Antique Volumes

Myths and legends

The hiding place of the man known as ‘The Welsh Robin Hood’ is one of the major attractions of the local area.

Twm Siôn Cati – real name Thomas Jones- was an outlaw.  A wily character, his exploits followed a pattern, usually tricks at the expense of the rich and noble that he would then eventually rob. It is a tale akin to that of Robin Hood, but where this story differs was that he hardly ever gave any of his rewards away.  His anti-authority reputation has lead to him being celebrated by many as a loveable rogue and his hideaway, Twm Siôn Cati’s cave, is a popular spot to visit on a spectacular rocky walk at the RSPB nature reserve at Dinas near Rhandirmwyn. 

The Lady of the Lake and the Physicians of Myddfai


According to the story, a Carmarthenshire farmer once saw a beautiful woman sitting on a rock in Lyn-y-Fan Fach. After three attempts to woo her, she agreed to marry him if he promised to treat her well. If he were to strike her three times without cause, she said, she would return to the lake. 

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The farmer made his promise and took her down to the village of Myddfai to live with him as his wife. 

The time came for the christening of their first child. The farmer was overjoyed, but the lady cried because, through her magical instincts, she knew the baby would be harmed by the sun. Misunderstanding, the farmer tapped her lightly to bring her round. 

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Later, she cried at a wedding because she knew the bridegroom would soon die. Again, the farmer tapped her lightly to bring her to her senses. Finally, she laughed at the bridegroom's funeral because she knew his suffering was over and she was happy for him. And the farmer tapped her again. 

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Immediately, the lady sped back to the lake. The farmer, powerless to stop her, was left heartbroken, destined to bring up their three sons alone.  As the sons grew up, it became clear that they had inherited their mother's magical knowledge and powers.   They could have used these to become great warriors, but chose instead to become the first in a long line of great healers. 

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Using natural products gathered from the surrounding area, the Physicians of Myddfai created cures and remedies for headaches, sunburn, swellings, coughs and sneezes. Some of these ancient remedies are recorded in the Red Book of Hergest, a famous medieval book written in the Welsh language containing many traditional Welsh stories and texts. 

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Some also believe that the myth of Llyn-y-Fan Fach gave rise to another famous tale – the Arthurian legend of the Lady of the Lake and Excalibur. 

Images @Welsh Botanical Gardens