The Lie

Last week Rhiannon woke up to find her baby gone…

When Pwyll got to the hall, to breakfast, he found a crowd of men and women, chattering like a swarm of bees.  As he entered the noise suddenly quietened, then continued in hushed tones.

The table was ready and he sat down in the high seat, on the dais, frowning at the court as they sat down.  Most of them went straight to their seats, but his most senior lords, and the six women who had been watching Rhiannon the previous night, rounded the end of the table and approached him.  Pwyll looked at them in alarm.  Was Rhiannon alright?  The baby?

“Ladies,” he asked, “How is my wife this morning?  My son?”

They all looked at each other.  A lord pushed one of the women to the front.

“My lord, I have grave news to report,” she said, head slightly bowed.

Pwyll jumped up, “What has happened?  Tell me, quick!”

“My lord, last night was May-eve, a time of great magic.”  The room was utterly still.  “The Lady Rhiannon seemed to succumb to this influence.  She killed your son before our eyes, and all six of us could not stop her.”  She hung her head, “I’m sorry, Lord.”

What?  Rhiannon had killed their son?  That was not possible.

“No,” he replied, though his voice shook, “Rhiannon would never do such a thing.”

But one by one the ladies came forward to confirm her story.  In despair, Pwyll looked round at the faces of his people.  On every one he could read scorn, disgust, and determination.

Panic set in.  Where was his son?  He forced himself to walk, as he went in the direction of Rhiannon’s rooms.   The lords followed him down the corridor, hemming him tightly.  He stopped at Rhiannon’s door, “My lords,” he said, returning glare for glare, “I will speak with my wife alone.”

Rhiannon sat bolt upright as he entered, and her eyes sought his.  They stared at each other in confusion and terror.

“What has happened to our son?” Pwyll managed.

“I don’t know,” Rhiannon cried, “I was asleep, then the next moment I woke up, reaching for him, and he was not there.  Then the women told me what you have obviously heard.  I did not do it!  You believe me?”

“Then what could have happened?”

“I don’t know.  Unless there was some other magic abroad, which is very possible, Pwyll.  I think our son has been taken, and the women are covering it up.” She broke down into sobs, startling Pwyll out of his stupor.  He gathered her into his arms.  “I do believe you, Rhiannon.  But the people are another matter.”