Balan and the Dwarf
A stoness throw away from the village of Fochriw is a batch of boulders called Carn Bugail.
Carn Bugail, or otherwise. The Shepherds Cairn, was once a fairy-grave, and came by its name because of what befell a young shepherdboy there, many calendars ago.
Balan dwelt in a cottage on the mountain slopes near the fairy-folks tomb and earned his bread and butter by tending his masters flock. He was as happy as a sandboy in his work, and took great care of the sheep, his favourite being the lords golden-horned ram.
One day, Balan noticed that the ram had strayed from the flock and could not be seen anywhere. On pins to find his pet, Balan searched every inch of the mountain and eventually followed the rams tracks to Carn Bugail.
Venturing inside the cairns chamber, Balan beheld a dwarf who was small enough to nestle inside a nutshell. The miniature man beckoned the shepherd to follow and led Balan out through the tombs exit into a country of clover-carpeted meadows; and there grazing sweetly, was the golden-horned ram.
Shall my ram be returned? inquired Balan.
Yes. Replied the dwarf, but on one condition. If the ram wanders here again, then he shall be mine.
So it was agreed, and Balan led the flower of his flock back to the Lords court, where he was taken aback to find the place full of strangers. He learned that his master had died many years ago and that the land was now ruled by his Grandson.
The young lord begged to hear Balans tale, and when he offered his hand in welcome, both Balan, and his golden ram crumbled into a heap of dust on the floor.
Key Contact: Rhymney Valley Tales
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