CELTIC LEGENDS OF GLAMORGAN
By Anthony Rees, illustrated by Cafall, published by Llanerch Publishers at £6.95. 120pp. ISBN: 1-86143-021-3
Several of these local folktales will be familiar to many people, such as The Sparrowhawk Knight (extracted from Gereint and Enid), King Arthur in the Cave and Elidorus, while others are less well known in the form in which they are presented here, though many will be familiar from other, similar versions.
One of the main themes running through the selection presented here, which is described as comprising virtually all of the surviving local legends of this part of Wales, is that of human and fairy interaction. In these tales the fairies are by turns friendly and welcoming to humans when not crossed and relentless in their vengeance when insulted or demeaned. Here Arthur and his knights sleep in a lost cave until they are summoned to the last battle; a stolen child is won back from the fairies by trickery and the fairy changeling sent back; a fairy bride is won from a lake until her husband breaks the geasa placed upon him; fairy vengeance pursues its course down many generations in a family. Here, in short, is a fine collection of traditional stories for pagans and storytellers alike for telling round a fire or for simply reading for pleasure.
The book also includes an introductory essay on the sources of the tales plus a closing chapter on seasonal festivals which provides a useful introduction to the main Celtic festivals for those unfamiliar with them, and Cafall's line illustrations are strong and clean and suitably "Celtic".