The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES
Animal Sketches And Stories
Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS
CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES
FABLES FOR CHILDREN
FABLES FROM INDIA
FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS
FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
For Classes Ii. And Iii.
For Classes Iv. And V.
For Kindergarten And Class I.
FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
Good Little Henry
JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]
Jean De La Fontaine
King Alexander's Adventures
KINGS AND WARRIORS
LAND AND WATER FAIRIES
Lessons From Nature
LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG
MODERN FAIRY TALES
MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED
MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES
MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES
Myths And Legends
NEGLECT THE FIRE
ON POPULAR EDUCATION
PLACES AND FAMILIES
Poems Of Nature
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"
RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE
ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
Selections From The Bible
SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES
Some Children's Poets
Songs Of Life
STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
STORIES FROM BOTANY
STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
STORIES FROM IRELAND
STORIES FROM PHYSICS
STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA
STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers
The Little Grey Mouse
THE OLD FAIRY TALES
The Princess Rosette
THE THREE HERMITS
THE TWO OLD MEN
UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES
VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES
WHAT MEN LIVE BY
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO
The Wooing Of Olwen
from Celtic Folk And Fairy Tales
Shortly after the birth of Kilhuch, the son of King Kilyth, his mother
died. Before her death she charged the king that he should not take a
wife again until he saw a briar with two blossoms upon her grave, and
the king sent every morning to see if anything were growing thereon.
After many years the briar appeared, and he took to wife the widow of
King Doged. She foretold to her stepson, Kilhuch, that it was his
destiny to marry a maiden named Olwen, or none other, and he, at his
father's bidding, went to the court of his cousin, King Arthur, to ask
as a boon the hand of the maiden. He rode upon a grey steed with
shell-formed hoofs, having a bridle of linked gold, and a saddle also
of gold. In his hand were two spears of silver, well-tempered, headed
with steel, of an edge to wound the wind and cause blood to flow, and
swifter than the fall of the dew-drop from the blade of reed grass
upon the earth when the dew of June is at its heaviest. A gold-hilted
sword was on his thigh, and the blade was of gold, having inlaid upon
it a cross of the hue of the lightning of heaven. Two brindled,
white-breasted greyhounds, with strong collars of rubies, sported
round him, and his courser cast up four sods with its four hoofs like
four swallows about his head. Upon the steed was a four-cornered cloth
of purple, and an apple of gold was at each corner. Precious gold was
upon the stirrups and shoes, and the blade of grass bent not beneath
them, so light was the courser's tread as he went towards the gate of
King Arthur's palace.
Arthur received him with great ceremony, and asked him to remain at
the palace; but the youth replied that he came not to consume meat and
drink, but to ask a boon of the king.
Then said Arthur, "Since thou wilt not remain here, chieftain, thou
shalt receive the boon, whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the
wind dries and the rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea
encircles, and the earth extends, save only my ships and my mantle, my
sword, my lance, my shield, my dagger, and Guinevere my wife."
So Kilhuch craved of him the hand of Olwen, the daughter of Yspathaden
Penkawr, and also asked the favour and aid of all Arthur's court.
Then said Arthur, "O chieftain, I have never heard of the maiden of
whom thou speakest, nor of her kindred, but I will gladly send
messengers in search of her."
And the youth said, "I will willingly grant from this night to that at
the end of the year to do so."
Then Arthur sent messengers to every land within his dominions to seek
for the maiden; and at the end of the year Arthur's messengers
returned without having gained any knowledge or information
concerning Olwen more than on the first day.
Then said Kilhuch, "Every one has received his boon, and I yet lack
mine. I will depart and bear away thy honour with me."
Then said Kay, "Rash chieftain! dost thou reproach Arthur? Go with us,
and we will not part until thou dost either confess that the maiden
exists not in the world, or until we obtain her."
Thereupon Kay rose up.
Kay had this peculiarity, that his breath lasted nine nights and nine
days under water, and he could exist nine nights and nine days without
sleep. A wound from Kay's sword no physician could heal. Very subtle
was Kay. When it pleased him he could render himself as tall as the
highest tree in the forest. And he had another peculiarity--so great
was the heat of his nature, that, when it rained hardest, whatever he
carried remained dry for a handbreadth above and a handbreadth below
his hand; and when his companions were coldest, it was to them as fuel
with which to light their fire.
And Arthur called Bedwyr, who never shrank from any enterprise upon
which Kay was bound. None was equal to him in swiftness throughout
this island except Arthur and Drych Ail Kibthar. And although he was
one-handed, three warriors could not shed blood faster than he on the
field of battle. Another property he had; his lance would produce a
wound equal to nine opposing lances.
And Arthur called to Kynthelig the guide. "Go thou upon this
expedition with the chieftain." For as good a guide was he in a land
which he had never seen as he was in his own.
He called Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd, because he knew all tongues.
He called Gwalchmai, the son of Gwyar, because he never returned home
without achieving the adventure of which he went in quest. He was the
best of footmen and the best of knights. He was nephew to Arthur, the
son of his sister, and his cousin.
And Arthur called Menw, the son of Tiergwaeth, in order that if they
went into a savage country, he might cast a charm and an illusion over
them, so that none might see them whilst they could see every one.
They journeyed on till they came to a vast open plain, wherein they
saw a great castle, which was the fairest in the world. But so far
away was it that at night it seemed no nearer, and they scarcely
reached it on the third day. When they came before the castle they
beheld a vast flock of sheep, boundless and without end. They told
their errand to the herdsman, who endeavoured to dissuade them, since
none who had come thither on that quest had returned alive. They gave
to him a gold ring, which he conveyed to his wife, telling her who the
On the approach of the latter, she ran out with joy to greet them, and
sought to throw her arms about their necks. But Kay, snatching a
billet out of the pile, placed the log between her two hands, and she
squeezed it so that it became a twisted coil.
"O woman," said Kay, "if thou hadst squeezed me thus, none could ever
again have set their affections on me. Evil love were this."
They entered the house, and after meat she told them that the maiden
Olwen came there every Saturday to wash. They pledged their faith that
they would not harm her, and a message was sent to her. So Olwen came,
clothed in a robe of flame-coloured silk, and with a collar of ruddy
gold, in which were emeralds and rubies, about her neck. More golden
was her hair than the flower of the broom, and her skin was whiter
than the foam of the wave, and fairer were her hands and her fingers
than the blossoms of the wood anemone amidst the spray of the meadow
fountain. Brighter were her glances than those of a falcon; her bosom
was more snowy than the breast of the white swan, her cheek redder
than the reddest roses. Whoso beheld was filled with her love. Four
white trefoils sprang up wherever she trod, and therefore was she
Then Kilhuch, sitting beside her on a bench, told her his love, and
she said that he would win her as his bride if he granted whatever her
Accordingly they went up to the castle and laid their request before
"Raise up the forks beneath my two eyebrows which have fallen over my
eyes," said Yspathaden Penkawr, "that I may see the fashion of my
They did so, and he promised them an answer on the morrow. But as they
were going forth Yspathaden seized one of the three poisoned darts
that lay beside him and threw it back after them.
And Bedwyr caught it and flung it back, wounding Yspathaden in the
Then said he, "A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly I shall ever walk
the worse for his rudeness. This poisoned iron pains me like the bite
of a gad-fly. Cursed be the smith who forged it, and the anvil whereon
it was wrought."
The knights rested in the house of Custennin the herdsman, but the
next day at dawn they returned to the castle and renewed their
Yspathaden said it was necessary that he should consult Olwen's four
great-grandmothers and her four great grand sires.
The knights again withdrew, and as they were going he took the second
dart and cast it after them.
But Menw caught it and flung it back, piercing Yspathaden's breast
with it, so that it came out at the small of his back.
"A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly," says he, "the hard iron pains
me like the bite of a horse-leech. Cursed be the hearth whereon it was
heated! Henceforth whenever I go up a hill, I shall have a scant in my
breath and a pain in my chest."
On the third day the knights returned once more to the palace, and
Yspathaden took the third dart and cast it at them.
But Kilhuch caught it and threw it vigorously, and wounded him through
the eyeball, so that the dart came out at the back of his head.
"A cursed ungentle son-in-law, truly. As long as I remain alive my
eyesight will be the worse. Whenever I go against the wind my eyes
will water, and peradventure my head will burn, and I shall have a
giddiness every new moon. Cursed be the fire in which it was forged.
Like the bite of a mad dog is the stroke of this poisoned iron."
And they went to meat.
Said Yspathaden Penkawr, "Is it thou that seekest my daughter?"
"It is I," answered Kilhuch.
"I must have thy pledge that thou wilt not do towards me otherwise
than is just, and when I have gotten that which I shall name, my
daughter thou shalt have."
"I promise thee that willingly," said Kilhuch, "name what thou wilt."
"I will do so," said he.
"Throughout the world there is not a comb or scissors with which I can
arrange my hair, on account of its rankness, except the comb and
scissors that are between the two ears of Turch Truith, the son of
Prince Tared. He will not give them of his own free will, and thou
wilt not be able to compel him."
"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think
that it will not be easy."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. It
will not be possible to hunt Turch Truith without Drudwyn the whelp of
Greid, the son of Eri, and know that throughout the world there is not
a huntsman who can hunt with this dog, except Mabon the son of Modron.
He was taken from his mother when three nights old, and it is not
known where he is now, nor whether he is living or dead."
"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think
that it will not be easy."
"Though thou get this, there is yet that which thou wilt not get. Thou
wilt not get Mabon, for it is not known where he is, unless thou find
Eidoel, his kinsman in blood, the son of Aer. For it would be useless
to seek for him. He is his cousin."
"It will be easy for me to compass this, although thou mayest think
that it will not be easy. Horses shall I have, and chivalry; and my
lord and kinsman Arthur will obtain for me all these things. And I
shall gain thy daughter, and thou shalt lose thy life."
"Go forward. And thou shalt not be chargeable for food or raiment for
my daughter while thou art seeking these things; and when thou hast
compassed all these marvels, thou shalt have my daughter for wife."
Now, when they told Arthur how they had sped, Arthur said, "Which of
these marvels will it be best for us to seek first?"
"It will be best," said they, "to seek Mabon the son of Modron; and he
will not be found unless we first find Eidoel, the son of Aer, his
Then Arthur rose up, and the warriors of the Islands of Britain with
him, to seek for Eidoel; and they proceeded until they came before the
castle of Glivi, where Eidoel was imprisoned.
Glivi stood on the summit of his castle, and said, "Arthur, what
requirest thou of me, since nothing remains to me in this fortress,
and I have neither joy nor pleasure in it; neither wheat nor oats?"
Said Arthur, "Not to injure thee came I hither, but to seek for the
prisoner that is with thee."
"I will give thee my prisoner, though I had not thought to give him up
to any one; and therewith shalt thou have my support and my aid."
His followers then said unto Arthur, "Lord, go thou home, thou canst
not proceed with thy host in quest of such small adventures as these."
Then said Arthur, "It were well for thee, Gwrhyr Gwalstawt Ieithoedd,
to go upon this quest, for thou knowest all languages, and art
familiar with those of the birds and the beasts. Go, Eidoel, likewise
with my men in search of thy cousin. And as for you, Kay and Bedwyr, I
have hope of whatever adventure ye are in quest of, that ye will
achieve it. Achieve ye this adventure for me."
These went forward until they came to the Ousel of Cilgwri, and Gwrhyr
adjured her for the sake of Heaven, saying, "Tell me if thou knowest
aught of Mabon, the son of Modron, who was taken when three nights old
from between his mother and the wall."
And the ousel answered, "When I first came here there was a smith's
anvil in this place, and I was then a young bird, and from that time
no work has been done upon it, save the pecking of my beak every
evening, and now there is not so much as the size of a nut remaining
thereof; yet the vengeance of Heaven be upon me if during all that
time I have ever heard of the man for whom you inquire. Nevertheless,
there is a race of animals who were formed before me, and I will be
your guide to them."
So they proceeded to the place where was the Stag of Redynvre.
"Stag of Redynvre, behold we are come to thee, an embassy from Arthur,
for we have not heard of any animal older than thou. Say, knowest thou
aught of Mabon?"
The stag said, "When first I came hither, there was a plain all around
me, without any trees save one oak sapling, which grew up to be an oak
with an hundred branches. And that oak has since perished, so that
now nothing remains of it but the withered stump; and from that day to
this I have been here, yet have I never heard of the man for whom you
inquire. Nevertheless, I will be your guide to the place where there
is an animal which was formed before I was."
So they proceeded to the place where was the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, to
inquire of him concerning Mabon.
And the owl said, "If I knew I would tell you. When first I came
hither, the wide valley you see was a wooded glen. And a race of men
came and rooted it up. And there grew there a second wood, and this
wood is the third. My wings, are they not withered stumps? Yet all
this time, even until to-day, I have never heard of the man for whom
you inquire. Nevertheless, I will be the guide of Arthur's embassy
until you come to the place where is the oldest animal in this world,
and the one who has travelled most, the Eagle of Gwern Abwy."
When they came to the eagle, Gwrhyr asked it the same question; but it
replied, "I have been here for a great space of time, and when I first
came hither there was a rock here, from the top of which I pecked at
the stars every evening, and now it is not so much as a span high.
From that day to this I have been here, and I have never heard of the
man for whom you inquire, except once when I went in search of food as
far as Llyn Llyw. And when I came there, I stuck my talons into a
salmon, thinking he would serve me as food for a long time. But he
drew me into the deep, and I was scarcely able to escape from him.
After that I went with my whole kindred to attack him, and to try to
destroy him, but he sent messengers and made peace with me, and came
and besought me to take fifty fish spears out of his back. Unless he
know something of him whom you seek, I cannot tell you who may.
However, I will guide you to the place where he is."
So they went thither, and the eagle said, "Salmon of Llyn Llyw, I have
come to thee with an embassy from Arthur to ask thee if thou knowest
aught concerning Mabon, the son of Modron, who was taken away at three
nights old from between his mother and the wall."
And the salmon answered, "As much as I know I will tell thee. With
every tide I go along the river upwards, until I come near to the
walls of Gloucester, and there have I found such wrong as I never
found elsewhere; and to the end that ye may give credence thereto, let
one of you go thither upon each of my two shoulders."
So Kay and Gwrhyr went upon his shoulders, and they proceeded till
they came to the wall of the prison, and they heard a great wailing
and lamenting from the dungeon.
Said Gwrhyr, "Who is it that laments in this house of stone?"
And the voice replied, "Alas, it is Mabon, the son of Modron, who is
Then they returned and told Arthur, who, summoning his warriors
attacked the castle.
And whilst the fight was going on, Kay and Bedwyr, mounting on the
shoulders of the fish, broke into the dungeon, and brought away with
them Mabon, the son of Modron.
Then Arthur summoned unto him all the warriors that were in the three
islands of Britain and in the three islands adjacent; and he went as
far as Esgeir Oervel in Ireland where the Boar Truith was with his
seven young pigs. And the dogs were let loose upon him from all sides.
But he wasted the fifth part of Ireland, and then set forth through
the sea to Wales. Arthur and his hosts, and his horses, and his dogs
followed hard after him. But ever and awhile the boar made a stand,
and many a champion of Arthur's did he slay. Throughout all Wales did
Arthur follow him, and one by one the young pigs were killed. At
length, when he would fain have crossed the Severn, and escaped into
Cornwall, Mabon, the son of Modron, came up with him, and Arthur fell
upon him, together with the champions of Britain. On the one side,
Mabon, the son of Modron, spurred his steed and snatched his razor
from him, whilst Kay came up with him on the other side and took from
him the scissors. But, before they could obtain the comb, he had
regained the ground with his feet, and from the moment that he reached
the shore, neither dog nor man nor horse could overtake him until he
came to Cornwall. There Arthur and his host followed in his track
until they overtook him in Cornwall. Hard had been their trouble
before, but it was child's play to what they met in seeking the comb.
Win it they did, and the Boar Truith they hunted into the deep sea,
and it was never known whither he went.
Then Kilhuch set forward, and as many as wished ill to Yspathaden
Penkawr. And they took the marvels with them to his court. And Kaw of
North Britain came and shaved his beard, skin and flesh clean off to
the very bone from ear to ear.
"Art thou shaved man?" said Kilhuch.
"I am shaved," answered he.
"Is thy daughter mine now?"
"She is thine, but therefore needst thou not thank me, but Arthur who
hath accomplished this for thee. By my free will thou shouldst never
have had her, for with her I lose my life."
Then Goreu, the son of Custennin, seized him by the hair of his head
and dragged him after him to the keep, and cut off his head and placed
it on a stake on the citadel.
Thereafter the hosts of Arthur dispersed themselves each man to his
Thus did Kilhuch, son of Kelython, win to wife Olwen, the daughter of
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