The Tale of Lleu, Chapter I: Yule
Once, long ago, King Math, son of Mathonwy and brother of Don, was Lord in Gwynedd. As it was in those days, Math needed a maiden to be his companion and to hold his feet in the place where he dwelt, which was called Caer Dathyl. As his previous foot holder could no longer provide this service, Math sought the advice of the magickian Gwydion. The wise Gwydion gave him counsel and said;
“Seek Arianrhod, your niece, your sister’s daughter, to be your footholder and companion.”
Math sent word to Arianrhod in her castle of glass, hidden within Snowdon. When she arrived at Caer Dathyl, he said to her;
“Arianrhod, daughter-of-my-sister, are you yet a maiden, that you might hold my feet?”
“I know not other, than that I am,” replied Arianrhod.
King Math took up his magick staff, bent it, and laid it upon the ground. He said to Arianrhod;
“Step over this staff, that your claim of maidenhood might be tested, for if I have no maiden to hold my feet, I shall surely perish.”
As Arianrhod stepped over the staff, a small child came from her. At the crying of the child, Arianrhod made haste for the door in shame. Math looked down at the yellow haired child before him and said;
“Dylan shall be his name.”
Later, Dylan saw the sea and with irresistible longing in his heart, he jumped in and took on its nature, as should be, for his father was Manawyddan. Beneath him, no wave ever broke, and the sea was his home from that day forth. Dylan would become the father of the strange race of Selkies, but that is yet another story.
But Arianrhod did not know that she had borne two. As she fled, so another form had appeared, but before anyone could take notice, Gwydion picked him up and swiftly covered the child with a scarf of velvet.
Gwydion had secreted away the second infant in his scarf, away from the notice of Arianrhod and the court of Math, for it was yet far too early for the child to be born. He took the child and raised him for a time in a special trunk at the foot of his bed that he had constructed just for that purpose, using his magick, and chants, and herbs, to keep the boy alive. Gwydion was very clever, and had used his magick to make the trunk from nine different woods of the forest.
At the end of a year, when the proper time had come at last for his birth, Gwydion took the child out of the trunk. A boy, now one year old, with tousled blonde hair, he yet seemed as large as a two year old might have been. Both Gwydion and the boy were immediately enchanted one with the other, and from that time forth was there a love between them, as father and son. Gwydion ceremoniously took apart the magick trunk at the foot of his bed, and burned all the pieces, that his secret should not be discovered until the proper moment.
Thus, under the cover of darkness, was light born into the world. There is much more to the child’s story, but that is another tale, for another time.