Brân the Blessed

Brân the Blessed is a giant and king of Britain in Welsh mythology. He appears in several of the Welsh Triads, but his most significant role is in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, Branwen ferch Llŷr, he is a son of Llŷr and Penarddun, the brother of Brânwen, Manawydan and Efnysien. The name "Brân" in Welsh is translated as crow or raven; the Irish king Matholwch sails to Harlech to speak with Bran the Blessed high king of the Island of the Mighty and to ask for the hand of his sister Branwen in marriage, thus forging an alliance between the two islands. Bran agrees to Matholwch's request, but the celebrations are cut short when Efnysien, a half-brother of Bran and Branwen, brutally mutilates Matholwch's horses, angry that his permission was not sought in regard to the marriage. Matholwch is offended until Bran offers him compensation in the form of a magic cauldron that can restore the dead to life. Pleased with the gift and Branwen sail back to Ireland to reign. Once in Matholwch's kingdom, Branwen gives birth to a son, but Efnysien's insult continues to rankle among the Irish and Branwen is mistreated, banished to the kitchen and beaten every day.

She tames a starling and sends it across the Irish Sea with a message to her brother Bendigeidfran, who sails from Wales to Ireland to rescue her with his brother, Manawydan and a huge host of warriors, mustered from the 154 cantrefs of Britain. The Irish offer to make peace and build a house big enough to entertain Bendigeidfrân but hang a hundred bags inside containing flour but containing armed warriors. Efnysien, suspecting treachery, reconnoiters the hall and kills the warriors by crushing their skulls. At the feast, again feeling insulted, murders Gwern by burning him alive, and, as a result, a vicious battle breaks out. Seeing that the Irish are using the cauldron to revive their dead, he hides among the Irish corpses and is thrown into the cauldron by the unwitting enemy, he destroys the cauldron from within. Only seven men survive the conflict, among them Manawydan and Pryderi fab Pwyll, prince of Dyfed, Branwen having herself died of a broken heart; the survivors are told by a mortally wounded Bran to return it to Britain.

For seven years the seven survivors stay in Harlech, where they are entertained by Bran's head, which continues to speak. They move on to Gwales where they live for eighty years without perceiving the passing of time. Heilyn fab Gwyn opens the door of the hall facing Cornwall and the sorrow of what had befallen them returns; as instructed they take the now silent head to the Gwynfryn, the "White Hill", where they bury it facing France so as to ward off invasion. The imagery of the talking head is considered to derive from the ancient Celtic "cult of the head". King Bran was sitting on the rocky shore at Harlech when he saw thirteen ships over the horizon coming from Southern Ireland. Soon the boat men came to shore declaring the fleet belonged to the Irish Lord Matholwch who came seeking Bran’s sister Branwen’s hand in marriage. Of course to Bran this union made sense, someone worthy of his sister had come forth and their union would bring forth a powerful alliance for the two kingdoms. Bran welcomed King Matholwch of Ireland ashore and gave him great hospitality.

The wedding was decidedly set at the coast to Aberffraw. All this had to be set inside specially erected tents since no house had yet been built that could accommodate the giant King Bran. Soon after all the wedding and celebration took place Bran’s half brother Efnysien returned to Wales and was puzzled to see so many foreign horses stabled, he asked whom the horses belonged and was enraged to find his sister had been given away without his consent. In his anger he maimed the all the Irish horses by cutting their lips back to their gums, their ears down to their skulls, eyelids to eyeballs, their tails to their rumps. Matholwch’s courtiers advised him to see this as a calculated insult from the Welsh and was in the end persuaded to head back home in dudgeon. Bran sent his best messengers to attempt to sway Matholwch, he sent with them a stick of solid silver as tall as himself and as thick as a finger along with a plate made of gold the circumference of his face. He offered to replace every horse maimed and begged Matholwch to see his family dilemma, Bran could not execute his own brother.

He begged to meet with the Irish King face to face. The two kings meet again, however during the meeting Matholwch expressed his feeling that Bran’s compensation was too small. Bran could not stand for that, so he offered Matholwch a magic black cauldron that could bring the dead back to life on the condition they could not speak. Matholwch forgot all unpleasantries that had come before; the next morning the fleet of thirteen ships left for Ireland with Branwen and Matholwch side by side. At first sight the Irish loved their new queen, they brought many gifts to the castle celebrating Matholwch and Branwen’s union and in due time Branwen bore a son Gwern and the realm once again rejoiced. A few years passed and the counselors began to reflect once again on the maiming of the horses, they believed that Matholwch had not acted like a man and probed him to take out this injustice on his wife Branwen. The council forced her to work in the kitchen. In the kitchen she faced being bullied by the cook and stared at by the kitch


Píllaro is a city in Ecuador, located in the province of Tungurahua. It is the capital of the Píllaro Canton and stands about 19 km northeast of Ambato, the provincial capital; the city is located on a high Andean plain, at an altitude of 2,800 metres above sea level and has an average temperature of around 13 degrees Celsius. It is an agricultural centre, producing cereals and fruit, it is known as a centre for wood-carving. Rumiñahui, the famous Incan military commander, was born in Huaynacuri de Píllaro, around 1482. Son of Huayna Cápac and Nary Ati. Down the maternal line his grandparents were Pillahuaso Ati, Cacique de Píllaro and the Queen Choasanguil, his name means "face of stone". El Congreso Nacional in 1985, decided that 1 December be remembered as a conmemoration of the country's indigenous hero and a defender of the Kingdom of Quito against the Spanish conquistadors. Píllaro was founded in 1570 by Antonio Clavijo. Píllaro became a separate canton in 1851; the town was damaged in the 1949 earthquake that devastated the nearby towns of Ambato and Pelileo.

Pillaro is considered a gateway to the Llanganates National Park. This is the site of the legend of the Llangantes; the legends goes that Rumiñahui, on his way to Cajamarca to pay off the Spanish conquistadors, hid Incan gold in the park. The gold was supposed to go to Francisco Pizarro to pay the ransom for the kidnapped Incan king, Atahualpa. Rumiñahui, on learning that his king had been killed, sidetracked to the deserted páramo of the Llanganates and buried the gold. Many in Pillaro encourage the story, insisting that the town is full of legends. Pillaro is divided into 7 districts: Baquerizo Moreno Emilio María Terán Marcos Espinel Presidente Urbina San Andrés San José de Poaló San Miguelito. Municipality of Pillaro

1848 in rail transport

This article lists events related to rail transport that occurred in 1848. February 15 – The Caledonian Railway is opened throughout between Edinburgh and Carlisle, completing a through rail route by the West Coast Main Line and providing the first service of through carriages between Scotland and England. February 18 - The Cleveland and Ashtabula Railroad, a predecessor of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, is chartered in Ohio. April 3 – The Joseph Valley Railroad, a predecessor of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, is chartered in Michigan. June 12 – The Bristol and Exeter Railway's Tiverton branch line opens. July – Henschel & Son turn out the first locomotive from their works in Kassel. July 11 – London Waterloo station opens. July 20 - Grand Trunk Railway predecessor Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad opens. September 10 - Use of the atmospheric system on Isambard Kingdom Brunel's South Devon Railway ceases after less than a year of operation. October 2 - The Skipton to Colne section of the Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway opened.

October 28 - The first railway in Spain, connecting Barcelona and Mataró, opens. November 1 - First W H Smith bookstall at a railway station opens, at Euston Station, in London. November 3 - The first railway in South America opens, from Georgetown to Plaisance in British Guiana. December – The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, the oldest part of what is to become the Chicago and North Western Railway, begins operation. Tredegar Iron Works manager Joseph R. Anderson becomes the owner of the company. February 20 – E. H. Harriman, executive in charge of both the Union Pacific Railroad and the Southern Pacific Railroad at the start of the 20th century. Alfred de Glehn, English-born designer of French steam locomotives. Alonzo C. Mather, founder of Mather Stock Car Company, designer of first recognized humane stock car. August 12 – George Stephenson, English steam locomotive builder