Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Story of the Three Magic Drops

It was in the beginning of Arthur's time there lived in Penllyn a man named Tegid Voeland his wife Cerridwen. There was born to him of his wife a son named Morvran ab Tegid, a daughter named Creirwy, and they had a brother, the most ill-favored man in the world, Avagddu.

Cerridwen, his mother, thought that he was not likely to be admitted among men of noble birth by reason of his ugliness, unless he had some exalted merits or knowledge. So she resolved according to the arts of the books of the Fferyllt, to boil a cauldron of Inspiration and Science for her son, that his reception might be honorable because of his knowledge of the mysteries of the future state of the world.

Then she began to boil the cauldron, which might not cease to boil for a year and a day, until three blessed drops were obtained of the grace of Inspiration. And she put Gwion Bach the son of Gwreang of Llanfair in Caereinion, to stir the cauldron, and a blind man named Morda to kindle the fire beneath it. She charged them that they should not suffer it to cease boiling for the space of a year and a day. She, herself, according to the books of the astronomers, and in planetary hours, gathered every day of all charm-bearing herbs.

One day, towards the end of the year, as Cerridwen was culling plants and making incantations, it chanced that three drops of the charmed liquor flew out of the cauldron and fell upon the finger of Gwion Bach. By reason of their great heat he put his finger to his mouth, and the instant he put those drops into his mouth, he foresaw everything that was to come, and perceived that his chief care must be to guard against the wiles of Cerridwen, for vast was her skill. In very great fear he fled towards his own land. The cauldron burst in two, because all the liquor within it except the three charm-bearing drops was poisonous. The horses of Gwyddon Garanhir were poisoned by the water of the stream into which the liquor of the cauldron ran, and the confluence of that stream was called the Poison of the Horses of Gwyddon from that time forth.

Thereupon came in Cerridwen and saw all the toil of the whole year lost. She seized a billet of wood and struck the blind Morda on the head until one of his eyes fell out upon his cheek. He said, "Wrongfully hast thou disfigured me, for I am innocent. Thy loss was not because of me." "Thou speakest truth," said Cerridwen, "it was Gwion Bach who robbed me." She went forth after him, running. He saw her and changed himself into a hare and fled. So she changed herself into a greyhound and turned him. He ran towards a river, and became a fish. She, in the form of an otter-bitch, chased him under the water, until he was fain to turn himself into a bird of the air. She, as a hawk, followed him and gave him no rest in the sky.

Just as she was about to stoop upon him, and he was in fear of death, he spied a heap of winnowed wheat on the floor of a barn. He dropped among the wheat, and turned himself into one of the grains. Then she transformed herself into a high-crested black hen, and went to the wheat and scratched it with her feet, and found him out and swallowed him. As the story says, she bore him nine months, and when she was delivered of him, she could not find it in her heart to kill him, by reason of his beauty. So she wrapped him in a leather bag, and cast him into the sea to the mercy of God, on the twenty-ninth day of April. So, the great poet, Taliesin made an entrance into this world.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Hit Counter
Internet Service Provider