The Tale of Lleu, Chapter VII: Mabon
Where we last left Blodeuwedd, she had just received word from Gronw Pebr that he had finished work on the only weapon that could possibly slay the young Lion.
Blodeuwedd spoke to Lleu. “I have been wondering how what you told me could possibly be true. Would you show me how it is possible to stand on the edge of a cauldron and on the back of a goat, if I prepare it for you?”
“I will show you.” he replied.
Then she sent word to Gronw and told him to wait in ambush behind the hill at the bank of the river Cynfael, which is now known as Brynn Kyfegr. She would bring the Lion to him.
Blodeuwedd arranged for all the goats in the cantref to be obtained and herded together, and she brought them to the place by the riverbank opposite the hill. The largest of these goats she lashed to the Cauldron, and above its rim she made a roof of sticks and thatch.
The next day she said to Lleu “I have prepared the Cauldron and the Goat. Will you now show me how this can be done?”
“Let us look,” said Lleu, and they went to the place where Blodeuwedd had prepared his coming doom.
“Will you go into the bath?” she asked, as innocently as she could manage.
When Lleu Llaw Gyffes emerged from his bath, he placed one foot on the edge of the Cauldron and the other upon the back of the Goat, demonstrating for his wife what he had described. Immediately Gronw Pebr rose from behind the hill and threw the spear mightily, striking Lleu in the side. The head of the spear disappeared into his body, and the haft shattered with a crash like thunder.
Lleu gave a terrible scream at the grievous wound, and in a flash like lightning, he disappeared. Blodeuwedd collapsed upon the earth, lamenting her deeds. As she raised her face to the darkening twilight sky, she saw an eagle on the wing against the sunset. The bird was bleeding terribly, and wherever its blood touched the earth, bright red flowers sprouted and withered in an instant. At long last, the sun passed into the West, and so too did the eagle vanish from sight.
As soon as the eagle had disappeared, Gronw and Blodeuwedd made for the court, and that night, they slept together, but Blodeuwedd was inconsolable, for she knew the significance of what she had done, and she knew that Gwydion would be coming for her soon.
The next day, Gronw arose and subdued Ardudwy, and ruled over the land so that both Ardudwy and Penllyn were as one under his iron hand.
Thus, the Lion of Summer was betrayed by the Maiden of Autumn. Poised upon the Balance, with one foot on the Cauldron and the other on the Goat, he was transformed into an Eagle by the spear of the Hunter. Indeed, there is a riddle here that perhaps only the Bards can answer.
Gronw Pebr had taken the place of Lleu. He had taken his wife, taken his life, and taken his throne. The Triad of Thefts complete, Gronw the Winter King now took on the form and appearance of Lleu, and darkness ruled in the place of light.
Take stock of what you have harvested by the Summer’s light, my friends. Take stock of what you have gained, and what you have left behind, and of all that you are thankful for. Winter is coming. Look to the warmth of friends and family, look to the warmth of the hearth and home. Let the love and light of the Summer King live in your hearts and guide you through the long nights ahead.
This is not the end of the Summer King’s story, not by any means, for the world should not be forever cast in darkness and cold. But that is another tale, for another time.