Monday, 1 April 2013

A is for...

The Afanc (pronounced avank) is a water creature from traditional Welsh mythology, but references can also be found in British and Celtic folklore. Descriptions of its appearance vary but it is most often thought to resemble a giant beaver, though this may be because the word 'afanc' comes from a Welsh word meaning beaver. It is also said to look like a crocodile, dwarf, demon or a frog with sharp claws.

This creature lives in the lakes of Wales where it preys on anyone foolish enough to fall in, or take a swim in the waters. Its victims are devoured instantly. 

The Afanc has a weakness for beautiful women and in one tale it was tricked into falling asleep in a young maidens lap while the local villagers attempted to chain it up and drag it away. However, the creature awoke and its violent struggles crushed the poor maiden.

In another story the beast caused a huge flood with the thrashings of its tail. The waters killed everyone in the country except for Dwyfan and his wife Dwyfach, who built an ark to save themselves. The couple then founded the British race.

The stories of King Arthur even mention the ferocious Afanc. The king is said to have dragged the creature from the lake on his horse Llamrai, where he then managed to kill it. There is a hoof print in a rock near Llyn Barfog which, legend says, was made by his horse when he killed the beast.

Some legends say that the Afanc still survives and is living in lake Cwm Ffynnon.


  1. I LOVE mythology and folklore! Man this is great stuff

    Dani @ Entertaining Interests

  2. It's so interesting to hear about other mythologic creatures from other cultures! Especially from Celtic cultures since my second home is Ireland. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you :) I think I have some creatures from Ireland coming up later in the month!

  3. Great thought for 'A'! I love reading about mythological creatures.

    An A to Z Blogger
    Visions of Other Worlds
    Twitter: @jmarcarelli

  4. Cool theme! I came from a country rich with mythical creatures and I find your posts to be interesting. This is the first time I've heard of afanc. Can't wait to read more from you! I'm also participating A-Z challenge. Good luck!

    Miss Uncertain---sidetracked