A recent visit to Beddgelert in Snowdonia got me thinking. What is it about a story that is so captivating? But I realised that the answer was tied up and tangled with another. Why do I write? It’s that desire to take someone on an all important emotional rollercoaster. And for emotion, the story of Beddgelert packs a punch. With the unerring loyalty of Gelert and the consolation that to make mistakes is to be human, the story is as heart-breaking as it is wonderful.
The wording on the slate ‘headstone’ tells the story.
In the thirteenth century Llywelyn Prince of North Wales had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert the faithful hound who was unaccountably absent. On Llywelyn’s return, the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The Prince, alarmed, hastened to find his son and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llywelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The Prince, filled with remorse, is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here. The spot is called Beddgelert.
Gelert's Grave, Beddgelert.