Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Black Sow

Hwch Ddu Gwta a Ladi Wen heb ddim pen
Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio'r ola
Hwch Ddu Gwta nos G'langaea

Lladron yn dwad tan weu sana

A tail-less Black Sow and a White Lady without a head
May the tail-less black sow snatch the hindmost.

A tail-less black sow on winter's eve,

Thieves coming along knitting stockings.

Why a tailless black sow? What is the relevance of that? This was posed to me the other day and I have no idea. I guess it illustrates nicely that although e have remnant of myth and folklore, they have lost context and meaning in a way we can only guess at. Originally the porcine tail imagery held some meaning or significance in this poem but nowadays e have no idea. If it was a boar then the tail-less would be clear euphemism for emasculation, for a sow though it is a different matter. The only thing I can think of i that back home we used to dock the tails of male piglets to mark them out, I don’t know of anyone else does this or if it was common in the past too. IF so then it might be a suggestion of a beast out of place in the world, marked as one thing when in fact she is another and evidently none too pleased about it too.

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