Hafren was the daughter of King Locrinus and his true love, Esyllt. Cornwall’s King, Corineus, wanted his daughter, Gwendolen, to marry Locrinus. So to avoid war, Locrinus married Gwendolen and kept Esyllt and Hafren hidden. When Corineus died, Locrinus told Gwendolen and she forced him to choose. He chose Esyllt. Gwendolen returned to Cornwall and gathered an army. In the following battle, Locrinus was killed. Gwendolen became queen and threw Esyllt and Hafren into the River Severn below Dolforwyn Castle. The river nymphs transformed Hafren into the river’s goddess and to this day the River Severn is called Hafren in Wales.


Roedd Hafren yn ferch y Brenin Locrinus ac Esyllt. Cyn i Hafren gael ei geni, roedd brenin Cernyw eisiau i Locrinus briodi â’i ferch Gwendolen. Priododd Locrinus Gwendolen. Cuddiod o Esyllt dan y ddaear, ble cafodd Hafren ei geni. Ar ôl marwolaeth brenin Cernyw, cyfaddefodd Locrinus i Gwendolen am ei gariad, a gorfododd hi iddo fo ddewis rhyngddyn nhw. Dewisodd o Esyllt. Aeth Gwendolen i Gernyw i godi byddin. Bu farw Locrinus ar faes y gad. Coronwyd Gwendolen ac, er dial, boddodd hi Esyllt a Hafren yn yr afon. Cydymdeimlodd nymffau’r afon â Hafren, a gwnaethpwyd hi yn Dduwies yr afon, sydd bellach wedi’i henwi ar ei hôl hi.

And below are two paired tellings in English by young KS2 pupils at Abermule Primary School at the end of a “Story in a Day” workshop with storyteller Amy Douglas.

More about the Montgomeryshire Folktales project

In 1947 the Montgomeryshire History Teachers Committee commissioned a book ‘The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories’ of site-specific tales passed down through Montgomeryshire communities for generations, rewritten as a local history resource for schools.

During 2019/20 Mythstories was funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales to turn the 1947 book into an on-line resource.

Mythstories commissioned storyteller Amy Douglas and visual artist Helen Kozich to work with young people in Newtown, Powys and help them re-interpret the tales for their peers. Videos of the young people telling the stories in many different ways are among the Montgomeryshire folktales on this website.

Storyteller Tamar Williams ran two day-long stagecraft workshops for young people at Theatr Hafren, Newtown.

Artists Ed Fisher and Imogen Phillips were commissioned to produce black-and-white illustrations of each location, for a series of postcards and use on this website.

Ashley Thomas edited the videos of the storytellings.

Many volunteers helped:
Members of Bangor University Storytelling Soc. produced the English précis of the stories for the postcard series
Fiona Collins, Alison Layland and Tamar Williams produced the Welsh précis of the stories for the postcard series.
Members of Llangollen’s Caffi Stori visited each of the sites, took photos and reported back to the artists on the locations.

Storyteller Amy Douglas at Dolforwyn Castle above the River Severn / Hafren where Hafren and her mother were exiled. Photo 2019

And organisations leant their support:
Newtown Library and Newtown High School hosted a Newtown Young Storytellers Club and Penygloddfa Primary School, Caersws Primary School and Abermule Primary School hosted “Story in a Day” workshops.
Theatr Hafren hosted the stagecraft workshops and the final celebratory event
Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council funded storytelling performances to school children in Newtown to help promote the project.

Thank You All!

The full teachers resource is at https://mythstories.com/stories/montgomeryshire-folktales/