31 Stories in May at Hay!: Day 22 - ' A Bed of Feathers ' by Rhys Davies

Every day throughout May, you will be able to visit the Library of Wales website to download your free story, drawn from Story, vols I and II - a collection boasting the finest Welsh short fiction ever written and featuring some of the most talented literary names from both past and present, including the legendary Dylan Thomas and the award-winning Rachel Trezise, as well as read all about the chosen author.


Day 22: 'A Bed of Feathers' by Rhys Davies

(Taken from A Bed of Feathers, 1929)



(Excerpt from Rhys Davies: A Writer's Life by Meic Stephens - Parthian, 2013)


Born in 1901 in Blaenclydach in the Rhondda Valley,] Rhys Davies was among the most dedicated, prolific, and accomplished of Welsh prose-writers in English. With unswerving devotion and scant regard for commercial success, he practised the writer’s craft for some fifty years, in both the short story and the novel form, publishing in his lifetime a substantial body of work on which his literary reputation now firmly rests. He wrote, in all, more than a hundred stories, twenty novels, three novellas, two topographical books about Wales, two plays, and an autobiography in which he set down, obliquely and in code, the little he wanted the world to know about him.


So prodigious an output was made possible largely because he shared his life with no other person, giving it up entirely to his writing. By temperament a loner, and suspicious of the gregarious instinct in writers – a stance he assiduously cultivated in defiance of prevailing fashions and ideologies – he chose to keep himself apart, especially from other expatriate Welsh writers living in England between the two world wars. Except for a few years as a draper’s assistant on first going to London and a short stint of compulsory war-work, he managed to live almost wholly by his pen, his meagre income unsupplemented by any teaching, journalism, broadcasting, or hack-work of any kind. He sat on no committees, signed no manifestos, believed no political nostrums or religious dogma, never read his work in public, attended no foreign conferences, never edited a magazine, engaged in no literary squabbles, spurned all cliques, shunned the company of academics, had no taste or talent for self-promotion, joined no literary societies, never competed for a prize, never sat in judgement on his fellow writers as an adjudicator of literary competitions, and only very rarely as a reviewer of their books. He believed the proper business of a writer was to be writing.


You can download the story in PDF format here. (If download does not start, then right click the link and select 'Save link as'.)


Selected bibliography

The Withered Root (Robert Holden, 1927; reprinted by the Library of Wales in 2007)

A Human Condition (Parthian, 2001)



Contributed to

Story I (anthology) (Library of Wales, 2014)



Rhys Davies: A Writer's Life (by Meic Stephens; Parthian, 2013)


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