To Pryderi, the son of Pwyll, the King of Annwfn sent as gift a drove of swine. Pryderi then had rule in the South, and Math, the son of Mathonwy, had rule in the North. To Math, the son of Mathonwy, went Gwydion. "Lord," said Gwydion, "I have heard that there have come into the South some animals such as were never known in this island before." "What are they called?" "Pigs, Lord." "And what kind of animals are they?" "They are small animals, and their flesh is better than the flesh of oxen." "Who owneth them?" "Pryderi,
the son of Pwyll; they were sent him from Annwfn by Arawn, the King of Annwfn." "And by what means may they be obtained from him?" "I know a way by which they may be obtained. I will go as one of twelve, each of us in the guise of a bard, and we will obtain the swine from Pryderi." "Go forward, then," said Math, the son of Mathonwy, to Gwydion, his sister's son.
But it was not so much to obtain the swine from Pwyll's son as to do a wrong to Math, the son of Mathonwy, that Gwydion offered to go to where Pryderi had his court. For Gwydion's brother had fallen deeply in love with a maiden who was close to Math, and the only way he might obtain her was by bringing Math, the son of Mathonwy, into war.
For it was this way with Math, the son of Mathonwy: he could not exist unless his feet were in the lap of a maiden. Only when he was engaged in war could he separate himself from the maiden foot-holder. Now Goewin was the maiden who was with him at this time, and she was the fairest maiden who was known in Arvon. Gilvaethwy, the son of Math's sister and the brother of Gwydion, set his affections upon Goewin, and loved her so that he knew not what he should do because of her, and therefore, behold! his hue, and his aspect, and his spirits changed for love of her, so that it was not easy to know him.
One day his brother Gwydion gazed steadfastly upon him. "Youth," he said, "what aileth thee?" "Why," replied Gilvaethwy, "what seest thou in me?" "I see," said his brother, "that thou hast lost thine aspect and thy hue; what, therefore, aileth thee?" "My lord brother," answered Gilvaethwy, "that which aileth me, it will not profit me that I should show to any." "What may it be, my soul?" "Thou knowst that Math, the son of Mathonwy, hath this property, that if men whisper together in a tone how low soever, if the wind meet it, it becomes known to him." "Yes," said Gwydion. "Now hold thy peace. I know thine intent."
Then Gilvaethwy, when he found that his brother knew his intent, gave the heaviest sigh in the world. "Be silent, and sigh not," said Gwydion to him. "It is not thereby that thou wilt succeed. I will cause a war," he said, "that will separate Math, the son of Mathonwy, from his maiden foot-holder." It was then that Gwydion went before
[paragraph continues] Math and obtained permission from him to go seek the swine owned by Pryderi.
Now he and Gilvaethwy departed with ten men with them, and they were all in the guise of bards. They came to the court, and they were received joyfully by Pryderi, the son of Pwyll, and Gwydion was placed beside Pryderi that night.
Said Prince Pryderi, "Gladly would I hear a tale from one of your men yonder." "Lord," said Gwydion, "we have a custom that the first night we come to the court of a prince, the chief of song recites a tale. And gladly will I recite one for you." So Gwydion recited, and diverted all the court that night with tales and pleasant discourse, and he charmed everyone, and it pleased Pryderi to talk with him. And after a while Gwydion said to Pryderi, "Lo, now! My errand! It is to crave from thee the animals that were sent thee from Annwfn." "Verily," said Pryderi, "that were the easiest thing in the world to grant thee, were it not that there is a covenant between me and my land concerning these animals. And the covenant is that they shall not go from me till they have produced double their number in this land." "Lord," said Gwydion then, "give me not the swine to-night, but neither refuse them to me." And so Pryderi, if he did not give them, did not refuse the swine to Gwydion that night.
So Gwydion betook him to the magic arts that he knew, and he began to work a charm. And he caused twelve steeds to appear, and twelve black greyhounds, each of them white-breasted, and having upon them twelve collars and twelve leashes, such as no one who saw them could believe to be other than gold. And upon the steeds were twelve saddles, and every part which should have been of metal was entirely of gold, and the bridles were of the same workmanship. Then, with the steeds and the hounds, Gwydion appeared before Pryderi.
"Lord," said he, "behold! here is a release for thee from the word thou spakest last night concerning the swine that thou couldst neither give them nor sell them. Thou mayst exchange them for that which is better. And I will give thee these twelve horses, all caparisoned as they are, with their saddles and their bridles, and these twelve greyhounds, with their collars and their leashes as thou seest." Then Pryderi and his council agreed to take the steeds and hounds, and let
[paragraph continues] Gwydion take the swine. This was done. And all that Gwydion had given was formed out of fungus.
Gwydion and Gilvaethwy and their men took their leave and went forward swiftly with the swine. "It is needful we journey with speed," said Gwydion. "The illusion will not last but from a certain hour to the same hour to-morrow." They hurried on, and they came within Math's dominion, and they made a sty for the swine; they proceeded, and they came before Math, the son of Mathonwy. And as soon as they came before him lo! the trumpets sounded, and the host of Pryderi was advancing into Gwynedd, Math's dominion.
And, lo! there was the tumult of war in Gwynedd. Then Math, the son of Mathonwy, went forth to meet Pryderi; Gwydion and Gilvaethwy went with him. But at night Gilvaethwy and Gwydion returned; Gilvaethwy took the couch of Math, the son of Mathonwy. And while he turned out the other damsels from the room discourteously, he made Goewin unwillingly remain.
When these two brothers saw the day they went back to where Math, the son of Mathonwy, was with his host. Then the battle began, and Pryderi's host was forced to flee. Then Pryderi and Gwydion fought in single combat. And by force of strength and fierceness, and by the magic and charms of Gwydion, Pryderi, the son of Pwyll, was slain. Then Math, the son of Mathonwy, went back to his court, while Gwydion and Gilvaethwy went the circuit of his lands.
Math went within his chamber, and caused a place to be prepared for him whereon to recline, so that be might put his feet in the maiden's lap. "Lord," said Goewin, "seek now another to hold thy feet, for I am not now a maiden. An attack was made unawares upon me, and by thy nephews, Lord, the sons of thy sister, Gwydion and Gilvaethwy: unto me they did wrong, and unto thee dishonour." "Verily," said Math, the son of Mathonwy, "I will do the utmost in my power concerning this matter. First I will cause thee to have compensation, and then I will have amends made to myself. As for thee, I will take thee to be my wife, and the possessions of my dominions will I give into thy hands."
And Gwydion and Gilvaethwy came not near the court, but stayed at the confines of the land until it was forbidden to give them meat and drink. Then, at last, they came before Math. "Lord," they said, "we
are at thy will." "By my will I would not have lost my warriors. You cannot compensate me my shame, setting aside the death of Pryderi. But since ye came hither at my will, I shall begin your punishment forthwith." So said Math, the son of Mathonwy.