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Merlin and the Red Dragon of Wales

Myrddin a Draig Goch Cymru

Centuries ago in the time after the Romans had left Britain, the King of all Britain was called Vortigern (or Gwrtheyrn in Welsh). He was under attack from the Saxons, so he decided to build a fortress in Snowdonia. He chose a hill at the foot of Snowdon, but every time the fort walls were built they fell down.

The wise men were consulted, who said that it was the work of a bad spirit, and that a child without a father should be sacrificed and its blood poured on the foundations to keep the spirit happy. The castle could then be built in peace. And so men were sent in all directions to seek such a child.

Eventually Dafydd Goch came back with a boy who had no father - this boy was Myrddin Emrys or Merlin! Merlin questioned the wisdom of the wise men, saying that it was pointless sacrificing him. He said that two dragons (one white and one red) lived in a lake under the hill, and it was their fighting that was causing the walls to fall down. The white dragon represented the Saxons, and the red one the Welsh, and if they were released they could fight elsewhere so that the castle could be built explained Merlin. He also said that although the white dragon was winning, the red dragon would be the final victor.

The red and white dragons fighting.

The wise men insisted that Merlin was making this up to save his neck. To settle things the King decided to dig for the dragons. If they were not found, Merlin would be sacrificed. If they were found the wise men would be killed.

Merlin was proved right and the dragons were found. The red dragon is the one seen on the Welsh flag today. The fort when completed was given to Merlin and to this day is still called Dinas Emrys after him. The King found another site for his stronghold which is still named after him - Nant Gwrtheyrn (Vortigern's Valley) on the Llyn Peninsula (now the site of a Welsh language learning centre). Merlin of course went on to be very wise and helped King Arthur of the Britons, but the 'wise men' were buried at the foot of the hill!

Ganrifoedd lawer yn ôl, yn yr amser ar ôl i'r Rhufeiniaid adael Prydain, roedd Gwrtheyrn yn frenin ar Brydain i gyd. Roedd y Saeson yn ymosod arno'n gyson, felly penderfynnodd adeiladu caer yn Eryri. Fe ddewisiodd bryn ger droed y Wyddfa, ond pob tro codwyd waliau'r gaer roeddent yn syrthio i lawr.


Dinas Emrys - where the dragons fought.

Galwyd y gwyr doeth, a ddywedon nhw mai gwaith ysbryd drwg oedd y cwbl, a dylai aberthu plentyn a aned heb dad a thywallt ei waed dros y sylfaeni i gadw'r ysbryd yn hapus. Wedyn gellir adeiladu'r castell mewn heddwch. Felly anfonwyd dynion i bob cyfeiriad i chwilio am blentyn o'r fath.

O'r diwedd fe ddychwelodd Dafydd Goch hefo bachgen a aned heb dad - y bachgen hwn oedd Myrddin Emrys (neu Merlin yn Saesneg!). Dywedodd Myrddin ei fod yn ansicr o ddoethineb y gwyr doeth, a fod yna ddim diben ei aberthu o. Roedd yna ddwy ddraig, meddai o, (un wen ac un goch) yn byw mewn llyn o dan y bryn, ac y ddwy'n ymladd a'i gilydd oedd yn achosi'r waliau i syrthio i lawr. Cynrychioli'r Saeson oedd yr un wen, tra bod yr un goch yn cynrychioli'r Cymry, ac os gollyngwyd y ddwy gallent ymladd yn rhywle arall, ac wedyn gellir adeiladu'r castell, eglurodd Myrddin. Fe ddywedodd hefyd bod y ddraig wen yn ennill ar y pryd, ond mai'r ddraig goch fyddai'n ennill yn y diwedd.

Mynnodd y gwyr doeth mai gwneud y cwbl i fyny oedd Myrddin i achub ei groen. I dorri'r ddadl penderfynnodd y Brenin i dyllu am y ddwy ddraig. Os doedd yna ddim golwg ohonynt fe fyddai Myrddin yn cael ei aberthu. Os ffeindwyd hwy fe fyddai'r gwyr doeth yn cael eu lladd.

Myrddin oedd yn iawn a chafwyd hyd i'r ddwy ddraig. Y ddraig goch yw'r un a welir ar fflag Cymru heddiw. Pan orffenwyd y gaer, rhoddwyd hi i Myrddin Emrys, a'r enw arni hyd heddiw yw Dinas Emrys ar ei ôl. Cafodd y Brenin hyd i le arall i adeiladu ei gaer, a gelwir y lle hwn ar ei ôl hyd heddiw - Nant Gwrtheyrn ym Mhenryn Llyn (sydd nawr yn gartref i ganolfan dysgu'r iaith Gymraeg). Wrth gwrs, aeth Myrddin Emrys ymlaen i fod yn ddoeth iawn a helpodd llawer ar y Brenin Arthur, ond claddwyd y 'gwyr doeth' wrth droed y bryn!



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