« ПредишнаНапред »
Na byddo i chwi gadw y rhai cyflogedig
Neswch bawb attaf, ni chlywsochwi etto,
Diwedd y Gân
ADIEU TO THE COTTAGE.
Y BWTHYN, A DUW!
* By Miss Williams, Aberpergwm. XVII.
SIMILARITY OF SCOTCH AND WELSH SUPERSTITIONS.
GENTLEMEN, I have been both instructed and gratified by the perusal of many articles in your Welsh Quarterly: the more especially with that department of the work you name Olion. While other magazines which abound in political subjects tedious from their interminable appearance and repetition, both of language and sentiment, the reader in vain looks and longs for something different to that madness of party, which not only excites the mind sometimes with interest, but also often calls up feelings of acrimony and ill-will; looks in vain, I say, for some literary glade where his mind may rest from worldly turmoil; your “ Magazine of the Mountains” comes to the weary-minded with its wildness; the very thing one stands in need of, some legend, or mayhap some love tale, some mountain omen, some carn of grey antiquity, “where sleeps the warrior chief,” all these,
say, do restore a man to good humour, who is sick of party, and party writing.
Among other morceaux, I was exceedingly pleased with half a dozen stanzas of very sweet poetry in your last October number, beginning with:
“ There comes a fearful sound at eve o'er many a sleeping vale." “ The Whistlers,” said I; this is funny that our Welsh friends should possess among their mountains the very same legend that our Scottish highlander has in his; surely these people ought to be better acquainted with each other, and yet they are virtually as much apart as the African from the Icelander. This evil-omened bird,” I do assure you, gentlemen, is, or at least was within a few years, as much the dread of the shepherd of Ben Nevis, as of the mountaineer of Gwynedd, and if any Scottish or Welsh antiquary will undertake to expound, why the same superstition (and there may be many more) prevails in both countries, I am sure that he will confer a lasting obligation upon both Scotland and Wales.
In Wales, it appears, the belief is that nothing short of death is foretold by the Whistling Plover; in Scotland the belief is that some calamity, in which death is not necessarily included, will follow the ominous whistle; however, that the superstition is one and the same, and common to both countries, is too obvious to require a word on the subject.
Similarity of Welsh and Scotch Superstitions.
I cannot quote any old Gaelic authority in support of this
The plover, in some parts of the Highlands, was not only considered a bird of ill omen, but when calamity befel a family, recourse was had to the bird itself for deliverance from sickness, as, in the plague of serpents in holy writ, when the brazen serpent restored to health the dying suppliant. A very old woman in the Highlands
68 Similarity of Scotch and Welsh Superstitions. several years ago related to me the manner in which she restored one of two children who were ill of the smallpox; the other died in consequence (of course) of some informality in administering the incantation, &c. and not from any inefficacy of the charm; the old lady learnt the witchery from an ancient sibyl who had departed beyond the pale of superstition and knavery more than half a century before. -These were her words.
“ Ye man knaw that some nene and twanty years ago, we had mickle pestilence i’ the land, and the smallpox raged sairly among the bairns : Mikael Andrew's eldest chiel, ower savin years, was taen ill,- I tacked the chiel up to Craigy Muir, (I ken it was na on a Friday, for the charm availeth not then,) an I laid him before midnight in a swine trough, wi his feet to the east, an his mither was to tack na rest that night, but was to employ hersel in pious reading, wi plenty of the blude of the bease weep (for 'tis a bird of na look, but the blude keepet a evil spells awa.) I anointed the pretty bairn, then laft him on Craigy Muir for tha night, placed doon i' the trough wi the blude, and wi sweet herbs; the charm was done an the chiel was fully restored i’ the morning, but a little weak fra the chilly night, to the arms o' Michael Andraw.” This ancient woman has also been dead for several
years; superstition is fast disappearing, and I have merely communicated the above specimen of ignorance and folly, in order to record an instance of superstition which, in the present day, is almost beyond belief.
Having given you these examples of superstition respecting the “ill omened bird" in Scotland, I have only to assure you, that the belief regarding it is a very old one in this country, and has existed not only before the reign of Charles the Second, but from time unknown.
I remain, Gentlemen,
Your Brither Celt, Invernesshire:
OCHILTREE. 21st Nov. 1832.
· NATURAL HISTORY.-BRITISH PEARLS.
BY LLEWELYN C.
GENTLEMEN, I am induced to offer you the following account for inser-tion, in consequence of seeing, in your Numbers, occasiona' papers on natural history. Wales furnishes such an inexhaustible store of subjects, as well for the naturalist as the antiquary, that your numerous readers, who live in the midst of such treasures, might greatly advance the cause of science by recording what falls under their observation, and, through your medium, imparting the result of their knowledge to the world.
Britain has been famed for its pearls from a very early period; it is known from history, that Casar was induced to invade this island in consequence of exaggerated accounts which he had received of the pearls in the British rivers. Suetonius expressly mentions it. When compared, however, with the oriental pearls, they were found to be very inferior, and of little value, on account of their dark and livid colour and small size. Good pearls have occasionally been obtained from the muscle in many of the British rivers, but never in quantity so as to be worth the search. In the last century, several of great size were found in the rivers of the county of Tyrone and Donegal, in Ireland. One that weighed thirty-six carats was valued at £40, but being foul lost much of its worth. Other single pearls were sold for £4. 10s., and even for £10. The last was sold a second time to Lady Glenlealy, who put it into a necklace, and refused £80 for it from the Duchess of Ormond. In his tour, in Scotland, our illustrous countryman, Pennant, (of whom we may well be proud,) also adds, that there existed a considerable pearl fishery in the vicinity of Perth, from which £10,000 worth was sent to London, from the year 1761 to 1799; but, by the indiscriminate destruction of the muscles, the fishery has become exhausted. The only pearl fishery at present in the British isles is at the mouth of the river Conwy, in Arvon, and the Menai Straits. This fishery has been carried on for many years, and affords employment to numbers of industrious persons. There are, however, two very different kinds of muscle in the Conwy; the one a freshwater muscle, mya margaritifera, Cragen y dylu, and the mytilus edulis, Cragen las. The former are procured high up the river, near Llanrwst; and pearls are sometimes obtained from them little inferior to the oriental