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The Pwca of the Trwyn

A PRANKSOME goblin once took up his abode at the Trwyn Farm, in the parish of Mynyddislwyn, and became known throughout the country as Pwca'r Trwyn, or the Pwca of the Trwyn. How he got there is not known. One story says that he once lived at Pant y gaseg. Moses, one of farm servants, of the Trwyn, came to Pant y gaseg for a jug of barm, and the Pwca was heard to say,' "The Pwca is going away now in this jug of barm, and he'll never come back," and he never was heard of at Pant y gaseg again. Another story tells that a servant of Pant y gaseg let fall a ball of yarn, and the Pwca said, "I am going in this ball, and I'll go to the Trwyn and never come back." Directly after this the ball was seen to roll down the hill-side and across the valley, ascending the hill on the other side and trundling along briskly across the mountain top of this new abode.

Anyhow, the Pwca came to the Trwyn, and though he remained invisible he became very friendly with Moses. He did all his work for him with great ease. For instance, he threshed a whole barnful of corn in a single night. Once, indeed, he gave him a good beating for doubting his word, but apart from that the two remained on the best possible terms for a long time. Moses went away, however, with David Morgan, the Jacobite, to join the Young Pretender, and never came back again.

After this the Pwca transferred his affections to Blodwen, one of the servant-girls, and very useful he proved to her. He did everything for her, washing, ironing, spinning and twisting wool--at the spinning wheel he was remarkably handy. No one was allowed to catch a sight of him, but he became very talkative, and often used to speak from out of an oven by the side of the hearth. He told Blodwen that it was very mean of her not to provide him with food and drink for helping her so much, and after this she used, with her master Job John Harri's permission, to place a bowl of fresh milk and a slice of white bread (the latter was a great luxury at that time) on the hearth every night for him before going to bed. By the morning the bread was eaten and the bowl empty. This fare made the Pwca light-hearted, and he used to make music o' nights with Job John Harri's fiddle, and very merry rollicking music it was.

One evening he revealed part of himself. The servant-girls were comparing their hands as to size and whiteness, when a voice from the ceiling was heard to say, "The Pwca's hand is the fairest and smallest." "Show it, then," said Blodwen, who used to speak quite freely to him. Immediately a hand appeared from the ceiling, small, fair, and beautifully formed, with a large gold ring on the little finger.

It was Blodwen's fault that the Pwca became troublesome. One night, in a spirit of mischief, she drank the milk and ate the bread that were usually provided for him, leaving him some stale crusts of barley bread and a bowlful of dirty water. It would have been better for her not to have done it. When she got up next morning he suddenly sprang from some corner, and, seizing her by the neck, began to beat her and kick her from one end of the house to the other, until she screamed for mercy.

After this the Pwca became freakish, and played all sorts of pranks. He began his games by knocking at the door, but when it was opened there was no one to be seen. Then he did all sorts of mischief about the house, and in the cowhouses and stable. He harassed the oxen when they ploughed and drew them after him everywhere, plough and all, nor could anyone prevent them.

The neighbours came to hear about these goings on, and one of them, Thomas Evans by name, said he would take a gun and shoot the Pwca. As Job John Harri was coming home one night from a journey the Pwca met him in the lane and said, "There is a man come to your house to shoot me, but you shall see how I will beat him." So Job went on to the house and found Thomas Evans there with his gun, breathing all manner of dire threats against the wicked sprite. Suddenly stones flew from all directions at Thomas and hurt him badly. The members of the household of the Trwyn got round him, thinking to protect him, but the stones still struck him. The curious part of the whole thing was that they never touched anyone else. At last Thomas Evans took his gun and ran home as fast as his legs could carry him, and never again did he talk of shooting the Pwca.

Job John Harri went to a fair, and night overtook him on the mountain as he was returning home. Somehow or other, though the path was quite familiar to him, he lost his way. Whether it was owing to the darkness or from some other cause (there are influences at fairs which cause many to stray from the right path) is uncertain; at any rate he wandered onwards in different directions over the mountain in much doubt and perplexity. At last he was brought to a full stop against a stone wall. As he was rubbing his forehead, which had got the worst of the collision with the wall, and considering the situation, a light suddenly arose upon the waste at a short distance to his right. "There is some one with a lantern," he said to himself, and he determined to follow in his wake. As he walked on he, noticed that there were two very remarkable things about the light. One was that however fast or however slow he walked, the light kept at just the same distance from him. Again, it kept so near the ground that the arm which bore it must have belonged to a person of exceptionally short stature. Job concluded that it was a child carrying a lantern. He followed the light for several miles, when it suddenly stopped. Job had by this time come well nigh up to it, and was about to hail its bearer when the sound of a foaming torrent arose to his ears. Just then the bearer of the light took a flying leap and landed some thirty yards away. The light blazed forth brilliantly, and Job found himself on the brink of a frightful precipice. On the other side of the yawning chasm was a tiny little man, as naked as a new-born babe, with long hair and pointed ears, and a maliciously ugly expression on his face, peering down into the gorge (it was afterwards called Cwm Pwca). When he saw that Job had not fallen into the trap towards which he had led him, he uttered a loud shrill laugh and douted the light. Job was afraid to move, and remained on the spot, stiff with terror, until daylight appeared, when he made his way home. After that the Pwca was never heard or seen at the Trwyn.

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