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11 votes
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Bendigeidfran's head was one of the Three Fortunate concealments; what are the other two?

The dragons trapped by Lludd. In The Adventure of Lludd and Llefelys, there are three plagues which fall upon Britain. The second is a horrible screech that renders the inhabitants scared. King Lludd,...
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11 votes

Who was Arthur's sword, Excalibur, returned to?

Excalibur was returned to the lake from whence it came. Most accounts have it that Sir Bedivere took it there from Camlan. Malory is the only source that I know of that mentions an arm taking the ...
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10 votes

Do Welsh fairies marry human women?

I haven't been able to find any reference for fairy men marrying human women, or the existence of full-sized fairy men at all. Note that the Tylwyth Teg only ever kidnapped human boys, not girls. This ...
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10 votes

Are all Celtic Gods (Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and British) considered part of the same pantheon?

Celtic refers to any of the peoples who spoke Celtic languages, and this includes France, parts of Germany and Austria, and northern Italy. The peoples of Ireland and Britain are called Insular Celts, ...
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9 votes
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Revenants in mythology of the British Isles?

I'm not aware of a story that could possibly be a basis for the white walkers, but it could be argued that a zombie story exists in the second branch of the Mabinogi, the tale of Branwen ferch Llŷr. A ...
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9 votes

How long did King Arthur's empire last?

According to most versions of the myth, the reign has not ended. No version explicitly states how long the physical reign of Arthur lasted. That is almost certainly deliberate, in order to maintain ...
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  • 1,056
6 votes

Revenants in mythology of the British Isles?

Abhartach (Ireland) Irish folklore speaks of Abhartach, a dwarf who rose from the dead multiple times after being slain. In The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places (c. 1871), Patrick Weston ...
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6 votes

Did Bedwyr (Bedivere) ever have dark magic?

Insofar as the earliest native British traditions go, at least, it doesn't seem so. Looking through some early Welsh texts (Culhwch ac Olwen, Pa Gur, the Trioedd Ynys Prydein, the Beddau stanzas, a ...
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6 votes

Why was Bendigeidfran's head buried facing France and not Ireland?

The head was placed facing France to protect Britain from Saxon invasion. Ireland, was no longer a concern (emphasis mine): 'Shame on my beard,' said he 'if I don't open the door and find out whether ...
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6 votes
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Does Roman folklore feature an account of The Dream of Macsen Wledig?

Does this story appear in Roman folklore? No. Firstly, we should verify that the Magnus Maximus in the story is, in fact, the same Magnus Maximus as we see in recorded history. This excerpt is from ...
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4 votes

What are some references to Mathonwy in Welsh legends?

Sadly, I've never been able to find any direct references to Mathonwy anywhere. Bromwich (pg. 439) mentions that the name Mathonwy itself could be a doublet for the name Math, like so many names in ...
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4 votes
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The structure of the Fae courts

Sanderson, Stewart F (December 1957). "The Present State of Folklore Studies in Scotland", may answer your question. The one thing I believe is universal in the two courts is matriarchal ...
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3 votes
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Is this a real myth? Pembroke Welsh Corgis as mounts for fairies

This got too long for a comment, so I hope it's all right to post here. The Writing in Margins blog is mine, so I'd like to offer a few addendums. It's always hard to disprove something rather than ...
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3 votes
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What were the original names of Mochdref, Mochtref, Mochnant and Mochtref?

Onomastic tales like this one are common in literature and histories, be it the Middle Ages or Ancient Greece (there are several others in The Mabinogion, as well). Such place-name explanations can ...
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  • 464
2 votes

Is this a real myth? Pembroke Welsh Corgis as mounts for fairies

This is most likely a recent invention by Corgi breeders & enthusiasts. From "Did fairies really ride corgis?": The earliest source I can find is the poem "Corgi Fantasy" by ...
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2 votes

What does Elis Gruffydd mean by "the tenor of his songs"? What does this mean about Myrddin's father?

"...which he could not be according to the tenor of his songs" The name "Merlin" is derived from the Welsh "Myrddin", the name of the bard Myrddin Wyllt, one of the chief sources for the later ...
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  • 21
1 vote

In Vita Merlini, what did Merlin attribute his power of prophecy to?

The Holy Spirit seems the most likely answer. Geoffrey of Monmouth would have been familiar with the story of Penetecost, in which the Holy Spirit gives the apostles the ability to speak in different ...
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  • 5,818
1 vote

Why did the Lli and Archen rivers flood, separating Ireland and Britain?

It is interesting to note that these rivers, as well as other sunken places, are mentioned in Patrick Sims-Williams's Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature, p192ff. (Findable at Google Books.) ...
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1 vote
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Do Welsh fairies marry human women?

I can't find any specifically Welsh stories about a fairy husband with a human wife. Below I've listed the closest relevant motifs that I can think of. (Note I'm only including stories where the ...
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