Stranger in the mist
Giles Hampton was spending a short holiday in Wales. A friend of his had recently sold his
business in Liverpool and had moved to Wales. This friend, whose name was Beverley, had built
himself a house in Caernar− vonshire, near the Snowdon mountains. There was an ancient church called
Fablan Fawr a few hundred yards away from his house, so Beverley called his new house Fablan Fawr
Giles was very interested in geology. He loved studying rocks and stones. Since that part of Wales
is of particular interest to the geologist, Giles was very glad indeed to receive Beverley's invitation to
visit him. Giles arrived at Fablan Fawr on the evening of October 10. The house was very modern and
extremely comfortable. It stood between the mountains and the Conway Valley. A few hundred yards
behind the house lay the steep, rocky mountains.
The weather was fine, and for the first week of his stay Giles went with Beverley on several short
geological expeditions. They also went shooting together once or twice, and they visited neighbours in
the district. But on October 18 Beverley had business in the local market town. So Giles decided to
make an all−day excursion to a place on the other side of the mountains, about ten miles away. The sky
was cloudy when Giles set off after an early breakfast. In his bag were his sandwiches and his
geological hammers, and information from Beverley's servant, Parry, about his route across the
It was after twelve o'clock when Giles arrived and began unpacking his hammers. The sun had
come out, and he was hot, tired and uncomfortable. But he soon forgot his discomfort when he
examined the many interesting rocks. It was half−past three before he had finished. He packed his
hammers and notebook away in his bag again and started on the journey back to Fablan Fawr. By this
time the sky was cloudy again. As he walked along, light rain began to fall. Then, as he climbed higher,
a thick, damp mist came down and covered everything. Soon the mist grew thicker and he could see
only a few feet in front of him.
On his earlier journey across the mountains Giles had looked out for landmarks − a waterfall, an
old tree, a small lake. He thought these would help him to find his way back to Fablan Fawr. But in the
mist everything looked strange and different. Soon he crossed a stream which he did not recognize.Suddenly he heard the sound of footsteps on the hillside above him. He shouted, and a voice answered
him in Welsh. From out of the mist came an old man with a huge dog by his side. Although the man was
old, he stood straight and tall. He wore a heavy cloak of dark cloth that came down to his ankles. He
wore no hat and his hair was long and white. His big red face shone with kindness.
The old man spoke again in Welsh. Giles made signs to show that he did not understand. The old
man smiled kindly. `I'm lost,' said Giles, making more signs. `I want to go to Fablan Fawr.'
The old man seemed to understand. `Fablan Fawr,' he repeated several times, and smiled again.
Then he felt inside his long cloak and pulled out a map. He spread the map out on a stone in front of him. Beverley's new house was not, of course, on the map. But the church of Fablan Fawr was clearly Shown. With his thin old hand the stranger pointed to a place on the map. He spoke again in Welsh, then Pointed again. `He is telling me that we are here,' said Giles to himself. Then the old man pointed out The path that Giles must take to reach Fablan Fawr. He did this three times, to make sure that Giles Understood. Then he pushed the map into Giles's hands. Giles tried to refuse this gift, but the old man Only laughed and smiled. Giles thanked him warmly and pushed the map into his coat pocket. Then he Set out along the path that the old man had shown him. After a few steps he turned. He saw a shape
through the mist, standing and watching him. He waved his hand and set off again. The next time he Turned round, the old man had disappeared.