Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/59

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The European Sky -God, 49

this plague by the following means. He ' caused the island to be measured in its length and in its breadth. And in Oxford he found the central point, and in that place he caused the earth to be dug, and in that pit a cauldron to be set, full of the best mead that could be made, and a covering of satin over the face of it. And he himself watched that night. And while he was there, he beheld the dragons fighting {i.e. a British dragon and a foreign dragon). And when they were weary they fell, and came down upon the top of the satin, and drew it with them to the bottom of the cauldron. And when they had drunk the mead they slept. And in their sleep, Lludd folded the covering around them, and in the securest place he had in Snowdon, he hid them in a kistvaen. Now after that this spot was called Dinas Emreis,^ but before that Dinas Ffaraon. And thus the fierce outcry ceased in his dominions.' One of the Welsh Triads 2 mentions 'the dragons hidden by Lludd, son of Beli, in Dinas Emreis ' ; and another ^ says — ' Three oppressions came into this isle and disappeared ; the oppression of March Malaen, which is called the oppression of the first of May ; the oppression of the dragon of Britain ; the oppression of the magician.' March means ' Horse ' ; and a Welsh proverb speaks of any good thing wasted as ' gone on the Horse of Malaen.'^ Putting together these somewhat enigmatical allusions, we gather that the first of May was a critical time for king Lludd. The same belief comes out in connexion with Gwalchmei (Walgan) and Medrawt (Modred), the two sons of king Loth (Lot).^ The name

1 Dinas Emreis, the 'City of Ambrosius,' was a little hill near Beddgelert. Cp. Nennius History of the Britons 42 (Ambrosius and the two fighting dragons) in J. A. Giles Old English Chronicles London 1901 p. 402 ff.

^ Loth Mabinogion ii. 218.

'^ Id. ib. ii. 278. * Id. ib. ii. 278 n. 3.

^Geoffrey of Monmouth British History 9. 9 in Giles Old English Chronicles p. 238.