The Tale of Lleu, Chapter III: Ostara

1363348855546797Having been shamed by her brother Gwydion, and tricked by his clever wiles into giving her son a name, Arianrhod was incensed, and passed a second doom upon the boy;

“This destiny I lay upon you, Lleu Llaw Gyffes. You shall never receive the weapons of manhood, and thus shall you never be a man, and never sit upon the throne as King, unless those weapons are placed upon you by your mother. This I vow!”

And of course, the look in her eye showed that she had no intention of doing so. Gwydion and Lleu departed from Caer Arianrhod, and went to Dinas Dinllef. There, Gwydion cared for Lleu, and raised him well. He grew rapidly, and Gwydion taught him both horse and weaponry. He taught him courtly behavior, and also the secrets of the Three Magicks.

Lleu grew to be perfect in strength, features, and stature. The time came when Lleu became despondent, for he needed to bear the weapons of manhood to be welcome among the courts of men.

One day Gwydion called for Lleu and told him that they would go on a journey.

“But I bid you, my son, that you put on a cheerful face.”

“That I will,” said the boy.

They journeyed towards the castle of Arianrhod. As they approached the gates they placed a glamour upon themselves, so that they appeared as two youths, though Gwydion appeared to be the more serious of the two. Gwydion hailed the guard;

“Porter! Go in and say that here are two Bards from Morgannwg.”

They were welcomed in most heartily, as was the custom in those days, and both Gwydion and Lleu sat down to a sumptuous feast. When the meal had ended Gwydion entertained the hall with news and stories. Gwydion was an excellent storyteller, and a most merry time was had by all.

A chamber was prepared for them and they went to their ease. In the early dawn Gwydion called to him all his magick, and all his power, and by the time the day had fully dawned there arose an uproar throughout the land. Shouts and trumpet calls alarmed the castle and soon there came a great pounding upon the door. Arianrhod was there, rousing the Bards to wakefulness.

“Ah! Good men! Evil has come upon us,” she said.clontarf

Gwydion replied; “Yes, we have heard the trumpets and the shouts. What do they mean?”

“We cannot see the ocean for the many ships that sail towards us with great speed! What are we to do?” implored Arianrhod.

To this, Gwydion said;” Lady, there is nothing to do save to shut up the castle, and let us defend it as best we may.”

“Will you aid in this defense?” she asked.

“Indeed, we shall, my Lady. But we are without arms.”

“Arms I have in plenty,” replied Arianrhod.

Soon Arianrhod reappeared with her maids, and suits of armor and weapons for the two men.

“Lady, I know my business. Would you equip this stripling while I, with the aid of your maidens, attire myself?”

“I will do so gladly,” replied Arianrhod.

Soon all were ready for the battle.

“I have finished. Your companion is ready,” said Arianrhod.

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Gwydion replied; “I too am finished. We may now take off our arms, for we need them not.”

“Why? There is an army about my castle!” exclaimed Arianrhod.

Just then, the glamour faded, the invading army became naught but the trees of the forest, and the musicians became Gwydion and the young Lleu. Gwydion thanked his sister for bestowing upon her son the weapons of Manhood. Arianrhod was not pleased.

And thus, with much help from the sly Gwydion, Lleu Llaw Gyffes, the Lion With The Steady Hand, the light of the world, did gain the arms of Manhood. Arianrhod would have one final doom to lay upon her son, but that is another tale, for another time.

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