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Mari and the Golden Chair

The following story is a traditional Welsh folktale retold by Cath for The Friends of St. Mary's on 6th March 2010 as we sheltered from the rain during our annual inspection.

Cath Little telling her magical story under Dave's marquee!
Once there was a girl called Mari. She lived on a farm with her parents. They all worked hard, as hard as they could to make a living. Mari did the knitting for the family. She knitted jumpers and socks, blankets and shawls. She was good at knitting. She was so good at knitting that she could walk and knit at the same time!

One day Mari was knitting as she walked up the steep green hill above the farm. She was going to check on the sheep and the lambs in the fields. As she walked lots of little eyes watched her though she didn't know it. From behind the prickly hedges little eyes watched Mari. The fairies watched Mari though she didn't know it.

And the fairies said to one another;"Mari's kind and Mari's good. Let's give her a present."But Mari couldn't hear them.

When she'd checked on the sheep and the lambs she took a turning up the hill, one she'd never taken before. That's when she saw it, the Golden Chair. It shone in the sun, dazzling her. It was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. Mari sat down on the chair and as she did her head and her heart were filled with stories. She knew the stories of all the people who had ever lived on the hill: stories of the people who'd lived in round houses and fought fiercely to defend their homes, stories of the people who'd lived in the castle and called the land their own, stories of the people who had worshiped in the dear old church. Mari's heart felt as if it would burst. Then she stood up and the stories were gone. When she sat down again there they were!

Mari knew that the Golden Chair was a present from the fairies and she knew she had to get it home, but how? It was too heavy to lift, she needed help but if she went to fetch her parents she wasn't sure that she'd find it again. Mari thought hard. Then she knew what to do.

She tied a piece of wool around the arm of the chair and began to walk, unravelling the wool as she walked. She'd wind the wool up again to come back to the chair. Mari walked home unravelling the wool as she went. She was almost home when the wool ran out. She put the end under a heavy stone then ran as fast as she could down to the farm.

She brought her parents to the stone where she'd left the wool, but it wasn't there. The wool was gone. Mari led them up the steep green hill hoping they'd find the Golden Chair together. But there was no sign of it. They searched and searched but it was gone. Mari began to cry. Her mother held her,"let's go home now Mari. It's getting late. We'll search in the morning."

When they got home her mother told her to sit by the fire while she made them a nice cup of tea.

Mari sat on the old wooden stool by the fire and when she did that something happened. Her head and her heart were filled with stories, all the stories of the people who'd lived on the hill. So the present wasn't the Golden Chair, the present was the stories!