One day, his sailors, tired from the fights in these cold countries, rebelled, refusing to assault the castle which was promised to them. Many of them died during the winter. They decided to go back to their boats and to head for their land, the Brittany, to find wives and children and live there in peace. The King Gradlon let them leave and found himself alone, in the cold night. He was vanquished by his own men and after the intense excitement of fights and victories , he knew a deep sadness.
Suddenly the king felt a presence around him. He raised the head and saw, white in the moon light and dressed in a
cuirass shining from the light of the night star, a woman with long red hair. It was Malgven, Queen of the North,
boreal sovereign ruling without partage on the cold lands. She said to King Gradlon: "I knew you, you are courageous
and skilful in fight. My husband is old, his sword is rusty. You and me are going to kill him. Then, you will bring me in
your country of Cornwall." They killed the old king from the North, filled a chest with gold and as Gradlon had no
more boat, mounted Morvarc'h, the magical horse from Malgven. Morvarc'h means "horse of the sea", it was black as
the night and blew fire from his nostrils. The horse galloped on the crest of waves and they quickly caught up with the
king's boats which went back to Cornwall. A violent tempest and a thunderstorm started then, scattering boats on the
The Birth of Dahut
Gradlon and Malgven stayed one full year on the sea. One day, on a boat, Malgven gave birth to a child, a girl thy
called Dahut. Unfortunately, the queen became sick and died. The King Gradlon and his daughter Dahut went back to
Cornwall. But the king was so sad that he never went out of his castle. Dahut grew, she was very beautiful, as her
mother Malgven. The King Gradlon liked to play with the curls of her long golden hair. Dahut was found of the sea.
One day she asked her father to build a city, a city near the sea.
The city builds against the sea
Gradlon loved her daughter and agreed. Many thousands of workers started to build the city that looked like emerging
from the sea. To prevent here from the high waves and tempest, a very high dike surrounding the city with a unique
and closed brass door which gave access to it. The King Gradlon alone get the key. It was called the city of Ys.
The engagement of Dahut with Ocean
The fishermen, each evening, saw on the beach a woman who sang very loudly, combing her long golden hair. It was
the princess Dahut. She said :
The city of Ys became a place where people did the feast, the city became full of sailors. Each day saw new feasts,
games and dances.
The magical mask
Each day, the princess Dahut has a new engaged. The evening she put a black mask on his face, he stayed with her
until the morning. As soon as the song of meadowlark was heard the mask tightened on the throat of the young man
and suffocated the engaged of the night. A rider took the body on his horse to throw it in the Ocean, after the Bay of
deceased (Trepasses) . So all the engaged from Dahut died the morning came and were thrown in the sea.
One day of the spring, a strange rider arrived in the city of Ys He was red dressed, his hands were long and slim, his
nails pointed and curved. Dahut smiles him, the knight even did not look at her. An evening he accepted to come near
her. For a long time he passed his long hands with pointed nails in the beautiful golden hair from the princess.
Suddenly a great noise came from the sea and a terrible blow of wind knocked the ramparts from the city of Ys.
"The tempest may roar, the doors of the city are strong and it is the King Gradlon, my father which owns the unique
key, attached to his neck", said Dahut. "Your father the king slept, you can now easily take the key", answered the
The submersion of the City
Princess Dahut entered in the bedroom of her father, slowly came near him and took the key, attached to a chain
around his neck. Immediately , an enormous wave , higher than a mountain, fell on Dahut. Her father wake up and
she said him "Father, quick, we have to take the horse Morvarc'h, the sea has pushed down the dikes". The king took
her daughter on the horse, the sea was furious. The horse reared up on the water which was rising with big bubbles.
Dahut clang to her father and said to him: "Save-me my father!" Then there was a great lightning in the tempest and a
voice said getting from rock to rock "Gradlon, drop the princess".
Saint Guenole, the missionary of God
A shape pale as a dead appeared, wrapped in a great brown cloth. It was Saint Guenole, who said to the princess:
"Shame and misfortune on thee, thou has tried to steal the key from the city of Ys!" Dahut answered: "Save-me, bring
me to the end of the world!" But the horse Morvarc'h did not move any more and the furious waters won on them.
Saint Guenole repeated his order to Gradlon "Drop the princess!", enormous waves were at their feet. Dahut slided on
the ground and the king Gradlon, furious pushed his daughter in the sea. The waves closed on the princess. The sea
flooded the city of Ys which all inhabitants died drowned.
The horse from the king started again, jumping on the beach then in meadows and hills, galloping all the night. Gradlon arrived in the city where two rivers gather between seven hills, Quimper. He decided to make it his capital and lived here the remaining of his days. At his death, his statue was carved in granite. This statue is yet between the two towers of the cathedral Saint Corentin in Quimper. It represents the King Gradlon, on a horse looking in the direction of the disappeared city.
People said that Dahut, after her death, became a mermaid and that she appears to fishermen the evenings of moon, combing her long golden hair. They also said that when the weather is very quiet one may hear the bells ring from the disappeared city.
It is also said that the city of Ys was the nicest capital of the world and that Lutece was called Paris because "Par Ys" in breton means "like Ys". Two popular breton proverbs testify that :