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Gwyllion: Mythical Creature

Gwyllion is a mythical creature that is said to haunt the mountains of Wales. According to Welsh folklore, Gwyllion are female fairies that are known for their frightening appearance. They are said to wear tattered ash-colored robes and pointed hats, and carry pots or wooden cans in one hand.

These creatures are known for their malevolent behavior towards travelers, leading them astray on lonely roads and tormenting them in the dark. Despite their fearsome reputation, some legends suggest that Gwyllion can also be benevolent if treated with respect. For example, they are said to have a strong fear of bright light and storms, and may become more friendly if allowed to stay inside during such weather conditions.

Overall, Gwyllion is a fascinating creature that has captured the imaginations of people for centuries. While some may view it as a frightening and malevolent entity, others see it as a complex and multifaceted being that deserves respect and understanding.

Origins and Etymology

Historical References

Gwyllion is a mythical creature that originated in Welsh folklore. The creature has been depicted in various ways throughout history, but it is most commonly described as an ugly, old hag who roams the mountains and other remote places. According to Welsh mythology, Gwyllion is an undead spirit that loves to torment unsuspecting travelers. It is said that Gwyllion can lure travelers astray into dangerous terrain and is known to have a strong fear of bright light and storms.

Name Origin

The name “Gwyllion” is derived from the Welsh word “gwyllt,” which means “wild” or “uncivilized.” This name accurately reflects the creature’s nature, as it is often associated with wild and remote places. The creature is also sometimes referred to as “the Old Woman of the Mountain,” as it is commonly seen in mountainous regions. The Gwyllion is often depicted wearing tattered ash-colored robes and a pointed oblong hat, and is known to carry a pot or wooden can in one hand.

Overall, the origins and etymology of Gwyllion are deeply rooted in Welsh folklore and mythology. The creature has been a part of Welsh culture for centuries and continues to be a popular subject in modern-day literature and media.

Physical Description

Common Depictions

Gwyllion are female fairies that are typically depicted as frightening hags or witches. They are often seen wearing tattered ash-colored robes and pointed hats. Their appearance is described as extremely ugly and disturbing, with wrinkled faces and long, tangled hair. They are also known to carry pots or wooden cans in one hand.

Variations in Folklore

According to Welsh folklore, Gwyllion are spirits that haunt lonely roads in the Welsh mountains and lead travelers astray. They are gloomy spirits that are more akin to hags or witches, as distinct from the Welsh ellyllon (elves) that are more benevolent. They are said to lurk atop mountains and among herds of sheep or goats, watching travelers with ominous intent. Some variations of the legend suggest that Gwyllion have a strong fear of bright light and storms, becoming benevolent if allowed to stay inside during tempests and windstorms.

Overall, the physical description of Gwyllion is consistent across different variations of the folklore. They are depicted as ugly and frightening female fairies that often carry pots or wooden cans. Their appearance is described as wrinkled and with long, tangled hair.

Cultural Significance


The Gwyllion is a mythical creature from Welsh folklore that has been associated with various symbolic meanings. In Welsh mythology, the Gwyllion is seen as a spirit of the mountains and is often depicted as an old hag. The creature is believed to represent the dangers and challenges that travelers face when crossing the mountains. The Gwyllion is also associated with the idea of transformation and change, as it is said that the creature can change its form to suit its surroundings.

Stories and Literature

The Gwyllion has been featured in various stories and literature throughout history. In the 2013 CGI animated film Barbie: Mariposa and the Fairy Princess, the Gwyllion is portrayed as the main antagonist. The creature is depicted as a vengeful old woman who attacks the crystal fairies. The Gwyllion is also mentioned in Welsh folklore and is said to be a spirit that roams the mountains, waiting to torment unsuspecting travelers.

In addition to its appearances in popular culture, the Gwyllion has also been the subject of numerous literary works. In Universal Myths and Symbols: Animal Creatures and Creation, the Gwyllion is described as a female spirit that loves to roam the mountains and torment travelers. The creature is also mentioned in Sarah Woodbury’s book Welsh Faeries, where it is described as a hideous female faerie that causes travelers to become lost.

Overall, the Gwyllion is a fascinating creature that has played an important role in Welsh mythology and folklore. Its symbolism and appearances in literature and popular culture have made it a beloved and enduring mythical creature.

Geographical Distribution

The Gwyllion is a mythical creature that is said to inhabit the Welsh mountains. This creature is unique to Welsh folklore and is not found in other cultures. It is believed that the Gwyllion only appears in certain locations, such as lonely roads, where they can lead travelers astray.

According to legends, the Gwyllion can be found in the Snowdonia National Park, which is located in North Wales. This park is known for its rugged terrain and is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. It is said that the Gwyllion can be seen on the mountain passes and trails, especially during the misty and foggy weather.

While the Gwyllion is primarily associated with Wales, similar creatures can be found in other parts of Europe. For example, in Scotland, there is a similar creature known as the Cailleach, which is also a hag-like entity associated with winter and storms.

Despite their reputation for leading travelers astray, the Gwyllion is not considered to be a malevolent creature. In fact, they are often depicted as benevolent spirits who can help lost travelers find their way. However, it is still advised to be cautious when traveling in the Welsh mountains and to always be prepared for unexpected encounters with mythical creatures.

Behavior and Abilities

Supernatural Powers

Gwyllions are known for their supernatural powers, which they use to torment and deceive humans. They are capable of shape-shifting, which allows them to take on different forms, such as that of an animal or a human. They can also become invisible, making it difficult for humans to detect their presence. Additionally, Gwyllions have the ability to control the weather, causing storms and other natural disasters.

Interactions with Humans

Gwyllions are notorious for their interactions with humans. They are said to be mischievous and enjoy playing pranks on unsuspecting travelers. They are known to lead travelers astray, causing them to become lost and disoriented. Gwyllions are also said to be vindictive and will seek revenge on those who have wronged them. They are known to steal crops and livestock from farms, and are said to be responsible for the disappearance of children.

Despite their reputation for causing trouble, Gwyllions are not entirely malevolent. They are known to have a strong fear of bright light and storms, and will become benevolent if allowed to stay inside during tempests and windstorms. Additionally, some legends suggest that Gwyllions can be appeased through offerings of food and drink. Overall, Gwyllions are complex and mysterious creatures, capable of both good and evil.

Comparative Mythology

Gwyllion is a mythical creature that belongs to Welsh folklore. However, similar creatures can be found in other cultures around the world. Comparative mythology is a field of study that compares myths and legends from different cultures to identify similarities and differences.

Similar Creatures in Other Cultures

In Greek mythology, the Furies were female spirits of vengeance who punished wrongdoers. They were depicted as ugly hags with snakes for hair and wings. Similarly, the Gorgons were female creatures with snakes for hair who could turn people to stone.

In Scandinavian folklore, the Huldra were female forest spirits who lured men into the woods. They were depicted as beautiful women from the front, but had a cow’s tail or hollow back. Similarly, the Rusalka in Slavic mythology were female water spirits who lured men to their death.

In African mythology, the Abiku were malevolent spirits that caused the death of children. They were believed to be born repeatedly to the same mother, and were depicted as small, mischievous children.

Comparative mythology helps us understand the similarities and differences in the myths and legends of different cultures. It shows us that despite the differences in language, geography, and culture, human beings share common themes and concerns.