The hag of the mist, an awful being who is supposed to reside in the mountain fog, through which her supernatural shriek is heard. She is believed to be the very personification of ugliness, with torn and disheveled hair, long black teeth, lank and withered arms and claws, and a most cadaverous appearance; to this some add, wings of a leathery and bat-like substance.
The name cy-oer-aeth, the last two syllables of which signify cold-grief, is most descriptive of the sad wail which she utters, and which will, it is said, literally freeze the veins of those who hear it; she is rarely seen, but is heard at a crossroad, or beside a stream in the latter case she splashes the water with her hands uttering her lamentation, as if in allusion to the relatives of those about to die. Thus, if a man hears her cry fy nqwsaig, fy nqwsaig, etc., his wife will surely die, and he will be heard to mourn in the same strain ere long; and so on with other cases. The cadence of this cry can never be properly caught by any one who has not heard, if not a cyoeraeth, at least a native of Wales, repeat the strain. When merely an inarticulate scream is heard, it is probable that the hearer himself is the one whose death is fore-mourned.
Sometimes she is supposed to come like the Irish banshee, in a dark mist, to the windows of those who have been long ill; when flapping her wings against the pane, she repeats their names with the same prolonged emphasis; and then it is thought that they must die.
It is this hag who forms the torrent beds which seam the mountain side; for she gathers great stones in her cloak to make her ballast, when she flies upon the storm; and when about to retire to her mountain cave, she lets them drop progressively as she moves onwards, when they fall with such an unearthly weight that they lay open the rocky sides of the mountain.
- Notes and Queries, 1st Series, Vol. 1, 1850. London: Bell & Daldy, p. 295.
This article incorporates text from Notes and Queries, 1st Series, Vol. 1, 1850, which is in the public domain.