Welsh Mythology

The Mabinogion: Manawydan son of Llyr

14th century, Middle Welsh, National Library of Wales

'I will give you twenty-five pounds for this mouse,' says the bishop.

Manawydan is building a gallows for a mouse that he has caught stealing his crops and seems curiously intent upon carrying out a bizarre execution. Possibly, he knows something about the creature he has not yet divulged. A poor travelling scholar comes up the road and offers to buy the mouse from him in order to stop this unseemly hanging. Manawydan refuses to accept any money. When the scholar has gone, a priest appears and offers three pounds for the mouse (a lot of money in the twelfth century). When he, too, has gone on his way without saving the mouse, a bishop suddenly arrives with all his retinue.

'I will give you twenty-five pounds for this mouse,' says the bishop.

'It will die,' replied Manawydan.

'Fifty,' said the bishop. 'One hundred. Name your price!'

'First tell me who the mouse is.'

'It is my wife.'

Story fragment recounted from: Gantz, Jeffrey, 1976. The Mabinogion. Translated from Middle Welsh with an introduction. Penguin Books Limited. Manawydan son of Llyr, pp 83–96.

references

Mabinogion – Wikipedia

White Book of Rhydderch – Wikipedia

Red Book of Hergest – Wikipedia

The Four Branches of the Mabinogi – Modern English translation by Will Parker

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