The Spirit of the Reservoir at Llanwddyn, Ghosts in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Llanwddyn Wales
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Title: The Spirit of the Reservoir at Llanwddyn


One of the wicked Spirits which plagued the secluded Valley of Llanwddyn long before it was converted into a vast reservoir to supply Liverpool with water was that of Cynon. |Of this Spirit Mr. Evans writes thus:--"Yspryd Cynon was a mischievous goblin, which was put down by Dic Spot and put in a quill, and placed under a large stone in the river below Cynon Isaf.| The stone is called 'Careg yr Yspryd,' the Ghost Stone. This one received the following instructions, that he was to remain under the stone until the water should work its way between the stone and the dry land."
| The poor Spirit, to all appearance, was doomed to a very long imprisonment, but Dic Spot did not foresee the wants and enterprise of the people of Liverpool, who would one day convert the Llanwddyn Valley into a lake fifteen miles in circumference, and release the Spirit from prison by the process of making their Waterworks. | I might here say that there is another version current in the parish besides that given me by Mr. Evans, which is that the Spirit was to remain under the stone until the river was dried up. Perhaps both conditions were, to make things safe, imposed upon the Spirit. | Careg yr Ysbryd and Cynon Isaf were at the entrance to the Valley of Llanwddyn, and down this opening, or mouth of the valley, rushed the river, the river that was to be dammed up for the use of Liverpool. | The inhabitants of the valley knew the tradition respecting the Spirit, and they much feared its being disturbed.  The stone was a large boulder, from fifteen to twenty tons in weight, and it was evident that it was doomed to destruction, for it stood in the river Fyrnwy just where operations were to commence.  There was no small stir among the Welsh inhabitants when preparations were made to blast the huge Spirit-stone.  English and Irish workmen could not enter into the feeling of the Welsh towards this stone, but they had heard what was said about it.  They, however, had no dread of the imprisoned Spirit. In course of time the stone was bored and a load of dynamite inserted, but it was not shattered at the first blast.  About four feet square remained intact and underneath this the Spirit was, if it was anywhere.  The men were soon set to work to demolish the stone.| The Welshmen expected some catastrophe to follow its destruction and they were even prepared to see the Spirit bodily emerge from its prison, for, said they, the conditions of its release had been fulfilled—the river had been diverted from its old bed into an artificial channel, to facilitate the removal of this and other stones—and there was no doubt that both conditions had been literally carried out, and consequently the Spirit, if justice ruled, could claim its release.|  The stone was blasted and, strange to relate, when the smoke had cleared away, the water in a cavity where the stone had been was seen to move; there was no apparent reason why the water should thus be disturbed, unless, indeed, the Spirit was about to appear.  The Welsh workmen became alarmed and moved away from the place, keeping, however, their eyes fixed on the pool.  The mystery was soon solved, for a large frog made its appearance and, sedately sitting on a fragment of the shattered stone, rubbed its eyes with its feet, as if awaking from a long sleep.  The question was discussed, “Is it a frog, or the Spirit in the form of a frog? If it is a frog, why was it not killed when the stone was blasted?”  And again, “Whoever saw a frog sit up in that fashion and rub the dust out of its eyes?  It must be the Spirit.”| There the workmen stood at a respectful distance from the frog, who, heedless of the marked attention paid to it, continued sitting up and rubbing its eyes.  They would not approach it, for it must be the Spirit, and no one knew what its next movement or form might be.  At last, however, the frog was driven away and the men re-commenced their labours.  But for nights afterwards people passing the spot heard a noise as of heavy chains being dragged along the ground where the stone once stood.


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