For two years Pwyll and Rhiannon lived, loved and laughed. The countrymen began to pressure Pwyll for an heir. A year later Rhiannon gave birth to a baby boy they named Pryderi. The land rang out with joy for the future king.
Even though Rhiannon took great care of her son she had six midwives trusted with the task to relieve her when she needed to rest. On such an occasion while Rhiannon napped the midwives found Pryderi missing from his crib. In panic, and to save their own lives, they slaughtered a litter of puppies and spread the bones around Rhiannon. When Rhiannon awoke to the horror lying in her bed the tearful midwives told her she had eaten her child. Rhiannon denied that she could have done such a thing. The midwives insisted to the high counsel that they had witnessed Rhiannon devouring her young son.
Rhiannon was condemned for such a horrific crime. High counsel sentenced her to stand at the gate of the Great Hall and tell all who wished to enter of her crime, and then, on her back, she would carry them inside the walls like a horse.
Unknown to all involved, on the same evening that her son, Pryderi, went missing, thieves had entered the stables of Tieron. A man who rose in Pwyll's kingdom went in search of the intruders. Upon returning he found an infant, swaddle in satin, lying on the stable floor. Discussing his finds with his wife, the two decided to keep the child and raise him as their own.
Pryderi grew quite fast. He had a great fondness for horses. One afternoon while riding through the hills the man realized his son's resemblance to King Pwyll was too great to ignore. He began replaying the past in his mind and wondered if he had made such a grave error on the evening he had found the boy. On the eve of Beltane, Pryderi and the man rode to the Great Hall. Rhiannon, strapped to a yolk, began to tell her tale as she had done many times before. The man refused to listen. Rhiannon requested them to climb on her back, but the two refused. Together, they entered on their own in search of Pwyll to tell him what they believed to be true. Pwyll agreed that the young man was his son, and indeed, would be the future King. Rhiannon was cleared of all wrong having her sentence released.
Pryderi grew to be a man worthy to rule Dyfed. His father introduced him to the King of Annfwn, Arawn, Arawn also believed he was a man of royal descent and deserved great respect. At some time, King Arawn, as a gift, gave Pryderi a herd of his finest swine. He told the prince never to sell or give the gift away.
Pryderi's father grew older and the time came to pass on his crown. Pryderi became Lord Dyfed.
The land of Dyfed ruled by Pryderi and the Kingdom of Gwynedd ruled by Math became rivals. With a reason unknown to Pryderi an attack was set forth out on his land. Gwydion, along with Gilfaethwy, disguised a group of young warriors as bards and entered Dyfed as friendly guests.
The young bards were welcomed on the soil as bards always were. Pryderi ordered a great feast for the travelers. During the celebration, Gwydion filled the hall with songs and tales they had visited. The bards brought new inspiration. Pryderi was enjoying his guest. He did not see the price he would pay for their company. Gwydion said to Pryderi,
"I have brought joy and wisdom to your land. In return I wish for your fabulous swine."
Pryderi replied that he could not honor his request for he could neither sell nor give away his gift.
Gwydion being quick of thought, replied,” You might barter them for something equal if not better value."
Pryderi agreed to an exchange.
The next day appearing before Pryderi were twelve mighty stallions trimmed in gold, twelve black hounds wearing clean white collars and twelve gold shields. Pryderi, believing his trade was a good one, released the priceless swine.
The company left as quickly as they had appeared. Soon after the illusion disappeared. His gifts turned into toadstools and other fungi. Pryderi gathered his knights and went forth to battle the thieves. Pryderi, standing alone, found Gwydion and battled him one-on-one. Gwydion, more powerful took Pryderi's life.
© 2008 Angie Skelhorn