One of the
best-known Welsh legends is
that of Prince Llewelyn and his dog Gelert.
Llewelyn and his dog Gelert
(Llywelyn and Gelert)
Prince Llywelyn of Gwynedd's
favourite dog is Gelert, a fearless hunting dog and loyal friend
and companion who was said to have been a gift from King John of
Llywelyn leaves his baby son with
a nurse and a servant while he embarks on a hunting trip with
his wife. The nurse and the servant go for a walk in the
mountains leaving the baby alone and unprotected.
After a while Llywelyn notices
that Gelert isn't with the hunting pack. Reasoning that the only
place Gelert would go is back to the lodge, he calls off the
hunt and heads back home.
As the party is dismounting,
Gelert comes running out of the lodge towards his master,
covered in blood and wagging his tail. The princess, calling her
child's name, faints. Llewelyn rushes in to find the cradle
overturned, the bloodstained bedclothes thrown all over the
floor, and no sign of his son.
Filled with anger and grief he
draws his sword against the dog. As Gelert dies, he whimpers and
his cries are answered by the sound of a baby crying from behind
the overturned cradle. Llewelyn pulls aside the cradle to find
his son unharmed and the bloody body of a huge wolf next to him.
Gelert had killed the wolf as it tried to attack Llewelyn's son.
From that day onwards Llewelyn
never speaks again. Filled with remorse, he buries Gelert in a
meadow nearby and marks the grave with a cairn of stones, though
he could still hear its dying cries.
The village of Beddgelert (Gelert's
grave) in North West Wales is thought to owe its name to the
legend, although there is no evidence of the story having a
1. Why did Llewelyn kill
2. What did Llewelyn do
after killing Gelert?
3. What can we learn from
the tragic legend?