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Cheating the Devil

Several Ceredigion folk tales tell how individuals successfully outwitted the Devil. This includes one of Wales’ most famous stories, the building of Devil’s Bridge.

Devil Bridge Image

Cheating the Devil

An old woman needed to cross the deep Mynach gorge to get her cow back. The Devil offered to build her a bridge, on condition that he would take possession of the soul of first living thing that crossed it. The old lady agreed, and the Devil built the bridge. Before crossing the bridge, she threw a crust of bread across the bridge, chased by her hungry dog. The Devil got the soul of a dog, whilst the old lady was reunited with her precious cow. Today there are three bridges built one above the other, across the gorge of the Mynach at Devil's Bridge.

Dafydd Llwyd of nearby Ysbyty Ystwyth also cheated the Devil. In exchange for power he agreed that the Devil could have his soul when he was buried inside or outside the graveyard wall. But Dafydd specified in his will that he should be buried underneath the boundary wall and was thus neither inside nor outside.

Other tales include how the Devil tried to steal the bells from the church tower at Llanarth, but was interrupted by the vicar. Marks on a nearby gravestone were allegedly made by the hoofs of the devil as he made his escape.