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4 thoughts on “The Physicians of Myddfai

  1. I really love the your presentation for the living nature of the beliefs that people have. Thanks Welsh history is alive and well in keeping it history from being lost.

  2. My comments seem to get filtered out for some reason. Trying here.

    Wanted to say that the Physicians of Myddfai is fascinating Dr, and I had no idea about them, but have to check it out.
    Concerning magic water cattle, there is a very peculiar motif about them in Irish and I would be indebted (again) to get your take.
    In a folktale collected in the early 19th c we have cattle (specifically a “cow and seven heifers”) emerging from a lake that enrich a farmer before escaping again.
    https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/flat/flat25.htm

    Interestingly, the number of cattle is echoed in earlier legend. In the Origin of Dowth, the narrative begins by saying that the story takes place in the time of a plague that destroyed all cattle save a bull and seven cows. Pg. 144
    https://archive.org/details/celticheroicage/page/n151/mode/2up

    In the Melody of the House of Buchet, rowdy neighbors destroy the property of a wealthy farmer save a particular bull and seven cows.
    http://maryjones.us/ctexts/buchet.html

    The annals mention a king whose name escapes me who has the epithet ‘extinction of cattle’ due to a plague that killed all cattle in Ireland save one bull and one cow. I assume it’s related.

    I’m not sure what to make of this apparent tradition, which is in some ways familiar to the Welsh tales of water cattle. In Genesis there are the seven lean cows that devour the seven fat cows, but that’s rather inadequate as a basis for the details present in the Celtic tradition. There is also the Seven Sisters star cluster, the Pleiades, found in the Taurus constellation, but there isn’t anything to suggest astrology in the Irish tales and no classical myth about the Seven sisters, or Taurus for that matter, matches the Irish so far as I know.

    Thanks for the wonderful thorough work on Welsh legend, take care!

    1. Hi Tiege, that’s odd. I think your comments usually come through on YouTube, I’ll check it out. Regardless, thanks so much for these links. Very interesting indeed. Again, my own suspicion is that these pan-Celtic connections suggest a far older origin to these stories. Perhaps pre-Celtic even. Very unfashionable opinion but hey-ho, there we go.

      1. Thank you for your help Dr. Moria-Baird, I don’t know what it could be the cause, but checking out the community forums it’s happened to others recently as well.

        As unfashionable as your opinions may be in some circles I think you’re really onto something and that many Brythonic and Gaelic texts could very much be substantially of pre-Christian origin. You provide a great service! Academia will get on the ball eventually.

        Glad I could help with the links! Doubly glad I’m not just being a pest lol. If I ever do just let me know and I’ll stop immediately. Speaking of… another comment that frustratingly refuses to appear on YouTube is my reply to your reply about to the ‘stuck to the rock’ motif about Tydecho. You can read the venerable Gerard Murphy’s discussion on the Finn versions here, along with notes on the similar Ancient Greek myth involving Theseus and Herekles by others. Pg. xxx, reader pg 36 for me.
        https://archive.org/details/duanairefinnbook03murpuoft/page/n35/mode/2up

        There is also a similar incident in the Irish life of Saint Colman.

        Thanks again for all the work you do and your accessible teaching style!

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