Owen Wynne Jones, also known as Glasynys (1828-1870) was a school-teacher, and clergyman, an editor and poet, and an influential figure in the eisteddfod movement. But he was a also a folklorist and short-story writer, whose contributions to the Welsh anthology, Cymru Fu (1864), influenced T. Gwynn Jones among others, and now, in this new translation by Rob Mimpriss, a body of his work is available to English readers.
Combining horror, romance, humour and adventure with his own moving descriptions of the hospitality and generosity of ordinary people, these stories provide an account of a way of life now vanished, and a glimpse into the extraordinary richness of the Welsh oral tradition.
Lazarus and His Sisters by Morgan Llwyd
Morgan Llwyd (1619-1659), the nephew of a professional soldier and magician, was a Roundhead, a millenialist, a chaplain in the army of Oliver Cromwell, and later a civil servant of the commonwealth in Wales.
His Welsh-language writings, grounded in Puritan theology, yet enriched by his mysticism and esotericism, are considered masterpieces of imagery and cadence, among the best prose ever written in Welsh. His three English-language essays, first published in 1655 and collected here, display the depth and richness of his religious thought, and his passionate engagement in the tumultuous events of his day.
My People by Caradoc Evans
A respected member of the chapel, Zion, pronounces his wife mad and confines her to the hayloft. A man rides to the April fair to buy a heifer without blemish and acquire a wife. And God appears in a dream to a lonely farmhand, and tells him to dig for a talent under Old Shaci’s ruined hut.
These short stories depict the poverty and hardship endured by the peasants of west Wales in the Nineteenth Century. But they also reveal the meanness and cruelty of lives lived in ignorance, caught between the desire for love and the fear of violence, and oppressed by the dark power of the chapel minister and the idol he represents. First published in 1915, to great outrage and great acclaim, they retain their timeless quality as classics and their power to shock.