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Monday, 7 July 2014

Monday's Welsh myths and legends - the Welsh Loch Ness Monster.

Llyn Afanc is a lake near Bettws y Coed (Translation 'Prayer House In The Wood) in the Snowdonia National Park and is named after the legendary 'Afanc' (pronounced Ahvank)

A lake monster from Welsh mythology, the afanc can also be traced through references in British Celtic folklore, and has been linked to various other places in Wales.

The demonic creature was variously said to look like a crocodile, giant beaver or dwarf,and to attack and devour anyone who entered its waters.

There are many variations of the legend, including one which has the mosnter dwelling at Aberdyfi, and of King Arthur slaying the monster on the shores of Llyn Barfog (the Bearded Lake)  Near Llyn Barfog is a rock with a hoof print carved into it, along with the words Carn March Arthur (stone of Arthur's mare), supposedly made by the horse when Arthur lassoed the afanc with a magical chain and his steed, Llamrai, dragged it from the deep.

Another legnd says many men had tried to kill the monster but its thick hide was impervious to sword or arrow. The wise men of the valley decided  if force wouldn’t work, then the Afanc must somehow be enticed out of his pool and removed to a lake far away beyond the mountains, where he could cause no further trouble. The lake chosen to be the Afanc’s new home was Llyn Ffynnon Las, under the  shadow of Mount Snowdon.

Afanc by Elle Wilson
Courtesy of Elle Wilson
The blacksmith  forged strong iron chains  to bind and secure the Afanc.  There was still the problem of how to entice the monster from the lake. It appears that the Afanc, like many other monsters, was rather partial to beautiful young women, and the brave daughter of a local farmer volunteered for the task. She approached the Afanc's lake while her father and the rest of the men remained hidden a short distance away. Standing on the shore she called softly to him,and when he surfaced sang him a soft Welsh lullaby. So sweet was the song that the Afanc slowly fell asleep.

The men leapt from their hiding places, and with a team of mighty oxen dragged the creature to Llyn Ffynnon Las. There the chains of the Afanc were loosed, and with a roar, the monster leapt  into the deep water, where it is said, he remains to this day, unable to escape to wreak havoc because of the steep rocky banks of the lake.

7 comments:

  1. Gosh I wish I could take you to Vermont. We have our own monster in Lake Champlain called Champ. Look it up, kinda like Nessie...

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  2. Hi Beth,thanks so much for visiting my blog, glad you enjoyed the post.

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  3. Hi Mary - that's so interesting about Lake Champlain. Isn't it fascinating how variations of similar legends can be found all over the world!

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  4. Wow! I'd love to see the rock with Arthur's steed's print on. Kind of brings life to yet another legend. thanks for sharing :)

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  5. Never heard this tale. Really enjoyed it. And the photos too.
    Sue B

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  6. Hi Sue glad you enjoyed the post - thanks so much for stopping by. x

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