Cuckoo, Y Gog, 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: Cuckoo, Y Gog


The cuckoo is a sacred bird.  It is safe from the gamekeeper’s gun.  Its advent is welcomed with pleasure.  “Have you heard the cuckoo?” is a question put by the fortunate person who first hears its notes to every person he meets.  When it is ascertained that the cuckoo has arrived, parents give their children pence for luck and they themselves take care not to leave their houses with empty pockets, for should they do so, those pockets, if the cuckoo is heard, will be empty all the year.  Those who hear the cuckoo for the first time thrust immediately their hand in their pockets and turn their money, or toss a piece into the air, and all this is for luck for the coming year ushered in by the cheering sound of the cuckoo’s notes.| Generally the cuckoo is heard for the first time yearly about the same place, and the hill tops not far from the abodes of man are its favourite resort. Thus we have the ditty: | Cynta’ lle y cân y cogydd, Yw y fawnog ar y mynydd.| The place where first the cuckoo sings, Is by the peat pits on the hills.| The cuckoo is supposed to be accompanied by the wry-neck, hence its name, “Gwas-y-gôg,” the cuckoo’s servant. The wryneck was thought to build the nest, and hatch and feed the young of the cuckoo.| Many superstitions cluster round the cuckoo. Should a person be in doubt as to the way to take, when going from home, to secure success in life, he, or she, waits for the cuckoo’s return, and then should the bird be heard for the first time, singing towards the east, as it flies, that is the direction to take, or any other direction as the case may be. It is, or was, even thought that the flight of the cuckoo, singing as it flies before a person, for the first time in the year, indicated a change of abode for that person and the new home lay in the direction in which the cuckoo flew.


Find information on "Cuckoo, Y Gog", and Birds and Beasts, in Wales. Celtic and Welsh mythology and folklore in the Walesdirectory.co.uk.