Math, son of Mathonwy

Gwynedd in north Wales is ruled by the magician king Math fab Mathonwy, whose feet must be held by a virgin at all times except while he is at war. Math’s nephew Gilfaethwy is infatuated with Goewin, the royal maiden foot-holder, so Gilfaethwy’s brother Gwydion plots to aid him. He deceives Pryderi of Dyfed with magical sham gifts of horses and dogs, in exchange for Pryderi’s valuable pigs, a gift from Annwfn. Dyfed makes war in revenge, so Math leaves Goewin without his protection. Gwydion and Gilfaethwy rape her, and Gwydion kills Pryderi in single combat. Math marries Goewin in compensation for her rape. He punishes the two brothers by shapeshifting them into animal pairs who must mate and bear young; first deer, then boars, then wolves. The sons they bear become Math’s foster sons, and after three years the brothers are reconciled with Math.

Gwydion suggests his sister Arianrhod as the new footholder. Math magically tests her virginity requiring her to step over his wand. She immediately gives birth to a son, Dylan ail Don, who takes to the sea. She also drops a scrap of life which Gwydion scoops up and incubates in a chest by his bed. Arianrhod is deeply shamed and angered so she utterly rejects the boy. She swears a destiny upon him that he cannot have name, nor warrior arms, except she gives them to him. Gwydion tricks her into naming the boy Lleu Llaw Gyffes (Bright Skilful Hand) by speaking to him, not knowing who he is as he is shapeshifted. More shapeshifting fakes a military attack so Arianrhod gives them arms.

Arianrhod’s third curse is Lleu may not marry a human woman. Gwydion and Math construct a beautiful wife for him from oakbroom, and meadowsweet, naming her Blodeuwedd, “Flower Face”. But Blodeuwedd and Gronw Pebr fall deeply in love. Gronw tells her to find out the secret of Lleu’s protected life, which she does in the trust of her marriage bed. She begs Lleu to explain so she can know how to protect him. The method is complicated, taking a year of almost impossible effort but Goronwy completes it and Lleu falls to his spear. Blodeuwedd and Gronw then live together.

Gwydion pursues a quest to find Lleu, who far away has shifted to eagle form and perches up a tree, dying. Gwydion tracks a sow which he finds eating maggots falling from Lleu’s rotting body. Gwydion sings a magical englynion (“poem”) gradually bringing Lleu back to humanity. Gronw offers to compensate Lleu; but Lleu insists on returning the blow as it was struck against him. Gronw is cowardly and attempts to evade it using a stone shield. Lleu kills Gronw with his spear, which pierces him through the stone. Gwydion punishes Blodeuwedd by shapeshifting her into an owl, a pariah among birds.

Another delightful episode of family harmony ends the fourth branch of the Mabinogion, the Myths of Wales (Cymru).

ready for love 1

Ready for Love 1

ready for love 2

Ready for Love 2

playtime 2

Not another flippin’ photo shoot.

I wanted to do the last of my Mabinogion posts to complete the set but I’m afraid I’m still not ready to return to my job of re-tweeting and commenting on your posts as I can’t sit comfortably at my computer still. I’m hoping if I take another week things might be better (than they are). Have a wonderful week and make sure you keep sharing those smiles, especially if you see a face without one. Keep hugging where you can so you give and receive pleasure in equal measure. Hugging is health giving.

This morning my bro and I were in a traffic accident. A car decided to overtake at speed as Mike was turning right. By some miracle neither of us was hurt beyond a nagging headache. Mike is saddened by the loss of his beautiful ‘baby’ which was hit hard enough to tear the front wheel from the axle. The aggressor drove off. We were pretty badly shaken but people in the houses round about came to make sure we were OK and to offer all kinds of help. It seems kindness isn’t too far from the surface in many of us.

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78 Comments

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78 responses to “Math, son of Mathonwy

  1. Such an interesting post, David! Hope you’re feeling better soon, and glad to hear you both escaped relatively unscathed from the accident x

  2. Love those photos, David! So sorry to hear about your accident, but I’m glad you and Mike were not badly injured. Hope you’re feeling better soon!
    A big hug!

    • Thanks Merril, I never tire of my photos. Just as well my daughter has a camera glued to her hand.Though Mike wouldn’t agree, we were so lucky in the accident.I hope that’s my last ever though.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  3. Another myth to become lost in, thank you for posting another tale of Wales and I hope you’ll be feeling better soon! I’m also glad to hear that you and your brother are safe…

  4. Glad to see you back and happier still to know neither of you were injured in the accident.
    You also chose two of my all time favorite songs. The Shirelles were actually from my hometown and I used to see them around at times. Loved their songs..:)
    Stay well!

    • Many thanks George,we were very lucky yesterday and the sun shone down on us too. I’m glad we have such a similar taste in music. My taste was fairly eclectic but I loved Motown hen and still do.
      Hugs

  5. OMG hope you are feeling ok as sometimes the aches and pains come out later from an accident. Please take care, maybe you need a laptop or iPad then you can do it anywhere that is comfortable. Sending love and hugs your way xxxx Karen xxxx

    • I don’t mind the aches and pains a bit now the birthdays are over Karen. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the cakes. Nowhere is comfortable at the moment as the feet hurt so much I need to constantly change position for relief.I was never very good with the smaller screen size before either.
      xxx Ginormous Hugs xxx

      • Oh dear, let’s hope the feet get better as I miss you and your witty comments. By the way we having a garden tea party the end of the month and I will be making the coffee cake so u best not miss that. You could always use a magnifier to enlarge the screen lol lol 😂 xxx

      • What an absolute sweetie you are Karen. I notice I didn’t get an invite to the garden party just the opportunity to view the cakes online.
        It’s almost like you don’t trust me……… Which is OK I suppose as I don’t trust me either. Coffee cake you say?
        xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

      • I would say I’d pick you up but we would miss all the food lol xx

  6. My goodness. I’m glad you weren’t hurt. Those hit and runs are the worst., Great photos. Loved the lips and eyes.

  7. Glad you are well and safe. Take it easy. If you feel aches and pains later please go straight to the doctor.

  8. Very interesting and I am intrigued by the foot holding thing, at all times except when he is at war. How do you hold a persons feet, well back in the day they had fascinating and unusual lives. I’m so sorry hear about your accident but very happy neither of you were hurt. I always love seeing pics of the children my how big they are getting. You have a wonderful week David!! Massive hugs my friend. Oh yes and really loved the music!!

    • Foot fetishes back then even Suzanne.They say it takes all sorts to make a world. Thanks so much, I’m relieved our luck was in too.The children are really growing now and the conversations a lot better than the used to be, I understand the words now. Amelie is doing her best to wear out the name Pops though. So glad you enjoyed the music this week.
      xxx Unlimited Hugs xxx

  9. Sorry to hear about the accident. Happy though that you are well (tell Mike I’m sorry about the car). Big hugs to you and thanks for another amazing story (I like owls so…) and for the pictures. ♥

    • Thanks so much Olga. I’ll pass your message on to Mike about his beloved car. He’s dreading the courtesy car because he can’t put the roof down and flirt. Glad you liked the story and enjoyed the pictures.
      xxx Stupendous Hugs xxx

  10. Glorious photos that would put a smile on anyone’s face. Horrified to hear about the accident and I’m thankful you were merely shaken. What a nasty shock. Take and cover yourself in Isle of Wight hugs! xxx

  11. Oh my gosh, it was all going rather swimmingly until that last paragraph David. Please make sure you both get checked out for whiplash injury especially if headaches are occurring. Take care. Big warm hugs coming your way! xoxo

    • It’s funny, that’s how we thought of it too Pauline.I was quite cross that some impatient, dangerous,selfish person had deprived us of a couple of hours at a carboot sale before the birthday party but the extra time with the kids made up for it.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  12. That wrap up of celtic(?) mythology was fascinating. It’s all about intimate relations isn’t it?! Gorgeous photo shoot – some seriously spunky models! Glad you and Mike were ok; there are some terrible people in the world. Bad enough to cause an accident but fancy not stopping! Sending you extra big hugs today my friend. 🤗

    • Confusing is a good word for the mythology too Jessica. Quirky this week too with a foot fetish. I’d get the children enrolled as models but I’m not sure those limited facial expressions will take them anywhere. Yes, there are some terrible people who don’t care what damage they do but I suspect this one will regret that move. The hugs are very welcome thank you.
      xxx Unlimited Hugs xxx

  13. I adore the story! A welsh girl myself of course I find it intriguing. Such a beautiful child! Feel better soon! Massive hugs to you!

  14. Glad you and your brother are okay, David. And yes, kindness surfaces where you least expect it. Take care and be well.

    Those kids are just too adorable! 😉

    Oh…were there any nice people in Gwynedd? LOL! 😀
    ❤ ❤

  15. I am SO glad that neither of you were hurt in the accident!!! Here I just sent you an email saying I hoped you had a ‘fun weekend’! I am so sorry about the car and the accident, but the car can be replaced, whereas you and Mike cannot! An extra hug for each of you!

    The babes are gorgeous as always!

    Now, about this ‘shape-shifting’ thing … I need to know more! There are a few people here in the U.S. that I need to shape-shift very quickly! I imagine you already know who they are! 🙂

    And just how does one pronounce Gronw Pebr ? Wikipedia did give the pronunciation, but I still can’t get it. I’m temporarily pronouncing it Gronweh Pebber. Close? My father was half-Welsh, half-Spanish … he spoke fluent Spanish, thus I was raised bi-lingual, but when I asked him once about Welsh, he said there was no way he would ever tackle it. Now I see why, though I do enjoy what I have picked up so far.

    Take care, dear friend! xxx Cwtch xxx

    • How funny, I’ve just finished replying to your email which was a treat for a Monday morning. We’re both OK though Mike says he’s a broken man without wheels and he hated having to go home by train yesterday.
      Thank you, the kids are still entertaining.
      Sorry, I wish I could help with the shape shifting but it’s a knack we seem to have lost over the years. I can guess who needed it though.
      You’re very close, it would be Gronoo Pebbur.. Do you know where your father’s half Welsh side came from? Probably the South where my father was born.Yet I love the North. I suffer Hiraeth (hir ithe with the th pronounced softly as in both) if I’m away too long.
      Have a wonderful week,
      xxx Hugs Galore xxx

      • Poor Mike! I feel his pain, having totaled a couple of cars in my day. I get quite attached to my cars, giving them a well-thought-out name, understanding their quirks, and even knowing their gender based on their behaviour, especially on a cold winter morning! At present, and probably for the rest of my life, I am car-less. My old Sofia finally died and I sold her for $40 just over a year ago. No regrets, except when I have to rent a car to go out of town. Still, I can rent a car many times for less than car payments and insurance would cost.

        No, I do not know where my father’s family came from … I don’t know if he even knew, for he was not close to his father at all. In fact, I never even met my grandparents on his side.

        Hiraeth – what a lovely word! I must remember that one! Thank you! My neighbors have been trying to teach me a bit of Arabic, and from you I learn a bit of Welsh … I love it! I don’t do so well with the Arabic though … there are some sounds that we just don’t have in the English language, and my tongue gets all twisted up. They laugh … and I laugh … and it’s all much fun!

        You have a wonderful week as well, my dear friend!

        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      • I don’t think he’s ever totaled a car before and I don’t think he’s ever caused an accident either.His baby, his pride and joy and (hopefully) his chick magnet gone. He says there were only 8 in the UK and it took him ages to find. Only 7 now and this is going to take him longer still.Winter is coming so he won’t want the top down anyway.
        Can’t you lease a car so they pay all services and insurance plus any road tax.That way it gets replaced every 3 years too.
        It might be time to start the family tree and start getting some of this info on paper for your granddaughter. It can be really fun to do.
        Hiraeth is a beautiful word that creates a feeling even when you hear it. The tongue twisters in Welsh should help with your Arabic, if not at least you’ll be able to open a bottle of wine.
        The longest word in Welsh is a place name on the island of Anglesey. Try this on for size….
        Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch.
        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      • What kind of car was it, that it is so rare? And why, dear David, do you wish to deprive your poor brother of having a “chick magnet”? I know you to be a romantic at heart, so i am puzzled that you would deprive poor Mike of finding … um … true love? 😀

        Yes, I could lease a car, and have given it thought, but I would be paying every month for a car that would rarely be used. I am mostly a hermit, and even more so since most of the friends with whom I used to spend time dislike my political views and are, therefore, no longer desirous of my company. :/ I go to the grocery once a week, using Chris car in the summer when it stays light enough to still be able to see after she gets home from work. And in the winter, I can use Maha’s car during the day for my weekly marketing trip. Then on Saturdays the girls and I go out, but again, using Chris’ car. So really, I do not need a car at my disposal. And, worst case scenario … the grocery store is less than a mile, so I could always use the exercise. 🙂

        I have actually begun the project you mention! One night I was relaying one of my ‘funny stories’ from my past, and Natasha said she would love to have all my memories written down. Realizing how short life is, I began the project that night. I have not added to it since I began writing so profusely on my blog in this era of Trump, but I DO need to get back to it. Someday I will not be around, and Miss Goose might enjoy learning how I came to be who I am. 🙂

        Are you serious???? That is actually the name of a place??? I cannot even begin to pronounce that!!! I shall Google that one tomorrow! I bet they do not get much tourism, for nobody could pronounce it to their travel agent! 😀

        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      • Oh heck, ask me what kind of car and you’ll be told “It’s a white one”. I think it’s a Peugot and it has a hard top that after pressing a button assembles itself in the boot.I am a romantic at heart and thank you for noticing it. Mike is not, though he has made marriage a hobby more or less. I don’t want him to have a chick magnet because he’s older than me and I want to save the girls from that.The problem is he’s much more popular than I because he’s very outgoing and the ladies fall for his patter.Still, they’re old enough to know better.

        I didn’t realise you’re as much the hermit as I am so I can understand now why you wouldn’t lease a car. Still it might be nice to take Miss Goose out and about to different places if she’d go.

        Oh well done. I’ve done the family tree but I suppose I should flesh it out a bit with stories. I’ve told Yvonne things but written down they’re not forgotten.

        Yes, it’s a place and tourism isn’t a problem as people like to stand by the sign on the station platform to have their pictures taken.
        The name means: Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch).
        The name used to be shorter but some bright spark in the 19th C had it lengthened to encourage tourists.Most people know it as Llanfair P.G.

        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      • Your first sentence sent me into paroxysms of laughter! 😀 Much-welcomed laughter, as it were!

        Yes, do add some stories, dear David! Stories, both funny and serous, are so much more engaging than just who begat who. And the stories we have to tell of our life help explain, I think, how we came to be the person we are. I remember stories my parents and grandparents told when I was young, and even today I sometimes think of those and wish they were still here to tell me more. So … yes, DO add stories for Amelie & Reuben to see and enjoy some day … long long time from now! 🙂

        Fascinating, that town’s name! I am glad every town does not go into quite so much detail in it’s name, else it would take forever to write a travelogue! But it is colourful and I love it … I will not, however, likely try to pronounce it … 🙂

        Giant Hugs, dear David!

  16. Oh crumbs, David, I’m glad you and Mike weren’t badly hurt. Looking forward to your return to full strength, but meanwhile make good use of the quiet days.
    XXX Gentle Hugs XXX

  17. Good morning my friend…first of all thank goodness you are alright after the accident. I get so angry when I think of people running off from these incidents. Have a quiet relaxing day…..sometimes these things effect us more than we think. I love reading this story with all the beautiful and romantic Welsh names..thank you so much. I am off to Wales next Monday for a week….painting of course but am so looking forward to hearing the lovely Welsh lilt and being with dear friends. I love the photographs of the grands…..and take your time to come back – no rush – and I for one send you great big hugs. Janet 🙂 xxx

    • Thank you so much Janet. I’m angry too when I read of someone not facing what theyve done, not caring if someone is hurt.
      My day is not too bad as electricians will be here putting in a new fuse board and rewiring, so no electricity till they’re done= no work on the computer.
      I hope you have a wonderful time in Wales next week, South Wales no doubt. No shortage of the lilt I hope and no shortage of friends.
      Thank you for enjoying the photographs and for the Great Big Hugs which I enjoyed very much.
      xxx Sending You Gigantic Hugs xxx

  18. First the good: I always love your photos of your gorgeous grandchildren. And , as in incomer of forty years to Pembrokeshire I love this and appreciate your Hiraeth, David. And love the idea of shape shifting (wish I could do a bit of shape shifting myself!! in more ways than one!!) Now the bad side of human nature. – hit and run – there is always karma to deal with such. Glad you sound to be ok. x

    • Thank you Judith. No longer an incomer but an honorary Welshwoman. Yes, like you I fancy trying a bit of shape shifting. I think I might like to be my own bit of Karma after yesterday. I’m fine thanks except for a slight headache but that’s understandable.
      xxx Ginormous Hugs xxx

  19. How terrible you and Mike were in a traffic accident. It’s great you both were uninjured. It’s a shame about his car. There was a lot of plotting, planning, and bewitching in those old Welsh tales. Darling pictures of the children. xxxHuge Hugsxxx, David. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • It’s amazing we walked away which the other chap wouldn’t have done if Mike’s hands had been in reach. He loved that car.
      I don’t lack an imagination but I couldn’t manage the convoluted tales that are these Welsh myths.
      Have a lovely week, xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  20. Glad you’re ok after that accident!! The children are really adorable 🙂

    Kathrin — http://mycupofenglishtea.wordpress.com

  21. Oh, dear, David, I’m so sorry to hear you two were in an accident. I hope they catch the culprit. Cheers to those who offered their help. What a Myth of Wales finale! Interesting. Love the props with the kids. Be well, my friend. Hugs. 🤗

    • They caught him Mary J. Usual result, not his car and he has no license, no tax or Insurance either. I agree with you, cheers to those who offered help.
      The props were fun weren’t they, I could do with them to flirt behind.
      Thanks for your kindness Mary J.
      xxx Hugs by the million xxx

  22. I hope you’re feeling better, David. I’m glad there were no serious injuries, but take it easy and let that whiplash heal too. The photos of the kids made me laugh out loud. So cute. And thanks for the tale – shapeshifting has always intrigued me. 🙂 Massive hugs, my friend.

    • Thanks so much Diana. Just a little pain in the neck and a headache though Mike says I should be OK as my PITN went home yesterday.
      I’m glad you liked the photos. They are a laugh.
      Shapeshifting is intriguing and it’s another one of those things that many societies seemed to practice worldwide..
      xxx Magnificent Hugs xxx

  23. I can hardly keep up with that entertaining story but I am sorry you’ve been in an accident. Take care x

  24. Glad you’re OK, David. We’ll have to supply a virgin to look after your feet for you, then you’ll be able to sit at your computer and we’ll all be glad to have you back with us. Take care!

    • Thanks for the kind thought Frederick. I like your idea but hope she comes with an instruction manual. It’s just my feet she looks after is it? I’ll sit at the computer gladly.
      Hugs

  25. Oh my word what a post! I’m so Sorry to hear about the accident, but relieved you’re ok. Hit and run, that’s awful! I hope he gets picked upon cctv. As for the mabinogi… what can I say? I wish I could get my hands on some of whatever the creators of those stories were taking at the time! Makes the Irish stories seem so tame by comparison! Take care of yourself, David, and some extra big hugs to you. Xxx

    • Thanks so much Ali, yes, we’re both OK though annoyed. The police got their man so he should get his just desserts. Yes, I’ve often heard of a magic mushroom that grows in Wales and it doesn’t perform tricks but I’m pretty sure it must have meddled with a few brains at some stage. I’m not sure I want any if the stories are as convoluted as that. Your stories are not in the least tame and certainly less bloody.
      Hugs enjoyed very much thanks.
      xxx Unlimited Hugs to you xxx

      • They got him! Oh I’m so delighted to hear that. Accidents happen, but running away is far worse. Yes, our old stories seem quite bizarre, don’t They? Maybe everyone was drinking too much mead, or something. They are fun to read though! Thanks for all the hugs! They brighten up the day. Have a great week! 😙

  26. Sorry to hear of the accident and very relieved that neither of you were hurt.
    As to the mythology it is very different from, as a stuffy society magazine of the fifties used to say, the home life of our own dear Queen.

    • Thanks so much Helen. The Mythology takes a lot of translating inside my head when I read it leaving me grateful that there are fewer Kings and Queens about to pit themselves against each other. Though I wouldn’t object to a King of Wales perhaps I’m actually a good subject of Her Majesty.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  27. Myths of lore, when before, feet were held and men who acted like beasts were turned into creatures. I know a particular man who is a beast in our country and oh do I wish he could be turned into a bear or (better) a boar.
    Oh, ahem, fantasies aside, PLEASE feel better soon. The car accident sounds horrendous and lucky at the same time, that you weren’t injured. But yes, it takes days, sometimes weeks to recover from the shock of a hit like that. Please feel the hugs I send from the other side of the pond. xoxoxofeelthehugxoxoxox

    • I know a particular man who already turned into a bore so maybe a bear would be better though maybe an elephant? I’m over the car accident now that was just a temporary hiccup. It’s back to trying to get my hoof to heal. Your hugs are wonderfully potent Pamela, thank you.
      xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  28. Sorry to hear you’ve not been well, David, and that the car accident came to compound your woes! Glad to see from your comments that things are on the mend, though. Get better quick! Big bises xo

    • Awww, thanks so much Mel. My chest is certainly on the mend and I think the foot is heading for a period of semi normality but the leg is still causing great difficulties not to mention discomfort. Cellulitis is a bind.
      xxx Humongous Hugs xxx

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