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The Mabinogion Vol. 3   By: (1812-1895)

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This third volume completes the series of Mabinogion and tales translated by Lady Charlotte Guest.

As in the two preceding volumes, I have compared Lady Guest's transcript with the original text in the Red Book of Hergest, and with Dr Gwenogvryn Evans' scrupulously accurate diplomatic edition. I have, as before, revised the translation as carefully as I could. I have not altered Lady Guest's version in the slightest degree; but I have again put in the form of foot notes what seems to me to be a better or a more literal translation. The mistranslations are fairly few in number; but some of them are quite important, such as the references to pagan baptism or to the Irish Channel. At the end of my revision I may say that I have been struck by the comparative accuracy of the transcript of the Red Book which Lady Guest used, and by the accurate thoroughness with which she translated every one of the tales.

This volume contains the oldest of the Mabinogion the four branches of the Mabinogion proper and the kindred tale of Lludd and Llevelys. In all these we are in a perfectly pagan atmosphere, neither the introduction of Christianity nor the growth of chivalry having affected them to any extent.

The Story of Taliesin is the only one in the series that is not found in the Red Book of Hergest. It is taken from very much later manuscripts, and its Welsh is much more modern. Its subject, however, is akin to that of the Mabinogion proper; if, indeed, the contest between Elphin and the bards is an echo of the contest between decaying Paganism and growing Christianity.


LLANUWCHLLYN, 13 th September 1902.


Pwyll, prince of Dyved, was lord of the seven Cantrevs of Dyved; and once upon a time he was at Narberth his chief palace, and he was minded to go and hunt, and the part of his dominions in which it pleased him to hunt was Glyn Cuch. So he set forth from Narberth that night, and went as far as Llwyn Diarwyd. {11a} And that night he tarried there, and early {11b} on the morrow he rose and came to Glyn Cuch; when he let loose the dogs in the wood, and sounded the horn, and began the chace. And as he followed the dogs, he lost his companions; and whilst he listened to the hounds, he heard the cry of other hounds, a cry different from his own, and coming in the opposite direction.

And he beheld a glade in the wood forming a level plain, and as his dogs came to the edge of the glade, he saw a stag before the other dogs. And lo, as it reached the middle of the glade, the dogs that followed the stag overtook it, and brought it down. Then looked he at the colour of the dogs, staying not to look at the stag, and of all the hounds that he had seen in the world, he had never seen any that were like unto those. For their hair was of a brilliant shining white, and their ears were red; and as the whiteness of their bodies shone, so did the redness of their ears glisten. And he came towards the dogs, and drove away those that had brought down the stag, and set his own dogs upon it.

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And as he was setting on his dogs, he saw a horseman coming towards him upon a large light grey steed, with a hunting horn about his neck, and clad in garments of grey woollen in the fashion of a hunting garb. And the horseman drew near and spoke unto him thus. "Chieftain," said he, "I know who thou art, and I greet thee not." "Peradventure," said Pwyll, "thou art of such dignity that thou shouldest not do so." "Verily," answered he, "it is not my dignity that prevents me." "What is it then, O chieftain?" asked he. "By Heaven, it is by reason of thine own ignorance and want of courtesy." "What discourtesy, Chieftain, hast thou seen in me?" "Greater discourtesy saw I never in man," said he, "than to drive away the dogs that were killing the stag, and to set upon it thine own... Continue reading book >>

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