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). Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys


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An early Welsh narrative (?11th cent.) found in the Red Book of Hergest (c.1382–1410) and as a fragment in the White Book of Rhydderch (c.1325). The Welsh title translates literally as ‘the meeting, battle, story, or adventure of Lludd and Llefelys’, but the work is usually known in English simply as ‘Lludd and Llefelys’ (also Llevelys). It is a popular reworking of a pseudo-historical theme.

Lludd, son of Beli Mawr, was ruler of Britain, and his brother Llefelys was ruler of France. Lludd sought the aid of his brother when three plagues beset the land: (1) the Coraniaid [cf. W còr, dwarf], a crafty and demonic foreign people; (2) a fearful scream that was heard in every home in Britain at midnight of May Eve, Calan Mai or Centefin, and scared people out of their senses; (3) the unaccountable disappearance of all provisions in the king's court every night, so that nothing not consumed by the household could be found in the morning. Lludd and Llefelys talked over these matters through a brazen tube, for the Coraniaid could hear everything that was said if once the winds got hold of it (a property also attributed to Math, son of Mathonwy). Llefelys suggested destroying the Coraniaid by mashing poisonous insects in water and sprinkling the solution over the foreigners to kill them; the insect would kill the Coraniaid, but the Britons would be immune. The scream, Llefelys explained, came from two dragons who fought each other once a year. They were to be killed by being intoxicated with mead that was to be placed in a pit dug in the very centre of Britain. Finally, the provisions, Llefelys explained, were being taken away by a giant wizard. Lludd overcame him in battle and made him a vassal. Thus Lludd and Llefelys freed the island of three plagues.

(1) the Coraniaid [cf. W còr, dwarf], a crafty and demonic foreign people; (2) a fearful scream that was heard in every home in Britain at midnight of May Eve, Calan Mai or Centefin, and scared people out of their senses; (3) the unaccountable disappearance of all provisions in the king's court every night, so that nothing not consumed by the household could be found in the morning. Lludd and Llefelys talked over these matters through a brazen tube, for the Coraniaid could hear everything that was said if once the winds got hold of it (a property also attributed to Math, son of Mathonwy). Llefelys suggested destroying the Coraniaid by mashing poisonous insects in water and sprinkling the solution over the foreigners to kill them; the insect would kill the Coraniaid, but the Britons would be immune. The scream, Llefelys explained, came from two dragons who fought each other once a year. They were to be killed by being intoxicated with mead that was to be placed in a pit dug in the very centre of Britain. Finally, the provisions, Llefelys explained, were being taken away by a giant wizard. Lludd overcame him in battle and made him a vassal. Thus Lludd and Llefelys freed the island of three plagues.

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Subjects: Religion.


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