The Bird of Ill
In the month of September, 1901, when the new century was but toddler tall, the villagers of Llanbradach were worried to death.
Word had it that a robin redbreast made its home in the collierys underground pumphouse and superstitious tongues started to wag. After all was said and done, a robin was seen at Senghenydd not so long before, when eighty-one men and boys shook hands with the seraphims.
Boys and girls love the little robin, that blushing bird which kindles the snow, because its breast was reddened with blood trying to peck the nails from Jesus on the Cross. But old wives and colliers shudder at the sight of the winter warbler because they regard the robin as a bird of ill-omen, the triumph of tragedy.
On the tenth day of September, as the tidy Llanbradach families were having their tea, a coalquake. Shook the valley. And, those who saw the pithead scene remarked that a robin, redder-breast than usual, flew to bank and circled the vale of tears.
Key Contact: Rhymney Valley Tales
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