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


Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech


Welcome to another of my speculative posts. But I like to think this one's got something going for it. Ifan Gruffydd was a farmhand, also an author of two books of memoirs. He was born in Llangristiolus in 1896, so it seems highly likely to me that when he talks about Henblas Wood he's talking about the wood next to the cromlech at this Henblas. And I would think that makes the 'cave', the cromlech itself - that's a term that's used at other sites too, the ogof.
Did your mother believe in the fairies?
Well, I can't say if she believed or not, but she would give me the impression that she did. And that impression, of course, caused me to believe. Yes to believe firmly in the fairies and to take a keen interest in them, although I would be afraid of them. And you'd be in trouble if you came across the fairies, or they came across you, in some enclosure or wood where they lived. And they lived in many places. They lived in Coed yr Henblas (Henblas Wood), as we say. And in the cave - Ogof Pitar Graen (Peter Green's Cave) we used to call it. Well, the fairies were there. There was no argument about that. But, of course, they wouldn't be out all the time. Sometimes when it was quiet the fairies would play outside the cave's door, so they said. And the old people used to say that they always had their eye on small children - if they could get hold of them. If they caught a young child, they would take it inside the cave and keep it for a year and a day.
More notes on the story are here at the Museum of Wales site:
In the printed version of this story Ifan Gruffydd stated that he was around seven to eight years old when he first saw the little family on Christmas Day, and he calls the cave 'Yr Ogof Fawr' ['The Great Cave']. In his reminiscences on tape, however, when questioned further about the cave he made this comment:

'We call it 'Ogof Pitar Graen' ["Peter Green's Cave"]. Some old boy called Peter Green had been living there, you see. Well, the old cave was frequented by many people such as those I've mentioned to you. The occasional tramp, you see, making his home in the cave for a week, say, or a fortnight, or sometimes for the whole winter. Venturing out to gather what food he could in the countryside... and some were craftsmen who could go round the farms asking whether they needed tools sharpening, or dishes mended - wooden dishes I mean now... An old tailor, perhaps, wandering. Well, no one would know how he'd come to be in that state... I saw many a family, too, who'd seen better times.'
I'm happy to be disproved, but it seems a reasonable assumption to me? Here he tells the story of how as a boy he fell in love with a girl who lived at the cave. Or Was She A Fairy. Etc.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th June 2010ce
Edited 10th June 2010ce

Comments (2)

He shouldn't have let her go the second time. Though there're more than Welshmen and fairies that could tell a story like that, I guess. gjrk Posted by gjrk
12th June 2010ce
Yeah. And I suppose matters of the heart are complicated enough when you're both mortals, let alone when one of you's an itinerant fairy. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th June 2010ce
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