The Cloak of Kings’ Beards: Three Tales for Europe

These retellings from the manuscripts of Iolo Morgannwg were first published as ‘The Cloak of Kings’ Beards: Three Welsh Folk Tales’ in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 24th September 2018, and now appear as ‘Three Tales for Europe’ in Pugnacious Little Trolls: Twenty-Three Stories.

Read the story

Iolo Morganwg (Edward Williams, 1747-1826) was a stonemason by trade, a poet and mediaevalist, a Unitarian and a political radical, and the founder of the Gorsedd Beirdd. These three tales from the Iolo Manuscripts, chosen for their significance to the politics of our time, are retold with changes to quicken their narratives, and to bring out their contemporary relevance.

The Road to the Lime Kilns

Talhaiarn the poet had a son named Tanwyn, and this son had been raised by his father in the love of mankind and the service of God, in every honourable attainment and every beneficial skill. This lad, arriving at man’s estate, felt a yearning to leave his father’s house, and to seek out his destiny in the world, so his father kissed him and gave him his blessing, with a few parting words of advice. ‘My son Tanwyn,’ he said, ‘my only beloved son, I have given you all knowledge and training and instruction, and I have neither land to house you nor gold to speed you on your way. Therefore, travel where you will under the guidance of God, and remember only these words of mine: never wish on another what you would not wish on yourself; never take the new road where the old road is still passable; and never pass by a place where a man of God is preaching, without stopping to listen to him.’

So Tanwyn left, and after travelling for some days, he came to a long and even strand, and remembering his father’s advice, he wrote these words in the sand with his staff: He who wishes ill on another, on him may the same ill fall. As he was doing so, the lord of that country…

Read on

News and Opinion

A Portrait of the Artist as a Middle‑Aged Man

The day was dull, rather misty, and wet under foot, but neither too warm nor too cold for walking. I began to think (without being especially aware that I was thinking) about the place of blood in Christian iconography, about the chapel in which I was raised, which seemed mildly obsessed with it...

Read post

Featured Posts