The Revenge of the Dark on Those Who Dare to Be Makers of Light

"Will said, 'What did he do, the craftsman?'

"'He called together all the makers in the land,' Gwion said. He tilted his head a little higher. 'All those who wrote, or brought life to others' words or music, or who made beautiful things. And he said to them, I have this work in me, I know it, that will be the peak of everything I can ever make or do, and the Dark is trying to forbid me to do it. We may all suffer, if I deny them their will, and I cannot therefore be responsible alone for deciding. Tell me. Tell me what I should do.'

"Bran was gazing at him. 'What did they say?'

"'They said. You must make it.' Gwion smiled, proudly. 'Without any exception. Make the sword, they said. So he went away into a place of his own, and made Eirias, and in a land of wonders it was the most wonderful and powerful thing that had ever been made. And the fury of the Dark was very great, but impotent, for the Dark Lords knew that they could neither destroy a work created for the Light, nor steal it, nor bring any...harm to its creator.'

"He fell silent, gazing out at the misted horizon.

"'Go on,' Bran said urgently. 'Go on!'

"Gwion sighed. 'So the Dark did a simple thing,' he said. 'They showed the maker of the sword his own uncertainty and fear. Fear of having done the wrong thing--fear that having done this one great thing, he would never again be able to accomplish anything of great worth--fear of age, of insufficiency, of unmet promise. All such endless fears, that are the doom of people given the gift of making, and lie always somewhere in their minds. And gradually, he was put into despair. Fear grew in him, and he escaped from it into lethargy--and so hope died, and a terrible paralysing melancholy took its place. He is held by it now, he is held captive by his own mind. He, and the sword Eirias that he made, with him. Despair holds him prisoner, despair, the most terrible creation of all. For in great men, the mind can produce giant spectres of great power. And King Gwyddno is a great man.'"

--Susan Cooper, Silver on the Tree (London: Puffin Books, 1977), pp. 175-76.


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