It is not clear if there was a real man called Cai. He was traditionally the eldest son of Cynyr Ceinfarfog, Lord of Caer Goch, and is frequently alluded to as being a very tall man, as shown by his epithet, Hir, meaning 'the Tall'. However, he chiefly appears in Welsh folklore as a very early companion of High-King Arhur, particularly in the Mabinogion attached tales of 'Culhwch and Olwen' and the 'Dream of Rhonabwy', where he was the foremost warrior at the royal court. Legend says that he and King Arthur grew up together as foster-brothers. Cai later became the constant companion of Bedwyr Bedrydant (of the Perfect Sinews).
Cai appears in the ancient Welsh poem, Pa Gur, as the main participant in the Battle of Tryfrwyd fought against a foe named Garwlwyd. Its location is highly controversial. He is also found in a number of saints' 'lives' but always associated with King Arthur. Welsh tradition says that Cai made his home at Caer-Gynyr near Bala in Penllyn which he renamed as Caer-Gai. Attempts to identify him with St. Kea are unfounded.
Folkloric records of Cai Hir date back to the 11th century. He is generally considered legendary.
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