Findoir Allissima

Findoir's Story:   Findoir began life as boy named Gwion Bach, a servant to the old crone Ceridwen. Ceridwen had a beautiful daughter and an ugly son named Morfran (also called Avagddu), whose appearance no magic could cure, so she sought to give him the gift of wisdom as compensation. Using a magical cauldron, Ceridwen cooked a potion granting wisdom, which had to be cooked for a year and a day. A blind man named Morda tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion Bach stirred the concoction.

 The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron gave wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion's hand as he stirred, burning him. He instinctively put his hand in his mouth, and instantly gained great wisdom and knowledge. The first thought that occurred to him was that Ceridwen would be very angry at him for doing this. Scared, he ran away, but all too soon he heard her fury and the sound of her pursuit.

 As Ceridwen chased Gwion, he turned himself into a rabbit. In return, she became a dog. He then became a fish and jumped into a river, and in response, she then turned into an otter. He turned into a bird, and in response she became a hawk. Finally, he turned into a single grain of corn. She became a hen and ate him, and became pregnant. She resolved to kill the child, knowing it was Gwion, but after he was born, he was so beautiful that she couldn't go through with the deed. Instead, she threw him in the ocean inside a leather bag.

 The baby (Gwion) was found by Elphin, the son of Gwyddno Garanhir, 'Lord of Ceredigion', who found the child while fishing for salmon. He was very surprised at the whiteness of the boy's brow, he exclaimed "Findoir", meaning "radiant brow." Findoir replied, "Yes, that will do well enough." While Elphin carried the baby back to his father in a basket, thinking of what his father would say when he learned that Elphin had caught a baby, but no salmon, the baby began to recite beautiful poetry, saying:

Fair Elphin, cease your lament!
Swearing profits no-one.
It is not evil to hope
Nor does any man see what supports him,
Not an empty treasure is the prayer of Cynllo,
Nor does God break his promise.
No catch in Gwyddno's weir
Was ever as good as tonight's.

"Fair Elphin, dry your cheeks!
Such sorrow does not become you,
Although you consider yourself cheated
Excessive sorrow gains nothing,
Nor will doubting God's miracles.
Although I am small, I am skilful.
From the sea and the mountain,
From the river's depth
God gives His gifts to the blessed.

"Elphin of the generous spirit,
Cowardly is your purpose,
You must not grieve so heavily.
Better are good than evil omens.
though I am weak and small,
Spumed with Dylan's wave,
I shall be better for you
Than three hundred shares of salmon.

"Elphin of noble generosity,
Do not sorrow at your catch.
Though I am weak on the floor of my basket,
There are wonders on my tongue.

"While I am watching over you,
no great need will overcome you.
be mindful of the name of the Trinity
And none shall overcome you."

 Amazed, Elphin asked how a baby could talk. Again Findoir replied with poetry, recounting the transformation chase between himself and Ceridwen. Finishing, he said:

"Floating like a boat in its waters,
I was thrown into a dark bag,
and on an endless sea, I was set adrift.
Just as I was suffocating, I had a happy omen,
and the master of the Heavens brought me to liberty."

 A few years later, when Findoir turned thirteen, Elphin was at the court of King Maelgwn, who demanded that Elphin praise him and his court. Elphin refused, claiming Findoir was a better bard and that his wife a prettier woman than anyone the king had in his court. Although he was not present, Findoir knew what was happening, because he was a seer, and told Elphin's wife. Maelgwn's son Rhun went to Elphin's house to seduce his wife and prove Elphin's claims weren't true. Rhun got her drunk, and when she passed out, Rhun tried to take off her wedding ring to prove her unfaithfulness. When the ring wouldn't come off, he cut off her finger instead. When King Maelgwn attempted to show the finger to Elphin, he pointed out that his wife cut her fingernails more often than the owner of the finger. Moreover, the fingernails had bread dough under them, but his wife always had servants knead the dough. Moreover, his wife's ring was loose on her finger, but this one was tight.

 Maelgwn then demanded Findoir come to his court to prove wrong the claim that Findoir was a better bard than the ones in his court. Findoir responded with a challenge in which both he and the king's bards were to compose an epic in only twenty minutes. The royal bards failed at the task, but when it came time for Findoir to recite his, he caused a massive wind to rattle the castle. Frightened, Maelgwn sent for Elphin. Findoir's next song caused Elphin's chains to detach. Maelgwn challenged the pair to a horse race. Findoir arrived the next day with an old, weak horse. As each of the king's horses passed him at the very start of the race, Findoir touched its rump with a twig of holly. When they had all passed, he dropped his hat to the ground, and the king's horses turned back right before crossing the finish line, stopping at the holly twigs Findoir had laid there, and began to dance. Findoir's old horse strolled to the finish line and won the race.

 Now in his prime years, Findoir can be seen playing his Harp both in battle and in the Hibernian Court. He has written many poems and songs at the king’s request. He has also been known to help those in need throughout the land. If you close your eyes and be perfectly still, his music and lyrics can be heard as they are carried upon the wind for all of Hibernia to enjoy.

Title:   Shirreyder ny Fynney Shynnee

Decorations:   Mask of Gygax, Shades of Armyn

Additional Notes:  I will mention to you that this story has been told before and it requires that I give full and proper credit to its authors. The link to this story can be found here: The Borrowed Tome