O. M. Edwards
Before I started going to school there was no happier child than I anywhere in the hills and mountains of Wales. I knew where all kinds of flowers grew, I knew where scores of birds were nesting, I knew of every white stone that gleamed in brook and river. It was not without effort and some difficulty that I came by this knowledge — I can recall the moment when, on my hands and knees on the mountainside, having been left there by my father while he cut peat, I reached out to pick the stem of a daisy; I also remember how, confined to my little chair, but carrying it on my back, I would make for the fine gravel in the spring's basin. I would watch the lark rising until it was lost from sight in the sky: I gazed at the snow coming down all feathery, thinking it was bees in their new clothes that I saw; and I remember being frightened at hearing the sudden roar of the thawing wind and the terrifying crackle of the ice in the river.
On long winter evenings a neighbour or some passerby would take their turn to call at our home, to chat by the peat fire at the snug old hearth; and they would see my small, sallow, inquisitive face inviting them to spin their yarns. I knew the ghosts in their stories by name, although my name for the ghost was usually that of the story-teller. I knew, too, who had witch's powers, and I would skirt the boundaries of their fields whenever I was out looking for new flowers or birds' nests.
I began going to Sunday School1 at an early age. I well recall the first time, one fine morning in June. The old tailor had been on his feet until nearly midnight, making my new clothes; I shouldn't say on his feet, but rather squatting on the table. The coat and trousers were ready, but it hadn't been possible to make the waistcoat in time. So a confabulation had been held to discuss the clothes, the pieces of cloth, and me. It became obvious that the old waistcoat wouldn't match the new garments; the bird-nesting season had just ended, and the waistcoat had been through many a mile of hedge. Everyone was in a quandary; none had