Maybe for the first time in the history of Culhwch and Olwen, this ancient tale has been told at its genuine location, in a dramatic new performance by Christine Willison.
The tale of Culhwch and his pursuit of the entrancing Olwen, of his all-powerful knightly comrades, of Olwen’s grisly giant of a father and of his forty impossible challenges – all these are well known to lovers of the Mabinogion, Wales’ great contribution to the literature of early medieval Europe.
But to retell the tale for the launch of her new book, Pembrokeshire Folk Tales, Christine decided that nothing could be better than to record it at the original locations of the larger-than-life fable.
So this cold, sunny February found her climbing up the slopes of the Preseli Hills, wandering deep in the forests at the foot of Preseli, nestling beside Mother Oak, and clambering around the magical sea inlet where the stream Nant Ceibwr rushes into the sea – always accompanied by her audio recording team.
The result is a unique performance of an extraordinary tale that was always meant for performance. The audio performance will be available online, and will soon be on the History Press website to accompany publication of Christine’s book, Pembrokeshire Folk Tales. In the meantime you can read the first part of the story on the History Press website. It is available to subscribers – which means you should submit your details and open an account, then you can go to ‘free downloads’.
Christine says,This is a new departure for History Press, I hope you are able to read or hear this captivating story which has been prepared in three parts. A cd of the story will be available from May 2013. Let me know if you would like to buy a copy for £7 plus postage charges.