4.2 The Vestitures of Llew

And after they were equipped, they came unto him. “Oh men,” said he, “you have obtained peace, and you shall likewise have friendship. Give your counsel unto me, what maiden I shall seek.”

“Lord,” said Gwydion the son of Don, “it is easy to give thee counsel; seek Arianrod, the daughter of Don, thy niece, thy sister’s daughter.”

And they brought her unto him, and the maiden came in. “Ha, damsel,” said he, “art thou the maiden?”

“I know not, lord, other than that I am.”

Then he took up his magic wand, and bent it. “Step over this,” said he, “and I shall know if thou art the maiden.” Then stepped she over the magic wand, and there appeared forthwith a fine chubby yellow-haired boy. And at the crying out of the boy, she went towards the door. And thereupon some small form was seen; but before any one could get a second glimpse of it, Gwydion had taken it, and had flung a scarf of velvet around it and hidden it. Now the place where he hid it was the bottom of a chest at the foot of his bed.

“Verily,” said Math the son of Mathonwy, concerning the fine yellow-haired boy, “I will cause this one to be baptized, and Dylan is the name I will give him.”

So they had the boy baptized, and as they baptized him he plunged into the sea. And immediately when he was in the sea, he took its nature, and swam as well as the best fish that was therein. And for that reason was he called Dylan, the son of the Wave. Beneath him no wave ever broke. And the blow whereby he came to his death, was struck by his uncle Govannon. The third fatal blow was it called.

As Gwydion lay one morning on his bed awake, he heard a cry in the chest at his feet; and though it was not loud, it was such that he could hear it. Then he arose in haste, and opened the chest: and when he opened it, he beheld an infant boy stretching out his arms from the folds of the scarf, and casting it aside. And he took up the boy in his arms, and carried him to a place where he knew there was a woman that could nurse him. And he agreed with the woman that she should take charge of the boy. And that year he was nursed.

And at the end of the year he seemed by his size as though he were two years old. And the second year he was a big child, and able to go to the Court by himself. And when he came to the Court, Gwydion noticed him, and the boy became familiar with him, and loved him better than any one else. Then was the boy reared at the Court until he was four years old, when he was as big as though he had been eight.

And one day Gwydion walked forth, and the boy followed him, and he went to the Castle of Arianrod, having the boy with him; and when he came into the Court, Arianrod arose to meet him, and greeted him and bade him welcome. “Heaven prosper thee,” said he.

“Who is the boy that followeth thee?” she asked.

“This youth, he is thy son,” he answered.

“Alas,” said she, “what has come unto thee that thou shouldst shame me thus? wherefore dost thou seek my dishonour, and retain it so long as this?”

“Unless thou suffer dishonour greater than that of my bringing up such a boy as this, small will be thy disgrace.”

“What is the name of the boy?” said she.

“Verily,” he replied, “he has not yet a name.”

“Well,” she said, “I lay this destiny upon him, that he shall never have a name until he receives one from me.”

“Heaven bears me witness,” answered he, “that thou art a wicked woman. But the boy shall have a name how displeasing soever it may be unto thee. As for thee, that which afflicts thee is that thou art no longer called a damsel.” And thereupon he went forth in wrath, and returned to Caer Dathyl and there he tarried that night.

And the next day he arose and took the boy with him, and went to walk on the seashore between that place and Aber Menei. And there he saw some sedges and seaweed, and he turned them into a boat. And out of dry sticks and sedges he made some Cordovan leather, and a great deal thereof, and he coloured it in such a manner that no one ever saw leather more beautiful than it. Then he made a sail to the boat, and he and the boy went in it to the port of the castle of Arianrod. And he began forming shoes and stitching them, until he was observed from the castle. And when he knew that they of the castle were observing him, he disguised his aspect, and put another semblance upon himself, and upon the boy, so that they might not be known.

“What men are those in yonder boat?” said Arianrod.

“They are cordwainers,” answered they.

“Go and see what kind of leather they have, and what kind of work they can do.”

So they came unto them. And when they came he was colouring some Cordovan leather, and gilding it. And the messengers came and told her this.

“Well,” said she, “take the measure of my foot, and desire the cordwainer to make shoes for me.”

So he made the shoes for her, yet not according to the measure, but larger. The shoes then were brought unto her, and behold they were too large.

“These are too large,” said she, “but he shall receive their value. Let him also make some that are smaller than they.”

Then he made her others that were much smaller than her foot, and sent them unto her.

“Tell him that these will not go on my feet,” said she. And they told him this.

“Verily,” said he, “I will not make her any shoes, unless I see her foot.”

And this was told unto her. “Truly,” she answered, “I will go unto him.”

So she went down to the boat, and when she came there, he was shaping shoes and the boy stitching them. “Ah, lady,” said he, “good day to thee.”

“Heaven prosper thee,” said she. “I marvel that thou canst not manage to make shoes according to a measure.”

“I could not,” he replied, “but now I shall be able.”

Thereupon behold a wren stood upon the deck of the boat, and the boy shot at it, and hit it in the leg between the sinew and the bone.

Then she smiled. “Verily,” said she, “with a steady hand did the lion aim at it.”

“Heaven reward thee not, but now has he got a name. And a good enough name it is. Llew Llaw Gyffes be he called henceforth.”

Then the work disappeared in seaweed and sedges, and he went on with it no further. And for that reason was he called the third Gold-shoemaker.

“Of a truth,” said she, “thou wilt not thrive the better for doing evil unto me.”

“I have done thee no evil yet,” said he. Then he restored the boy to his own form.

“Well,” said she, “I will lay a destiny upon this boy, that he shall never have arms and armour until I invest him with them.”

“By Heaven,” said he, “let thy malice be what it may, he shall have arms.”

Then they went towards Dinas Dinllev, and there he brought up Llew Llaw Gyffes, until he could manage any horse, and he was perfect in features, and strength, and stature. And then Gwydion saw that he languished through the want of horses and arms. And he called him unto him. “Ah, youth,” said he, “we will go to-morrow on an errand together. Be therefore more cheerful than thou art.”

“That I will,” said the youth.

Next morning, at the dawn of day, they arose. And they took way along the sea coast, up towards Bryn Aryen. And at the top of Cevn Clydno they equipped themselves with horses, and went towards the Castle of Arianrod. And they changed their form, and pricked towards the gate in the semblance of two youths, but the aspect of Gwydion was more staid than that of the other.

“Porter,” said he, “go thou in and say that there are here bards from Glamorgan.” And the porter went in.

“The welcome of Heaven be unto them, let them in,” said Arianrod.

With great joy were they greeted. And the hall was arranged, and they went to meat. When meat was ended, Arianrod discoursed with Gwydion of tales and stories. Now Gwydion was an excellent teller of tales. And when it was time to leave off feasting, a chamber was prepared for them, and they went to rest.

In the early twilight Gwydion arose, and he called unto him his magic and his power. And by the time that the day dawned, there resounded through the land uproar, and trumpets and shouts. When it was now day, they heard a knocking at the door of the chamber, and therewith Arianrod asking that it might be opened. Up rose the youth and opened unto her, and she entered and a maiden with her.

“Ah, good men,” she said, “in evil plight are we.”

“Yes, truly,” said Gwydion, “we have heard trumpets and shouts; what thinkest thou that they may mean?”

“Verily,” said she, “we cannot see the colour of the ocean by reason of all the ships, side by side. And they are making for the land with all the speed they can. And what can we do?” said she.

“Lady,” said Gwydion, “there is none other counsel than to close the castle upon us, and to defend it as best we may.”

“Truly,” said she, “may Heaven reward you. And do you defend it. And here may you have plenty of arms.”

And thereupon went she forth for the arms, and behold she returned, and two maidens, and suits of armour for two men, with her.

“Lady,” said he, “do you accoutre this stripling, and I will arm myself with the help of thy maidens. Lo, I hear the tumult of the men approaching.”

“I will do so, gladly.” So she armed him fully, and that right cheerfully.

“Hast thou finished arming the youth?” said he.

“I have finished,” she answered.

“I likewise have finished,” said Gwydion. “Let us now take off our arms, we have no need of them.”

“Wherefore?” said she. “Here is the army around the house.”

“Oh, lady, there is here no army.”

“Oh,” cried she, “whence then was this tumult?”

“The tumult was but to break thy prophecy and to obtain arms for thy son. And now has he got arms without any thanks unto thee.”

“By Heaven,” said Arianrod, “thou art a wicked man. Many a youth might have lost his life through the uproar thou hast caused in this Cantrev to-day. Now will I lay a destiny upon this youth,” she said, “that he shall never have a wife of the race that now inhabits this earth.”

“Verily,” said he, “thou wast ever a malicious woman, and no one ought to support thee. A wife shall he have notwithstanding.”

They went thereupon unto Math the son of Mathonwy, and complained unto him most bitterly of Arianrod. Gwydion showed him also how he had procured arms for the youth.

“Well,” said Math, “we will seek, I and thou, by charms and illusion, to form a wife for him out of flowers. He has now come to man’s stature, and he is the comeliest youth that was ever beheld.” So they took the blossoms of the oak, and the blossoms of the broom, and the blossoms of the meadow-sweet, and produced from them a maiden, the fairest and most graceful that man ever saw. And they baptized her, and gave her the name of Blodeuwedd.

After she had become his bride, and they had feasted, said Gwydion, “It is not easy for a man to maintain himself without possessions.”

“Of a truth,” said Math, “I will give the young man the best Cantrev to hold.”

“Lord,” said he, “what Cantrev is that?”

“The Cantrev of Dinodig,” he answered. Now it is called at this day Eivionydd and Ardudwy. And the place in the Cantrev where he dwelt, was a palace of his in a spot called Mur y Castell, on the confines of Ardudwy. There dwelt he and reigned, and both he and his sway were beloved by all.