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The Green Isles of the Ocean

THE people of Pembrokeshire were for a long time puzzled to know where the fairies, or the Children of Rhys the Deep, as they are called in Little England beyond Wales, lived. They used to attend the markets at Milford Haven and other places regularly. They made their purchases without speaking, laid down their money and departed, always leaving the exact sum required, which they seemed to know without asking the price of anything. A certain Gruffydd ab Einion was wont to supply them with more corn than anybody else, and there was one special butcher at Milford Haven upon whom they bestowed their patronage exclusively. To ordinary eyes they were invisible, but some keen-sighted persons caught glimpses of them at the markets; no one, however, saw them coming or going, and great was the curiosity as to where they lived, for even fairies must make their home somewhere.

One day Gruffydd ab Einion was walking about St. David's churchyard, when he saw islands far out at sea where he had never observed land before. "Ah!" he said, "there are the Green Isles of Ocean, Gwerddonau Llion, about which the poets sing. I will go to see them." He started to go down to the seashore to get a nearer view, but the islands disappeared. He went back to the place where he had seen the vision; he could again see the islands quite distinctly, with houses dotted here and there among green fields. Now, Gruffydd was a very acute man; he cut the turf from which he espied the islands, and took it down to a boat. He stood upon it, and, setting sail, before long landed on the shore of one of the islands. The fairies welcomed him warmly and, after showing him all the wonders of their home, sent him back loaded with presents. They made him, however, leave behind the enchanted turf, and pointed out an underground passage by which he could come to visit them. He continued to be a great friend of Rhys the Deep's children as long as he lived, and the gold they presented him with made him the richest man in West Wales.

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