River Usk, Wales, Autumn 1996
MATTHEW 2: The flight into Dyfed (and back again)
The faff was made of the village of Cwmdu and the river of Usk, in Powys, during the reign of President Burgess.
At about that time some canoeists from southern lands arrived in Cwmdu, asking “Where is this mighty river? For we have heard of its glory in far-off southern lands, and have come to paddle it.”
Many members were deeply disturbed by their question, and all of the elders were filled with dismay. They called a meeting of the leaders.
“Did the guides tell them where this river was to be found?” they asked.
“Yes, in Powys,” they said, “for this is what the great guide Storey wrote: ‘O little river of Usk, you are not merely an unimportant welsh stream, for a faff shall rise from you to embarrass thy people!’”
Then Burgess sent a private message to the committee, asking them to come and see him; at this meeting he discovered from them how to find this stream. Then he told them, “go to Powys and search for this stream. And when you find it, come back and tell me so I can go and paddle it too.”
After this interview, the guides set out again. And lo! The river appeared to them again. Their joy knew no bounds!
Entering the water, they gave it gifts of lemmings. Then they opened their purses and purchased refreshments. But when they tried to return to their home, they did not go toward Abergavenny to report to the great guide, for they have been in a dream when the elders had told them the way.
After they were gone, a great notion descended upon the elders, saying “let us get up and flee to Cwmdu via the market place, and stay there until the others arrive.” That same night they left for Cwmdu and stayed there until the others returned much later.
The driver of the scribes was concerned when he failed to recognise the path they followed. Sending a messenger to Bethlehem, he ordered that directions to Cwmdu be found.
Screams of anguish were heard from Cwmdu as one of the party entered the hall through a small aperture; Rachael weeping for her bruises – for they were many.
When the navigator found a local inn, he was told “ye, this is the way to Cwmdu,” and told him, “carry on, for those who seek the place shall find it yonder!”
So they carried on to Cwmdu with the scribes. But upon their advent they were frightened to learn that there was no room for a hall in the village. Thenceforth the navigator went from door to door, and found a babe living in a cottage, in this village of Cwmdu, in Dyfed. Then, after further consultations with the scribes, they were warned in a dream not to go to Swansea, and went instead to an inn at Llandeilo. This fulfilled the prediction of the guide: “for a faff shall rise from you.”
3 While they were in the inn, the multitude began preaching in the Welsh tongue. Their constant theme was, “turn from your heading… turn to Brecon… for the nature of you faff will soon show itself to you.” The driver made haste seeking a messenger and spake thus to his friend in far-off southern lands: “we are lost in Dyfed, and wish to contact the great guide Shorey, for the elders shall doubtless have become sorrowful at our absence. We must prepare our vehicle to convey ourselves – and return to whence we hath walked.”
Shorey’s clothing was woven from sheep’s hair and he wore a leather belt. His food was toasted bread and cheese. People from far-off southern lands went out into the wilderness to hear him preach, and when they confessed their swims, he baptized them in a river of tales.
Thus the scribes discovered the nature of their wrongdoings, and made haste to Brecon at elevated speed. And thence to the domicile of the elders, the village of Cwmdu, in Powys, in which place they found a multitude, saying “did’st we not tell you of the direction to follow?” and with them imbibing a glorious plethora of intoxicating liquors.
Andy’s Newer Testament