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The Silver Coin

Fairies play a large part in North Wales folklore, and the people of these places learnt to treat the Tylwyth Teg with wary respect. And yet, there are several stories in which the fairy folk have taken pity on people, or repaid a kindness with the riches that people crave and fairy folk have little care for.


A story from Corwen tells of an old shoemaker, down on his luck. In poor health and eyesight, he had to give up his trade and gain employment elsewhere – a tanyard in Pen-y-bont, a few miles up-river, not far from Druid. It was an arduous journey of some miles on foot for poor pay.


One morning, on his way to work, he passed a fairy ring in the grass by the road. Inside the ring, a silver coin lay. Thankful for a turn of luck, he took the silver coin and congratulated himself on his fortune.


The next morning, passing the fairy ring again, he found another silver coin.  Picking up the coin once again, he silently thanked the Tylweth Teg, for certainly he knew it to be the kindness of the fairy folk, taking pity on him.  Every morning a silver coin would be in the fairy ring awaiting him.


Over the following weeks, the old man grew prosperous from the generosity of the fair folk, but knowing something of the rules of such gifts, knew better than to speak of the gifts to anyone. This was no easy thing to do, since his new found wealth raised questions in the town and especially from his wife. Eventually, after months of fending off the curiosity of his loved ones, he confessed the source of the silver to his wife.


On the very next day, on his way to work, he passed the fairy ring. The grass was withered and dying, and within the ring there was nothing. He never again saw the flash of silver on the roadside.

Further Reading

E. Owen, Welsh Folk-Lord: A Collection of the Folk-Tales and Legends of North Wales, Woodhall, Minshull & Co., Oswestry & Wrexham (1896)

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