LEGEND LANDS - 14 Legends from Poldark Country
14 Legends from POLDARK COUNTRY!
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LEGENDS FROM THE LANDS OF POLDARK!
This is a reissue in book form of the first series of leafletsThe Line to Legend Land. A modern title could very well be LEGENDS OF POLDARK-LAND. Ooriginally published by the G.W.R. in 1922, this small volume was an early form of Great Westerns modern day Top 10 Things To Do and gave the rail traveller a list of English, West Country legends to look up and places to see. This edition has twelve tales from the West Country of Devon & Cornwall the area in which Poldark is filmed. Each legend has an updated How to Get There section with train, bus and distance information. There are also two supplements, "The Furry Day Song" and the iconic Trelawny, also known as The Song of the Western Men.
In older, simpler days, when reading was a rare accomplishment, our many times great-grandparents would gather round the blazing hearth or hall on the long, dark winter nights and pass away the hours before bedtime in conversation and story-telling.
The old stories were told again and again and children learned them by heart in their earliest years and passed them on to their children and grandchildren in turn. In origin, most of these old legends date from the very dawn of our history, possibly even in a time before Stonehenge has been erected. They may have even been told around the camp-fires of that first British army that went out to face Cæsars invasion, now almost two millennia ago, and in the marshes of Southern England by the army of Alfred the Great before they finally defeated the Viking invaders.
Later, much later, with the spread of education and the introduction of formal curricula, in which folklore seems to have no place, they began to die. Then, when many more folk could read and books grew cheap there was no longer the need to call upon memory for the old-fashioned romances, and so they began to fade from the modern consciousness. Yet there have always been those who loved the old tales best, and wrote them down before it was too late, so that they might be preserved forever. A few of them are retold briefly here with instructions of how to go to the very places in Devon & Cornwall that these legends originated from.
Excerpt from LEGEND LANDS - 14 Legends from POLDARK COUNTRY!
THE OLD WOMAN WHO FOOLED THE DEVIL
ONE of the most beautiful spots in all Wales is the Devil's Bridgean easy excursion into the hills from Aberystwythwhich spans the gorge through which the Mynach cataract descends in four boiling leaps a distance of two hundred and ten feet. How this place received its name is an old story, which goes back to the days before the monks of sweetly named Strata Florida, who subsequently replaced the earlier bridge across the gorge.
The beginning of the story is told in an old rhyme which runs:
"Old Megan Llandunach of Pont-y-Mynach
Had lost her only cow;
Across the ravine the cow was seen,
But to get it she could not tell how."
Such was the sad plight of old Megan, who was bemoaning the loss of her property on the wrong side of the gorge so many years ago, when there appeared to her suddenly a cowled monk, whose dark face was scarcely discernible, with a rosary hanging to his girdle, and a deep but pleasant voice.
Enquiring the cause of her distress, the monk, in sympathetic tones, promised to aid her. He would, he said, build a bridge across the ravine, so that she might recover her lost cow, if she would promise to give him the first living being to cross the bridge.
This seemed a natural enough suggestion to the sorrowing old dame, for the good monks of the neighbourhood were ever about the countryside, seeking converts; so Megan agreed, and the monk set to work with amazing energy and skill to construct the bridge. And as he worked Megan sat on a boulder and watched him.
Before sundown the marvellous bridge was finished, and the smiling monk, walking over it, invited Megan to follow him and seek her cow. But Megan had been observant. She had noticed two or three things. One, that there was no cross attached to the monk's rosary; another, that while he was labouring at his building he had slipped, and his left leg was exposed through his long habit, and the knee was on the back of the leg, and not the front; also the leg ended not in a foot, but in a cloven hoof.
And cunning old Megan was taking no chances. Feeling in the pocket of her skirt she found a crust, and walking to her side of the bridge she called to a black cur that was playing about. Hurling the crust across the bridge she bade the dog fetch it. He ran over the bridge, and Megan, smiling at the monk, thanked him, and told him to take the dog as his reward.
The devil, realising that he had been fooled, disappeared in an awe-inspiring cloud of smoke and sulphur fumes; but the bridge remained, and its name to this day recalls the discomfiture of his evil plans. So, having fooled the devil, Megan was able to recover her lost cow.
Wordsworth and Borrow, among other famous writers, have immortalised the impressive beauties of the Devil's Bridge and its roaring cataract. It is easily reached from that most attractive of Welsh seaside towns, Aberystwyth, and lies in a country dominated by great Plinlimmon, from the top of which a view of unrivalled beauty may be obtained.
All about this country of mountain and moorland are scenes of intense historic interest and natural beauty. It is a district bleak and bracing on the summits, warm and sheltered in the valleys, and as yet quite unspoiled by the crowd, as too is the charming town which is the centre of this country.
Aberystwyth retains the quiet charm of an old-world "watering-place," and glories in its wonderful climate and healing sea breezes that blow in across Cardigan Bay, which have won for it its reputation in winter and summer for being a British Biarritz.
Table of Contents for LEGEND LANDS - 14 Legends from POLDARK COUNTRY!
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