A carved wooden statue of Merlin stands in Carmarthen town centre. He's a mythical Celtic shaman who constantly popped up in Britiish folklore between the 5th and 15th centuries.There were reports of him in various guises up and down the west coast from Cornwall to SW Scotland. Strongest evidence suggests he hailed from Carmarthenshire in the 5th century.
Picking the bones out of the legend... he was probably a soldier driven insane by war. Today, we recognise this as post-traumatic stress. In his 'madness', he roamed the woods in rags living off roots and berries, talking to trees and animals, and generally cursing the gods. Living as a hermit and obviously close to nature seems to have allowed him to recover and he eventually became a healer and sage to the local population.
His legend seems to have grown from there. He was mentioned in various sagas, poems and stories over the years... and finally 'became' the supernatural magician we all know him as today. The legend still continues now in the various literary, cinematic and TV interpretations of him. Not bad for a poor lad traumatised by war. He's left a far more significant footprint on the world than any of the despots he was fighting for and against.
war-torn back streets...
an acned soldier
checks his safety catch