The Stone Women of Moelfre Hill
The legend of the Stone Women of Moelfre tells the story of how three women were turned to stone for working on the Sabbath. Its setting is on Moelfre, which is a Welsh hill in Gwynedd, Wales sitting on the western edge of the Snowdonia National Park, situated about three miles from the village of Dyffryn Ardudwy and about five miles from the village of Llanbedr.
The legend was said to have originated about the time Christianity was taking over from the old pagan beliefs and tells how three women had a problem winnowing their corn because there was no wind. Winnowing was an important task that their families and community depended upon to make bread. According to the legend, one woman wore a red kirtle. Another wore a white kirtle and the third wore a kirtle of the darkest blue.
After the corn was harvested the people would thresh the corn, sometimes by making oxen walk in circles over the harvested ears of corn, or by pounding it on the ground with flails. This would crush the ears leaving the chaff and grain that needed separating, or winnowing which was hard work and done by the women of the community. They would spend many hours throwing the mixed chaff and grain into the air so that the wind would take the light chaff away but leave the heavier grain to fall to the ground. The remaining grain would then be placed in sacks and ground into flour.
The problem the women had was that for many days there had been no wind or even the slightest breeze, making it impossible for them to winnow. The women worried that unless they could get their task done soon it would rain and ruin the corn. The grain and chaff would get wet making them stick together and hard to separate and they would not be able to bake bread to feed their families and began to despair that they would not be able to complete their task.