"In Her Minds Eye"
"In Her Minds Eye"
This is a 40X26 painting done on canvas with acrylic paint and colored pencil. There are accents of gold leaf which catch the light beautifully. It is inspired by the Welsh folktale entitled, “The Aberystwyth Hiring Fair.”
I will ship this painting to you within a week after it is purchased and will come as a gallery wrapped canvas in protective shipping materials.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org before purchasing with any questions.
This is how the folktale went...
On a farm not far from the salty town of Aberystwyth lived an old couple. Huw and Bet. They were poor and had no one to help them on the farm, for they never had a child. They decided they needed a serving girl to help so they set off on foot for the November Hiring Fair in Aberystwyth. They found a plain, dark girl with jet-black hair named “Elin.” She was hired and started the next Monday. Elin made herself indispensable on the farm. She was also the finest weaver of woolens and spinner of yarns they had ever known, and soon the old couple were the best dressed in the country, and they loved this daughter they never had.
When the spring came, Elin took her spinning wheel outdoors and came back at the day’s end with her arms full of beautifully woven clothes. So it went on, until Bet began to wonder how one girl could weave so much. One day she followed Elin into the woods. She watched as the girl sat spinning, and soon she was surrounded by small figures, each with a tiny loom or wheel, weaving so fast that old Bet’s eyes could not catch up. These were the tylwyth teg (Welsh mythological creatures) and Bet knew that there would be a price to pay for this. That night Elin did not return, and the following morning the fire was full of grey cinders and no food was on the table. "The tylwyth teg have taken her; they always do," thought Bet.
One night Bet sensed someone in the room. Standing at the bottom of their bed was a man. He said, “Lady, I wish your help,” and his dark eyes told her he spoke no lies. She followed him and he led her along paths with mossy boulders to a strange cave with a great studded doorway. He unlocked the door and beckoned Bet to enter. The doorway opened into a bright bedchamber, all carved wood and chandeliers, and lying on a golden four-poster bed with red drapes was an elegant lady, in the pain of labour. The man spoke to Bet. “My wife, the baby has turned. You know midwifery? Help her?” Bet rolled up her sleeves and delivered the screaming woman a beautiful baby girl. The man said to Bet, “Stay a month, care form my daughter and wife. You will want for nothing in the remains of your days.” He showed her to a small chamber and brought her the baby. “Stay here. My girl will be brought to you each morning; bathe her once a day, rub this salve all over her body and into her eyes, but do not taint your own eyes.” And his dark stare told her she could not refuse, and he would be true to his word.
Day after day, she bathed the baby and rubbed the salve into her soft skin. Almost a month passed, and while she was rubbing ointment onto her cheeks, Bet’s left eye itched and without thinking she touched her eye, and her world changed. Through her right eye she saw the baby; blonde, blue-eyed and rosy cheeked, yet through it was black-haired, green-eyed and grubby. Through her right eye she saw a tall elegant man with dark sunken eyes; through her left eye she saw a small squat man with a bulbous red face and a squint. Clutching the child, she ran through the door and into the great bedchamber. Through her right eye she saw an elegant woman lying in a golden four poster with red drapes; through her left eye she saw a plain dark girl lying in a clump of dried bracken, with only a rushlight for brightness and the earthworms for company. She stared at the girl. “Elin?” The girl looked alarmed. “You can see me? Say nothing. Look around you.” Bet looked with her left eye and she saw small folk scurrying around her. “Listen,” said Elin, “my mother was fair folk, and it was arranged I was to marry their king. I ran, but he found me. My husband will not tolerate duplicity. If he believes you cannot see me, he will keep his word and return you to your man and care for you.
So Bet pretended she could not see Elin, and at the month’s end the king escorted her home, and told her she would never see him again, but she would want for nothing. At the years end, the old couple went to the fair in Aberystwyth and Bet saw a short man with a squint. Excited she ran up to him and said, “How is Elin? And your baby girl?” He squinted at her and said, “Through which eye do you see me?” She pointed to her left eye. He raised his sword and took out the eye and brushed the empty socket with a leaf of plantain to heal the wound, and all she could see was a tall elegant man vanishing into the crowd. From that day she never again saw through her left eye. But her right eye always reminded her of what her left had seen, and her memory painted pictures in her mind, of Elin and her beautiful baby, and the tylwyth teg.