Interview with Bran the Blessed
Rhadamanthys: Good morning and welcome to Judge Rhady. I'm Rhadamanthys, one of the three Greek judges of the Underworld—but the only one with my own show.
On today's program, we've got two individuals straight out of ancient Britain and Ireland. Bran, king of the Island of the Mighty—also known as Britain—is accusing Matholwch, his brother-in-law and king of Ireland, of general neglect. Gentlemen, let's get started, shall we? We'll start with you, Bran. Tell us your side of the story; then we'll let Matholwch tell his.
Bran: Thanks, Judge Rhady. I first want to say how much I enjoyed your time on the Orphy Povich Show. Secondly, here's my side of the story.
I was doing nothing wrong, just sitting with my family and hanging out in my castle in Wales, when Matholwch sailed up with a bunch of ships. Naturally, I approached him kindly—what else would I do? We had no beef with one another—not at that time, anyway.
He sailed on up my coast and asked if he could become my brother-in-law by marrying my little sis, Branwen—who's also known as one of the most beautiful girls in the world, if you didn't know, Your Honor. Of course, I said yes, and we celebrated their engagement with a big feast. Then—
Matholwch: Then, your stupid half-brother ruined everything!
Rhadamanthys: Order, order in the court! Your Majesty, I request that you respect the authority of this court and keep your trap shut until you are called upon. [Clears throat.]
Now, King Matholwch, please explain what happened, in your own words. If you do not do so civilly, I might add, you will be forcibly ejected from this courtroom, no matter your royal status.
Matholwch: [grumbles] As you wish, Your Honor. As I was saying, I was happily betrothed to Princess Branwen of the Island of the Mighty. In celebration of my engagement, I gave my brother-in-law-to-be one of the greatest gifts a king could ever receive; it was a herd of horses. These weren't your average Connemara ponies, mind you—these were majestic steeds worthy of any knight in shining or rusty armor.
It seems like not everybody was so happy with our arrangement, though. Prince Efnisien, Branwen and Bran's half-brother on their mother's side, made a whole big stink when he wasn't consulted about Branwen's marriage. He took it out on the horses that I gave King Bran and cut them up like he was julienning tomatoes.
Bran was such a wuss that he didn't even bother to punish his renegade brother!
Bran: If I recall, Matholwch, I was as upset as you were by Efnisien's actions. He was a royal prince; it's not like I could chop off his head, even if I wanted to. I also paid you back by giving you one of my prized possessions, a magical cauldron that revived any dead person you tossed in there.
Matholwch: That wasn't really enough, you know. None of the Irish—myself included—ever really got over the insult Efnisien dealt out.
Bran: Is that why you threw my sister into the kitchens and made her cook your oatmeal every morning like a slave?
Rhadamanthys: Order! Bran, I repeat to you what I told King Matholwch. Keep your British maw closed!
Bran: Apologies, Your Honor. Would you like a magic sword in reparations?
Rhadamanthys: Don't try to bribe me, King Bran. That will not be looked on favorably by this court… unless, of course, that sword is Excalibur.
Bran: I'm afraid I can't get that one to you, sir. Sorry about that. One of my descendants, Arthur, is currently using it. As I was saying…
Rhadamanthys: As you were saying… Matholwch did something to Branwen?
Bran: Yeah. He held a grudge against her for a few years, despite the fact that Branwen had nothing to do with Efnisien's stupid actions. She even gave birth to a son [looks at Matholwch]: your heir, my nephew, Gwern! None of that meant anything to you, though, so you threw her out of the queen's quarters and made her a servant.
Rhadamanthys: That's a serious accusation, Bran. Matholwch, what do you have to say in response to that?
Matholwch: Your Honor, in my defense, Efnisien took action that reflected poorly on his entire family, my wife included. Therefore, he offended the entire royal clan of Ireland; his actions had to be avenged. Bran giving me a pretty present wasn't enough of a compensatory gift for an entire herd of horses!
Rhadamanthys: But upon your marriage to Branwen, didn't she become part of your family, Matholwch, and vice versa? Did you really need to avenge yourself against a member of your own family, then?
Matholwch: Your Honor… I…
Bran: If I may interject, Your Honor, Branwen was in such dire straits that she trained a little starling, an annoying little bird, as a messenger, tied a note reading "HELP ME!" to its leg, and set it back to Britain.
Rhadamanthys: Retrojectively, Bran, you may not interrupt me, but I'm following your story, so keep going.
Bran: Well, I couldn't ignore Branwen's pleas for help, so my armies and I went to Ireland to rescue her. From there….
Rhadamanthys: I'm so sorry, Bran, but we're out of time! If you'd both be gracious enough to come back, we'll continue this on the next episode of Judge Rhady! Until then, ladies and gents, gods and ghouls, stay on the right side of the law (and the Underworld)! This is Rhadamanthys, signing off.