Saturday, April 29, 2006

More contents on my "to see" wish list...

Searching for treasure and brownies. (click on the image, can you find the brownie?)

Here's more wish list stuff to see:

1. Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin in Welsh) where I might find the cave and hill where Merlin was reputed to reside. (Caerfyrddin can be translated as "Merlin's Fort.")

2. Llandovery where I might find The Lady of the Lake or Twm Sion Cati, the Welsh Robin Hood.

3. Pentre Ifan, a burial site that is as old as the Pyramids, built from the same "bluestone" as Stonehenge possibly transported, though no one knows how or why, from Ireland's "boggy wastes."

4. Nanteos Mansion in Rhydyfelin, to look for the holy grail, which was supposed to have been brought there by Joseph of Arimathea. The cup itself was removed from the house, placed it in a bank vault in Hereford for safe keeping although the cup was said to have been brought back to Aberystwyth by the family in 1992. The current whereabouts are unknown although it is certainly not at Nanteos which is now a hotel. The owners of this healing cup do still make water from the cup available to the sick and those seeking the long held miraculous properties of this legendary object.

Of course most of this is legend although the cup itself and the testaments to its healing powers are real enough. (Although the Holy Grail legend dominates today there was once also speculation that this healing cup was manufactured from the wood of the True Cross and brought back to Britain during the Crusades.) Legendary Landmarks

5. Ancient Llantwit Major was home to Wales' first school, whose graduates included Saint Patrick of Ireland and Saint David (Dewi), patron saint of Cymru (Wales).

6. The witches of Llanddona.

7. Craig-y-Ddinas to look for treasure under a big stone.

I started looking up tales of treasure which are discovered through bravery and hard work and listening to your dreams:

This website is a treasure trove in itself. So many stories, so little time...

In this one I found a wonderful story of a Welshman, a fine hazel staff, London Bridge (London Bridge is often involved in these stories), and an English wizard. The wizard had seen the hazel staff in the Welshman's hand flex as it passed over the water on London Bridge which was a sign that the tree from which the staff was cut, grew over great quantities of treasure.

They traveled to Craig-y-Ddinas, which is now in the county of Glamorgan (I wonder where it used to be). Here the Welshman showed the wizard the tree from which he had cut the branch. The wizard gripped the tree with both hands and uprooted it, disclosing a large stone slab, which was lifted to reveal a passage leading into the dark depths of the earth. They entered and found stone steps leading down a stone passage. Above the steps, hanging on the roof of the cavern was a large bell. They had to squeeze past this and carry on until they reached a huge cavern full of brightly armoured warriors, sleeping in a wide circle, with their heads towards the middle. One of the warriors was more splendidly attired than the rest, and had a bejewelled golden crown lying next to him. In the centre of this circle lay two separate piles of gold and silver, the wealth of which they had never seen. The wizard explained that the Welshman could take as much treasure as he could carry from either of the two piles but not from both and that he must not touch the bell on the way out. "If you accidentally ring the bell, the knights will ask if it is the day. To that you must reply; No sleep on!"

The wizard said he had no need for worldly goods, so the Welshman gathered up as much as he dared, and heavily burdened he joined the wizard in ascending the stairs. The wizard passed the bell easily but the Welshman brushed against it, releasing a thundering sound. One of the largest warriors stirred and asked "Is it the Day?" but the Welshman replied "No sleep on" and the warrior closed his eyes and resumed his slumber. They then continued their ascent, through the opening of the entrance, and out into bright sunlight.

The years flew by, and he never saw the wizard again, and when he had spent all his gold the Welshman returned to the cave for more of the treasure. He found the slab easily enough, and went down once more into the cavern. He crept past the circle of warriors, and filled a sack he had brought with him till it nearly burst. Toiling up the stone steps he tried to squeeze round the bell, but his immense sack of treasure caught it, and its thundered around the cave once more. One of the knights awoke and asked if it was the day. The Welshman, who had grown soft of mind and body in the years of "squandered wealth," fumbled for the answer but couldn't remember what he was supposed to say.

Suddenly, in a tumultuous sound of crashing armour, all the warriors awoke and caught hold of him, they beat him to within inches of his life and cast him from the cavern. He remained lame and poor for the rest of his life, and could never find the cave again no matter how hard he tried.
The full story can be found in 'The Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams, London, 1850, by Elijah Waring.

This site has the story of Upsall Castle in England

This one has a dreamer who listens to his dreams and goes to London Bridge where he meets someone who also dreams. The second dreamer laughs and tells the first dreamer of an extraordinary dream of treasure buried in a specific spot next to Upsall Castle which of course was where the first dreamer was from. He immediately went home and dug up his treasure and found some strange writing on the lid of the treasure box. The box was preserved in the village inn, where one day a bearded stranger made his appearance, saw the box, and read the inscription, the plain English of which was:

Look lower, where this stood
Is another twice as good.

The dreamer, hearing this, returned to the spot, dug deeper, and found another treasure more valuable than the first. Encouraged by this, he dug deeper still, and found another yet more Treasure.
From: Eliza Gutch, County Folk-Lore, vol. 2: Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire, York, and the Ainsty (London: Published for the Folk-Lore Society by David Nutt, 1901), pp. 408-409.

The Isle of Man also has one of these magical treasure stories, in which London Bridge is featured. Swaffham of Norfolk has a Peddler dreamer who was directed to go to London Bridge. There he was directed by a second dreamer to look for buried treasure in his home. He became a very wealthy man and had his church refurbished with the money (very different than the Welshman who went soft in the head from his greed). To this day (supposedly) you can see a statue inside the church of a peddler with his pack on his back and his dog at his heels. (Pretty neat) Source: Edwin Sidney Hartland, English Fairy and Other Folk Tales (London, ca. 1890), pp. 76-77. Hartland's source is the diary of Abraham de la Pryme, Nov. 10, 1699.

This website has a story of the Witches of Llanddona:

"Long ago a boat came ashore in Red Wharf Bay, without rudder or oars, full of men and women half dead with hunger and thirst. In early days it was the custom to put evil-doers in a boat to drift oarless and rudderless on the sea..." And the story unfolds of a brave man and how he outfoxed the witches so that now the descendants of both witch and villager live peacefully together. (And you can tell the descendants of the witches because they have extra digits.)

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