Gwyl Dewi Sant / St. David’s Day

Cydymdaith Dewi Sant, Caerdydd

Cydymdaith Dewi Sant, Caerdydd

In Wales and in Welsh Communities around the world, March 1st is the celebration of the Welsh patron saint, Dewi Sant. Born in the 5thC, Dewi (David), sent many years of his young manhood as a slave in Ireland, captured during an Irish invasion of his homeland, near present day Castell Nedd (Neath). He traveled to Rome and converted to the Christian faith after he gained his freedom, returning to Wales to preach and convert the Celt chieftains.

Today, the Welsh celebrate their patron saint with concerts, community evenings, cawl and pice man (Welsh cakes), folk dancing—especially the clog dance—eisteddfodau (poetry, dancing and singing competitions), dress in traditional Welsh costume and commemorate the life of St. David and his many teachings.

The most famous of his sayings is “Gwnewch y pethau bychain.” (Do the small things.) People in Wales take this very much to heart, especially with regard to children. One of the largest youth festivals in the world takes place at the end of May, Eisteddfod yr Urdd. Yr Urdd was first founded to support children’s education in the Welsh language. St. David’s Day is particularly a children’s celebration, focusing on their musical and performing talents.

And if Wales happens to be playing a Six  Nations Rugby match on or near the day… everyone is overjoyed.

Cofiwch y pethau bychain.

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Reconciliation: From Chapter Four

LilyDewaruile_Reconciliation_200Pendyffryn: The Conquerors, Book 5, Reconciliation, Chapter Four

‘…The wound would heal well-enough, he was not crippled. He huffed with a brief self-deprecating smile. Had his brother also twisted the blade as he thrust, the damage would have been irreparable. He wiped his hand over his face and pushed to his feet. The boys also stood, their gaze fixed on him. Jedeh smiled to reassure them, though wary of the silence of the buarth, awaiting an ambush from every corner. Anger and hatred stared back at them.

‘Though no one had made them prisoners, the boys had not dared stray from their uncle’s side. Jedeh was reviled with disgust and contempt, but they were safer suffering his humiliation than facing violence on their own.

‘“What will you do, Uncle?” Vahan, the younger of the boys, who had come so far to begin his training as a warrior with the Sharkeyn mercenary, hung his head. “What happened to make him want to kill you? You said nothing to him before he struck that was not true.”

‘“Are we leaving here?” Sevnyn studied the ground but his gaze wandered to the door of the kitchen. “We have not eaten since our uncle’s wife gave us food. She invited us into the house. She told the women who cooked to welcome us, but no one has been hospitable since he struck her.”

‘“Christophe did not intend that she be hurt,” Jedeh assured them. “The physician believes she will mend. I will stay to face her husband, to make amends. Nothing will happen to either of you, either from these men or your uncle. The fault was mine. He will know that.”

‘Vahan wiped tears from his cheeks and swallowed hard. “We should go home,” he said, “my mother did not want me to come.”

‘“You are still a little boy, Vahan, sitting by your mother laying your head on her shoulder,” Sevnyn said. “You wanted as much as I wanted, to know this man so many call Demon. We have heard his name cursed in every place that has felt his wrath. He is a great warrior.”

‘“A man who strikes his brother and his wife with such hatred in his heart is not a man from whom I want to learn to be a man, or a great warrior,” the younger boy declared.

‘“Who better?” his cousin laughed….’

Reconciliation is the final book in the five-book series about the mercenary warriors, Jehan-Emíl deFreveille and Christophe Maides. During the 9thC in Europe, soldiers of fortune traveled from all corners of Europe, Scandinavia and the East in search of employers and land. Gilles de Maides finds his humanity and his future in the love of a woman from a landlocked country, on the silk trade routes from the Far East to the Mediterranean, between the Black and Caspian Seas, the battleground of the Ages. Reconciliation will be released this month, January 2014.

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Revival: More Than An Awakening

Cover Image of Revival, Book 4, Pendffryn: The Conquerors

Christophe Maides has taken every risk to secure his hold on the mountains of Cwmdu and risks more to keep the one woman he has ever loved.

…Iago burst through the doorway and speak to Bedwyn. The two men stared at each other for a moment. Though Maides heard little of what was said between them over the din of his war-mad soldiers, he heard the name of the woman they discussed. The soldiers’ agitation distracted him.

Turning his back, he walked away from their bluster. Taking up a flagon of ale, he dropped his hand to the hilt of his dagger, listening to his two captains’ response to news he had given to Ingred as soon as he had left his wife’s embrace – his messengers were as efficient as he had come to expect from her and her associates.

“I was only told this morning,” Maides heard Iago exclaim, “this moment. Branwen swears it is true and that Caryl Gernant has agreed.”

“She has been forced to agree,” Bedwyn growled. “She would never accept such a plan willingly. Morgan Cwmdu has tricked her. She is forced to betray us.”

“Why betray?” Iago asked. “Andras is one of us.”

“When were we told she was to wed? She is our kinswoman.” Bedwyn turned on his commander. “Did you know of this?”

“Yes,” the Sharkeyn replied, weighing one of the small, early harvested apples in his hand before he bit into the flesh.

“Is it true Caryl Gernant is to wed Andras?”

“His name was discussed.”

“You cannot believe this is right,” Bedwyn said. “She is one of us. What has made her turn against her own kinswoman and chose that diawl when there are better men here?”

“Andras is Morgan’s nephew and Caryl Gernant is no longer your concern, Bedwyn,” Maides said. “She is wed and her husband is not a man with whom I would argue matters of merit or family.”

“Andras is a pig!”

“I agree,” Maides laughed.

“How could you let this happen?” Bedwyn complained. “You have dishonored her by letting her go to such a man,” the warrior declared, taking a threatening step toward his commander. “You have betrayed her,” he said, “and all of us. You know what he will do.”

“I have dishonored no one by my actions, Bedwyn,” Maides said, tossing the apple core over his shoulder. “Caryl Gernant is honorably wed. Her welfare is now her husband’s concern.”…

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From Carmarthen to Karabagh

CarmarthenKarabagh2Subtitle: A Welsh Discovery of Armenia

Canon Patrick Thomas, Chancellor of St. David’s Cathedral and Vicar of Christ Church in Caerfyrddin, gave this book to me while we waited for the bride to arrive for a Christmastide wedding. I’ve always been interested in Armenia since so many of my school friends were from this country. What makes this book even more valuable to me is that Canon Patrick has discovered historical connections and similarities between Cymru (Wales) and Armenia that illuminate the strengths and sufferings of both small countries.

While Cymru did not suffer genocide at the hands of its neighbor (on April 24, 1915, the Turkish government and army began a campaign to slaughter 1.5 million Armenians in one of the most shameful acts in human history and the first act of genocide of the 20thC), the effort to destroy its culture and language has been continuous over the centuries. Hitler, on the eve of war in 1939, planning to put to death men, women and children of Polish derivation and language, said “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

The Senedd (the Welsh government) is one of only a few countries which has recognized and commemorated the atrocities inflicted on the Armenians by the Turks.

The Welsh and Armenian cultures and languages share similar struggles for survival against the onslaught of neighboring countries. As the first Armenian novelist, Khachatur Abovian, remarked, “The guardian of a nation is its language and faith. And if we were to lose them, woe unto us!”

Despite the hardships both countries have faced over many centuries, both Cymru and Armenia have a similar call to courage: “Er gwaethaf pawb a phopeth, ry’n ni yma o hyd!” (From one of Dafydd Iawn’s most famous songs.) “In spite of everyone and everything, we are still here.”

From Carmarthen to Karabagh: a Welsh discovery of Armenia is available on Amazon.

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Heledd & Garmon on Storyfinds

Lily Dewaruile on StoryFinds

Click the icon link to visit my author’s page on this site.

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