Prince Llewelyn and his dog Gelert

No time to even ponder a meaty post for your Monday morning reading, I’ll offer the story below and let you consider if I’m suggesting anything by it or not.

Before the story, I recommend you get on the CivMil conference webcast. I’ll watching when I can with a few questions ready for the panel. And now for something different

In the short time I lived in Wales two years ago, I read about the famous legend of Prince Llewelyn and his dog Gelert which stayed with me.

Llewelyn was very fond of hunting and in the summer he lived in a hunting lodge at the foot of Snowdon. Although he had many dogs, his favourite was Gelert, not only because he was fearless in the hunt but he was also a loyal friend and companion at home.

One day Llewelyn and his wife went hunting and left their baby son with a nurse and a servant to look after him. The nurse and the servant go for a walk in the mountains leaving the baby alone and unprotected.

Llewelyn is absorbed in his hunting, but after a while he notices that Gelert isn’t with the pack. The Prince knows something is wrong as Gelert is always at the front of the pack. He reasons that the only place Gelert would go is back to the lodge, so he calls off the hunt and heads back home.

As the party is dismounting, Gelert comes running out of the lodge towards his master, covered in blood and wagging his tail. The Princess, calling her child’s name, faints. Llewelyn rushes into the baby’s room to find the cradle overturned, the bloodstained bedclothes thrown all over the floor – and no sign of his son.

Filled with anger and grief he draws his sword and runs Gelert through. As the dog dies, he whimpers and his cries are answered by the sound of a baby crying from behind the overturned cradle. When Llewelyn pulls aside the cradle he finds his son unharmed and the bloody body of a huge wolf next to him. Gelert had in fact killed the wolf as it tried to attack Llewelyn’s son.

Filled with remorse, Llewelyn buries Gelert in a meadow nearby and marks his grave with a cairn of stones. The village of Beddgelert ("Gelert’s grave") owes its name to the dog.