Thursday, 21 January 2016


Then came the wonder of topping up the panniers with water! How I hoped the fireman would get wet! Then I glimpsed the furnace deep in the belly of the cab. “There’s two dragons fighting in there,” said my Dad. 
Soon we were on board and the train was rattling down towards the sea.
“What did you mean, Dad, two dragons?”
“It’s the prophecy of Merlin, boy.”
Vortigern, King of Britain was defeated by the Saxons so he fled to Wales and began to build a castle. Every day he built a wall, but next day it would always fall down. The king asked his advisors what to do. They told him to find a fatherless boy, kill him, and then mix his blood with the mortar. Then the wall would not collapse.
Then the advisors said, “We know such a boy, his name is Merlin.”
So they found Merlin and brought him to the king. But then Merlin boldly spoke to Vortigern. Merlin knew they wanted to kill him because they were scared of his magic and he told the king.
Then Merlin said, “King, I know why your walls fall down. They are not built on a good foundation. There, under the ground, is a lake. Under the lake are two sleeping dragons – one red dragon, one white. The walls collapse because they trap the dragons underneath. The dragons fight each other, as they fight the ground trembles and your walls fall down.”
So they cleared away the stone and everything Merlin said was true. The dragons woke up, came out of the hole and fought one another. At first it seemed the red dragon was winning, but then the white dragon won.”
Then Merlin said “What it means is this. The red dragon represents the Britons; the white dragon is the Saxons.  At first the Boar of Cornwall will defeat the Saxons, but eventually they will return to rule Britain.”
“Who is the Boar of Cornwall?”asked Vortigern.
“King Arthur, said Merlin, “and six of his descendants will rule before the Saxons return.”
Then, with the dragons gone, Vortigern finished his castle, and he named it Dinas Emrys, because Emrys was Merlin’s other name.”
“Crumbs,” I said, did it all come true?”
“Every word, boy, every word. First the Saxons came back, then the Normans, then the English”
“Could no one fight them?”
“There was one man: Owain Glyndwr.”
“The man the engine was named after!”
Owain Glyndwr! At Pennal on the River Dovey he drew up the very first declaration of Welsh independence. He fought the invaders. He swooped down from the misty hills and gave them what for. Also he was a master of disguise: they never knew when or where he would attack. And you know, boy, there is no record of him ever dying. Some say he’s still out there in the hills, hiding in the mist, waiting for the right moment to overthrow the invaders.
And the old prophecies foretell the last battle will be at Cors Fochno! On that day, when ferns are brown, when holly is red, with whetted axes and blood-red spear, our enemies will be hurled like pigs into the marsh!

On the bus back to Borth I fell asleep dreaming of Dragons and Devils. A fearless warrior stood guard.

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