While Gododdin was a traditional Celtic kingdom under the spiritual guidance of druids, Teneu was tempted by the alternate reality of the Christian missionaries. Possibly Teneu became devoted to the Virgin Mary and hoped to emulate her by having a virgin birth. Teneu became pregnant, but Owain and Teneu declined to marry.
The three mediaeval accounts differ in the details, but both the Fragmentary Life and the Breviarium aberdonense claim that Owain transvested in order to gain access to Teneu. Ardrey points out that this makes no sense in that Teneu was not in a convent or in purdah. He argues that Teneu found that Owain was trans, but the retellings introduced a pragmatic reason for his cross-dressing. On his side he was not interested in marriage to a woman.
Teneu was sent away to Culross where she was sheltered by Serf, who also helped to raise the child who was named Mungo (dear one) but later became known as Kentigern (head chief).
Serf, Teneu and Kentigern all became saints in the Christian Church. Teneu and Mungo are the patron saints of Glasgow.
A legendary version of Owain appears in Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, the Knight of the Lion and the Welsh Romance Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain.
- Anon. Fragmentary Life of St Kentigern. MS Cotton Titus, xix.f.76-80. Before 1164.
- Jocelin of Furness. Vita Kentigern. 1185
- Anon. Breviarium aberdonense. 1507
- Adam Ardrey,. Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Great Arthurian Mage. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2008: Chp 4 – Signs and Portents.
Mungo and Serf are in Wikipedia as Saint Mungo and Saint Serf, but St Teneu is there simply as Teneu.