Last week, Teirnyon announced Gwri to be Pwyll’s son before the whole court of Dyfed…
“I believe there is no man present who does not see that this boy is the son of Pwyll.”
A low rumbling of voices came from the hall, “There is not, indeed.”
Teirnyon held the little boy out to Rhiannon. Her eyes devoured him as she stretched out her trembling arms. Teirnyon placed the child in her embrace, and she gathered him to her chest as her shoulders began to shake.
Like one in a daze, Pwyll got up shakily, and gathered his wife and son in his arms. Teirnyon stepped back, feeling like his heart was being ripped from his body. He slipped his arms around his own wife. They clung to each other as they watched the family reunion.
Finally Rhiannon raised her head. Her eyes were wet, and the hand that brushed away the tears still shook, but something had changed. Her dead expression had vanished. She stood, clear-eyed, straight and unashamed before the crowd.
“Then there is an end to my trouble.”
The hall was silent, until Pwyll’s friend, Pendaran Dyfed, rose from his place, “Lady,” he pronounced, “That is a fitting name for your son – Pryderi – trouble, anxiety – and the name Pryderi, son of Pwyll, becomes him well.”
“Won’t his own name become him better?” Rhiannon asked.
“What name did you give him?” Pwyll looked at Teirnyon, still slightly disorientated. But like Rhiannon, the burden had fallen away in an instant and he looked years younger.
“Gwri was the name we gave him,” said Teirnyon.
Pwyll nodded. “If it is alright with you,” he declared, “it would be more fitting that he take his official name from the first words his mother spoke when she first received the joyful tidings of him.”
Teirnyon bowed in silent assent. Pwyll came swiftly towards him then, a smile beginning to dawn, and hugged him once more. “Teirnyon – thank you. This must be hard.”
Teirnyon’s arms had remained at his sides, as a lump rose in his throat. “My lord,” he managed, “It is the hardest thing we have ever had to do, by far, especially for my wife. Even I will not miss him as much as she will. It would be right for him to remember us.”
Pwyll nodded, and raised his voice once more, “I call the gods to witness, that while I am alive I will support and protect you, as long as I am able. And if this counsel seems good to you all, I will give Pryderi to you, Teirnyon, and to Pendaran Dyfed, who has a home in your direction. And you shall both be foster fathers to him, and take an equal share in raising him.”
“That is good counsel.” Again a general rumble of agreement came from the hall.
Teirnyon gasped out a breath he didn’t even know he had been holding. He sat down heavily next to his wife, who gazed at him with beseeching eyes. Could it be true? They wouldn’t lose Gwri completely?
Pwyll saw their disbelieving, astonished looks. “Then that shall be so,” he pronounced. They all sat back down, and Pwyll returned to his wife and son, once more slipping his arms round them. Gwri looked round, blinking and bewildered, yet quite happy in Rhiannon’s arms.
Teirnyon and his wife drew Gwri aside for an hour the next morning, and as far as they could, explained to him what had just happened. He accepted it all with wide eyes. Thank goodness he’s only two, Teirnyon and his wife thought. It would be much harder otherwise.
Teirnyon and his wife stayed several days at Arberth, days of very mixed emotions. They spent hours getting acquainted and reacquainted with Pwyll and Rhiannon. They often included Pendaran Dyfed in these conversations as well, as Teirnyon wished to know what kind of foster father he was to share Gwri with. He found him a quick-sighted, warm-hearted man, and was satisfied.
Eventually they returned home, stopping at Pendaran Dyfed’s house on the way to help Gwri settle in. And Pryderi, the son of Pwyll, was brought up carefully, as was fitting for the son of a prince. In time he became a well-grown, comely youth, intelligent and strong. And thus passed years and years, until the end of Pwyll’s life came, and he died.
Pryderi succeeded to his father’s kingdom, beloved by his people and ruling prosperously. And at length he took a wife, and the wife that he chose was called Cigfa, the daughter of Gwynn Gohoyw of Gloucester.
And thus ends this branch of the Mabinogi.