Huw Llwyd Takes away the Powers of Two Witches, Witches in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Llan Ffestiniog Wales
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Category: Witches
Sub Category: Removing Witches Power
Title: Huw Llwyd Takes away the Powers of Two Witches


On the side of the old road between Cerrig-y-drudion and Betws y Coed stood an inn, which was much resorted to as it was a convenient lodging house for travellers on their way to Ireland.  This inn stood near the present village of Betws y Coed.  Many robberies occurred here.  Travellers who were put up there for the night were continually deprived of their money and no one could tell how this occurred, for the lodgers were certain that no one had entered their rooms, as they were found locked in the morning just as they were the night before.  The mystery was therefore great. | By and by, one of those who had lost his money consulted Huw Llwyd, who lived at Cynfael, in the parish of Ffestiniog, and he promised to unravel the mystery.| Now, Huw Llwyd had been an officer in the army and, equipped in his regimentals, with sword dangling by his side, he presented himself one evening at the suspected inn, and asked whether he could obtain a room and bed for the night; he represented himself as on his way to Ireland and he found no difficulty in obtaining a night’s lodging.  The inn was kept by two sisters of prepossessing appearance, and the traveller made himself most agreeable to these ladies and entertained them with tales of his travels in foreign parts.  On retiring for the night he stated that it was a habit with him to burn lights in his room all night, and he was supplied with a sufficient quantity of candles to last through the night.  The request, as Hugh Llwyd was a military man, did not arouse suspicion.  Huw retired and made his arrangements for a night of watching.  He placed his clothes on the floor within easy reach of his bed, and his sword unsheathed lay on the bed close to his right hand.  He had secured the door, and now as the night drew on he was all attention.| Before long two cats stealthily came down the partition between his room and the next to it.  Huw feigned sleep as the cats frisked here and there in the room, but the sleeper awoke not; they chased each other about the room and played together, until at last they approached Huw’s clothes and played with them instead, and here they seemed to get the greatest amusement. They turned the clothes about and over, placing their paws now on that string, and now on that button, and before long their paws were inserted into the pockets of his clothes. Just as one of the cats had her paw in the pocket that contained Huw Llwyd’s purse, he like lightning struck the cat’s paw with his sword.  With terrible screams they both disappeared and nothing further was seen of them during the night.| Next morning, only one of the sisters appeared at the breakfast table.  To the traveller’s enquiry after the absent lady of the house, her sister said that she was slightly indisposed, and could not appear.| Huw Llwyd expressed regret at this, but, said, “I must say goodbye to her, for I greatly enjoyed her company last night.”  He would not be refused, so ultimately he was admitted to her presence.  After expressing his sympathy and regret at her illness, the soldier held out his hand to bid goodbye to the lady.  She put out her left hand; this Huw refused to take, averting that he had never taken a left hand in his life, and that he would not do so now.  Very reluctantly and with evident pain, she put out her right hand, which was bandaged, and this fact cleared up the mystery connected with the robberies.  These two ladies were two witches, who in the form of cats had robbed travellers who lodged under their roof.  Huw, when he made this discovery said, “I am Huw Llwyd of Cynfael and I warn you of the risk you have incurred by your thefts. I promise you I will not let you off so easily the next time I have need to visit you.”| Several months after the occurrence recorded above of Huw Llwyd, when he had just started from his home one Sunday morning to go to his Church to officiate there, for he was the parson of Llan Festiniog, he observed that the Betws y Coed ladies were approaching his house and he perceived that their object was to witch him.  He knew full well that as long as his back was turned towards them he was in their power, but that when he faced them they could do him no harm; so; to avoid their evil influence and to frustrate their designs, he faced them and walked backwards every step from Cynfael to the Llan, and in this way he escaped being injured by his female enemies.  But this was not all.  Huw Llwyd knew that when he reached the Church porch he was beyond witchcraft’s reach.  Having arrived there he shouted out, “I defy you now and before I leave the Church I will make sure that you can never again witch anyone.” | He was as good as his word, for by his skill in the black art, he deprived those two ladies, before he left the Church, of their power to witch people and during the rest of their lives they were like other women.| Huw Llwyd, who was born 1533, and died 1620, was a clergyman, and it was generally believed that priests could counteract the evils of the enemy of mankind. [Find more information about Llan Ffestiniog, Huw Llwyd's home village, and his famous pulpit by the Cynfal Falls on the Llan Ffestiniog town page.Editor]


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