Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Mabinogion - Tales Recorded Gladly

The literature of a people will reveal their heart and mind.  Over time, the stories written down become much of the foundation of this record.  For the Welsh, two manuscript collections have been preserved and are considered by some to be "the finest flowerings of the Celtic genius".  Charlotte Guest translated these stories and placed a title "Mabinogion".  These have been translated anew by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones in 1949.  Since then, a number of revisions and additions, along with an index of proper names have been added.  The cover of the reprinted edition of 1994 is shown.

In the introduction it reads:

"Lord" said Gwydion, "it is a custom with us that the first night after one comes to a great man, the chief bard shall have the say.  I will tell a tale gladly."

To tell a tale gladly is certainly a Celtic tradition.  For the genealogist, it is these stories that provide the family tree to many early, early, generations.  Come, take a while, read a series of tales (eleven stories) recorded gladly.

Welsh sources:

White Book of Rhydderch (Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch) written down ca. 1300-1325 AD.
Red Book of Hergest (Llyfr Coch Hergest) ca. 1375 - 1425 AD.

The book was first published in Everyman's Library 1949.

No comments:

Post a Comment