• Jem Roberts

The Green Bird of Bala: VENGEANCE WILL COME!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A chirpy Folklore Thursday to you all, faithful folksters – let's see if we can nudge our total up to 150% this sunny spring day!

The chosen theme of BIRD FOLKLORE does not chime with a huge array of our 77 tales – birds crop up in tales, fluttering around the Babes in the Wood or having a wart cut off their ear, like the Eagle of the Green Glen – and of course, Rab Burns' Robin Redbreast has his own Xmas tale. But the most magical bird in our collection is the star of VENGEANCE WILL COME, and although two weeks ago we posted a special snowy update on this Welsh legend, it went by the wayside as everyone was out sledging, so we'll repost our freezing retelling here!

We try not to give too many of our tales away, but it was so heartbreaking when our visit to Frome's Merlin Theatre for World Book Day was postponed by the Beast From the East, that this video was intended as a stopgap until we managed to reschedule. The intense pain of being out in this weather recording the whole thing lasted for about five minutes after we came in by the fire, so somebody had better enjoy the results!

© GraemeArnott.com – but you can already see that.

We're so proud of our nasty, topical retelling of the legend of the flooding of King Tegid Foel's Old Town Bala into the Lake Bala we can visit in Snowdonia today – in fact, returning to the source material and being reminded, for instance, that the harpist protagonist was originally a MAN just seems so, so wrong now, that role makes much less sense when male. This is the downtrodden musician whose life is saved by the beautiful and mysterious green bird of Bala, who sings 'VENGEANCE WILL COME!' and is proved right when the revolting Tegid Foel gets his desserts.

Tegid Foel haunts the banks of Bala to this day – pay him a visit, and call him bad names!

There are so many versions of this story, and as we've mentioned before, so many sunken towns and villages in Wales, but it's the presence of the bird which made us settle for this distinct tale of Llyn Tegid, as the best version of all. Not a ghost, or a god, but a bird saves the day, and has this special insight into what fate awaits the wicked and powerful... and it mocks the patriarchy and saves the innocent via birdsong! That's what makes it one of the most beautiful tales in our treasury, as well as one of the funniest, and nastiest all at once – as you will have gleaned, if you watched the freezing video!

It's because it's so disgusting and silly that we'll be featuring it in our first ever live storytelling show for the BATH COMEDY FESTIVAL on the first Saturday of April! Check out the Facebook event HERE, and tell everyone you know who fancies a good laugh and some exclusive folktale retellings from Brother Bernard and Sister Sal! It's a particularly silly and gross, bogey-festooned selection of tales, so make sure you have your lunch well before 4pm!

According to this postcard, Bala also has its own monster! But come on, Bala, you already have this tale and Taliesin's origin story, and Snowdonia has a lot more to offer, so stop being greedy.

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Publication date: September 2018
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