Project Description

Gelert the Faithful Hound

During the early 13th century Gwynedd (nowadays Wales) was ruled by Prince Llywelyn the Great and Joan, Princess of Wales – the daughter of England’s King John. On the occasion of Prince Llewellyn’s marriage to Joan, King John gifted him his best hunting dog. The Prince was a keen hunter and owned many hunting lodges. The hound became known as Gelert and never left the Prince’s side as his favorite and most faithful companion. A good hunting dog needs to be independent, and not all hunting dogs are good with people. But Gelert was that rare combination – not just a fine hunting dog, independent and proud; he was good-natured, good around children. Not only Llewellyn, but all his family loved Gelert. Llewellyn hunted most days when the weather was fine, and fairly often when it was not. Lately, he had seen and heard of wolves not far from his home. He worried about his baby son, for he had heard that wolves had been known to find their way into houses. So one day he told Gelert to stay behind and guard the baby. Gelert obediently took turns lying down beside the cradle, or standing guard over it. Prince Llewellyn went off happily, knowing that Gelert would keep his son safe. When Llewellyn returned from the hunt he beheld a terrible sight. His baby’s cradle was overturned and blood was spattered everywhere. Slowly Gelert crawled towards his master, with blood dripping from his jaws. Llewellyn looked down to see Gelert’s trusting eyes gazing up at him. “Wicked beast who betrayed me, where is my son?” screamed Llewellyn. “You have killed and eaten him!” In his grief and rage, Llewellyn sprang and heart-struck Gelert; with all his power he thrust his sword deep into the loyal dog’s heart. As the dog slumped to the ground, the prince heard a soft whimpering from behind the upturned cradle. As the dog lay dying, Llewellyn gently picked up his son. Too late, he turned to see the half covered body of a huge wolf lying dead on the floor. Thanks to Gelert, the baby remained unharmed. Filled with remorse, Llelwelyn knelt and gently stroked his faithful friend and Gelert’s tail thumped the ground slowly for the last time. Prince Llewellyn, terribly remorseful, buried the faithful Gelert and named the place “Beddgelert,” meaning “Gelert’s grave“.