The Mabinogion is the title given to a collection of stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. Read the story of Blodeuwedd and Gronw below, and then visit Castell Gronw.  


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The Story of

Blodeuwedd and Gronw

 

Watch a video of the story - a 5 minute stop motion animation with a modern interpretation - thanks to hunkamunkafool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gwynedd in North Wales is ruled by Math, son of Mathonwy.

Aranrhod gives birth to two sons. One, Dylan, immediately takes to the sea. The other becomes named Lleu Llaw Gyffes (Bright, with a Skilful Hand).

When Lleuís mother Aranrhod refuses him permission to marry any mortal woman, Lleuís uncles Math and Gwydion fashioned a bride for him out of nine types of flowers (broom, meadowsweet, oak blossom, primrose, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut and hawthorn), and produced the loveliest woman ever seen, the maiden Blodeuwedd.

The two married and lived contentedly, until one day when Lleu left his wife alone while he went to visit Math.

It chanced that a stag hunt passed by the castle and Blodeuwedd sent a messenger offering the party hospitality for the night. But as soon as she beheld its leader Gronw Pebyr, from Caer Gai by Bala, she fell in love with him. It wasn't long before they declared their desire to be together and decided that the only way was to murder Lleu.

This was not to be straightforward - due to his magical powers Lleu could be killed neither by day nor by night, neither riding or walking, neither in water nor out of water, neither clothed or naked, and neither indoors or out of doors! Furthermore, he could only be killed by a weapon which has taken a year to make and not lawfully.

Blodeuwedd got Lleu to reveal that he could only be killed at twilight, when on the bank of a river, with one foot on the back of a he-goat and the other on the rim of a bath, wearing a fishing net, under a canopy. The spear needed to kill him would have to take a year to make, working only on Sundays. 

Gronw set to work, and working only on Sundays spent a whole year making a spear. A year later when the spear was made, Blodeuwedd tricked Lleu into demonstrating to her how his death could be possible. When he showed her Gronw emerged from nearby trees and hurled the spear at him, hitting him in the thigh.

Lleu immediately turned into an eagle and flew away, but later was magically transformed back into human shape and nursed back to health.

A year later Blodeuwedd the Flower Maiden was caught by Gwydion and as punishment he changed her into an owl, proclaiming:

"You will not dare to show your face in the light of day ever againAnd you will not lose your name - that will always be Bloddeuwedd"

Meanwhile, Gronw escapes to Penllyn and sends emissaries to Lleu to beg of his forgiveness. Lleu refuses, demanding that Gronw must stand on the bank of the River Cynfael and receive a blow from his spear. Gronw desperately asks if anyone will take the spear in his place, but his men refuse his plea. Eventually, Gronw agrees to receive the blow, but (since this was due to the wiles of a woman) on the condition that Lleu gives him a chance by allowing him to place a stone between himself and the throw of the spear.

Lleu allows him to do so, but throws the spear with such strength that it pierces throught the stone, killing his rival.

Lleu re-established himself in his castle, and the stone, pierced with the hole, was left standing by the River Cynfael as a reminder to his enemies of the fates of his rival and the Bride of Flowers.

It is said that, in the form of an owl, Blodeuwedd still mourns for her one true lost love, and can be heard calling for him at night around Castell Gronw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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