CELTIC FAIRY TALES
Llewelyn had a
favourite grey-hound named Gellert that had been given to him by his
father-in-law, King John. He was as gentle as a lamb at home but a lion in the
chase. One day Llewelyn went to the chase and blew his horn in front of his
castle. All his other dogs came to the call but Gellert never answered it. so he
blew a louder blast on his horn and called Gellert by name, but still the
greyhound did not come. At last Prince Llewelyn could wait no longer and went
off to the hunt without Gellert. He had little sport that day because Gellert
was not there, the swiftest and boldest of his hounds.
He turned back in a rage to his castle, and as he came to the gate, who
should he see but Gellert come bounding out to meet him. But when the hound came
near him, the Prince was startled to see that his lips and fangs were dripping
with blood. Llewelyn started back and the grey-hound crouched down at his feet
as if surprised or afraid at the way his master greeted him.
Now Prince Llewelyn had a little son a year old with whom Gellert used to
play, and a terrible thought crossed the Prince's mind that made him rush
towards the child's nursery. And the nearer he came the more blood and
disorder he found about the rooms. He rushed into it and found the child's cradle
overturned and daubed with blood.
Prince Liewelyn grew more and more terrified, and sought for his little son
everywhere. He could find him nowhere but only signs of some terrible conflict
in which much blood had been shed. At last he felt sure the dog had destroyed
his child, and shouting to Gellert, "Monster, thou hast devoured my
child," he drew out his sword and plunged it in the greyhound's side, who
fell with a deep yell and still gazing in his master's eyes.
As Gellert raised his dying yell, a little child's cry answered it from
beneath the cradle, and there Llewelyn found his child unharmed and just
awakened from sleep. But just beside him lay the body of a great gaunt wolf all
torn to pieces and covered with blood. Too late, Llewelyn learned
what had happened while he was away. Gellert had stayed behind to
guard the child and had fought and slain the wolf that had tried to destroy
In vain was all Llewelyn's grief; he could not bring his faithful dog to life
again. So he buried him outside the castle walls within sight of the great
mountain of Snowdon, where every passer-by might see his grave, and raised over
it a great cairn of stones. And to this day the place is called Beth Gellert, or
the Grave of Gellert.