The Marsh Tales from Tales of Avalon It was raining harder, and the wind seemed to drive the wet and cold through the wattle sides of the healer’s hut. Darkness of later afternoon was settling in. Cethin built up the small fire and found furs for their shoulders. All thought of an evening meal was forgotten. “Tell me, then,” he said. “Tell me, Mother Fianna, about the Tales.” “Morla’s Tale you already know,” she said. “It is the oldest of tales, for the sorrows of women and the birthing of children are the oldest of memories. Old as the marshes themselves. It comes first in the telling, for the truth of the other tales emerges from it. In time, as time exists in the tales, it lies midway between the birth of the Lady and her coming to Ynys y Niwl. Morla’s Tale, the Tale of The Dark Lady of Llyn y Cysgodion, Doeth and the Marsh Sedge and The Lost Land of Iwerydd are Tales of Beginnings. Yet they tell not the true record of how things came to be, but the truth of how things are. Together they tell of the lot of women, the nature of the Lady, the settlement of the marshes, and the meaning of the stone temples. But those are the themes of the tales only. Each has deeper truths buried within. “There follow Tales of Living, and there are six, bearing lessons of life. ‘The Light of the Ellylldan is a tale of courage and trust. It tells of the origin of our community of priestesses. The Visit of the Bendith y Mamau is a tale of hope. The Old Frog of Bryn Llyffaint is a humorous tale of the power of humility. The Tinner and the Coblynau, a story of the coming of the ancestors of Eosaidh of Cornualle to these shores, is a tale of faith in the midst 0f darkness. Hiraeth’s Tears tells us of the sorrows of love denied, and the failure of old and new traditions to find common ground. And the tale of The Gwraig Annwn does much the same, for this is an important lesson. In the joys and sorrows, humor and tragedy, of these six tales lie deep lessons for the living of life. “Finally, there are Tales of Completion. The Coming of the Lady is about the creation of the community of priestesses on Ynys y Niwl, and their emergence from the ancient shadows. The Dragon’s Womb is a tale of power. “These are the Marsh Tales, being the ancient Wisdom of Affalon, told by Vivian to Eosaidh of Cornualle in the days before the Romans came, and taught to Cethin the herbalist by Fianna, at the changing of the world. (For Fianna knew nothing of thirteenth Tale.) Tales of Beginnings I. Morla's Belly II. The Dark Lady of Llyn y Cysgodion III. Doeth and the Marsh Sedge IV. The Lost Land of Iwerydd Tales of Living V. The Lights of the Ellylldan VI. The Visit of the Bendith y Mamau VII. The Old Frog of Bryn Llyffaint VIII. The Tinner and the Coblynau IX. Hiraeth's Tears X. The Gwraig Annwn Tales of Completion XI. The Coming of the Lady XII. The Dragon's Womb “The tales were told by different peoples,” Fianna concluded, “in other times and from many places. We know not their origins, but tradition has drawn them together. And together the twelve form the unwritten body of lore that bears the ancient wisdom of Affalon.” In this current volume the thirteen Marsh Tales are removed from the context of narrative story and presented as a collection in their own right, the better to experience them as they were originally told, as a collection of the formative myths of Affalon. The spiritual and ethical lessons of the Tales thus become once again a focus for reflection and meditation, as they were originally intended to be. Includes questions for daily meditations on the Tales.