Pryderi (“worry”) was the son of Pwyll, the lord of Dyfed and Rhiannon, a woman of the otherworld. He was kidnapped at his birth, rescued by Teirnon, and restored to his parents. He grew to manhood in seven years. He married Cigva and reigned in Dyfed after his father’s death. He invited his mother’s second husband, Manawydan, son of Llyr, to live in Dyfed after their marriage. One day, all of Dyfed turned into a wasteland, and only Rhiannon, Manawydan, Pryderi, and his wife Cigfa, were spared. Manawydan and Pryderi out hunting followed an enormous white boar into a caer, where Pryderi saw a golden bowl; when he touched it, he was enspelled. Rhiannon went after him and fell under the same spell; the caer then vanished, taking them with it. Manawydan and Cigva eventually captured a mouse which was really the wife of Llwyd, an enemy of Rhiannon’s, and the spells were lifted. Dyfed was restored, and Pryderi ruled for many years.
Pryderi was the only characters to appear in all four tales of the Mabinogi.
In the Tale of Pwyll, Pryderi was abducted when he was only an infant. In the story of Branwen, he was a young man who ruled his father’s kingdom; however, his role in this story was minor. This tale was about the war between Ireland and Britain. Bran, the king of Britain was killed in battle. Pryderi was one of the seven survivors, who had fought against Ireland, and brought Bran’s head back to Britain.
In the tale of Manawyddan, Pryderi had more active role than all the other tales. Pryderi returned to Wales, and made his mother marry Manawyddan (brother of Bran). Pryderi was married to Kigva (Cigfa). However, his subjects mysteriously vanished. To survive, Manawyddan and Pryderi took various trades in different towns, such as boot-making, shield making, etc. Manawyddan and Pryderi proved to exceptional or gifted tradesmen, which caused jealousy and hostility from other tradesmen. When he returned home with his family, Pryderi and Rhiannon had also vanished when they had touched a golden cauldron. In the end, Manawyddan had restored them, when he lifted the curse or enchantment of Pryderi’s kingdom, by catching the sorcerer’s wife. The sorcerer’s wife was sister of Pywll’s old enemy.
In the final tale, called Math Son of Don, Pryderi appeared only in the first part of the tale. Gwydion, nephew of King Math of Gwynedd (northern kingdom) and a great sorcerer, had cheated him by stealing his pigs. These pigs was given to him, by Lord Arawn of Annwfn (Otherworld), who was a close friend of his father Pwyll. To avoid a battle, Pryderi agreed to a single combat against Gwydion, in which Pryderi lost his life.
In a way, the four tales of Mabinogi was a Cycle of Pryderi, yet he only played a minor role in each of story. Pryderi also appeared in a Welsh tale, called Preiddiau Annwfn (Spoils of Annwfn), where Arthur tried to steal a magic cauldron in Annwfn (Otherworld). Again, Pryderi was one of the seven survivors, along Arthur and Taliesin.
Wife of Llŷr and a daughter of Beli Mawr. The Second Branch of the Mabinogi names Bran, Branwen, and Manawydan as her children by Llŷr, and she has two additional sons by Euroswydd. These are Nisien, a good man, and Efnysien, a conniving troublemaker. The Welsh Triads call Llŷr one of the Three Exalted Prisoners of Britain for his captivity at Euroswydd’s hands; this likely refers to a lost tradition of the birth of Penarddun’s younger sons.
The name Penarddun can be translated as “Chief Beauty” or “Most Fair” (Welsh pen “head, chief, foremost” + arddun “fair, beautiful (of a girl)”), an apt name for a beautiful woman.
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