Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

managed to recreate an imaginary, paradise world among the trees and wild-flowers of Plas Gelli-Wig after my parents had gone to live in that old mansion. All things considered, although I shouldn't wish anyone else to be an only child if it were possible for him to belong to a larger family, I had the kind of childhood for which I shall be grateful for as long as I live. The contrast between holiday and work, between Wales and England, between school and home, was so complete, so black-and-white, that it made me regard Welsh-speaking Wales in that period of my life as if it were heaven on earth. But, alas, everyone has to put away childish things sooner or later, and that's what I did in coming face to face with the facts about Wales for the first time at the University College of Bangor. That was the beginning of the disenchantment, probably.

Fy Nghymru I (gol. R. Gerallt Jones, Gwasg Gee, 1961)


The Hiring Fair

Ifan Gruffydd

One of the great occasions of my life was the day I was allowed to go to the hiring fair at Llangefni for the first time.

I set out early on a May morning in the year 1909 in the hope of finding a place for myself. I strode like a two-year-old foal through Rhostrehwfa, delighted to be looking forward to the day that was about to dawn when I should be allowed to wear corduroy trousers, bell-bottoms and London yorks, with shining buckles and the straps fastened on the outside in a curly link at both knees. Many an old inhabitant of Rhos looked pityingly at my small, puny build, unable to believe that I was ready to go out into the world, and Mary Price the Coal tried to persuade me to look for something better than serving farmers. But there was nothing could stand in the way of my determination to be able one day to follow a pair of well-fed horses from headland to headland, turning the peaty bog of Morfa Deugae into long furrows ready for sowing.

There was nothing for it but to walk every step of the way, of course, and the three miles to town was nothing to us in Llangristio-

-94-

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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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