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Culhwch and Olwen

Culhwch and Olwen


This ancient tale from the Mabinogian was adapted for a performance in Narberth Castle when it was reopened on June 25th 2007 after restoration work.



The story is about the warrior Culhwch who seeks the hand of the maiden Olwer Olwen’s father, a fierce giant call Ysbaddaden, hinders their plans. When Culhwch ask for permission to marry her, Ysbaddaden sets him many impossible tasks to complete before he will give up his daughter. For one of these tasks he says, Throughout the world there is not a comb or scissors with which I can arrange my hair, on account of its rankness, except the comb and scissors that are between the two ears of the ‘Twrch Trwyth’ (the fierce giant boar who is really the spirit of an evil King). Then, because it is a magical boar he sets him the extra tasks of having to enlist special horses, dogs and huntsmen to hunt him. King Arthur and many heroes and knights manage to find everything and the hunt begins. The Boar, having been disturbed in Ireland with its seven piglets, turns on the hunters and chases them back to Wales where, in Pembrokeshire, it creates havoc. It kills many heroes and causes much destruction. The huntsmen manage to track down some of the piglets and finish them off, Finally after chasing over the Preselis, Cardigan, Never, Whitland, Llandewi and Narberth, Culhwch and Arthur’s men dunk him in the sea and get the scissors from the head of the giant board. He then manages to rise up and escape causing even more destruction. Finally they get the comb out but he escapes them with two of the piglets into the sea. Culhwch takes the scissors and comb back to Ysbaddaden who has to yield up his daughter and as a result he also loses his head, land and treasures.