Sunday, 21 June 2009 20:18

The Vengeance Of The Fairies Featured

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Overlooking the sea that washes the beautiful coast of the Gower Peninsula in Glamorganshire stands the ruined castle of Pennard. All about it is a waste of sandhills, beneath which, so the old stories have it, a considerable village lies buried. For it is told that in the old days, when the lands about Pennard were fertile and populous, the lord of the castle was holding a great feast one day to rejoice over the wedding of his daughter.

This happy event was being celebrated by the villagers too, and, unknown to lord or serf, by the "Tylwyth Teg," or the fairy folk who abounded in the neighbourhood, for the little people enjoy an innocent merry-making as much as do mere mortals...

Pennard Castle - What Lies Beneath?

And that night, long after the villagers had gone to bed, the festivities in the castle were continued. Wine flowed free and the revellers became more and more boisterous. From mere jesting they came to quarrelling, and, in the midst of their drunken orgy, there was heard an alarm. A sentry on the walls of the castle reported that he heard stealthy movements in the distance as of a large number of people approaching with care.

The frenzied warriors, fearing a surprise from their enemies, armed themselves and rushed from the castle to attack the intruders. They, too, could hear a gentle murmur in the valley below, and towards it they charged, uttering terrible threats, striking right and left with their swords at the unseen foe. But, apart from a few shadowy forms that quickly faded away into the undergrowth, nothing was to be seen, and at length the knights and soldiers returned rather crestfallen, and much more sober, to their stronghold.

Now the truth of the whole matter was that the alarm had been caused by the festivities of the fairies, and they were so deeply incensed at having their party broken up by this violent intrusion of wine-maddened men that they determined to be revenged.

That very night the whole family set out for Ireland, where they descended upon a huge mountain of sand, and each one of the small people, loading himself with as much sand as he could carry, returned to Pennard and deposited it upon the village at the base of the castle, intending to bury both village and castle in sand.

To and fro the fairies went, intent upon their task of vengeance, and, when morning broke, those in the castle looked out to see what they thought was a violent sand-storm raging. By mid-day the village below the castle was overwhelmed, and those in the stronghold began to fear that it too would be smothered. But fortunately for them the Irish sand-mountain gave out, and the fairies' complete vengeance was thwarted. Still, they had destroyed the rich and valuable lands that belonged to the castle, and from that day its fortunes and those of its lords began to decline.

In proof of this story the old Irish records maintain that an extraordinary storm arose that night and blew away a whole sand-mountain.

Few tourists ever explore the beauties of the little Gower Peninsula, save holiday-makers from the neighbouring town of Swansea; yet it is a country of amazing charm, with a glorious coast and high ridges of heather and moorland. It is only about eighty square miles in extent, but it has over fifty miles of coast.

Remote from the world, this country, with its churches, castles, and many prehistoric remains, is an ideal holiday land.

[Extract taken from Legend Land, Vol. 1, originally Published in 1922 by THE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY]

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