Given my Welsh ancestry and my recent visit to Wales I’ve been looking for something which might give me another way into the subject, a link perhaps between me here in Oxford and my ancestors there is Wales. I decided to look at some Welsh myths, being as I am interested in old stories, and so I bought a book; ‘The Mabinogi and Other Welsh Tales.’ I won’t discuss at any length the book (translated and edited by Patrick K. Ford) or explain what the Mabinogi is, but will simply present a piece of text from one of the tales; ‘Lludd and Lleuelys’. In that story one finds the following:
“Some time after that, Lludd had the island measured in length and breadth; the middle point was found to be in Oxford. There he had the earth dug up, and in that hole he put a vat full of the best mead that could be made, with a silk veil over the surface. He himself stood watch that night. As he was thus, he could see the dragons fighting. When they grew weary and exhausted, they fell onto the screen and dragged it down with them to the bottom of the vat. After they drank the mead they slept; as they slept, Lludd wrapped the veil about them. In the safest place he could find in Eryri, he secluded them in a stone chest. After that the place was called Dinas Emrys; before that it was known as Dinas Ffaraon Dandde, He was one of three stewards whose hearts broke from sorrow.”
The reason why this piece of text interested me in particular is probably obvious; the fact that in a book of Welsh Mediaeval myths, Oxford is mentioned. There’s also some thing in the text which gives me a way in to the subject, into possible ideas.