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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/83

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Sacred Wells in Wales.

of old inscriptions. Among other places which I visited was Llandeilo Llwydarth, near Maen Clochog, in the northern part of Pembrokeshire. This is one of the many churches bearing the name of St. Teilo in South Wales : the building is in ruins, but the churchyard is still used, and contains two of the most ancient non-Roman inscriptions in the Principality. If you ask now for "Llandeilo" in this district, you will be understood to be inquiring after the farm-house of that name, close to the old church ; and I learnt from the landlady that her family has been there for many generations, though they have not very long been the proprietors of the land. She also told me of St. Teilo's Well, a little above the house ; adding that it was considered to have the property of curing the whooping-cough. I asked if there was any rite or ceremony necessary to be performed in order to derive benefit from the water. Certainly, I was told ; the water must be lifted out of the well and given to the patient to drink by some member of the family : to be more accurate, I ought to say that this must be done by somebody born in the house. One of her sons, however, had told me previously, when I was busy with the inscriptions, that the water must be given to the patient by the heir, not by anybody else. Then came my question how the water was lifted, or out of what the patient had to drink, to which I was answered that it was out of the skull. "What skull ?" said I. "St. Teilo's skull", was the answer. "Where do you get the saint's skull ?" I asked. "Here it is", was the answer, and I was given it to handle and examine. I know next to nothing about skulls ; but it struck me that it was a thick, strong skull, and it called to my mind the story of the three churches which contended for the saint's corpse. You all know it, probably : the contest became so keen that it had to be settled by prayer and fasting. So, in the morning, lo and behold ! there were three corpses of St. Teilo — not simply one — and so like were they in features and