The Magic Carpet
Prince Madog and his brother Iorwerth were at war. Madog sent Rhonabwy, a chieftan, and one hundred men to guard the River Vyrnwy’s ford. There Rhonabwy and his generals asked to stay at the mysterious Pentre Heilyn, the local hall. The owner gave them a spare room. Rhonabwy slept on a calfskin and dreamt that they all flew on a magic carpet to Rhyd-y-groes, the ford near Welshpool. He was chased by a terrifying knight, who was actually kind and took them to meet King Arthur who was camped at the ford. Rhonabwy saw all the armies begin to move beside the river and then woke from his wonderful dream.
Y Carped Hud
Roedd y Tywysog Madog yn rhyfela yn erbyn ei frawd bradwrus. Felly, gorchmynodd Madog Rhonabwy, ei bennaeth, i warchod rhyd dros yr Hafren. Aeth Rhonabwy i’r plas lleol, Heilyn Coch (bellach yn Blas Heilyn) i ofyn am lety. Roedd yn lle hollol rhyfedd a ddim yn gyfforddus o gwbl. Doedd Rhonabwy ddim yn gallu cysgu tan orweddodd ar groen llo. Yno syrthiodd yn syth i mewn i drwmgwsg. Wedyn digwyddodd pob math o ryfeddodau.
Gyda’i gyfeillion, teithiodd ar hyd yr Hafren i Rhyd-y-Groes. Yno, aethon nhw gyda marchog hudol i wersyllfa fawr, ble eisteddodd y Brenin Arthur ar ynys ger y rhyd. Yn ôl y marchog, byddai Rhonabwy yn cofio popeth a welodd, oherwydd wnaeth o edrych ar fodrwy Arthur. Heb hud y fodrwy, na fasai fo wedi cofio dim byd.
No-one attempted a video telling of this story during our project. It is a story from “The Red Book of Hergest” a late 14th century Welsh language manuscript, but the tale probably dates back to the 11th or 12th Century.
The dream sequence is quite complex and difficult to decipher. As a storyteller I had to resort to finger painting on my i-pad to fix the chronology in my head.
When Rhonabwy stopped trying to run away he found out Iddawg was quite friendly. The giant knight led him to King Arthur’s camp where Arthur’s forces were mustering before a battle with the Saxons. Iddawg told Rhonabwy to make sure he looked at Arthur’s ring or he would forget everything he saw.
At this point King Arthur seemed to loose his temper and he stood up and crushed all the playing pieces to dust. Whereupon fighting ceased and peace returned. Then Saxons arrived pleading for a truce, which Arthur granted and invited everyone to follow him to Cornwall.
And this is where the story ends with Rhonabwy and his generals waking up at Pentre Heilyn after three days had elapsed. Rhonabwy (having looked at Arthur’s red ring) was the only one who remembered what had happened at King Arthur’s camp by Rhyd-y-Groes ford on the River Severn.
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.
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/