ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Sociology & Anthropology

LIFE ON THE FRINGE - 8: A TRIO OF WELSH HEROES - Galahad, Gilfaethwy and Goleudydd

Updated on July 25, 2017

GALAHAD, the pure at heart

Galahad, the young knight who goes on a never-ending quest to find the Holy Grail - a thankless task in the style of all tragic heroes
Galahad, the young knight who goes on a never-ending quest to find the Holy Grail - a thankless task in the style of all tragic heroes | Source

Sir Thomas Malory describes the conception of the pure lad: Elaine, daughter of the Grail King Pelles uses sorcery to trick Lancelot into thinking she is Queen Guinevere. King Pelles already had magical fore-knowledge of Lancelot fathering a child on his daughter. The boy would grow to become the most renowned knight in the world, chosen by god to find the Grail. Pelles also knows Lancelot will only lie with his beloved Guinevere. Wise woman, the Lady Brusen gives Pelles a magic ring that Elaine can use to appear as Guinevere to Lancelot.

They while away a night together and when he learns Elaine with her wiles has tricked him he threatens to kill her. When he is told he has fathered a son he becomes forgiving. Nevertheless he does not marry Elaine, nor does he wish to be with her and goes back to Arthur's court.

Galahad is born and put in the care of a great aunt, an abbess of a nunnery, to be raised by her. In adulthood Galahad is brought together with his father at Camelot during the Feast of Pentecost, where he is escorted by an old knight to the Round Table. He seats himself on the chair named 'Siege Perilous', a disused seat kept unoccupied for the only one who will achieve the Quest for the Grail. Others who sat there ended their days suddenly, badly. Needless to say Galahad survives the test, witnessed by the king.

Arthur leads Galahad to the riverside, to where a sword stands in a stone inscribed 'Never will men draw me but he from whose belt I should hang, and he will be the best knight in the world'. Galahad easily draws the sword and Arthur proclaims him the greatest knight. Sir Galahad is invited to become a knight of the Round Table. Not long after that Arthur's court witnesses a vision of the Holy Grail and the quest is undertaken by all to find it.

Galahad travels alone for most of his journey, laying low any enemies who stand in his way. He saves Sir Perceval from a score of hostile knights and saves maidens in distress. He is re-united with Sir Bors and the three meet Sir Perceval's sister. She leads them to the Grail Vessel in which they reach the far shore and Perceval's sister sacrifices herself to save a stranger's life. Sir Bors leaves them to take her body home for burial.

After several adventures Galahad and Perceval find themselves at the court of King Pelles and his son Elizar. These very holy men take Galahad to a room where he is permitted to see the Grail Cup and Galahad is asked to take the cup to the holy citadel of Sarras. Having seen the Grail Galahad asks to die at the time he chooses. Thus it is that on returning to Arthur's court Galahad is visited by Joseph of Arimathea; he experiences such a feeling of elation that he asks to die there. Bidding farewell to Perceval and Bors, Galahad is transported by angels to heaven.

Whereas it is not mentioned whether the Grail us ever seen on earth again, it is mentioned in the 'Morte d'Arthur' that no knight since Galahad has been deemed capable of attaining the 'Sangreal' (the Grail).

The Arthurian quest for the Grail, all-consuming saga of the search for purity made by the knights of the Round Table in which only one will find release. Follow young Galahad's labours

A touch of Gallic grandeur

BBC Wales Eisteddfod 2011, an annual gathering of Celtic poets and lyricists is held in the Welsh tradition of bardic tradition
BBC Wales Eisteddfod 2011, an annual gathering of Celtic poets and lyricists is held in the Welsh tradition of bardic tradition | Source
Gofannon to Gallic folk was also Goibhiniu to the Gaels
Gofannon to Gallic folk was also Goibhiniu to the Gaels | Source

A few more nuggets of Celtic knowledge:

FILI (plural FILIDH), bard(s) or poet(s), often attached to a royal court. Learned as well as being verbally gifted they had to know the heroic tales and genealogies as well as poetic metres. They were often endowed with the gift of prophecy. They had the functions of poets, seers and royal counsellors, were often considerably well schooled before being allowed to carry out their art;

GALAN MAI was the Gallic (Welsh) equivalent of the Gaelic Beltane, held on the first day of May;

GAUL, thought to be the precursor of France was really included in the cantons we know now as Switzerland and the lowlands of Belgium. As the Romans overran Gaul some Celts assimilated into Roman culture, some migrated further west and many were slain in the colonisation process;

GOFANNON was a divine blacksmith, the Gallic version of Goibhiniu in Gaelic myth. He is said to have struck the blow that killed his nephew Dylan Eil Ton, son of Aranrhod (cf);

GWRHYR was one of the troop gathered to help Culhwch find Owen. He was chosen because he 'could understand the animals and therefore ask them the way';

GWRI was the name given to Pryderi by Teyrnon when the child appeared on his doorstep;


Gilfaethwy and Gwydion on their war chariot racing to overtake Math on his way to Pryderi
Gilfaethwy and Gwydion on their war chariot racing to overtake Math on his way to Pryderi | Source

GILFAETHWY and GWYDION

the son of Don in Welsh mythology, who fell for Goewin, foot-holder at the court of Math fab Mathonwy - and thus supposed to be a virgin. He told his brother Gwydion of his love for Goewin and they set about the quest to win her. The best way to go about it, Gwydion reasoned, was to get Math away from his court, and to do this a quarrel between Math and Pryderi was engendered. In a war Math would be away from his court for a long time and would therefore not need a foot-holder.

Gwydion sought Math's permission for him to go to Pryderi and ask him to give as a gift to Math a herd of enchanted swine, given to him by Arawn. Math consented and the brothers set out with followers to Pryderi dressed as bards. After feasting with Pryderi Gwydion offered to tell a tale. Pryderi was so delighted at this he offered the 'bard' anything he wished in reward. The choice fell on the swine but Pryderi told him he had sworn to Arawn that he would not let go of the swine before they had borne as many offspring as the animals he had been given.

Gwydion used his magic powers to bring forth twelve mafnificent horses and as many magnificent hounds in exchange for the swine. Next day the horses and hounds vanished and Pryderi knew he had been duped. He thought Math was behind the trickery and set out to get the swine back. Math saw Pryderi approach with his men and took them to be invaders. They went to war and Math had no need for Goewin's services.

With Math out of the way Gilfaethwy was able to take Goewin, some saying by force, others that he kidnapped her. Either way, they had her by trickery. Math condemned them both to change shape each year, wolves one year, deer the next and swine the year after and so on. Although men, they had to bring forth offspring in the shape they were in that year. After three years Math thought they had been punished enough and had them restored to their human form

Beginning with the sword being drawn from the stone by Arthur, Welsh legend and myth have been woven around this early British king. Rouse your senses and trip back through the mists of time to when giants and gods roamed pre-Roman Britain

Large Blacks, hogs or swine that would have been around in the early days of Christianity in Britain
Large Blacks, hogs or swine that would have been around in the early days of Christianity in Britain | Source

GOLEUDYDD

Wife to Cilydd and mother of Culhwch, she fell victim to insanity and wandered the land whilst with child. She seemed to be sane again by the time she went into labour but, finding she was in a field of swine she became very fearful.

The fear brought on the birth and her son was named after the birthplace, the 'hwch' part of the boy's name meaning swine. In one version of the tale Goleuddyd was so afraid she left the child amongst the animals and fled. The boy was found by the swineherd and taken to the hall of the child's father.

Another element of her legend points to her realising she was about to die and was fearful her husband would marry again, and that Culhwch would be dispossessed if the second wife bore him heirs. Cilydd had to swear to her he would not re-marry until a briar with two heads grew from her grave. To forestall such a thing happening she had a monk, her personal confessor, watch over the grave and pull out any plant that that grew there.

After seven years the monk grew weary of the task, a briar with two heads grew out of the grave and Cilydd duly married again.

(For the rest of this tale see the tale of CULHWCH in the previous Hub-page: LIFE ON THE FRINGE - 7).

Next - Part 9: More Welsh tongue-twisters

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alancaster149 profile image
      Author

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Thanks again Graham. A bit more to add on this and then it's on to No.9!

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Same as usual Alan. Excellent.

      Graham.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)