Cocks, Birds and Beasts in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Wales
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Category: Birds and Beasts
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Title: Cocks


Cæsar, Bk. v., c.12, tells us that the Celtic nation did not regard it lawful to eat the cock. It was thought that the devil assumed occasionally the form of a cock. It is said that at Llanfor, near Bala, the evil spirit was driven out of the church in the form of a cock, and laid in the river Dee.|Formerly the cock was offered to the water god. And at certain Holy Wells in Wales, such as that in the parish of Llandegla, it was customary to offer to St. Tecla a cock for a male patient, and a hen for a female. A like custom prevailed at St. Deifer’s Well, Bodfari. Classical readers may remember that Socrates, before his death, desired his friend Crito to offer a cock to Æsculapius. “Crito,” said he, and these were his last words, “we owe a cock to Æsculapius, discharge that debt for me, and pray do not forget it;” soon after which he breathed his last. |In our days, the above-mentioned superstitions do not prevail, but the cock has not been resigned entirely to the cook. By some means or other, it still retains the power of announcing the visit of a friend; at least, so says the mountain farmer’s wife.|The good-wife in North Wales, when the cock comes to the door-sill and there crows many times in succession, tells her children that “Some one is coming to visit us, I wonder who it is.” Before nightfall a friend drops in, and he is informed that he was expected, that the cock had crowed time after time by the door, and that it was no good sending him away, for he would come back and crow and crow, “and now,” adds she, “you have come.” “Is it not strange,” says the good woman, “that he never makes a mistake,” and then follows a word of praise for chanticleer, which the stranger endorses.|However much the hospitable liked to hear their cock crow in the day time, he was not to crow at night. But it was formerly believed that at the crowing of the cock, fairies, spirits, ghosts, and goblins rushed to their dread abodes. Puck was to meet the Fairy King, “ere the first cock crow.”


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