THERE is no end of treasure hidden in the mountains of Wales, but if you are not the person for whom it is intended, you will probably not find it. Even if you do find it, you will not be able to secure it, unless it is destined for you.
There is a store of gold in a hillock near Arenig Lake, and Silvanus Lewis one day took his pickaxe and shovel to find it. No sooner had he commenced to dig in earnest than he heard a terrible, unearthly noise under his feet. The hillock began to rock like a cradle, and the sun clouded over until it became pitch dark. Lightning flashes began to shoot their forked streaks around him and pealing thunders to roar over his head. He dropped his pickaxe and hurried helter-skelter homewards to Cnythog. Before he reached there everything was beautifully calm and serene. But he was so frightened that he never returned to fetch his tools. Many another man has been prevented in the same way from continuing his search.
The farmer of Rhiwen, while helping a sheep that had fallen among the rocks to get to safety, discovered a cave near the Marchlyn Mawr, the Great Horse-lake. He entered and found it full of treasure and arms of great value. He was stretching forth his hand to lift up some of them when the noise of a thousand thunders burst over his head, and the cave became as dark as night. He groped his way out as fast as he could. When he had emerged into the welcome light of the sun, he cast his eye on the lake. It was stirred to its depths, and its white-crested waves dashed through the jagged teeth of the rocks up to the spot on which he stood. As he continued to gaze at the storm, he beheld in the middle of the lake a coracle. In it were three women, the fairest that the eye of man has ever fallen upon, but the dread aspect of him who was rowing them towards the mouth of the cave sent thrills of horror through him. He was able somehow to escape him, but he never enjoyed. a day's health after that, and the mere mention of the Marchlyn in his hearing was enough to throw him into pitiable terror.
There is an iron chest full of gold in the subterranean passage which connects Castell Coch with Cardiff. It is guarded by two eagles in a darkness so profound that nothing can be seen but the fire of their sleepless eyes.
Once upon a time a party of stout-hearted Welshmen determined to secure these riches, and took with them pistols loaded with silver bullets which had been blessed by a priest. They penetrated into the tunnel far enough to see the fiery eyes of the guardians of the chest. They fired: the bullets rattled harmlessly on the feathers of the birds. The ground shook under their feet: the eagles attacked them with beak and claw, and they barely escaped with their lives.
A shepherd, wandering about the mountain near Ogwen Lake, chanced to come across the mouth of a cave. He entered and found in it countless vessels of bronze of every shape and description. He tried to lift one up, intending to take it home, but it was too heavy for him to move.
He resolved to go away and to return early on the morrow with friends to help him, but before going he closed the mouth of the cave with stones and sods so as to leave it safe. While he was engaged in this work he remembered having heard how others like him had found caves and failed to rediscover them. He could procure nothing that would satisfy him as a mark, but after puzzling his brains for a long time he hit upon a plan. He took out his knife, and whittled his stick all the way as he went towards his home until he came to a familiar path: the chips were to guide him back to the cave.
This was a cunning device, but it did not succeed. When the morning came the shepherd and his friends set out, but when they reached the spot where the chips should begin, not one was to be seen. They had been every one of them picked up by the fairies, and the shepherd's discovery of the treasure was in vain, because he was not the man for whom it is intended.
It is for a Gwyddel (the home of the Gwyddyl is now Ireland) that the vessels are destined. He will come to the neighbourhood to tend sheep, and one day when he goes up to the mountain, just when fate shall see fit to bring it about, a black sheep with a speckled head will run before him and make straight for the cave; the sheep will go in, with the Gwyddel shepherd in pursuit trying to catch it. On entering he will discover the treasure and take possession of it. (It once belonged to his nation, when the Gwyddyl and the Britons contended for the possession of Snowdonia.)
If you are a boy, and the owner of a white dog with silver eyes (you may not know that every such dog can see the wind), you should lose no time in going to Llangollen. Under Castell Dinas Bran there is a cave which is full of treasure. The dog will lead you to the place, and you will become rich beyond the dreams of avarice.