Part 1 . . . Published in The Talewinds, Fenruary, 2002
When Maredudd came of an age to take a wife, he knew not where to seek and so turned to his father, Cynan Dudwal, who bade him seek out his cousin Arthur, who ruled many cantrefs and knew many people from across the land. Further, Arthur maintained a large war band and could surely help Maredudd in his quest for a bride. Thus Maredudd set out in his finest clothes, on his finest steed preceded by his finest hunting hounds.
Maredudd traveled for many days and defeated many obstacles, the telling of which fall not within this tale, until he finally arrived at Arthur1s court, and there presented to his cousin his dilemma. Arthur considered Maredudd1s plight for some time, until at last it came to him that there was a woman within his knowledge who might be suitable and was indeed worthy of joining with one of his kin. Further, Arthur pointed out that, though she had been married at one time, there was no husband to yet contend with, having been slain in recent border skirmishes with Arthur and his war band. Maredudd accepted his cousin1s counsel and the band set out in search of Chiere Gradhmuir, daughter of the Chief of the Giants.
Long they sought until at last, they came upon a castle perched upon a hill. This castle was surrounded on all sides by untilled and wild fields. At the base of the hill, a small cottage was found were an old crone lived and told the story of the Chief of the Giants that lived in the castle above, and how, since her widowing, no one had yet been able to win his daughters hand in marriage. Thus, Maredudd, followed by Arthur and his war band, approached the castle of the Chief of the Giants.
Part 2 . . . Published in The Talwinds, March, 2002
Upon entering the main hall, Maredudd and Arthur, accompanied by all their warriors, were made welcome by having several spears thrown at their heads. Undaunted, Maredudd proceeded to present to the Chief of the Giants his petition to win the Chief's daughter Chiere to be his bride.
Seizing an opportunity to gain some wealth and to test Maredudd's mettle, Ysbadaddin, the Chief of the Giants, listed a number of quests that had to be preformed before Maredudd could have his bride. Upon this list were such tasks as to find the darkest honey made by the finest bees of the deepest glens of Powys, with which to make the sweetest mead in all the lands, and all this to be accomplished in but one day. Also upon the list of tasks to be accomplished was to clean the stalls, to groom and re-shoe the horses, and to repair all the war chariots in his many stables, again all to be accomplished in one day. The third task on the list was to clear, plow, plant, cultivate and harvest 100 bushels of the finest wheat from each of his 100 acres, again, all in one day. There were many other items on the list, including jeweled collars for Ysbadadden1s great hunting hounds, golden goblets for his wife, fine linens for his table. To all this Maredudd calmly listened, and replied, ŇThough you think it is not, yet it will be done.Ó
At last, the final item read and accepted, and much rumbling from the giants, Ysbadaddin dismissed Maredudd to the accomplishment of the quest and so Maredudd, Arthur and their men headed off to begin the tasks assigned. First, to find a field.
Part 3 . . . Published in The Talewinds, May, 2002
Maredudd, his cousin Arthur, and their companions traveled far across the land to achieve those items and tasks which Ysbadaddin had required of them, first to prove that Maredudd was indeed worthy of his daughters hand, and second as payment for his daughters hand in marriage. The band's travels first took them far to the North and to the West where they were set upon by the pictish tribes, each bearing a black star painted upon his naked breast. Long they fought until their foes withdrew, and only then did they turn their minds towards the first items of their quest.
They found the greatest steed in the land for Maredudd to ride, for all know that it is the great power, endurance, and swiftness of ones horse that carries the greatest of warriors into battle, and there on the fields of valor did Maredudd prove his skill on horseback.
But great warriors must be more than great horsemen, for all know that as mighty as is the steed, so to is the power of words, and so Maredudd took the field before the arrayed armies of the world and bespoke words for his Liege, and in doing so did strike fear into the hearts of the enemy and gladness into the hearts of his friends, and yet too, after the sun had yet set upon the battlefield, did he stand forth and speak words of such tenderness and love that those foemen who still stood upon the field fell to their knees and wept tears of sadness, and of joy.
It is in this way that Maredudd carried himself to war and achieved some portion of the items and tasks laid upon him by Ysbadadden, these being a swift and valiant steed and the gift of eloquence as well as many others which shall go unnamed in this telling, and when the war was done did Maredudd, Arthur, and their companions set their path once more towards home where the next task awaited them.
Part 4 . . . Published in Talewinds, July, 2002
Upon arriving home from their journeys abroad, Maredudd and his companions found their lands overrun by cattle thieves! The call went out to all able-bodied warriors to take to the field in defense of the land, and the battle was on. Long the battles raged and many thieves were slain, but at last the cattle were once again safe.
It was at this time that Maredudd achieved another item upon his quest, for there was among those who took to the field; one whose skills at crafting armor was unsurpassed. This smith had slain the great white dragon of the East and with the flames from its belly had forged the greatest helm in the land, and with the waters of the Severn and the Wye, he tempered it to a great strength. In this way was Maredudd further clothed in the ramaint of the warrior.
There came then a great gathering of people from across the land, for a noble King and Queen had fallen and Maredudd and his Companions traveled to their land to pay them homage, for they had ruled well and wisely. During these travels again many adventures were found, and a number of quest items were achieved, including the sweetest honey from across the land, drawn from the oldest trees in the deepest glens of Powys, by the hands of a wise woman, a healer of great renown. Honey from which could, in the right hands, be made the finest of pastries, as well into the sweetest of meads.
These and many other items had been achieved thus far on Maredudd's quest, as he and his companions continued to scour the land in search of the many items demanded by Ysbadaddin, Chief of the Giants
Part 5. . . Published in Talewinds, August, 2002
Now among the many things that Ysbadadden had required of Maredudd on his quest, one of the greatest and most difficult to acquire was the capture and return of Arancor Mawr, the hound of Bon Du, said to be the greatest hound of Penllyn. Arancor had been driven mad as a young hound when the enemies of Ysbadadden stole her hind teeth and cast them into the depths of the swiftly flowing waters of the Severn. Arancor had broken free of her collar and disappeared into the wild woods of Penllyn. It was said that Arancor could only be captured by one who held the houndŐs own hind teeth in the left hand, placing it inside her mouth, while the right hand placed the collar about her neck. Only in this way could she be tamed. Determined to find the hound, Maredudd set his path along the Severn I hopes of finding the hounds teeth.
Maredudd followed the Severn until, growing tired of his journey, he decided to sit and rest upon the banks of the river where he quickly fashioned a fishing pole and, after baiting the hook with a fresh worm, cast his line into the river. While relaxing, Maredudd fell into a deep sleep where he dreamt of a great white bird flying along the river. Every now and then the bird would drop to the SevernŐs surface and dip its beak into the water, as if to catch a fish. At last, as the bird passed by where Maredudd was sitting, he dipped down again and this time the bird came up with a large white salmon in its beak. As Maredudd watched, the bird changed its course, flying directly towards him. As the bird flew overhead, he dropped the salmon onto MareduddŐs lap and then flew on down the river. As the dream fish landed in his lap, Maredudd was started out of his slumber by a swift tug upon his fishing line. Surprised, Maredudd quickly stood up and was preparing to lift his line to see what he had caught when a large salmon leap from the river and landed at MareduddŐs feet. Amazed by this, Maredudd swiftly bent down to take hold of the great fish. It was then that Maredudd was truly surprised for there, in the salmonŐs mouth was not only his hook, but also two hind teeth of a hound, teeth that under the circumstances, Maredudd was certain belonged to Arancor Mawr. It was in this way that Maredudd found the teeth that assured his capture and returning if the great hound of Bon Du to Ysbadadden.
To Bo Continued . . .