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Neci Wreichion Oddiar yr Eingion


Neci Wreichion Oddiar yr Eingion By CADRAWD. Y FOR-FORWYN (MERMAID). Wirt Sikes, in his "British Goblins," says that the only reference to the Welsh mermaids Jie had ever read or heard of, is contained in Drayton's account of the Battle of Agincoort. There it is mentioned among the armorial enaignsof the Counties of Wales As Cardigan, the-next to them that went, Caine with amezmaidsittingon a-rock." Sir John Rees, of Oxford, has not been more successful in discovering the tale of Craig y Forwyn," which I take to be in his native county of Ceredigion. He haa found in the Brython," Vol. IV., that the people of Nevyn, in Lleyn, claim the story of the fisher and the mermaid as belonging to them. To this he adds the fact mentioned in the Bry- thon, Vol III., p. 133, that a red mermaid with yellow hair, on a white field, figures in the coat of arms of the family of Glasfryn, in the parish of Llangybi, inrEifionydd. Then he discovers that a correspondent from Dowlais contributes a batch of stories about South Wales mermaids to the Brython," Vol. IV., p. 310, which were known in Pembrokeshire these he gives in his Celtic Folk Lore," Vol. I., p. 165. These are known as the Mermaids of Trevine and Llanwnda." Looking over my collection of folk lore, I came across the story of the Mermaid Rock," put into rhyme by Miss M. Davies, a native of Cardigan, who at that time was at Llanover, which she dedicated to Miss Myfanwy Pryse, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs J. Pryse, of Llanover, a translation of which by the late Nathan Dyfed may be seen in the Frythones for 1892. with a striking illus- tration. Following is the nursery rhyme of Mermaid Rock. It happened once when upon a time A mermaid fair to a rock did climb, Down on the Cardigan rocky coast, County of which all Cambria may boast; She leisurely sat in solitude there With glass in hand to comb her blonde hair. But the while she sat to deck her form, Discovered a certain sign of storm, So instantly rose and stood erect, Found the signal to be too correct; To lose not a twinkle to reach her home, Wrapped up her mirror, her brush and comb. ghe longed to ride on the rolling deep, Heartrending quite did she wail and weep For distant now were the waves from land- They had long withdrawn; she waved her hand, Hailed a fisherman to come to her side I To carry her to the ocean wide. The fisherman, as he was summoned there, Bowed to the lady with golden hair Quite mute he stood, with amazing face, For never before did one of her race Acquaint with him on his travels lone, He turned deathly pale and cold as stone. Rare sea-flower crown arrayed her head, Perfect model of the life she led Down in the regions of the deep blue sea, And a silken seaweed frail had she Her hair a cloak or necklet of pearls Which would be envied by wives of earls. Friend," said the lady of strange romance, I skip on the billow, on the wave I dance; I live in the castles beneath the sea, And all my friends are as fair as me; Fear not, good man. I will hurt thee not, Such is thy star, and blessed thy lot." Thy name is Phillip, I've known thee long, Oft have I heard thee humming a song— Song of the mermaid, which thou ne er bad at seen, This morn Itecame true—Fm called Kathleen Honoured thou art this eventful day, To have seen a mermaid and how we array." I will promise thee a prize in gold, And marvellous tales I will unfold, Where we have here together trod, Thou wilt find great wealth beneath this clod Should'st thou but carry me to the waves, I humbly implore—my life do save." The fisherman thus great pity took, He left aside both his net and hook, So gently he the fair mermaid bore, And lightly he trod the sea-beat shore, Till to the billow his burden flung, With wondrous strains of sweet music song The honest fisherman day by day Went up to the rock as she did say He daily found his own treasured prize, He lived in great mansions rich and wise Throngs from afar and near now flock To see the wonderful Mermsaid Rock. M.D. The Rhianod y Llyn," or the Welsh dames who dwell in our lakes, have no resemblance to the English mermaid, beyond that they live in watery abode. The legend of Llyn y Forwyn (the Damsel's Pool), in the parish of Ystrad Tyfodwg, also known as Llyn Nelferch, or Elferch, is a fair sample of the Welsh legends concerning these elfin dames. Amongst almost every other nation we have the superstitious belief in mermaids and mermen, dating fom a very remote period. In the excavations of Khorsabad, Botta found a figure of Oannes, a creature half a man and half a fish, identical with Dagon, who came out of that part of the Erythraeum. sea, which bordered on Babilon. At Nimroud a gigantic image was found by Layard, representing the head of a fish, the lower part that of a man. On the coins of Ascalon is figured a goddess, above whose head is a half-moon, and at her feet a woman with her lower extremities like a fish. The Tritons and the Syreus are represented as half fish and half human. Originally, the Syrens were winged, but after the fable had been accepted, which told of their strife with the muses, and their precipitation into the sea, they were figured like mermaids. An Eastern traveller, as far back as the 14th century, writes of the perils of the voyage :—" We came to the smoky and stony mountain, where we heard Syrens singing, proprie mermaids, who draw ships into danger by their songs, we saw there mauy horrible monsters, and were in great fear." Mermaid tales exists among Celtic populations, indicating these water nymphs as having been originally dei- ties of those people. As far back as the 12tgcentary we have a description of a mermaid in an ancient Icelandic work, which is described as a woman as far down as her waist, with breastsand bosom like a woman, long hands, and soft bair, the neck and head in all respects like a human being. in this country we read that a merman was taken in 1187 off the coast of Suffolk. It closely resembled a man, but was not gifted with speech, and one day when it had the opportunity to escape it fled to the sea, plunged in, and was never afterwards seen. In all the northern countries stories relating to mermen and mermaids are singularly pro- lific. One common in Sweden tells how one night, as some fishermen from the farm of Ken- nare slept in their wooden huts, the door opened gently, and those who were awakened saw a woman's hand, nothing more. They watched the next evening, and seized it. and the person who took hold of the hand was drawn through the door and disappeared. Years afterwards his wife re-married, when the man turned up again, and related how the mermaid had drawn him into the sea, and how he had lived with her under the water ever since until one day she said, To-night they dance at Kennare." Then he thought his wife must be married, and the mermaid, telling him that it was so, added Go and see your wife in her bridal wreath, but enter not beneath the roof." He went ashore, and stood some time looking at the festival, but coult not help himself from entering. Thas night the roof of the farm buildings was carried off, and in three days afterwards the fwhernitu died.



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