Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/548

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5 1 2 Reviews.

hard upon her track, and covers nearly the same ground. His matter is, like London muffins, " all hot." He has lived in the midst of it himself, and does not scruple to say so. " Although," he says in his Introductiofi, " although I have been for some years abroad, in Patagonia and Australia, yet I know almost every county in rny native land ; and there is hardly a spot in the three counties of Carmarthen, Cardigan and Pembroke that I have not visited during the last nine years, gathering materials for this book from old people and others who were interested in such subjects, spending three or four months in some districts." Little personal touches occur here and there through the work, and give a most convincing impression of reality and authenticity to his narrative. "I well remember," he says, "being warned to keep away from fairy rings, when a boy " (p. 90). " I heard the following story of my own grandfather in the neighbourhood of Llanddewi," (p. 163). It is a story of the appearance of the " wraith " of a living man. A young man in Pembrokeshire, in 1905, saw a phantom funeral. "I went to see the man myself," says Mr. Davies (p. 194), "and a clergyman accompanied me."

The matter is arranged as follows ; love, wedding, funeral, and other customs ; fairies, mermaids, ghosts, death poitents ; miscellaneous beliefs, birds, witches, wizards, folk-healing, foun- tains, lakes, caves, and local traditions. Some of the stories are translated from Welsh originals, and so add much to the value of the work. There is not very much in it that is new to folklorists, but it is valuable as first-hand and up-to-date corro- boration of what we already knevv. The predominance of visions, whether of fairies, ghosts, wraiths, or funerals, of portents, including the corpse-bird and the gwrach y rhibyti, and of wizards or "conjurers" who practised astrology and kindred arts, is very characteristic of Wales. Mr. Davies also gives much fuller accounts of the Welsh wedding and funeral customs than we have seen elsewhere. We wish we had space to quote the Bidder's Song, recited from door to door by the official messenger sent to invite the wedding guests, who, as is well known, assembled in force and brought contributions to the housekeeping of the newly-married pair. It was proper to attend weddings on horse- back, a custom which it is interesting to find was kept up by the