PRINCE OF Dyfed
The Four Branches of the Mabinogi
Translated by Charlotte Guest 
Prince of Dyfed was lord of the seven Cantrefs
of Dyfed; and once upon a time he was at Narberth
his chief palace, and he was minded to go and
hunt, and the part of his dominions in which it
pleased him to hunt was Glyn Cuch. So he set forth
from Narbeth that night, and went as far as Llwyn
Diarwyd. And that night he tarried there, and
early on the morrow he rose and came to Glyn Cuch,
when he let loose the dogs in the wood, and sounded
the horn, and began the chase. And as he followed
the dogs, he lost his companions; and whilst he
listened to the hounds, he heard the cry of other
hounds, a cry different from his own, and coming
in the opposite direction.
he beheld a glade in the wood forming a level
plain, and as his dogs came to the edge of the
glade, he saw a stag before the other dogs. And
lo, as it reached the middle of the glade, the
dogs that followed the stag overtook it and brought
it down. Then looked he at the colour of the dogs,
staying not to look at the stag, and of all the
hounds that he had seen in the world, he had never
seen any that were like unto these. For their
hair was of a brilliant shining white, and their
ears were red; and as the whiteness of their bodies
shone, so did the redness of their ears glisten.
And he came towards the dogs, and drove away those
that had brought down the stag, and set his own
dogs upon it.
as he was setting on his dogs he saw a horseman
coming towards him upon a large light-grey steed,
with a hunting horn round his neck, and clad in
garments of grey woollen in the fashion of a hunting
garb. And the horseman drew near and spoke unto
him thus. "Chieftain," said he, "I
know who thou art, and I greet thee not."
"Peradventure," said Pwyll, "thou
art of such dignity that thou shouldest not do
so." "Verily," answered he, "it
is not my dignity that prevents me." "What
is it then, O Chieftain?" asked he. "By
Heaven, it is by reason of thine own ignorance
and want of courtesy." "What discourtesy,
Chieftain, hast thou seen in me?" "Greater
discourtesy saw I never in man," said he,
"than to drive away the dogs that were killing
the stag and to set upon it thine own. This was
discourteous, and though I may not be revenged
upon thee, yet I declare to Heaven that I will
do thee more dishonour than the value of an hundred
stags." "O Chieftain," he replied,
"if I have done ill I will redeem thy friendship."
"How wilt thou redeem it?" "According
as thy dignity may be, but I know not who thou
art?" "A crowned king am I in the land
whence I come." "Lord," said he,
"may the day prosper with thee, and from
what land comest thou?" "From Annwvyn,"
answered he; "Arawn, a King of Annwvyn, am
I." "Lord," said he, "how
may I gain thy friendship?" "After this
manner mayest thou," he said. "There
is a man whose dominions are opposite to mine,
who is ever warring against me, and he is Hafgan,
a King of Annwvyn, and by ridding me of this oppression,
which thou canst easily do, shalt thou gain my
friendship." "Gladly will I do this,"
said he. "Show me how I may." "I
will show thee. Behold thus it is thou mayest.
I will make firm friendship with thee; and this
will I do. I will send thee to Annwvyn in my stead,
and I will give thee the fairest lady thou didst
ever behold to be thy companion, and I will put
my form and semblance upon thee, so that not a
page of the chamber, nor an officer, nor any other
man that has always followed me shall know that
it is not I. And this shall be for the space of
a year from to-morrow, and then we will meet in
this place." "Yes," said he; "but
when I shall have been there for the space of
a year, by what means shall I discover him of
whom thou speakest?" "One year from
this night," he answered, "is the time
fixed between him and me that we should meet at
the Ford; be thou there in my likeness, and with
one stroke that thou givest him, he shall no longer
live. And if he ask thee to give him another,
give it not, how much soever he may entreat thee,
for when I did so, he fought with me next day
as well as ever before." "Verily,"
said Pwyll, "what shall I do concerning my
kingdom?" Said Arawn, "I will cause
that no one in all thy dominions, neither man
nor woman, shall know that I am not thou, and
I will go there in thy stead." "Gladly
then," said Pwyll, "will I set forward."
"Clear shall be thy path, and nothing shall
detain thee, until thou come into my dominions,
and I myself will be thy guide!"
he conducted him until he came in sight of the
palace and its dwellings. "Behold,"
said he, "the Court and the kingdom in thy
power. Enter the Court, there is no one there
who will know thee, and when thou seest what service
is done there, thou wilt know the customs of the
he went forward to the Court, and when he came
there, he beheld sleeping-rooms, and halls, and
chambers, and the most beautiful buildings ever
seen. And he went into the hall to disarray, and
there came youths and pages and disarrayed him,
and all as they entered saluted him. And two knights
came and drew his hunting-dress from about him,
and clothed him in a vesture of silk and gold.
And the hall was prepared, and behold he saw the
household and the host enter in, and the host
was the most comely and the best equipped that
he had ever seen. And with them came in likewise
the Queen, who was the fairest woman that he had
ever yet beheld. And she had on a yellow robe
of shining satin; and they washed and went to
the table, and sat, the Queen upon one side of
him, and one who seemed to be an Earl on the other
he began to speak with the Queen, and he thought,
from her speech, that she was the seemliest and
most noble lady of converse and of cheer that
ever was. And they partook of meat, and drink,
with songs and with feasting; and of all the Courts
upon the earth, behold this was the best supplied
with food and drink, and vessels of gold and royal
And the year he spent in hunting, and minstrelsy,
and feasting, and diversions, and discourse with
his companions until the night that was fixed
for the conflict. And when that night came, it
was remembered even by those who lived in the
furthest part of his dominions, and he went to
the meeting, and the nobles of the kingdom with
him. And when he came to the Ford, a knight arose
and spake thus. "Lords," said he, "listen
well. It is between two kings that this meeting
is, and between them only. Each claimeth of the
other his land and territory, and do all of you
stand aside and leave the fight to be between
the two kings approached each other in the middle
of the Ford, and encountered, and at the first
thrust, the man who was in the stead of Arawn
struck Hafgan on the centre of the boss of his
shield, so that it was cloven in twain, and his
armour was broken, and Hafgan himself was borne
to the ground an arm's and a spear's length over
the crupper of his horse, and he received a deadly
blow. "O Chieftain," said Hafgan, "what
right hast thou to cause my death? I was not injuring
thee in anything, and I know not wherefore thou
wouldest slay me. But, for the love of Heaven,
since thou hast begun to slay me, complete thy
work." "Ah, Chieftain," he replied,
"I may yet repent doing that unto thee, slay
thee who may, I will not do so." "My
trusty Lords," said Hafgan, "bear me
hence. My death has come. I shall be no more able
to uphold you." "My Nobles," also
said he who was in the semblance of Arawn, "take
counsel and know who ought to be my subjects."
"Lord," said the Nobles, "all should
be, for there is no king over the whole of Annwvyn
but thee." "Yes," he replied, "it
is right that he who comes humbly should be received
graciously, but he that doth not come with obedience,
shall be compelled by the force of swords."
And thereupon he received the homage of the men,
and he began to conquer the country; and the next
day by noon the two kingdoms were in his power.
And thereupon he went to keep his tryst, and came
to Glyn Cuch.
when he came there, the King of Annwvyn was there
to meet him, and each of them was rejoiced to
see the other. "Verily," said Arawn,
"may Heaven reward thee for thy friendship
towards me. I have heard of it. When thou comest
thyself to thy dominions," said he, "thou
wilt see that which I have done for thee."
"Whatever thou hast done for me, may Heaven
repay it thee."
Arawn gave to Pwyll Prince of Dyfed his proper
form and semblance, and he himself took his own;
and Arawn set forth towards the Court of Annwvyn;
and he was rejoiced when he beheld his hosts,
and his household, whom he had not seen so long;
but they had not known of his absence, and wondered
no more at his coming than usual. And that day
was spent in joy and merriment; and he sat and
conversed with his wife and his nobles. And when
it was time for them rather to sleep than to carouse,
they went to rest.
Pwyll Prince of Dyfed came likewise to his country
and dominions, and began to inquire of the nobles
of the land, how his rule had been during the
past year, compared with what it had been before.
"Lord," said they, "thy wisdom
was never so great, and thou wast never so kind
or so free in bestowing thy gifts, and thy justice
was never more worthily seen than in this year."
"By Heaven," said he, "for all
the good you have enjoyed, you should thank him
who hath been with you; for behold, thus hath
this matter been." And thereupon Pwyll related
the whole unto them. "Verily, Lord,"
said they, "render thanks unto Heaven that
thou hast such a fellowship, and withhold not
from us the rule which we have enjoyed for this
year past." "I take Heaven to witness
that I will not withhold it," answered Pwyll.
thenceforth they made strong the friendship that
was between them, and each sent unto the other
horses, and greyhounds, and hawks, and all such
jewels as they thought would be pleasing to each
other. And by reason of his having dwelt that
year in Annwvyn, and having ruled there so prosperously,
and united the two kingdoms in one day by his
valour and prowess, he lost the name of Pwyll
Prince of Dyfed, and was called Pwyll Chief of
Annwvyn from that time forward.
Once upon a time, Pwyll was at Narberth his chief
palace, where a feast had been prepared for him,
and with him was a great host of men. And after
the first meal, Pwyll arose to walk, and he went
to the top of a mound that was above the palace,
and was called Gorsedd Arberth. "Lord,"
said one of the Court, "it is peculiar to
the mound that whosoever sits upon it cannot go
thence, without either receiving wounds or blows,
or else seeing a wonder." "I fear not
to receive wounds and blows in the midst of such
a host as this, but as to the wonder, gladly would
I see it. I will go therefore and sit upon the
upon the mound he sat. And while he sat there,
they saw a lady, on a pure white horse of large
size, with a garment of shining gold around her,
coming along the highway that led from the mound;
and the horse seemed to move at a slow and even
pace, and to be coming up towards the mound. "My
men," said Pwyll, "is there any among
you who knows yonder lady?" "There is
not, Lord," said they. "Go one of you
and meet her, that we may know who she is."
And one of them arose, and as he came upon the
road to meet her, she passed by, and he followed
as fast as he could, being on foot; and the greater
was his speed, the further was she from him. And
when he saw that it profited him nothing to follow
her, he returned to Pwyll, and said unto him,
"Lord, it is idle for any one in the world
to follow her on foot." "Verily,"
said Pwyll, "go unto the palace, and take
the fleetest horse that thou seest, and go after
he took a horse and went forward. And he came
to an open level plain, and put spurs to his horse;
and the more he urged his horse, the further was
she from him. Yet she held the same pace as at
first. And his horse began to fail; and when his
horse's feet failed him, he returned to the place
where Pwyll was. "Lord," said he, "it
will avail nothing for any one to follow yonder
lady. I know of no horse in these realms swifter
than this, and it availed me not to pursue her."
"Of a truth," said Pwyll, "there
must be some illusion here. Let us go towards
the palace." So to the palace they went,
and they spent that day. And the next day they
arose, and that also they spent until it was time
to go to meat. And after the first meal, "Verily,"
said Pwyll, "we will go the same party as
yesterday to the top of the mound. And do thou,"
said he to one of his young men, "take the
swiftest horse that thou knowest in the field."
And thus did the young man. And they went towards
the mound, taking the horse with them. And as
they were sitting down they beheld the lady on
the same horse, and in the same apparel, coming
along the same road. "Behold," said
Pwyll, "here is the lady of yesterday. Make
ready, youth, to learn who she is." "My
lord," said he, "that will I gladly
do." And thereupon the lady came opposite
to them. So the youth mounted his horse; and before
he had settled himself in his saddle, she passed
by, and there was a clear space between them.
But her speed was no greater than it had been
the day before. Then he put his horse into an
amble, and thought that notwithstanding the gentle
pace at which his horse went, he should soon overtake
her. But this availed him not; so he gave his
horse the reins. And still he came no nearer to
her than when he went at a foot's pace. And the
more he urged his horse, the further was she from
him. Yet she rode not faster than before. When
he saw that it availed not to follow her, he returned
to the place where Pwyll was. "Lord,"
said he, "the horse can no more than thou
hast seen." "I see indeed that it avails
not that any one should follow her. And by Heaven,"
said he, "she must needs have an errand to
some one in this plain, if her haste would allow
her to declare it. Let us go back to the palace."
And to the palace they went, and they spent that
night in songs and feasting, as it pleased them.
the next day they amused themselves until it was
time to go to meat. And when meat was ended, Pwyll
said, "Where are the hosts that went yesterday
and the day before to the top of the mound?"
"Behold, Lord, we are here," said they.
"Let us go," said he, "to the mound,
to sit there. And do thou," said he to the
page who tended his horse, "saddle my horse
well, and hasten with him to the road, and bring
also my spurs with thee." And the youth did
thus. And they went and sat upon the mound; and
ere they had been there but a short time, they
beheld the lady coming by the same road, and in
the same manner, and at the same pace. "Young
man," said Pwyll, "I see the lady coming;
give me my horse." And no sooner had he mounted
his horse than she passed him. And he turned after
her and followed her. And he let his horse go
bounding playfully, and thought that at the second
step or the third he should come up with her.
But he came no nearer to her than at first. Then
he urged his horse to his utmost speed, yet he
found that it availed nothing to follow her. Then
said Pwyll, "O maiden, for the sake of him
whom thou best lovest, stay for me." "I
will stay gladly," said she, "and it
were better for thy horse hadst thou asked it
long since." So the maiden stopped, and she
threw back that part of her headdress which covered
her face. And she fixed her eyes upon him, and
began to talk with him. "Lady," asked
he, "whence comest thou, and whereunto dost
thou journey?" "I journey on mine own
errand," said she, "and right glad am
I to see thee." "My greeting be unto
thee," said he. Then he thought that the
beauty of all the maidens, and all the ladies
that he had ever seen, was as nothing compared
to her beauty. "Lady," he said, "wilt
thou tell me aught concerning thy purpose?"
"I will tell thee," said she. "My
chief quest was to seek thee." "Behold,"
said Pwyll, "this is to me the most pleasing
quest on which thou couldst have come; and wilt
thou tell me who thou art?" "I will
tell thee, Lord," said she. "I am Rhiannon,
the daughter of Hefydd Hen, and they sought to
give me to a husband against my will. But no husband
would I have, and that because of my love for
thee, neither will I yet have one unless thou
reject me. And hither have I come to hear thy
answer." "By Heaven," said Pwyll,
"behold this is my answer. If I might choose
among all the ladies and damsels in the world,
thee would I choose." "Verily,"
said she, "if thou art thus minded, make
a pledge to meet me ere I am given to another."
"The sooner I may do so, the more pleasing
will it be unto me," said Pwyll, "and
wheresoever thou wilt, there will I meet with
thee." "I will that thou meet me this
day twelve month at the palace of Hefydd. And
I will cause a feast to be prepared, so that it
be ready against thou come." "Gladly,"
said he, "will I keep this tryst." "Lord,"
said she, "remain in health, and be mindful
that thou keep thy promise; and now I will go
hence." So they parted, and he went back
to his hosts and to them of his household. And
whatsoever questions they asked him respecting
the damsel, he always turned the discourse upon
other matters. And when a year from that time
was gone, he caused a hundred knights to equip
themselves and to go with him to the palace of
Hefydd Hen. And he came to the palace, and there
was great joy concerning him, with much concourse
of people and great rejoicing, and vast preparations
for his coming. And the whole Court was placed
under his orders.
the hall was garnished and they went to meat,
and thus did they sit; Hefydd Hen was on one side
of Pwyll, and Rhiannon on the other. And all the
rest according to their rank. And they ate and
feasted and talked one with another, and at the
beginning of the carousal after the meat, there
entered a tall auburn-haired youth, of royal bearing,
clothed in a garment of satin. And when he came
into the hall, he saluted Pwyll and his companions.
"The greeting of Heaven be unto thee, my
soul," said Pwyll, "come thou and sit
down." "Nay," said he, "a
suitor am I, and I will do mine errand."
"Do so willingly," said Pwyll. "Lord,"
said he, "my errand is unto thee, and it
is to crave a boon of thee that I come."
"What boon soever thou mayest ask of me,
as far as I am able, thou shalt have." "Ah,"
said Rhiannon, "wherefore didst thou give
that answer?" "Has he not given it before
the presence of these nobles?" asked the
youth. "My soul," said Pwyll, "what
is the boon thou askest?" "The lady
whom best I love is to be thy bride this night;
I come to ask her of thee, with the feast and
the banquet that are in this place." And
Pwyll was silent because of the answer which he
had given. "Be silent as long as thou wilt,"
said Rhiannon. "Never did man make worse
use of his wits than thou hast done." "Lady,"
said he, "I knew not who he was." "Behold
this is the man to whom they would have given
me against my will," said she. "And
he is Gwawl the son of Clud, a man of great power
and wealth, and because of the word thou hast
spoken, bestow me upon him lest shame befall thee."
"Lady," said he, "I understand
not thine answer. Never can I do as thou sayest."
"Bestow me upon him," said she, "and
I will cause that I shall never be his."
"By what means will that be?" asked
Pwyll. "In thy hand will I give thee a small
bag," said she. "See that thou keep
it well, and he will ask of thee the banquet,
and the feast, and the preparations which are
not in thy power. Unto the hosts and the household
will I give the feast. And such will be thy answer
respecting this. And as concerns myself, I will
engage to become his bride this night twelve month.
And at the end of the year be thou here,"
said she, "and bring this bag with thee,
and let thy hundred knights be in the orchard
up yonder. And when he is in the midst of joy
and feasting, come thou in by thyself, clad in
ragged garments, and holding thy bag in thy hand,
and ask nothing but a bagful of food, and I will
cause that if all the meat and liquor that are
in these seven Cantrefs were put into it, it would
be no fuller than before. And after a great deal
has been put therein, he will ask thee whether
thy bag will ever be full. Say thou then that
it never will, until a man of noble birth and
of great wealth arise and press the food in the
bag with both his feet, saying, 'Enough has been
put therein;' and I will cause him to go and tread
down the food in the bag, and when he does so,
turn thou the bag, so that he shall be up over
his head in it, and then slip a knot upon the
thongs of the bag. Let there be also a good bugle
horn about thy neck, and as soon as thou hast
bound him in the bag, wind thy horn, and let it
be a signal between thee and thy knights. And
when they hear the sound of the horn, let them
come down upon the palace." "Lord,"
said Gwawl, "it is meet that I have an answer
to my request." "As much of that thou
hast asked as it is in my power to give, thou
shalt have," replied Pwyll. "My soul,"
said Rhiannon unto him, "as for the feast
and the banquet that are here, I have bestowed
them upon the men of Dyfed, and the household,
and the warriors that are with us. These can I
not suffer to be given to any. In a year from
to-night a banquet shall be prepared for thee
in this palace, that I may become thy bride."
Gwawl went forth to his possessions, and Pwyll
went also back to Dyfed. And they both spent that
year until it was the time for the feast at the
palace of Hefydd Hen. Then Gwawl the son of Clud
set out to the feast that was prepared for him,
and he came to the palace, and was received there
with rejoicing. Pwyll, also, the Chief of Annwvyn,
came to the orchard with his hundred knights,
as Rhiannon had commanded him, having the bag
with him. And Pwyll was clad in coarse and ragged
garments, and wore large clumsy old shoes upon
his feet. And when he knew that the carousal after
the meat had begun, he went towards the hall,
and when he came into the hall, he saluted Gwawl
the son of Clud, and his company, both men and
women. "Heaven prosper thee," said Gwawl,
"and the greeting of Heaven be unto thee."
"Lord," said he, "may Heaven reward
thee, I have an errand unto thee." "Welcome
be thine errand, and if thou ask of me that which
is just, thou shalt have it gladly." "It
is fitting," answered he. "I crave but
from want, and the boon that I ask is to have
this small bag that thou seest filled with meat."
"A request within reason is this," said
he, "and gladly shalt thou have it. Bring
him food." A great number of attendants arose
and began to fill the bag, but for all that they
put into it, it was no fuller than at first. "My
soul," said Gwawl, "will thy bag be
ever full?" "It will not, I declare
to Heaven," said he, "for all that may
be put into it, unless one possessed of lands,
and domains, and treasure, shall arise and tread
down with both his feet the food that is within
the bag, and shall say, 'Enough has been put therein.'"
Then said Rhiannon unto Gwawl the son of Clud,
"Rise up quickly." "I will willingly
arise," said he. So he rose up, and put his
two feet into the bag. And Pwyll turned up the
sides of the bag, so that Gwawl was over his head
in it. And he shut it up quickly and slipped a
knot upon the thongs, and blew his horn. And thereupon
behold his household came down upon the palace.
And they seized all the host that had come with
Gwawl, and cast them into his own prison. And
Pwyll threw off his rags, and his old shoes, and
his tattered array; and as they came in, every
one of Pwyll's knights struck a blow upon the
bag, and asked, "What is here?" "A
Badger," said they. And in this manner they
played, each of them striking the bag, either
with his foot or with a staff. And thus played
they with the bag. Every one as he came in asked,
"What game are you playing at thus?"
"The game of Badger in the Bag," said
they. And then was the game of Badger in the Bag
said the man in the bag, "if thou wouldest
but hear me, I merit not to be slain in a bag."
Said Hefydd Hen, "Lord, he speaks truth.
It were fitting that thou listen to him, for he
deserves not this." "Verily," said
Pwyll, "I will do thy counsel concerning
him." "Behold this is my counsel then,"
said Rhiannon; "thou art now in a position
in which it behoves thee to satisfy suitors and
minstrels; let him give unto them in thy stead,
and take a pledge from him that he will never
seek to revenge that which has been done to him.
And this will be punishment enough." "I
will do this gladly," said the man in the
bag. "And gladly will I accept it,"
said Pwyll, "since it is the counsel of Hefydd
and Rhiannon." "Such then is our counsel,"
answered they. "I accept it," said Pwyll.
"Seek thyself sureties." "We will
be for him," said Hefydd, "until his
men be free to answer for him." And upon
this he was let out of the bag, and his liegemen
were liberated. "Demand now of Gwawl his
sureties," said Hefydd, "we know which
should be taken for him." And Hefydd numbered
the sureties. Said Gwawl, "Do thou thyself
draw up the covenant." "It will suffice
me that it be as Rhiannon said," answered
Pwyll. So unto that covenant were the sureties
pledged. "Verily, Lord," said Gwawl,
"I am greatly hurt, and I have many bruises.
I have need to be anointed; with thy leave I will
go forth. I will leave nobles in my stead, to
answer for me in all that thou shalt require."
"Willingly," said Pwyll, "mayest
thou do thus." So Gwawl went towards his
the hall was set in order for Pwyll and the men
of his host, and for them also of the palace,
and they went to the tables and sat down. And
as they had sat that time twelve month, so sat
they that night. And they ate, and feasted, and
spent the night in mirth and tranquillity. And
the time came that they should sleep, and Pwyll
and Rhiannon went to their chamber.
next morning at the break of day, "My Lord,"
said Rhiannon, "arise and begin to give thy
gifts unto the minstrels. Refuse no one to-day
that may claim thy bounty." "Thus shall
it be gladly," said Pwyll, "both to-day
and every day while the feast shall last."
So Pwyll arose, and he caused silence to be proclaimed,
and desired all the suitors and the minstrels
to show and to point out what gifts were to their
wish and desire. And this being done, the feast
went on, and he denied no one while it lasted.
And when the feast was ended, Pwyll said unto
Hefydd, "My Lord, with thy permission I will
set out for Dyfed to-morrow." "Certainly,"
said Hefydd, "may Heaven prosper thee. Fix
also a time when Rhiannon may follow thee."
"By Heaven," said Pwyll, "we will
go hence together." "Willest thou this,
Lord?" said Hefydd. "Yes, by Heaven,"
the next day, they set forward towards Dyfed,
and journeyed to the palace of Narberth, where
a feast was made ready for them. And there came
to them great numbers of the chief men and the
most noble ladies of the land, and of these there
was none to whom Rhiannon did not give some rich
gift, either a bracelet, or a ring, or a precious
stone. And they ruled the land prosperously both
that year and the next.
And in the third year the nobles of the land began
to be sorrowful at seeing a man whom they loved
so much, and who was moreover their lord and their
foster-brother, without an heir. And they came
to him. And the place where they met was Preseleu,
in Dyfed. "Lord," said they, "we
know that thou art not so young as some of the
men of this country, and we fear that thou mayest
not have an heir of the wife whom thou hast taken.
Take therefore another wife of whom thou mayest
have heirs. Thou canst not always continue with
us, and though thou desire to remain as thou art,
we will not suffer thee." "Truly,"
said Pwyll, "we have not long been joined
together, and many things may yet befall. Grant
me a year from this time, and for the space of
a year we will abide together, and after that
I will do according to your wishes. So they granted
it. And before the end of a year a son was born
unto him. And in Narberth was he born; and on
the night that he was born, women were brought
to watch the mother and the boy. And the women
slept, as did also Rhiannon, the mother of the
boy. And the number of the women that were brought
into the chamber was six. And they watched for
a good portion of the night, and before midnight
every one of them fell asleep, and towards break
of day they awoke; and when they awoke, they looked
where they had put the boy, and behold he was
not there. "Oh," said one of the women,
"the boy is lost?" "Yes,"
said another, "and it will be small vengeance
if we are burnt or put to death because of the
child." Said one of the women, "Is there
any counsel for us in the world in this matter?"
"There is," answered another, "I
offer you good counsel." "What is that?"
asked they. "There is here a stag-hound bitch,
and she has a litter of whelps. Let us kill some
of the cubs, and rub the blood on the face and
hands of Rhiannon, and lay the bones before her,
and assert that she herself hath devoured her
son, and she alone will not be able to gainsay
us six." And according to this counsel it
was settled. And towards morning Rhiannon awoke,
and she said, "Women, where is my son?"
"Lady," said they, "ask us not
concerning thy son, we have nought but the blows
and the bruises we got by struggling with thee,
and of a truth we never saw any woman so violent
as thou, for it was of no avail to contend with
thee. Hast thou not thyself devoured thy son?
Claim him not therefore of us." "For
pity's sake," said Rhiannon; "the Lord
God knows all things. Charge me not falsely. If
you tell me this from fear, I assert before Heaven
that I will defend you." "Truly,"
said they, "we would not bring evil on ourselves
for any one in the world." "For pity's
sake," said Rhiannon, "you will receive
no evil by telling the truth." But for all
her words, whether fair or harsh, she received
but the same answer from the women.
Pwyll the chief of Annwvyn arose, and his household,
and his hosts. And this occurrence could not be
concealed, but the story went forth throughout
the land, and all the nobles heard it. Then the
nobles came to Pwyll, and besought him to put
away his wife, because of the great crime which
she had done. But Pwyll answered them, that they
had no cause wherefore they might ask him to put
away his wife, save for her having no children.
"But children has she now had, therefore
will I not put her away; if she has done wrong,
let her do penance for it."
Rhiannon sent for the teachers and the wise men,
and as she preferred doing penance to contending
with the women, she took upon her a penance. And
the penance that was imposed upon her was, that
she should remain in that palace of Narberth until
the end of seven years, and that she should sit
every day near unto a horseblock that was without
the gate. And that she should relate the story
to all who should come there, whom she might suppose
not to know it already; and that she should offer
the guests and strangers, if they would permit
her, to carry them upon her back into the palace.
But it rarely happened that any would permit.
And thus did she spend part of the year.
at that time Teirnyon Twryv Vliant was Lord of
Gwent Is Coed, and he was the best man in the
world. And unto his house there belonged a mare,
than which neither mare nor horse in the kingdom
was more beautiful. And on the night of every
first of May she foaled, and no one ever knew
what became of the colt. And one night Teirnyon
talked with his wife: "Wife," said he,
"it is very simple of us that our mare should
foal every year, and that we should have none
of her colts." "What can be done in
the matter?" said she. "This is the
night of the first of May," said he. "The
vengeance of Heaven be upon me, if I learn not
what it is that takes away the colts." So
he caused the mare to be brought into a house,
and he armed himself, and began to watch that
night. And in the beginning of the night, the
mare foaled a large and beautiful colt. And it
was standing up in the place. And Teirnyon rose
up and looked at the size of the colt, and as
he did so he heard a great tumult, and after the
tumult behold a claw came through the window into
the house, and it seized the colt by the mane.
Then Teirnyon drew his sword, and struck off the
arm at the elbow, so that portion of the arm together
with the colt was in the house with him. And then
did he hear a tumult and wailing, both at once.
And he opened the door, and rushed out in the
direction of the noise, and he could not see the
cause of the tumult because of the darkness of
the night, but he rushed after it and followed
it. Then he remembered that he had left the door
open, and he returned. And at the door behold
there was an infant boy in swaddling-clothes,
wrapped around in a mantle of satin. And he took
up the boy, and behold he was very strong for
the age that he was of.
he shut the door, and went into the chamber where
his wife was. "Lady," said he, "art
thou sleeping?" "No, lord," said
she, "I was asleep, but as thou camest in
I did awake." "Behold, here is a boy
for thee if thou wilt," said he, "since
thou hast never had one." "My lord,"
said she, "what adventure is this?"
"It was thus," said Teirnyon; and he
told her how it all befell. "Verily, lord,"
said she, "what sort of garments are there
upon the boy?" "A mantle of satin,"
said he. "He is then a boy of gentle lineage,"
she replied. "My lord," she said, "if
thou wilt, I shall have great diversion and mirth.
I will call my women unto me, and tell them that
I have been pregnant." "I will readily
grant thee to do this," he answered. And
thus did they, and they caused the boy to be baptized,
and the ceremony was performed there; and the
name which they gave unto him was Gwri Wallt Euryn,
because what hair was upon his head was as yellow
as gold. And they had the boy nursed in the Court
until he was a year old. And before the year was
over he could walk stoutly. And he was larger
than a boy of three years old, even one of great
growth and size. And the boy was nursed the second
year, and then he was as large as a child six
years old. And before the end of the fourth year,
he would bribe the grooms to allow him to take
the horses to water. "My lord," said
his wife unto Teirnyon, "where is the colt
which thou didst save on the night that thou didst
find the boy?" "I have commanded the
grooms of the horses," said he, "that
they take care of him." "Would it not
be well, lord," said she, "if thou wert
to cause him to be broken in, and given to the
boy, seeing that on the same night that thou didst
find the boy, the colt was foaled and thou didst
save him?" "I will not oppose thee in
this matter," said Teirnyon. "I will
allow thee to give him the colt." "Lord,"
said she, "may Heaven reward thee; I will
give it him." So the horse was given to the
boy. Then she went to the grooms and those who
tended the horses, and commanded them to be careful
of the horse, so that he might be broken in by
the time that the boy could ride him.
while these things were going forward, they heard
tidings of Rhiannon and her punishment. And Teirnyon
Twryv Vliant, by reason of the pity that he felt
on hearing this story of Rhiannon and her punishment,
inquired closely concerning it, until he had heard
from many of those who came to his court. Then
did Teirnyon, often lamenting the sad history,
ponder within himself, and he looked steadfastly
on the boy, and as he looked upon him, it seemed
to him that he had never beheld so great a likeness
between father and son, as between the boy and
Pwyll the Chief of Annwvyn. Now the semblance
of Pwyll was well known to him, for he had of
yore been one of his followers. And thereupon
he became grieved for the wrong that he did, in
keeping with him a boy whom he knew to be the
son of another man. And the first time that he
was alone with his wife, he told her that it was
not right that they should keep the boy with them,
and suffer so excellent a lady as Rhiannon to
be punished so greatly on his account, whereas
the boy was the son of Pwyll the Chief of Annwvyn.
And Teirnyon's wife agreed with him, that they
should send the boy to Pwyll. "And three
things, lord," said she, "shall we gain
thereby. Thanks and gifts for releasing Rhiannon
from her punishment; and thanks from Pwyll for
nursing his son and restoring him unto him; and
thirdly, if the boy is of gentle nature, he will
be our foster-son, and he will do for us all the
good in his power." So it was settled according
to this counsel.
no later than the next day was Teirnyon equipped,
and two other knights with him. And the boy, as
a fourth in their company, went with them upon
the horse which Teirnyon had given him. And they
journeyed towards Narberth, and it was not long
before they reached that place. And as they drew
near to the palace, they beheld Rhiannon sitting
beside the horseblock. And when they were opposite
to her, "Chieftain," said she, "go
not further thus, I will bear every one of you
into the palace, and this is my penance for slaying
my own son and devouring him." "Oh,
fair lady," said Teirnyon, "think not
that I will be one to be carried upon thy back."
"Neither will I," said the boy. "Truly,
my soul," said Teirnyon, "we will not
go." So they went forward to the palace,
and there was great joy at their coming. And at
the palace a feast was prepared, because Pywll
was come back from the confines of Dyfed. And
they went into the hall and washed, and Pwyll
rejoiced to see Teirnyon. And in this order they
sat. Teirnyon between Pwyll and Rhiannon, and
Teirnyon's two companions on the other side of
Pwyll, with the boy between them. And after meat
they began to carouse and to discourse. And Teirnyon's
discourse was concerning the adventure of the
mare and the boy, and how he and his wife had
nursed and reared the child as their own. "And
behold here is thy son, lady," said Teirnyon.
"And whosoever told that lie concerning thee,
has done wrong. And when I heard of thy sorrow,
I was troubled and grieved. And I believe that
there is none of this host who will not perceive
that the boy is the son of Pwyll," said Teirnyon.
"There is none," said they all, "who
is not certain thereof." "I declare
to Heaven," said Rhiannon, "that if
this be true, there is indeed an end to my trouble."
"Lady," said Pendaran Dyfed, "well
hast thou named thy son Pryderi, and well becomes
him the name of Pryderi son of Pwyll Chief of
Annwvyn." "Look you," said Rhiannon,
"will not his own name become him better?"
"What name has he?" asked Pendaran Dyfed.
"Gwri Wallt Euryn is the name that we gave
him." "Pryderi," said Pendaran,
"shall his name be." "It were more
proper," said Pwyll, "that the boy should
take his name from the word his mother spoke when
she received the joyful tidings of him."
And thus was it arranged.
said Pwyll, "Heaven reward thee that thou
hast reared the boy up to this time, and, being
of gentle lineage, it were fitting that he repay
thee for it." "My lord," said Teirnyon,
"it was my wife who nursed him, and there
is no one in the world so afflicted as she at
parting with him. It were well that he should
bear in mind what I and my wife have done for
him." "I call Heaven to witness,"
said Pwyll, "that while I live I will support
thee and thy possessions, as long as I am able
to preserve my own. And when he shall have power,
he will more fitly maintain them than I. And if
this counsel be pleasing unto thee, and to my
nobles, it shall be that, as thou hast reared
him up to the present time, I will give him to
be brought up by Pendaran Dyfed, from henceforth.
And you shall be companions, and shall both be
foster-fathers unto him." "This is good
counsel," said they all. So the boy was given
to Pendaran Dyfed, and the nobles of the land
were sent with him. And Teirnyon Twryv Vliant,
and his companions, set out for his country, and
his possessions, with love and gladness. And he
went not without being offered the fairest jewels
and the fairest horses, and the choicest dogs;
but he would take none of them.
they all remained in their own dominions. And
Pryderi, the son of Pwyll the Chief of Annwvyn,
was brought up carefully as was fit, so that he
became the fairest youth, and the most comely,
and the best skilled in all good games, of any
in the kingdom. And thus passed years and years,
until the end of Pwyll the Chief of Annwvyn's
life came, and he died.
Pryderi ruled the seven Cantrefs of Dyfed prosperously,
and he was beloved by his people, and by all around
him. And at length he added unto them the three
Cantrefs of Ystrad Tywi, and the four Cantrefs
of Cardigan; and these were called the Seven Cantrefs
of Seissyllwch. And when he made this addition,
Pryderi the son of Pwyll the Chief of Annwvyn
desired to take a wife. And the wife he chose
was Kicva, the daughter of Gwynn Gohoyw, the son
of Gloyw Wallt Lydan, the son of Prince Casnar,
one of the nobles of this Island.
thus ends this portion of the Mabinogion.
The Four Branches of the Mabinogi 1. Pwyll
Translated by Charlotte Guest