Robin Redbreast, Birds and Beasts in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Dolwyddelan Wales
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Category: Birds and Beasts
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Title: Robin Redbreast

Ill luck is thought to follow the killer of dear Robin Redbreast, the children’s winter friend.  No one ever shoots Robin, nor do children rob its nest, nor throw stones at it.  Bad luck to anyone who does so.  The little bird was believed to have gotten its red feathers from staunching the blood from Jesus’s hands, feet and head when crucified, and it has ever since retained on its breast the stain of His sacred blood, and it consequently enjoys a sacred life.  It is safe from harm wherever English is spoken.| There is another legend, which is said to be extant in Carmarthenshire, accounting for the Robin’s red breast.  It is given in Bye-Gones, vol. i., p. 173, from Mr. Hardwick’s Traditions, Superstitions, Folk-lore and so forth: “Far, far away, is a land of woe, darkness, spirits of evil, and fire.  Day by day does the little bird bear in its bill a drop of water to quench the flame.  So near to the burning stream does he fly that his dear little feathers are scorched and hence is he named Bronchuddyn (or Bronrhuddyn), i.e., breast-burned, or breast-scorched.  To serve little children, the robin dares approach the infernal pit.  No good child will hurt the devoted benefactor of man.  The robin returns from the land of fire and therefore he feels the cold of winter far more than the other birds.  He shivers in brumal blasts and hungry he chirps before your door.  Oh, my child, then, in pity throw a few crumbs to poor red-breast.”[I include a picture of a frozen robin found outside my cottage in Dolwyddelan, Christmas 2004. Editor]

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