Gelert, the Dog who died for his Loyalty. March 30, 2017 18:00
Where in the world would you find the grave of a dog that never was? Snowdonia in North Wales is the answer. The dog was named after a 6th century saint who lived in a cave as a hermit and was martyred for his faith. The saint was Gelert, and his namesake was the legendary hunting dog Gelert whose tragic tale of misunderstood faithfulness is enough to make a stone statue of the aforementioned saint weep blood.
Legend has it that Prince Llewellyn was gifted his fine hound by King John of England. One day, Prince Llewellyn left Gelert at home to protect his precious only son whilst he went out hunting. However, a vicious wolf leapt through an open window and tried to snatch the sleeping baby from his cradle!
When the Prince returned home he was faced with a horrifying scene. The cot was upturned; the baby nowhere to be seen and bloody splashes patterned the room. Gelert was whining, red and dripping, and in a fit of rage, the Prince slaughtered Gelert with his sword. Seconds later he heard muffled cries; under the cot he found the baby alive and well and just next to it, the body of the wolf that Gelert had killed in order to save the babe. Apparently the Prince never spoke again, so horrified was he at how he had repaid his faithful dog.
But wait and dry those tears! There are tonnes of faithful dog stories, but this ain’t one of ‘em! A chap called David Pritchard who ran a hotel in this small North Wales village decided he needed more custom and came up with a brilliant idea; he invented the story of Gelert. That’s how Gelert was born (and died) and the name Beddgelert (Gelert’s Grave) became famous. To this day you can trek across a field and visit the grave, and you can pop into the Royal Goat Hotel too.
So, both the real and the imagined Gelert died because of their true faithfulness, Mr Pritchard got rich and Beddgelert became one of North Wales’ best loved tourist haunts. Nice work Mr Pritchard. Over the coming weeks I will be bringing you some realtime heroic dog stories, but I can't resist this story of Gelert. It may be fictional, but the loyalty of our real dogs is undeniable.
We have some lovely things you might like a look at while you are here. May as well, it's probably raining.