your guide to the place where there is an animal which was formed before I was.”


So they proceeded to the place where was the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd (5).

“Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, here is an embassy from Arthur; knowest thou aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken after three nights from his mother?”

“If I knew I would tell you. When first I came hither, the wide valley you see was a wooded glen. And a race of men came and rooted it up. And there grew there a second wood; and this wood is the third. My wings, are they not withered stumps? Yet all this time, even until to-day, I have never heard of the man for whom you inquire. Nevertheless, I will be the guide of Arthur's embassy until you come to the place where is the oldest animal in this world, and the one that has travelled most, the Eagle of Gwern Abwy.”


Gwrhyr said, “Eagle of Gwern Abwy, we have come to thee an embassy from Arthur, to ask thee if thou knowest aught of Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken from his mother when he was three nights old.” The Eagle said, “I have been here for a great space of time, and when I first came hither there was a rock here, from the top of which I pecked at the stars every evening; and now it is not so much as a span high. From that day to this I have been here, and I have never heard of the man for whom you inquire, except once when I went in search of food as far as Llyn Llyw. And when I came there, I struck my talons into a salmon, thinking he would serve me as food for a long time. But he drew me into the deep, and I was scarcely able to escape from him. After that I went with my whole kindred to attack him, and to try to destroy him, but he sent messengers, and made peace with me; and came and besought me to take fifty fish spears out of his back. Unless he know something of him whom you seek, I cannot tell who may. However, I will guide you to the place where he is.


So they went thither; and the Eagle said, “Salmon of Llyn Llyw, I have come to thee with an embassy from Arthur, to ask thee if thou knowest aught concerning Mabon the son of Modron, who was taken away at three nights old from his mother.”

“As much as I know I will tell thee. With every tide I go along the river upwards, until I come near to the walls of Gloucester [Loth: Kaer Loyw (6)], and there have I found such wrong as I never found elsewhere; and to the end that ye may give credence thereto, let one of you go thither upon each of my two shoulders.”


(1) Tlysseu, jewels. The primitive meaning of tlws was probably the same as Irish tlus, cattle; in the same way, alaf, richness, and Irish alam, herd. As well, Latin soldus (solidos) gave to the Breton language saout (solt), cows.

(2) The account which follows was reproduced and modified in Iolo mss., under the title of Henaifion byd, “the old ones of the world” (p. 188). In this [fake] version, the eagle of Gwernabwy wants to marry again, but with a widow of his age; he thinks of the owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, but he wants to be informed of her age. He takes information from the stag of Rhedynvre, in Gwent, the salmon of Llyn Llivon, the blackbird of Cilgwri, the toad of Vochno Horns, in Ceredigiawn (Cardiganshire), the oldest creatures in the world: the owl was older than any of them. The eagle could thus marry the owl without mismatch. Dafydd ab Gwilym refers, in the same passage, to the animals of Gwernabwy, Cilgwri and Cwm Cawlwyd (p. 68; cf. Myv. arch., p. 340, col. 2). There is a place named Cilgwri, in Flintshire (Lew. Glyn Cothi, p.415, towards 20, note). A French translation of the tale ‘the Old ones of the world was  published in the Revue de Bretagne et de Vendée, year 1887, 1st semester period, p. 456-458, from the English translation.

(3) Redyn, fern”; bre hill.”

(4) On its second year, two small points named spikes grow on the head of the stag. This  word corresponds exactly to Welsh reidd, from the Latin radius (Vénerie, by Jacques du Foulloux, reprinted in Angers, 1844). The writing reit for reid = reidd, comes from a copy where ‘t’ had the value of a spirant dental loud consonant, as it is the rule in the Black Book; cf. y byt = y hydd, Mab., p. 237, 1, 27.

(5) According to Lady Guest, there are a place of this name in Carnarvonshire, and another in Carmarthenshire.

(6) Gloucester. Gloyw (Glevum) becomes, in composition with the feminine name Kaer, Loyw, according to a rule common to all the Brittonic dialects.



 So Kai and Gwrhyr Gwalstawd Ieithoedd went upon the two shoulders of the salmon, and they proceeded until they came unto the wall of the prison, and they heard a great wailing and lamenting from the dungeon. Said Gwrhyr, “Who is it that laments in this house of stone?”

“Alas, there is reason enough for whoever is here to lament. It is Mabon the son of Modron (1) who is here imprisoned; and no imprisonment was ever so grievous as mine, neither that of Lludd Llaw Ereint (2) , nor that of Greid the son of Eri (3).”

“Hast thou hope of being released for gold or for silver, or for any gifts of wealth, or through battle and fighting?”

“By fighting will whatever I may gain be obtained.


Then they went thence, and returned to Arthur, and they told him where Mabon the son of Modron was imprisoned. And Arthur summoned the warriors of the Island, and they journeyed as far as Gloucester, to the place where Mabon was in prison. Kai and Bedwyr went upon the shoulders of the fish, whilst the warriors of Arthur attacked the castle. And Kai broke through the wall into the dungeon, and brought away the prisoner upon his back, whilst the fight was going on between the warriors. And Arthur returned home, and Mabon with him at liberty.


Said Arthur, “Which of the marvels will it be best for us now to seek first?”

“It will be best to seek for the two cubs of Gast Rhymhi.”

“Is it known,” asked Arthur, “where she is!

“She is in Aber Deu Gleddyf (4),” said one. Then Arthur went to the house of Tringad, in Aber Cleddyf, and he inquired of him whether he had heard of her there.

“In what form may she be?”

“She is in the form of a she-wolf,” said he; "and with her there are two cubs.”

“She has often slain my herds, and she is there below in a cave in Aber Cleddyf.”

So Arthur went in his ship Prydwen (5) by sea, and the others went by land, to hunt her.


(1) Mabon is one of the three prisoners of high rank of the island, together with Llyr Lledyeith, and Gweir, son of Geiryoedd. There was one even more famous: Arthur, who was three nights in prison in Kaer Oeth and Anoeth, three nights put in prison by Gwenn Benndragon, three nights in an enchanted prison under Llech Echymeint. Goreu freed them (Triads Mab., p. 308, 9). Mabon is called in the Black Book the servant of Uthir Pendragon (Skene, 51, 1).

(2) As already said, there was confusion between this character and Llyr. I am extremely tempted to correct Ludd in Nudd Llaw Ereint or Nudd of the silver hand, and to identify him to Núada of the silver hand, king of the Túatha Dé Danann. This Núada had lost a hand which had been replaced by a silver hand. He and his people were held in oppression by Fomore Breas, which they took as champion, but he eventually was freed and given back his the throne. The meaning of Ereint is made certain by a passage of our mabinogi on the pig Grugyn Gwrych Ereint (Ereint = Argantios).

(3) Ardent like Greit, son of Eri”, says Kynddelw, poet of the twelfth century (Myv. arch., p. 165, col. 2); graid, has presently the meaning of ardent; refer to Vannetais greu, passion, gredus, ardent, zealous.

(4) Aber Deu Cleddyv, today, in English, Milford Haven, in the county of Pembroke; Penvro in Welsh). There was a cantrev of Dangleddeu including the cwmwd of Amgoed, Pennant and Evelvre (Powell, History of Wales, p. 18). Aber, as into Breton-Armorican means river-mouth, flow. The name of Deu Gleddyv comes from two rivers of this area, both named Cleddyv.

(5) Pritwenn, white face, white form. Gaufrei of Monmouth and, naturally, the Brut Tysilio, name Arthur’s  shield Prytwenn (Gaufrei, IX, 4; Brut Tysilio, Myv. arch, p. 462). Taliesin (Skene, II, 181, 15) alludes to it: Three times full Prytwen we went there: only seven came back from Caer Sidi.” The Landav Liber. mention a place called Messur Prytguen, p.198 (The measure of Prytguen).


And they surrounded her and her two cubs, and God did change them again for Arthur into their own form. And the host of Arthur dispersed themselves into parties of one and two.


On a certain day, as Gwythyr the son of Greidawl was walking over a mountain, he heard a wailing and a grievous cry. And when he heard it, he sprang forward, and went towards it. And when he came there, he drew his sword, and smote off an ant-hill close to the earth, whereby it escaped being burned in the fire. And the ants said to him, “Receive from us the blessing of heaven, and that which no man can give we will give thee.” Then they fetched the nine bushels of flax-seed which Yspaddaden Penkawr had required of Culhwck, and they brought the full measure without lacking any, except one flax-seed, and that the lame pismire brought in before night.


As Kai and Bedwyr sat on a beacon carn on the summit of Plinlimmon, in the highest wind that ever was in the world, they looked around them, and saw a great smoke towards the south, afar off, which did not bend with the wind. Then said Kai, “By the hand of my friend, behold, yonder is the fire of a robber!" Then they hastened towards the smoke, and they came so near to it, that they could see Dillus Varvawc scorching a wild boar.

“Behold, yonder is the greatest robber that ever fled from Arthur,” said Bedwyr unto Kai.

“Dost thou know him?”

“I do know him,” answered Kai, “he is Dillus Varvawc, and no leash in the world will be able to hold Drudwyn, the cub of Greid the son of Eri, save a leash made from the beard of him thou seest yonder. And even that will be useless, unless his beard be plucked alive with wooden tweezers; for if dead, it will be brittle.”

“What thinkest thou that we should do concerning this?" said Bedwyr.

“Let us suffer him,” said Kai, “to eat as much as he will of the meat, and after that he will fall asleep.” And during that time they employed themselves in making the wooden tweezers. And when Kai knew certainly that he was asleep, he made a pit under his feet, the largest in the world, and he struck him a violent plow, and squeezed him into the pit. And there they twitched out his beard completely with the wooden tweezers; and after that they slew him altogether.


And from thence they both went to Gelli Wic, in Cornwall, and took the leash made of Dillus Varvawc's beard with them, and they gave it into Arthur's hand. Then Arthur composed this Englyn


Kai made a leash

Of Dillus son of Eurei's beard.

Were he alive, thy death he'd be.


And thereupon Kai was wroth, so that the warriors of the Island could scarcely make peace between Kai and Arthur. And thenceforth, neither in Arthur's troubles, nor for the slaying of his men, would Kai come forward to his aid for ever after.


Said Arthur, “Which of the marvels is it best for us now to seek?”

“It is best for us to seek Drudwyn, the cub of Greid the son of Eri.”


A little while before this, Creiddylad the daughter of Llud Llaw Ereint, and Gwythyr the son of Greidawl, were betrothed. And before she had become his bride, Gwn ap Nudd came and carried her away by force; and Gwythyr the son of Greidawl gathered his host together, and went to fight with Gwyn ap Nudd. But Gwyn overcame him, and captured Greid the son of Eri, and Glinneu the son of Taran (3), and Gwrgwst Ledlwm (4), and Dynvarth his son.


(1) Pumlummon, now called Plimlimmon, mountain of the county of Cardigan, on the borders of the county of Montgomery, where Severn, Wye and Rheidol have their source, called for this reason the three sisters.

(2) A Welsh proverb says: arwydd drwc mwc yn diffeith, sign of evil when smoke in loneliness” (Y Cymmrodor, VII, p. 139, L 1).

(3) Taran, « thunder ».

(4) Llet-lwm, « half naked ».


And he captured Penn the son of Nethawg, and Nwython (1), and Kyledyr Wyllt his son. And they slew Nwython, and took out his heart, and constrained Kyledyr to eat the heart of his father (2). And therefrom Kyledyr became mad. When Arthur heard of this, he went to the North, and summoned Gwyn ap Nudd before him, and set free the nobles whom he had put in prison, and made peace between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythyr the son of Greidawl. And this was the peace that was made:--that the maiden should remain in her father's house, without advantage to either of them, and that Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythyr the son of Greidawl should fight for her every first of May, from thenceforth until the day of doom, and that whichever of them should then be conqueror should have the maiden.


And when Arthur had thus reconciled these chieftains, he obtained Mygdwn, Gweddw's horse, and the leash of Cwrs Cant Ewin.


And after that Arthur went into Armorica, and with him Mabon the son of Mellt, and Gware Gwallt Euryn, to seek the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewic. And when he had got them, he went to the West of Ireland, in search of Gwrgi Severi; and Odgar the son of Aedd king of Ireland, went with him. And thence went Arthur into the North, and captured Kyledyr Wyllt; and he went after Yskithyrwyn Benbaedd. And Mabon the son of Mellt (3) came with the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewic (4) in his hand, and Drudwyn, the cub of Greid the son of Eri. And Arthur went himself to the chase, leading his own dog Cavall. And Kaw, of North Britain, mounted Arthur's mare Llamrei (5), and was first in the attack. Then Kaw, of North Britain, wielded a mighty axe, and absolutely daring he came valiantly up to the boar, and clave his head in twain. And Kaw took away the tusk. Now the boar was not slain by the dogs that Yspaddaden had mentioned, but by Cavall, Arthur's own dog.


And after Yskithyrwyn Penbaedd was killed, Arthur and his host departed to Gelli Wic in Cornwall.


(1) Aneurin is said to have written Gwarchan Maelderw (Four ancient books of Wales, II, p. 103, lines 29, 31). This book mentions a son of Nwython called Neim? Nwython is perhaps the same name as the Pict name Naiton, name of a king living in the beginning of the eighth century (Bede, Hist. eccl., V, 21). This Naiton is the same character as Nechtan of the Irish annals (See Connor, Rerum hibernicarum script., IV, p. 236). Would Naithon be the Pict form of Nechtan, and Nwython the brittonnic form?

(2) The history of Gruffudd ab Cynan, so much significant for the Welsh uses of the eleventh century, charges an Irishman with anthropophagic behaviour. Gruffudd’s opponent to the throne of Gwynedd or North-Wales, was killed with at the battle of Carno, and one of the auxiliaries of Gruffudd, the Irishman Gwrcharis or Gwrcharci used of him as with a pig, made bacwn of him (salted and desiccated pork) (Myv. arch., p. 727, col. 2).

(3) Mabon ab Mellt. This character appears beside Arthur in the Black Book (Skene, 31, 11): Mabon am Mellt.

(4) Lledewic, “the Armorican one,” derived from Llydaw, in the past Litaw, Welsh name of Gallic Armorica, and that, like the word Armorique, does not indicate only Armorican peninsula (See J. Loth, De Vocis Aremoricae forma atque significatione, Paris, Picard, 1883). Glythvyr: Glythmyr, with m intact, represents an Old Welsh way of writing.

(5) Taliesin mentions Llamrei (Skene, II, p. 176, 27).


And thence he sent Menw the son of Teirgwaedd to see if the precious things were between the two ears of Twrch Trwyth, since it were useless to encounter him if they were not there. Albeit it was certain where he was, for he had laid waste the third part of Ireland. And Menw went to seek for him, and he met with him in Ireland, in Esgeir Oervel. And Menw took the form of a bird; and he descended upon the top of his lair, and strove to snatch away one of the precious things from him, but he carried away nothing but one of his bristles. And the boar rose up angrily and shook himself so that some of his venom fell upon Menw, and he was never well from that day forward.


After this Arthur sent an embassy to Odgar, the son of Aedd king of Ireland, to ask for the Cauldron of Diwrnach Wyddel, his purveyor. And Odgar commanded him to give it. But Diwrnach said, “Heaven is my witness, if it would avail him anything even to look at it, he should not do so.” And the embassy of Arthur returned from Ireland with this denial. And Arthur set forward with a small retinue, and entered into Prydwen, his ship, and went over to Ireland. And they proceeded into the house of Diwrnach Wyddel. And the hosts of Odgar saw their strength. When they had eaten and drunk as much as they desired, Arthur demanded to have the cauldron. And he answered, “If I would have given it to any one, I would have given it at the word of Odgar king of Ireland.”


When he had given them this denial, Bedwyr arose and seized hold of the cauldron, and placed it upon the back of Hygwyd (1), Arthur's servant, who was brother, by the mother's side, to Arthur's servant, Cachamwri. His office was always to carry Arthur's cauldron, and to place fire under it. And Llenlleawg Wyddel seized Caledvwlch, and brandished it. And they slew Diwrnach Wyddel and his company. Then came the Irish and fought with them. And when he had put them to flight, Arthur with his men went forward to the ship, carrying away the cauldron full of Irish money. And he disembarked at the house of Llwydden the son of Kelcoed, at Porth Kerddin (2) in Dyved. And there is the measure of the cauldron.


Then Arthur summoned unto him all the warriors that were in the three Islands of Britain, and in the three Islands adjacent, and all that were in France and in Armorica, in Normandy and in the Summer Country (3), and all that were chosen footmen and valiant horsemen. And with all these he went into Ireland. And in Ireland there was great fear and terror concerning him. And when Arthur had landed in the country, there came unto him the saints of Ireland and besought his protection. And he granted his protection unto them, and they gave him their blessing. Then the men of Ireland came unto Arthur, and brought him provisions. And Arthur went as far as Esgeir Oervel in Ireland, to the place where the Boar Trwyth was with his seven young pigs.


(1) Hygwydd, means who falls easily.”

(2) Porth Kerddin, perhaps Porthmawr, close Saint-David’s Head, in Pembroke county, according to Lady Guest. According to Wade-Evans (Arch. Cambrensis, 1904), it would be Moylgrove in Pembroke.

(3) Gwlad yr hav, summer country” a triad tells the Kymry or Breton come from the summer country or Deffrobani, i.e. where is Constantinople(Myv. arch., 400, 4). Deffrobani is probably for Teffrobani, and seems to be the more or less fabulous island of Taprobane, of which ancient geographers speak.


And the dogs were let loose upon him from all sides. That day until evening the Irish fought with him, nevertheless he laid waste the fifth part of Ireland. And on the day following the household of Arthur fought with him, and they were worsted by him and got no advantage. And the third day Arthur himself encountered him, and he fought with him nine nights and nine days without so much as killing even one little pig. The warriors inquired of Arthur what was the origin of that swine; and he told them that he was once a king, and that God had transformed him into a swine for his sins.


Then Arthur sent Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, to endeavour to speak with him. And Gwrhyr assumed the form of a bird, and alighted upon the top of the lair, where he was with the seven young pigs. And Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd asked him, “By him who turned you into this form, if you can speak, let some one of you, I beseech you, come and talk with Arthur.” Grugyn Gwrych Ereint (1) made answer to him. (Now his bristles were like silver wire, and whether he went through the wood or through the plain, he was to be traced by the glittering of his bristles.) And this was the answer that Grugyn made, “By him who turned us into this form, we will not do so, and we will not speak with Arthur. That we have been transformed thus is enough for us to suffer, without your coming here to fight with us.” "I will tell you. Arthur comes but to fight for the comb, and the razor, and the scissors, which are between the two ears of Twrch Trwyth.” Said Grugyn, “Except he first take his life, he will never have those precious things. And to-morrow morning we will rise up hence, and we will go into Arthur's country, and there will we do all the mischief that we can.”


So they set forth through the sea towards Wales. And Arthur and his hosts, and his horses and his dogs, entered Prydwen, that they might encounter them without delay. Twrch Trwyth landed in Porth Cleis (2) in Dyved, and Arthur came to Mynyw (3). The next day it was told to Arthur that they had gone by, and he overtook them as they were killing the cattle of Kynnwas Kwrr (4) y Vagyl, having slain all that were at Aber Gleddyf, of man and beast, before the coming of Arthur.


(1) Gwrych Ereint, with the silver hairs.”

(2) Porth Cleis, a small port of the county of Pembroke, at the estuary of Alum.

(3) Miynyw or Saint-David's (Pembrokeskire).

(4) With an angular stick (angular (is) his stick).


Now when Arthur approached, Twrch Trwyth went on as far as Preseleu (1), and Arthur and his hosts followed him thither, and Arthur sent men to hunt him; Eli and Trachmyr, leading Drutwyn the whelp of Greid the son of Eri, and Gwarthegyd (2) the son of Kaw, in another quarter, with the two dogs of Glythmyr Ledewig, and Bedwyr leading Cavall, Arthur's own dog. And all the warriors ranged themselves around the Nyver (3). And there came there the three sons of Cleddyf Divwlch, men who had gained much fame (4) at the slaying of Yskithyrwyn Penbaedd; and they went on from Glyn Nyver, and came to Cwm Kerwyn (5).


And there Twrch Trwyth made a stand, and slew four of Arthur's champions, Gwarthegyd the son of Kaw, and Tarawc of Allt Clwyd (6), and Rheidwn the son of Eli Atver, and Iscovan Hael.


(1) Presseleu, see note above.

(2) Gwarthegyt, from gwarthec, cows.”

(3) Glynn Nyver. At the end of Presseley-Mountains is born the Nyver, called today Nevern. Glynn is a narrow valley furnished with wood. It also often means a narrow deep valley where flows a river. Glen, in Armorican Middle Breton, means country, ground, world (ref. vale of tears) in opposition to the sky.

(4) They do not appear in this hunting. There is a gap here, as in other various places,.

(5) Cwm Kerwyn, “the valley of the tank” (Cwm, small valley of concave form”); the valley of Cwm Cerwyn lies on the side of the highest peak of the mounts of Preselly, Preselly Top; two miles from there, the height of Carn Arthur is found (Lady Guest).

(6) Allt-Clwyt; allt, hill, rock.” Clwyd, a river of the north of Wales, was confused with Clut, in Latin times Clota, which gave its name to the kingdom of North Bretons or Strat-Clut, valley of Clut”, English Clyde. Al-Clut or Petra Clotae as put by Bede, is, probably for Alt-Clut, “the rocky hill of the Clut” (Dumbarton). However, refer to Irish all, cliff, cliffy rock.


And after he had slain these men, he made a second stand in the same place. And there he slew Gwydre the son of Arthur, and Garselit Wyddel, and Glew the son of Ysgawd, and Iscawyn the son of Panon; and there he himself was wounded.


And the next morning before it was day, some of the men came up with him. And he slew Huandaw, and Gogigwr, and Penpingon, three attendants upon Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr, so that Heaven knows, he had not an attendant remaining, excepting only Llaesgevyn, a man from whom no one ever derived any good. And together with these, he slew many of the men of that country, and Gwlydyn Saer, Arthur's chief Architect.


Then Arthur overtook him at Pelumyawc (1), and there he slew Madawc the son of Teithyon, and Gwyn the son of Tringad, the son of Neved, and Eiryawn Penllorau. Thence he went to Aberteivi (2), where he made another stand, and where he slew Kynlas (3) the son of Kynan, and Gwilenhin king of France. Then he went as far as Glyn Ystu (4), and there the men and the dogs lost him.


Then Arthur summoned unto him Gwyn ab Nudd, and he asked him if he knew aught of Twrch Trwyth. And he said that he did not.


And all the huntsmen went to hunt the swine as far as Dyffryn Llychwr (5). And Grugyn Gwallt Ereint, and Llwydawg Govynnyad closed with them and killed all the huntsmen, so that there escaped but one man only. And Arthur and his hosts came to the place where Grugyn and Llwydawg were. And there he let loose the whole of the dogs upon them, and with the shout and barking that was set up, Twrch Trwyth came to their assistance.


And from the time that they came across the Irish sea, Arthur had never got sight of him until then. So he set men and dogs upon him, and thereupon he started off and went to Mynydd Amanw (6). And there one of his young pigs was killed.


(1) Pelunyawc (The Bruts, p. 335); for Peuliniawc? This district would have included parts of the current parishes of Whitland and Landysilio (J. Rhys, Celt. Folkl., II, p. 512, 513).

(2) Aber Tywi, the mouth of Tywi or Towy, in the county of Carmarthen, Tobios as called by Ptolemy. It is the name of a place of late inhabited, now disappeared, in the vicinity of the mouth between the rivers Tywi or Towy and Gwendraeth.

(3) Kynlas = Cunoglassos, name of a Breton king in Epistola Gildae (Petrie ed., Mon. Hist. brit., 17), Armorican Cunglas (Cart. of Redon); Kynan, in Armorican Breton Conan.

(4) Perhaps for Clyn ystun; Clyn ystyn is the name of a farm between Carmarthen and the confluence of Amman and Llychwr (Celt. Folkl., II, p. 513).

(5) Dyffrynn Llychwr, writen today as Loughor, on the borders of the counties of Carmarthen and Glamorgan. Dyffrynn is a valley flowed through by a river.

(6) Mynydd Amanw or the mountain of Amanw, indicates the heights forming natural barrier between the counties of Brecon and Carmarthen. Amman is an affluent of Llychwr. One finds on these mounts Gwely Arthur, or Arthur’s bed. Close to the place where the Amman river takes its source is a hillock called Twyn y Moch, and at its foot, is Llwyn y Moch, “the bush with pigs.” The river Twrch (pig) is near. He is running into the Tawy, below Ystradgynlais (Lady Guest).


Then they set upon him life for life, and Twrch Llawin was slain, and then there was slain another of the swine, Gwys (1) was his name. After that he went on to Dyffryn Amanw (2), and there Banw and Bennwig (3) were killed. Of all his pigs there went with him alive from that place none save Grugyn Gwallt Ereint, and Llwydawg Govynnyad.


Thence he went on to Llwch Ewin (4), and Arthur overtook him there, and he made a stand. And there he slew Echel Forddwytwll, and Garwyli the son of Gwyddawg Gwyr (5), and many men and dogs likewise. And thence they went to Llwch Tawy (6). Grugyn Gwrych Ereint parted from them there, and went to Din Tywi (7). And thence he proceeded to Ceredigiawn (8),


(1) Gwys means sow (Breton gwes).

(2) Today Dyffryn Amman or valley of Amman.

(3) Banw, sow”; Bennwic is a diminutive.

(4) Today Llwch, farm of the parish of Bettws (Celt. Folk., t I, p. 515).

(5) Gwyddawc Gwyr, perhaps Gwyddawc de Gwyr, in English, Gower, Western part of the Gamorgan county.

(6) Llwch Tawy, the pond of Tawy, river of Glamorgan. At its mouth lies the town of Abertawy, in English, Swansea. The position is specified by the current name of Ynys Pen Llwch, Town of the end of pond’ (ibid.).

(7) Din Tywi; din, citadel, fortified place.” Since we find several places called Dinas on the course of the Tywi, it is difficult to identify this name.

(8) Keredigiawn, the county of Cardigan. According to the Welsh legend, this name comes from Ceretic, one of the sons of famous Cunedda.


and Eli and Trachmyr with him, and a multitude likewise. Then he came to Garth Gregyn (1), and there Llwydawg Govynnyad fought in the midst of them, and slew Rhudvyw Rhys and many others with him. Then Llwydawg went thence to Ystrad Yw (2), and there the men of Armorica met him, and there he slew Hirpeissawg the king of Armorica, and Llygatrudd Emys, and Gwrbothu, Arthur's uncles, his mother's brothers, and there was he himself slain.


Twrch Trwyth went from there to between Tawy and Euyas (3), and Arthur summoned all Cornwall and Devon unto him, to the estuary of the Severn (4), and he said to the warriors of this Island, “Twrch Trwyth has slain many of my men, but, by the valour of warriors, while I live he shall not go into Cornwall. And I will not follow him any longer, but I will oppose him life to life. Do ye as ye will.” And he resolved that he would send a body of knights, with the dogs of the Island, as far as Euyas, who should return thence to the Severn, and that tried warriors should traverse the Island, and force him into the Severn. And Mabon the son of Modron, came up with him at the Severn, upon Gwynn Mygddon (5), the horse of Gweddw, and Goreu the son of Custennin, and Menw the son of Teirgwaedd; this was betwixt Llyn Lliwan (6) and Aber Gwy (7). And Arthur fell upon him together with the champions of Britain. And Osla Kyllellvawr drew near, and Manawyddan the son of Llyr, and Kacmwri the servant of Arthur, and Gwyngelli, and they seized hold of him, catching him first by his feet, and plunged him in the Severn, so that it overwhelmed him. On the one side, Mabon the son of Modron spurred his steed and snatched his razor from him, and Kyledyr Wyllt came up with him on the other side, upon another steed, in the Severn, and took from him the scissors. But before they could obtain the comb, he had regained the ground with his feet, and from the moment that he reached the shore, neither dog, nor man, nor horse could overtake him until he came to Cornwall.


(1) Garth Grugyn; garth, hill, heights.” The author draws, undoubtedly, this name from Grugyn. The text carries Gregyn, but Grugyn is sure (Celt. Folkl., p. 515, notes 1 and 2). The name is recalled by Hafod Grugyn, close to Brechfa (in Carmarthenshire, but formerly in Cardiganshire).

(2) Ystrad Yw, “the valley of the Yw”, an old district of the southern part of Breconshire (Hundred of Crickhowel).

(3) Tawy and Euyas. Evyas is the name of an old canton of Herefordshire, on the side of Long Town. This district left its name to the parish of Ewyas Harold: for more details, see Egerton Phillimore, Owen's  Pensbroheshire I, p. 199, note 5. Ivyas is also the name of a parish of our (French) ‘pays de Léon’.

(4) Havren, Severn, from an Old Celtic form, Sabrina. [Loth keeps the Welsh name, Havren, in his translation while Lady Guest says Severn.]

(5) Gwynn, white; Mygdwnn, with the brown mane’.

(6) Llynn Lliwan. It is the marvellous lake spoken of by Nennius LXXIII (Operlin Livan, the mouth of the pond of Liwan); this lake was open to the Severn. On the forms of this name, see J. Rhys, Arthur. Legend, p. 360, note 3.

(7) Aber Gwy, the mouth of the Gwy. Gwy, called Wye by the English, runs in the sea arm of the Severn, called by the Welsh, Mor Havren, sea of Severn, in Chepstow.


If they had had trouble in getting the jewels from him, much more had they in seeking to save the two men from being drowned. Kacmwri, as they drew him forth, was dragged by two millstones into the deep. And as Osla Kyllellvawr was running after the boar, his knife had dropped out of the sheath, and he had lost it, and after that, the sheath became full of water, and its weight drew him down into the deep, as they were drawing him forth.


Then Arthur and his hosts proceeded until they overtook the boar in Cornwall, and the trouble which they had met with before was mere play to what they encountered in seeking the comb. But from one difficulty to another, the comb was at length obtained. And then he was hunted from Cornwall, and driven straight forward into the deep sea. And thenceforth it was never known whither he went; and Aned and Aethlem with him. Then went Arthur to Gelliwic, in Cornwall, to anoint himself, and to rest from his fatigues.


Said Arthur, “Is there any one of the marvels yet unobtained?" Said one of his men, “There is--the blood of the witch Orddu, the daughter of the witch Orwen, of Penn Nant Govid, on the confines of Hell.” Arthur set forth towards the North, and came to the place where was the witch's cave. And Gwyn ab Nudd, and Gwythyr the son of Greidawl, counselled him to send Kacmwri, and Hygwyd his brother to fight with the witch. As they entered the cave, the witch seized upon them, and she caught Hygwyd by the hair of his head, and threw him on the floor beneath her. And Kacmwri caught her by the hair of her head, and dragged her to the earth from off Hygwyd, but she turned again upon them both, and drove them both out with kicks and with cuffs.


And Arthur was wroth at seeing his two attendants almost slain, and he sought to enter the cave; but Gwyn and Gwythyr said unto him, “It would not be fitting or seemly for us to see thee squabbling with a hag. Let Hiramreu and Hireidil go to the cave.” So they went. But if great was the trouble of the first two that went, much greater was that of these two. And heaven knows that not one of the four could move from the spot, until they placed them all upon Llamrei, Arthur's mare. And then Arthur rushed to the door of the cave, and at the door he struck at the witch, with Carnwennan his dagger, and clove her in twain, so that she fell in two parts (1). And Kaw, of North Britain, took the blood of the witch and kept it.


Then Culhwck set forward, and Goreu, the son of Custennin, with him, and as many as wished ill to Yspaddaden Penkawr. And they took the marvels with them to his court. And Kaw of North Britain came and shaved his beard, skin, and flesh clean off to the very bone from ear to ear.

“Art thou shaved, man?" said Culhwck.

“I am shaved,” answered he.

“Is thy daughter mine now?”

“She is thine,” said he, “but therefor needest thou not thank me, but Arthur who hath accomplished this for thee. By my free will thou shouldest never have had her, for with her I lose my life.” Then Goreu, the son of Custennin, seized him by the hair of his head, and dragged him after him to the keep, and cut off his head and placed it on a stake on the citadel. Then they took possession of his castle, and of his treasures.


And that night Olwen because Culhwck's bride, and she continued to be his wife as long as she lived. And the hosts of Arthur dispersed themselves, each man to his own country. And thus did Culhwck obtain Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr.


 (1) Word for word: two buckets.