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Bran

by Karen Davis
Bran ("raven"), son of Llyr and Penarddun, and brother of Branwen and Manawydan, and half brother Nisien and Efnisien. Bran was too large for ordinary houses. When Bran learned of the slavery imposed upon his sister Branwen by her Irish husband Matholwch, he sailed to rescue her. Matholwch was terrified at the sight of a forest approaching Ireland across the sea: Bran's navy, and Bran himself wading through the water. He sued for peace, they built a house big enough for Bran, and Matholwch agreed to settle the kingdom on Gwern, his son by Branwen. Some Irish lords objected, and hid themselves in flour bags to attack the Welsh. But Efnisien, scenting Irish treachery, cast them into the fire, and then cast Gwern himself in (avoiding the geas against shedding kinsmen's blood thereby).

A war broke out, and the Irish replenished themselves through the cauldron. Efnisien, repenting, sacrificed himself by feigning death and being thrown into the cauldron, which he then broke, dying in the process. Only seven Welshmen survived, and Bran was fatally wounded. His head, which remained alive and talking, was returned to England and buried, and soon afterwards Branwen sailed to Aber Alaw and died.

According to legend, England could never be invaded as long as Bran's head, facing south and buried in a hill near London, was left alone.


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