Welsh Fairy Book: Owen Goes a-Wooing

The Llyn Cynnwch referred to in this story is Cynnwch (Cynwch) Lake which is located in what is now Snowdonia National Park in Wales. The Faery Folklorist blog reports several different versions of the story, and includes pictures of the lake.

Explore: For other encounters with the "otherworld" of the fairies, see Why Deunant has the Front Door in the Back and Einion and the Fair Family.

[notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Welsh Fairy Tales unit. Story source: The Welsh Fairy Book by W. Jenkyn Thomas with illustrations by Willy Pog├íny (1908).

Owen Goes a-Wooing

OWEN, one of the men-servants at Nannau, was going to see his sweetheart, who was a milkmaid at Dol y Clochydd. The night was very dark, and Owen lost his way.

After wandering about for some time he fell into Llyn Cynnwch. He could not swim, and the water closed over him, and he sank down, down, down. As he descended his brain began to clear, and he found that the process of sinking was by no means as unpleasant as might have been expected. He breathed as freely as on land, and the further he went the clearer became the water.

At last he alighted on a level spot at the bottom of the lake. He was surprised to find a beautiful country, with green fields and flowery hedges and leafy trees. Presently a short, fat old man came to him and asked him where he had come from. Owen explained how he had fallen into the lake on his way to see Siwsi, his sweetheart. "You are welcome," said the short, fat old man, and he conducted him to a beautiful mansion where there was a large company assembled, amusing themselves with all kinds of merriment and frolicking.

After he had been there for about an hour or two he went to the short, fat old man and said to him, "Would you be so kind, sir, as to show me the way to Dol y Clochydd? I am late as it is, and I am afraid Siwsi will give me up and go to bed unless I turn up soon." His host tried to induce him to stay, but Owen was anxious to go, and at last his petition was granted.

The short, fat old man took him along a level path, which led right underneath the hearthstone of Dol y Clochydd. The stone lifted itself up when Owen came to it, and he found himself in the kitchen. Siwsi was sitting by the fire weeping for him. She was terribly frightened when she saw him, and he had much difficulty in proving to her that he was not a ghost, for instead of being an hour or two late, as he had imagined, he had been missing for over a month.

(400 words)

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