Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

Abominable old system! I give thanks that I shall see the day when I dance upon your grave. It was not the schoolmistress who was to blame, but the system. She was a victim, just as I was. I was able to speak a language, but it wasn't used as a medium to educate me. I spoke one language and my headmistress spoke another — and I learned nothing. If it hadn't been for the Welsh Sunday School, I should today have been illiterate, having to depend on someone else for the means of salvation. I learned many languages thereafter, but no one was so foolish as to try teaching me except through the medium of the language I already knew. It is in Welsh that a Welsh child must be taught to think and through Welsh that he can be taught another language. I had one morning a week of Sunday School, and six days of English schooling. My testimony is this: I am indebted for everything to the Sunday School; to the English school, prior to a Welshman's coming to teach through the medium of Welsh, I owe nothing at all.

Clych Atgof ( Hughes a'i Fab, 1906)


Fear of the Sea

Eluned Morgan

None but the old, experienced traveller remembers that the next stage of the passage is the crossing of the Bay of Biscay; but I am not one to give the old Bay a bad name, for this is my home, and hateful is she who does not love the land, or sea, that bred her. 1 I had no need of a mother's hand to rock my cradle: I had the waves of the Atlantic for that. I have seen the old Bay in both its glowering and more genial moods so many times, and I am never happier than when I am in my native element.

Yet for the ordinary passenger the Bay of Biscay is a terrible bogey, and all regard it with fear and trembling.

There is one thing I have never understood — fear of the sea! For me, the divine and the infinite are to be found at sea more than in any other place. The mind and power of the great Sovereign are to be seen there on every hand; there is nothing save the little shell that

-7-

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Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • The Village School 1
  • Fear of the Sea 7
  • A Windy Night 9
  • The Late Lemuel Parry, Esq., J.P., O.B.E. 12
  • On Drowning a Cat 18
  • The House Across the Way 21
  • Weobley and St. Emilion 25
  • The Man in the Street 28
  • Old Dent 31
  • On Collecting Roads 34
  • 'their Land They Shall Lose' 42
  • The Red Flag 46
  • Strolling Players 50
  • One Sunday Afternoon 57
  • Salem 61
  • A Trip to the Circus 63
  • Thoughts on Coronation Day, 1953 68
  • From the Pulpit 72
  • How to Choose and Treat a Wife 77
  • To the Mountain 83
  • The Imperative Upon Me 88
  • Disenchantment 92
  • The Hiring Fair 94
  • The Man at Chapel House 97
  • Question and Answer 102
  • The Little Llandeilo Boots 105
  • My Last Day in Prison 108
  • A Discovery 118
  • A Land of Romance 121
  • Hi-Ho! 129
  • Ancestors 133
  • While Shaving 138
  • Of Time and Distance 141
  • A Methodist Deacon's Advice 146
  • Of Violets and Bells 148
  • Remembering Mrs Newbould 151
  • Good Morning, Lloyd 156
  • In Modesty and Trembling 162
  • Christmasn in the Valley 166
  • On Stammering 169
  • Butlins 172
  • A Millionaire 176
  • A Scene from Military Life 178
  • An Exile 180
  • The Fox Under Glass 183
  • A Doctor's Medicine 186
  • The Little Huts 189
  • Three Heads 191
  • On Memory 198
  • Uncle John's Boots 202
  • The Fur Coat 207
  • An Holy Kiss 214
  • Notes on Authors and Texts 217
  • Acknowledgements 238
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