The legend of Lady of the Lake at Dinefwr

White Park Cattle at Dinefwr

The story goes that a young farm boy grazing his sheep flock around the lake of Llyn y Fan Fach below the Black Mountain, used to pass the long daylight hours gazing into the dazzling waters of the lake.

As he grew up, passing every day this way, one day a beautiful woman emerged from the lake. She approached the dumbstruck boy, who was instantly besotted and cast totally under her spell.

She was unparalleled in beauty, grace and wisdom and immediately prophesied to him that he would become rich and respected if he would agree to marry her.

However this future success and her partnership was dependent on certain conditions. The first that he should never strike her more than three times. Secondly that he never speak a word of her origin or the supernatural source of their success and relationship.

The boy very readily agreed and managed to keep the secret of her sudden appearance – no easy feat among a Welsh community.

Her father gave her dowry from the Lake the best stock of sheep, goats, horses and white cattle in the country. 

The couple lived happily for many years and had three sons. However like many young men the boy grew complacent, maybe even arrogant on occasions and he struck her lightly and thoughtlessly on three occasions: When she was reluctant to attend a baptism service in the neighbourhood, when she cried at a wedding and when she laughed at a funeral.

On being struck the third time she stood up to her full height, looked him in the eye and stated that their relationship was now over.

She simply turned on her heel and walked out of their farm calling on her cattle and animals to follow her as she crossed their land.

Hump-brindled, Hornless –brindled

Rump-brindled, White Freckled…

With the white bull from the King’s court,

And the little black calf which is on the hook,

You too return home, fully recovered

She ascended to the lake and wordlessly walked in once more, every animal following her beneath the cold still waters, leaving the man heart broken in the shallows, his pleas resounding around the mountains arms.

The man returned to his farm unable to work the land, lost in a world of self-reproach and disbelief, a ruined man. His only compensation was his children by his otherworldly wife who still loved him and who grew up to be the famous Physicians of Myddfai.

Physicians of Myddfai

As the three sons grew up, it became clear that they had inherited their mother's magical knowledge and powers. They could have used these to become great warriors, but instead they chose to become the first in a long line of great healers.