Nell – The Lady of the Lake

I have been focusing on the story of Nell from Llyn y Fan Fach. This is a story I remember my mother and grand parents telling me as a child. It is based on the setting of the lake on the Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons.

My grandparents farmed near this spot which is why the myth is very popular with my family. There are many versions of the story therefore I have tried to read up on the many different versions to compare the similarities and differences of these stories.

What I found amusing is that the lady of the lake is always known as Nell whereas the man who becomes her husband got a different name in every source I read – this shows he importance of Nell’s character and that the story is focused on her and her actions.

The most common version of the story says Nell appears in the lake and the man gives her bread – she is fussy and is unsatisfied until she receives the perfect loaf. When the farmer achieved the perfect loaf she offers to marry him. He must prove his love for Nell by identifying her next to her two triplet sisters. She helps him out by moving her feet. He chooses correctly and is granted permission to marry Nell, however if he strikes her 3 times she and all the farm animals must return to the lake forever.

The man promises to this and they are married. In the end he does hit her 3 times. Once for being late to their childs christening, a second time he hits her for crying at a wedding and lastly she is hit be him for laughing at a funeral. Nell returns to the lake forever. She does appear to visit her sons which she helped become The Physicians of Myddfai.

I am brainstorming how this story can be looked at differently by addressing issues in todays society. The main one for me is the conversation about domestic violence. In my shoot I would like to celebrate how Nell escapes from an abusive relationship and does not tolerate violence at all. In the stories the acts of violence are painted ad accidents and harmful – there are excused made to protect her husbands reputation.

I could also go down the route of global warming and littering by including rubbish in my shoot to highlight this issue. Although when I visited Llyn y Fan Fach it was very well kept and clean, this is an issue that is important to discuss.

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