|Such was his appearance, that The Lady vowed
to bless him with all wisdom, that his lack of beauty
matter not. Then did She repair to
mysteries of ancient lore and so determine Y Pair Yr
Therefore did Kerridwen bid Morda 'the blind' to tend
with wood the blaze beneath, and gently fan the
tongues of flame that they die not.
(*the cauldron of inspiration)
Gwyion, young son of Gwreang, did She
charge to stir the waters constantly for year and
day according to the mysteries.
Lo through all, The Lady toiled
faithfully. Season upon season, hour by hour,
with planets' aid and Her own craft did She herbs of
enchantment cull to grant the draught full power
that but one sip all knowledge might impart.
Ere yet the year was o'er, as Gwyion
stirred, three scalding drops from out the cauldron
flew and on his finger lay. Then came, with
the wet fire, pain and gnawing burning that
the countenance contorts and to relieve the agony,
as done by all, was finger put to mouth.
And with the abating scream of flesh came
soothing comfort, but yet more - o'er the calm of
childhood mind flashed leaping rays. An inner
sunrise all his being blinded, and fast to noonday
rose the orb. The mind's sky - blue, turned burnish
gold, unclouded and ablaze; and, as the spirit's eye
grew wide in awe and wonderment, lo writ across this
panoply of splendour - 'Knowledge' - of all that
was, of all that had e'er been or yet should ever
be! With all revealed, young Gwyion knew his
end would be whene'er his task was done. And
so in terror fled.
With stirring stilled, the Pair then
overflowed and broke asunder; and from its shattered
vault the draught flowed earthwards, thus forever
lost. This did Kerridwen find on Her return
and, understanding what had passed, She in pursuit
and hatred flew.
By virtue of his new-found power did
Gwyion change his form into a hare, but She to hound
did turn and swifter still pursued. As hound's
jaws closed upon its prey, he leaped and changed
again upon a river bank. The hare a fish
became, but hound into an otter turned to brave the
river's flood. Then fish to bird and She to
hawk, while flight for life continued still.
And faster beat the wings of one in terror wrapped,
of other with blind fury spurred, till hawk's
triumphant swoop brings death more near as eye locks
on to where the beak will strike and rend.
'Twas in this plight that Gwyion spied a
barn below, and swift as pebble's fall did wing to
where the winnowed wheat did lie, and, in an
instant, changed into a grain and lay full still.
No movement now but downward spiralling
glide of silent hawk which soon alights.
The feathered form slow changes till, with fuller
breast and body round and ever darkening plumage,
stands a hen as black as night. And from the
eyes glow hatred and victorious gleam.
Kerridwen's wiles makes Gwyion's hidel of no
worth. The beak is wide - She sees, stoops,
The grain is gone - Gwyion consumed.
Gwyion no more.
In a trice stands a lady - Kerridwen as
Quoth She with malice dread: "Where now
the blazing noon, O Gwreang's son? Where now
the inner light of wisdom's fire? All is
eclipsed and twilight shrouds the mind, and deeper
shadows the spirit. The senses dim, the
senses still and darkening waves, like
ever-nearing sleep, break o'er thy soul.
Black is Death's night where no stars shine. All
is as naught and naught is all, save gentle sway
of Death's chill flood."
Yea Gwyion art thou deep within a mere,
and gentle light the darkness breaks. Thine
heart yet beats, 'though faint, and thy mind's
terror gone - for peace exchanged.
Comfort glows within thy being, joy within thy
breast as heart beats on.
But two hearts dost thou hear; thine own
and one yet stronger and above.
The waters that do bear thee up are those
of strength - waters that succour and revive, the
mysterious tides of life and of the womb. Thou
art conceived anew by thine own Huntress, and She
too knows Her gift of death hath brought thee life -
life anew within Her very frame.
And so did Gwyion grow as nine moons
waxed, as nine moons waned, and to Kerridwen the
pangs of birth appeared.
ever stronger grew and, as She lay in travail and in
pain, the waters flowed. And with the flowing
came Her cry of agony as womb descends, and with the
cry - a child, Her son. Gwyion who wert -
Gwyion who art - Gwyion reborn.
(Llyn Tegid = Bala Lake in
cauldron shatters when Gwyion
ceases to stir the mixture.