Rhys and Meinir
It is in Nant Gwyrtheyrn that the most famous and saddest of all Welsh language tales is based, the story of Rhys and Meinir.
Rhys Maredudd and Meinir Maredudd were cousins that lived on different farms in the Nant. They fell in love with each other and their favorite meeting place was by the trunk of an old oak tree in the valley.
They decided to get married in Clynnog Church nearby. On the morning of the wedding, it was customary for the bride to hide from the groom’s friends who were to escort her to church. Rhys’ friends searched and searched for Meinir, but to no avail. They went on to the church without her, expecting to see her there. But, having reached the church she was nowhere to be seen.
Everyone started to worry, especially Rhys, who went back to the Nant to look for her. Weeks and months went by with no sign of Meinir. Rhys looked for her day and night – his only companion was his faithful dog, Cidwm.
Sad and distraught, Rhys slowly went mad. One stormy night, whilst out looking for Meinir, he and Cidwm took shelter underneath the old oak tree where he and Meinir used to meet. A bolt of lightning struck the tree and split the trunk in half, only to reveal a skeleton wearing a wedding dress that fell to the ground beside Rhys. The shock was too much for poor Rhys and he died instantly. Cidwm, the dog, lay down to sleep beside his master and never woke up.