Legend tells of a beautiful maid that dwells beneath the waters of the lake known as Llyn-y-Forwyn in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales. The name of the lake translates as “The Lake of the Damsel”. If you ever visit, you can see a beautiful wood sculpture of the fair lady of many legends.
She revealed herself to a farmer one day, emerging from the water as he took his pony to the water’s edge for a cool drink. She told the stunned fellow that her name was Nelferch, and that she dwelt in the lake with her father, sisters, and cattle. The farmer fell head over heels in love with her, and it was just as well, for Nelferch was looking for a husband. All Welshmen are blessed with voices of honey, and with his sweet singing, he charmed her. The fair maid agreed to marry him on one condition. If they quarrelled three times, she would return to the lake.
Happily they lived together until that fateful day when she let the fire in the hearth go out. The farmer raised his voice in anger against his fairy wife, and they quarrelled. She reminded him of his promise, and he apologised and all was well for a few months more until again he had cause for anger. His wife spilled a milk churn, and the farmer raised his voice at her carelessness. Sternly she warned him that he had no more chances left. If he quarrelled with her one more time, she would go. Cursing himself, he promised to be more careful and an entire year passed before a fox took some lambs and he quarrelled with his wife, laying blame on her for not locking the young animals safely away in the barn. Before he could apologise, she vanished right before his eyes, taking the cattle with her. The farmer returned to the lake each day and night, begging her to return. He spent the rest of his days pining for the beautiful maiden of the waters and went mad with grief.
Some believe that Nelferch still dwells in the watery realm beneath the lake’s surface, and calls out to young men to join her in the depths of the lake. A sorrowful event from the start of the twentieth century describes how a young local boy drowned in the waters in his attempt to rescue a friend who had fallen in. His family believe that Nelferch took him for her own, his act of unselfish bravery making him a worthy husband. Some say that the singing voices of their children can be heard if you listen carefully.
Another, more sinister tale, describes how the maid of Llyn-y-Forwyn was an unfortunate human girl who met her end due to foul deeds. She was betrothed to a young man who had fallen in love with another, and made wicked plans to be rid of her. On the evening before their wedding, he took his bride-to-be for a walk along the lakeside, and pushed her in. The poor girl was drowned, and denying any knowledge of his missing fiancée, the young man was free to marry his sweetheart. Ever after, the damsel’s spirit haunted the scene of her murder. Some have reported hearing shrieks from the waterside, and the sound of splashing water. A few tell of seeing a half-naked maiden emerging out of the lake with a terrifying scream, her wet hair hanging lankly over her pallid shoulders.
So dear reader, take heed you see a beautiful woman emerging from the waters of Llyn-y-Forwyn, lest you too become a thing of legend.