And so Manawydan and Kigva returned to Dyved, former home of Pwyll and Rhiannon, former home of their son Pryderi, former site of a whole town full of townspeople, and technically Manawydan’s kingdom since Pryderi gave it to him back at the start of this story. The Mabinogion claims it had been six years since the disappearance of the people of Dyved, Manawydan’s subjects, though that sounds kind of low to me. Manawydan had, in that time, partied for a year, hunted for at least another year if not two, had four separate careers as an artisan (saddlemaking, shieldmaking, shoemaking, and shoemaking again), plus there had been at least a year of traveling from various English towns back to Dyved.
Dyved was, by this time, pretty desolate and empty. Manawydan and his lone subject, Kigva, took up farming. Over the course of a year, Manawydan set up three separate wheat fields, big and healthy and prosperous. He was good at everything he turned his hand to, after all. But when, one crisp fall morning, he arrived at one of the fields ready to harvest, he discovered that someone had come in the night and stolen all the crop! Not a single grain remained in the field.
“Thieves! What jerks they probably are,” he grumbled. “Well, it’s too late in the day to go harvest one of the other fields. I’ll do it tomorrow.”
The next morning, he arrived at the second of his three fields, and of course it too had been stripped bare. “Thieves again!” Manawydan swore. “Well, I’ll bet they go for my third and final field tonight. I’ll stand guard and catch them in the act!”
Cut to that night, when, sure enough, the thieves that stole two of Manawydan’s wheat harvests appeared. Manawydan fell upon them, ready to hew and cut and sword them all to death!
But shocking twist! The thieves were tiny little mice! Oh wow! Manawydan was capable of killing Irishmen no problem, but mice were not what his sword training had prepared him for. He chased after the mice, trying to beat them with his blade, but they scurried and fled and it was hopeless…
Except for one big fat slow mouse, which Manawydan managed to grab! He scooped it up and stuffed it into his glove, which was about the right size for an ersatz mouse-sack.
Thus equipped, he returned to the halls of Aberth, where his lone subject, Kigva, waited. “What’s that you got there?” she aked him.
“Grain thief!” Manawydan said proudly, holding up the glove.
“What, like, his severed hand?”
“Nope! It’s a mouse! I caught a mouse.”
“Oh. Well, good for you, sire, I guess.”
“In the morning we can hang it!” Manawydan said brightly.
“That’s what we do with thieves!”
“But it’s a mouse.”
“So that’s ridiculous. What are you, five?”
“I fail to see your point,” Manawydan said, a little stiffly. “Thieves get hung.”
“Okay, whatever.” Kigva held her arms up in mock surrender. “Do whatever. It’s your mouse and your glove. I just think you’re being very silly and unkingly.”
Manawydan’s only response was to grumble, again, that thieves get hung.