Dewi and Non, the Tale of Two Welsh Saints
A story from the Dark Ages in ancient Wales at the time of King Arthur. Princess Non gives birth of a boy who is destined to become the hero of the Welsh people and their patron daint, "Dewi Sant". A prayerful telling and reflection by Robert Bela Wilhelm, founder of the School of Sacred Storytelling. Part of Parables Today, a collection of 52 sacred stories for the Sundays of the year More
An excerpt from the story:
The name Daffydd was too formal for him, fitting more to a king, like David of Israel. And so this Welshman preferred to be called Dewi. The name was short and simple. It was modest. It was what he liked to call “a little thing.” These were the thoughts of Dewi as he walked the field, strapped to the plow like an ox, while behind him another of the brothers held the plow handle firmly in his hands.
When they reached the end of the field, Dewi said, “That’s the last row of plowing for today. It’s time to pray, my brother.” And so the two of them, barefoot and bareheaded, dressed in animal skins, walked towards the gathering place. There Dewi lifted the large handbell and began to ring it loudly. The bell was named Bangu, and Dewi frequently wore it hanging from his neck. But he never once called it My bell.
Afterwards, at the refectory table, the brothers asked that the The bread be passed. And they spoke of The cup of water from which they drank. Everything was held in common. The word My was never spoken. It was just “a little thing,” Dewi often said to his companions, but it was important for their souls.
Two visitors from the monastery of Brefi arrived late that evening. They spoke earnestly to Dewi. “We have been sent by Abbott Dyfrig. He says that you are desperately needed. Those defending heresy at the synod are well-spoken and gifted orators. There is no one in our camp who can refute them. Come quickly, Abbott Dafydd...”
Dewi frowned at the word Dafydd, and quickly said, “Dewi lives quietly here. I am not as good at words as Teilo, nor as good at theology as Cadoc. Let them speak, and let me stay here and take care of the little things for the brothers.” And so the messengers prepared to leave the next day.
But during the night, Dewi dreamed of the story his mother had told him many times. Her name was Non and she was a princess. But she had been seduced by a handsome prince. She was ashamed to be seen by anyone, with little Dewi large in her womb. One day, she said, a famous preacher came to the great church. She wanted to hear him, and hid behind one of the pillars, unseen. But he found he could not speak. He coughed and choked again and again. And so he sent everyone out of the church so that he could regain his voice. Still he could not speak even to the empty building, coughing and sputtering with every attempted word. Non was frightened and she moved from behind the pillar towards the rear door. He saw her and a single word came from him: “Stop.”