Then Macsen woke up.
He was depressed for ages until his wise men suggested sending off an expedition of messengers, and after only a year of wandering the world fruitlessly the king of the Romani thought of sending them up the local valley, where sure enough they found the biggest mountain, great country, city, fleet, etc etc. The great ship took them to Britain, they walked via Eryri to the great castle of Aber Seint in Arfon opposite Mon. Inside was the royal single-parent family still persuing the same hobbies, including the unsuspecting future empress of Rome who was underwhelmed by their story, and suggested that if Macsen really was in love with her then he should come in person.
The messengers returned to Rome and guided Macsen and his war host to The Island of Britain which he duly conquered off Beli son of Manogan and his sons and drove them into the sea whilst on his way to Arfon in Wales. At the castle he again saw Cynan and Gadeon still playing their interminable game of gwyddbwyll whilst their old man Eudaf ap Caradawg sat whittling away, and Macsen hailed their sister Elen and shafted her that very night. I guess Celtic girls are easy.
Having confirmed her virginity she demanded as a maiden price the whole island of Britain and the three adjacent islands for her dad, plus three strongholds for herself at Arfon, Caer Llion and Caer Fyrddin. Celtic girls are smart, too. She also had roads built everywhere. Thankyou very much.
After seven years in his absence Rome elected a new emperor who warned off Macsen with the enigmatic note "IF THOU COME, AND IF THOU EVER COME TO ROME", to which he replied, equally enigmatically, "AND IF I GO TO ROME, AND IF I GO", before returning with his old Roman host and laying siege, having conquered France and Burgundy en route. After a year of fruitless siege Elen's brothers turned up with their Celtic warband, made ladders, got pissed and took the city over lunch before handing it to Macsen as a pressy.
Cynan and Gadeon then went on to conquer all the rest of the world, slaughtering all the men and ravishing all the women, until Gadeon went home to Arfon and Cynan retired to Brittany, where, to prevent his own language being corrupted, he cut out all the womens tongues.
Then Macsen woke up.
A fourth brother was Llefelys who moved to France and married a princess.
Three plagues befell Britain during Lludd's reign. The first was the Coranieid, a mysterious race of immigrants who could hear every word spoken if the wind met it, and so no-one could hurt them. The second was a scream heard throughout the land every May-eve that caused terror, miscarriages, senselessness in teenagers and environmental damage. The third was the mysterious disappearance of all food from the king's courts after the first night of every feast.
Lludd sailed off to seek counsel from his brother in France, and they conversed through a bronze horn to prevent Coranieid eavesdropping, washed in wine to remove any demonic interception. For the first plague Llefelys gave Lludd some insects which mashed up to create a biochemical ethnic cleansing agent poisonous only to Coranieid folk. For the second he gave instructions for locating and trapping the two warring dragons responsible for the scream, and for the third he recommended a cold bath.
Back in Britain Lludd despatched the Coranieid as recommended. He then measured Britain to find its exact centre in Oxford (?) and dug a pit set within which was a tub of mead covered in silk. That night the British and foreign dragons appeared in their struggle, turned into pigs, fell in the mead, got smashed and Lludd carried them off wrapped in the silk to Eryri, where he (one of The Three Noble Youths) buried them at Dinas Emreis in a stone coffer, so that no new plague could come to Britain from elsewhere.
Lastly he prepared a great feast, and after it remained awake in a tub of cold water while his court fell asleep under the magical influence of the huge armoured wizard he saw entering the sleeping court with a picnic basket. As he began stealing the leftovers Lludd challenged him, won, and forced him to make full reparations and become his liege man from thenceforth.
After that Lludd ap Beli ruled Britain in prosperous peace, and was never driven into the sea by Macsen Wledig after all.
Goleuddydd grew sick, but before she died she made her husband promise not to marry until he saw a two-headed briar on her grave, and she made her preceptor promise to strip the grave every year. After seven years the preceptor forgot, Cilwydd saw the briar, and killed neighbouring king Doged and took his wife (who already had a daughter) and lands.
One day an old crone told her about her absent step-son, and when Culhwch was brought to her and showed no interest in his step-sister she spitefully swore a destiny upon him that he would remain frustrated until he married Olwen, daughter of Ysbaddaden Chief Giant. His dad told him to visit his cousin Arthur for a haircut and to sort it out.
Arthur sent his messengers off for a year searching for any reports of the maiden Olwen without success, and so he set off himself with Culhwch, Cei, Bedwyr, Cynddylig the Guide, Gwrhyr Interpreter of Tongues, Gwalchmei and Menw.
Eventually they found a shepherd called Custennin and his wife (who happened to be Culhwch's auntie) tending a limitless flock of sheep near the giant's castle, hiding their only son out of 24 not slain by him (later named Goreu). Auntie summoned Olwen to meet them in the hovel, and she explained that her enormous father was doomed to die when she married and advised them on how to proceed, by accepting all demands made upon them by the giant without giving any cause for doubt. Then she returned home.
As warned by Olwen, to each and every demand Culhwch answered "It is easy for me to get that, though though think it is not easy". Then Culhwch, Arthur and Co set off.
The following is recorded. Cei, Bedwyr and Goreu gained entry to Wrnach's castle as weaponsmiths, and Cei beheaded him with his own sword whilst polishing it (39).
Arthur broke Eidoel out of prison in Glini Castle (28), and with his help and that of various ancient and wise beasts also proceeded to extract Mabon from Caer Loyw (26).
They then aquired the two whelps of the bitch Rhymhi at Aber Deu Gleddyf, never explicitly mentioned in the text but implied by the requirement for Dillus' beard (30).
Gwythyr then stumbled across the anthill concealing the flax seeds (7), while Cei and Bedwyr whittled some wooden tweezers before mugging Dillus as he was sleeping and plucking his beard (30). Arthur insulted Cei for this, who never forgave him.
Arthur then settled a symbolic struggle between Gwyn ap Nudd (a prince of the underworld, 32) and Gwythyr ap Greidawl (presumably a more solar character) for the "hand" of Creiddylad daughter of Lludd Silver-hand (a sort of Celtic Proserpine), by getting them to agree to fight over her every May-calends until doomsday, also obtaining Dun-mane (27) and Cors' leash (23). He then proceeded to Llydaw for the two dogs of Glythfyr Ledewig (presumably 36), the West of Ireland for Odgar (16) and then North for Cyledyr the Wild (31), before going after Ysgithyrwyn Chief Boar, having already picked up Drudwyn (22) and Cadw (17) on the way. After all the dog-collecting it was Arthur's own dog Cafall who brought down the boar, and Cadw split its head in two and took the tusk (15).
The great hunt began at Esgeir Oerfel in Ireland and raged for 11 days, laying waste another of the five provinces and killing only one of his nine piglings. Then Twrch and his brood crossed the sea to attack Arthur's own land where the battle continued, raging across the whole country and claiming all Twrch's remaining piglings and dozens of Arthur's men before he was driven into the Severn where the razor and shears were plucked from his bristles by Mabon and Cyledyr. As he ravaged Cornwall the comb was also plucked from him (21), before he was driven into the sea, never to be seen again.
Knackered, Arthur rested in Celli Wig in Cornwall, before setting out for the last (?) item. He headed North to The Valley of Grief in the uplands of Hell and with a small band of men slew the Black Witch, daughter of the White Witch, and Cadw took her blood (18).
They found a stinking, shitty old hall inhabited only by a foul-mouthed old crone, a red-headed bald man (?) and his skinny livid wife. After an unsatisying repast they went to sleep, Rhonabwy hogging the yellow ox skin while the others made do with the flea-ridden straw. And Rhonabwy had a strange dream...
Then another sickeningly overdressed and obsessively described rider overtook them, Rhwawn Bebyr ap Deorthach Wledig, before they arrived at a huge host camped by a ford, and seated upon an island there none other than King Arthur and his pals (and since this is after Camlan, this must be The Otherworld). Iddawg introduced them, and Arthur wrily commented on how the men of Britain had gone down hill since the good old days. Iddawg also drew Rhonabwy's attention to a stone in the ring on Arthur's hand, explaining that having seen it he would now remember this dream.
Then Iddawg showed Rhonabwy Rhwawn's troop arriving to woo the princesses of Britain, dressed in pucest red.
Then Addaon ap Taliesin rode up, splashing Arthur and getting whacked on the horse's nose for it by the brawny Elphin ap Gwyddno.
Then Arthur's cousin Caradawg Stout-arm ap Llyr Marini said it was time to head off for The Battle of Baddon against Osla Big-knife, and off they all went to Cefyn Digoll, with their variously garish troops and Cei arseing around in the middle causing a stir.
Then Cadwr earl of Cornwall brought Arthur his sword with its dual-serpent motif, and another set down his chair upon his mantle of invisibility, and then Arthur settled down for a game of gwyddbwyll with Owein ap Urien.
As they were playing the game another fashion victim turned up to warn Owein that his ravens were being molested by Arthur's men, but Arthur payed no heed. And then another, and then a third, but Arthur just played his game, and Owein told his latest day-glo friend merely to raise his standard where the raven-bashing was at its worst. Now Owein's ravens turned on Arthur's men and began killing and maiming them, and now one of Arthur's men rode up to complain, splattered with ravens' blood, but this time Owein just said "play the game".
Then another came to inform Arthur that so many of his men were now raven-fodder that Britain had become indefensible, but Owein insisted on playing on as bits of dead knights, horses and armour were dropped all about them by the raven-mad birdies.
Finally a third one of Arthur's typically overdressed riders came up, spitting blood, and he and Arthur both demanded that Owein call off his ravens. Then Arthur crushed his playing pieces to dust, and Owein had his banner lowered, and all was peace again.
Then two dozen riders came from Osla Big-knife asking for a six week truce, and Arthur called for a counsel with his many men, including young Cadyrieith ap Saidi, Caradawg Stout-arm and his son Cawdra, Gwalchmei ap Gwyar, Gwenwynwyn ap Naf, Mabon ap Modron, Peredur Longshaft (oo-er missus!), and many Norwegians, Danes and Greeks.
Then some bards turned up chanting a song no-one could understand but Cadyrieith, who assured everyone it was in praise of Arthur and that therefore they should be given the two dozen asses-worth of treasure that had just arrived from Greece at that very moment, and also that the truce should be agreed.
Rhonabwy asked Iddawg if perhaps Cadyrieith was not too stupid to counsel the king, but then Cei arose and told everyone to either follow Arthur to Cornwall or go home and come back in six weeks for The Battle of Baddon part II.
It is also said that no bard can tell this story in its entirety without a book, by reason of the vast quantity of irrelevant fashion detail. Goddess knows I can't.
Ready for books 9 to 11 ?