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G is for Grappling Gwyn & Gwythyr

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge ( The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Dual Natures in Folktales Around the World – opposites, contradictions & paradoxes.


From Welsh lore

Have you heard of the “Love Spoons,” carved wooden spoons, that are on display at the the Welsh Folk Museum in Glamorgan? These spoons were presented by young men to those they wooed. It was really for the young woman’s father to prove that this young man was truly committed and willing to spend time on their love.

While the story does not talk about “Love Spoons,” this does match the time period of the story. Perhaps it was not mentioned as everyone at the time knew this fact.

What is so fascinating? What dualities have surfaced?

You have two men (okay, so one is actually a god that some say got “demoted” to fairy) who love a young woman named Creiddylad. There was talk among the Welsh people of the danger of being swept away from fairykind. They can appear human but are really something else. Much more dangerous.

Terrible to say, Gwyn, the fairy but also known as being other the “otherworld” or “underworld,” forced himself upon Creiddylad. So this story is full of violence and not for the faint of heart. Rape in and off itself had a double-nature. No one seems to know unless shared by the victim. These days, besides rape, we still see the #metoo movement. Hints that this still plagues us today. May we find healing and hope together.

King Arthur was disgusted by Gwyn and Gwythyr and condemned them to fight each other eternally. They fight on May Day, the battle of winter/summer. Yes, we did talk about King Arthur just barely with “E is for Eternal Ennui.” Sense a theme? All for the love of Creiddylad. Yet, the feelings of Creiddylad? Couldn’t they have carved some “Love Spoons” instead? Have her decide?

50-word-or-less summary:

Creiddylad (princess) runs off with Gwythyr, hoping to marry. But pursued by Gwyn. Taken by force. Gwythyr raises army. Fights! Gwyn violently wins. King Arthur makes judgement. Every May Day until Judgement Day, they will fight. Only at Judgement Day is Creiddylad to go to the victor.

Finding the Story: 

Blog “From Peneverdant” with this story – found here

Learn more about Gwythyr ap Greidaw – found here

Learn more about Gwyn ap Nudd – found here or here

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been “dual” in our offerings of our hybrid summit & festival on May 9-12, 2022 – yes, in-person and virtual – and would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here:

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