Legend of the Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach
The story of Llyn y Fan Fach in the Carmarthen Brecons tells how a widow’s son of Blaen Sawdde near Llanddeusant used to graze his mother’s cattle near Llyn y Fan Fach. While there one day he saw a maiden more beautiful than any he had seen before, sitting on the surface of the water. He reached out for her offering her some of his bread but she slipped from his grasp saying “Your bread is too hard baked, it will never catch me”. The lad returned the next day with some underbaked dough, while she again refused saying “Your bread is wet, I Don’t want you”.
He returned the third day when she appeared, accepted his bread, and consented to become his bride on condition that he did not strike her three times without cause “Tri ergyd diachos”. If this happened, she would leave him for ever. Thereupon she disappeared into the lake. A little later an old man appeared accompanied by two identical maidens. This man, the maiden’s father, greeted the boy and said he would give his consent to the match provided the youth could identify his love. As the young man looked on in his dilemma, one of the maidens put forward her foot and the lad straightaway recognised her. The old man confirmed his choice, consented to the match, and promised the couple as many sheep, goats, and cattle as the maiden could count in one breath. She immediately began to count in five’s. The couple married and went to live happily and prosperously in a farm called Esgair Llaethdy and had three sons. Years passed and eventually one causeless blow was struck and then another and finally a third, and the wife, true to her warning returned to the lake taking her cattle with her.
The husband was broken hearted. Her sons wandered long searching for her and on one of their searches she appeared to them at a place called Dol Hywel and told her eldest son Rhiwallon that he was to benefit mankind by his medicine. She then furnished him with a bag of medical prescriptions and promised that he and his descendants would be for many generations the most skilful physicians in the country. On another occasion she accompanied her sons to a place called Pant y Meddygon where she pointed out to them various plants and herbs which grew in abundance in that place. The knowledge she imparted to them together with their unrivalled skill caused them to be more famous than any before them, and in order that their learning should not be lost they committed it to writing for the benefit of mankind through the ages.