Llyn Coch, or the Red Lake, is a Welsh lake situated on Mount Snowdon; an area steeped in legend and folklore. One legend tells how a mortal man made a contract that allowed him to take a bride from the Otherworld that he had met at the Red Lake and fallen in love with. However, it was essential that he abide by the terms of that contract. In Welsh tradition and folklore, there are a number of similar examples of stories where a mortal man takes a bride from the Otherworld. In these examples, they live happily together, sometimes having children, but there is often a sad ending. One example is found in the tale of the Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach. In many cases, the man finds his love living in a remote lake or pool of water and the two fall in love, wishing never to part. After making a promise to her father that must never be broken, consent is given and they marry. However, there are those who say that it is risky to have relationships with those of the Otherworld. This point of view is indeed seen in many Welsh fairy or folk tales concerning humans who come into contact or even marry someone from the Otherworld. Presented here is one such tale, called The Bride of the Red Lake.
The Bride from the Red Lake
There was once a farmer who one day decided he would go fishing in the Red Lake. When he arrived, he found the lake shrouded in mist. Then a sudden gust of wind cleared a path through the mist across the lake, and to the farmer’s surprise, revealed a man perched upon a ladder busily at work thatching a haystack. Stranger still, the ladder appeared to be standing on top of the surface of the water, as did the haystack. The farmer was astounded, but the vision quickly faded, and soon all that could be seen was a gentle rippling of the water where the haystack and the thatcher had been.
After this, the farmer often visited the lake hoping for another glimpse of this strange Otherworld, but saw nothing out of the ordinary and he thought no more of his extraordinary vision. Then one Autumn day, he rode his horse up to the lake. As it was a hot day, he rode his horse into the water so that it could drink easily from the cool lake. It was a lovely day, and while the horse was drinking, the farmer sat on its back and stared lazily at the ripples that moved gently across the surface of the Red Lake.
Then what he saw next made him jump. Under the surface of the water a little distance from him, he saw the face of the loveliest maiden he had ever seen in his life looking at him through the gently rippling water. He sat spellbound staring at her and she calmly gazed back at him. As he stared, her head and shoulders slowly emerged from the water, and she looked deep into his eyes.