In the “be careful what you ask for” category, consider the love-lorn Welsh maiden, Dwyn.
Dwyn was a fifth century teenager inclined to romance. She was smitten with a young man named Maelon. Alas, they had a fight, and he must have demanded his letter jacket back, because Dwyn was heartbroken and beseeched the heavens to tell her why this should happen.
In answer to her plea, an angel appeared and bid her to drink a potion. Unfortunately, this potion did nothing for Maelon’s affections, but it did turn her beloved into stone. This was not Dwyn’s desired result, so she asked for and was granted three wishes.
First, Dwyn asked that Maelon be restored to life. Second, she asked that all true lovers who invoke her name be united with their love or, failing that, get over it quickly. Third, she wished that the desire to marry be taken from her and that she would never marry.
All those wishes were granted. She became a nun and the abbess of a convent at Llanddwyn in Wales. Modern-day visitors can find a spring that is said to cure sick animals and help people predict the future.
Who sent the first Valentine?
The first Valentine card that was decorated and poetic is attributed to the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans, in 1415. He eased the pain of incarceration by writing love verses to his wife.
By the 1700s, manufactured cards became the most popular way to declare love. The cards were elaborately hand-painted and decorated with gold leaf, satins, silks and exotic feathers.
Retailers now say that chocolates and roses are the best symbols of love. Candy or not, Feb. 14 remains the one day of the year given over to romance.