Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

In the end the top of the churn had to be sawed off in order to get him free.

I can't guarantee that the story's true, but I hope it is.

O Wythnos i Wythnos ( Mei, 1987)


The Little Huts

Eigra Lewis Roberts

A quarter of a century ago there were scores of little huts in the clefts of the cliffs above Blaenau Ffestiniog. Waterproof houses, the work of budding stonemasons; skeleton huts open to the proverbial rain, girls' toy-houses, and to every stone its place and purpose. Today all is in ruins. Not a shout or scream is to be heard, and the smell of burnt chips in a saucepan is no longer carried on the breeze. You won't see any gang in serried ranks on their way to the bloody fields of Cwm Bowydd, their pockets stuffed with the ammunition David used to bring down his giant enemy.

Where are they, the new generation, where are they hiding? Has the little hut, the most romantic of playthings, lost its charm? Toyhouses now come in kits with a frame that's put up in three minutes, or so it's claimed, and packed in plastic. But these are summer-houses, of course, with colourful continental walls and corners that curl up in the wind; houses that mothers and fathers have to erect, one metal strip at a time, each piece interlocking with another, a task that's every bit as nerveracking as fitting an awning on a caravan.

Now that I call the little huts to mind, wasn't the greatest pleasure to be had in building them? And didn't we often knock them down in order to experience the thrill of putting them up again? Each hut was private property, and every tenant defended her, or his, own with an iron fist.

Childhood in those days stretched far into the teenage years. These days they just can't wait to grow up. What I remember most is the freedom of ankle-socks; legs blue with cold; bruises from a hockey-ball; scratches from nutting in the hedges and cuts from the

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