Many a dog's courage, steadfastness, trust and loyalty to man has been
proven. However, an ancient Welsh saga raised the question about man's
reciprocation of those qualities.
As part of a large dowry on
his wedding to a daughter of the English King, so the saga tells us,
Welsh prince Llewelyn ap Iorwerth received a wolfhound named Gelert.
The dog proved to be leader among the Prince's hunting dogs. He was
also a gentle and friendly animal and was appointed a personal guard
dog by the family.
One day having to leave his new baby son in
the castle while he was away hunting, the Prince ordered Gelert to
stand guard on the baby's sleeping chamber. Returning later that day,
the Prince entered his child's chamber to find a scene of horror. The
cradle seemed empty except for blood stained blankets, in fact there
was blood everywhere! At the head of the cradle stood Gelert, he too
was covered in blood, dripping from his jaws!
immediately assumed the dog had turned killer and in a rage drew his
sword and plunged it into Gelerts' body. As Gelert fell mortally
wounded the Prince heard a cry from beneath the blood soaked blankets.
Throwing them aside he saw his smiling son, alive and unharmed. As he
leaned over to pick up his son, he saw behind the cradle, lying against
the wall was a large wolf with its throat torn out...dead!
there had been a fierce struggle between the dog and the wolf. Suddenly
the Prince realised the enormity of his rash deed in condemning
Gelert...for surely it was Gelert who had killed the attacking wolf.
Rushing to the aid of the stricken dog he was too late, with a last
lick of the Prince's hand Gelert died of his sword wound. The prince
was haunted by his lack of trust, for the rest of his life.
Gelert was buried with full honours at Beddgelert (The Grave of Gelert) in Wales.