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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/84

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76
Sacred Wells in Wales.

stature that nobody could tell which were the corpses made to order and which the old one. I should have guessed that the skull which I saw belonged to the former description, as not having been very much worn by its owner ; but this I am forbidden to do by the fact that, according to the legend, this particular Llandeilo was not one of the three contending churches which bore away in triumph a dead Teilo each. Another view, however, is possible : namely, that the story has been edited in such a way as to reduce a larger number of Teilos into three, in order to gratify the Welsh fondness for triads.

Since my visit to the neighbourhood I have been favoured with an account of the well as it is now current there. My informant is Mr. Benjamin Gibby of Llangolman Mill, who writes (in Welsh) mentioning, among other things, that the people around call the well Ffynnon yr Ychen, or the Oxen's Well, and that the family owning and occupying the farm-house of Llandeilo have been there for centuries. Their name, which is Melchior (pronounced Melshor), is by no means a common one in the Principality, so far as I know ; but, whatever may be its history in Wales, the bearers of it are excellent Kymry. Mr. Gibby informs me that the current story solves the difficulty as to the saint's skull as follows : — The saint had a favourite maid-servant from the Pembrokeshire Llandeilo : she was a beautiful woman, and had the privilege of attending on the saint when he was on his death-bed. As his death was approaching, he gave his maid a strict and solemn command that at the end of a year's time from the day of his burial at Llandeilo Fawr she was to take his skull to the other Llandeilo, and to leave it there to be a blessing to coming generations of men, who, when ailing, would have their health restored by drinking water out of it. So the belief has been that to drink out of the skull some of the water of Teilo's well ensures health, especially against the whooping-cough. The faith of some of those who used to visit the well was