Fairy Dances


The one occupation of the Fairy folk celebrated in song and prose was

dancing. Their green rings, circular or ovoidal in form, abounded in all

parts of the country, and it was in these circles they were said to dance

through the livelong night. In Can y Tylwyth Teg, or the Fairies'

Song, thus they chant:--

O'r glaswellt glen a'r rhedyn man,

Gyfeillion dyddan, dewch,

E ddarfu'
nawn--mae'r lloer yu llawn,

Y nos yn gyflawn gewch;

O'r chwarau sydd ar dwyn y dydd,

I'r Dolydd awn ar daith.

Nyni sydd lon, ni chaiff gerbron,

Farwolion ran o'n gwaith.

Yr Hynafion Cymraeg, p. 153.

From grasses bright, and bracken light,

Come, sweet companions, come,

The full moon shines, the sun declines,

We'll spend the night in fun;

With playful mirth, we'll trip the earth,

To meadows green let's go,

We're full of joy, without alloy,

Which mortals may not know.

The spots where the Fairies held their nightly revels were preserved from

intrusion by traditional superstitions. The farmer dared not plough the

land where Fairy circles were, lest misfortune should overtake him. Thus

were these mythical beings left in undisturbed possession of many fertile

plots of ground, and here they were believed to dance merrily through

many a summer night.

Canu, canu, drwy y nos,

Dawnsio, dawnsio, ar waen y rhos,

Yn ngoleuni'r lleuad dlos;

Hapus ydym ni!

Pawb o honom sydd yn llon,

Heb un gofid dan ei fron:

Canu, dawnsio, ar y ton--

Dedwydd ydym ni!

Singing, singing, through the night,

Dancing, dancing, with our might,

Where the moon the moor doth light:

Happy ever we!

One and all of merry mien,

Without sorrow are we seen,

Singing, dancing on the green:

Gladsome ever we!

Professor Rhys's Fairy Tales.

These words correctly describe the popular opinion of Fairy dance and

song, an opinion which reached the early part of the present century.

Since so much has reached our days of Fairy song and dance, it is not

surprising that we are told that the beautiful Welsh melody, Toriad y

Dydd, or the Dawn of Day, is the work of a Fairy minstrel, and that this

song was chanted by the Fairy company just as the pale light in the east

announced the approach of returning day.

Chaucer (1340 c. to 1400 c.), alluding to the Fairies and their dances,

in his 'Wife of Bath's Tale,' writes:--

In olde dayes of King Artour,

Of which the Bretons speken gret honour,

All was this lond ful-filled of Faerie;

The elf-quene with hire joly compagnie

Danced ful oft in many a grene mede.

This was the old opinion as I rede;

I speke of many hundred yeres ago;

But now can no man see non elves mo.

Tyrwhitt's Chaucer i., p. 256.

In the days of the Father of English poets, the elves had disappeared,

and he speaks of many hundred yeres ago, when he says that the Fairy

Queen and her jolly company danced full often in many a green meadow.

Number 419 of the Spectator, published July 1st, 1712, states that

formerly every large common had a circle of Fairies belonging to it.

Here again the past is spoken of, but in Wales it would seem that up to

quite modern days some one, or other, was said to have seen the Fairies

at their dance, or had heard of some one who had witnessed their gambols.

Robert Roberts, Tycerrig, Clocaenog, enumerated several places, such as

Nantddu, Clocaenog, Craig-fron-Bannog, on Mynydd Hiraethog, and

Fron-y-Go, Llanfwrog, where the Fairies used to hold their revels, and

other places, such as Moel Fammau, have been mentioned as being Fairy

dancing ground. Many an aged person in Wales will give the name of spots

dedicated to Fairy sports. Information of this kind is interesting, for

it shows how long lived traditions are, and in a manner, places

associated with the Fair Tribe bring these mysterious beings right to our


I will now relate a few tales of mortals witnessing or joining in Fairy


The first was related to me by David Roberts. The scene of the dance was

the hill side by Pont Petrual between Ruthin and Cerrig-y-Drudion.