HOW BALA LAKE BEGAN

HOW BALA LAKE BEGAN


There is a Welsh couplet, still well known in the neighbourhood of
beautiful Bala Lake in Merionethshire, which, translated into English,
runs:

"_Bala old the lake has had, and Bala new_
_The lake will have, and Llanfor, too._"


For there is an ages-old belief in the countryside that Bala will
continue to grow bigger until it has swallowed up the village of
Llanfor, now about a couple of miles from the water's edge.

According to the old story the site of the original town is near the
middle of the present lake, at a spot opposite Llangower. There, years
and years ago, a peaceful community lived a happy, prosperous life in
their houses clustering around a well called Ffynnon Gwyer, or Gower's
Well.

Only one very important thing had these long-ago people to remember, and
that was to cover up their well every night, otherwise, as they knew
from their fathers and grandfathers before them, the spirit of the well
would grow angry with them and wreak some dire punishment upon them.

But one night, after some special festivities, the guardian of the well
forgot his task. Too late this omission was discovered, for as soon as
the last inhabitant was in bed, the well began to gush forth water.

Soon the whole village was in a state of alarm. The quickly rising
waters began to flow into the cottages, and young and old rushed to
Ffynnon Gower, which they realised was the cause of their distress.
There they saw a great stream of water gushing upward. In their anger
they called upon the negligent guardian, but he, seeing the harm that
had come of his forgetfulness, had fled, though it is said he did not
escape the angry waters, for they overtook him and drowned him
miserably.

A frenzied effort was made to cover up the well and stop the unwelcome
flow, but it was useless, and the people of old Bala had to escape as
best they could to higher ground. When morning broke they looked out to
where their homes had been and saw, instead of their fields and houses,
a great lake three miles long and a mile wide.

To-day the lake is five miles long; and they say that on clear days,
when its surface is absolutely calm, you may see at the bottom, off
Llangower, the ruins and chimneys of the old town that was overwhelmed
so long ago.

And, as the old couplet tells, they say too that the spirit of Gower's
Well is not yet appeased. On stormy days water appears to ooze up
through the ground at new Bala, which is built at the lower end of the
lake, and some day they believe that too will be swamped and the waters
will cover the valley as far down as Llanfor.

Llyn Tegid is the old name for Bala Lake; it means the lake of
beauty, and Bala well deserves that title. Its shores are verdant and
beautifully wooded, commanding in many places magnificent distant views
of the mountains which encircle it only a few miles away. Its waters
teem with fish; trout up to fourteen pounds and pike twice as big have
been caught there--but the flyfisher must not expect always such giants.
There is salmon-fishing to be had in the Treweryn river in September.

In the neighbourhood are places of wonderful beauty. Dolgelly,
nestling beneath great Cader Idris, is easily accessible, as also is
that charming seaside town of Barmouth. Bwlch-y-Groes, one of the finest
mountain passes in the Principality, is only ten miles away, and an easy
excursion takes one across another very beautiful pass to Lake Vyrnwy,
which gives to Liverpool its splendid water supply, and provides anglers
with magnificent baskets of Loch Leven trout.

All around is a paradise for artists and fishermen, and a country rich
in mountain streams, wild woods, and wide, far views unbeaten in any
part of Wales.

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Główna Czytelnia Literatura Legendy HOW BALA LAKE BEGAN

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