Beth Gellert

: Celtic Folk And Fairy Tales

Prince Llewelyn had a favourite greyhound 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

greyhound 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 Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn's heir.

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, and men say, "I

repent me as much as the man that slew his greyhound."