The Long Lived Ancestors by Anonymous
The Eagle of Gwernabwy had been long married to his female, and had by her
many children; she died, and he continued a long time a widower; but at
length be proposed a marriage with the Owl of Cwm Cwmlwyd; but afraid of
her being young, so as to have children by her, and thereby degrade his
own family, he first of all went to inquire about her age amongst the aged
of the world. Accordingly he applied to the Stag of Rhedynfre, whom he
found lying close to the trunk of an old oak, and requested to know the
"I have seen," said the Stag, "this oak an acorn, which is now fallen to
the ground through age, without either bark or leaves, and never suffered
any hurt or strain except from my rubbing myself against it once a day,
after getting up on my legs; but I never remember to have seen the Owl you
mention younger or older than she seems to be at this day. But there is
one older than I am, and that is the Salmon of Glynllifon."
The Eagle then applied to the Salmon for the age of the Owl. The Salmon
answered, "I am as many years old as there are scales upon my skin, and
particles of spawn within my belly; yet never saw I the Owl you mention
but the same in appearance. But there is one older than I am, and that is
the Blackbird of Cilgwri."
The Eagle next repaired to the Blackbird of Cilgwri, whom he found perched
upon a small stone, and enquired of him the Owl's age.
"Dost thou see this stone upon which I sit," said the Blackbird, "which is
now no bigger than what a man can carry in his hand? I have seen this very
stone of such weight as to be a sufficient load for a hundred oxen to
draw, which has suffered neither rubbing nor wearing, save that I rub my
bill on it once every evening, and touch the tips of my wings on it every
morning, when I expand them to fly; yet I have not seen the Owl either
older or younger than she appears to be at this day. But there is one
older than I am, and that is the Frog of Mochno Bog, and if he does not
know her age, there is not a creature living that does know it."
The Eagle went last of all to the Frog and desired to know the Owl's age.
He answered, "I never ate anything but the dust from the spot which I
inhabit, and that very sparingly, and dost thou see these great hills that
surround and overawe this bog where I lie? They are formed only of the
excrements from my body since I have inhabited this place, yet I never
remember to have seen the Owl but an old hag, making that hideous noise,
Too, hoo, hoo! always frightening the children in the neighbourhood."
So the Eagle of Gwernabwy, the Stag of Rhedynfre, the Salmon of
Glynllifon, the Blackbird of Cilgwri, the Frog of Mochno Bog, and the Owl
of Cwm Cawlwyd are the oldest creatures in the whole world!