Its not just Scotland that has monsters hiding beneath its ancient rippling waters. Long before science reduced the world to a known quantity there were monsters who walked, swam and flew around these isles.

As tourists flock to Wales from all over the world probably over 99.9% of them are unaware of the beasts that used to roam the hills and and swim in the  lakes and rivers back in the days before television. And I say "used to roam the hills and swim" in a factual sense because to say they did not or do not exist is to insult the people who first documented them in literature and in stories handed down from parent to child sitting by fires at night to keep warm, faithfully recounting the scary tales  that we handed down to them by their parents.

One could say these stories were nothing more than works of the imagination to entertain the children or guests over a few glasses of mead or to warn children to keep from the waters edge in-case they may fall in and drown but that is to hypothesise and I would like us to take these stories at face value without 21st century cynicism.

Go back only 100 years and the Afanc was as real as polar bears to the inhabitants of Wales and would make you think twice about walking close to a lake especially at night. A beasty so unimaginably terrifying that it's legend and sightings are still talked about today must not be categorised as mere fiction.

The Afanc was a fierce, territorially protective creature who would gobble up anyone who went for a little dip in the waters of its lake or river and legend tells of communities desperately fighting this abomination to rid themselves of it.

So what did the Afanc look like? Well some say it was like a giant beaver with very sharp teeth, others say it was like a crocodile and others say it was like a combination of the two but one thing is for sure and that is  all reports agree upon the fact that this monster is demonic.

There is a tale of a fair maiden who managed to tame the dreaded beasty by allowing it to rest for a while on her lap until it fell asleep, then the villagers attacked the foul creature whilst it slept but  it awoke from its sleep and its thrashings killed the maiden.

Another tale is that of the Afanc making a flood  that it drowned everyone in the country except for two survivors  Dwyfan and Dwyfach so that would be another great flood myth to add to the plethora of flood myths around the world. There are many flood myths within the British Isles but that will be looked into in more detail in later articles.

Even King Arthur did fought against it and dragged an Afanc from the waters tied to his horse.

Many Welsh lakes in  have an Afanc legend so think twice about going for a dip in the waters in Wales just in case you disturb one who has been sleeping for a few hundred years….he may be feeling hungry!

Footnote: to those of you who are not Welsh the "F" in Afanc is pronounced as a "V"

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