Monday, August 23, 2010
Prince Llywelyn once received a greyhound from King John, and the hound soon became his favourite. Faithful as any hound had ever been, and gentle as a lamb, the hound was also a lion at the chase. One day, Llywelyn prepared to leave on the hunt, he gave call to his noble hound with his hunting horn. All his other hounds came at the call, but not his faithful Gelert. Llywelyn could wait no longer, and so left on his hunt.
When Llywelyn returned to his castle, who should be waiting to greet him but Gelert! As the hound bounded closer to greet him, Llywelyn was startled to notice that Gelert's lips and fangs were covered with blood. Now Price Llywelyn had a son, barely a year old, and as Llywelyn recalled how Gelert and his young son used to play together, a terrible thought came to his mind. He rushed to his son's nursery, only to find the cradle overturned and the sheets covered in blood. Llywelyn looked frantically for his son, but couldn't find him anywhere, only the evidence of much blood and a struggle within the nursery. Turning to Gelert, whose muzzle was still wet with blood, Llywelyn came into a great rage and cried, "Thou hast killed my only son!", and drew his sword and drove it into the side of the hound. Gelert yelped once and with a sorrowful look into Llywelyn's eyes, died at his master's feet.
At the sound of Gelert's last yelp, there was a small cry from beneath the overturned cradle. When Llywelyn righted it, who should he find beneath it but his small son, safe and unharmed, and as well the torn and bloodied body of a huge wolf. Too late Llywelyn discovered what had really happened while he was away. Gelert had stayed behind to guard the child, and had fought and slain the wolf that had crept into the nursery.
In vain was Llywelyn's grief, for he could not revive his faithful hound. He erected a tomb in the valley in honour of his friend, calling it 'Bedd Gelert' or the 'Grave of Gelert', the namesake of the town Beddgelert, in northern Wales.