A Thief's Punishment
One evening a hunchback called Cadog Crwbach, or Cadog the Crooked, sought lodgings in a tafarn between Fochriw and Bedlinog.
He awoke the next day to discover that his purse had been pinched during the night. Cadog complained to the innkeeper who flew off the handle, claiming that the traveller was a trickster trying to dodge his dues. But in truth, the publican was the pretender and he sent the poor hunchback packing once hed stolen his sovereigns.
Cadog continued upon his journey till he came to a cave carpeted in bracken where he lay down to sleep. He woke up to the sound of singing and, at the far end of the cave saw fairies in a folly around the fire. So sweet was their melody that Cadog drew near to catch the words. They were chanting their fairy calendar, reciting the days of the week and the tasks they performed on each. But they made no mention of a Sunday because the Fair Folk hate the holy day.
The fairies stopped singing when they spotted Cadog, and Catryn, their Queen, invited him to join in their sport, Sing us a song, said she. If it pleases us we will honour you; if not, you will be punished.
Now Cadog had a good voice and was known to compose a lyric or two. So he started to sing, taking the same theme as the fairies, and the words came trippingly to his tongue. The fairies were all smiles when Cadog finished and Catryn said:We are gladdened by your witty ditty. Name your desire.
Take away the hump that straddles my shoulders, answered the hunchback, and before the words were out of his mouth the fairies disappeared with the hump and Cadogs purse was fat with coins.
Cadog was an honest man who walked humbly with his God so he returned to the tafarn to pay the publican even though he suspected him to be a scoundrel.
The innkeeper was a real lickpenny and after hearing Cadogs tale, found the fairy cave where he was promised a prize according to his desert. He trilled the fairy diary and ended by saying how pleased they were to rest from their little labours on a Sunday. The fairies were fuming when he finished and Catryn said to the innkeeper with scorn: I promised you that which you deserved. Name your desire. That which Cadog left behind, answered the publican thinking of the fairy gold. it shall be yours, said Catryn, and the hump that had hunched Cadogs back now sat on the innkeepers shoulders.
Key Contact: Rhymney Valley Tales
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