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The Lady of the Fountain Part 2

Updated on May 20, 2013

In the second part of the legend of the Lady of the Fountain we find that she is the true guardian. She needs a warrior to defend the Fountain, because the Fountain, being the source of water, is the source of life. In this tale the Fountain must be protected in order for her realm to be secure. The logic of having the best warrior to defend it is inescapable. The point is that it is the Lady who chooses the King and his Kingship is dependent upon her. He has the power, she has the authority.

The metaphor, among many other lessons in this tale, is that we prosper on the Earth as long as we protect it. If we are seduced away from our duties as protector, we may find enjoyment for a while but ultimately we will suffer.

The Lady


Luned and the Lady of the Fountain

Luned prepared a fire and put on water to warm. Owain bathed and she shaved him giving him a far more pleasing countenance.

“Wait here” she said “Make sure you are not seen and I will speak to the Lady on your behalf.”

The funeral was over and the Lady was alone in her chamber in her grief when Luned entered.

"Luned," said the Lady, “What has changed you so much that you did not come to visit me in my grief? That was wrong of you. I made you rich and you did not come to see me in my distress. That is wrong of you.”

“I thought you had more sense than this” declared Luned “Is it wise to mourn for that good man, or for anything else that you cannot have?”

“In the whole world,” said the Lady “There is no man better than my husband”

“Not so” said Luned "An ugly man would be as good as or better than he.”

The Lady rose up in anger “Were it not so repugnant to me to execute one that I raised I would have you killed for making such a comparison. As it is, I will have you banished.”

“I am glad” said Luned “that the only reason you have to do so is that I am here to be of service to you even though you do not know what I have to your advantage. Should I leave then may evil be to whichever one of us should seek to reconcile with the other, whether it be I who seek it or you.”

With that Luned began walking towards the door. As she did so the Lady began coughing loudly. Luned turned around and the Lady said “Your disposition is evil today but if you have something that would be to my advantage then declare it.”

“Very well” said Luned “You know that except by force of arms it is impossible for you to preserve your possessions. You cannot delay, you must find someone who will defend them as well as, or better, than he who defended them till now.”

“But how will I find someone?” asked the Lady.

“I will tell you” said Luned. “Unless you can defend the Fountain you cannot maintain your dominions and no one can defend the Fountain unless it is a fellow of Arthur’s court. I will go to Arthur and I will return with a warrior who can defend the Fountain better than he who once defended it.”

“That would be hard to do” said the Lady “But go and keep your promise.”

The handfasting


Owain and the Lady of the Fountain

Luned made as if she was going on a journey but instead she returned to where Owain was staying. There she stayed until sufficient time had passed to make it seem as though she had gone to Arthur’s court and back. When she judged the time right dhe returned to the Lady of the Fountain. The lady was overjoyed to see her and asked what news she had.

“I bring the best of news” said Luned “I have achieved the object of my errand. When would you have me present the chieftain who has accompanied me?”

“Bring him to me tomorrow at mid-day” said the Lady “I will have the town assembled”

Luned returned home and the next day Owain dressed in the finest of clothes with a Yellow satin cloak fastened with a gold clasp carved as lions. They proceeded to the chamber of the lady. The Lady was glad to see them but she looked long and hard at Owain.

“Luned, this chieftain does not look like a traveler” she said.

“What harm is there in that?” asked Luned.

“I am certain” said the Lady “That this is the man who chased the soul from the body of my husband.”

“So much the better for you Lady” said Luned. “Had he not been stronger than your Lord he could not have taken his life. We can do nothing about that which is past. Whatever may have been.”

“Return to your home” said the Lady “I need to take counsel.”

The next day the Lady assembled her counselors and showed them that their country was defenseless and it could not be defended except by a warrior to guard the Fountain.

“So the choice is clear” said the lady “Either one of you must take me and so become the guardian of the Fountain, or you must let me choose my husband from elsewhere.”

They agreed it was better for her to choose her husband from elsewhere. So she gathered together the people of her dominions and they all witnessed, by the rites of the ancient harmonies, the joining of the Lady of the Fountain with Owain ap Urien. And all the men of the realm gave him homage. From that time on Owain defended the Fountain and when someone came to overthrow him, he would capture them and hold them to full ransom. The spoils he received were divided equally amongst his Barons and so was Owain the most loved of all the guardians of the Fountain. The Lady grew to love him most of all and in this way did they live for three years.


So for three years Owain faithfully defends the Fountain and the Kingdom. Caught up in his new life he forgets those he left behind and who are concerned for his welfare. Arthur enters the tale in the next part of the story. Time has gone by and no word has been heard from Owain. In these early tales Arthur demonstrates the quality of a Celtic God. Once you have his favor you will never lose it, when lost he will seek you out. So Arthur and his companions seek out Owain. What this means and what takes place will be in told in part three.


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