British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain

Careg Hir

Careg Hir

Taffy ap Sion, the shoemaker's son, living near Pencader, Carmarthenshire, was a lad who many years ago entered the Fairy circle on the mountain hard by there, and having danced a few minutes as he supposed, chanced to step out. He was then astonished to find that the scene which had been so familiar was now quite strange to him. Here were roads and houses he had never seen, and in place of his father's humble cottage there now stood a fine stone farmhouse. About him were lovely cultivated
fields instead of the barren mountain he was accustomed to. Ah,' thought he, ' this is some Fairy trick to deceive my eyes. It is not ten minutes since I stepped into that circle, and now when I step out they have built my father a new house! Well, I only hope it is real; anyhow, I'll go and see.'

So he started off by a path he knew instinctively, and suddenly struck against a, very solid hedge. He rubbed his eyes, felt the hedge with his fingers, scratched his head, felt the hedge again, ran a thorn into his fingers and cried out, 'Wbwb' this is no Fairy hedge anyhow, nor, from the age of the thorns, was it grown in a few minutes' time! So he climbed over it and walked on. 'Here was I born', said he, as he entered the farmyard, staring wildly about him, 'and not a thing here do I know!' His mystification was complete, when there came bounding towards him a huge dog, barking furiously. 'What dog is this? Get out you ugly brute! Don't you know I'm master here? at least, when mother's from home, for father don't count.' But the dog only barked the harder. 'Surely,' muttered Taffy to himself, ' I have lost my road and am wandering through some unknown neighbourhood; but no, yonder is the Careg Hir!" and he stood staring at the well-known erect stone thus called, which still stands on the mountain south of Pencader, and is supposed to have been placed there in ancient times to commemorate a victory.

As Taffy stood thus, looking at the long stone, he heard footsteps behind him, and turning, beheld the occupant of the farmhouse, who had come out to see why his dog was barking. Poor Taffy was so ragged and wan that the farmer's Welsh heart was at once stirred to sympathy. 

"Who are you, poor man?" he asked.
To which Taffy answered, "I know who I was, but I do not know who I am now. I was the son of a shoemaker who lived in this place, this morning; for that rock, though it is changed a little, I know too well."
 "Poor fellow," said the farmer, "You have lost your senses. This house was built by my great-grandfather, repaired by my grandfather; and that part there, which seems newly built, was done about three years ago at my expense. You must be deranged, or you have missed the road; but come in and refresh yourself with some victuals, and rest."

Taffy was half persuaded that he had overslept himself and lost his road, but looking back he saw the rock before mentioned, and exclaimed, "It is but an hour since I was on vender rock robbing a hawk's nest."
"Where have you been since?" asks the farmer.
Taffy related his adventure.
"Ah," quoth the farmer, "I see how it is you have been with the Fairies. Pray who was your father?"
"Sion Evan y Crydd o Glanrhyd," Taffy answered.
"I never heard of such a man," said the farmer, shaking his head, "nor of such a place as Glanrhyd, either; but no matter after you have taken a little food we will step down to Catti Shon, at Pencader, who will probably be able to tell something." 

With this he beckoned Taffy to follow him, and walked on; but hearing behind him the sound of footsteps growing weaker and weaker, he turned round, when to his horror he beheld the poor fellow crumble in an instant to about a thimbleful of black ashes. The farmer, though much terrified at this sight, preserved his calmness sufficiently to go at once and see old Catti, the aged crone he had referred to, who lived at Pencader, near by. He found her crouching over a lire of faggots, trying to warm her old bones.

"And how do you do the day, Catti Shon?' asked the farmer.
"Ah," said old Catti, I'm wonderful well, farmer, considering how old I am."
"Yes, yes, you are very old. Now, since you are so old, let me ask you. Do you remember anything about Sion y Crydd o Glanrhyd? Was there ever such a man, do you know?'
"Sion Glanrhyd? O! I have a faint recollection of hearing my grandfather, old Evan Shenkin Penferdir, relate that Sion's son was lost one morning, and they never heard of him afterwards, so that it was said he was taken by the Fairies. His father's cottage stood somewhere near your house."
"Were there many Fairies about at that time?" asked the farmer.
"O, yes; they were often seen on yonder hill, and I was told they were lately seen in Pant Shon Shenkin, eating flummery out of egg-shells, which they had stolen from a farm hard by."
"Dir anwyl fi !" cried the farmer: "dear me! I recollect now I saw them myself."

(entirety from British Goblins, Wirt Sikes)