The Crafty Shephard
Ages ago, Iestyn ap Bran, a chieftain who was a great friend of the fairies, lived in Fochriw. When his bride gave birth to a son he should have been over the moon with joy; but instead, his face was as long as a fiddle.
Iestyn was worried because the Bishop had offered to baptize the baby, and it was no secret that the fairies were in the Bishops bad books. The Holy Father wouldnt be at all pleased if the fairies came to the christening; yet, Iestyn was down in the dumps!
At last, the Prince confided in an old shepherd who was well known for his wisdom never fear, Lord, advised the sage, I will go on your behalf and invite the fairies to the christening. At the same time I will make certain that they choose not to come.
The shepherd went forthwith to the Fairy Palace and sought an audience with the Queen. She was overjoyed to receive the invitation and went to the treasury, where she filled a purse of gold as a gift for Iestyns newborn babe.
Good shepherd. Said the Queen upon her return, tell me, who will christen the child? His Holiness, the Bishop, answered the herdsman.
Who else will be in attendance?
Priests and potentates, bards and minstrels, and as many drummers as there are stars in the sky.
Now fairies are very fond of music but, as the shepherd knew full well, they have no love for the sound of a drum because they regard its beat as a hymn of hate. Return to Iestyn ap Bran. said the Queen, disguising her horror, and say how pleased I was to be asked to the christening feast. But unfortunately, I am not able to attend. Give the gift from my people and say that his lucky lad will be doubly blessed by God and the fairies.
Key Contact: Rhymney Valley Tales
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