Stories

A Young Man Coming Home after Courting Sees the Ghost of his Best Friend

Mary Thomas (1905-83)

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I heard my father saying, too, [when] he was a young man, he lived at Cae Madog farm... Now he and the son of this farm, Bron Berllan, whose fields bordered their own, were friends, and my father was courting Mam. At that time she was a maid, she was working in the Red Lion in Bont, with an aunt of hers, in the tavern, and dad would go down there, courting. And Lewis, his friend - Bron Berllan - would go courting then, up in Troed Rhiw. And they both married those girls too. And my father had been courting - you courted all night long in those days, you see - my father had been in the Red Lion courting all night in the summer. And he was going home from Bont, now, over Pen Banne and past Bron Berllan farm, and through the fields from Bron Berllan to Cae Madog, to his own home. And then, between Cae Madog, their farm, now, and Bron Berllan, he saw Lewis Bron Berllan coming home, then, to Bron Berllan having been courting in Troed Rhiw. He said, [it was] summer now, you know, he said: 'Here's Lewis coming, Lewis has been courting, now.' And they were coming to meet each other in the gap in the hedge, and he thought he'd have a chat now and talk to Lewis there. My father made for the gap, but there was no sign of Lewis. And Dad said:

'Lewis, lad, where are you?' No reply.

'Come on, lad,' he said, 'you've no need to hide,' my father said. 'I know where you've been - courting in Troed Rhiw, come on, and I've been in the Red Lion, come out so we can have a smoke.'

No sign of Lewis coming out. Dad looked over the hedges. No sign at all of Lewis. Lewis wasn't there. And before he got home to Cae Madog he thought [to himself] that he'd seen Lewis's ghost. 'Good God!' he said, then he ran the whole of the rest of the way back home to Cae Madog and straight up to bed, under the bedclothes, in his fright.

The next day he saw Lewis's brother in the field, he went up to him and said, straight out:

'Did your Lewis go out last night?'

'No,' he said, 'our Lewis wasn't out anywhere last night, we all went to bed early last night,' said the brother.

And Lewis hadn't been [out], but Dada had seen him coming from the direction of Troed Rhiw and meeting with him, and in the gap in the hedge. My father sat one side of the gap to have a smoke and a chat, but Lewis wasn't there. His ghost had been courting in Troed Rhiw you see [laughs].

[WT] It gets worse!

His ghost had been courting in Troed Rhiw, you see [MT and WT laugh]. He'd probably intended going to Troed Rhiw, you see, he'd probably thought of going, but he hadn't been able to, but the ghost had gone and the ghost was coming home [laughs].


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