Crach Ffinnant – ‘Dreaming’



I was a small boy and, as I am a dwarf, a very small boy! My dreams first began when I was about seven years old back in my parents’ cottage in the Hamlet of Ffinnant. My father used to say ‘The boy is dreaming again!’ Mother would defend my daydreaming, telling him I was learning to see! Perhaps Father thought having one ‘seer’ in the family was enough. Mother was often busy helping others at a time when food should have been on the table, much to Father’s frustration. Father was a muscular, strong, quiet man who was well used to nature in his trade as a woodsman and he loved my mother very much indeed. He was always patient and kind and even though some of his words may at times have seemed harsh, they were always given for the right reasons. 

 Sitting at our evening meal one night, Mother announced that I would need a teacher in the future to help me go beyond where she was able to take me. Father looked at me, saying it was nature’s way of choosing my destiny by making me a dwarf and thus a seer and prophet. He dreamed of me becoming a woodsman like him, but my size made that quite impossible. Mother had said that I would not be able to start an apprenticeship until I reached my seventh year and she was insistent to Father that any future teacher must be of the best lineage. Father patted my head, telling me ‘all in a day’s work, my boy, all in a day’s work’.


 My daydream ended with a start. As I opened my eyes, splashing, streaming, gurgling sounds from the river brought me back into the now. Oh, the now! ‘Goodness me, how many paces did Fwynedd say it was from the fork in the river to the drovers’ path?’ I had a feeling that I was making myself confused and furthermore, getting lost. No, I could not be lost as I had not passed the trail. I remembered Fwynedd had said the trail was five hundred paces from the fork in the river. ‘How many had I come already?’ I wondered. The answer was, I simply had no idea at all. I, Crach Ffinnant, had not been paying attention, being too busy scrambling up and down riverbanks. Suddenly a thought occurred to me. ‘Was this five hundred paces of his stride or of mine?’ Given I stride three paces to his one and I knew this to be so as ‘by dragon’s breath’, I had been in his shadow for days. Even though the ‘warp-way’ had shortened our journey, it had not shortened his stride or lengthened mine. So, in dwarf terms, his five hundred paces becomes fifteen hundred paces for me. I still did not know how far I had come to be here, where I am now. ‘A solution exists for every problem, Crach, and it is always a simple one!’ Llwyd ap Crachan Llwyd’s words rang through my mind. Pondering on such wise words, as my Master’s always proved to be, I considered that firstly, I had drifted off into a daydream, something I had been warned against, and secondly, I had been told to remain alert at all times, but I had not!



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