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Criccieth – The Whistling Ghost. (Translated from Welsh)

Dr John Lloyd Williams, collector and composer of Welsh folk songs was, at one time, a teacher at Garn Dolbenmaen school. He had music pupils at Penmorfa, Pentrefelin, Criccieth, and other places. This meant being away from home two nights a week and walking five miles and after the lessons, five miles back often late at night. "One Tuesday night, about eleven o'clock, and it was a nice quiet evening, I returned from Pentrefelin over Penrhyddros — a lonely road with no house nor pig sty near it — I heard in the distance, from Dolbenmaen, some unearthly whistling. There was no such whistle in the world. Like Melchisedec, it had no beginning or end but it continued on and on without a break. The form of the singing, with its unclear and modern intonation, was inconclusive. I was fascinated by whether the strange sounds were produced by a human creature. Eventually there appeared a short, broad-bodied man, walking awkwardly and stumbling, with his hat skewed, the broad brim hiding part of his face. Arriving opposite I gave the usual greeting, "Good night!" But he answered not so much as a word or turn to look, but carried on whistling - whistling, completely non-stop, like playing the organ at many services in Wales. I stood there and listened to the sound fade away until the breeze was too weak to carry it. I thought little of the strange event until the following Thursday. Very late, I was returning from Criccieth — by another route, of course. On arriving at the path that goes from Ynys Ddu to the footbridge at Ynsymcegid I heard faintly a whistle in the distance just like the one I heard on Tuesday night. Later on I was talking to Mr Hughes who ran the shop in the village and he told me : "There is good entertainment at the moment, with the courtship of an old lad and an old girl — Dewi is a farm servant between Pentrefelin and Criccieth and Dinah, living alone in a cottage near here. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening Dewi comes to visit Dinah and goes home after supper. The sweethearts are simpletons and Huw my assistant is almost as simple, but they tell him all their secrets. He came to me and said: “ Mistar, Dewi is very concerned and has a bee in his bonnet that someone is bewitching him and Dinah and sending a bad ghost to trouble him every time he goes to visit her”. Hughes then added that Dewi was trying to avoid the ghost on his way home but that the spirit was bound to meet him whichever way he

went. Dinah is almost going into hysterics and trying to persuade Dewi not to come to her lest the spirit cause her beloved to die. It began to dawn on me and I asked:"Does Dewi whistle when he is on the way home after his visits? “Whistle! said Hughes; the whole country knows for Dewi would not stop his whistling until he got home safely”. He further explained that Dewi was terrified of the dark and that it served three purposes - to declare his joy to have Dinah, to keep his own spirit up, and to keep away evil spirits. '' Well, said I; I know a way to get rid of the evil spirit that annoys the couple”. Then I told the whole story, Hughes doubled up laughing at the strange coincidences and Dewi's growing fear of them. I added: It's clear that Dewi and Dinah's love affair is far more important than the music lessons, for that matter I will change nights in favour of the lovers’' — the singers will be no worse. And that is what was done, to the loving couple's great relief.

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