Pentrefoelas fairy tales
Rural Conwy is a land of folklore, and when you look around the landscape it’s easy to see why. Among the mountains, rocky outcrops and woodlands are waterfalls, tumbling rivers and sheltered nooks where the imagination can easily run wild.
Centuries ago, natural phenomena were explained away as magic, battling giants, warring dragons or the work of the ‘Tylwyth Teg’ – the ‘Fair Folk’. The tales of the Tylwyth Teg in this area were usually moral, and their messages are familiar to us today: don’t gossip; keep your house clean; keep promises you have made; and don’t tell secrets others have told you in confidence!
See if you can spot the morals in the stories as you follow our fairy trail around the park in Pentrefoelas. The five tales which feature in the trail are part of a collection told by the Rev Owen Jones, former vicar of Pentrefoelas, to Rev Elias Owen, a Victorian scholar who researched and wrote about folklore in Wales.
Story 1 – The Fairy Dog.
For an audio presentation of the story press play Or, download mp3 (2.33Mb)
On her way home from Pentrefoelas Church one day, a lady who lived in Hafod-y-Garreg, Pentrefoelas, found a fairy dog on the ground, looking unwell. She picked up the dog gently and carried it home in her apron.
The lady remembered the story of a woman who once lived in the village (in a house called Bryn Heilyn) being cursed and falling down dead after being cruel to a fairy dog she had found. Determined to avoid the same fate, the lady was kind to the little dog. She made him a soft bed in the pantry and fed him well.
That evening, a group of fairies came to the cottage to ask about the dog. She told them he was safe and was starting to look a bit better, and they were welcome to take the dog home with them. The fairies were pleased. They picked up the dog and asked her: “Which would you prefer, a clean cow or a dirty cow?” The lady chose a dirty one. Until the end of her life, her cows gave her more milk than the very best cows on the very best farms in Pentrefoelas.