Pronunciation of Names. Cerridwen (Kerri dwen) Afagddu (Avag thee) Anwen (Anne wen) Taliesin (Tal yeah sin) Coblynau (Cob lean eye)
"Please Cerridwen come in, quickly, please tell me if you foresee Afagddu? I have already lost two children. My heart is weak with past grief and it could not support another loss." Cerridwen crossed the threshold, briskly removed her cloak and gave it to the peasant. The droplets of rain that had gathered from her walk downhill were starting to trickle off the garment and tenderly settle on the floor. This evoked a minor motion from Cerridwen as she nodded toward where the garment hung. Such a movement immediately aroused a response and the resident quickly sought to stifle, with frantic manoeuvres, the small puddle of water that had quickly accumulated beneath the cloak. Cerridwen's somewhat moist, alabaster hair, coupled with her cultured appearance and piercing blue eyes, exhibited insight and experience. Her renowned ability to cultivate the healing properties of plants and herbs was widespread, so the peasants decision on calling for Cerridwen was just.
"I told him, I said do not go beyond the village. What did he do? He went beyond the village to that damn cave" Anwen by now was energetically waving her hands in the air, with a voice becoming furious as she divulged the incident. "What if he had collapsed in the cave? What if his spirit had departed?"
"Calm yourself Anwen", Cerridwen patiently asserted, with a slight hint of seasoned command. Anwen, a short and rather plump woman, with reddened cheeks, a merry nose and humble lips, was anxiously pacing back and forth as she tearfully glanced at her unconscious son laying on the kitchen table. Her angry tone was replaced with sadness as her eyes filled with past grief. Her two youngest children had previously been claimed by the lord of death Afagddu a year ago in a hunting accident, so her overt worry and fear was founded on past loss.
"There is no stench of decay or the sight of the withered hand of death here." Cerridwen said, while simultaneously placing her mature hand on the young boy's chest. "He's young and careless. The wound will heal with patience and with the virtue of Mother Don, but do make sure that the dangers of exploring the ancient cave are pronounced to him. Treacherous rock lie there, deeper still, the cave contains old evil. Today I see Afagddu retreat, but future explorations may snare your son Anwen."
The bereavement that had subjected Anwen to a dark misery resulted in an obsessive need to protect her only surviving child. It was only with persuasion from other villagers that she allowed him to explore the surrounding land that encompassed their modest hamlet. It was unfortunate that on this day-the day that Anwen settled her worries about his safety-that he ventured beyond the prescribed boundary to the ancient cave of Glamorgan, where he fell into a lightless chasm. His motivation to investigate the cave had been stimulated by a story told of the Coblynau by a passing bard. The bard had intensely fascinated the boy and under the light of a full moon, with Oak and Leaves as witness, a self-pact of enthusiastic determination to visit the cave was decreed. Fortunately, the Coblynau are benevolent individuals and a meeting with one would not be contradictory to safety. Standing as tall as a healthy child, albeit with features that are less fortunate than that of the oddest looking person, they unavoidably cause fright by default of their looks; with hunched backs, parched, lichen covered skin and out of proportion hands. Nevertheless, they are an industrious race that churn rock continually searching for precious stone and by gone artefacts of departed princes. The only negative comment that can be said against them is their clumsy way of digging; resulting in massive landslides.
"How did he arrive home?" Cerridwen asked. "He stumbled in. I have no idea how he walked that distance back with a wounded leg." Cerridwen glanced at the table that held a senseless boy and placed her fingers on his brow. "The Gods were surely with him today."
With Cerridwen's final evaluation, she was prompted to give Anwen three bundles of leaves: burdock to relieve inflammation, nettle to stop future bleeding and treat infection, and comfrey to reduce swelling. As she reached for the leaves, she gave directions of use, "place a small handful of the chopped leaves in a little water and heat gently for three minutes. Place the mixture on a piece of cloth and then apply to the afflicted area. Wrap this further and ask for divine sanction. Continue with a fresh poultice until the wound is encouraged to heal."
Cerridwen progressed to depart from the peasants home, and while reaching for her ash coloured cloak, turned slightly and expressed her condolences. "Your grief has touched your soul Anwen and for that I am sorry. Only the passing moons will relieve you of the anguish. I do not require coins for my service, however I ask that you consider a different pastime, one that is not tainted with immorality. Hunting is for the barbarians of this world. Instead, turn your hand to bread making and cultivating plants. Those who are merciful to all creatures will surely reap the blessings from the Gods."
"Praise to you Cerridwen" Anwen emotionally whispered, while retiring to a space reserved for cooking. She removed a cloth covered item from under a wooden bowl and walked back toward Cerridwen, "There is talk that you abstain from meat and Fish, so it would be my humble offering of Bara Brith to you. It was freshly made this morning at dawn."
"Anwen, I am blessed with rich soil and fertile land, and I have all the food I need to sustain both my son and I. Keep the speckled bread for yourself and your child. He will need to regain his vitality and youthful strength. Remember Anwen, warn him of the instability of the cave." Undoubtedly an invaluable service to the village, Cerridwen decided to live alone with her son, away from the busy community, on a secluded hill. Her living environment was simple. Her wooden hut could be said to be one large room, which was put to a multitude of uses and her garden had no boundaries, regularly filled with an assortment of plants, herbs; trees that produced fruit, plants that produced vegetables and her beloved Hens that shared their Eggs.
Cerridwen's assessment of the boy had relieved the worry of a frantic mother and Anwen emotionally cradled the witches hand, raised it to her lips and affectionately kissed the palm. As the aged witch departed from Anwen's home, she set her basket beside her and stood for a period observing the sounds of the occupied people who were engrossed in the daily activities of the community.The majestic Oak that stood dignified amongst the hurried company, boastfully flaunted its ripened leaves as the coloured cloth tied to its branches played in the breeze. While the light wind caroused with the Oak, it brought the gift of sweet smelling flowers and Cerridwen immediately inhaled as she glanced toward the source of the pleasing scent. The plethora of summer flowers that had awakened from their slumber, graced the village with pretty decoration and delicious perfume. Cerridwen joyfully sighed and peered toward the sky. The rain that had soaked her from the walk downhill had gave way to the sovereignty of the sun and with the mild heat consoling her mellowed skin, Cerridwen decided to brave the soaked earth and continue home.