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The Harper's Gratuity

SION RHOBERT was a harper living at Hafod Elwy, in Denbighshire. One evening he went to Llechwedd Llyfn, in the neighbourhood of Cefn Brith, to a merry evening, and it was late before the lads and lasses separated. At last he was allowed to wend his way homeward, and he started walking over the bare mountain. As he came near a lake called Llyn-dau-ychain he saw on its verge a splendid palace, brilliantly illuminated. He was vastly surprised, because he had been many times that way before without observing a dwelling-house of any kind. Seeing, however, is believing, as Sion argued with himself. When he came near he was hailed by a very splendid servant, who invited him to enter. Sion was ushered into a great room, lighted by thousands of candles, and sumptuously furnished. A servant in pale-blue livery handed him a cup filled with sparkling wine, after drinking which Sion felt convinced that he was, without a shadow of doubt, the best harper that the world had ever seen. The guests surrounded him and, addressing him by name (this Sion considered strange, as he could not remember meeting any of them before), asked him to play. Sion consented, and the company began to dance very spiritedly. When the first dance was over one of the guests took Sion's hat and collected money for him, bringing it back filled with gold and silver. After this Sion kept on playing, and the company continued to dance until the dawn of day, when one by one the guests disappeared, and Sion was left alone. Perceiving a couch, he laid himself thereon, and was soon fast asleep. He did not awake until midday, and then he found himself lying on the heather. The palace had vanished, and the gold and silver in his hat had been converted into withered leaves.

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