Sunday, July 6, 2014

Welsh: The Fairies of Caragonan (cont.)

This story is part of the Welsh (Emerson) unit. Story source: Welsh Fairy-Tales and Other Stories by Peter H. Emerson (1894).

The Fairies of Caragonan (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)

IV.

The next day at noon, the queen and her daughter and three hundred other fairies came up the cliff to the green grass plot, and they carried a pole, and a tape, and a mirror.

When they reached the plot, they planted the pole in the ground and hung the mirror on the pole. The queen took the tape, which measured ten yards and was fastened to the top of the pole, and walked round in a circle, and wherever she set her feet the grass withered and died.

Then the fairies followed up behind the queen, and each fairy carried a harebell in her left-hand and a little blue cup of burning perfume in her right. When they had formed up, the queen called the lad to her side and told him to walk by her throughout. They then started off, all singing in chorus:

"Round and round three times three,
Tell me what you see."

When they finished the first round, the queen and lad stopped before the mirror, and she asked the lad what he saw.

"I see, I see, the mirror tells me,
It is the witch that I see,"

said the lad. So they marched round again, singing the same words as before, and when they stopped a second time before the mirror, the queen again asked him what he saw.

"I see, I see, the mirror tells me,
It is a hare that I see,"

said the lad.

A third time the ceremony and question were repeated.

"I see, I see, the mirror tells me,
The hares run up the hill to the mill."

"Now," said the queen, "there is to be a hare-hunting this day week; be at the mill at noon, and I will meet you there."

And then the fairies, pole, mirror, and all vanished, and only the empty ring on the green was left.

V.

Upon the appointed day, the lad went to his tryst, and at noon the Fairy Queen appeared and gave him a sling and a smooth pebble from the beach, saying: "I have blessed your arms, and I have blessed the sling and the stone.

"Now as the clock strikes three,
Go up the hill near the mill,
And in the ring stand still
Till you hear the click of the mill.
Then with thy arm, with power and might,
You shall strike and smite
The devil of a witch called Jezebel light,
And you shall see an awful sight."

The lad did as he was bidden, and presently he heard the huntsman's horn and the hue and cry, and saw the hare running down the opposite hill-side, where the hounds seemed to gain on her, but as she breasted the hill on which he stood, she gained on them.

As she came towards the mill, he threw his stone, and it lodged in her skull, and when he ran up, he found he had killed the old witch.

As the huntsmen came up, they crowded round him and praised him, and then they fastened the witch's body to a horse by ropes and dragged her to the bottom of the valley, where they buried her in a ditch.

That night, when the miser heard of her death, he dropped down dead on the spot.

As the lad was going home, the queen appeared to him and told him to be at the ring the following day at noon.

VI.

Next day, all the fairies came with the pole and mirror, each carrying a harebell in her left-hand, and a blue cup of burning perfume in her right, and they formed up as before, the lad walking beside the queen. They marched round and repeated the old words, when the queen stopped before the mirror, and said: "What do you see?"

"I see, I see, the mirror tells me,
It is an old plate-cupboard that I see."

A second time they went round, and the question, was repeated.

"I see, I see, the mirror tells me,
The back is turned to me."

A third time was the ceremony fulfilled, and the lad answered:

"I see, I see, the mirror tells me,
A spring-door is open to me."

"Buy that plate-cupboard at the miser's sale," said the queen, and she and her companions disappeared as before.

VII.

Upon the day of the sale, all the things were brought out in the road, and the plate-cupboard was put up, the lad recognising it and bidding up for it till it was sold to him.

When he had paid for it, he took it home in a cart, and when he got in and examined it, he found the secret drawer behind was full of gold.

The following week the house and land, thirty acres, was put up for sale, and the lad bought both and married the miser's niece, and they lived happily till they died.


(800 words)






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