Married and Mythological
Good afternoon, M&M readers! I'm Rhiannon, queen of Dyfed, but I'm sure you all know that already. I'm a guest blogger for M&M, following in the immortal footsteps of the likes of Hera, Freyja, and Isis. A bunch of you wanted to know how my first husband, Pwyll, and I met, and what challenges we faced as a married couple. Well, as you'll soon see, those problems were… um, aplenty.
It all started when Pwyll decided to go hunting one afternoon at Glyn Cuch. When he got there, he saw a big stag in the center of a clearing, along with a bunch of hounds with white hair and red ears. He drove off those dogs and sic-ed his own pups on the stag, when he saw a dude on a gray horse riding toward him. That guy was offended when Pwyll ran off the other dude's dogs, and Pwyll wanted to pay him back.
The other guy? That was Arawn, king of Annwn (the Otherworld). In exchange for Pwyll helping Arawn with a rival king, Arawn promised Pwyll the most beautiful woman in the world. Of course, Pwyll killed Arawn's rival for him, so the king of Annwn decided to give Pwyll the hottest chick in Wales—moi!
Pwyll and I met when he went out walking one day. He walked on top of a hill called Gorsedd Arberth, where he saw me, all dressed up in my best golden robe and on my white horse. I was riding toward him and Pwyll sent one of his bros after me. But no matter how fast the dude galloped after me, my magical steed and I ran off even faster.
After he called out to me, praising my beauty, of course I pulled up my mare. He asked me why I was running away, and I explained that—drumroll please—I was looking for him! I just liked playing hard to get. I told him that my dad was trying to marry me off to some guy I didn't want to marry. I told Pwyll I loved only him—and I needed him to help me get rid of my annoying fiancé, Gwawl. Pwyll and I got engaged, but Gwawl tricked Pwyll into "giving" me to Gwawl himself as a bride.
A year and a day after we first met, Pwyll went to my dad's palace and asked for my hand, despite the fact that Gwawl, son of Clud, was my betrothed. That was the day that Gwawl was to "take me" as his own. I had a trick up my sleeve, though—I asked Pwyll to make sure my engagement went through. He was confused, but he did what I told him to do. He trapped Gwawl in a giant bag and beat him up; while Gwawl was in the bag, Pwyll blackmailed him into leaving me alone. Voilà—I was free!
At last, Pwyll and I got married. We were really happy, but had one big problem: I couldn't seem to get pregnant. After three years, the nobles of Dyfed begged Pwyll to get married again, but by the end of the year, I got preggers and had a handsome baby boy. Unfortunately, the Powers That Be didn't want to leave me alone quite yet.
When my son was born, six women watched over him night and day, but when they fell asleep, he disappeared. I was framed for killing him—as if I would do such a thing!—and Pwyll, annoying man that he is, said that I should spend seven years giving piggyback rides to anyone who wanted one up to the court of Arberth. At the same time, I would tell them my tragic story.
As it turns out, my baby was all right. Teyrnon, lord of Gwent in Wales, had a magic mare whose foals were always stolen from her. When he stayed to watch her give birth the last time, the foal was about to be abducted, but Teyrnon stopped some beast from taking the baby horse. When he did, he heard an infant's wail and saw a blond baby boy—my son! He was as big as a three-year-old from infancy. Teyrnon adopted him and named him Gwri Gwallt Euryn, or "Gwri of the Golden Hair." Eventually, he realized how much his adopted baby looked like the king and queen of Dyfed, and he gave Gwri back to us. I renamed the baby "Pryderi," which means "anxiety," for all of the problems he gave me. (Sorry, son.)
Over time, Pwyll grew even more powerful and created a larger realm for his son to take over. Pryderi even married an heiress, Kicva, daughter of Gwynn Gohoyw.
Whew. And that's my story. Next time, more on my second marriage!
After my last entry, a lot of you wanted to know why I got married a second time if I had such an awesome hubby to begin with. That's a good question.
As happens to mere mortal men, Pwyll died after a long and fruitful reign. I mourned him, of course, but I was still a swinging single. When my son Pryderi offered me as a bride to Manawydan, the son of Llyr, he also offered up all of Dyfed as my dowry. What man could say no to that? Manawydan married me and we became king and queen of Dyfed.
After all of that went down, though, something bad—and magical—took place. Everyone was gone from our court at Arberth. It was nice at first, but we couldn't understand where everybody went. The four of us—Kicva, Manawydan, myself, and Pryderi—went into Britain and became craftspeople. When we returned to Dyfed, Pryderi and I were both sucked into a magic spell. When I went into the palace, my hands got stuck to a bowl and I couldn't speak; thunder crashed around me, and the castle vanished into thin air!
Being crafty and smart, my Manawydan captured the wife of the magician who ensorcelled us. His name was Llwyd, who got pissed at me because he was friends with Gwawl. In exchange for returning Dyfed to normal and me and Pryderi back to the human world, Manawydan gave Llwyd his wife back.
So, everyone, that's my story. From magic horses to freezing spells, Pwyll to Pryderi, that's my mythological marriage in a nutshell. If you're curious to learn more, I'm currently writing an autobiography called Rhiannon the Ruler, or you can contact me at EquineEmpress@celtica.com.