A Young Man Marries A Fairy Lady and Brings her to Live amongst his Own People, Fairies in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Unknown Wales
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Category: Fairies
Sub Category: Men marrying Fairies
Title: A Young Man Marries A Fairy Lady and Brings her to Live amongst his Own People


Once on a time a shepherd boy had gone up the mountain.  That day, like many a day before and after, was exceedingly misty.  Now, though he was well acquainted with the place, he lost his way, and walked backwards and forwards for many a long hour.  At last he got into a low rushy spot, where he saw before him many circular rings.  He at once recalled the place, and began to fear the worst.  He had heard, many hundreds of times, of the bitter experiences in those rings, of many a shepherd who had happened to chance on the dancing-place or the circles of the Fair Family.  He hastened away as fast as ever he could, lest he should be ruined like the rest; but though he exerted himself to the point of perspiring, and losing his breath, there he was, and there he continued to be, a long time.| At last he was met by a little fat old man with merry blue eyes, who asked him what he was doing.  He answered that he was trying to find his way homeward.  ‘Oh,’ said he, ‘come after me, and do not utter a word until I bid thee.’  This he did, following him on and on until they came to an oval stone, and the little old fat man lifted it, after tapping the middle of it three times with his walking stick.  There the shepherd boy saw a narrow path with stairs to be seen here and there and a sort of whitish light, inclining to grey and blue, was to be seen radiating from the stones. ‘Follow me fearlessly,’ said the fat man, ‘no harm will be done thee.’ | So on the poor youth went, as reluctantly as a dog to be hanged; but presently a fine-wooded, fertile country spread itself out before them, with well arranged mansions dotting it over, while every kind of apparent magnificence met the eye, and seemed to smile in its landscape; the bright waters of its rivers meandered in twisted streams, and its hills were covered with the luxuriant verdure of their grassy growth, the mountains with a glossy fleece of smooth pasture.| By the time they had reached the stout gentleman’s mansion, the young man’s senses had been bewildered by the sweet cadence of the music which the birds poured forth from the groves and the gold that dazzled his eyes and silver flashing on his sight.  He saw all kinds of musical instruments and all sorts of things for playing, but he could discern no inhabitant in the whole place and when he sat down to eat, the dishes on the table came to their places by themselves and disappeared when one had done with them.  This puzzled him beyond measure; moreover, he heard people talking together around him but for the life of him he could see no one but his old friend.  At length the fat man said to him, ‘Thou canst now talk as much as it may please thee;’ but when he attempted to move his tongue it would no more stir than if it had been a lump of ice, which greatly frightened him.| At this point, a fine old lady, with health and benevolence beaming in her face, came to them and slightly smiled at the shepherd.  She was followed by her three daughters, who were remarkably beautiful.  They gazed with somewhat playful looks at the shepherd boy and at length began to talk to him, but his tongue would not wag.  Then one of the girls came to him and, playing with his yellow and curly locks, gave him a smart kiss on his ruddy lips.  This loosened the string that bound his tongue, and he began to talk freely and eloquently.  There he was, under the charm of that kiss, in the bliss of happiness, and there he remained a year and a day without knowing that he had passed more than a day among them, for he had got into a country where there was no reckoning of time.| But by and by he began to feel somewhat of a longing to visit his old home, and asked the stout man if he might go.  ‘Stay a little yet,’ said he, ‘and thou shalt go for a while.’  That passed, he stayed on; but Olwen, for that was the name of the damsel that had kissed him, was very unwilling that he should depart.  She looked sad every time he talked of going away, nor was he himself without feeling a sort of a cold thrill passing through him at the thought of leaving her.  On condition, however, of returning, he obtained leave to go, provided with plenty of gold and silver, trinkets and gems.  When he reached home, nobody knew who he was; it had been the belief that he had been killed by another shepherd, who found it necessary to betake himself hastily far away to America, lest he should be hanged without delay.  But at last Einion Las, the shepherd boy, was home, and everybody came especially to see that the shepherd had got to look like a wealthy man; his manners, his dress, his language, and the treasure he had with him, all conspired to give him the air of a gentleman.| He went back one Thursday night, the first of the moon that month, as suddenly as he had left the first time.  There was great joy in the country below when Einion returned and nobody was more rejoiced at it than Olwen, his beloved.  The two were quite impatient to get married but it was necessary to do that quietly, for the family below hated nothing more than fuss and noise; so, in a sort of a half-secret fashion, they were wedded.  Einion was very desirous to go once more among his own people, accompanied, to be sure, by his wife.  After he had been long entreating the old man for leave, they set out on two white ponies that were, in fact, more like snow than anything else in point of colour; so he arrived with his consort in his old home, and it was the opinion of all that Einion’s wife was the handsomest person they had anywhere seen.| Whilst at home, a son was born to them, to whom they gave the name of Taliesin.  Einion was now in the enjoyment of high repute, and his wife received proper respect.  Their wealth was immense, and soon they acquired a large estate; but it was not long until people began to inquire after the pedigree of Einion’s wife—the country was of opinion that it was not the right thing to be without a pedigree.  Einion was questioned about it, without his giving any satisfactory answer, and one came to the conclusion that she was one of the Fair Family (Tylwyth Têg).  ‘Certainly,’ replied Einion, ‘there can be no doubt that she comes from a very fair family, for she has two sisters who are as fair as she, and if you saw them together, you would admit that name to be a capital one.’  This, then, is the reason why the remarkable family in the land of charm and phantasy (Hud a Lledrith) are called the Fair Family.


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