The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Llyn Ogwen

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


The failure of the wrong person to secure [treasure] is illustrated by a story given by Mr. Derfel Hughes in his Antiquities of Llangedai and Llanllechid, pp. 35-6, to the effect that a servant man, somewhere up among the mountains near Ogwen Lake, chanced to come across the mouth of a cave with abundance of vessels of brass (pres) of every shape and description within it.

He went at once and seized one of them, but, alas! it was too heavy for him to stir it. So he resolved to go away and return early on the morrow with a friend to help him; but before going he closed the mouth of the cave with stones and sods so as to leave it safe. While thus engaged he remembered having heard how others had like him found caves and failed to refind them. He could procure nothing readily that would satisfy him as a mark, so it occurred to him to dot his path with the chippings of his stick, which he whittled all the way as he went back until he came to a familiar track: the chips were to guide him back to the cave.

So when the morning came he and his friend set out, but when they reached the point where the chips should begin, not one was to be seen: the Tylwyth Teg had picked up every one of them. So that discovery of articles of brass - more probably bronze - was in vain.

But, says the writer, it is not fated to be always in vain, for there is a tradition in the valley that it is a Gwydel, 'Goidel, Irishman,' who is to have these treasures, and that it will happen in this wise:--

A Gwydel will come to the neighbourhood to be a shepherd, and one day when he goes up the mountain to see to the sheep, just when it pleases the fates a black sheep with a speckled head will run before him and make straight for the cave: the sheep will go in, with the Gwydel in pursuit trying to catch him. When the Gwydel enters he sees the treasures, looks at them with surprise, and takes possession of them; and thus, in some generation to come, the Gwydyl will have their own restored to them.
Ancient bronze objects in Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx by John Rhys (1901).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th February 2014ce

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