The Egg Shell Pottage and the Tylwyth Teg, Fairies in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Trefeglwys Wales
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Category: Fairies
Sub Category: Changeling Legend
Title: The Egg Shell Pottage and the Tylwyth Teg

In the parish of Trefeglwys, near Llanidloes, Powys, there is a little shepherd’s cot, that is commonly called Twt y Cwmrws (the place of strife) on account of the extraordinary strife that has been there.  The inhabitants of the cottage were a man and his wife and they had born to them twins, whom the woman nursed with great care and tenderness.| Some months afterwards indispensable business called the wife to the house of one of her nearest neighbours. Although she did not have far to go, she did not like to leave her children by themselves in their cradle, even for a minute, as her house was solitary, and there were many tales of goblins or the ‘Tylwyth Têg’ (the Fair Family or the Fairies) haunting the neighbourhood.  However, she went and returned as soon as she could. On coming back she felt herself not a little terrified on seeing, though it was midday, some of ‘the old elves of the blue petticoat,’ as they are usually called; however, when she got back to her house she was rejoiced to find everything in the state she had left it.| But after some time had passed by, the good people began to wonder that the twins did not grow at all, but still continued as little dwarfs.  The husband would have it that they were not his children but the woman said that they must be their children and about this arose the great strife between them that gave name to the place.  One evening when the woman was very heavy of heart she determined to go and consult a Gwr Cyfarwydd ( a wise man, or a conjuror), feeling assured that everything was known to him, and he gave her his counsel.  Now there was to be a harvest soon of the rye and oats, so the wise man said to her, ‘When you are preparing dinner for the reapers, empty the shell of a hen’s egg and boil the shell full of pottage and take it out through the door as if you meant it for a dinner to the reapers, and then listen what the twins will say. If you hear the children speaking things above the understanding of children, return into the house, take them and throw them into the waves of Llyn Ebyr, which is very near to you; but if you don’t hear anything remarkable, do them no injury.’| When the day of the reaping came, the woman did as her adviser had recommended to her and as she went outside the door to listen, she heard one of the children say to the other:—| Gwelais vesen cyn gweled derwen, Gwelais wy cyn gweled iâr, Erioed ni welais verwi bwyd i vedel, Mewn plisgyn wy iâr!| Which translates as:| Acorns before oak I knew, An egg before a hen, Never one hen’s egg-shell stew, Enough for harvest men!| On this the mother returned to her house and took the two children and threw them into the Llyn. Suddenly the goblins in their trousers came to save their dwarves and the woman had her own children back again. Thus the strife between her and her husband ended.

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