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Carnedd Lwyd, Tyrrau Mawr (Cadair Idris)



From 'The Giants of Wales and their Dwellings' by Sion Dafydd Rhys, c.1600.
In the land of Merioneth in the parish of Dolgelly in the commote of Talybont, is a mountain that is called Cader Idris. And about the foot of this large hill are several lakes. Large and high is the mountain, and though so high, and so though difficult to cross over, yet (so they say) if a stick be thrown into any of those waters, you will find that piece of wood in the other lake on the opposite side of this mountain. And as it is not easy to believe that it can go over the top of a mountain as high as this, it is supposed that there is some cave or hollow from one lake to the other under the mountain, so that a thing that is in one lake can be moved to the other.

And on the highest crown of this mountain is a bed-shaped form, great in length and width, built of slabs fixed around it. And this is called the Bed of Idris, though it is more likely that it is the grave in which Idris was buried in ages past. And it is said that whoever lies and sleeps on that bed, one of two things will happen to him - either he will be a poet of the best kind, or go entirely demented.

And from one of the lakes that is under the mountain runs a large river. And when a very dry summer happens there is a lack of water to grind the mills built on the bank of that river. So it was frequently necessary to release the water from the lake. And (so they say) no water was ever released from that lake without at once there being some storm and downpour of rain, and thunder and lightning, happening in the same spot.

And in this high mountain formerly lived a big giant, and he was called Idris Gawr. And in this same parish is a mountain called Moel Yscydion, the abode of a great giant called Yscydion Gawr. And not far from Moel Yscydion in the parish of Llanfachreth is a hill called Moel Ophrom, where formerly lived Ophrom Gawr. And in the parish of Llanelltyd is another hill called Moel Ysbryn, because Ysbryn Gawr had his dwelling there. And all these giants were of enormous size, and in the time of Idris Gawr, and Idris was king and chief over them.
Edited from the 1917 translation by Hugh Owen at the Celtic Literature Collective, here:
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th June 2011ce
Edited 12th June 2011ce

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