Stories and Poetry

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There are many stories, legends and poems associated with the Llŷn Peninsula.

Below are some of them.

Click on the headings to read and enjoy them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

march ap meirchionMarch ap Meirchion (King of Castellmarch)
( ch is pronounced in Welsh as the ch in the Scottish loch)

Many years ago, in an enormous mansion called Castellmarch, near Abersoch in Llyn, lived King March ap Meirchion. ( 'ap' means 'son of')

'March' was a very unusual name. ( it's an old Welsh name for a horse) The reason why he was given this name was because he had the ears of a horse! This was his secret. No one knew of his problem as he always wore his crown to hide them.

As he was a king, he was a very rich man. He had servants and maids galore caring for him, and many ships and much land. But even though he was very, very rich - he was unhappy. He let his hair grow long, to cover his ears as he was so ashamed and afraid that people would find out, make fun of him and disrespect him! But his hair grew so long that he almost tripped over it as he walked.

castellmarch"Oh dear, I shall have to cut my hair or else I will trip and break my legs," thought March, "I will have to find a barber who can keep my secret!"

He remembered about Ifan, a barber who used to cut his father's hair. Ifan was a short, round bellied little man, quiet and of a gentle nature. He was just the man to carry out such an important task.
He was sent for, and was ushered into a splendid room in the mansion where March awaited him.


In a very sober voice, March told him,
"Ifan, when you cut my hair, you will discover my secret - you will find that my ears are different to anything that you have ever seen! You will have to promise me that you NEVER, EVER reveal my secret to anyone. Do you understand? If anyone ever finds out my secret - then your head will be cut off! Is that clear?"
Ifan was so frightened that his hand shook as he cut March's hair - and he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the long, hairy ears!

"Your Majesty, I give you my word. Your secret's perfectly safe with me forever!" vowed Ifan.

As time went by, Ifan had difficulty coping with keeping this all important information to himself - so much that he became very ill. He visited his doctor to seek his advice. He was so afraid that he would reveal the secret by mistake - he worried day and night and couldn't sleep. The doctor advised him to whisper his secret to the earth.

"The earth cannot speak, so your secret will be perfectly safe, and you will feel so much better," promised the doctor.

corsyddIfan roamed the Llŷn countryside seeking the ideal spot to spill his secret. At last he came across some marshland where tall reeds grew. All alone, he knelt and whispered to the earth,
" March ap Meirchion has the ears of a horse."

He then walked home with a spring in his stride and slept peacefully without a care in the world.

In time, King March decided to hold a feast at Castellmarch and had invited a flutist to entertain his guests.


" I'll need a new flute to play in this special feast," murmured the flutist to himself. As he neared Castellmarch, he spotted beautiful, tall reeds,
"These will do just fine for my new flute," thought the excited flutist.


He cut some reeds and shaped them exactly the way he wanted them - off he went on the rest of his journey, humming the tunes in his head.

As he approached Castellmarch, he heard the sound of enjoyment. Every table was full of exotic food, gold plates, and plenty of wine and mead. March was overjoyed to see his guest dancing and having a good time.

"Play your flute," ordered March.

"Of course, Sir, I have just made myself a brand new one," he answered.

He stood up, played the flute, and lo and behold, what the guests heard was,
"March ap Meirchion has the ears of a horse."

The flutist almost jumped out of his skin and the guests whispered amongst themselves. He attempted again - the same message was heard! The flutist could not believe what was happening, and feared for his life.

March stood up and ordered the flutist to give him the flute - he attempted a tune - but the same words spilt out. He threw the flute to the floor in fright.

y datguddioOut of a far corner, Ifan, the barber appeared, walking quietly towards March, fell to his knees in front of him, and admitted that he had betrayed him by telling the reeds his secret. He told him his story - and because March was a good and kind king, he said to Ifan,
"I know you did not betray me Ifan - don't worry, you will come to no harm."

He then turned to face his guests and said,
"Friends, yes, I admit, I do have the ears of a horse," and he removed his crown for all to see.

The bustling became silent, then everyone cheered,
"Hurray! Our king is very special! Let's celebrate!"

March was overjoyed at their response and was happy to share the secret that had worried him all his life.

He decided not to wear his crown ever again, so that he could show the world his ears.

Yes, he was special, as no other king had the ears of a horse and this made him different - as indeed he was.

To print a copy of the legend - click here

Rhys and Meinir

y cariadonJuly the fifth, many, many years ago, was an important date for sweethearts Rhys and Meinir, who lived in the beautiful, tranquil village of Nant Gwrtheyrn in Llŷn - because this was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives - their wedding day. This was the day the young couple showed the world the depth of their love to one another.

The sun shone brightly on the steep slopes of Craig y Llam - the heather like deep purple gems within the golden gorse. Life was blessed.

Rhys and Meinir were neighbours and had been childhood friends, and in time, their love blossomed. They were seen strolling hand in hand along the beach and on the mountain paths, admiring the natural world, appreciating the spectacular sunsets and the silver moonlight on the sea. They watched the sea on stormy days, the white horses racing ashore. Yes, they were head over heels in love.

During Winter storms, the skies at Nant Gwrtheyrn were dramatic, lightning brightening the village and thunder echoing throughout the land. It was on these nights that they curled up in front of the fire with their families.

calonAt the foot of the hill stood an old oak tree that had been hit by lightning years ago, and there under its old branches was where Rhys proposed, and of course where Meinir accepted. They were on top of the world, and they decided on July the fifth to tie the knot, hoping for a long and prosperous marriage.

Wedding plans were afoot. Rhys' friends went about the village singing invitation songs as well as inviting the neighbourhood and well wishers to bring their gifts on July the fourth, the day before the wedding, to Meinir's family home.

All was set - food prepared, flowers picked and of course, Meinir's stunning dress resting, waiting to be worn the following morning.

On the eve of the wedding, Rhys and Meinir met under the old oak tree. Rhys carved their names as well as the date within a heart on the tree bark.

Their day dawned magically, a light mist enveloping the Nant, sea mist - the promise of fine weather - just what was needed for this special day!

y dderwenMeinir's friends called at the break of dawn to help her dress, a beautiful white dress of antique lace, and plaited wild flowers in her hair. It was tradition that the bride was to be escorted to the church by the groom's friends, but Rhys and Meinir had planned to meet so that they could walk to the church together. Meinir hid from the escorts, she disappeared into the forest, and hid among the ancient trees.

The escorts searched high and low for Meinir, they called her name - but she did not reply - she was nowhere to be seen!

At long last, tired of calling and afraid of missing the day they had looked forward to for months, they made their way to Clynnog Church - thinking that she had met with Rhys and had walked together hand in hand.
Rhys stood by their meeting place waiting for Meinir. He got worried when she didn't turn up and thought that his friends had caught her and had escorted her to the church. He hurried along the winding roads so that he would be there awaiting his bride.

The escorts arrived - without Meinir! No one had seen her! She had disappeared!
All guests left the church in Clynnog to look for Meinir. Her name was called, they searched high and low - but not to be found! This was indeed a mystery! It was not possible that she had changed her mind.

Heartbroken and tired, Rhys made his way home, spirit low. His dream had turned into a nightmare! He lost interest in everything - he could not believe that he had lost his beloved Meinir - life was not worth living without her.

On the other side of the mountain lived an old woman who predicted the future, so one of Rhys' friends visited her in the hope of getting information of finding Meinir.
"Is there any hope that Rhys will see Meinir again?" he asked.
"Yes," replied the old lady.
"When and where?"
"There will be no need for further searching. He will see Meinir when a bright light fills the sky," was the answer.

His friends tried their best to console him and told him to stop looking for her - but he could think of nothing else except for his Meinir - he had a feeling deep in his soul that he would see her again one day. He sadly walked the countryside and mountain slopes with his dog to find her.

y ceubrenOne stormy day, wind howling, rain teeming, thunder echoing the village and lightning flashing the sky, Rhys ventured out, once again in the hope of finding Meinir. He walked to the old oak tree, and as he touched the carved heart, lightning split the tree. It was hollow - and inside it was a skeleton - a skeleton in a wedding dress - a dress that once had been of old, old white lace!

Meinir! She must've hidden in the branches of the oak on her wedding day, had fallen in, and couldn't get out! She had been imprisoned in the tree - the tree where he had carved their names - where their love had been shown for all the world to see.

When Rhys realised what had happened, he shouted for all the village to hear,
"Meinir! Meinir!"

He fell to his knees and tragically he died.

They were both united in the church at Clynnog, not at the altar, as was meant to be, but at their funeral - in the same cold grave.

To print a copy of the legend - click here

Enwau lleoedd

Pwy a enwodd Garn Fadryn?
Pwy a enwodd Y Rhiw
Mor bell, bell yn ôl?
Does gen i ddim cliw.

A beth am Dudweiliog,
Abersoch a Phorth Ceiriad,
Aberdaron, Rhoshirwaun?
Does gen i ddim syniad.

Ac er chwilio a chwilio
Yn ddyfal am olion
Ŵyr neb yn y byd
Pwy â enwodd Rhydolion.

A phwy oedd yr un
A fedyddiodd Blawty,
yn yr oes gynnar honno
Cyn bod sôn am sgrifennu?

A phwy oedd y rhai cynta
i ddweud â'u tafoda
"Dyma Gefnamwlch,
Dyma Fodwrdda"?

Wel, pwy bynnag â'u henwodd
Mae un peth yn ffaith
Mai Cymry oedd y bobol
A Chymraeg oedd eu hiaith.

Allan o "Salwch Odli" gan Margiad Roberts
Cerddi Gwalch
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch

Ym Mhorthdinllaen mae cwrw llwyd
A hwnnw'n ddiod ac yn fwyd,
Ac mi yfwn lond fy mol,
Nes mod i'n troi fel olwyn trol.
Haul yn t'wynnu ar Ynys Enlli,
Minnau sydd ymhell ohoni,
Pe bai gennyf gwch neu lestar,
Mi awn iddi'n ewyllysgar.
   
Aberdaron dirion deg
Morfa Nefyn cau dy geg,
Llangwnnadl yn well na neb.
 
   
   
   

 

Englyn (plural englynion) is a traditional Welsh short poem form. It uses quantitative metres, involving the counting of syllables, and rigid patterns of rhyme and half rhyme. Each line contains a repeating pattern of consonants and accent known as cynghanedd. (source: Wikipedia)

Heulwen ar hyd y glennydd - a haul hwyr
A'i liw ar y mynydd,
Felly Llŷn ar derfyn dydd,
Lle i enaid gael llonydd.
J Glyn Davies