I did not come here for recognition

1223675642-sc-240reading the story of Culwch and Olwen*:

I always like the bit where the young hero-to-be rides into Arthur’s court.

Here it is from Robin Williamson‘s brilliant retelling on the CD Gems of Celtic Story – One, where he plays along with harp and sings some of it too, and in his book The Craneskin Bag (both far too difficult to get hold of) –

To help you imagine the harp with the story, here is the man himself playing the harp:

It was the custom to dismount at the gate, but Culwch, when the door was opened to him, rode straight into the hall dogs and all. ‘Greetings, Lord of Kings in this island,’ he said. ‘May the low part of your house be no worse than the high. May this greeting reach equally your fighting men, your companions and your warlords. May no one here be deprived of this my greeting. May your fame, Arthur, resound throughout Britain.’

‘Greetings to you also, chieftain. Sit here by me among the warriors. You shall have the privileges of a prince when you are here.’

‘I did not come here for recognition, but to ask one boon* of you.’

‘You shall have whatever
your tongue can utter
while the wind blows with the wetness of rain
and the full extent
of your mind’s invention
while sun lifts day to the last ebb of land
except my sword, my shield, my spear,
or my wife Gwenhwyfar.’

‘I ask first that my hair be trimmed.’

‘You shall get that,’ said Arthur, and taking a golden comb and silver handled scissors, he commenced to comb and trim the hair of Culwch. But as he was about this he felt his heart warm to Culwch, and he said to him, ‘I know in my heart we must be kindred. Tell me who you are.’

‘I will. I am Culwch son of Cilydd son of Celyddon Wledig and of Goleuddydd my mother.’

‘Then,’ said Arthur; ‘you are my cousin. Claim what you will of me.’

‘Help me to win the hand of Olwen daughter of Ysbaddaden King of all Giants.’

* Culwch –> pronounced kill-hook
“boon” = a favour, a wish granted

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