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Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the prestigious R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017

Monday, 2 June 2014

The Legend of Devils Bridge

I love featuring fellow authors, but I think it would be nice to include something myself, more often, so how about some of the folk myths and legends of my native Wales? Wales is full of legends. which have inspired the settings for most of my stories,  and I incorporated some of them into my fantasy novella 'Dancing With Fate'. It's set in 5th Century Wales and the 'Devils Bridge'waterfall in these pictures is just as I picture the fall where my muse, Terpsichore, bathes.

Each Monday, I will try and feature a new myth or legend, or something about Wales  which  I hope you'll find interesting.

 I used to live near a well known beauty spot called Pontarfynach, or Devils Bridge. It is really three bridges, built over a spectacular and beautiful waterfall, which rages down into a deep pool known as the Devils Punchbowl. The first bridge was built by the Monks of Strata Florida, (where the Holy Grail is reputed to have been hidden for a while) in 1075. In the 18th Century it was deemed to be unsafe, and a second bridge was built, over the first. The third bridge being built over that in 1901. I thought it would be nice to share the legend of how the first bridge was built. There are different versions of the legend, but this is my favourite:

 An old woman had a cow of which she was very fond, and which provided her with all the milk she needed. Early one morning she was distraught to find that the cow had somehow managed to cross the river and was now grazing on the bank the other side. The old lady looked at the swirling river and wondered how she would be able to get her cow back. “What the Devil can I do now?” she asked aloud.

At once there was a smell of sulphur and a cloud of thick smoke, out of the middle of which appeared Old Nick himself! “You called?” he smirked. The old lady was made of stern stuff, and after a moment’s hesitation, she explained her predicament. Satan grinned wickedly. “That’s easily sorted,” he said craftily, “I can build you a bridge – but it will cost you.”

“How much?” the old lady asked uneasily. “Oh nothing much, just the soul of the first living thing to cross the bridge,” the Devil stated cunningly, knowing full well that she would have to cross the bridge herself to get her cow.

 “Done!” said the old woman. The Devil waved his arms and there, spanning the falls, was a beautiful new stone bridge. The Devil laughed nastily, “Now for my payment he said smugly. The old lady was not as na├»ve as she appeared. She put her hand into her apron pocket and drew out a crust of bread which she had put there for her breakfast, and threw it across to the other side of the bridge. Immediately her little dog ran across the bridge and gobbled it up.

Satan knew he had been outwitted, the soul of a dog was of no use to him; he scowled furiously and disappeared in an even bigger cloud of foul smelling black smoke than the first, and was never seen in those parts again. The old woman crossed the lovely new bridge, and having retrieved both her cow and her dog, made her way home, humming softly to herself. The bridge still remains, to this very day. (Although two later bridges have been built above it, and today it has the usual tourist attraction trappings)

4 comments:

  1. wow! That really is a stunning sight. Thanks for sharing that. I look forward to more myths and legends from Wales :)

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  2. Thanks so much DRC, glad you enjoyed it! This is a really steep waterfall, there are stone steps down to it and they're quite slippey, but it's worth it to see he falls up close.

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  3. I love Celtic mythology. Wonderful story, Hywela!

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  4. Thanks Tambra - so glad you enjoyed it. I'm going to try to post a new Celtic legend or story most Mondays.

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