by Margaret Jones
hb 978 0 9563965 4 9 £8.95
pb 978 0 9563965 3 2 £7.95
Arthur, with a vast army of warriors, chased a magical wild boar known as the Twrch Trwyth across the length of south Wales. Arthur had killed one of his pigs in Ireland and the Twrch Trwyth, intent on revenge, came to Wales to ravage the land. The Twrch landed near St David’s Head, Pembrokeshire, Arthur landed near Milford Haven and the chase began. This spectacular boar hunt extended from Pembrokeshire to the Severn Estuary, with many battles taking place along the way and many of Arthur’s champions savagely killed by the Twrch Trwyth and his brood. Finally, all the pigs were killed except the Twrch, who was caught, first of all in the Severn Estuary, and subsequently, in Cornwall.
The account of Arthur’s boar hunt comes from the story How Culwch won Olwen and is one of eleven medieval Welsh tales known as the Mabinogion. The story was first recorded in the Red Book of Hergest and is the first known written record of Arthur.
Strange magical gods and heroes, giants, and fabulous animals come to life in this tale of cunning, sorcery and witchcraft, pitted against the courage of Arthur and his warriors. The strongest, most powerful creature is the Twrch Trwyth; shape-changed from a noble prince to see out his days incarcerated in the body of a pig, this creature is a cunning, treacherous foe. Arthur calls on every source of magic, skill and strength in his power, even that of Gwyn ap Nudd himself, King of the Underworld, and including many well known friends such as Bedwyr and Cai (in later tales, known as Bedivere and Kay).
Margaret sets the story of the hunt Arthur and the Twrch Trwyth in the context of he story of Culhwch and Olwen and her fluid style captures all the energy and humour of the original tale; her book is illustrated by Margaret Jones, one of the most celebrated illustrators of Welsh Folk Tales.
THE TWRCH TRWYTH TRAIL, a story-themed trail, is being created across South Wales to mark the chase, and highlight significant points in the story where men and beasts were joined in battle.
Follow the Twrch Trwyth Trail