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This report is taken from PN Review 128, Volume 25 Number 6, July - August 1999.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

It may not be well known that, while the English and our fellow Celts on these islands (and, for all I know, people everywhere fallen under the insidious spell of greetings card manufacturers) have only St Valentine's Day, the Welsh command two opportunities each year to declare their passion, secret or otherwise, for another. We also have as a patron saint of lovers, St Dwynwen. On her feast-day, 25 January, we can do all the silly things that commercial interests expect the smitten to do, like sending chocolates and flowers, and witty messages through the post or the press. For knowledge of her we are indebted to Iolo Morganwg, of whom I have written previously as the inventor of the Gorsedd of Bards and all-round reliable witness. He says Dwynwen, daughter of Brychan, the king alleged to have given his name to Brycheiniog (Breconshire), was too hotly propositioned by her beloved, Maelon. Her prayer to God to save her from what might have been a fifth century case of 'date rape' was duly answered. In a dream, God gave her a drink that quelled her passion and turned the unfortunate Maelon into a block of ice. To confuse the issue, Dwynwen was then granted three wishes. The first she used to revive Maelon, the second to become patron saint of lovers, and the third to remain ever unmarried. This is only slightly dafter than the story associated with St Valentine, though chaste singlehood is preferable to martyrdom at a ...


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