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Celtic Tomes:                     Readings from Bygone Books

Gary & Ruth bring you readings from the Classic Books of Celtic Lore and Study

Oct 11, 2017

Tolaeth Death Sounds

British Goblins: Welsh Folk Lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions (1881)

Book 2 Chapter 8


Wirt Sikes

The Tolaeth Death Sounds includes the strange sounds that foretell death, the story of John Clode and his wife who heard the coffin arrive in their home two days before their son died! Sounds of rapping, knocking, people moving are all commonplace. Sikes tells us the story of the railway accident at Pontypridd, and a couple living nearby heard ghostly footsteps upstairs in their house. Edward Lloyd heard a ghostly voice while lying ill in bed. We hear about the Goblin Funeral which can precede a real funeral by several days. The Cwn Annwn, or Dogs of Hell, howl through the air and the story of Pwyll. King Arthur and the Wild Hunt.

Running Order:

  • The Tolaeth Death Portent 0:54
  • Its various forms 1:40
  • The Tolaeth before Death 1:53
  • Ewythr Jenkin's Tolaeth 6:00
  • A Modern Instance 7:54
  • The Railway Victim's Warning 9:10
  • The Goblin Voice 10:10
  • The Voice from the Cloud 11:12
  • Legend of the Lord and the Beggar 12:25
  • The Goblin Funeral 14:02
  • The Horse's Skull 15:13
  • The Goblin Veil 16:24
  • The Wraith of Llanllwch 17:19
  • Dogs of Hell 18:32
  • The Tale of Pwyll 19:46
  • Spiritual Hunting Dogs 22:55
  • Origin of the Cwn Annwn 22:28


Names Used in this Section

All proper names, and words in Welsh or other languages, are recorded here in the show-notes and we've done our best to get the pronunciations right for you.

Ewythr Jenkin
Cwn Annwn
Blaenporth, Cardiganshire
Llynwent, Radnorshire
Edward Lloyd, Llangurig
'Y mae nenbren y ty yn craccio' (the upper beam of the house cracketh)
'Fe dor yn y man' (it will presently break)
'Dyna fe yn tori' (there it breaks)
John, son of Watkin Elias Jones, Mynyddyslwyn
Iolo MSS
Rees Thomas, Carmarthenshire
Rhiw Edwst, near Capel Ywen
'Rhys bach, pa fodd yr y'ch chwi?' (My dear Rhys, how are you?)
Rev. Howel Prosser, Aberystruth
Edmund Jones, the Prophet Jones
Isaac William Thomas, Hafodafel
Llanllwch Church
Cwn y Wybr
Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed
Glyn Cych
Thomas Phillips, Telech
Thomas Andrew
River Ebwy
Le Grand Veneur
Fontainebleau, France
Hackelberg, Germany
Britain, King Arthur
Mr. Baring-Gould
William Henderson
River Styx


British Goblins can be found on

You can find out more about Wirt Sikes on Wikipedia.

Try the Celtic Myth Podshow for the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts at or on Apple Podcasts.

Our theme music is "Gander at the Pratie Hole" by Sláinte.  You can find their music on the Free Music Archive.