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Fire and Sea Festival - The Story

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Meirion And The Golden Torc

At the darkest time of the year Meirion, grandson of the great leader Cunedda, returned to Harlech to claim his birthright. A strong young man, he was proudly wearing the golden torc. Not only did the torc mark his right to lead the community, but it also possessed magical powers. However, the powers have called someone else. The morfeirch (giant seahorses) have also come to Harlech.

Meirion Fire and Sea Festival.jpg

The morfeirch see Meirion wearing the torc and attempt to steal it from him. They pursue him to the castle but find that they cannot remove it from Meirion’s neck. In a desperate attempt to possess the magical powers of the golden torc, they take Meirion away with them and disappear into the land beneath the sea. The people are left shocked and upset, but make a shrine of hope to light Meirion home again.

As the year turns and spring becomes summer the golden torc is discovered washed up on the beach. There is great speculation from the people – does this mean that Meirion will return they ask, or does it mean that Meirion is lost and the morfeirch will come back for the torc? The torc is taken up to the castle for safekeeping and placed in a glass cabinet.

Concerned for their safety they people gather on the beach to build Sea Castles to protect the tide line. Once the castles are made the people light a lantern in each to guide Meirion home and warn the morfeirch away. However, the seventh wave waits beyond the shoreline. As night falls, the people can only watch as it gathers strength and eventually comes in to crash over the castles and destroy them.

The people gather around a large fire on the beach and the bards play music to comfort them and tell stories of better times been and to come. 

The year turns again and the nights draw in. The annual festival procession weaves it’s way through the streets of Harlech. A bard wears the torc and the children carry lanterns. The pipers and the Knights of Ardudwy protect the revelers. But wait - who is this? The morfeirch have returned and they have Meirion with them - he is clearly under their sea spell. The procession reaches the castle where the bard turns to face the morfeirch. She uses the Torc to magically give Meirion his fire back. Meirion and the morfeirch battle, and just when all looks hopeless the Bard reminds Meirion of the Bendigeidfran’s words 'A fo ben bid bont’ – ‘he who would be a leader, must first be a bridge’. Meirion stops fighting and holds his hands up for a truce. He asks the morfeirch ‘Why do you want the torc?’ Meirion and the people expect to hear that the morfeirch want to rule them, but no, the morfeirch tell them that they need the torc for its magical properties. The morfeirch bring evidence of the state of their lands - it is full of plastic. They need to heal their under-the-sea land. Meirion listens, looks, sees and then remembers. After all, he has seen the damage first hand. He promises that if the morfeirch will trust him he will use his power wisely and teach his people to be respectful to the sea, and to help to heal the damage done. The morfeirch agree and allow Meirion to keep the torc and leave him to rule wisely.

The whole town celebrates and forever more take great care of that treasure we call the sea.