HEN WLAD FY NHADAU

Les Schaffer schaffer at SPAMoptonline.net
Wed Apr 11 09:20:14 MDT 2001


[ BOUNCE Non-member submission from ["Mark Jones"
<jones118 at lineone.net>]]

Until a few years ago I leaved quite near Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant with
its mountains and remarkable waterfall; it's one of the few places in
the British Isles which has the sense of grandeur and desolation you
find in truly remote wildernesses like the Mongolioan steppeland or
the Pamirs, where I've also been.

The Welsh are a very interesting people. These original Celtic
inhabitants of Britain lived under the Romans for 400 years. When the
Romans finally left in the 5th century, they'd kept their language
altho they'd forgotten how to fight, and ended up pushed into the
mountain fastnesses of Wales by invaders from northern Europe. There
they stuck, and gradually relearnt how to fight.  For six hundred
years they sustained one of the only literary cultures in Europe, and
never lost the art of writing unlike their pagan Saxon neighbours,
who'd stolen their land. The Welsh language and sense of identity was
forged in that period.

In 1066 it took the Normans a few months to enslave Saxon England but
it took two more centuries to conquer Wales. During this time the
Welsh *abandoned the use of money*. Excellent crastmen in silver nad
gold which they dug from the mountains, this was from choice, not lack
of skill. Instead they adopted the values of a commune. The word
"Wales" is derived from a Saxon word meaning "foreigner". The word
"Cymry" means in the Welsh language, "us, ourselves" and its word root
is "kombrogos"-- and if that reminds you of anything it should,
because it is the same word root as the word "comrade". The Welsh were
the world's first people to refer to each other as cymry,
comrades. They came to identify with their mountains and to defend
them against those who came their and lusted after the beauty of the
high places and the sweetness of the valleys.

This is what Gerald of Wales said about them (Gerald was writing in
the 12th Century!):
"The Welsh people are light and agile. They are fierce rather than
strong, and totally dedicated to the practice of arms. Not only the
leaders but the entire nation are trained in war. Sound the trumpet
for battle and the peasant will rush from his plough to pick up his
weapons as quickly as the courtier fromthe court."

"They plough the soil once in March and April for oats, a second time
in summer, and then they turn it a third time while the grain is being
threshed. In this way the whole population lives almost entirely on
oats and the produce of their herds, milk, cheese and butter. They eat
plenty of meat, but little bread."

"They are passionatley devoted to their freedom and to the defence of
their country: for these they fight, for these they suffer hardships,
for these they will take up their weapons and willingly sacrifice
their lives."

"It is a remarkable fact that on many occasions they have not
hesitated to fight without any protection at allagainst men clad in
iron, unarmed against those bearing weapons, on foot against mounted
cavalry. They are so agile and fierce that they often win battles
fought against such odds."

"The Welsh are given neither to gluttony nor to drunkenness. They
spend little on food or clothes. Their sole interest in life consists
of caring for their horses and keeping their weapons in good order,
their sole preoccupation the defence of their fatherland and the
seizing of booty."

"If food is short or if they have non at all, they wait patiently for
the next evening. neither hunger nor cold can deter them. They spend
the dark and stormy nights in observing the movements of their
enemies."

"In Wales, no one begs. everyone's home is open to all, for the Welsh
generosity and hospitality are the greatest of all virtues."

"When they come together to make music, the Welsh sing their
traditional songs, not in unison, as is done elsewhere, but in parts,
in many modes and modulations. When a choir gathers together to sing,
which happens often in this country, you will hear as many parts and
voices as there are performers, all joining together in the end to
produce a single organic harmony and melody in the soft sweetness of
B-flat."

"The Welsh value distinguished birth and noble descent more than
anything else in the world. They would rather marry into a noble
family than into a rich one. Even the common know their family tree by
heart and can readily recite from memory the list of their
grandfathers, great-grandfathers, great-great grandfathers, back to
the sixth or seventh generation..."

"The Welsh people rarely keep their promises, for their minds are as
fickle as their bodies are as agile."

"It is the habit of the Welsh to steal anything they can lay their
hands on and live on plunder, theft and robbery, not only from
foreigners and people hostile to them, but also from each other."

"In war the Welsh are very ferocious when battle is first joined. They
shout, glower fiercely at the enemy, and fill the air with fearsome
clamor, making a high-pitched screech with their long trumpets. From
their first fierce and headlong onslaught, and the shower of javelins
whcih they hurl, they seem most formidable opponents. If the enemy
resists manfully and they are repulsed, they are immediately thrown
into confusion."



Mark

[ original trimmed ]






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