Here is the first Branch of the Story of Pwyll and Rhianon, the First and Second Parts of it;
the whole Branch has the name of
I. THE MAKING-KNOWN OF GORSEDD ARBERTH, AND THE WONDERFUL RIDING OF RHIANON
Well known to the chieftain as he rode forward towards Arberth, and the men of his teulu with him, were every wood and glade, and field and river, and hill and vale in the land; and if well known, they were dearly loved by him, and a gladness to his eyes when he saw them; long it was since he had seen their like. More pleasant was this journey to him, than any journey he had ever made.
Towards evening on the second day, the road they would take ran through a valley; as they came to the head of the valley, suddenly the place was unknown, and as if he had never seen it before. Where of old there had only been a rushy meadow in the middle of the valley, and through the meadow the road, and below that, on the left as one rides towards Arberth, a little, noisy river; now there was a high hill, and on the top of it what seemed to be a great throne of rock. A hedge ran between the road and the hill; at one place there was a break in the hedge, and a stile, and from the stile a grassy pathway up to the throne on the hilltop. A druid was coming down the path towards the road.
"What hill is this?" said Pwyll. Not one of them had heard so much as a sound or a rumor of it before that evening. "It would be well to ask the druid," said they. "If any one will know, he will."
"Soul," said the holy druid; "the hill is called Gorsedd Arberth; the Hill of the Immortals it is."
"For what reason has it been unknown hitherto?" said Pwyll. "For what reason has there been no revealing it until now?"
"For the reason of its peculiarities, truly. There will be no making it known at any time, unless one of the Cymry should have won victories in Annwn."
"What peculiarities are with it, beyond that one?" said Pwyll.
"This peculiarity," said the druid. "Whoever ascends it, and takes his place on the throne, will not come away without either seeing some marvel, or suffering blows and violence."
"Evil fall upon my beard," said Pwyll Pen Annwn, "unless I take my place there."
"Lord," said they; "it would be well to ride forward. Not fitting for a prince of your dignity to meet with blows and violence."
"Let them fall on whomsoever may deserve them," said Pwyll. "It would be an ill thing if wonders were for the seeing, and we without the seeing them."
With that they rode to the top of the hill, and dismounted, and Pwyll Pen Annwn took his place on the throne, and his men standing around him. They saw the road running on below them westward to where the sun was setting between the far hills. Eastward it ran down the valley into the dusk; the dark blossom of night was beginning to unfold over the sky there. As they watched the gloom and purple beauty of that deep bloom, there rose and glimmered a mist of light afar beneath the heart of it, that moved along the road slowly towards them. It came nearer and grew brighter; it was of pale blue and rose-color and violet; immortal music stole through the valley as it came.
Then they saw that it was a princess, riding on a proud, matchless, snow-white horse; light shone from her as she rode. Among all the golden-chained daughters of the Cymry, clear it was to them that there would be no one to compare with her, either for grace and beauty of aspect, or for majesty and queenly dignity of bearing. Of purple silk was her robe, bordered with the colors of the snowdrop and the primrose; it would have given light in a dark place. Very slowly trod her proud, arch-necked, long-maned, high-stepping palfrey. About her as she came the air quivered and glimmered into all the hues of the opal, the rose-pearl and the amethyst. Along the roadside bloomed forth hyacinths and daffodils of flame: mysterious daffodils and hyacinths and violets. Branches put out from invisible trees around her head, and on them apple-bloom and almond-bloom of star-fire. Always, around and in front and above and behind her, shone and winged and sang and quiveringly twinkled three bright, beautiful, wizard birds; now paler and more glamorous than three moons in winter, now richer than three clouds torn from the glory of the dawn. As they drew nearer, it was to be seen that the first of them was white, and the second blue, and the third hued like the rainbow of heaven. Whatever music might be heard there, came from those three; it was such that whoever heard it might listen for a thousand years, and at the end it would seem to him no more than an hour that he had been listening.
Pwyll bade one of his men go down and meet her on the road, and give her the courtesy of a prince of the Cymry, and the greeting of god and man, and ask her in what way the lord of the country she was traversing might serve her. He strode quickly down the hillside; with the slowness of her riding, it was apparent that he would come to the stile before she would. He came down to the road; as he was mounting the stile, she passed him. He leaped down, and followed her quickly, walking. She went no faster than at first; slowly, with high steps, her swan-white horse went forward. He began to run; the more he ran, the farther she was from him. He put out his whole speed pursuing her; and it was clear to them all that she never quickened her horse's pace. They saw him run and run until she was no more than a faint cloud of beauty on the horizon. Made one she was, at last, with the whole glow and loveliness of the sunset; the magic of her coming waned from the valley, and they heard no music beyond the rippling and laughter of the river below them. Then they rose up, and took horse, and went forward musing into Arberth. But Pwyll Pen Annwn knew there would be no peace for him, until he had heard tidings concerning that Princess of the Immortals.
The next day he rode out again, and his men with him, and they came to the Gorsedd at the same time as before. He had a swift horse saddled by the throne beside him, and the best and lordliest of all his horsemen waiting in the saddle for whatever might befall. No sooner had he taken his place on the throne, and looked eastward along the road and down the valley, than the twilight began to bloom in light and beauty there, ten times more wonderfully than on the day before. They saw the lady riding; if there had been light from her before, and marvelous grace with her, and glory of mien, ten times more were they shining from her now. The daffodils of pale and beautiful flame that bloomed beside the roadway; the flame-mists of forget-me-not; the unfolding of the colors of the opal and the turquoise, of the pearl and the amethyst and the diamond, were all ten times more luminous. And if her three birds had appeared like three moons, or like three clouds out of the dawn; now they were of such splendor that there is no likeness for them in the summer sky, or the sunlit sea, or the four quarters of the immense world.
While she was still a long way off, the horseman set forward, and away with him galloping down the hillside. It was clear to even the least of them that she was riding even more slowly than before. He leaped his horse over the stile; but she had passed the stile before he could leap it. He set spur to his horse, and pursued her; a very little way in front of him she appeared to be riding. With slow, proud, high steps her beautiful palfrey journeyed forward. As for the one that followed her, for all the speed his horse could put out, he came no nearer to her than at first; indeed, the faster he went, the farther she was from him. He made pursuit of her as long as he could see her; she never went more than slowly, yet was always dwindling and waning farther and farther away from him. At the last she was one with the sunset again, and he turned and rode back to Pwyll. And ten times surer was the chieftain that there would be no quietness of mind for him, without his having heard any better tidings concerning the princess than he had heard until then.
The next day they rode out again; when the sun was brooding in a sky of flame over the head of the valley, Pwyll Pen Annwn took his seat on Gorsedd Arberth, and turned his back to the sunset, and his face towards the somber, empurpled budding-forth of night in the east. There in the midst of the dusk, again arose that wonderment and many-jeweled luminance; indeed and indeed now, sorrow upon me if it was not as much as seventy times brighter and more wonderful than before. He would trust no longer in any horse but his own, or in any other rider than himself. Blodwen stood waiting by his side; well-saddled she was, and the saddle-cloth of purple about her, with an apple of gold at each corner, as was right and fitting for the saddle-cloth of a king; well-equipped for riding was Pwyll Pen Annwn himself. No sooner did the twilight-glamorous valley begin to bloom in sprays of marvelous starry flowers; no sooner did the low, sweet, melodious singing of the three birds begin to sway and whirl and steal forth, and put dreams and delight and bewildering enchantment on the winds and the hills and the waters; no sooner was the roadway lined afar with mystical daffodils and iris and lilac, bending and dancing on a wind blown from no mortal land — than he leaped up from the throne, and to horseback, and away with him in a thunder of hoofs towards the stile.
At that time she seemed to be far off; more slowly than ever, and with prouder steps, her gleaming, swan-white, deathless palfrey bore her. As for Pwyll, the sods were being knocked out of the turf by the pounding, galloping hoofs of Blodwen, and they were flying in the air about his head as he rode. At one bound he cleared three spear-lengths of the hillside, and the stile with them. As he cleared it, and came down into the road, there the lady was, magically having passed the stile before him. At full speed he followed her; slowly she went on, and slowly waned from him. In spite of his speed and vehemence and unappeasable eagerness to come up with her, and in spite of the unhurried dignity of her riding, at the last he saw her, far off, made one with the fading brightness in the west.
Seven times he rode out, and seven times saw her from the hilltop, and followed. Here is the truth now about this matter: however wonderful for beauty of soft flames and mysterious blossomings, and for spreading, swooning, swaying, glittering, enchanting, ambient glory of light and color and song her last coming had been, and however great and majestic and glorious the splendor and queenly dignity of herself, with each evening they were seventy times, or indeed more than that, greater and more excellent; till there would be no telling, and no recounting, and no finding a likeness for it, the last time; and were the best bard in the world setting forth the story, or even Gwydion ab Don himself — for all his being gifted with the words of magic — it is likely that he would pass this by with no more than making mention of it.
Now here is what Pwyll did that seventh time of his pursuing her, and he in amazement and exaltation at the things that were made known to his vision. Clear to him had it become that speed would never bring him up with her; not even if he had the speed of Henwas Adeiniawg in the ancient days, against whom no fourfooted beast could ever hope to run the distance of an acre, much less could it go beyond it. Here is what he did then: he called out to her as she was riding into the sky-glow, far away, in the midst of vanishing, and beyond any ordinary hearing.
"Ah Princess," he cried, "evil fall upon my beard surely, unless it is doing you service I desire to be."
In a moment she had grown plainly visible to him; in a moment she was there, in all the wonder of her flamy, shadowy beauty, right before him on her white horse on the road.
"It would have been better if you had spoken to me before," she said. "These nine times have I ridden through the world and through Dyfed to get word with you; more often than that it would not have been permitted to me to come."
"For what reason do you desire speech with me, if it please you to make it known?"
"I am Rhianon the daughter of Hefeydd Hen," she said: "my father has many lordships in the Kingdom of the Immortals. It was desired of me that I should marry Gwawl the Son of Clud, the lord of an unknown region; but I had heard a sound of the fame of the Island of the Mighty, and it seemed better to me to take queenhood here. Not pleasing to me would be sovereignty in a realm without needs or sorrows. As for the queenhood I desire to take, it will be in Dyfed. Beyond that, there is no mortal who may wed with the Immortal Kindred, unless he has first won victories in the Great Deep of Annwn, beyond the confines of the world of men."
"I have won victories in Annwn, such as they were," said Pwyll. "As for Dyfed, and queenhood in it, they are mine to give you, if it is not beneath your dignity to take them from me. There never was a prince in this island, or sovereign wearer of the crown of London, that had such honor paid to him as this."
"I will make this known to you," she said: "an honor it is; and the crown of all advantages it will be to you, this choice that you are making of me. Here is what the end of it will be: to become one with the Princes of Beauty, with the Immortal Kin; and to have what star and mountain you will for your palaces, and to rule in realms of imperishable excellence, and to do service until the waning of the age of ages. That is what the end of it will be."
As she spoke, it seemed to him that the whole fate of the Cymry was revealed to him. "Whatever will be the end of it for you or for me, it is known to me for whom it will be an advantage until the end of time. Unto the Dimetians, and unto the whole Race and Kindred of the Cymry it will be that. Therefore, if it shall please you to ride with me, the throne shall not wait for you longer in Arberth than it may take us to come there."
"Not so"; she said. "Not until after a year and a day can I come to you. And you must know this," said she, "before you undertake this adventure. It would be difficult for any man to gain me; and even if I were gained, sorrow might easily come of it. He who gained me would never come to be my equal in dignity unless he were advised by me in all things, so that I might lead him as far as attaining immortality. The third time he might disobey me, he would lose me; and if he lost me, sorrow and long wanderings would be for him, and it is not known, even to the Immortals, whether he would come to me again."
"Let what may come, come," said Pwyll. "My will is to serve you, that you may bring what beauty and excellence you will into the Island of the Mighty."
With that she told him how he should gain her: he should bring a hundred men with him to her father's court at the end of the year and the day, and he would find the wedding-feast prepared. When she had said as much as that, it seemed to him that she gathered into herself the whole beauty of the blooms and birds that were about her, and that she shone for a moment more wonderfully than the dawn or the rainbow, or than the sunset over the sea when you are standing on the sands of Teifi, and the far hills of Ireland bloom and glimmer upon the forehead of the evening, more beautifully than whatever is most beautiful. Then the light waned until it was gone, and Pwyll and Blodwen were alone on the road. The sky was all softly glittering with stars, and no sound from them that might be heard; beyond the lonely calling of an owl from the woodland, or the calling of a corncrake from the fields below the road, and the call and murmur of the river over its stones, and a whispering and tremor in the oak-leaves, there was no music for the hearing in the world. He blew his horn, and his men came riding down to him from the head of Gorsedd Arberth, and together they rode back to the palace in the town. There he was in peace, so far as is known, for the greater part of the year and the day.
II. THE FIRST OF THE WEDDING-FEASTS AT THE COURT OF HEFEYDD, AND THE COMING OF GWAWL AB CLUD
There was an apple-tree covered with bloom in the courtyard of the palace at Arberth; one morning, when the king looked out, it was as if it were ensouled with three shining fountains of beauty and inspiration. Every leaf and bloom and young shoot was a-tremble with delight of the beauty that was being born in their midst; beyond that, the whole valley of Arberth was filled with delicate and melodious song. By reason of that, he knew that the three that were in the tree would be none other than Aden Lanach, Aden Lonach, and Aden Fwynach, the three Birds of Rhianon, the three Singers of Peace; and rose up, and called the hundred men of his teulu, and rode out with them, following the birds. By what secret ways they may have journeyed, is not known. They left Dyfed, and they left the Island of the Mighty; dry-shod, and without ships they passed. At the end of three days they came to the Court of Hefeydd Hen in the Kingdom of the Immortals; that was a year and a day after the parting of Pwyll from Rhianon on the roadside in Dyfed, when he made the promise to her that he would come.
Never had any one of them seen the equal of the palace of Hefeydd, either for loftiness, or for beauty, or for immense, impregnable strength. There were seven wide, stone-paved ramparts; on the smallest of them, seven hosts, equal in size to the complete hosting of the men of the Island of the Mighty, might have waged wild, free, indiscriminate warfare, with ground for chariots, and room for archery, and no discomfort or crowding. On each of the ramparts was encamped a company of seven score and seven giants; the least of them wore the torque and breastplate of a king, and was of such strength that he would have made little of breaking the bole of a well-grown oak-tree across his knees. There were seven immense gates of granite; and seven watchdogs guarding them: seven lean, eager wolves would easily have been vanquished in the conflict by even the feeblest and puniest of those dogs. Between each of the gates there were seven flights of seven score stairs, the smallest step of them high-treading for a giant. On the seven towers — and the least of them as high as the Crag of Gwern Abwy in the ancient days —were seven spears raised, with seven sun-bright beautiful banners of silk and linen, adorned with dragons of supreme beauty. Beautiful was the place, truly; and if beautiful, strong; and if strong, kindly and hospitable.
The dogs greeted the Dimetians with delight, leaping and fawning. The stairs were endowed with such magic by Hefeydd, that they seemed no more than level ground beneath their feet; as for the giant companies, they were eager for nothing at that time but the welcoming of guests. The granite stairways broke out into soft grass and blossom beneath their feet; everywhere there was harping and vocal song, and delightful mirth, and courteous greeting as they came into the hall.
If it had been proud and fair-seeming without, much better was it within. On the wells were the armor of Gods and giants, and hangings of flame-colored satin and taffeta, and the hangings adorned with the exploits of Hu Gadarn and the noblest stories from of old. Covering the flagstones of the floor were skins of the bear, the wolf, the lion, and the beaver. The rafters afar in the roof were carven in the forms of splendid dragons. As they came into the hall, they all marveled at the beauty and dignity of Rhianon, and at the lofty bearing of her and her people, and at the kindness and courtesy of the welcome they had from them. Hefeydd Hen himself rose from his throne to greet them; it was apparent to them that not even the Crowned King of the Island of the Mighty in the pride of his might, and he breaking battle in the east or the west of the world, or with the princes of Greece and Spain and Asia having greeting, and welcome, and courtesy, and honor from him at feast time, would be the equal of Hefeydd Hen, or nearly the equal of him; either for beauty, or for kindliness of aspect, or for pride and glory of bearing. With courtesy and proud friendliness they returned his greeting; and it seemed to the Dimetians that they would never desire better companionship than that of the Gods; and it seemed to the Gods that it would be hard to come on guests so free, and high-minded, and courteous as the Dimetians.
That night they feasted there, at the wedding-feast Rhianon had prepared for Pwyll Pen Annwn and for herself. Regal were the stories that were told; regal and magnificent were the songs sung. On the dais at the head of the hall sat Hefeydd Hen himself, and with him Pwyll and Rhianon; according to the custom and precedent of the court, even Hefeydd had less honor there than Pwyll had; it was as if Pwyll, and not he, were the sovereign ruler of those dominions. Below those three were thirteen long, beautiful, richly-furnished, well-adorned tables for the hundred that there were of the Dimetians, and for a hundred bards, and a hundred princes, and three hundred high-born, golden-chained, well-speaking ladies of the court. The smallest and poorest of the plates and drinking-vessels were of pearl and costly enamel; delicate, well-cooked and nourishing was the worst of the food. While they were feasting, the Birds of Rhianon sang through the hall; it came into the minds of the Dimetians, that if it had been for nothing but the hearing of those birds, that feast would have been better and more desirable to them than any pleasure they had known during their lives.
Towards midnight they heard a great shouting of the giants from the ramparts, and a great barking of the dogs from the gates; and the shouting and barking died away into a silence unequaled before in the world, so far as was known.
"It would be well to be cautious," said Rhianon. "Fear of some danger has come upon me."
"Fear it not," said Pwyll; "there are the Dimetians."
"Some one will have overcome the giants and the watchdogs," said she.
"That would be well," said Pwyll; "conflict has been the only pleasure that has been lacking to us." While they were talking that way, the gleam and beauty flared up in the jewel-work, till the whole hall was one blaze of light. Not a dragon carven on the rafters, but seemed to quiver into life and motion. The songs of Aden Lanach and Aden Lonach and Aden Fwynach rose and quickened and billowed forth, until the air reeled and trembled for excess of glory and sweetness. The cause of it was the door opening, and the coming in of a tall, handsome man; with every step of him forward towards the dais, the light and the music were multiplied.
"Soul, soul," whispered Rhianon, "here indeed is the peril."
"I see nothing of it," said Pwyll.
"Grant nothing that he may ask of you," said she.
But Pwyll was utterly caught up in the delight of the glory and song, till the whole life of him danced and exulted; beyond that, he never had been one to take thought for caution, when it came to the practice of generosity. "Soul, soul," he made answer; "unprincely would it be to refuse his requests."
"It will be the falling of all loss and sorrow," said she; but he was beyond heeding her. Barely had she said it, when the man was before the throne, and praying Pwyll to grant what he might be asking.
Tall he was, and more beautiful than the fairies, and radiant with strange, untroubled light; but his limbs were slender and his eyes bright with exultant dreaming, and he had not the aspect of the heroic kings of the Island of the Mighty with him. Lightly the chieftain answered him: "Whatever you may ask, I will grant it to you," said he. "Name you whatsoever you will, and you shall come by it. Unfitting and discourteous would be refusing, this night."
And the last word of that was not out from between his teeth, before the sorrow of the world descended upon him, so that even the darkest moment he had ever known, seemed to him to have been bright and joyful in comparison with this. The light waned in the hall, and the songs of Aden Lanach and her sisters ended strangely; or if they did not end, they became nothing to him but harshness and bitter sound. So far as he could see, there was no hue nor beauty left in the plates of pearl and amethyst, nor in the drinking-horns of polished diamond; the best of them might have been of tin-garnished lead. The flowers of adornment had the appearance of withering, the food of wasting away; as for the Dimetians and the people of the court, it was clear to him that they had all fallen to remembering whatever sorrows they might formerly have known. In silence and sorrow they watched him.
"I am Gwawl the Son of Clud," said the man; "prince of the Land of Timeless Beauty. The request that I make of you is that you shall forgo the princess."
Slowly Pwyll answered him. "Marvelous is the request," said he. "Marvelous and terrible it is truly. For what reason is it made of me?"
"Not out of hatred for thee, but out of consideration for her have I made it. Warlike and kingly, I know, are all the princes of the Cymry. Princely is the dignity, without bounds the hospitality of the Island of Britain. Yet it would be unfitting for the princess to take queenhood there. Sorrow would come of it, were she wedded to any one subject to mortality."
"Whether sorrow would come, or joy, it was there that it was my will to reign," said Rhianon. "It was well known to me what would come."
"Soul," said Gwawl, "it was my will that you should be saved from sorrow." Then he turned to Pwyll again. "Not yet is the whole request spoken," he said.
"Speak you," said Pwyll, "if it please you."
"Soul," said Gwawl, "there is this for you to learn concerning the Immortal Kindred. One race of them have their troubling when any evil happens to men; they made choice of old to preside over the destinies of the world. Of that race are the Clan of Hu Gadarn, the Gods of the Cymry, and the Children of Dana in Alban and Ireland. And there is another race to whom it would be unknown if your mountains crumbled, and your world were burned, and your stars withered in the sky; of these are the Children of Clud, I and my people. And there is a third tribe, that has kinship with both races: the people of Hefeydd Hen, and the Lady Rhianon among them. Though she never left this fortress, she would have no peace here; and that by reason of the wars and sorrows and exultations of the men of the Island of the Mighty; much less would she have peace if she went hence, and took queenhood with you. Therefore my request is that you shall give the princess to me, that I may bring her beyond the shaking of her peace."
"According to the promise that was given, it must be," said Pwyll. "On her it was binding, as well as on me. Woe is me for the Brython."
"Never at any time have I desired unshaken peace," said Rhianon. "Peace shall I find where there is war, joy only where there is sorrow. On me indeed is the promise binding; yet in the Island of the Mighty it is my desire to be."
"The chieftain gave you to me," said Gwawl. Neither with you nor with me was the making of this fate; neither with you nor with me will be the breaking of it."
"So great is my longing for the Island of the Mighty," said Rhianon, "that I will desire to know this from you, if there is any knowing it. If there is breaking the fate, how will it be broken?"
"I will tell you gladly," said Gwawl. "There would need to be an obtaining power over me, and a putting compulsion upon me; and all that by this chieftain. And it would need my going of my own will into the place where he might put the compulsion. But there will be no doing it," said he. "It has been foretold of me that I shall never fall into the power of any god; much less shall I get my compulsion from a mortal."
"What will be, will be," said she. "Not many would be better at breaking fates than Pwyll Pen Annwn. He put compulsion on the Princes of the Underworld."
"Of my own will I shall not suffer it, and therefore I shall save you from the Island of the Mighty. Whether there is life or death there, or war or peace, or feasting or fasting, or silence or song, it shall be nothing either to you or to me. Even the striving of your own race shall be forgotten."
"It shall be as it shall be," said she. "Is it your will now, that the feast should be broken?"
"Not so," he said. "Let it go forward."
"Lord," she answered; "I made it for Pwyll Pen Annwn."
"Yes," said Gwawl; "it would be less than courtesy in me to remain here. No one would desire to take anything from the dignity of such a prince as he is. I will come again whenever it may please you."
"At the end of a year and a day the feast shall be prepared for you and for me," said she.
"I will come then," said the other; and went towards the door.
"Lord Gwawl," said Pwyll, going down and accompanying him; "high and princely indeed is your courtesy. Better than this is unknown among the enthroned ones of the Island of the Mighty."
"And yours also," said Gwawl. "It pities me that the fate should be mournful for you." With that he went his way.
Then they went forward with the feasting; but there was no desire with any of them either for food or drink, for story-telling or for conversation, for harping or for vocal song. In a little while they went to rest.
In the morning the Dimetians rode forth, and Pwyll at the head of them. Rhianon said to him:
"Let not sorrow overcome you. If there is any breaking the fate, it will be broken, and no one will be better gifted for breaking it than you. As for the instrument of breaking it, that would be the Basket of Gwaeddfyd Newynog, if there were any obtaining it."
"I will go forward in search of it," said Pwyll. "Is it known to you where it might be obtained?"
"I can not tell you," said she. "Whether it is known to me or not known, of no avail the basket would be to you, unless you yourself found it in the length and the breadth of the world. And I will give you this warning," she said. "Lose no chance of doing service, wherever you may find it; and if you should see sorrow, pass not by until the sorrow be lightened."
"This counsel will I heed, although I heeded not the other," said he. "And beyond that, I will gain the basket. Am I bidden to the wedding-feast of Gwawl?"
"You are bidden," said she. "Nowhere but at that feast might the fate be broken." With that Pwyll and the Dimetians rode forward.
"Indeed and indeed," said Rhianon; "in my deed to my own queenhood," said she, "sorrow upon me if I come not into the Island of the Mighty yet."
As for the Dimetians, they went forth wandering through unknown and immortal regions; wandering they were for the best part of the year and the day; and neither news nor rumor of the Basket of Gwaeddfyd Newynog, nor of Gwaeddfyd Newynog himself, overtaking their hearing during the whole of that time. Whenever they came upon sorrow, they lightened it; wherever they found the opportunity of service, they did not pass until the service was done. They traversed mountains, and green valleys full of flowers; often the flowers would be gifted with human utterance, and discoursed with them; but knew nothing concerning the Basket. They traversed cornlands, and fruitlands where the trees bore fruitage of pearls; and wild, goblin-haunted regions, where the rocks and bushes would turn as they came into armies of opposing demons. Many warfares they waged, until their raiment was worn and tattered, and their swords dinted and old, and the glow gone from their breastplates and helmets, for the most part. But they met none that might obtain success against men from the Island of the Mighty, and at the end they were no fewer in number than they had been at the beginning: one hundred men, the flower of the hosting of the Dimetians, and Pwyll their lord at the head of them.