The Lewises of Dre-fach Felindre and the Crock of Gold in the Manure Heap

Kate Davies (1892-1980)


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A while ago [1972] you were, I believe, in hospital [in Glan-gwili, Carmarthen], and there was a woman from Dre-fach Fleindre there with you, Mrs Mann...Well, now, she used to tell you stories.


And one of the stories was this one -the people of the [weaving] factories, Lewises, wasn't it?


Well, could you tell me, now, the story as you heard it?

Oh well, she was telling me now one day, and do you know, now, these Lewises are wealthy people, having come into riches, you see, on account of these factories. And she was telling me:

'Do you know now where the money came from?'

'No, I don't.' (She herself was one of the Lewises on her mother's side.). 'No, indeed, I don't know.'

'Well, I'll tell you where they got money to start with,' she said.

...There was an old woman living in Nant yr Hebog and she had a son called Henry. And, of course (this was many, many years ago), this old woman dressed like - a Welsh hat, and a shawl around her shoulders - wore Welsh costume, the Welsh style, you know, the Welsh costume. And the old woman died. And, of course, this Henry was the widow's son. And he married after his mother died. And a little while after he got married he was on top of the [manure heap]. Of course, in those days, not like they do now, they used to keep a manure heap for a year or more in the farmyard before taking it out - a heap of - animal dung. And he was saying: when he was coming home one night, he saw an old woman wearing a hat, exactly the same as his mother, on top of the manure heap, as if she was bending down, as if she was planting something on the surface of the heap. He went to the house - he'd had a fright, and he said to his wife:

'Oh I've seen something on top of the dungheap and I think she's the spitting image of mother,' he said.

'What's the matter with you?' she said.

'Indeed I have,' he said. 'Come out and see.'

But they saw nothing. She'd disappeared.

And they set themselves to watch, then, to see if she'd come a second time. And he and the wife watched for several nights. And she'd come sometimes and then as soon as they approached her, she disappeared. And what she was doing - they'd looked the next day then, and it was as if she was planting something in the dungheap. And what she was doing was picking up the hens' feathers lying on the surface of the dungheap and planting them in a kind of ring. She started to make a ring of them all around. And they tried to watch her every night. And they'd see her at it. But as soon as they came close to her, she'd disappear. And after she'd done this for several nights, after she'd made something like a ring out of these feathers, they didn't see her then. And they said to each other:' Jiwc, it's sure to be some kind of a sign. She wants us to break up the dungheap to see what's there.' And they began to break up the dungheap, and they found a crock full of gold.

And that, said she, was where the Lewises got the money to start building factories. And she told me it was quite true. I can't say more than that now.

Lewises - the Lewises of the factories - Dre-fach - they were pretty famous.

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