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Son of Mathonwy Math
  • Categories:Gender, Mythology
  • British, Magic, Shapeshifter, Fantasy, Medieval text; animal change, in The Mabinogion


In the Math, Son of Mathonwy section of the Mabinogion is the tale of the brothers Gilvaethwy and Gwydyon. After raping their cousin Goewin they are punished by their uncle Math, who uses a magic wand to change them into, respectively, a hind and a stag. A year later they return with a fawn, which Math turns into a human boy he names Hyddwen. Then he turns the hind into a boar and the stag into a sow. Another year passes, and the two return this time with a small piglet. Math turns this piglet into a young boy, which he names Hychdwn. Then he turns the boar into a she-wolf, and the sow into a wolf. A year later they return with a wolf-cub, which Math turns into a boy he names Bleiddwin. Then he releases the two nephews from their enchantment. After this in the Mabinogion the story follows Gwydyon, and nothing more is heard of Gilvaethwy; however, other Welsh tales make reference to a sister of Gwydyon named "Gelvae", whom Math's son takes to wife. This may be a possible indication that - in some versions of the tale, at least - Gwydyon came back male while Gilvaethwy came back female.


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Started by mute, Last Post by Zelmane
249 months

originally posted by Zelmane on 2002-04-03, no edits, entryid=4460