So Gwythyr took his cloak, his horn, and his clarsach, and he
went to Yellow Owl, “I have come to ask
whether or not you know the whereabouts of Big Chief Hawthorn,
and his daughter Creiddylad whom I am destined to sleep with ?”
Said Yellow Owl, “when first I came here
there was a smith’s anvil in this place and from that time to this
no work has been done on it save the sharpening of my beak
every evening so that the remains of it now are not so much
as the size of a nut but in all that time though I have heard tell
of such a man, I have not yet come across him of whom you inquire.”
Said Gwythyr-the-Bright, “O Silent Stealer of
Souls in the Night, will you tell me what you know ?”
“Indeed I will young Gwythyr but what I have heard
will not be easy on your ears for it is said that:
for his people
in the cruelest hour
he is fuel to light their fire;
so hot is his core
all he holds stays dry
even in the heaviest downpour;
keen is his eyesight with aim so true,
a wren he can shoot the two legs through;
eight and forty rafters the colour red his
untrimmed beard covers when outspread;
from the forge like a mass of heat
fly sparks from the soles of his feet;
and that, young Gwythyr, is all I can tell of him though
there is one who knows more than I do, Black
Salmon will be better able to help you.”
So Gwythyr took his cloak, his horn, and his clarsach,
and he went to Black Salmon.
Black Salmon was lying in mud flats on the edge of a reed
bed with nine large fish spears protruding from his back.
He groaned aloud when he saw Gwythyr approaching,
“O save me from this end of regret, draw out the spears
from my back, and forever shall I be in your debt.”
So Gwythyr did as he was bidden, and one by one
he withdrew the fish spears from Black Salmon’s back.
“A blessing be upon you for this service,” said Black Salmon
as each of the spears fell away with a splash into the lake.
But no sooner had the last spear left Black Salmon’s flesh, than in
one swift movement the fish leaped into the air, opened its mouth,
swallowed Gwythyr and plunged beneath the waters of Llyn Llwy.
Weekend of 22-24 April, 2016.
Great Hucklow, Derbyshire Dales. England.
and a special appearance by Mister Fox.