Te yn y Grug (Tea in the Heather)

Te yn y Grug (Tea in the Heather) is Kate Roberts' tale of childhood in north Wales. A new edition of the English translation of this classic book for children and adults was published in 2002 (Seren). The book is a loosely-structured short novel in eight episodes. It tells of the trauma and joys of four-year old Begw as she learns to come to terms with the drowning of her cat Sgiatan and her favorite jelly treat gulped down by Winni Ffini Hadog. The adventures take place in the hills south of Caernarfon near the village of Rhosgadfan. Mair the minister's daughter is Begw's playmate, but the friendship they enjoy is rather formal. One day, Begw calls to play with Mair only to find the family are having dinner. She is given some pudding, but made to sit alone. The minister wears a beard to avoid the cost of shaving, and the grace he piously recites lasts longer than the meal. All differences between Mair and Begw are swept away when, as they climb the hill to have a picnic, the reckless Winni Finni Hadog ambushes them and spanks them soundly. Winni is twelve, almost a grown-up, her father a drunkard, her stepmother callous and uncaring. She is poorly dressed, wears no bloomers, and dances wildly on the heather. So, Begw asks her mother to invite her to tea. Winni comes, wolfs down the sponge-cake, and, much to the indignation of Mair and her parents, an unlikely friendship is born. In Tea in the Heather Kate Roberts opens the door to the early years of a child in a bewildering world.