The Story of Gelert by Anonymous
(AS CURRENT IN ANGLESEA)
It was somewhere about 1200, Prince Llewellyn had a castle at Aber, just
abreast of us here; indeed, parts of the towers remain to this day. His
consort was the Princess Joan; she was King John's daughter. Her coffin
remains with us to this day. Llewellyn was a great hunter of wolves and
foxes, for the hills of Carnarvonshire were infested with wolves in those
days, after the young lambs.
Now the prince had several hunting-houses—sorts of farm houses, one
of them was at the place now called Beth-Gelert, for the wolves were very
thick there at this time. Now the prince used to travel from farm-house to
farm-house with his family and friends, when going on these hunting
One season they went hunting from Aber, and stopped at the house where
Beth-Gelert is now—it's about fourteen miles away. The prince had
all his hounds with him, but his favourite was Gelert, a hound who had
never let off a wolf for six years.
The prince loved the dog like a child, and at the sound of his horn Gelert
was always the first to come bounding up. There was company at the house,
and one day they went hunting, leaving his wife and the child, in a big
wooden cradle, behind him at the farm-house.
The hunting party killed three or four wolves, and about two hours before
the word passed for returning home, Llewellyn missed Gelert, and he asked
"Where's Gelert? I don't see him."
"Well, indeed, master, I've missed him this half-hour."
And Llewellyn blew his horn, but no Gelert came at the sound.
Indeed, Gelert had got on to a wolves' track which led to the house.
The prince sounded the return, and they went home, the prince lamenting
Gelert. "He's sure to have been slain—he's sure to have been slain!
since he did not answer the horn. Oh, my Gelert!" And they approached the
house, and the prince went into the house, and saw Gelert lying by the
overturned cradle, and blood all about the room.
"What! hast thou slain my child?" said the prince, and ran his sword
through the dog.
After that he lifted up the cradle to look for his child, and found the
body of a big wolf underneath that Gelert had slain, and his child was
safe. Gelert had capsized the cradle in the scuffle.
"Oh, Gelert! Oh, Gelert!" said the prince, "my favourite hound, my
favourite hound! Thou hast been slain by thy master's hand, and in death
thou hast licked thy master's hand!" He patted the dog, but it was too
late, and poor Gelert died licking his master's hand.
Next day they made a coffin, and had a regular funeral, the same as if it
were a human being; all the servants in deep mourning, and everybody. They
made him a grave, and the village was called after the dog, Beth-Gelert—Gelert's
Grave; and the prince planted a tree, and put a gravestone of slate,
though it was before the days of quarries. And they are to be seen to this