THE DAUGHTER OF LLYR
Four Branches of the Mabinogi 2. Branwen the daughter
by Charlotte Guest 
Vran, the son of Llyr, was the crowned king of
this island, and he was exalted from the crown
of London. And one afternoon he was at Harlech
in Ardudwy, at his Court, and he sat upon the
rock of Harlech, looking over the sea. And with
him were his brother Manawyddan the son of Llyr,
and his brothers by the mother's side, Nissyen
and Evnissyen, and many nobles likewise, as was
fitting to see around a king. His two brothers
by the mother's side were the sons of Eurosswydd,
by his mother, Penardun, the daughter of Beli
son of Manogan. And one of these youths was a
good youth and of gentle nature, and would make
peace between his kindred, and cause his family
to be friends when their wrath was at the highest;
and this one was Nissyen; but the other would
cause strife between his two brothers when they
were most at peace. And as they sat thus, they
beheld thirteen ships coming from the south of
Ireland, and making towards them, and they came
with a swift motion, the wind being behind them,
and they neared them rapidly. "I see ships
afar," said the king, "coming swiftly
towards the land. Command the men of the Court
that they equip themselves, and go and learn their
intent." So the men equipped themselves and
went down towards them. And when they saw the
ships near, certain were they that they had never
seen ships better furnished. Beautiful flags of
satin were upon them. And behold one of the ships
outstripped the others, and they saw a shield
lifted up above the side of the ship, and the
point of the shield was upwards, in token of peace.
And the men drew near that they might hold converse.
Then they put out boats and came towards the land.
And they saluted the king. Now the king could
hear them from the place where he was, upon the
rock above their heads. "Heaven prosper you,"
said he, "and be ye welcome. To whom do these
ships belong, and who is the chief amongst you?"
"Lord," said they, "Matholwch,
king of Ireland, is here, and these ships belong
to him." "Wherefore comes he?' asked
the king, "and will he come to the land?"
"He is a suitor unto thee, lord," said
they, "and he will not land unless he have
his boon." "And what may that be?"
inquired the king. "He desires to ally himself
with thee, lord," said they, "and he
comes to ask Branwen the daughter of Llyr, that,
if it seem well to thee, the Island of the Mighty
may be leagued with Ireland, and both become more
powerful." "Verily," said he, "let
him come to land, and we will take counsel thereupon."
And this answer was brought to Matholwch. "I
will go willingly," said he. So he landed,
and they received him joyfully; and great was
the throng in the palace that night, between his
hosts and those of the Court; and next day they
took counsel, and they resolved to bestow Branwen
upon Matholwch. Now she was one of the three chief
ladies of this island, and she was the fairest
damsel in the world.
And they fixed upon Aberffraw as the place where
she should become his bride. And they went thence,
and towards Aberffraw the hosts proceeded; Matholwch
and his host in their ships; Bendigeid Vran and
his host by land, until they came to Aberffraw.
And at Aberffraw they began the feast and sat
down. And thus sat they. The King of the Island
of the Mighty and Manawyddan the son of Llyr on
one side, and Matholwch on the other side, and
Branwen the daughter of Llyr beside him. And they
were not within a house, but under tents. No house
could ever contain Bendigeid Vran. And they began
the banquet and caroused and discoursed. And when
it was more pleasing to them to sleep than to
carouse, they went to rest, and that night Branwen
became Matholwch's bride.
And next day they arose, and all they of the Court,
and the officers began to equip and to range the
horses and the attendants, and they ranged them
in order as far as the sea.
And behold one day, Evnissyen, the quarrelsome
man of whom it is spoken above, came by chance
into the place, where the horses of Matholwch
were, and asked whose horses they might be. "They
are the horses of Matholwch king of Ireland, who
is married to Branwen, thy sister; his horses
are they." "And is it thus they have
done with a maiden such as she, and moreover my
sister, bestowing her without my consent? They
could have offered no greater insult to me than
this," said he. And thereupon he rushed under
the horses and cut off their lips at the teeth,
and their ears close to their heads, and their
tails close to their backs, and wherever he could
clutch their eyelids, he cut them to the very
bone, and he disfigured the horses and rendered
And they came with these tidings unto Matholwch,
saying that the horses were disfigured, and injured
so that not one of them could ever be of any use
again. "Verily, lord," said one, "it
was an insult unto thee, and as such was it meant."
"Of a truth, it is a marvel to me, that if
they desire to insult me, they should have given
me a maiden of such high rank and so much beloved
of her kindred, as they have done." "Lord,"
said another, "thou seest that thus it is,
and there is nothing for thee to do but to go
to thy ships." And thereupon towards his
ships he set out.
And tidings came to Bendigeid Vran that Matholwch
was quitting the Court without asking leave, and
messengers were sent to inquire of him wherefore
he did so. And the messengers that went were Iddic
the son of Anarawd, and Heveydd Hir. And these
overtook him and asked of him what he designed
to do, and wherefore he went forth. "Of a
truth," said he, "if I had known I had
not come hither. I have been altogether insulted,
no one had ever worse treatment than I have had
here. But one thing surprises me above all."
"What is that?" asked they. "That
Branwen the daughter of Llyr, one of the three
chief ladies of this island, and the daughter
of the King of the Island of the Mighty, should
have been given me as my bride, and that after
that I should have been insulted; and I marvel
that the insult was not done me before they had
bestowed upon me a maiden so exalted as she."
"Truly, lord, it was not the will of any
that are of the Court," said they, "nor
of any that are of the council, that thou shouldest
have received this insult; and as thou hast been
insulted, the dishonour is greater unto Bendigeid
Vran than unto thee." "Verily,"
said he, "I think so. Nevertheless he cannot
recall the insult." These men returned with
that answer to the place where Bendigeid Vran
was, and they told him what reply Matholwch had
given them. "Truly," said he, "there
are no means by which we may prevent his going
away at enmity with us, that we will not take."
"Well, lord," said they, "send
after him another embassy." "I will
do so," said he. "Arise, Manawyddan
son of Llyr, and Heveydd Hir, and Unic Glew Ysgwyd,
and go after him, and tell him that he shall have
a sound horse for every one that has been injured.
And beside that, as an atonement for the insult,
he shall have a staff of silver, as large and
as tall as himself, and a plate of gold of the
breadth of his face. And show unto him who it
was that did this, and that it was done against
my will; but that he who did it is my brother,
by the mother's side, and therefore it would be
hard for me to put him to death. And let him come
and meet me," said he, "and we will
make peace in any way he may desire."
The embassy went after Matholwch, and told him
all these sayings in a friendly manner, and he
listened thereunto. "Men," said he,
"I will take counsel." So to the council
he went. And in the council they considered that
if they should refuse this, they were likely to
have more shame rather than to obtain so great
an atonement. They resolved therefore to accept
it, and they returned to the Court in peace.
Then the pavilions and the tents were set in order
after the fashion of a hall; and they went to
meat, and as they had sat at the beginning of
the feast, so sat they there. And Matholwch and
Bendigeid Vran began to discourse; and behold
it seemed to Bendigeid Vran, while they talked,
that Matholwch was not so cheerful as he had been
before. And he thought that the chieftain might
be sad, because of the smallness of the atonement
which he had, for the wrong that had been done
him. "Oh, man," said Bendigeid Vran,
"thou dost not discourse to-night so cheerfully
as thou wast wont. And if it be because of the
smallness of the atonement, thou shalt add thereunto
whatsoever thou mayest choose, and to-morrow I
will pay thee the horses." "Lord,"
said he, "Heaven reward thee." "And
I will enhance the atonement," said Bendigeid
Vran, "for I will give unto thee a cauldron,
the property of which is, that if one of thy men
be slain to-day, and be cast therein, to-morrow
he will be as well as ever he was at the best,
except that he will not regain his speech."
And thereupon he gave him great thanks, and very
joyful was he for that cause.
And the next morning they paid Matholwch the horses
as long as the trained horses lasted. And then
they journeyed into another commot, where they
paid him with colts until the whole had been paid,
and from thenceforth that commot was called Talebolion.
And a second night sat they together. "My
lord," said Matholwch, "whence hadst
thou the cauldron which thou hast given me?"
"I had it of a man who had been in thy land,"
said he, "and I would not give it except
to one from there." "Who was it?"
asked he. "Llassar Llaesgyvnewid; he came
here from Ireland with Kymideu Kymeinvoll, his
wife, who escaped from the Iron House in Ireland,
when it was made red hot around them, and fled
hither. And it is a marvel to me that thou shouldst
know nothing concerning the matter." "Something
I do know," said he, "and as much as
I know I will tell thee. One day I was hunting
in Ireland, and I came to the mound at the head
of the lake, which is called the Lake of the Cauldron.
And I beheld a huge yellow-haired man coming from
the lake with a cauldron upon his back. And he
was a man of vast size, and of horrid aspect,
and a woman followed after him. And if the man
was tall, twice as large as he was the woman,
and they came towards me and greeted me. 'Verily,'
asked I, 'wherefore are you journeying?' 'Behold,
this,' said he to me, 'is the cause that we journey.
At the end of a month and a fortnight this woman
will have a son; and the child that will be born
at the end of the month and the fortnight will
be a warrior fully armed.' So I took them with
me and maintained them. And they were with me
for a year. And that year I had them with me not
grudgingly. But thenceforth was there murmuring,
because that they were with me. For, from the
beginning of the fourth month they had begun to
make themselves hated and to be disorderly in
the land; committing outrages, and molesting and
harassing the nobles and ladies; and thenceforward
my people rose up and besought me to part with
them, and they bade me to choose between them
and my dominions. And I applied to the council
of my country to know what should be done concerning
them; for of their own free will they would not
go, neither could they be compelled against their
will, through fighting. And [the people of the
country] being in this strait, they caused a chamber
to be made all of iron. Now when the chamber was
ready, there came there every smith that was in
Ireland, and every one who owned tongs and hammer.
And they caused coals to be piled up as high as
the top of the chamber. And they had the man,
and the woman, and the children, served with plenty
of meat and drink; but when it was known that
they were drunk, they began to put fire to the
coals about the chamber, and they blew it with
bellows until the house was red hot all around
them. Then was there a council held in the centre
of the floor of the chamber. And the man tarried
until the plates of iron were all of a white heat;
and then, by reason of the great heat, the man
dashed against the plates with his shoulder and
struck them out, and his wife followed him; but
except him and his wife none escaped thence. And
then I suppose, lord," said Matholwch unto
Bendigeid Vran, "that he came over unto thee."
"Doubtless he came here," said he, "and
gave unto me the cauldron." "In what
manner didst thou receive them?" "I
dispersed them through every part of my dominions,
and they have become numerous and are prospering
everywhere, and they fortify the places where
they are with men and arms, of the best that were
That night they continued to discourse as much
as they would, and had minstrelsy and carousing,
and when it was more pleasant to them to sleep
than to sit longer, they went to rest. And thus
was the banquet carried on with joyousness; and
when it was finished, Matholwch journeyed towards
Ireland, and Branwen with him, and they went from
Aber Menei with thirteen ships, and came to Ireland.
And in Ireland was there great joy because of
their coming. And not one great man or noble lady
visited Branwen unto whom she gave not either
a clasp, or a ring, or a royal jewel to keep,
such as it was honourable to be seen departing
with. And in these things she spent that year
in much renown, and she passed her time pleasantly,
enjoying honour and friendship. And in the meanwhile
it chanced that she became pregnant, and in due
time a son was born unto her, and the name that
they gave him was Gwern the son of Matholwch,
and they put the boy out to be foster-nursed,
in a place where were the best men of Ireland.
And behold in the second year a tumult arose in
Ireland, on account of the insult which Matholwch
had received in Cambria, and the payment made
him for his horses. And his foster-brothers, and
such as were nearest unto him, blamed him openly
for that matter. And he might have no peace by
reason of the tumult until they should revenge
upon him this disgrace. And the vengeance which
they took was to drive away Branwen from the same
chamber with him, and to make her cook for the
Court; and they caused the butcher after he had
cut up the meat to come to her and give her every
day a blow on the ear, and such they made her
lord," said his men to Matholwch, "forbid
now the ships and the ferry boats and the coracles,
that they go not into Cambria, and such as come
over from Cambria hither, imprison them that they
go not back for this thing to be known there."
And he did so; and it was thus for not less than
And Branwen reared a starling in the cover of
the kneading trough, and she taught it to speak,
and she taught the bird what manner of man her
brother was. And she wrote a letter of her woes,
and the despite with which she was treated, and
she bound the letter to the root of the bird's
wing, and sent it towards Britain. And the bird
came to this island, and one day it found Bendigeid
Vran at Caer Seiont in Arvon, conferring there,
and it alighted upon his shoulder and ruffled
its feathers, so that the letter was seen, and
they knew that the bird had been reared in a domestic
Then Bendigeid Vran took the letter and looked
upon it. And when he had read the letter he grieved
exceedingly at the tidings of Branwen's woes.
And immediately he began sending messengers to
summon the island together. And he caused sevenscore
and four countries to come unto him, and he complained
to them himself of the grief that his sister endured.
So they took counsel. And in the council they
resolved to go to Ireland, and to leave seven
men as princes here, and Caradawc, the son of
Bran, as the chief of them, and their seven knights.
In Edeyrnion were these men left. And for this
reason were the seven knights placed in the town.
Now the names of these seven men were, Caradawc
the son of Bran, and Heveydd Hir, and Unic Glew
Ysgwyd, and Iddic the son of Anarawc Gwalltgrwn,
and Fodor the son of Ervyll, and Gwlch Minascwrn,
and Llassar the son of Llaesar Llaesgygwyd, and
Pendaran Dyved as a young page with them. And
these abode as seven ministers to take charge
of this island; and Caradawc the son of Bran was
the chief amongst them.
Bendigeid Vran, with the host of which we spoke,
sailed towards Ireland, and it was not far across
the sea, and he came to shoal water. It was caused
by two rivers; the Lli and the Archan were they
called; and the nations covered the sea. Then
he proceeded with what provisions he had on his
own back, and approached the shore of Ireland.
Now the swineherds of Matholwch were upon the
seashore, and they came to Matholwch. "Lord,"
said they, "greeting be unto thee."
"Heaven protect you," said he, "have
you any news?" "Lord," said they,
"we have marvellous news, a wood have we
seen upon the sea, in a place where we never yet
saw a single tree." "This is indeed
a marvel," said he; "saw you aught else?"
"We saw, lord," said they, "a vast
mountain beside the wood, which moved, and there
was a lofty ridge on the top of the mountain,
and a lake on each side of the ridge. And the
wood, and the mountain, and all these things moved."
"Verily," said he, "there is none
who can know aught concerning this, unless it
Messengers then went unto Branwen. "Lady,"
said they, "what thinkest thou that this
is?" "The men of the Island of the Mighty,
who have come hither on hearing of my ill-treatment
and my woes." "What is the forest that
is seen upon the sea?" asked they. "The
yards and the masts of ships," she answered.
"Alas," said they, "what is the
mountain that is seen by the side of the ships?"
"Bendigeid Vran, my brother," she replied,
"coming to shoal water; there is no ship
that can contain him in it." "What is
the lofty ridge with the lake on each side thereof?"
"On looking towards this island he is wroth,
and his two eyes, one on each side of his nose,
are the two lakes beside the ridge."
The warriors and the chief men of Ireland were
brought together in haste, and they took counsel.
"Lord," said the nobles unto Matholwch,
"there is no other counsel than to retreat
over the Linon (a river which is in Ireland),
and to keep the river between thee and him, and
to break down the bridge that is across the river,
for there is a loadstone at the bottom of the
river that neither ship nor vessel can pass over."
So they retreated across the river, and broke
down the bridge.
Bendigeid Vran came to land, and the fleet with
him by the bank of the river. "Lord,"
said his chieftains, "knowest thou the nature
of this river, that nothing can go across it,
and there is no bridge over it?" "What,"
said they, "is thy counsel concerning a bridge?"
"There is none," said he, "except
that he who will be chief, let him be a bridge.
I will be so," said he. And then was that
saying first uttered, and it is still used as
a proverb. And when he had lain down across the
river, hurdles were placed upon him, and the host
passed over thereby.
And as he rose up, behold the messengers of Matholwch
came to him, and saluted him, and gave him greeting
in the name of Matholwch, his kinsman, and showed
how that of his goodwill he had merited of him
nothing but good. "For Matholwch has given
the kingdom of Ireland to Gwern the son of Matholwch,
thy nephew and thy sister's son. And this he places
before thee, as a compensation for the wrong and
despite that has been done unto Branwen. And Matholwch
shall be maintained wheresoever thou wilt, either
here or in the Island of the Mighty." Said
Bendigeid Vran, "Shall not I myself have
the kingdom? Then peradventure I may take counsel
concerning your message. From this time until
then no other answer will you get from me."
"Verily," said they, "the best
message that we receive for thee, we will convey
it unto thee, and do thou await our message unto
him." "I will wait," answered he,
"and do you return quickly."
The messengers set forth and came to Matholwch.
"Lord," said they, "prepare a better
message for Bendigeid Vran. He would not listen
at all to the message that we bore him."
"My friends," said Matholwch, "what
may be your counsel?" "Lord," said
they, "there is no other counsel than this
alone. He was never known to be within a house,
make therefore a house that will contain him and
the men of the Island of the Mighty on the one
side, and thyself and thy host on the other; and
give over thy kingdom to his will, and do him
homage. So by reason of the honour thou doest
him in making him a house, whereas he never before
had a house to contain him, he will make peace
with thee." So the messengers went back to
Bendigeid Vran, bearing him this message.
And he took counsel, and in the council it was
resolved that he should accept this, and this
was all done by the advice of Branwen, and lest
the country should be destroyed. And this peace
was made, and the house was built both vast and
strong. But the Irish planned a crafty device,
and the craft was that they should put brackets
on each side of the hundred pillars that were
in the house, and should place a leathern bag
on each bracket, and an armed man in every one
of them. Then Evnissyen came in before the host
of the Island of the Mighty, and scanned the house
with fierce and savage looks, and descried the
leathern bags which were around the pillars. "What
is in this bag?" asked he of one of the Irish.
"Meal, good soul," said he. And Evnissyen
felt about it until he came to the man's head,
and he squeezed the head until he felt his fingers
meet together in the brain through the bone. And
he left that one and put his hand upon another,
and asked what was therein. "Meal,"
said the Irishman. So he did the like unto every
one of them, until he had not left alive, of all
the two hundred men, save one only; and when he
came to him, he asked what was there. "Meal,
good soul," said the Irishman. And he felt
about until he felt the head, and he squeezed
that head as he had done the others. And, albeit
he found that the head of this one was armed,
he left him not until he had killed him. And then
he sang an Englyn:-
is in this bag a different sort of meal, The ready
combatant, when the assault is made By his fellow-warriors,
prepared for battle."
Thereupon came the hosts unto the house. The men
of the Island of Ireland entered the house on
the one side, and the men of the Island of the
Mighty on the other. And as soon as they had sat
down there was concord between them; and the sovereignty
was conferred upon the boy. When the peace was
concluded, Bendigeid Vran called the boy unto
him, and from Bendigeid Vran the boy went unto
Manawyddan, and he was beloved by all that beheld
him. And from Manawyddan the boy was called by
Nissyen the son of Eurosswydd, and the boy went
unto him lovingly. "Wherefore," said
Evnissyen, "comes not my nephew the son of
my sister unto me? Though he were not king of
Ireland, yet willingly would I fondle the boy."
"Cheerfully let him go to thee," said
Bendigeid Vran, and the boy went unto him cheerfully.
"By my confession to Heaven," said Evnissyen
in his heart, "unthought of by the household
is the slaughter that I will this instant commit."
he arose and took up the boy by the feet, and
before any one in the house could seize hold of
him, he thrust the boy headlong into the blazing
fire. And when Branwen saw her son burning in
the fire, she strove to leap into the fire also,
from the place where she sat between her two brothers.
But Bendigeid Vran grasped her with one hand,
and his shield with the other. Then they all hurried
about the house, and never was there made so great
a tumult by any host in one house as was made
by them, as each man armed himself. Then said
Morddwydtyllyon, "The gadflies of Morddwydtyllyon's
Cow!" And while they all sought their arms,
Bendigeid Vran supported Branwen between his shield
and his shoulder.
the Irish kindled a fire under the cauldron of
renovation, and they cast the dead bodies into
the cauldron until it was full, and the next day
they came forth fighting-men as good as before,
except that they were not able to speak. Then
when Evnissyen saw the dead bodies of the men
of the Island of the Mighty nowhere resuscitated,
he said in his heart, "Alas! woe is me, that
I should have been the cause of bringing the men
of the Island of the Mighty into so great a strait.
Evil betide me if I find not a deliverance therefrom."
And he cast himself among the dead bodies of the
Irish, and two unshod Irishmen came to him, and,
taking him to be one of the Irish, flung him into
the cauldron. And he stretched himself out in
the cauldron, so that he rent the cauldron into
four pieces, and burst his own heart also.
consequence of that the men of the Island of the
Mighty obtained such success as they had; but
they were not victorious, for only seven men of
them all escaped, and Bendigeid Vran himself was
wounded in the foot with a poisoned dart. Now
the seven men that escaped were Pryderi, Manawyddan,
Gluneu Eil Taran, Taliesin, Ynawc, Grudyen the
son of Muryel, and Heilyn the son of Gwynn Hen.
Bendigeid Vran commanded them that they should
cut off his head. "And take you my head,"
said he, "and bear it even unto the White
Mount, in London, and bury it there, with the
face towards France. And a long time will you
be upon the road. In Harlech you will be feasting
seven years, the birds of Rhiannon singing unto
you the while. And all that time the head will
be to you as pleasant company as it ever was when
on my body. And at Gwales in Penvro you will be
fourscore years, and you may remain there, and
the head with you uncorrupted, until you open
the door that looks towards Aber Henvelen, and
towards Cornwall. And after you have opened that
door, there you may no longer tarry, set forth
then to London to bury the head, and go straight
they cut off his head, and these seven went forward
therewith. And Branwen was the eighth with them,
and they came to land at Aber Alaw, in Talebolyon,
and they sat down to rest. And Branwen looked
towards Ireland and towards the Island of the
Mighty, to see if she could descry them. "Alas,"
said she, "woe is me that I was ever born;
two islands have been destroyed because of me!"
Then she uttered a loud groan, and there broke
her heart. And they made her a four-sided grave,
and buried her upon the banks of the Alaw.
the seven men journeyed forward towards Harlech,
bearing the head with them; and as they went,
behold there met them a multitude of men and of
women. "Have you any tidings?" asked
Manawyddan. "We have none," said they,
"save that Caswallawn the son of Beli has
conquered the Island of the Mighty, and is crowned
king in London." "What has become,"
said they, "of Caradawc the son of Bran,
and the seven men who were left with him in this
island?" "Caswallawn came upon them,
and slew six of the men, and Caradawc's heart
broke for grief thereof; for he could see the
sword that slew the men, but knew not who it was
that wielded it. Caswallawn had flung upon him
the Veil of Illusion, so that no one could see
him slay the men, but the sword only could they
see. And it liked him not to slay Caradawc, because
he was his nephew, the son of his cousin. And
now he was the third whose heart had broke through
grief. Pendaran Dyved, who had remained as a young
page with these men, escaped into the wood,"
they went on to Harlech, and there stopped to
rest, and they provided meat and liquor, and sat
down to eat and to drink. And there came three
birds, and began singing unto them a certain song,
and all the songs they had ever heard were unpleasant
compared thereto; and the birds seemed to them
to be at a great distance from them over the sea,
yet they appeared as distinct as if they were
close by, and at this repast they continued seven
at the close of the seventh year they went forth
to Gwales in Penvro. And there they found a fair
and regal spot overlooking the ocean; and a spacious
hall was therein. And they went into the hall,
and two of its doors were open, but the third
door was closed, that which looked towards Cornwall.
"See, yonder," said Manawyddan, "is
the door that we may not open." And that
night they regaled themselves and were joyful.
And of all they had seen of food laid before them,
and of all they had heard of, they remembered
nothing; neither of that, nor of any sorrow whatsoever.
And there they remained fourscore years, unconscious
of having ever spent a time more joyous and mirthful.
And they were not more weary than when first they
came, neither did they, any of them, know the
time they had been there. And it was not more
irksome to them having the head with them, than
if Bendigeid Vran had been with them himself.
And because of these fourscore years, it was called
"the Entertaining of the noble Head."
The entertaining of Branwen and Matholwch was
in the time that they went to Ireland.
day said Heilyn the son of Gwynn, "Evil betide
me, if I do not open the door to know if that
is true which is said concerning it." So
he opened the door and looked towards Cornwall
and Aber Henvelen. And when they had looked, they
were as conscious of all the evils they had ever
sustained, and of all the friends and companions
they had lost, and of all the misery that had
befallen them, as if all had happened in that
very spot; and especially of the fate of their
lord. And because of their perturbation they could
not rest, but journeyed forth with the head towards
London. And they buried the head in the White
Mount, and when it was buried, this was the third
goodly concealment; and it was the third ill-fated
disclosure when it was disinterred, inasmuch as
no invasion from across the sea came to this island
while the head was in that concealment.
thus is the story related of those who journeyed
over from Ireland.
Ireland none were left alive, except five pregnant
women in a cave in the Irish wilderness; and to
these five women in the same night were born five
sons, whom they nursed until they became grown-up
youths. And they thought about wives, and they
at the same time desired to possess them, and
each took a wife of the mothers of their companions,
and they governed the country and peopled it.
these five divided it amongst them, and because
of this partition are the five divisions of Ireland
still so termed. And they examined the land where
the battles had taken place, and they found gold
and silver until they became wealthy.
thus ends this portion of the Mabinogi, concerning
the blow given to Branwen, which was the third
unhappy blow of this island; and concerning the
entertainment of Bran, when the hosts of sevenscore
countries and ten went over to Ireland to revenge
the blow given to Branwen; and concerning the
seven years' banquet in Harlech, and the singing
of the birds of Rhiannon, and the sojourning of
the head for the space of fourscore years.
The Four Branches of the Mabinogi 2. Branwen the
daughter of Llyr
Translated by Charlotte Guest