The Horseman of Ceunant y Cyffdy
Margaret D Jones
It was a story about a girl in this valley [Cwm Tylo]. I'm not very sure where she [lived]. She was a maid, I think, on one of the farms in this valley, you see. And she'd gone down to Bala one fair night, probably, and was walking home, you see, from Bala, - a journey of a good four to five miles. And she came - having climbed as far as Llanycil - she was coming over a piece of moorland we call Ffridd y Fondro. And, very strangely, on Ffridd y Fondro a man came to meet her, you see, and he was leading a big white dog. Well, she couldn't understand it. And he asked:
'Good evening,' he said to her, like that, and he offered - 'as it's quite late, would it be better for me to see you home, d'you think?,' he said.
'Well, no,' she said, 'I'm not scared of the dark,' she said, 'at all, but I'm frightened to death of dogs,' she said. 'I don't want - no, no thank you.'
And on she went. And when she'd come a little bit further, you see, to her surprise, who did she meet then but a man leading a white cow.
'Good evening,' said he, and he greeted her in exactly the same way [as before]. 'May I do you a good deed? You're out late,' he said, 'may I offer you some assistance? May I walk you home?'
'No, indeed you may not,' she said, 'I'm not scared of the dark, but I am terribly frightened of cows.'
Well, so it was. On she went, anyway. Well, now, when she came as far as, you know, as some place - Penyrafel we called it, right at the top, before starting down now to within sight of Parc, you see - a young man riding a [white] horse came to meet her.
'Oh, hello,' he said.' Who is this beautiful young girl walking home by herself? May I offer to see you home?'
'No, you may not,' she said.
'Well, I better had,' he said.
'No, indeed you may not, I'd better go,' she said, like that. 'I'll tell you why. I'm very fond of ponies,' she said, 'but I detest horsemen.'
'Well then, look here,' said the horseman, and he got down out of the saddle. 'Take this pony so you can ride on his back.'
And he lifted her into the saddle and sent her on ahead. And she carried on now on the back of this white horse. And when she'd come a little way, just to within sight of the Cyffdy, there, dyw! she thought: 'Oh dear,' she thought, 'I have been ungrateful,' she said, 'letting this pony take me home and letting the horseman make his own way.' And without any warning, ahead of her she saw great doors closing off the road, [so] that she hadn't a hope of going forwards. Well! She began to get a little frightened now, and so did the pony a bit - [it] got a little frightened. They were opposite this holly tree. (This holly tree is very remarkable. It's by the gate to the Cyffdy - a huge great holly tree.) And this is where the door had shut.
'Ah well,' she said, 'the best thing for me now is to turn back,' she said, because she knew that she'd left the horseman up at the top of the hill. But, to her surprise, another door had closed behind her [so] that she couldn't go forwards or back. Well, she didn't know what on earth to do now. And as she continued looking that way, what did she see but the young horseman - this young man - standing by the door. And he said to her:
'Well, I've caught you now,' he said. 'I'll give you one warning,' he said.' I'll give you a month and a day' - I don't know why a month and a day, but a month and a day - 'to make up your mind whether you want to be my wife.'
Well, the offer had frightened her. And yet, she found him a handsome, well favoured young man, you see. And she ventured to say: 'Well, all right then,' she said, like that, 'I'll take the challenge,' she said, 'and I'll come and meet you in a month and a day.' And that was what happened. And when she said that - when she'd promised she'd do that - the two doors drew back, and she could proceed, walk on, and the horseman mounted his pony and rode back [the way he had come].
And the wonder was, said Father, that within a month and a day the girl disappeared. Nobody knew where she was. There was nor hide nor hair of her to be seen anywhere, except she went after exactly a month and day, and disappeared from sight. And everyone said she'd gone to marry this young man - the Horseman of Ceunant y Cyffdy.