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Garn Goch



Garn Goch is a cairn on top of Mynydd y Drum. (Its name means 'red cairn'. Is it actually red? Or is it the sun on it? Something symbolic? Or what? Do you know?)

It actually contains a stash of gold, as explained in this story from Rhys's 'Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx' (1901).
'We also [received a] tale about a cwmshurwr, "conjurer," who once lived in Ystradgyrlais (as the rustic pronounced it). The wizard was a dyn llaw-harn, "a man with an iron hand"; and it being reported that there was a great treasure hidden in Mynydd y Drum, the wizard said he would secure it, if he could but get some plucky fellow to spend a night with him there. John Gethin was a plucky fellow (dyn "ysprydol"), and he agreed to join the dyn llaw-harn in his diablerie.

The wizard traced two rings on the sward touching each other "like a number 8"; he went into one, and Gethin into the other, the wizard strictly charging him on no account to step out of the ring. The llaw-harn then proceeded to trafod 'i lyfrau, or "busy himself with his books"; and there soon appeared a monstrous bull, bellowing dreadfully; but the plucky Gethin held his ground, and the bull vanished.

Next came a terrible object, a "fly-wheel of fire," which made straight for poor Gethin and made him swerve out of the ring. Thereupon the wheel assumed the form of the diawl, " devil," who began to haul Gethin away. The llaw-harn seized hold of him and tried to get him back. The devil was getting the upper hand, when the llaw-harn begged the devil to let him keep Gethin while the piece of candle he had with him lasted. The devil consented, and let go his hold of Gethin, where. upon the cwmshurwr immediately blew out the candle, and the devil was discomfited.

Gethin preserved the piece of candle very carefully, stowing it away in a cool place; but still it wasted away although it was never lighted. Gethin got such a fright that he took to his bed, and as the candle wasted away he did the same, and they both came to an end simultaneously. Gethin vanished--and it was not his body that was put into the coffin, but a lump of clay which was put in to save appearances! It is said that the wizard's books are in an oaken chest at Waungyrlais farm house to this day.
The book is online at the sacred texts archive.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st February 2005ce
Edited 26th February 2005ce

Comments (1)

"Garn Goch is a cairn on top of Mynydd y Drum. (Its name means 'red cairn'. Is it actually red? Or is it the sun on it? Something symbolic? Or what? Do you know?)"

Quite possibly the cairn is made of red sandstone blocks (plenty of that in South Wales), which is far less romantic than sunshine. I've not been here though, so perhaps it really is something more exciting.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
26th September 2013ce
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