“Come on Gwion Bach”, said Morda impatiently, “we have work to do, I’ve received a message from the witch Cerridwen offering us a years’ work so hurry up as we can’t afford to miss an opportunity like that”.
So I gathered up my meagre belongings and ran after Morda, who although blind was already yards ahead of me.
We headed north for Penllyn to the home of Tegid Foal and his wife the well known wise woman called Cerridwen. We approached the lake about noon the following day and although the Sun was high in the sky the lake was still veiled by mist. As we approached an austere looking hut we were greeted by a beautiful looking young woman.
“Welcome” she said softly,” my name is Creirwy and I have been sent to meet you and take you to my mother Ceridwen. Please follow me into the woods”.
I had no hesitation in following such a fair maiden as she. As we followed her we walked close to the window of the hut where I heard a scurrying sound from inside the hut which I found quite disconcerting. The inside of the hut was unlit and dark but as I peered in I was certain that I could see a small figure crouching in the darkest corner of the room.
“Hello” I called.
“He won’t answer you” said Creirwy “that is my bother Afagddu, once known as Morfran until his ugliness caused my mother to cast him into the shadows out of the sight of men. As a reminder of her shame at having produced such a creature as he she renamed him as Afagddu which means utter darkness”.
“Can nothing be done to heal his life” I asked.
“That is why you are here” she replied. “come let us go quickly, Mother has been busy collecting the herbs required for your work and has little patience since returning from her visit to the Fferyllt. You do not want to anger her or test her patience” she added.
Leaving the pathetic figure behind us we were led by Creirwy into the depths of the forest, eventually arriving at the small hut that was to be our home over the next year and a day. The dark and imposing silhouette of a bent figure could be seen standing by a large cauldron into which she appeared to be pouring in water.
“At last” she cried, “my work can begin. Come sit and I will tell you about your task”.
She pointed a long crooked finger towards a fallen log that was to be our chair. We sat and she began to tell her tale.