Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/460

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
452
Pin-Wells and Rag-Bushes.

They bathe the part affected with water, and afterwards tie a piece of rag to the tree which overhangs the well. The rag is not put in the water at all, but is only put on the tree for luck. It is a stunted but very old tree, and is simply covered with rags." In another case, that of Ffynnon Eilian (Elian's Well), near Abergele in Denbighshire, of which Professor Rhys was informed by Mrs. Evans, the late wife of Canon Silvan Evans, some bushes near the well had once been covered with bits of rag left by those who frequented it. The rags used to be tied to the bushes by means of wool—not woollen yarn, but wool in its natural state. Corks with pins stuck in them were floating in the well when Mrs. Evans visited it, though the rags had apparently disappeared from the bushes. The well in question, it is noted, had once been in great repute as "a well to which people resorted for the kindly purpose of bewitching those whom they hated". The Ffynnon Cefn Lleithfan, or Well of the Lleithfan Ridge, on the eastern slope of Mynydd y Rhiw, in the parish of Bryncroes, in the west of Carnarvonshire, is a resort for the cure of warts. The sacred character of the well may be inferred from the silence in which it is necessary to go and come, and from the prohibition to turn or look back. The wart is to be bathed at the well with a rag or clout, which has grease on it. The clout must then be carefully concealed beneath the stone at the mouth of the well. The Professor, repeating this account of the well, given him by a Welsh collector of folk-lore, says: "This brings to my mind the fact that I have, more than once, years ago, noticed rags underneath stones in the water flowing from wells in Wales, and sometimes thrust into holes in the walls of wells, but I had no notion how they came there." This is an experience we have probably all shared.

Professor Rhys mentions several wells wherein it was usual to drop pins; but the most detailed account was afterwards furnished by Mr. T. E. Morris, from a correspondent who supplied him with the following information