The Tale of Elidyr and the Little People

This story was written in Latin in the 12th century by the Archdeacon of Brecon, Gerald Cambrensis in his book ‘Journey of Wales’. This son of a Norman Baron and a Welsh woman was travelling through Wales withe Archbishop Baldwin, raising support for the Crusades, when he learnt of this tale told by a man named Elidyr.
Elidyr when a boy was being educated for the priesthood.He was slow to ‘learn hi letters’ and his teacher regularly chastised him. After one such beating, he ran away to avoid further caneings and hid in a hollow alongside the Neath river. After a few days, still hidden under the river bank, tired and hungry when two dwarf like men appeared, “if you come with us,” they said, “we will take you to a land of playtime and pleasure”. He agreed and followed them through a dark underground tunnel to a most attractive country full of riches, whose people where small but extremely attractive. Elidyr was welcomed by the King of these people who sent him to play with his son. During his stay in this land, he learnt that they hated untruths more than anything else and whenever they came back from our world they spoke with disdain at our deceits, our selfish ambitions and our infidelities.
He frequently returned to our upper world, at first he was accompanied,but later, enjoying their trust he came alone. Each time he came home he told his mother of the riches that abounded in this underworld land and she would plead that the next time he bring back a present of gold. To please his mother, Elidyr stole the golden ball used when playing with the King’s son. He hurriedly returned to his mother’s house with the same two men in hot pursuit. Just as he reached the end of the tunnel, he tripped, fell over, the gold present intended for his mother slipped from his hands and the two little men who were at his heels reclaimed the ball,showing him much scorn and contempt as they made off with it. Elidyr got to his feet, feeling full of shame at what he had done, wanting to make amends he made his way back to the river to where the underground passage had been but it was not be found. For more than a year, full of remorse he searched the river bank for the magical entrance, but to no avail.
He eventually returned to his studies and became the priest Elidorious