The beautiful Welsh underworld goddess traveled thru
earth on an impossibly speedy horse, accompanied always by magical birds
that made the dead waken and the living fall into a seven-year sleep. She
was a fairylike figure who appeared to Prince Pwyll of Dyfed near the gate
of the underworld. He pursued her on his fastest horse, but hers exausted
any mount of his. Finally, she decided to stay with Pwyll; she bore him
a son soon afterward. Her son disappeared, and the Queen was found with
blood on her mouth & cheeks.
of murder, she was sentenced to be Pwyll's gatekeeper, bearing visitors
to the door on her back; thus she was symbolically transformed into a horse.
All ended happily when her son was found; Rhiannon had been falsely accused
by maids who, terrified at finding the child absent, had smeared puppy
blood on her face. Rhiannon was said to be the beautiful Goddess of Joy
& Oblivion, as well as the Queen of Hell.
from the book "Goddesses and Heroines"
by Patricia Monahan.