Meaning: “Bright rock” or “bright cliff”
Other forms of the name: Elphin
Elffin ap Gwyddno, as told in the Welsh mythology, was not very lucky. He was the son of Gwyddno Garanhir who was the ruler of Cantre’r Gwaelod, a sunken land that was off the coast of Wales. His father sent him to catch some salmon, but instead he found a baby who he named Taliesin. On the way back to Gwyddno the baby started reciting beautiful poetry.
Later on King Maelgwn Gwynedd demanded Elffin come and praise him and his court, but Elffin refused, he said that Taliesin was a better bard and his wife a more virtuous woman than anybody in the King’s court. Since Taliesin was a seer he told Elffin’s wife what Elffin had said. The King sent his son, Rhun, to go and seduce Elffin’s wife, he got her drunk and when she passed out he tried to take the ring off of her finger but it wouldn’t come off, so he cut it off. He gave it to the King who tried to convince Elffin that it was his wife’s. Elffin said that his wife cut her nails more often than the owner of the finger, had servents to knead dough for her and never had anything under her nails, and that the ring was loose on her finger.
Then the King asked him to prove Taliesin was a better bard than his men. Taliesin said that they would have twenty minutes to come with an epic; The King’s bards could not come up with anything. When it was Taliesin’s turns he caused a wind to rattle the castle. The King was frightened and called for Elffin. Taliesin then sang a song that caused Elffin’s chains to fall off.
The King was not happy of course and challenged them to a horse race. Taliesin only had an old weak horse and all of the King’s horses passed him at the start of the race and each time they did this he hit the horse on its rump with a branch of holly and when they were done going by he dropped his hat and the twigs of holly on the ground. Right before the horses could win they stopped at the twigs and began to dance, later on Taliesen’s horse finally made it to the finish line and won.
The name Elffin could possibly come from the Irish words Aili and Fion which means “bright cliff” or “bright rock”.