Friday, July 13, 2007

Bedd Gelert

For it is said that in the days when all our countryside was covered in woodland and wild animals roamed freely, Princes and the gentry used valleys such as this for their hunting expeditions. One such Prince was Llywelyn the Great. One fine morning he set out with his huntsmen and hounds to chase deer, leaving behind his infant son and heir at the hunting lodge. Amongst the Prince's pack was a hound named Gelert. A strong beast, dedicated to his Master. But on this day for no reason, the hound disappeared. Llywelyn, assuming that Gelert may have returned to the hunting lodge, turned around his horse and headed back. On entering the building, he was confronted by his faithful hound whose mouth and paws were bloodstained. The prince was immediately horror stricken and rushed to find his child. The cradle lay upturned and there was no sign of the infant. In his anger, Llywelyn drew his sword and plunged it into the hound. A faint cry brought him back to near the cradle and finding the child safe, he also found the limp body of a savage wolf. Great sadness then fell on the prince, for had it not been for his faithful hound Gelert, the baby would surely have been slain. So in honour that his hound's name should live on, Llywelyn had Gelert buried.
"The tomb, or what is said to be the tomb, of Gelert stands in a beautiful meadow just below the precipitous side of Cerrig Llan: it consists of a slab lying on its side, and two upright stones. It is shaded by a weeping willow, and is surrounded by a hexagonal paling. Who is there acquainted with the legend, whether he believes that the dog lies beneath these stones or not, can visit them without exclaiming with a sigh "Poor Gelert!".

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