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In his book, ‘Old Stone Crosses of the Vale of Clwyd’ (1886), Elias Owen tells of a tale told to him by the Rev. John Williams.

On May Eve there was a custom in which young men would quietly go about a village in the early hours, gaining revenge on the young women who had spurned them by the practice of ‘fixing penglogau’, literally attaching the skulls of sheep to their door.  Those young ladies that had, as Owen describes, ‘accepted happy swain’ instead woke to find flowers attached to their doors.

As the Rev. Williams explained to Owen, he was told by a ‘respectable yeoman’ that he and a companion were returning to Melin-y-Llwyn from fixing penglogau in Derwen when to his astonishment he saw a huge man crossing the bridge across the River Clwyd, carrying a large tree in full foliage over his shoulder.  The giant then threw the tree over the bridge and into the river with a mighty splash.  His companion heard the splash, but did not see what was clearly a ghost since it vanished before the first man’s eyes.  This failure on the second yeoman’s part to see the huge figure was not thought by Owen to be odd, since he claims, ‘it is said that only those born under certain planets can see spirits, whilst noises which they make are audible to ordinary mortals.’

Such, ‘ungallant’ actions were often punished it seems, which seems only reasonable.  And certainly, fixing penglogau, always in the small hours after midnight, while an accepted tradition, was always seen as rather base, and  due a punishment. Together, with qualms of conscience and overwrought imaginations, witnessing such ghostly figures seems  just reward.

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