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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Dream of Rhonabwy
The Mabinogion
How Rhonabwy Slept, and Began his Dream

Translation of Lady Charlotte Guest

NOW, near the house of Heilyn Goch they saw an old hall, very black and having an upright gable, whence issued a great smoke; and on entering they found the floor full of puddles and mounds; and it was difficult to stand thereon, so slippery was it with mire. And where the puddles were, a man might go up to the ankles in water and dirt. And there were boughs of holly spread over the floor, whereof the cattle had browsed the sprigs. When they came to the hall of the house, they beheld cells full of dust and very gloomy, and on one side an old hag making a fire. And whenever she felt cold, she cast a lapful of chaff upon the fire, and raised such a smoke that it was scarcely to be borne as it rose up the nostrils. And on the other side was a yellow calfskin on the floor; a main privilege was it to any one who should get upon that hide. And when they had sat down, they asked the hag where were the people of the house. And the hag spoke not, but muttered. Thereupon behold the people of the house entered: a ruddy, clownish, curly-headed man, with a burthen of fagots on his back, and a pale, slender woman, also carrying a bundle under her arm. And they barely welcomed the men, and kindled a fire with the boughs. And the woman cooked something and gave them to eat: barley bread, and cheese, and milk and water.  1
  And there arose a storm of wind and rain, so that it was hardly possible to go forth with safety. And being weary with their journey, they laid themselves down and sought to sleep. And when they looked at the couch it seemed to be made but of a little coarse straw, full of dust and vermin, with the stems of boughs sticking up therethrough; for the cattle had eaten all the straw that was placed at the head and foot. And upon it was stretched an old russet-colored rug, threadbare and ragged; and a coarse sheet full of slits was upon the rug, and an ill-stuffed pillow, and a worn-out cover upon the sheet. And after much suffering from the vermin, and from the discomfort of their couch, a heavy sleep fell on Rhonabwy’s companions. But Rhonabwy, not being able either to sleep or to rest, thought he should suffer less if he went to lie upon the yellow calfskin that was stretched out on the floor. And there he slept.  2
  As soon as sleep had come upon his eyes it seemed to him that he was journeying with his companions across the plain of Argyngroeg, and he thought that he went towards Rhyd y Groes on the Severn. As he journeyed he heard a mighty noise, the like whereof heard he never before; and looking behind him, he beheld a youth with yellow curling hair, and with his beard newly trimmed, mounted on a chestnut horse, whereof the legs were gray from the top of the fore legs, and from the bend of the hind legs downwards. And the rider wore a coat of yellow satin sewn with green silk, and on his thigh was a gold-hilted sword, with a scabbard of new leather of Cordova, belted with the skin of the deer, and clasped with gold. And over this was a scarf of yellow satin, wrought with green silk, the borders whereof were likewise green. And the green of the caparison of the horse, and of his rider, was as green as the leaves of the fir-tree, and the yellow was as yellow as the blossom of the broom.  3

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