Gelert, the Heroic Irish Wolfhound from Wales
The most famous, and saddest story, of an Irish Wolfhound was that of Gelert. This dog was given to Prince Llewellyn of Wales in 1210 by King John of England.
One day, according to the legend, the Prince went out leaving the Wolfhound in charge of his baby. When he returned it was to find the cradle overturned and the baby missing, the dog having blood on his paws. Impulsively assuming that the dog had killed and eaten the child, he drew his sword and killed the dog.
Then he found, safe beneath the overturned cradle, the baby and a dead wolf. The dog had, in fact, killed the wolf to protect the baby.
The Prince is said to have never smiled again and was forever haunted by the dying cries of his beloved hound.
The dog was buried with great ceremony in the village which became known as Bedgelert, meaning Gelert's grave.
The grave is still there today in the picturesque village in North Wales and has become a famous tourist spot. The event happened nine hundred years ago, and people still come from many miles just to see Gelert's grave.
The story first came to my attention in the 1960's whilst on holiday in North Wales. My in-laws said we were to visit the village of Bedgelert, which I have to say is a beautiful place and a fine tribute to this courageous dog.
I remember the story bringing tears to my eyes.
How much truth there is in the legend, one will never know, but it is likely to be based on fact.
From Gelert to Irish Wolfhound
From Gelert to Giant Dogs
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